Pokemon Go: The Perfect Hybrid of Japanese Anime and Game (I)
Do you still remember the killer app of 2016? The AR game, Pokemon Go, blew the market away once it was released. With millions of players and billions of revenue, it can be said one of the most famous video games in the world. Its success can be attributed to its established pop culture phenomenon. Pokemon is a transmedia franchise, including video games, card games, TV series, movies, and TV shows. The original Pokemon is a video game developed for handheld gaming systems in 1996. A year later, it was adapted into TV anime. Till today, there are 90 Pokemon games and thousands of episodes of Pokemon anime. It can be said Pokemon is the perfect hybrid of the two most famous Japanese subcultures: Anime and Games. Now, this article will give a brief introduction to Japanese anime!
History of Anime
The word “anime” is an abbreviation of “animation”, which refers to all Japanese cartoons. Animation was first introduced to Japan in the early 20th century. In 1917, Japanese animation pioneers began to explore their own way by learning from the United States, Russia, Germany, and France. The first batch of professional and publicly displayed animation appeared in this period. Many early works were lost because of the destruction of Shimokawa’s warehouse in 1923. Therefore, the creation and the release date of Japan's oldest anime, Katsudo Shashin, remained unknown. made by an anonymous creator, the release date of which is also unknown. Japanese animators in this period, such as Ōten Shimokawa and Seitarō Kitayama, created many simple and short animations.
It was not until 1945 that the first full-length anime, Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei, was released in Japan, the duration of which is as long as 74 minutes. The 1960s saw the huge development and success of Japanese anime. Drawing on the experience of Disney cartoons, Osamu Tezuka improved the Japanese anime-making technique. He was regarded as a legend for his contribution to Japanese manga and anime. His Three Tales (1960) was the first anime film played on television and the influential Astro Boy earned love inside and outside of Japan.
In the 1980s, Japanese anime made a big leap, which can be credited to Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki. The classic genre, robot anime, was formed in this period by Osamu Tezuka. Gundam and Super Dimension Fortress Macross became popular worldwide. The famous Studio Ghibli was also founded in this period by Hayao Miyazaki, whose representative works include Spirited Away (the only anime to win an Oscar), Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo.
Genre of Anime
There are two ways to categorize anime. One is based on age, which you can click here to learn more. Another is according to content. The content of Japanese animes is so varied that there can be dozens of genres. From Cooking to magic, Japanese anime can satisfy almost every taste and need! Therefore, this passage will introduce some special genres only.
Sports: Normally, it’s a story about a protagonist that has big dreams. He joins a team and fights for the gold with his/her comrade. A similar genre is Game, in which the ambitious protagonist plays a specific game, such as board games, card games, and video games, and wants to win the gold.
Food/Cooking: Cooking and adventure sound impossible. The story is about a group of cook masters coming together and competing with each other. The focus of this genre is food. The recipe, history, and flavor of each dish will be depicted in detail.
Harem/Reverse Harem: It’s a subgenre of romance. Harem refers to a male protagonist surrounded by many female characters. Reverse harem is the opposite. In the story, the main protagonist will be surrounded by a group of people who are of the opposite sex and have a love interest. Normally, the protagonist will choose one of them as his/her partner at the end of the story.
Isekai: It means “different world”. It’s one of the most popular genres in recent years. The protagonists will be transported to a fantasy world accidentally. The protagonists have to survive in the new world. Then, some protagonists will be responsible to save the new world and some others will find the way back home.
There are also many common genres, such as romance, action, fantasy, and horror. The genre is common doesn’t mean the anime is mediocre. Inversely, many of the greatest works belong to the “common genre”.