Essay on Difference in Animation in Japan and the United States

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Difference in Animation in Japan and the United States
William Bowles
Jodi Stoneman
October 25, 2010

Difference in Animation in Japan and the United States Animation varies greatly between Japanese culture and that of the United States. While animation is usually revered as entertainment for children in the United States, Japanese animation, or “anime” as it is referred to both in Japan and in the West, is a form of media that is enjoyed by people of all ages. Unlike the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Spongebob Squarepants, both popular American animations in their times, anime focuses more on drama and varying genres with some even being pornographic in nature. The differing cultures of the United States and Japan can be
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Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy, wrote that the civil rights movement taking place in the United States was a big influence on the animations focus on “robot rights”. Astro Boy, being a robot, was not considered a human or a citizen by others and as such had no rights according to the law. This issue is sure to be readdressed in the near future as we come closer and closer to creating true aritificial intelligence. Gigantor allowed children to forget about their own powerlessness and watch child heroes control giant robots and the extreme power they contained (MacWilliams 50). Another of these mature themes was the idea of robotic tools becoming intelligent and rising up against humans, as depicted in Patlabor 1 (Science Fiction Studies p. 453.) These themes are still prevalent today, with Astro Boy remaining an iconic figure in the anime industry to this day. As the years moved forward, the 1970’s saw the arrival of another staple in the anime industry: music. Prior to this, anime contained a few simple songs much like the cartoons of the United States. These songs were often placed on a medley album and sold to children and teens. However, the seventies brought about the realization that by creating a large, varied score for a single series, many orchestral albums could be sold to a certain demographic. Often times series would include so many songs that they may only be heard once during its span.
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