Anime in the Japanese culture is seen as any form of animation, but to the rest of the world, the word anime is related and connected back to Japan. The history of anime goes back to the early 1900s, with Japan’s most likely first animated film made by Shimokawa Oten, which was created from chalk and no longer than five minutes. There is a lack of certainty for when the first anime was made and released to the public, due to the fact that a large amount of these films were lost when studios and theatres were destroyed during the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, from the battles of World War II, or just from the falling apart of these films throughout the history of time. Also, earlier animes were recorded on paper that was easily flammable, which makes it more difficult to maintain over time. As time moved forward, anime became more advanced with Japan releasing in theatres it’s first colored and full length featured animation in 1958, first televised anime TV show in the 1960s, production studios opening up, and in the 1970s anime became deeply rooted into the Japanese popular culture that even magazine brands just to keep the public up to date on anime news started to establish. In the 1980s is when animation in Japan really spiked and lots of popular TV shows, such as Dragon Ball Z, and movies from Studio Ghibli came out. There was a crash in Japan’s economy in the 1990s and since the budget was cut short for lots of publishing studios, it became hard to publish good quality anime. The only ones that were successful at the time were Studio Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service, produced by Hayao Miyazaki, and Toei’s Sailor Moon. Due to the advancement in technology with computers and cellphones becoming more popular with the public in the early 2000s, anime once again thrived, and has become well-known in different countries around the world.
Anime was originally intended and marketed their audience to children, but more recent anime have been made with adult themes. When anime was getting started, however, and the audience was mainly towards children, some anime have been banned due to the illustrations and how graphic they can get. One anime in particular, Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki from (1992), created by Hishori Harada was banned nearly everywhere when it was premiered because of its depressing storyline involving a teenage girl, Midori, who loses her mother and decides to join a carnival freak show only to be abused and humiliated by everyone. We watch her go through her life and see all the psychological and physical damages that she endured. The scenes involve nudity, sexual harassment, graphic animal abuse, and violent language. Many people after watching the film were very upset and disturbed by what they watched, decided to get rid of the films, and it was banned across the world during the time. Only recently, in the past couple of years, was the film discovered in a warehouse and became available to the public again. Some parts of the anime movie however were lost. Lots of popular animes now-a-day involve gory scenes, but are commonly watched and easily accessible to kids and teenagers. Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki, however, is not really shown anywhere. It can only be found on pirated websites online. When Hishori Harada made this film, he put all of his life savings to produce it, only for it to be banned.
Should anime or animations in general ever get banned or should they just be restricted to certain age groups to decide whether they are willing to watch the film or not? Harada’s artwork seemed to be appreciated when the anime film was found again, but is still banned in many places.