East meeting West: Anime, Manga and American Animation

America’s fascination with all things Japanese long predates Keanu Reeves’s backflips or the recent adaptations of Ringu. The popularity of Japanese pop culture is a huge subject and even tackling Japanese manga and anime is daunting. Experts in the fields of manga and anime will have to excuse the necessary compression needed to introduce some of the history of these – by now – inescapable art forms.

To begin, manga are comics and anime stands for animated film in Japan. Due to its popularity, Disney animation left a big mark on anime on pre-war Japan that anime and manga absorbed. Those incredibly big eyes that Japanese cartoons sport are simply Bambie’s grandchildren in disguise. But there the parallels soon end. Whereas American animators seem to be positively ashamed of the two-dimensional space they are confined to and have been searching ever more novel ways of using 3D, Japanese manga
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