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Key Artists Osamu Tezuka Shigeru Komatsuzaki Leiji Matsumoto Akira Toriyama

Key Anime Astro Boy Space Battleship Yamato Dragon Ball

Definitions Anime: Japanese style of animation Manga: Japanese style comic book Mania: A deep yet socially acceptable obsession in a certain subject Astro Boy, created by Osamu Tezuka, known as the “father of manga”, is known as the first true cartoon that embodied the aesthetics that would later be known as anime. About a boy robot and his adventures, Tezuka was trying to show a world where man and technology coexist. Tezuka’s art was inspired by Walt Disney and Max Fleischer, and his themes were inspired by the atom bomb droppings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Over time there have been domestic terrorist groups in Japan that used anime to lure in members. Where are we? At a bomb test site.

We’re anime characters and we were brought here to Show our worth.

Osamu Tezuka and his characters

Japanese artist Shigeru Komatsuzaki left a legacy with his graphic depictions of war in his paintings. The paintings reminded the older generation of war and dread, while the newer generation, bombarded by war documentaries at the dawn of the TV age, fantasized of commanding an immense military force. Leiji Matsumoto, inspired by these “war pictures”, created the anime Space Battleship Yamato, launching the Anime boom of the 1970s. Space Battleship Yamato, based on the name of the Japanese battleship and Japan’s last hope in World War II, was instrumental in the rise of otaku subculture, as it dealt with radiation, sympathized with the antagonists, and discussed overpopulation issues.


That is why we appeared on this island where we await destruction. You see, anime stories originate from the history of Japan and the aftermath of nuclear destruction.

But WE won’t let that happen!

Aum Shinrikyo’s Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo Subway on March 20, 1996, was the most serious attack to occur in Japan since the end of World War II. A domestic terrorist attack, the cult released sarin gas in several main lines of the Tokyo Metro, killing thirteen people, and injuring thousands. The group looked to attack trains passing through Kasumigaseki and Nagatacho, home to the Japanese government, in attempt to overthrow the government, and insteall group leader Shoko Asahara as the “emperor” of Japan. Aum Shinrikyo was inspired by anime, using an anime film for their recruitment efforts. Space Battleship Yamato in particular influenced the cult, naming their own air purifiers for the attack “Cosmo Cleaners”, a direct reference from the show. The media and the public turned against otaku subculture at this point.

After one of these groups carried out a Sarin gas attack on the Toyko subway in 1995, the media and parts of the public in Japan turned against Anime.

Shoko Asahara These type of Japanese animations explore Japan’s faults in the Pacific War, while incorporating a positive message of changing values to peace; using machinery for joy instead of for war.

This makes it easy for generations of fans looking for a brighter future with a keen interest in technology to fall in love with this style and their themes, a part of otaku culture.

But I thoUght the people of Japan love us. surley a few bad eggs couldn’t cause this?

That’s true. entire regions of cities are dedicated to collecting and trading manga, or japanese comics, and manga newspapers.Are the top 2 and 3 most subcribed newspapers in the country.

Shonen Jump, a weekly manga newspaper with a circulation of 6.5 million, is Japan’s second most subscribed newspaper nationally. To put this in perspective, Japan’s largest daily newspaper, Yomiuri Newspaper, has a circulation of 10 million. The themes of the manga in Shonen Jump are friendship, struggle, and victory.

Shigeru Komatsuzaki

This obsession with otaku, known as mania, is usually harmless, with fans proudly decorating their rooms and backpacks with their favorite characters. However, sometimes it gets worse.

Space Battleship Yamato

Shonen Jump

Technology Definitions: Mecha: A robot-based genre; initially used to sell toy robots, but began incorporating messages of war

We have their power on our side. Here we have Shin. He’s your everyday manga fan.

The Japanese love to create robots; not only in manga and anime, but real, physical robots. They view robots as extentions of themselves. These robots were partially inspired by Astro Boy, and in part inspired the anime Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), which paved the way for robot or “mecha” anime’s, leading up to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Gundam was so popular because it questioned the meaning of fighting, and gave the enemy a righteous cause. Gundam turned the mecha genre from a promotional tool to sell toy robots, to a genre with deeper meaning. The robots in the anime are made to look like ultimate weapons. Over time, robots in animes began to look much more organic and like animals.


At the end of World War II, many Japanese children were left without a home. In the postwar subculture that proliferated from the 1960’s onward, Japanese art rarely adressed this topic, but anime did. Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 anime film by Isao Takahata, about two children orphaned by the Kobe firebombings of March 17, 1945, as they lose their struggle for survival. Takahata states that this meant to invoke sympathy in young manga readers who feel isolated from society.

My father used this for conquest. He used this to invade his enemies. It led to his death. I’ll be using this to defend my city. To defend my friends.

Mobile Suit Gundam

Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime by GAINAX Studios that hit the same year as Aum Shrinkyo’s attack, and went on to be a massive hit. The anime is about a group of 14-year old orphaned protagonists endowed with unique powers being called into duty, like the schoolcildren mobilized to labor at factories during World War II.

Grave of the Fireflies live action poster

Neon Genesis Evangelion

And I’m installing the shield.

Shin has grown a special connection with anime and manga. You see, he was raised without parents, like many children after the Pacific War, and portrayed in Anime. He’s very quiet, but he’s been brilliant, and has a wild imagination and interest intechnology. He’s been working on his father’s robot.

I just removed the gun.

The protagonist of Neon Genesis Evangelion being abandoned

Great job SHin. We’ll be needing you soon.

Cute Definitions: Kawaii: A genre of cute characters Yuru Chara: A group of characters made for the government by local artists to promote their regions specialties and events. Tokusatsu: A genre of special effects using costumes and small sets The current Japanese Constitution, known as the “Peace Constitution”, was promulgated on November 3, 1946. Drafted by General Douglas MacArthur, Article 9 of the document explicitly renounced war “as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.” This American-made constitution prevented the nation from taking an aggressive stance, thus putting the Japanese people in a mindset of dependency. It is this childlike role that Japan willingly complied with that may have led to the uprise of “kawaii” or cute culture.

HelLo!!!!!! Not only do fans support us. Even the government uses anime.

Oh, hey there little fella. I didn’t see you there.

Although the constitution is still intact, it has been reinterpreted to allow Japan to fight in the current situation in Iraq.

Unlike other characters that have a similar fanbase, kawaii characters do not have dramatic storylines, which convey a sense of lethargy to their audience. Lives are only given to these characters in public events. The characters are “spaced out with peace”, standing for the Japanese themselves. Once having everything blown away in a flash, an infantile culture gained strength under a puppet national infrastructure. What emerged was a culture frozen in its infacy. The kawaii characters fit in so well with an otaku’s groundless, optimistic attitude toward the future, as there is no deceit in their lethargic smiles. The characters are also made with short limbs and beady eyes as markers of an introvert, like many anime fans are.

Yep! And I’ll be here on your shoulder so in case you get too tired to move on I’ll make sure you do!!

Yuru Chara These cute or "kawaii" characters are dominant becuase they allow a moment of softness in an otherwise tough atmosphere.

A poster with the words of Article 9

The Japanese government using Yuru Chara to promote different regions shows how popular the genre is. The characters coming to life in form of actors in costumes is very much like the genre of tokusatsu in which the Japanese would use costumes and sets as a form of special effects. One of the earliest tokusatsu films is Godzilla from 1954, directed by Inoshiro Honda; Japan’s first and most famous monster movie. In the film, Godzilla was awoken from a hydrogen bomb test, and proceeds to terrorize the city of Japan. The dread of nuclear holocaust is apparent in this film, which went on to influence otaku culture. Another popular tokusatsu work that is popular in otaku culture is Ultraman from 1966, about an alien posing as a human, to defend the human race.

The government has even created an entire collection of anime characters to promote regional specialties, organizations, and events all throughout Japan. These mascots, known as Yuru Chara, are brought to life in costumes.

Since Japan has been a testing ground for an American-style capitalist economy, they have experienced many high peaks. Kawaii characters and their products make up a good part of the marketplace. Akihabara, a region in Tokyo, is full of stores of kawaii characters, along with other otaku products.

Face it, I’m irrestistable!

By creating these local icons, the Japanese are following the same ancient Shinto tradition a myriad of gods into “characters”.

These characters along with others are made to be commercially viable, and so are irrefutably "cute", or kawaii.


A lot of our characters have come from war, so these cute characters exist by their side to distract us from these thoughts while incorporating the same animation styles. They are also marketing gems.

What was that?!




Comic comic