Origins of anime


Many current anime fans started with comics such as Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V . Photo by Kelly Stewart

Many current anime fans started with comics such as Sailor Moon and Codename: Sailor V . Photo by Kelly Stewart

Kelly Stewart

Opinions Editor

Anime. The word can either invoke insane happiness, indifference, confusion or even terror depending upon whom you talk to. But whether you like anime or not, it is a good part of the undercurrent of secret fandoms at Coppell High School.

What most people do not know is that anime originated from World War II as a method and style of cartoon propaganda in Japan. During that time, many cartoonists were being jailed if they did not use their artistic ability to help the government mobilize the nation, so they churned out comic strips filled with propaganda.

When the war finally ended, anime had become a part of life for the Japanese. Toei Animation rose up, a company dedicated to entertainment, and it was not long before some of the anime series were moving outside of Japan. Starting in 1963 with Osamu Tezuka’s “Astro Boy,” America began airing these cartoons as well.

Today, anime has become a well-used medium (yes, it is a medium, not a genre) across the globe. CHS is no exception.

There is an official school club dedicated to it. Meeting every Wednesday, these anime fanatics lounge on top of desks in little groups, sometimes whispering to each other and laughing as the episode for the day flashes across the screen.

“I joined the club because I had a lot of friends in it,” junior Kendall Journigan said. “It seemed like fun.”

Every week, the club watches the first episode of a different anime. According to the club members, it is a great way to find new series or try out ones they had been meaning to watch but did not have time for. And of course, there is always the sense of togetherness. It provides a group of like-minded people to chat with, comparing popular series that everyone likes.

“I like anime club because there is a bunch of people like me, and we can all just talk about anime and be crazy together,” sophomore Masden Stribling said.

Some members are new comers to the world of anime, like Masden, who only just started becoming a fan last August when her friend showed her “Ouran High School Host Club.” Some, like senior Jacob Gatewood and junior Anna Maxfield, became fans much earlier.

“The first time I saw [my first anime] ‘Bleach,’ I was 13, but I was not really into it,” Maxwell admits. “I really got into it when I was 14. One of the big ones [that I liked] was ‘Full Metal Alchemist.’ I also like ‘Death Note’ and ‘Ouran High School Host Club.”

Gatewood, one of the four presidents of the anime club, began watching “Dragon Ball Z” as a kid. In fact, many of the long-time fans of anime series have started out that way – watching cartoons as a kid such as “Pokémon” or “Sailor Moon”, then slowly moving onto more mature series, such as “Ouran” and “Bleach.”

Not so different from cartoons or American movies, anime and its comic book counterpart manga, encompasses a variety of different genres, from giant robots and space operas to romance and horror. Chances are, there is something to suit your tastes, no matter how strange they may be.