Call it Shojo, Shonen, Seinen, Josei, Kodomo, or Sentai – the fact remains that all these words bring us to anime, or as the dictionary defines it, from a sci-fi background, anime has now gained such popularity that it’s applied to every genre and every theme there is.
History is Good!
Dragon Ball Z, Digimon, Pokemon, Mobile Suit Gundam… do these names mean anything to you? If not, go turn on Animax and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Go on now… What you just saw is called anime, whose popularity is mostly credited on the efforts of one man, Osamu Tezuka – often called a “legend” and the “God of Manga” (Jap Comics). He’s almost entirely responsible for the immense success anime’s seen since the 1970s, in-genre. It was largely due to his contributions that robot anime such as Gundam and Macross became instant classics (remember those shitty robot games you played on those ancient 8-bit gaming consoles?) and were accepted into mainstream Jap culture.
The now-forgotten name of anime was Japanimation, a term mostly used during the 70s-80s. What most people don’t know is that anime originally started off as an inspired Jap version of the Disney cartoons, but differing in the number of clichés it employed, as well as unrealistically cute beetle-eyed heroines, and a diabolical madman usually bent on conquering the world \ universe.
Over years of continuous evolution and changes in animation’s concepts and techniques, anime has undergone a tremendous change not least of which is its numerous genres and sub genres – most of them weird, true to Jap style. Common genres include action, adventure, children’s stories, comedy, drama, erotica, medieval fantasy, horror, romance, and science fiction. Many of these are further divided into the following sub genres:
- Shōjo: Animé \ manga targeted at girls (Fruits Basket, Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pichi)
- Shōnen: Animé \ manga targeted at teenage or young male adults. (Dragon Ball Z, Digimon)
- Seinen: Animé \ manga aimed at young women (Gokusen)
- Josei: Animé \ manga aimed at young children (Doraemon, Hello Kitty, Keroppi, Pokemon)
- Bishōjo: A term that can be used to describe animé featuring pretty girl characters (Magic Knight Rayearth)
- Bishōnen: Anime that features pretty and elegant boys and men (Fushigi Yūgi)
- Sentai: Refers to any show that involves a superhero team (Cyborg 009)
- Robot \ Mecha: Animé \ manga featuring robots or androids (Mobile Suit Gundam, Mazinger Z)
- Post-Apocalyptic: Animé dealing with a post-apocalyptic world (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Trigun, Akira)
- Harem: A genre where several girls are fascinated by a single boy (or sometimes, multiple boys) – (Ranma 1/2, Love Hina)
- Reverse Harem: Wherein several boys are fascinated by a single girl (or sometimes, multiple girls) – (Ouran Host Club, Fruits Basket)
- Ecchi: Contains sexual humour (Love Hina, Oruchu-ban Ebichu, He Is My Master)
- Hentai: My favourite kind of animé! While most people use the term to refer to pornographic cartoons, in Japan, the term used to refer to the same material, is typically Poruno or Ero.
- Shōjo-ai \ Yuri: Refers to animé \ manga that focuses on love and romance between female characters. It is often replaced by the term Girls’ Love (GL)
- Shōnen-ai: Animé \ manga that focuses on love and romance between male characters. The term Shōnen-ai is being phased out in Japan due to its other meaning of pederastry (sexual relations between men and younger boys), instead replaced by the term Boys’ Love (BL)
Animé lovers are often asked the same questions many times over: “Why do characters have these big cute eyes?” or “Why are they so brightly coloured?”. Apart from the obvious reason of Japs being a race of gay fucktards, this common style for a majority of artists is credited to the influence of Osama Tezuka, who found that large eyes allowed his characters to show emotions vividly. As if that wasn’t bad enough, characters that are surprised will perform a “face fault”, in which they display enormously overstated expressions. Angry characters may exhibit a “vein” effect, wherein lines representing throbbing veins will appear on their forehead. Angry women will sometimes summon a sledgehammer from nowhere and strike someone with it (usually in the head), leading to the concept of Hammerspace (extra-dimensional space that stores an infinite amount of all kinds of stuff, readily accessible by comic characters). Male characters will develop a bloody nose around their female love interests (as an indication of sexual arousal). Humiliated characters will invariably produce a massive sweat drop. Another notable feature is the over-coloured hair (usually ranging from very light blue to shocking pink or purple), which goes to show that Japs have absolutely no taste. No wonder they got nuked.