This list collects essential examples of japanese animation threw history and follows the goal to provide an overview and a better understanding of Anime.
also added are Anime influenced US productions or life-action remakes.
not on mubi marked with the letter M.
in some cases a film with a later date stands for a series produced earlier.
links go to a video of the named film/topic.
I’m very open for corrections and additions.
sorry for different japanese spelling styles (sometimes I use ō, sometimes o).
// FIRST GENERATION — BEFORE 1928 //
1907 Katsudou Shashin, Unknown Artist, M
oldest existing japanese animation / 3 sec / 50 frames / loop
a boy writes the kanji characters “活動写真” = “katsudō shashin” = “moving picture” on a board/wall and than turns to the viewer to tip his hat
// SECOND GENERATION — AFTER THE GREAT KANTO EARTHQUAKE 1923 //
1929 Mura Matsuri (The Village Festival, Harvest Festival), Noburo Ofuji, M
Dancing and celebration.
♥ 1932 Chameko no Ichinichi (Chameko’s Day), Kiyoji Nishikura, M
(slice of live, education)
The story follows the day of a school girl. Her breakfast, her toothpaste, the schoolbus or her pencils – all is in magical interaction with her. As she gets good grades she goes out to a film-theater with her family.
1933 Ugokie Kori no Tatehiki, ?? Artist, M
A human wanders in the nights. Two raccoons and one fox start a magical shapeshifting battle.
1935 Danemon ban: The Monster Exterminator, Yoshitaro Kataoka
(Hero, Horror, Samurai, Fantasy)
Based on the actual historical figure of Naoyuki Ban (1567-1615), the hero of this short anime attempts to rid a haunted castle.
1936 Chinkoroheihei to tamatebako (Chinkoroheibei and the Treasure Box), Noburô Ôfuji
A cute pup named Heihei is disturbed from his sleep by a turtle, and chases it into the sea, where he stumbles across a large aquatic palace ruled over by a giant fish king, in a work that is, by turns, comical, surreal and grotesque.
1939 Benkei Tai Ushiwaka (Benkei and Ushiwaka), Kenzo Mosaoka
Based on a legend, Benkai (a worrior priest) is on a quest to collect 1000 samurai swords. For the final sword, he encounters Ushikawa (Minamoto no Yoshitsune) on Kyoto’s Gojo Bridge
// WORLD WAR II — 1939–1945 //
1943 Momotarō no Umiwashi, Mitsuyo Seo
war propaganda for children
1945 Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei, Mitsuyo Seo
first full feature length Anime / war propaganda for children
// STUDIOS EMERGING //
“Japanese Animation Studio” founded / 1956 this studio will be bought by “Toei Animation” with Osamu Tezuka, who later left and founded “Mushi Production” (the Studio which produced “Astro Boy” in 1961) //
1958 Hakujaden, Taiji Yabushita, Kazuhiko Okabe
first full color feature length Anime
1959 Ou sama ni Natta Kitsune, ??, M
a stop motion puppet film
1961 Otogi Manga Calander (Instant History), Ryuichi Yokoyama, M
first Anime TV series / about History / mixed media
// 1960s — GENRES EMERGING //
“Astro Boy” is considered to shape the genre of “Mecha” / “Sally the Witch” as the first “Magical Girl” / “Shōjo” and “Shōnen”
1963 Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka
first narrative series / shapes the mecha genre (robot anime)
a strong robot-boy
1963 Tetsujin 28-go, ??, M
series / also shapes the mecha genre (robot anime)
“Gigantor” is the American adaptation of the anime version of Tetsujin 28-go. As in many other known cases, also in this adaption, the characters’ original names were altered and the original series’ violence was toned down for American viewers.
1965 Janguru Taitei (Kimba the white Lion), Manga written by Osamu Tezuka, produced by Mushi Production
series / (nature, peace, animals) / first color animated television series created in Japan
Leo/Kimba the lion soon learns that only communication and mutual understanding between animals and humans will bring true peace.
1966 Mahōtsukai Sarī (Sally the Witch), Manga written by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, directed by Toshio Katsuta/ Hiroshi Ikeda, produced by Toei Animation, M
series / (nature, peace, animals) / knwon as first “magical girls” and “Shōjo” genre
Sally is the witch princess of the Magic Kingdom. One day, by mistake Sally teleports to the “mid world” (Earth), where she uses her magic to fend off a couple of burglars menacing two schoolgirls …
1966 Cyborg 009, Manga written by Shotaro Ishinomori, directed by Yugo Serikawa, produced by Toei Animation, M
(TV-series, mecha, shōnen) / also very popular worldwide
// 1968 Tezuka Leaves Mushi Prodctions to work on private projects / 1973 Mushi Prodctions close and opens up again on 1977 //
more to come soon