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What are some facts about Japanese animation?

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Quick Answer

Japanese animation, commonly referred to as anime, grew significantly in popularity after World War II. Anime has typically been a niche market, but has produced a number of influential films and shows.

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Full Answer

Japanese animation has existed since the 1910s, shortly after the creation of cinema, but the medium of anime grew significantly in popularity in the 1950s and 60s, due to the popularity of television and the recovery of Japan's economy after the second World War. Many early anime series, such as "Astro Boy," "Mazinger Z" and "Tetsujin 28," feature imagery and subject matter heavily inspired by the war. Some American shows, such as "Speed Racer" and "Robotech," were repurposed anime shows from this era.

After a lull in the 1970s, anime spiked in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, due to the international success of films such as "Akira," "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Princess Mononoke." Anime shows also received boosts in popularity, due to American channels such as Cartoon Network and Adult Swim broadcasting shows such as "Dragon Ball Z," "Cowboy Bebop" and "Neon Genesis Evangelion." Many feature typically associated with anime, such as characters with large eyes and bright hair colors, became commonplace during this era. As of 2015, anime continues to air on American television, though the industry primarily makes money from merchandise and DVD sales.

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