Anime is originally from Japan. Over the years, it has acquired an enormous following garnering many fans globally. The top movies have beautiful and complex themes which are a fusion of Japanese culture and everyday occurrences. But, what was the first anime ever created?
Anime TV series first found popularity in the early 1900s and have continued to find larger audiences in Japan and beyond. Several famous anime shows originating in Japan have found enthusiastic audiences for dubbed versions in English speaking countries creating a global love for these films.
10 oldest anime ever created in chronological order
The world of animation is constantly evolving, and many fans want to evolve with it. But, what was the first anime ever created? Here is a list of the top 10 oldest anime ever created in chronological order.
1. Namakura Gatana – 1917
- English title: The Dull Sword
- Year founded: 1917
- Director: Junichi Kouchi
What was the first anime ever made? Namakura Gatana was the first-ever anime created. Unfortunately, the animated film was lost until one of the copies was re-discovered in 2008. This re-discovery took place with the help of a visual culture historian, Natsuki Matsumoto. He owns the nitrite positive of the film.
Immediately after the 2008 discovery of the film, many people thought it was similar to the original film. However, they were all proven wrong after a newer nitrate was uncovered in 2014. This newer nitrate features the first half with Matsumoto featuring the second half.
2. Urashima Tarō – 1918
- English title: Urashima Tarō
- Year founded: 1918
- Director: Seitaro Kitayama
Urashima Taro is one of the two anime arts discovered in 2008 in an antique shop in Osaka Japan alongside Namakura Gatana (The Dull Sword). The short silent anime is based on the Japanese folktale about a fisherman. It showcases his venture travelling the underwater world while riding on a turtle.
3. Kyoikuotogimanga Usagi to Kame – 1924
- English Title: The Hare and the Tortoise
- Year founded: 1924
- Director: Sanae Yamamoto
The Hare and the Tortoise is one of the first anime ever created. It was one of Sanae Yamamoto’s earliest works and was produced by Seitaro Kitayama. When was anime made? It was created in 1924. The six-minute film is based on the classic story of the Hare and Tortoise.
The art of the film features a simple technique. It only used lines and unique backgrounds that look like they are from another country rather than the traditional landscapes used in old Japanese folk tales.
4. Kyoikusenga Ubasuteyama – 1925
- English title: Ubasuteyama
- Year founded: 1925
- Director: Sanae Yamamoto
Kyoikusenga Ubasauteyama is one of the earliest anime that was well-received by the Japanese. The 18 minutes long film narrates the story of a lord who dwelt in Shinano Province. He hates old people and thus when anyone turns 60 years; they are exiled to live alone on the island. Luckily, a young man convinces him to stop and agrees to treat them with respect.
After its release, the film sold close to 100 prints. The social Education Division of Japan's Ministry of Education purchased the film and also made the producer a temporary employee in the Ministry of Education. While working there Yamamoto released numerous other educational movies.
5. Senga Tsubo – 1925
- English title: The Pot
- Year founded: 1925
- Director: Sanae Yamamoto
Commonly known as The Pot, Senga Tsubo is one of the most popular anime. It was one of Yamamoto's releases while working for the Ministry of Education. The film is a combination of two stories, The Fisherman and the Genie from The Arabian Nights and The Lion and the Fox from Machiavelli's The Prince.
6. Kemurigusa Monogatari – 1926 (possibly 1924)
- English title: A Story of Tobacco
- Year founded: 1926 (possibly 1924)
- Director: Noburo Ofuji
Kemurigusa Monogatari is one of the first manga from the 1920s. While the original film was six minutes long, the surviving version of, A Story of Tobacco is only three minutes. Even though the production is dated to 1926 many believe it was created in 1924.
7. Sarukanigassen – 1927
- English title: Monkey and the Crabs
- Year founded: 1927
- Director: Yasuji Murata
Sarukanigassen was one of the first and oldest anime ever created by Yasuji Murata. His character acted as the inspiration behind Dainippon Yubenkai Kodansha’s Monkey and the Crabs (1937), a picture book by Sengai Igawa. The film is a story of a sneaky monkey that kills a crab but is later killed in revenge by the crab's children.
The existing film is five minutes long which is a shorter version of the original movie. The newer version cut out the scene where the monkey tricks the crab into exchanging its ball of rice for the monkey's persimmon seeds.
8. Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka – 1933
- English title: Within the World of Power and Women
- Year founded: 1933
- Director: Kenzo Masaoka
Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka is one of the first Japanese films of any type to feature voiceovers. It was released in 1933 in black and white. However, there are no known prints of the film available thus it is considered a lost film. Regardless, the 12th Japan Media Arts Festival listed it as one of the Best of Best.
9. Hakujaden – 1958
- English title: The Tale of the White Serpent
- Year founded: 1958
- Director: Toei
Hakujaden is the first colour anime feature film. It was one of the first three films released in America under the title, Panda and the Magic Serpent. In April 2019, a restored version of this anime was chosen to be showcased in the Cannes Classic section during the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.
10. Tetsuwan Atom – 1959
- English title: Astro Boy
- Year founded: 1959
- Director: Tezuka and Mushi
Commonly known as Astro Boy, Tetsuwan Atom is one of the first Japanese manga series. It is one of the most successful manga and anime franchises in the world. In addition, it has become Tezuka's most famous creation.
The combined 23 tankōbon volumes have sold over 100 million copies worldwide, making it the director's best-selling manga and one of the best-selling manga series of all time.
- How many animes are there? There are more than 6,000 anime produced and over 3,200 films are aired on TV.
- Who first started anime? The first film was created in late 1916 or early 1917 by Shimokawa Oten.
- Is anime a cartoon? Yes, all anime shows are cartoons even though not all cartoons are anime.
- Why do anime characters have big eyes? They have big eyes so that they can convey emotions easily.
- What was the first anime? The first film was Namakura Gatana (The Dull Sword) released in 1917.
- What was the first anime studio? The first film studio was Toei Animation which adapted the various manga.
- Is the Boondocks an anime? Yes, the art style of the Boondocks is undeniable anime.
What was the first anime? The first anime released was Namakura Gatana in 1971. However, over the years, the anime style has grown so popular all over the world. It has started to significantly influence the style and aesthetics of American animation.
Yen.com.gh shared an interesting article about the top 10 wonderful anime food ideas you should try. The amount of detail and attention that animators give to anime food can sometimes turn the lousiest nitpicker into a foodie.
In almost every series or movie, you will see the main character or yandere chowing down on a bowl of ramen or taking a bite out of a rice ball. With so many foods to choose from, what should a fan (or non-fan) try first? Check out this article for more information.