Old Anime vs New Anime Which one is better?

We can effectively draw the line between old anime and new anime at the turn of the century in the year 2000. Why? This is because the year 2000 was the revolutionary time period where animation became computerized. Before this, all anime created was painted by hand on cels. Early anime can be seen taking form in the 20th century, it began as a government subsidized movement to create and push propaganda ideologies at the time. It featured very basic animation with still backgrounds and minimal movement.

Stylistic Evolution

At this time, Japanese animation studios were far behind its American counterparts such as Disney, still the debut of Astro Boy in the 1960s can be seen as the stylistic kickstart for anime in Japan, drawn with minimal detail in complex areas like elbows and joints with more focus on his belt and hair, this made it easier to draw him and allowed animators to focus on his eyes to express emotion. This was also the beginning of the stylistic preference that largely dominates anime even today.

Astro Boy

In the next 15 years, anime took a drastic leap forward with the introduction of color, this allowed animators to be more expressive and dynamic with their backgrounds can be first seen in the popular show Kimba the Lion. Character design, the fluidity of movement and details all increased and began to add to the quality of anime being produced and it is safe to say that between this time and that of computerization of anime in the year 2000, many animes have been produced that have been considered timeless, works of art and are considered to be masterpieces even today.

Kimba the Lion

Drawing quality

Fast forward to the present and pretty much all anime is drawn on paper and scanned into computers to be digitally colored. This has produced anime with complex & original artwork that has been a main factor in the genres notorious rise to fame outside Japan. That does not mean that beautiful anime with shading textures and complex styles cannot exist in old anime, however, its simply took more time, skill and budget which resulted in only a few studios being able to produce them. Even the quality of artwork in new animes are still subject to certain constraints such as skill, budget, and deadlines that play a large role in the visual quality of an anime.

Shingeki no Kyojin

Plot-line Quality

To say that ‘Old anime’ had better or more complex storylines would be an unfair and inaccurate statement. Good storylines can be found in both counterparts however if you look a little deeper you will realize that there is a recurring trend in the industry, the release of anime with creative, original and daring storylines (often considered true to the essence of what anime) correlates with the performance of the Japanese economy.

Creating anime is a very expensive and laborious process, during an economic downturn it is very tempting for studios to pick mangas which are already performing well and to animate those even before they are over to ‘strike while the iron is hot’ and make maximum use of the hype. This is a safe route for the studio to make good content that will ensure success and profits. Likewise, it is apparent that during times of an upward trending economy, the studios are more accommodating and allow for more creative freedom for their creators. Some of the anime genres best work will come out at this time as can be seen with pieces like ‘Girl with angel egg’, which may not have ever seen the light of day otherwise.

Girl with angel egg

Its easy to tell when its been a good year for Japanese anime, If you look closely you will see that during a bad year majority of the anime to be released will be continuations of existing shows or sequels to past movies, such as in 2015 when 32.5% of the new anime released were all continuations. In comparison to 2005 when only 13% of the new anime released were continuations.

You can see how it is difficult to make a broad statement such as new anime is better than old anime or vise verse. New anime definitely have better quality animation on its side but in recent times all the classic anime that are still considered a masterpiece are being reworked into HD quality, this in itself is a testament to how impressive they are!

I think is fair to say that there is a recurring rise and fall good anime in the industry and we can begin to identify a trend where the prosperity of the country, its people and the businesses behind our beloved and iconic genre of anime can play a definitive role in the quality of work produced, regardless of the time.

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