Any animation degree pursuing student can attest to the rise of Japanese animation’s influence on Western animation studios. Japanese animation, or anime, has been a part of American culture for years now. Popular shows like Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon raised an entire generation of children and started a trend that continues into today.
Because of the wild success and acceptance of anime in the United States, many Western animators have adopted the common tropes associated with the style. From the epic nature of the stories told to the deformed (e.g. “chibi”) displays of character, cartoons like Teen Titans (pictured above) and Batman Beyond showed the potential of this blend of cultures.
Anime continues to be a major realm of animation in Japan with shows being produced for decades. These shows reached American shores through the translation of material and, at times, the outright change of certain aspects deemed too controversial for Western audiences. The grand scope and scale of anime was so fresh and new for children used to the “one and done” nature of American cartoons. Anime is also usually associated with fairly adult themes, another major factor in the form’s success in the States.
As such, American studios have been adopting the style more and more and it should be something of note for students looking into careers in animation. Nickelodeon has produced and broadcasted a show that blends “Eastern” and “Western” animation in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Not only does the show feature an art style similar to most anime, but the show’s theme and storylines follow suit as well. Creators of the show have attributed the show’s inspiration to one of the biggest names in anime, Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki runs Studio Ghibli, a major anime film studio in Japan and is known for his majestic stories and stunning art design.
In fact, many major names in American animation cite Miyazaki as a major influence. Glen Keane, animator of films like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, has called Miyazaki a “huge influence” on his work. In an interview with KPBS, Pete Docter, director of Pixar films Up and Monsters Inc, says that Miyazaki’s work has “beautifully observed little moments of truth that you just recognize and respond to.”
It comes down to one simple idea in the world of anime and Western animation. Animators have the power to not only influence an audience, but other animators as well. Whether you adopt the stylings of Hayao Miyazaki or Walt Disney, you have the potential to create amazing work with an animation degree. On top of that, the rise of anime has influenced many major animation degree programs as well.
Get information on an animation degree using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your animation degree.
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