The history of animation is one that bleeds back into the early 1800’s. Animated feature films and television have come a long way since the roots of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney’s creations. From black and white, to stop motion, CG and manga, animation continues to shape shift with every step.
The latest movement of animation, in fact, is something of a throwback that blurs the line between imagination and reality. Psychedelic style meets the real world in modern animation, and we can’t tell if we’re lucid dreaming. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, for example, introduces authentic comic animation alongside 80’s arcade and Japanese anime concepts. And it’s not the only one boasting such visually eclectic style.
Netflix’s latest original, Love, Death & Robots is a anthology of beautiful shorts giving talented animators a platform to exhibit their work. Alongside Spider-Verse, it rebirths a colourful, experimental animation style likened to the works of Hayao Miyazaki and other iconic anime creators.
There’s no doubt that the world of Japanese manga and anime has inspired Western film. Even despite several Western directors crash-landing anime remakes into the ground *cough* Ghost In The Shell *cough*. Don’t even get us started on the misrepresentation of Asian characters.
It seems a lot of what was conventionally seen as uncool, niche and nerdy has shifted into the mainstream thanks to a handful of inspired animators and directors. Comic book characters are finding their place more often among award-winners and ratings record-holders. We highly doubt that Spirited Away will be the only Oscar-winning anime film, especially when films such as Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name), the highest grossing anime film of all time, are being created. (And hey, it’s on Netflix right now. Go and watch it, it will make your heart swell.)
The introduction of shows such as Love, Death and Robots backs our prediction of anime-inspired animation rapidly growing in mainstream entertainment. Joining hands with other animation techniques such as CGI and stop-motion, the world of anime-inspired animation can only go upwards.
Image Credit: Marvel, Toho.