Japan is known to be the powerhouse of anime for decades. Anime is a form of animated entertainment deeply embedded in the culture and history of Japan. Over the years, it has captivated audiences worldwide and has become a symbol of Japanese creativity and innovation. However, no matter how deeply rooted anime is in the country, anime luminary reveals that it may lose its crown against China.
The existence of anime in the industry can be traced back to the mid to late 90s. However, it was only during the early 20th century when Japanese artists and producers started to include animation techniques in their work which were inspired by Western animation styles. But, even with Japan’s success in the anime industry, anime luminary, Masao Maruyama, warned that it may lose its spot to China in as quickly as it rose to popularity.
China Overtaking the Anime Industry
In a recent interview, Masao Maruyama revealed highlighted that Japan is gradually declining in the aspect of anime. Chinese entertainment is believed to be conservative and frequently limits their artists from fully expressing themselves due to the rules that are imposed. According to Maruyama, this is the very reason why Chinese anime have not still caught up with the powerhouse.
He highlighted that if certain restrictions in the anime industry of China will be disregarded or lifted, then it will result in the artists unleashing their full potential rivaling those in Japan.
In Japan, people are no longer trained in animation.
The only reason China hasn’t quite caught up with Japan yet is because of a bunch of restrictions imposed on free expression there. … If more freedom is unleashed, Japan will be overtaken in no time.Masao Maruyama
Chinese anime, more popularly known as donghua has been around in the industry as long as Japan’s anime. Chinese animation’s popularity continues to rise today, whether in China or the international setting. Like in Japan, there has been a massive increase in both the production and consumption of donghua content. Audiences in and outside China have shown their interest in donghua films and series, leading to the rise of donghua fans.
This growing interest and love for Chinese animation can support the recent statements of Maruyama. He even added that Japanese anime has been too focused on profit and sales. Instead of focusing on the true meaning and purpose behind producing animes and enhancing the skills of the incoming generation, Japanese artists and producers are now more interested in portraying cute female characters to keep the shows in bringing in more money for the company.
Maruyama emphasized that the people behind the anime industry in Japan have long forgotten that their top priority should be in fostering the talent of the next generation. This is because even China has taken this challenge and is aggressively investing in young animators to be able to ensure the future donghua content.
Hence, as a known anime luminary, it wouldn’t harm for people behind Japanese anime to take Maruyama’s advice to heart and start to be more serious in honing future animators or artists. If this will happen, then the chances of other countries overtaking the current crown jewel of anime will be lessened.
About Masao Mayamura
Masao Maruyama is a distinguished figure in Japan’s animation industry. Before achieving such success, Maruyama’s career in the industry started in the 1960s. He used to work for Mushi Production, a studio founded by the God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka. Maruyama’s skills and intellect gave him the opportunity to play a significant role in the production of Tezuka’s works, namely Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion.
Today, Masao Maruyama is a highly-recognized anime producer and entrepreneur. He is considered a protege of the late God of Manga, Osamu Tezuka.
His experiences in the field made it possible for him to reach unimaginable success allowing him to become well-known in the industry as a respected producer and co-founder of the animation studio Madhouse.
It was in the year 1972 that he co-founded Madhouse, which is now known today as one of the most critically acclaimed animation studios due to the visually stunning and creative shows it has produced in the past years. Without the exceptional leadership skill of Maruyama, this would not have been possible. In the years he spent as part of the company, he has produced plenty of popular anime series and shows and built connections with influential international partners.
Some popular and well-loved animes produced by Madhouse are Death Note, One Punch Man, Perfect Blue, and Hunter x Hunter.
Masao Maruyama has also received several awards aimed in recognizing or acknowledging his contributions to the anime industry, including the Anime Expo Lifetime and Achievement Awards.
His mission to give anime fans the best of the best continues. This is because Masao no longer just handles single studios. His experience and knowledge in the field also allowed him to establish one of the most popular animating studios today, MAPPA, as well as, Studio M2.
MAPPA, or Maruyama Animation Produce Project Association, quickly rose to fame and business due to its back-to-back high-quality production of shows. Under his supervision as the company’s chairman, award-winning animes such as Yuri on Ice, Attack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen, Dororo, and Kakegurui have been produced.
Masao Maruyama’s advice for the anime producers like him should not be overlooked. As the chairman of MAPPA, the animes that the company has been producing over the years definitely show his mission. Like most, he wants to provide the audience with the best through high-quality animations. However, what makes him different is that his priority does not only focus on the target maker.
Maruyama wants the best for the industry as a whole. He wants the future of Japanese anime to live long and for Japan to continuously prosper as the powerhouse of anime. Thus, focusing on the audience’s preferences or the money will never be the choice. This is because if people behind the scenes truly want Japanese anime to continue its legacy then honing the young generation’s talent is the best choice.
Masao Maruyama shows dedication and passion for anime on a whole other level. His highly respectable position in the industry is a testament to his ability to always push himself and the people around him beyond their artistic boundaries in order to give nothing but the best to their viewers around the globe.
Will Dongua Take Over the Anime Industry?
Unfortunately, the answer to that is not something that one can simply answer with a yes or no. The future for the anime industry is not that easy to predict, specifically with the rise of other forms of entertainment. Japanese animation is indeed in the lead in providing high-quality, engaging, and positively addictive shows. However, this doesn’t mean that it will always maintain its spot.
It is not only Chinese animation or donghua that should be of concern. With the rise of technology, other entertainment industry from various countries can also take advantage of it and starts to follow in the footsteps of Japanese animation.
But as of now, donghua is truly the form of entertainment that can possibly rival anime if its growth and popularity continue. However, this doesn’t give assurance anything, for the popularity of anime is still way ahead of its competitors.
Japanese animation has been around for many decades. It has managed to build an empire in the entertainment industry, specifically with the presence of its dedicated consumers. The anime industry is known for its reputation for producing high-quality shows created by brilliant animators, authors, and renowned studios.
The series and films portrayed in anime shows also give their audience a full-on experience of the Japanese culture. This makes anime more known globally, much like the goal of donghua shows.
Though donghua has also been around for quite some time, it is considered to be a more recent form of entertainment. This is because of the popularity that it is gaining today, particularly in China. However, this is still not enough for them to overtake Japanese animation.
Donghua still has a long way to go. But it can definitely caught up to its competitor if the creators behind these shows keep doing what they are doing. For now, it is safe to say that even with donghua’s increase in sales and popularity internationally speaking, unfortunately, anime still has a more extensive market, making it difficult for others to catch up.
However, this can conversation on who shall take over who is still too early to discuss about. With the high demand for entertainment, such as TV series and movies, there is room for every existing form. Besides, the preference of an audience is not limited to what a specific country produces. The best thing about the numerous form of entertainment is that viewers can explore them all. This gives them the chance to decide which of them they prefer most.
They can even prefer both anime and donghua without minding which among them is better. Similarly with human beings, these forms of entertainment and the staff behind them should acknowledge the fact that they can co-exist in the industry. By co-existing, fans will be given a more diverse option regarding the shows available for them to watch.
Moreover, it will also give them a wider knowledge in terms of the cultural perspectives that these shows provide them. There is a lot of room for various forms of animation to coexist and be successful. This can be done by offering always offering the viewers unique art styles and a more diverse plots or genres for them to choose from.
It should be noted that the existence of other forms of entertainment can enrich the industry more, as well as its viewers. It is never a matter of how or when anime replace donghua, but one should see this as an opportunity for cultural exchange that will benefit both the producers and consumers.
Is Donghua Better than Anime?
To identify whether donghua is better than anime, or vice versa, is impossible. Comparing these two massive entertainment providers is highly dependent on the preference of the target audience. Hence, it is very subjective.
Although Japanese anime, or anime, is currently the head of the game because of leading the various forms in the industry in terms of popularity worldwide, donghua can do much the same. Using popularity as a basis would be unfair to the other because it will never be a solid foundation. Furthermore, donghua and anime offer their fans exceptional plots. It can also provide them with unique art styles or visual aesthetics and a wide range of genres for them to choose from.
Japanese animation or anime originated in Japan. In fact, many anime fans today have visited the country due to the impact of the anime series and films they have watched. Anime in Japan is considered to be one of the most well-established industries among all in the world of entertainment.
Because of the numerous number of acclaimed works, the industry just keeps on gaining more fans and profit. The popularity of anime has also made Akibahara, a district in central Tokyo, the center of the Japanese anime culture that everyone can visit.
Indeed, anime has founded hundreds, if not thousands, of fan bases across the globe which has benefited the industry massively. Japanese animation is popular for its unique visual style, distinct character designs, and the ability to explore a wide range of themes, such as isekai.
On the other hand, Chinese animation or donghua may not be as popular as Japanese animation. However, it is unstoppable in gaining recognition not only in China but also in the international setting.
Donghua is popularly known for incorporating Chinese elements in its shows. They always try to incorporate the country’s history, literature, culture, and even mythology with their work. These two types of animation aim to provide a compelling story to their audience. Both donghua and anime have varying styles and approaches to doing such things.
In conclusion, knowing which is better between donghua and anime is based on the personal preference of the fans. Some fans may prefer the plots and visual styles of the anime. On one hand, others may be more into the historical and cultural references of donghua.
Nonetheless, both forms of entertainment have their own qualities and strengths. These qualities allow them to cater to the wants and needs of fans in terms of entertainment. Therefore, to be able to critique each of them fairly, one has to explore both. After which, fans can decide which of them appeals more to his or her interest.
So, what do you think? Are you more of an anime fan or a donghua fan?