Friday, January 14, 2005

The allure of anime

While we're on the subject, the Chicago Sun-Times traces the history of anime, and looks at its growing popularity in the United States. Those interviewed include Manga Entertainment's Marvin Gleicher, Cartoon Network's Sean Akins and The Anime Encyclopedia co-author Jonathan Clements.

The most interesting part may the sidebar, which addresses the attribute that so many people associate with anime: big, round eyes.
"[Osamu] Tezuka really set the mold for anime," said Sean Akins, creative director of Cartoon Network's anime programs. "It is possible he was influenced by Disney. His character Astro Boy's eyes look like Donald Duck's."

The shape of the eyes isn't just a reflection of Western influence, argues Jonathan Clements, co-author of The Anime Encyclopedia (Stone Bridge Press, $24.95).

"It is a feature of low-budget animation," Clements wrote in an e-mail from his home in London. "They have big eyes to convey the maximum amount of emotion, since the eyes convey expressions better than any other part of the face."