57 years is a long flipping time.
99% of us modern-day anime fans weren’t even alive in the early days of animes growth. But we have a lot of history behind us to thank for series like Dragon Ball Z, Code Geass, Sword Art Online and dozens of other successful shows.
The industry has come a long way from not being known to being world-famous. And known even by celebrities and all kinds of people around the world.
This is in spite of anime as an industry still being denied coverage on national TV internationally, and even looked down upon as if it’s something only losers know about.
So what’s changed in the past 57 years of anime?
After doing some digging, I noticed the biggest, most obvious changes come from the visuals of anime. As opposed to the stories, depth and genre’s we see in your everyday show.
So that’s what I’m going to focus on first. A visual representation (and timeline) of how anime has evolved over the years.
And a brief mention of what’s different today compared to how anime was in the beginning.
How Anime Has Evolved Visually Since 1961 to 2018:
Instant History (1961)
Astro Boy (1963)
Shōnen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru (1964)
Space Boy Soran (1965)
Kimba The White Lion (1966)
Princess Knight (1967)
Ashita No Joe (1970)
Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974)
The Rose of Versailles (1979)
Arcadia of My Youth: Endless Orbit SSX (1982)
Musashi no Ken (1985)
Sakigake!! Otokojuku (1988)
The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird (1991)
Magic Knight Rayearth (1994)
Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)
Full Metal Panic! (2002)
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna (2012)
Food Wars (2015)
Attack On Titan S2 (2017)
Violet Evergarden (2018)
If you haven’t watched Violet Evergarden, the animation is on another level. “Beautiful” is an understatement.
Before you say to yourself: “wtf, X Y & Z is missing from this list” there’s a reason for that, stupid.
We’d be here all day if we mentioned every anime in existence since 1961 (neither of us have the time for that).
That aside, if you look closely you’ll notice:
- The colors have gotten warmer and brighter.
- The character designs have become more realistic.
- The animation is richer.
- The art style is more pleasing.
- And depending on the anime, visuals have become more kawaii (like the new High School DxD)
With the exception of horror shows (which have dark visuals to give it atmosphere) it feels more realistic and more beautiful than it ever did.
And even more creative in some aspects.
Other Changes Anime Has Gone Through Since 1961:
1. Fan Service!
Does it get more blatant than a girl touching another girls booty while she’s bent over?
If you compare old anime to new anime, fan service has gotten so bad that it feels like a strip tease. Except it’s boring because we’ve seen the same strip tease 1000’s of times.
But it does feel like fan-service has taken a “little” step back recently (keyword: a “little”).
2. Lazier Animation (Sometimes)
Dragon Ball Super proves this point (as do many anime. But let’s pick on DB Super for a second).
Nowa’days technology is at the forefront of everything we do. Because of this, it’s easy to animate, draw, design, write, and basically do everything with less effort.
This has made animators lazier (or at least it encourages animators to be lazy).
Old animes never had the privileged of looking sexy. So animators had to work much harder and work with what they were given.
This created some of the best anime we know of today. Like DBZ, Naruto, Yugioh, Pokemon and so on.
But in 2018? There’s more room for laziness because animation techniques and tech have evolved.
Few shows these days are truly outstanding in terms of animation. Where as the 80’s and especially 90’s had high quality animation no matter where you looked in general.
Related: Dragon Ball Merchandise
3. Anime These Days Are Only 12-24 Episodes Long
Way back in the 90’s (the era I know most) anime were as long as 100-300+ episodes.
The “short” anime were around 40-50+.
But in 2018? It’s not surprising to see an anime as long as 12 episodes MAX. You’re lucky if an anime is even 24 episodes or more.
There’s a reason for that:
We have LESS time
Everything is fighting for our attention these days.
The internet, apps, online ads, offline ads, phone calls, text, social media… The list is dangerously long. So it’s easier to consume 12 episodes of content than it is to watch 300-500+ episodes.
This is the reason I haven’t made time to watch Naruto or One Piece. They’re too flipping long.
It feels like anime companies are more conscious about spending than they ever were. And it’s unsurprising when you realize how much content is released every year.
There’s so much anime content being pushed out these days, that it’s no wonder few shows exceed 12 episodes. A creator only has so much creativity to put into dozens of shows.
If a studio releases 5 or 10 shows in 1 year, each 1 will suffer in terms of length and even depth.
So there you have it.
That’s my reasoning (based on facts and the industry in general) for why anime has changed radically. Since 1961 to 2018.
What are your thoughts? Are there any other changes worth mentioning?