We’ve watched tons of anime, yet its history is a myth to us. Have you ever wondered about the origin of the anime world? Or what was the first anime ever created? How did the anime style evolve through the years?
Today, we will send you a free ticket to travel back to the history of anime. Let’s figure out how the anime world has changed over the years.
- What Was The First Anime Ever Created?
- Why Was Anime Created?
- What Was The Other “First” Anime Ever Made?
- 1. Les Exploits de Feu Follet – The first foreign anime shown in Japan
- 2. Namakura Gatana (Blunt Sword) – The first anime produced in Japan
- 3. Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka – The first talkie anime
- 4. The Dance of the Chagamas – The first full cel-animated short
- 5. The Tale of the White Serpent – The first color anime
- 6. Astro boy – First anime shown to Western & American audiences
- 7. Sennin Buraku – First “late night” anime
- Closing Up
What Was The First Anime Ever Created?
Before digging into details, let’s find out the first anime in the history of Japanese anime. In the first years of the 20th century, there existed the production of Japanese cartoons. Then, producers started to work on better-quality animation from neighboring countries.
The first anime ever made in Japan is Katsudō Shashin (Activity Photo). This is the oldest anime ever made. People don’t know who is the creator or when it was created. There is much evidence stating that this anime was made before 1912 or 1917.
Due to the difference in technology, the old anime has a short runtime. One series lasts for 5 minutes. There is no transparent cels or color that supports the transition.
They apply the technique of drawing lines between camera takes for connection. However, there is a similarity in the plot development. They also focus on real-life matters to tell stories or to make viewers relatable to the characters.
After 1930, Japan finally reclaimed its authority, the anime industry went through a great revolution. Thanks to the development of technology, it’s easier for creators to adapt new techniques to their work. Then, it ends up playing an important part in entertainment nowadays.
Why Was Anime Created?
People first came up with the term “manga movie” to describe manga pictures that could move. Seemingly, it didn’t show the meaning that met the expectation. Until 1970, the Japanese were then recognized.
Why do they call it “anime”?
Because this word is used in the very first film “Astro boy”. If you google this boy, you’ll see this character having big sparkling eyes. That’s why most of the protagonists are designated with similar features.
Why is anime popularity blooming?
Firstly, it covers a wide range of genres ranging from sweet romance comedy to mysterious horror adventure. Viewers can explore their favorite stories just by clicking on the title.
Another outstanding reason is visuals. You’ll be speechless when there are epic scenes and beautiful characters.
Anime producers work hard on the details to give viewers the best experience. You’ll see how much effort is put in just by looking at the expressions change. Anime’s target is not just young viewers. Anime also connects to complicated matter that attracts adults.
What Was The Other “First” Anime Ever Made?
Let’s go into detail to see how anime has grown and adapted to become so much popular today.
1. Les Exploits de Feu Follet – The first foreign anime shown in Japan
- Year: 1912
The official release of the first Japanese animation is Les Exploits de Feu Follet by Émile Cohl. The plot is quite simple.
It depicts a stick man setting off on an adventure. He uses the balloon for traveling. He experiences many funny situations. A giant fish tries to swallow him. An angry magic pig puts his life at risk.
This oldest anime lasts for four minutes. Also, the storyline doesn’t have many highlights. As a result, viewers can find it boring.
2. Namakura Gatana (Blunt Sword) – The first anime produced in Japan
- Year: 1917
This anime centers on a samurai. Despite being a samurai, his weapon is useless so he can’t win even his weakest opponents. Then, he comes up with an insane idea. He tries to attack random people he sees. But this poor man never expects to be defeated again.
This first anime produced lasts only for 4 minutes. The drawings are simple. The cutscene and transition don’t have much technique. Still, it contains a combination of comedy and action that is worth your time.
3. Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka – The first talkie anime
- Year: 1933
This is the first anime in which the characters have communicated with each other. A father of four children gets married to a woman who has an incredibly large physique.
The man grows attached to a colleague in his company. And this dumb man accidentally blurts out the truth while sleeping. His wife gets mad about it. She plans to confront this evil couple right at their office.
The content of the anime is quite similar to real-life matters. You’ll find it interesting enough to watch.
4. The Dance of the Chagamas – The first full cel-animated short
- Year: 1934
This series is actually about an adventure of a tanukis group. They sneak into a temple for a curious investigation. Instead of covering everything up secretly, they show off clumsy actions and mess up.
The storyline is quite nice. Even though this is a 6-minute short film, the creator is able to produce smooth animation and highlight the technique of using celluloid.
5. The Tale of the White Serpent – The first color anime
- Year: 1958
Xu-Xian’s family doesn’t allow him to have a pet snake. He also doesn’t know that this snake is a goddess named Bai-Niang. She already falls in love with him at the first sight.
As time passes by, they become adults. Bai-Niang is now ready to find a way back to her love. Unfortunately, a wizard sees her as a vampire and prevents Xu-Xian from saving her. He lets his pets Panda and Mimi take over the responsibility.
This anime is based on the Chinese folktale “Legend of the White Snake”. Creators start to add color to their work at this time. It’s listed as one of the first three anime that are presented in America.
The plot is classic. It’s a love story between a human and a spirit. The love is beautifully romanticized.
6. Astro boy – First anime shown to Western & American audiences
- Year: 1963
A professor named Tenma is too desperate to accept the cruel truth: his son Tobio passes away in an accident. He decides to give up everything just to create Atom – a robot that acts to be his fake son.
However, Tenma is not satisfied. He wants Atom to grow up like a normal kid but Atom is just a robot. Then, this man throws Atom away by selling him to an evil ringmaster named Ham Egg.
Atom doesn’t want to be treated like that so he chooses to run away. Luckily, he runs into a kind man named Ochanomizu. Atom is deserved to live in happiness.
Astro boy is actually a series that aims to air for 30 minutes. The rating of the first debut is quite good and the number keeps increasing after that.
7. Sennin Buraku – First “late night” anime
- Year: 1963
Here is another anime that is based on a Chinese folk story. It depicts a village life of a town named Taoyuan. There live two men named Lao Shi and Zhi Huang.
Lao Shi is an elder who focuses on alchemy. Meanwhile, his pupil follows the call of nature. He’s interested in the pleasure. This young man ends up falling in love with 3 pretty sisters who live near his house.
The artwork looks old-school but refreshing at the same time. Despite having some erotic scenes, the series is very funny. The cutscene and transitions are smooth. They make a great combination of gags and nudity that absolutely makes you relaxed while watching it.
Check more: 10 World’s Longest Anime Name
So, the first anime that was ever created is Katsudō Shashin (Activity Photo). With so many years having already passed, the anime industry has gone through a great evolution to sustain its popularity until now. And the growth of technology and the Internet allows a new anime era to bloom.
Hope you enjoy this article. If you have anything to share, please don’t hesitate!