What’s Old is New: Anime is Back!
By Amy R Zunk
There is a trend in America. It’s been around forever. It’s a nostalgia kick of sorts. Everything that is old, all of a sudden becomes new again. What do I mean?
- How about when swing music came back thanks to the Brian Setzer Orchestra?
- Fashions from the 50s, 60s and 70s are back (i.e. bell bottom jeans, iron-ons for t-shirts, wedge heals, etc.)
- Roller skates instead of rollerblades?
- In Wayne’s World, using music by Queen (band for the 70s) and kids acting as if Queen was a new band.
But what has this to do with anime? Well, over the last year or so, the popularity of anime has seemed to explode. It’s becoming mainstream and easily available. It’s not something that you can only find in comic shops, science fiction conventions and Asian specialty stores. And it is being touted as NEW.
Anime is new??? Umm…I don’t think so. Japanese animation (anime) has been around since the early 1970s, over 30 years ago. It started trickling into the USA around that timeframe. It wasn’t mainstream but it was available. It gained more popularity in the 1980s with shows like Robotech and Battle of the Planets. Anime is watched over in Japan in the same way we watch sitcoms. But new? I don’t think so.
So what is it with this mainstream resurgence? What do I mean? Here are some of the most prominent examples:
- Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim (http://www.adultswim.com) plays anime such as Gundam Wing, Cowboy Bebop and Yu Yu Hakusho.
- On Saturday morning cartoons, there is Dragonball and Yu GI Oh.
- Tech TV talks about anime on their popular “Screen Savers’ program. There is also a new Anime Unleashed (http://www.techtv.com/animeunleashed) segment of their web site.
- The online news site Slashdot (www.slashdot.org) has an anime section.
- There are several magazines dedicated to anime or have anime components: Anime Invasion, Wizard, Toy Fare, etc.
- The new Anime Channel that is being placed on cable television.
- Anime toys from McFarlene toys and other companies.
- A search for the word “anime” on Google came up with over 12 million anime sites.
- Video games with anime characters: Dragonball, Final Fantasy, Robotech Battlecry.
So, how is anime new? It’s a medium that has been around for years. It has produced some wonderful movies and television series. It has won awards (see Spirited Away as an example). But it is hardly new.
It seems that mainstream USA has decided that anime is to be the next “old is new” nostalgia item on the list. I think it’s an anime lover’s paradise. Set up your VCRs and Tivos while you can. Shop your local video/DVD stores or Best Buy. Enjoy the influx!
What do you think? Drop me a line at email@example.com.
Amy R. Zunk is a freelance writer for several online publications doing editorial commentary and product review. Her column on Geek.com, "Backwards and in 4 inch heels", addresses women in the technology industry. She is an anime fan from way back. Her favorites include Robotech and Cowboy Bebop. Amy wants someday to own her very own veritech.