Selasa, 13 Juli 2010

Toei Animation and Mushi Productions

Japanese movie poster for the first color anime feature film The Tale of the White Serpent (1958)
In 1948, Toei Animation was founded and produced the first color anime feature film in 1958, Hakujaden (The Tale of the White Serpent, 1958). This film was more Disney in tone than modern anime with musical numbers and animal sidekicks. However, it is widely considered to be the first "anime" ever, in the modern sense. It was released in the US in 1961 as Panda and the Magic Serpent. From 1958 to the mid-1960s, Toei continued to release these Disney-like films and eventually also produced three of the most well known anime series, Dragon Ball in 1986 and Sailor Moon in 1992 and Digimon in 1999.
Toei's style was also characterized by an emphasis on each animator bringing his own ideas to the production. The most extreme example of this is Isao Takahata's film Hols: Prince of the Sun (1968). Hols is often seen as the first major break from the normal anime style and the beginning of a later movement of "auteuristic" or "progressive anime" which would eventually involve directors such as Hayao Miyazaki (creator of Spirited Away) and Mamoru Oshii.
A major contribution of Toei's style to modern anime was the development of the "money shot". This cost-cutting method of animation allows for emphasis to be placed on important shots by animating them with more detail than the rest of the work (which would often be limited animation). Toei animator Yasuo Ōtsuka began to experiment with this style and developed it further as he went into television. in the 1980s Toei would later lend it's talent to companies like Sunbow Productions, Marvel Productions, DiC Entertainment, Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, Ruby Spears and Hanna Barbera with producing several animated cartoons for America during this period. Other studios like TMS Entertainment, were also being used in the 80's, which lead to Asian studios being used more often to animate foreign productions, but the companies involved still produced anime for their native Japan.
Osamu Tezuka started a rival production company called Mushi Productions. The studio's first hit Mighty Atom became the first popular anime television series in 1963. Contrary to popular belief, Atom was not the first anime series broadcast in Japan; that honor falls to Otogi Manga Calendar, which began broadcasting in 1962. The first non-series anime broadcasted was Three Tales. However, Atom was the first series to feature regular characters in an ongoing plot. American television, which was still in its infancy and searching for new programming, rewrote and adapted Atom for the United States in 1964, retitled as Astro Boy. The success of Atom in Japan opened the doors for many more anime titles to be created, including Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Tetsujin 28-go (the first Super Robot anime show, later released in the U.S. as Gigantor), Tezuka's Jungle Emperor (later released in the U.S. as Kimba the White Lion) and Tatsuo Yoshida's Mach Go Go Go (later released in the U.S. as Speed Racer), which was produced by Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd.

During the Second World War

In the 1930s the Japanese government began enforcing cultural nationalism. This also lead to a strict censorship and control of published media. Many animators were urged to produce animations which enforced the Japanese spirit and national affiliation. Some movies were shown in newsreel theaters, especially after the Film Law of 1939 promoted documentary and other educational films. Such support helped boost the industry, as bigger companies formed through mergers, and prompted major live-action studios such as Shochiku to begin producing animation.[10] It was at Shochiku that such masterworks as Kenzō Masaoka's Kumo to Chūrippu were produced. Wartime reorganization of the industry, however, merged the feature film studios into just three big companies.
More animated films were commissioned by the military,[11] showing the sly, quick Japanese people winning against enemy forces. In 1943, Geijutsu Eigasha produced Mitsuyo Seo's Momotaro's Sea Eagles with help from the Navy. Shochiku then made Japan's first real feature length animated film, Seo's Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors in 1945, again with the help of the Navy. In 1941 Princess Iron Fan had become the first Asian animation of notable length ever made in China. Due to economic factors, it would be Japan which later emerged long after the war with the most readily available resources to continue expanding the industry.

 Second generation of Japanese animators

Yasuji Murata, Hakuzan Kimura, Sanae Yamamoto and Noburō Ōfuji were students of Kitayama Seitaro and worked at his film studio. Kenzō Masaoka, another important animator, worked at a smaller animation studio. In 1923, the Great Kantō earthquake destroyed most of the Kitayama studio and the residing animators spread out and founded studios of their own.
Prewar animators faced several difficulties. First, they had a hard time competing with foreign producers such as Disney, which were influential on both audiences and producers. Since foreign films had already made a profit abroad, they could be sold for even less than the price domestic producers need to charge in order to break even.[3] Japanese animators thus had to work cheaply, in small companies with only a handful of employees, but that could make matters worse: given costs, it was then hard to compete in terms of quality with foreign product that was in color, with sound, and made by much bigger companies. Japanese animation until the mid-1930s, for instance, generally used cutout animation instead of cel animation because the celluloid was too expensive.[4] This resulted in animation that could seem derivative, flat (since motion forward and backward was difficult) and without detail.[5] But just as postwar Japanese animators were able to turn limited animation into a plus, so masters such as Yasuji Murata and Noburō Ōfuji were able to do wonders in cutout animation.
Animators such as Kenzō Masaoka and Mitsuyo Seo, however, did attempt to bring Japanese animation up to the level of foreign work by introducing cel animation, sound, and technology such as the multiplane camera. Masaoka created the first talkie anime, Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka, released in 1933,[6][7] and the first anime made entirely using cel animation, The Dance of the Chagamas (1934).[8] Seo was the first to use the multiplane camera in Ari-chan in 1941.
Such innovations, however, were hard to support purely commercially, so prewar animation depended considerably on sponsorship, as animators often concentrated on making PR films for companies, educational films for the government, and eventually works of propaganda for the military.[9] During this time, censorship and school regulations discouraged film-viewing by children, so anime that offered educational value were supported and encouraged by the Monbusho (the Ministry of Education). This proved important for producers that had experienced a hard time releasing their work in regular theaters. Animation had found a place in scholastic, political and industrial use.

First generation of Japanese animators

Few complete animations made during the beginnings of Japanese animation have survived. The reasons vary, but many are of commercial nature. After the clips had their run, reels (being property of the cinemas) were sold to smaller cinemas in the country and then disassembled and sold as strips or single frames. Shimokawa Oten was a political caricaturist and cartoonist who worked for the magazine Tokyo Puck. He was hired by Tenkatsu to do an animation for them. Due to medical reasons, he was only able to do five movies, including Imokawa Mukuzo Genkanban no Maki (1917), before he returned to his previous work as a cartoonist.
Another prominent animator in this period was Jun'ichi Kouchi. He was a caricaturist and painter, who also had studied watercolor painting. In 1912 he also entered the cartoonist sector and was hired for an animation by Kobayashi Shokai later in 1916. He is viewed as the most technically advanced Japanese animator of the 1910s. His works include around 15 movies.
Seitaro Kitayama was an early animator who made animations on his own, not hired by larger corporations. He even founded his own animation studio, the Kitayama Eiga Seisakujo, which was later closed due to lack of commercial success. He utilized the chalkboard technique, and later paper animation, with and without pre-printed backgrounds.
The works of these two pioneers include Namakura Gatana (An Obtuse Sword, 1917) and a 1918 film Urashima Tarō which were discovered together at an antique market in 2007.[1]
In July 2005, an old animation film was found in Kyoto. This undated 3 seconds film, plainly titled Moving Picture (活動写真, Katsudō Shashin?), consists of fifty frames drawn directly onto a strip of celluloid.[2] It depicts a young boy in a sailor suit writing the kanji "活動写真" (katsudō shashin, for "moving pictures") on a board, then turning towards the viewer, removing his hat, and offering a salute. The creator's identity is unknown, but it is thought that it was made for private viewing, perhaps as experimentation, rather than for public release. The discoverer, Naoki Matsumoto, has speculated that it could be "up to 10 years older" than the previously first known Japanese animation, Imokawa Mukuzo Genkanban no Maki, released in 1917. However, while a date of circa 1915 is possible, there is no actual basis for this extreme speculation.