Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Anime at center stage: Wired examines how the release of three major films by three titans of anime -- Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence by Mamoru Oshii, Steamboy by Katsuhiro Otomo, and Howl's Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki -- finally could mean success at the box office, something that's eluded the artform in the United States:

"In the immediate aftermath of Astro Boy, anime was considered pabulum for kids. But something changed in the early 1970s. Like every nation in the developed world, Japan brought forth an impatient new generation of artists. Unlike other countries, though, Japan's music, theater, and film industries didn't welcome boat-rocking young people. Meanwhile, manga publishers were abandoning their previous self-censoring code of content. Suddenly, what had been subliterature began looking like an opportunity for creative newcomers.

"'There was tremendous energy in Japan bubbling up then,' says Masuzo Furukawa, founder of Mandarake, Japan's largest manga store. 'In your country, someone like Martin Scorsese got to make Mean Streets. In our country, somebody like Otomo went into manga.'"