Anime began at the start of the 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques also pioneered in France, Germany, the United States, and Russia. The oldest known anime in existence first screened in 1917 – a two-minute clip of a samurai trying to test a new sword on his target, only to suffer defeat. Early pioneers included Shimokawa Oten, Jun’ichi Kouchi, and Seitarō Kitayama.
By the 1930s animation became an alternative format of storytelling to the live-action industry in Japan. But it suffered competition from foreign producers and many animators, such as Noburō Ōfuji and Yasuji Murata still worked in cheaper cutout not cel animation, although with masterful results. Other creators, such as Kenzō Masaoka and Mitsuyo Seo, nonetheless made great strides in animation technique, especially with increasing help from a government using animation in education and propaganda. The first talkie anime was Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka, produced by Masaoka in 1933. The first feature length animated film was Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors directed by Seo in 1945 with sponsorship by the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The success of The Walt Disney Company’s 1937 feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs influenced Japanese animators. In the 1960s, manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka adapted and simplified many Disney animation-techniques to reduce costs and to limit the number of frames in productions. He intended this as a temporary measure to allow him to produce material on a tight schedule with inexperienced animation-staff.
The 1970s saw a surge of growth in the popularity of manga – many of them later animated. The work of Osamu Tezuka drew particular attention: he has been called a “legend” and the “god of manga”. His work – and that of other pioneers in the field – inspired characteristics and genres that remain fundamental elements of anime today. The giant robot genre (known as “Mecha” outside Japan), for instance, took shape under Tezuka, developed into the Super Robot genre under Go Nagai and others, and was revolutionized at the end of the decade by Yoshiyuki Tomino who developed the Real Robot genre. Robot anime like the Gundam and The Super Dimension Fortress Macross series became instant classics in the 1980s, and the robot genre of anime is still one of the most common in Japan and worldwide today. In the 1980s, anime became more accepted in the mainstream in Japan (although less than manga), and experienced a boom in production. Following a few successful adaptations of anime in overseas markets in the 1980s, anime gained increased acceptance in those markets in the 1990s and even more at the turn of the 21st century.
ProportionsBody proportions emulated in anime come from proportions of the human body. The height of the head is considered by the artist as the base unit of proportion. Head heights can vary as long as the remainder of the body remains proportional. Most anime characters are about seven to eight heads tall, and extreme heights are set around nine heads tall.
Variations to proportion can be modified by the artist. Super-deformed characters feature a non-proportionally small body compared to the head. Sometimes specific body parts, like legs, are shortened or elongated for added emphasis. Most super deformed characters are two to four heads tall. Some anime works like Crayon Shin-chan completely disregard these proportions, such that they resemble Western cartoons. For exaggeration, certain body features are increased in proportion.
Many anime and manga characters feature large eyes. Osamu Tezuka, who is believed to have been the first to use this technique, was inspired by the exaggerated features of American cartoon characters such as Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse, and Disney’s Bambi. Tezuka found that large eyes style allowed his characters to show emotions distinctly. When Tezuka began drawing Ribbon no Kishi, the first manga specifically targeted at young girls, Tezuka further exaggerated the size of the characters’ eyes. Indeed, through Ribbon no Kishi, Tezuka set a stylistic template that later shōjo artists tended to follow.
Coloring is added to give eyes, particularly to the cornea, some depth. The depth is accomplished by applying variable color shading. Generally, a mixture of a light shade, the tone color, and a dark shade is used. Cultural anthropologist Matt Thorn argues that Japanese animators and audiences do not perceive such stylized eyes as inherently more or less foreign.
However, not all anime have large eyes. For example, some of the work of Hayao Miyazaki and Toshiro Kawamoto are known for having realistically proportioned eyes, as well as realistic hair colors on their characters.
Facial expressionsSee also: Manga iconography
Anime characters may employ a variety of predetermined facial expressions to denote moods and thoughts. These techniques are often different in form than their counterparts in western animation, and they include a fixed iconography that’s used as shorthand for certain emotions and moods.
There are a number of other stylistic elements that are common to conventional anime as well but more often used in comedies. Characters that are shocked or surprised will perform a “fce fault”, in which they display an extremely exaggerated expression. Angry characters may exhibit a “vein” or “stress mark” effect, where lines representing bulging veins will appear on their forehead. Angry women will sometimes summon a mallet from nowhere and strike another character with it, mainly for the sake of slapstick comedy. Male characters will develop a bloody nose around their female love interests (typically to indicate arousal, which is a play on an old wives’ tale). Embarrassed or stressed characters either produce a massive sweat-drop (which has become one of the most widely recognized motifs of conventional anime) or produce a visibly red blush or set of parallel (sometimes squiggly) lines beneath the eyes, especially as a manifestation of repressed romantic feelings. Characters who want to childishly taunt someone may pull an akanbe face (by pulling an eyelid down with a finger to expose the red underside). Characters may also have large “X” eyes to show a knockout, or in some cases, even illness. This is typically used for comedic purposes. Vacant, non-reflecting eyes can be used to indicate a state of semi-consciousness. Article by Wikipedia
Here is a collection of Anime and Cosplay costume videos from Anime and Cosplay conventions throughout the USA:
The first is Fanime 2010:
The 2nd is Otakon 2010:
3rd video is Ohayocon 2011:
4th video is Anime LA 2011:
Heres a link to Anime Groups and discussion
More Anime groups