What Was The First Anime? Know All The Details!


Anime, which refers to Japanese animated productions, has become a global phenomenon with a massive following. Its popularity has increased rapidly over the years, and now it has become a mainstream medium for entertainment. But what was the first anime? In this article, we will explore the roots of anime and its evolution. 

If you are curious to know what was the first anime, then continue reading this article to know about it. 

What Was The First Anime?

The term anime was coined in Japan in the 1970s to refer to all types of animation, including western-style cartoons. However, the first known Japanese animated production was released in 1907, a short film called Katsudo Shashin

The film was a silent, black-and-white, two-minute-long story about a boy named Mukuzo Imokawa, who works as a caretaker at a hotel. The story follows the boy as he tries to catch a thief who has stolen a guest’s money. It was made using a technique called “Chalkboard Animation,” which involved drawing the frames directly onto a chalkboard and filming them one by one.

Despite its short length and primitive animation techniques, Katsudo Shashin was groundbreaking. It was the first known Japanese animation and paved the way for the development of the anime industry. 

In the years that followed, anime production grew slowly. In the 1920s and 1930s, a few more shorts were produced, including Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka (The Power of Women in the World) and Namakura Gatana (An Obtuse Sword). However, it wasn’t until after World War II that the anime industry began to take off. 

The 1960s saw the birth of several popular anime series including Astro Boy, Speed Racer, and Gigantor, which became popular not just in Japan but also in other countries. These anime productions helped to popularise the medium and establish the genre’s distinct visual and storytelling style.

What Is A Chalkboard Animation?

what was the first anime

A chalkboard animation is a type of video that uses slow-motion or time-lapse techniques to show the illusion of the drawings. This animation consists of a series of images or frames that are drawn or erased sequentially, which gives the impression of the drawing coming to life. 

Chalkboard animation is often used for educational or information purposes, as it is an entertaining and engaging way to convey information. It can also be used for marketing, entertainment, and advertisement purposes. 

In recent years, digital tools made it easier to create chalkboard animations using computer graphics and animation software. However, the traditional chalkboard technique involving actual chalkboards and chalk is still used by some artists and animators for their unique look and feel. 

How Did Anime Evolve?

what was the first anime

Anime, a popular form of Japanese animated entertainment, has come a long way since its establishment in the early 20th century. Its evolution is a testament to the changing trends and tastes of audiences, as well as advancements in technology and storytelling techniques. Here is a brief overview of how anime has evolved over the years:

  • Early Anime (1917-1945): The first anime was created in 1917 by Ōten Shimokawa Jun’ichi Kōuchi and Seitaro Kitayama, also known as The Father Of Anime. They used traditional hand-drawn animation techniques to create short films. These early works were primarily experimental and lacked a coherent narrative structure. 
  • Post-War Anime (1945-1960): After World War II, anime gained popularity as a means of entertainment for children. Studios such as Toei Animation and Mushi Production created anime series like Astro Boy and Gigantor, which featured heroic robots and explored themes of science fiction.
  • Golden Age of Anime (1960-1970): This period saw the first anime TV series like Speed Racer and Kimba the White Lion. These shows were created to appeal to a broader audience and featured more complex characters and storylines.
  • Anime Renaissance (1970-1980): In the 1970s, anime began to gain a cult following outside of Japan, with shows like Space Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam becoming popular among Western audiences. The emergence of streaming technology allowed fans to watch anime at home.
  • Modern Anime (1980-present): Anime continued to evolve in the 1980s and 1990s, with anime like Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Naruto becoming global phenomena. The advent of computer animation in the 2000s allowed for even greater visual effects and more immersive storytelling, leading to shows like Attack On Titans, My Hero Academia, and Jujutsu Kaisen becoming international hits. 

Anime has become a major force in the entertainment industry, with millions of fans worldwide and a diverse range of genres and themes. 

Some Popular Anime Of All Time

  • Fullmetal Alchemist (TV)   
  • Death Note (TV)
  • Cowboy Bebop (TV)
  • Bleach (TV)
  • Naruto (TV)
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
  • Elfen Lied (TV)
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (TV)
  • Spirited Away (movie)
  • Princess Mononoke (movie)
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (TV)
  • FLCL (OAV)
  • Trigun (TV)
  • Samurai Champloo (TV)
  • Inuyasha (TV)
  • Chobits (TV)
  • Full Metal Panic! (TV)
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (TV)
  • Dragon Ball Z (TV)
  • Fruits Basket (TV 1/2001)
  • Rurouni Kenshin (TV 1996)
  • Gurren Lagann (TV)
  • Akira (movie)
  • Ouran High School Host Club (TV)
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (movie)

Final Words

Katsudo Shashin was the first known anime production, dating back to 1907. This short film was a silent, black-and-white, one-minute-long story about a boy named Mukuzo Imokawa, who is a caretaker at a hotel. Despite its short length and primitive animation techniques, it was groundbreaking for its time and paved the way for the development of the anime industry. Since then, anime has become a global phenomenon with a massive following, and its popularity continues to grow with every passing year.  

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh
How can an entertainment website survive without anime content when it's every Gen-Z's demand? So, we have Yuvraj, a Gen-z kid who's an anime lover and passionate writer. Yuvraj is a silent soul like Sasuke who sets the rhythm with his powerful writing and strives as a warrior amongst the editorial team of extroverts!


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