What is Anime, and Who Invented Anime? For Kids

This week’s creative challenge is to draw an anime character. What is anime? Anime is an animation art style that comes from Japan. The word “anime” refers to all animation in Japan.

The person usually credited for the anime we know today is Osamu Tezuka. He began drawing anime in the 1960s. Tezuka lived from 1928 to 1989.

Other cartoons that were popular in the 1960s were: Pink Panther, Scooby Doo: Where Are You?, The Batman/Superman Hour, and Spider-Man.

Anime characters have large eyes, bright colors, and dramatic facial expressions.

Tezaku had three brothers and grew up to be a licensed physician. However, he followed his passion for drawing cartoons and his work can be viewed on his YouTube channel: Tezuka Productions.

A manga museum was created in honor of Osamu Tezuka, located in Takarazuka, Japan.

Takarazuka, Japan
Dimly lit anime and manga museum in Japan dedicated to Osamu Tezuka, the credited inventor of anime art style
Manga musem in Takarazuka, Japan

Like many other artists, Tezaku created both anime and manga. Manga refers to graphic novels or comics with the Japanese art style. 

Most animes are created from pre-existing stories, while manga can be more original and is often self-published. 

Manga is often published in black and white to save on ink costs. Typically, it costs more to make an anime than manga.

Studio Ghibli is a very popular Japanese animation studio that began in 1985. Studio Ghibli has produced popular films such as: My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

 The “oldest” manga is hard to say, since manga is a cartoon story, and humans have been drawing cartoons since cavemen times. However, the oldest manga scroll in Japan is called ​​”Scroll of Frolicking Animals.” 

The scroll depicts animals playing and participating in a festival.

Emaki, short for emakimono, is the Japanese word for Japanese illustration scrolls. Emaki is a precursor to manga and anime.

 In the last ten years, anime continues to grow in popularity. Netflix stated in 2020 that half of households had watched at least one anime title on the streaming platform.

 Anime used to be less popular and even considered taboo, while today it is a mainstream form of entertainment and a buzzing industry. 

 Anime can be about all sorts of themes and for all ages. Some animes are made just for adults, while others are family friendly. Reading reviews online can help parents decide which animes are good for kids. 

 If you are interested in drawing anime, there are many tutorials on the internet. Remember that art is a skill, not a talent.