The Creator of Anime (Who Is Anime’s Mastermind?)

Anime is short for Animation in Japanese. Manga and Anime are the most recognized cultural gift from Japan to the world. With its distinctive aesthetic and art styles, Anime can never go unnoticed in the eyes of an art lover.

Osamu Tezuka is usually credited as the godfather of anime. He drew his inspirations from Walt Disney and is often referred to as the Walt Disney of Japan. However, credits have also been given to Shimokawa Oten, Kouchi Junichi, and Kitayama Seitaro as the fathers of anime.

Although some people may confuse this art form with cartoons, It is more than that. Modern Anime has touched almost all genres of entertainment gaining popularity among all age groups. But when did it all start? Who created Anime? Let’s find out!

What is Anime?

The art style associated with anime is distinct and easily determined.

Large eyes, wild hair, long arms and legs, and other characteristics are undoubtedly familiar to you. This exaggerated design helps the characters express themselves more freely, which is abundant in anime.

Dramatic closeups and zooms, rich lighting, and brilliant colors all contribute to the anime’s emotional atmosphere. Aside from its distinctive visual aspect, anime has won over audiences with its rich characters and interesting plotlines.

The Anime Production Process

Anime is technically identical to animation created in Western culture. However, it takes a significant amount of time and action. Stories must be written, storyboarded, workshopped, animated, voiced, and animated.

This time-consuming procedure might take months, if not years, to complete. These projects are normally completed by a team of artists who are overseen by a director.

Even with modern technology that allows artists to create animation with digital tools, anime remains a difficult form to produce. Digital technology has pushed the creative bounds of what these films can look like by using lighting techniques and other techniques, but it has not diminished the artists’ efforts.

When did Anime begin?

Anime can be traced back to the early 1900s

The History of Anime and Manga goes back to the early 90s, animated reels sowed the seeds of Anime in the 90s. Chalkboard drawings or directly Painting on the films or paper cutouts were used as early production techniques, later upgraded with sound, color, and Cel animation techniques, known as the “fathers” of Anime, Oten Shimokawa, Jun’ichi Kuchi, and Seitaro Kitayama. They were among the first generation of animators working in the late 1910s.

Since we know that Anime is short for animations in Japanese, the first-ever Animated production was released in 1971. Japanese animations started as reels but most of them were dismantled during the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. The remaining got lost or destroyed during the World War I bombings and didn’t even see the light of the day.

The initial animated reels were not like the Anime we see today there were no colors, sound, and cel animation. Most of them had only 5 minutes of run time and animators used chalkboard drawing which they would erase and redraw during cuts and retakes. A great example is Deboko Shingacho’s Picture bookFailure of a Great Plan” which was released in February 1917.

They also used “Benshi“- storytellers who narrate the story standing by the screen. Although these reels were way different than what we see on our screens now, they were the beginning of a Revolution.

Until 1921, Oten Shimokawa and Jun’ichi Kuchi worked in these companies. But in 1921 they bid farewell to animated reels and decided to establish their own Anime studio. Unfortunately, these productions did not do well in the industry and were shut down by the end of the decade.

Anime did not come into the spotlight until the end of WWII. The productions in the early 1930s were either commercially oriented or just a type of government propaganda.

What was the first-ever Anime?

After the failure of Anime in the 1920s Kenzo Masako led the revival of Anime with the first-ever anime feature film “Chikara To Onna no Yo no Naka”-Within the world of power & women in 1933.

In 1934, the first cel-animated Anime “Chagam Ondo“-The dance of the Chagamas was released. Cel animation was way better than chalkboard drawings and paper cutouts but it needed money.

Sadly, there were no investors or any capital. So the animators and production companies asked the government for help which led to the scheme of spreading government propaganda through Anime. During World War II, many propaganda movies saw the day of light one of them was Momotaro: Umi no Shinpei.

Toei Animations

In 1948 the Japanese animation’s revival starts and this is where Toei comes into the Picture. In 1956 Toei Animations started colored Anime films, inspired by Walt Disney’s Movies. The first full-length colored Anime Film released in 1958 was named “Hakujaden-The tale of the white Serpents” with a run time of 78 minutes.

Toei’s Shōnen Sarutobi Sasuke released in 1959 was the first Theatrical release in the US by MGM in 1961. Hakujaden also became an Anime export to the west, 3 years after its release in 1961. But this can also be considered a half-truth too Because Japanese Animators had been sending their works and reels abroad for a long time. Because they thought it would be appreciated there as well.

But their work did not make a mark in the West until the release of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. Kurosawa brought the world’s attention to the Japanese entertainment industry.

One thing that made Anime gain the spotlight was the shift to television. Before getting to the TV you either had to be very rich or just had to hit the theatres to watch Anime.

Toei brought the mainstream Anime shows to Television including the adaptation of Mitsuteru Yokoyama’s popular manga: Sally the Witch. Tetsujin 28-Go (story of Kid with the giant Robot) was also brought to the TV by Toei’s and TCJ’s collective efforts. Another influential work of Ditto Shotaro Ishinomori “Cyborg 009” also became a part of Toei’s franchise.

Cyborg 009: Legend of the Super Galaxy 1980
Cyborg 009: Legend of the Super Galaxy 1980

Who created Anime?

Some may infer that Shimokawa Oten, Kouchi Junichi, and Kitayama Seitaro were the creators of Anime. Even though there were a lot of Animators in the early 90s working on this Art Form.

The true Godfather of Anime remains Osamu Tezuka. Considered the Walt Disney of Japan, Tezuka is the mastermind of anime and the founder of modern Anime in its true sense. He gave Anime more substance by using his imagination and drawing influence from Walt Disney.

He started out as a manga artist in the late 60s and created more than 700 Titles and 150,000 hand drawings. He was an exceptional Anime creator with 60 Anime series under his name. His first work was the immensely popular manga Astro Boy, Which he eventually turned into an Anime series.

Astro Boy is a story of a robot with human feelings made by Umataro Tenma following the passing of his son. Its manga was published in 1952 and the Anime series aired in 1963. It feels surreal watching the original version.

Astro Boy is one of Tezuka’s creations that is inspired by Disney.

Just by seeing this clip, you can tell that Tezuka took inspiration from Disney which is pretty interesting to me. But with his tight animation techniques and adaptation, Tezuka opened the doors to the adaptation methods that are still in use today. And the succeeding generations made further enhancements, allowing Anime to “grow” and develop into what it is today. Some of Tezuka’s Valuable works are:

  • Black Jack
  • Kimba the White Lion
  • Phoenix
  • Dororo
  • Ayako
  • Buddha
  • Apollo’s Song

He was once asked to be the art designer for 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick (though Tezuka had to decline the proposal as he had too much work to do in Japan). And that is all there is to know about the person who created anime.

Is Anime originally from Japan?

Spirited Away
Anime usually comes from Japan.

Anime may seem an extended version of cartoons, And many believe that Japanese Anime originates from Western cartoons. But here’s something you should know.

The world’s first animated film “COHL: FANTASMAGORIE” was released in 1908, whereas Japan already had produced a 3-second film in 1907 called Katsudo Shashin. And at the end of 1910 Oten, Junichi, and Seitaro were revealed to be the first generation of Japanese animators/Filmmakers. they were later considered the forefathers of Japanese animations.

Anime is more than just Japanese adaptations of American cartoons, though. They differ greatly in many ways. First off, unlike most American cartoons, Anime doesn’t cater only to children. Its topics go well beyond the kid-friendly ones found in American cartoons. You may discover vast themes in Anime for a variety of interests, including humor, romance, action, and science fiction.

Some Recommendations

If you are starting out as a beginner in the Anime world you can watch these series:

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop has a Netflix-produced live-action.
  • Genre: Space Western
  • Release: 1998-2001
  • Episodes:26

The plot revolves around a motley crew of bounty hunters known as cowboys aboard the spacecraft “Bebop.

Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy Drama
  • Release: 2009-2012
  • Episodes: 64

Following the death of their mother from a severe illness, two young brothers, attempt to resurrect her using alchemy (a technique to change a physical substance from one form to another).

Death Note

  • Genre: Crime Drama
  • Release: 2006-2007
  • Episodes: 37

A story about an intelligent student Light Yagami who goes on a clandestine mission to rid the world of criminals. After discovering a notebook capable of killing anybody whose name is scribbled into it.


  • Anime is short for Animation in Japanese. Before full-length Films and series Anime Started out as short reels using Chalkboards and paper cutouts.
  • Toei was the first production Company to bring Full-length Anime series to the world and on the TV screens.
  • Osamu Tezuka is the Godfather of Anime, He not only made anime as a way of coping with the great depression in post-war Japan but also popularized Anime worldwide.
Scroll to Top
Skip to content