Diane M. Sattler, Ph.D.
17 Jun 2015

The eyes are called the "windows to the soul." When we see eyes that are wide-open, it conveys to us a certain sense of innocence and even vulnerability. One way that parents bond with their newborns is through their eyes, which is the dominant feature of their tiny faces. Our pets also communicate with us through their large eyes, begging us to pet them or to take them with us when we leave. Even Bessie's beautiful, big bovine eyes can get to us. It's not much of a stretch to figure out why one style of Anime features large, emotive eyes for their characters. We're suckers for ‘em. That's not the only reason that anime captivates unsuspecting browsers and turns us into die-hard fans.

Up and Coming Anime

Anime is hand-drawn or computer generated animation productions where bright colors shimmer and radiate. Varying camera angles of the action keep our attention glued to the screen. The story of how Anime was born and raised and grew up internationally is an interesting one, so here are some of the highlights:

  • The first commercial use was in the early 1900s.
  • The first talkie was produced in 1933.
  • "Mole's Adventure" was the first televised color anime.
  • Anime became more popular in the 1960s.
  • In the late 1900s, anime spread internationally, especially after English was dubbed or "revoicing" was done.
  • Anime can be found on DVDs, in theaters, and on the Internet. Incidentally, in Japan more anime DVDs are sold than any other type.
  • Distinguishing Style

    There are some imitators of the anime style, such as international productions that are considered to be inspired by anime, but they often fail to convey emotions or thoughts in the sophisticated ways that anime does. How does anime shine above the others? It's the totality of the production, which, when considered as a whole, that equals more than sum of the parts, but there are some aspects of anime that can set it apart, such as:

  • Realistic settings
  • Characters can have oversized eyes that clearly display emotions.
  • Cameras are used for dramatic effects through changing angles, zooming and panning.
  • Genre: Categories of Anime

    Anime includes many categories, or genre, but almost all anime productions overlap categories. The following suggests one popular example for each category of genres and where available with links to animes in that genre. The list is by no means exhaustive, and the links represent only one of many sites that you may wish to explore.

  • Action - "Bleach" is a combination of action, adventure, and comedy genres. The story features Kurosaki Ichigo, who can see spirits and protect humans.
    Link: [Action Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/action)
  • Adventure - "Naruto Shipudden" is a sequel to the popular "Naruto." "Avatar The Last Air Bender" finds the main character, Aang, frozen and in suspended animation for 100 years. He awakens to the world at war and sets about trying to defeat the evil force, the Fire Lord.
    Link: [Adventure Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/adventure)
  • Comedy - "One Piece's" main character, Monkey D. Luffy, can stretch his body like rubber, which comes in handy fighting villains and for achieving comedic effects. It might also come in really handy doing things around the house like cleaning chimneys and gutters, but that's way too prosaic for this guy.
    Link: [Comedy Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/comedy)
  • Drama - "Angel Beats!" Also involves action, comedy, fantasy and sci-fi. The setting's in a world after death where angels battle to determine their futures. Maybe that's not so different from your workplace, except for the angels, of course. Those may be few and far between there.
    Link: [Drama Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/drama)
  • Ecchi - These are works with sexual overtones, including partial or full nudity and playful sexuality, perhaps just a bit naughty. They have "fan service," which is defined as gratuitous titillations. Hey, get back here! You can explore those sites later. "High School DxD" features Issei Hyodo, an unlucky guy who's killed by a girl on his first date and comes back as a devil, presumably as mad as hell. DxD is an anime for Shounen, a category that includes boys from elementary school through the end of high school.
    Link: [Ecchi Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/ecchi)
  • Fantasy - "Mushi-Shi" mixes mystery, drama, sci-fi, psychological with the supernatural to come with with "mushi," which is neither plant nor animal. The main character, Ginko, seems like a type of mushi-buster.
    Link: [Fantasy Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/fantasy)
  • Horror - "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" follows the residents and visitors of the town of Hinamizawa, some of whom disappear and are murdered by a curse.
    Link: [Horror Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/horror)
  • Magic - One type of magic anime shows girls as heroines who use magic to fight evil."Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha" stars Nanoha, a girl who rescues a ferret. Bad move. The ferret is actually a shape-shifter in this popular anime.
    Link: [Magic Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/magic)
  • Mecha - is a robot anime, which features robots engaged in battle. Subcategories include Super Robot and Real Robot. Androids are usually categorized as sci-fi.
    Link: [Mecha Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/mecha)
  • Mystery, Crime, Psychological, Supernatural and Thriller - "Death Note" is titled that because it is a mysterious notebook that is discovered by a high school student, Yagami Light. It allows him to kill anyone who's listed in the notebook, and he kills criminals. It is a mixture of drama, thriller, mystery and crime genres.
    Link: [Mystery Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/mystery)
  • Parody - Naturally something as bold and popular as anime would eventually be a target for satire, and indeed, the parody genre is just that, full of animes that poke fun of anime.
    Link: [Parody Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/parody)
  • Sci-fi - "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is a combination of action, drama and sci-fi. Angels attack the Earth in 2015 and can be stopped only by Shinji Ikari, who flies an organic mecha.
    Link: [Sci-fi Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/sci-fi)
  • Slice of Life, school, and soujo - These genres depict typical teen melodrama that can contribute to adolescent angst. Soujo refers to young females. The anime "Hyakko" features freshman girl Ayumi, who is a bit lost in the large high school. She's a quiet, shy girl who wants to change her image. She finds three cohorts who have similar missions, and their activities provide many funny scenes.
    Link: [Slice of Life Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/slice-of-life)
  • Space - "Blue Gender" focuses on Yuji, who was cryogenically frozen because he had a serious illness. Twenty years later, when he emerged, he finds that Earth is very different. It's been taken over by alien bugs, so he joins other Earthling refugees aboard the space station, Second Earth, where the mystery and drama continue.
    Link: [Space Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/outer-space)
  • Sports - This genre focuses on athletes, whether they are participating in team or individual sports. "Kuroko's Basketball" follows the athletic competitions, struggles, and triumphs and defeats of the teams.
    Link: [Sports Anime](http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/sports)
  • In this blog, we've just scratched the surface of the fascinating and complex topic of anime. Something else I'd like to talk with you about is, "Peering into the Future with Anime." So, stay tuned for the next blog, which will explore how certain anime productions look at the future, their commonalities and differences and their fatalism vs. hope for the future. Hope that you visit again soon.

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    Next: Peering Into the Future with Anime
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