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Anime movies and their legacy to the West

With each passing day, anime becomes bigger and bigger in every corner of the world. The Japanese animation has been on a constant upwards ascent ever since the early 90’s, when series like Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing and Pokémon started making their way into the hearts of the western civilization.

As a matter of fact, during the era of growth of traditional anime series, there was also a huge rise in popularity of anime movies. Some of these movies are based on existing stories (which already had their own anime series before being released), but some are completely unique and offer a new story which had never been seen in any animated feature before.

One of the first anime films to become influential outside Japan was Akira, a 1988 film which became massively popular in its country of origin. Although the movie didn’t really have instant worldwide popularity, it started gathering more and more fans as the years passed. Its impact inside the Japanese culture could be easily compared with western classics like Casablanca.

As the years passed and watching anime became less of a cliché hobby in the western world, many more movies were released and their impact was immediate. The first Pokémon movie is a prime example of this phenomenon: thousands of children in Europe and the Americas, who were already fans of the show, went to their local theatres to enjoy Mewtwo’s debut on the big screen.
Another widely influential Japanese movie that had a huge impact in Europe and the western world was Spirited Away (also known as Chihiro’s Journey), a mythical film which massively changed the perception of anime in the early 2000’s.

From then on, many other movies have been released. Recent blockbusters like Your Name have made their way into filmic history, while other movies like Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods have brought a new generation of fans into a legendary franchise.

Success hasn’t always been a given, though – especially with live action films. For example, Netflix’s recent attempt at making a Death Note movie ended in catastrophic failure. Nevertheless, not every anime live action movie has proven to be bad – GantZ still stands as one of the best anime live action adaptations to this day.

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