Anime: Japan’s Unique Animation Art Form

Compiled by: Zen Lynch

A pretty woman is staring at us with a smile.

While anime in the western world has been seen as a small part of entertainment, in Japan it has an incredibly large following. Some directors and artists have broken through to the Western world like Japan’s legendary animator, Hayao Miyazaki, His animated films and many others from studio Ghibli have become staples of many American children’s childhoods. I watched many of his films as a child myself and still hold them near and dear to my heart. My mom, dad, and I were first introduced to anime through his 2001 fantasy film “Spirited Away”.  Anime in general has a wide following though. There are entire streets dedicated to anime and manga where fans from around the world can experience their favorite shows up close and personal. One of my favorite anime is “Attack on Titan”. I am currently watching season three and I cannot wait to visit some of these places. Below are some of our favorite anime attractions and experiences in Tokyo:

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Suginami Animation Museum & Nakano Broadway

At this museum, you can learn about the history of animation and how it developed. You will also have the chance to do a voice-over and learn how to draw animations. Afterward, visit Nakano Broadway, which has many old school anime and idol shops for fans.

A set of cute anime girls illustrations in various clothes doing different activities with different expressions. Stickers or badges

Toei Animation Museum

This museum was founded by the leading producer of anime series and movies, including animated versions of popular manga such as Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon.

Tokyo akihabara night

Akihabara District of Tokyo

The renaissance of Akiba, as itis affectionately known, has taken place over the past few years, thanks to a steady stream of new developments and infrastructure improvements. In 2005, the Tsukuba Express train line opened a station in Akihabara, linking the electronics town to Tsukuba, the scientific research hub of Japan located in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. But the main attraction for most visitors is the gleaming, massiveYodobashi Camera Multimedia Akiba, which has the honor of being the country’s largest electronics store. The shop has a dizzying array of products on nine floors, spread out over 23,000 sq. meters (about 247,000 sq. feet) of floor space. One could easily spend an entire day browsing, provided the blinking lights and the store’s theme song, which loops endlessly (in tune to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) does not cause vertigo. The influence of Japanese pop culture has spread its tentacles throughout Akihabara, with most electronics shops now offering manga, figurines, and game software, along with the standard assortment of hardware. On weekends, the main street is closed to traffic, and teenagers and young adults gleefully roam the streets in costumes mimicking characters from their favorite manga, otherwise known as “cosplay” (costume play) in Japan.

Anime Japan Expo

Held annually in March, this event attracts over 100,000 people every year. Fans gather here to get a sneak peek at what’s to come in the anime world and also to score event-exclusive merchandise.

Robot Restaurant

One of the most eclectic shows in Japan, a truly unique and memorable live performance filled with loud music and lasers. Click on the video above to get a taste of this unique experience.

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TeamLab Digital Art Museum

Japan’s art collective, teamLab is behind the world’s first digital art museum. The museum is split into five zones and the art is meant to dissolve the boundary between artwork and visitor through an interactive experience. The digital artwork is powered by 530 computers and 470 projectors that cause the works to transform physical space through graphics, color, and light. The various zones include Borderless World, Athletics Forest, Future Park, Forest of Lamps, and EN Tea House. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the art.

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