11 October 2012
TV Anime in the Past 50 Years
Anime has changed a lot in the past decades, in terms of style, themes, demographics, and of course popularity. Let's see what popular anime series there were aired on TV for the past 50 years, like taking a trip through time tunnel!
There is a 15-minute long video on YouTube showing the popular TV anime series as well as a graph depicting number of titles aired in Japan. The video is mentioned on Gigazine, and the screenshots below are taken from its article .
Wind back to 1963, Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy along with Tetsujin 28 appeared on TV. Note that Astro Boy is in black and white, though anime in colour already exist by that time. Back then only a total of 7 series were aired that year, with one carried on from the previous year.
Sazae-san started airing in 1969. It is still airing on TV today 40+ years later, making it the longest airing TV anime to date. The number of anime series aired stayed around 30s until 1977.
Lupin III aired in 1971.
Space Battleship Yamato aired in 1974. This makes it one of the early series that sparkled the space theatre, with many more to follow.
Mobile Suit Gundam aired in 1979, following the space theatre after Yamato. While not initially successful, Gundam contributes to the birth of "real robot" genre as it branches off from the "super robot" genre.
The Super Dimension Fortress Macross aired in 1982. Following the real robot genre and the space theatre, Macross carries on being one of the potent ongoing franchise out there.
Saint Seiya aired in 1986, with several OVA series and a film to finish the original story in the 2000s.
Sailor Moon aired in 1992, which is still one of the most recognisable Magical Girl series out there. Speaking of Sailor Moon, apparently a new series will air next year.
Neon Genesis Evangelion and Slayers aired in 1995.
Detective Conan (aka Case Closed) aired in 1996. Other notable mentions are Rurouni Kenshin and Nadesico.
Pocket Monster, or Pokémon aired in 1997, based on the Game Boy games that became some of the best selling games at the time.
One Piece starting airing in 1999 and it's still going strong. By now we are past 100 series per year.
Naruto, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Gundam SEED, and Azumanga Daioh aired in 2002.
The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, Gintama, Zero no Tsukaima, Code Geass, and many more aired in 2006. 2006 also marks the peak in anime history in terms of number of series aired, with a total of 279 (195 of them were new, and 84 continued from 2005)
In 2007 we have Lucky Star, CLANNAD, School Days, Hidamari Sketch, Nodame Cantible, and Gurren Lagann.
K-On! aired in 2009. 3rd anime from Kyoto Animation mentioned in a row :o
In 2011 we have Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Anohana, Steins;Gate, Penguin Drum, as well as Fate/Zero (prequel of Fate/stay night).
From 1963 up to April 2012, a total of 3013 TV anime series had aired in Japan! And that does not include films and OVAs!
Looking back, I remember watching a number of series in my childhood that dated earlier than I thought, such as Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Ikkyū-san (the latter two are not shown here, but are present in the video). A lot of the early series had a long production run, and since I only watched a fraction of them with little memory left, I did not mention them in My History with Anime post.
It's interesting seeing how anime changes throughout time. Anime series were few in the early years, but they had much longer run, spanning over years for the entire series to air. They were also relatively simpler, not only in details, but also in themes and stories.
Slowly anime is gaining popularity, and the variety also slowly increases. Sci-fi, especially meccha and those set in space were also gaining prominence.
Eventually, computer graphics start to aid animation industry, slowly replacing cel drawing. With the boom in popularity of anime, visual novels and light novels also become sources for anime adaptation along with manga and original animations. Many of the series are also becoming shorter, and restricted in lengths of cours. We now have literally hundreds of anime series available to watch every year in the past decade, (almost?) too many to choose. A lot of them are also become more geared for specific audience, in comparison with many of the older ones, where they can be watched by a wide range of age groups or tastes.
One way looking at it, it's not surprising why older anime were more memorable, and the ones nowadays seem more forgettable; just look at the numbers and graphs above! It's also worth mentioning that anime is become more business-like, with anime series become more "formularised" and sometimes also heavily merchandised. And this is the direction that we are heading at the moment.
The conclusion may sound a little pessimistic on the future of anime, but nevertheless it's an interesting look at what anime we had for the past 5 decades, and seeing the changes that go along with time. I wonder how anime will be like in another 50 years' time, and how we will feel looking back at the changes like we did just now? :O