Kamis, 03 Juni 2010

Cartoons - The Japanese Invasion

For the kids of today who think that these Japanese imports are a new thing, you may be surprised to find out that Japanese import cartoons have been going on for some time. We're going to touch on just a small portion of those cartoons going back to the early 1960s.

Cartoons in America, for the most part, were dominated by the likes of Warner Brothers and Walt Disney with such titles as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and a host of other characters. But around the early to mid 60s a new kind of cartoon was coming onto the scene. These cartoons were very different from the ones we were used to seeing. They were darker, more serious and very well done. They also had a very distinctive look to them, mostly in the characters themselves. If you take a look at American made cartoons, especially around the area of the eyes, you will notice that they look almost like a real person's eyes would look, within reason of course. After all, they're still cartoons. But these Japanese imports had a very different look, especially around the eyes, which could only be described as looking like "robot eyes". They definitely were not human. For that matter, the Japanese invasion that began in the 60s was far from human.

A slew of these cartoons all hit the American airwaves pretty much at one time. The most popular of these were "Astro Boy", which was the first of the 60s invasion cartoons in 1963, "Speed Racer", "8th Man", and "Gigantor". All of these cartoons contained either a fantasy or science fiction theme.

Speed Racer was about a boy and his race car, the Mach 5, which could do things that even today's cars can't do. Speed had his sidekicks, Spridle, Chimp Chimp, and Trixie to help him out of tough jams.

The 8th Man cartoon was about a man who was almost killed but brought back to life in the form of a robot, which is tobor spelled backwards. Yes, tobor was the alias of this robot who could take on the appearance of any person alive. A very handy trick when having to sneak into the criminal's facility.

Gigantor was basically the story of a boy and his gigantic robot. Gigantor could usually be seen battling other gigantic robots in each episode. No matter how grim things looked, you could always count on Gigantor to come out the victor.

Because the cartoons were made in Japanese, they had to be dubbed in English for American audiences. Because of this, many times the animation and the voices didn't exactly fit right, pretty much the same as with Japanese made movies that are dubbed in English, the most famous of these being the Godzilla series.

Japanese animation took off like wildfire in the states. Americans couldn't get enough of these cartoons and over the years more and more were made.
Today we are in the midst of another Japanese invasion from cartoons like Pokemon, Yugioh and Card Captors.

As long as American audiences are fascinated by these very different kinds of cartoons the supply of them will most likely never run out.
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