The Evolution of Anime: A Look at Its Roots and Influence in Pop Culture

Anime has a long and interesting history that dates back to the early 20th century. Originally a technical evolution of traditional Japanese manga, anime has gone through many changes and evolved into an industry that continues to captivate audiences around the world.

The Evolution of Anime
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

A Brief History of Anime and Its Origins

The history of anime is one that stretches all the way back to the late 19th century, and it’s a form of art deeply rooted in Japanese culture.

Anime has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1917 when Jun’ichi Kouchi created the first series, Katsudou Shashin. While the style of animation had been a part of Japanese culture for many centuries, it wasn’t until Japan’s government began promoting cartoons as a way to boost morale during World War II that the industry became popular in the West.

The early years of anime saw a variety of production techniques, including chalkboard drawings, painting directly on the film, and paper cut-outs. However, the use of cels – characters and moving elements painted on transparent sheets of celluloid layered over each other and a background – changed everything for animators.

Not only did this technique allow for more complex, lifelike visuals, but it also allowed the animators to get a lot more creative with their funding. This led to many animated propaganda films used by the military, as well as commercial and educational movies for children and adults.

Popular Genres and Characters

Anime is an intricate art form that is capable of delivering complex stories, dynamic plots, captivating themes, and unique characters. 


The most popular anime characters definitely are Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece) and Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto). 


Luffy is a young, ambitious pirate whose dream is to become the King of the Pirates. He leads the Straw Hat Pirates and his crew is composed of a diverse group of characters, each with their own dreams and ambitions. 


Naruto is a young ninja who aspires to be the greatest ninja in the world, and his determination and friendship help him overcome obstacles. He also has a great team of friends to support him. 

Both of these characters have become icons in the anime world and have inspired countless fans to take up their journeys. They both represent courage, determination, and friendship, making them perfect role models for any fan of anime. If you consider yourself a true fan, take a quiz and test your knowledge.


There are a variety of different genres that anime can fall into, from action to romance and even historical fiction. While it may seem daunting to try and figure out which genre you like, this article will walk you through the most popular and important anime genres so that you can start to identify the type of anime you’re looking for.


Action is a common genre in anime that features fast-paced fight scenes and adrenaline-fueled adventure. It’s a great option for anyone who enjoys watching tense and thrilling moments with characters that are full of character and passion. Shows like Attack on Titan and Jujutsu Kaisen are examples of this genre.


Another very common genre. Unlike action and comedy, drama tends to be more heartfelt, with stories that are focused on developing relationships. It’s also a great choice for people who want to learn more about their characters and see how they change over time.


It often involves the characters falling in love and forming friendships. It’s a great way to get into the world of anime, especially for those who are not fluent in Japanese.


Historical anime is a unique genre that takes from historical fiction and explores the lives of historical figures. Many of these shows are based on classic novels, and they often bring nostalgia to fans of the genre.

How Anime Has Impacted Pop Culture Around the World

Anime is a style of Japanese animation that has grown to be incredibly popular around the world, particularly in Western countries. Unlike traditional cartoons, anime tends to be highly detailed and is often more complex in its storytelling than Western movies or shows.

The popularity of anime has influenced many areas of pop culture around the world, from music to food. It has also shaped the way people dress and even their taste in art.

In the United States, for example, anime has gained significant popularity among young adults. Millennials and Gen Z have been a driving force in the growth of anime fandom, according to data from Morning Consult.

Anime has created communities of fans across the country. Those communities are evident at comic conventions and other events. For instance, New York Comic Con recently attracted 200,000 fans who weren’t just there for the latest superhero news, but also to bathe in sold-out panels and exhibits based on their favourite anime series.

The emergence of anime has also helped create new audiences for manga, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels that often shares a visual style with anime. Several of the most popular Japanese anime titles, including Sailor Moon and Fushigi Yuugi, feature manga-style art.

Popular Examples and Pioneers of Anime

Anime is an exciting genre that has been gaining popularity around the world over the last few decades. While many people outside of Japan don’t understand it, the art form is actually quite popular and is a huge part of modern culture.

Despite the difficulties anime faced at first, such as destroyed studios and low funding, it continues to evolve today. This is especially true when it comes to technology and production techniques.

The early days of anime featured a number of methods, such as chalkboard drawings and paper cutouts, but the use of cels (characters and moving elements painted on transparent sheets of celluloid layered over each other) was a huge improvement. It also made it possible to create more detailed animation and make better use of the space available on the screen.

These innovations helped to push the boundaries of the animation industry and open up new opportunities for animators. They were able to produce more innovative and exciting work than before, thanks in part to the increased amount of funding they received from the government.

This expanded the talent pool for anime, and allowed for a period of intense experimentation that saw many of the common tropes we see in today’s anime come into play. The popularity of television grew in the 1970s, and animators who had worked exclusively in film began to migrate back to TV, expanding the talent pool even further.

During this period, several animated series were released that were very popular in Japan. These include Uchu Senkan Yamato, a sci-fi series that was popular with both kids and adults. Another popular anime that was released during this time was Neon Genesis Evangelion, a show that had a very adult theme and used existing anime tropes in a very creative way. This made it very popular and led to many other shows that used these types of themes.

The Future of Anime in Pop Culture and Beyond

Anime has also had a significant impact on the world of fashion and lifestyle. Many anime fans outside Japan have adopted Japanese attires and joined anime clubs as a way to connect with other people who share their passion for anime.

Over the years, anime has evolved from Speed Racer cartoons in the 1960s to Pokemon in the 1990s and an Academy Award-winning film, Spirited Away in 2003 (Knowledge@Wharton, 2006). These developments are a sign of a growing interest in anime among viewers globally.

In the United States, there has been a massive rise in the number of anime programs that are being aired on television. These programs have grown from thirteen in the early 1990s to 37 earlier this year. This growth is due in part to merchandising, which has helped anime gain mainstream acceptance in the American market. The trend is expected to continue.

Concerns were raised in public about the possibility that kids could get exposed to very inappropriate content as a result of their love for anime. This can include things such as violence, crude language, drug use and sexual content.

Final Words

Anime has a long and rich history which has shaped the course of pop culture and entertainment. From its earliest roots in Japan to its modern-day adaptations around the world, anime has become a beloved form of entertainment with a strong global presence. 

Anime’s influence can be seen in many other forms of media, from video games to movies, and continues to grow as it evolves over time. By understanding its history and development, we can better appreciate why anime is such an important part of our culture today.