The Foundation of Anime
Note that all dates and episode counts are for the first
season only. Many of the anime stretched over multiple
years. If you think I'm speaking authoritatively about this
then let me be the first to correct your mis-understanding.
Momotaro, Divine Sea Warrior
The first feature length film.
(Legend of the White Snake, Panda and the Magic Serpent)
First Screened in 1958, studio: Toei
The first anime feature film. Bet this one's near possible
to get a hold of. Based on a Chinese legend. This is not
actually the first Japanese animated production, but it
almost certainly marks the beginning of the animation
industry, which is what the studio (Toei) was aiming to
First Screened in 1962, 54 Episodes, studio: Otogi
The first anime TV show. Bet this one's near impossible to
get hold of. Short historical cartoons in black and white.
First screened in 1963-1966, 193 Episodes
The main creation of Osamu Tezuka who was perhaps the founding
father of anime having had a massive impact on the development
of manga. Only missed being the first TV manga by several months
and was the first with a continuous cast. The start of an anime
boom that occurred in 1963.
(Iron Man 28, Gigantor)
1963, 83 Episodes
The anime that popularized the giant robot genre. Screened in
America as Gigantor starting at episode 27. Best remembered
for the robot being run entirely by remote control from, if
I remember correctly, a wrist unit.
1966-1968, 109 Episodes
The first TV magical girl anime. Based on the manga by Mitsuteru
Yokoyama who also created Tetsujin 28 go. Intended for a female
audience and based on the American sitcom `bewitched' when it
was found that series had a notable audience of young Japanese
girls. As such it also counts as the first `shoujo' TV show.
First episodes are in black and white. And most of this
information is directtly taken from this
Mahou Shoujo Anime Resources
Ribon no Kishi
1967, 52 Episodes, Film
Created by Osamu Tezuka but possibly the foundation for
shoujo anime. The manga on which it was based is considered
to be the first shoujo manga. It's actually being fan-subbed
in what seems to be an impressive labor of love. I'm sure
support for this would be welcome, so check it out
According to the Erotic anime movie guide this is the first openly
erotic feature movie. Created by none other than Osamu Tezuka's
studio Mushi in an effort to actually make a profit. And apparently
it was successful in this role.
1969, 101 Episodes
The foundation title for sports shoujo titles, although how
many entries in this genre make it out of Japan is an
interesting question. There's an interesting review of it
General web page.
Himitsu no Akko-chan
The second magical girl anime and one that introduced a number
of new innovations that are now considered standard in the
genre. Including the lead being a normal girl granted powers
which are expressed through easily merchandisable items. It also
was influence by the American sitcom `bewitched'. Most
of this information is taken from this
Mahou Shoujo Anime Resources
A long running anime with minimal exposure outside of Japan. A
domestic comedy based on a 4 panel manga strip from 1946. The
foundation on which anime for mature adults is based?
1972, 92 Episodes, studio: Toei
A Go-Nagai title that revolutionized the giant robot genre.
It's primary effect seems to have been the birth of
merchandising, which seems to have survived so well that
it makes it difficult to find information on the actual
This may be a logical consequence of Go Nagai developing
a sizable number of new twists to the genre. This includes
making the giant robot a vehicle, rather than a character,
and making it built from components rather than an
un-modifiable unit. He did not invent the concept of
transforming robots, a twist introduced in "Brave Rydeen"
although it could be seen as a development from a `component'
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman
(G-Force, Battle of the Planets)
1972,105 Episodes, studio: Tatsunoko
Popularized the idea of a regular `team' as the focus of the
anime while stories were strongly episodic. Also notable in
using `giant robots' as thematic and convenient enemies.
Created by Ippei Kurei (who also did mach go go go).
Uchuu Senkan Yamato
(Space Battleship Yamato, Starblazers)
1975, 77 Episodes
The most popular `epic space opera' anime. It also has various
interactions, including the title ship, with Japans wartime
experiences. Was this one of the first series to have a huge and
sprawling but continuous plot? Made by Leiji Matsumoto who was
one of the `starving seven', a group of creators formed under
Osamu Tezuka's reign.
1976, 115 Episodes
Very well known and influential TV shoujo series. Interesting
for being set outside of Japan, specifically in America.
Versailles no Bara
(Rose of Versaille)
1979, 40 Episodes
Seminal shoujo anime based on the manga by Riyoko Ikeda.
Mahou no Princess Minky Momo
(Magic Princess Minky Momo)
1982, 63 Episodes
An extremely influential magical girl series. Interesting for
introducing the `risque' transformation sequence. Also the
first magical girl series to be produced by a studio other than
1983, 2 Episodes
The first anime OAV release. Perhaps not important in itself, I didn't
like the title that much, but it provided an important alternative
distribution between TV and movies. This allowed a number of very
interesting works to be released to the public. The OAV market began
to be diluted by an increasing number of lackluster titles which,
combined with the poor state of the Japanese economy, has caused this
market to stagnate to the point of extinction. It has been stated that
it was Megazone 28 that was the `big' OAV release, but I would argue it
was the growth of this market that was actually the notable outcome.
Mahou no Tenshi Creamy Mami
The first series to combine magical girl and the idol-singer
1984, 2 Episodes
Someone realised that if you're selling direct to video you've also
got a lot more freedom on how explicit you can be, and that there
was money in getting some product out to prove it. The first title
was something called Reddening Snow / Girls Tortured with Roses
which sounds more than a little worrying. However the erotic OAV and
Hentai in general probably owes more to this title, which had a
number of additional episodes released. The english availability of
this material is a torturous saga by all accounts.
Staggeringly popular and not only heralding the arrival of a major
new manga creator, Rumiko Takahashi, but also assuring her of enough
fame and fortune for a lifetime. Could also be considered the foundation
stone for a lot of comedy and romantic comedy.
The rebirth of quality animation on television? Right-stuff believes
so, but then they probably have the license. In any case, as the first
Gainax television creation it probably is an important one to note.
Bishoujo Sensei Sailor Moon
(Pretty Soldier Sailor Moond)
Then `sentai' genre, a term rarely heard, refers to a team of co-operating
hero's. I imagine that "Gatchaman" was an example of this type of show.
Sailor moon combined this model, including inherent conflict with a powerful
enemy, with the magical girl genre. The resulting team of magical girls going
on to massive popularity.
Ghost in the Shell
First massively successful american-Japanese co-production?
(I give my all)
What an interesting story. Meant to be the first title for the newly
formed US Manga Corps it was a piece of soft porn complete with a free
pair of pink paper panties as a promotional gimmick. Also the final
piece of proof needed for the american media to confirm that anime was
a sick and degenerate art form. Must get the full story sometime, sounds
Perhaps much better evidence of the above.
Mobile Suit Gundam
First Screened in 1979, 43 Episodes
Married giant robot anime, complete with it's incredibly lucrative
merchandising, with huge space opera plots full of character based
drama. Perhaps also important in establishing that sequels can both
confirm and re-write the `mythos' of the series world. Also notable
in that giant robots changed from being `unique' and `heroic' items
to mass produced `tools', although the `hero' mecha tend to skirt
the boundary on this point.
Shin Seiki Evangelion
1995, 26 Episodes, studio: Gainax
An important series in bringing dark, complex and mature
animation to the TV audience. Also in moving the `giant robot'
genre into a more modern form.
Series everyone (Japanese) knows
- Ace wo Narae, well known Shoujo sports anime.
- Jungle Taitei, 1965, first in color.
- Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
- Time Boukan Series
- Mach Go Go Go (Speed Racer), 1967, Ippei Kurei
- Lupin III: Cagliostro. High point of Lupin and the confirmation of
- Sailor Moon
- Saint Seiya : Battling angsty bishounen.
- Tonari no Totoro
- Ashita no Joe
- GeGeGe no Kitarou : Shigeru Mizuki makes japanese mythology fun.