When you hear anime or animation, the odds are good that you’ll think of Japan. But Japan isn’t the birthplace of animation, France is, and October 28th is the unofficial holiday for celebrating all things anime.
So, let’s go over the history of animation, and then I’ll share some of my favorite anime, animated movies, and future works I’m looking forward to. You can already guess what a couple of them are!
The birth of animation
On October 28, 1892, Charles-Emile Reynaud, with his Theatre Optique, presented his first production in the Grevin Museum in Paris. The production was three cartoons created using the Theatre Optique, a machine that produces images on a screen using 36 mirrors, two lanterns or suitable light sources, and a projector.
The Theatre Optique worked very similarly to a movie projector, except the images were painted on a long band wound on two spools and had to be cranked by hand. Reynaud was usually the only one who could operate it properly.
His three animations had 500 to 600 images and ran for around 15 minutes. Reynaud employed a pianist and actors for the dialogue.
The shows would continue until 1900, when a new style, lumiere, was born. The lumiere style used photographs for a more realistic look, and sadly, Reynaud refused to adapt to the new style.
In 1913, Reynaud smashed his last Theatre Optique and threw most of his films into the Seine. He’d presented 12,800 shows, and we will never forget his gift to one of the most popular forms of entertainment.
- In 1908, another French artist, Emile Cohl, created the first animated film, using methods that would become traditional for future creators.
- In 1923, Walt and his brother Roy O. Disney founded the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California.
- In 1955, The Gumby Show premiered on NBS.
- In 1995, Pixar released Toy Story, the world’s first computer-animated feature film. Toy Story was also the year’s highest-grossing and earned $362 million worldwide.
A list of some of my favorite animations
I don’t remember the first cartoon I saw or when I first discovered anime. But I remember the joy I felt watching my first movie, and I’ll never stop watching anime!
Although some of the items on this list aren’t anime or animated, they were inspired and based on some. Unfortunately, this list has no numbers because I can’t assign them.
I love them equally and for different reasons. Some of which I’ll list here, but this list isn’t even a fraction of my favorites. I can spend hours trying to remember them, so I’m only listing ten.
Five anime that I’ll never get bored of and always want to see more, three animated films that defined my childhood and teen years, and one is getting a sequel! While the other is getting a horror live-action movie.
Alice in Wonderland
This film came out in 1951 and is my first look at Alice in Wonderland. And I’m not ashamed to admit that this is my greatest obsession. So whenever I see anything that hints at Alice in Wonderland, I will grab it!
Alice has gone through many incarnations since the Disney film came out, and not all of them are safe for children. But if I have a chance to share this with someone, I will.
Although the movie isn’t a perfect adaptation, The Queen of Hearts is not The Red Queen, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum appear in Through the Looking Glass. However, it also captures the essence of Lewis Carrol’s work.
It’s the birth of nonsense writing and is full of fantastical things!
Ten and a half years is a long time to wait for an anime to finish adapting a manga. But Bleach is worth waiting for. But I’ve already read most of the manga, so I’m waiting till I can watch it legally.
As for why I got into Bleach, it was Adult Swim, and I fell in love with the characters, music, humor, and fighting. Supernatural teens dealing with everyday problems while trying to stay alive is a dime a dozen.
Bleach isn’t the first anime I’ve seen do this, but it remains dear to my heart. And out of all the animated movies I’ve seen, Bleach holds two of my favorites.
Fade to Black and Hellverse are excellent and fit the narrative perfectly. Welcome back, Ichigo. Now get on my screen!
Like with Alice in Wonderland, I saw the movie before I knew there was a book. Neil Gamon is a mad genius who has haunted my brain with one burning question.
What is the Other Mother? I’ve spent hours on YouTube pouring over theories and explanations, but no one has given me a satisfactory answer.
I know she’s a witch or some magical being. That’s obvious. I want to know why she is stuck under an apartment building that no longer allows children to live in it?
Can the hand climb out of the well, and is Coraline safe? Did she escape into the real world, or is she still the Other Mother’s prisoner? And it turns out the movie could have been creepier if they stuck to the book.
Why didn’t they make a faithful adaptation of the book?
It’s still in production, and I haven’t heard anything about the plot. But I’m eager to see what new adventures Coraline will get into!
I still don’t understand some of the censoring done to this anime. Invisible guns are only scary when they shoot real bullets, and someone being punched isn’t that shocking.
But I love the original Yu-Gi-Oh! It still hurts, knowing that Kazuki Takahashi is no longer with us. He didn’t just give us an outstanding series and card game.
He gave us a way to view different cultures together through games. Rest In Peace, Mr. Takahashi.
This is probably the first anime I stayed up to watch every Saturday. Unfortunately, like Bleach, Inuyasha had to take a break while the manga finished.
I love the dynamic between the characters, and Naraku is one of my favorite villains. Something about the white bamboo pelt and the way he talks sets me on edge.
And so far, none of the villains in Yashime: Half-Demon Princess compares to him.
I love Tigger. I don’t know how old I was when The Tigger Movie came out, but I loved it! Something about watching a storybook come to life with talking animals soothes me.
Winnie-the-Pooh is a timeless classic and will be on my shelf forever!
Hetalia: Axis Powers
If this isn’t an international anime, I don’t know what is. You have the nations in human form making jokes, being their stereotypical selves, as seen across the world, and it’s educational.
Hetalia is also very short. Each episode is about five minutes and covers several moments in history. It’s the reason I started learning German.
And I started learning Japanese, and once I’ve mastered these, I plan to move on to Russian, and who knows what else will strike me. Hetalia makes me want to learn about the world, and I live for Prussia!
Winne-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey
I didn’t think this was real when I first heard about it. I’m unsure how I feel about Pooh and Piglet being turned into killers, but I plan to watch it.
I don’t know if there’s any animation involved, but it’s a perfect example of what happens when classic characters fall into the public domain. But, of course, this is fair game since the characters don’t look like the Disney versions.
And as luck would have it, it’s coming out in theaters on October 20, 2022. The day before my birthday. Maybe I’ll visit a movie theater as a present to myself.
Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Judar is stuck in my brain and won’t leave me alone! I recently discovered that his English voice actor also voiced Italy from Hetalia! The manga has been completed since 2017, yet the anime still hasn’t finished adapting it.
If you enjoy Arabian Nights, this will be a fun series. Just keep your eye on Sinbad and hide the alcohol and women. And food, unless you don’t mind watching stomachs grow to the size of a balloon.