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How Anime Took the Western World by Storm Posted Jul 13, 2020

Anime originates from Japan and can be traced as far back as the early 1900’s. There have been a few films found dating as early as 1907, however these claims have not yet been verified, so there is some dispute over whether or not these would be counted. The first confirmed animated film was called Les Exploits de Feu Follet, shown in Japan in 1912. Anime continued being made by cutout animation right up until 1930. An alternative way for the animation to be made was cel animation, but celoid was expensive. Eventually, the switch was made and the first cel animation film was The Dance of the Chagamas, released in 1934. Hakujaden (The Tale of the White Serpent) was the first feature length, full colour anime film, released in 1958 in Japan, and later released in the US in 1961. In fact, this very film was chosen to be restored and shown at the Cannes Film Festival, April 2019. It is a beautiful tale, taken from a Song Dynasty Chinese folktale "Legend of the White Snake".

Considering how early on anime started, it has taken the world by storm. Today in 2020 anime is one of the largest Japanese exports. Even today, new shows and episodes are being created. There are also various video games based on Japanese anime including Final Fantasy and Streets of Rage as well as anime related slots which you can find at online casinos such as https://www.playfrank.com/en-gb. After starting to watch anime in 2001, and still loving the same shows watched then, it is enjoyable to discuss the same shows with younger people who have also found the joys of anime.

When the likes of Pokémon (aired 1991) first came to the UK and graced my screen, I was hooked and went on a mission to find more of shows that were similar. This led to a long-standing love of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super. As someone who has watched anime from the age of eleven, it can be safely stated that anime will always be an integral part of growing up.

In Sailor Moon we cheered on as clumsy but sweet Serena bumbled through life, doing her best to become the warrior her teammates needed. And by the end of the first season, we watched as we learned that Sailor Moon was actually the Moon Princess, and “stood” with her as she faced down the evil Queen Beryl.

It is as children that we love Goku from Dragon Ball Z as the sweet oaf, the man who never gives up and always comes back fighting. We saw him go from learning he’s a Saiyan, to a Super Saiyan, to an Ascended Saiyan and so on. We wept when Gohan, his first born son, fought his hardest to defeat Cell only to lose his father. Though, as we aged, we realised that Goku was actually a bit of a bad character, after all, he abandons his family on more than one occasion. As an adult, it is Vegeta that is adored most, and makes the most sense.

We helped Tai and Agumon go through the Digiworld, learning how to fight and evolve. We watched as Agumon Digivolved into Greymon, and many other Digivolutions. The opening theme song is still stuck in my head today and it’s been nearly twenty years since I first watched it!

Learning the rules of Duel Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh, and helping Yugi, Téa, Tristan and Joey help the Pharaoh find his way home. While they battled, we too got out of Duel Monster decks and played. New decks are still being produced today, and the latest arc for Yu-Gi-Oh is called Vrains, which introduced Link Summoning.

But the greatest loved show of all time when it came to the Western World was Pokémon. We embarked on an adventure with Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town, and his ill-tempered Pikachu, to become the greatest Pokémon Master of all time. Pokémon first came to the UK in 1999 and has been loved ever since.

There are now 8 generations of Pokémon games, and the anime is still being produced today, and still with Pikachu as Ash’s sidekick, though much better tempered! There are those of us today who can still name all 151 original Pokémon, remember the Pokérap, and some who can even name the current Pokémon list, comprising of 890 Pokémon!

It was Pokémon that introduced me to anime and I’ve followed it ever since. The games are still played, even the original Gameboy Colour Pokémon Yellow, I’ve been to the Pokémon Symphonic Evolution, and can still sing the full length theme song.

Some of the current most popular anime’s today are Naruto, One Piece, Sword Art Online and The Misfit of Demon King Academy. So, it’s probably fair to say that since anime has been going from the 1900’s, it’s going to be around for a very long time. What’s your favourite anime?

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