- 国際日本学 = INTERNATIONAL JAPANESE STUDIES (ISSN:18838596)
- vol.6, pp.181-202, 2009-03-31
Tezuka Osamu, the figure who first established the fundamentals of Japanese “story manga,” is regarded as a god in the manga industry. He also had a great influence on animation. One of his major accomplishments, a revolutionary development in the field, was the production of Tetsuwan Atom (1963, Mushi Productions), the first domestic feature animation produced expressly for television broadcast. His continued work as the pioneer of Japanese television animation culminated in his Jungle Emperor Leo, the first color animation broadcast on television throughout the world.What did animation mean to Tezuka? He has left us with a very strong statement: “… my dream and passion belong to animation. That’s why I became a comic book writer.” (“Son shita toki, toku shita toki,” Asahi Shinbun, April 2, 1979). In fact, he invested a tremendous amount of his own wealth in establishing the animation production studio Mushi Productions in 1962, and in producing numerous animations, while managing his busy schedule to continue writing comic books. What, then, did he want to express through these animations? Some critics point out that he was heavily influenced by Walt Disney, and that he was simply imitating Disney’s works. Even in his first experimental animations, however, it can be argued that this is certainly not the case. Rather, his unique ideas were displayed in various ways. It might be more suitable to postulate that his works appeared similar to those of Walt Disney since contemporary animation techniques were unable to express fully what he meant to express.Taking this in account, here I focus on and analyze the expressive techniques in his animations. By analyzing his fourteen experimental animations, I conclude that he was not limited to certain techniques; his works display both pre-war and post-war techniques, traditional and original ideas, and newly created techniques. Previously, existing animations were the only source for studying animation techniques because few books were published on the topic. While it is evident that Tezuka incorporated many of Disney’s techniques, Disney was not his only source. He incorporated ideas from other animations and even from comic books; he basically used any technique available that could be applied to animation. His animations were a venue for him to explore new ideas using traditional animation as a foundation.