Yesterday (15 April) celebrates world anime day, celebrating Japanese anime cartoons.
Japan’s animated character shows, games and comics have grown in popularity in the past three decades across the globe. In pre-pandemic times, conventions would take place on this date to acknowledge the contribution of anime to popular culture.
So, what is anime, when was world anime day established, and how are fans of the cartoons and characters celebrating in 2021? This is what you need to know.
What is anime?
Anime is a Japanese hand-drawn and computer-animated cartoon style with a specific type – such as that used in Pokemon and Dragonball Z.
The term only refers to cartoons from Japan, and any similar animation created in other countries is known as anime-influenced animation.
Japanese comics (Manga), light novels, or video games depict different forms of anime, with different audiences and fans across the titles and genres.
Compared to Western animation, anime production generally focuses less on movement, and the detail of settings and uses “camera effects” – such as panning, zooming, and angle shots.
One of the most notable aspects of anime is the large facial features and expressions and vast and emotive eyes.
The anime industry consists of over 430 production companies, including significant studios like Studio Ghibli, Sunrise, and Toei Animation.
While the first commercialized Japanese cartoons emerged in 1917, the style now associated with anime was first produced by cartoonists such as Osamu Tezuka in the 1960s.
The art form has grown significantly in the past few decades, from the early 90s – as TV shows, video games, and comics gained worldwide popularity.
As of 2016, Japanese anime accounted for 60% of the world’s animated television shows.
Characters from well-known anime cartoons have gained mass followings, and the comics continue to diversify with the growth of technology, allowing for graphic art, characterization, cinematography, and other forms of creative and individualistic techniques to be used.
What is world anime day?
world anime day always falls on 15 April and is celebrated worldwide by anime fans.
The day was first coined in 1975, with a convention in Tokyo attended by just 700 participants.
Conventions occur across Asia, the US, and the UK, with fans dressing up as their favourite characters and showing off the latest and most popular anime creations.
Nowadays, the Anime Expo in Japan, AnimeJapan, attracts around 115,500 participants across a weekend. New cartoons, games, and comics are often released around the annual convention.
In 2021, conventions were canceled for a second year due to the Covid pandemic, but fans and companies are celebrating in other ways.
For example, Amazon Prime Video allows Twitter users to have their profile picture turned into an anime avatar for the day.
Fans have also taken to social media to share pictures of their favourite shows and characters.
Who are the most popular anime shows and characters?
Shows such as Pokemon and Dragonball Z gained popularity throughout the early 90s, and many of the characters are strongly associated with anime in Europe and across western countries.
However, for anime followers, there are many new Japanese anime shows and characters who are fan favorites.
Jujutsu Kaisen is a relatively new series, but the main character Satoru Gojou was one of the most popular anime characters of 2020.
The story follows high school student Yuji Itadori as he joins a secret organization of Jujutsu Sorcerers to kill a powerful Curse named Ryomen Sukuna, of whom Yuji becomes the host.
The show’s rankings grew hugely in 2020 and are expected to become an all-time favourite.
Hit anime series Re: Zero also has several well-received anime characters – such as Subaru Natsuki, Rem, and Amelia.
The series tells the story of Subaru, a normal young man that lives his normal life in modern Japan. However, one day, he is summoned to another world.
Without knowing the person that summoned him, or the reason for being called to the new world, he soon befriends a silver-haired-half-elf girl, Emilia.
Shoyo Hinata is arguably the main character of Haikyuu!!, and fans love watching his triumphs and failures as he attempts to succeed in a pro volleyball career.
The most popular pokemon for more mainstream anime fans include Pikachu, Charizard, Onix, and Mewtwo.