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Asian Animation and its Influence on Western Culture

The following dissertation will discuss how Asian animation, more popularly known as anime, has influenced Western culture. This is an interesting and almost counter-intuitive question to address, since most analyses of non-Western cultural phenomena are usually concerned with impacts of Western culture on alternative art forms. That we can even pose the question speaks highly of how pervasive the genre is becoming.

In proceeding, an introduction to what is meant be 'anime' will be given, incorporating a brief historical overview. Theoretical approaches to globalization, which is often used to look at such questions in our contemporary context, will then be given. The essay will then turn to two 'case studies' which aim to address whether anime can be said to have influenced the west and how it has done that, using American animations and comics as a counterpoint. We will then discuss how anime might be seen to have witnessed different cultural phenomena in general, before reaching our ultimate conclusion.

Video games - themselves once considered the domain of teenage boys and computer nerds - are now something of a mainstream pastime. All major computer game console manufacturers, with the exception of Microsoft - who got in to the game relatively late with its X-Box, anyway - are Japanese: Nintendo, Sega, Atari and Sony (the maker of Playstation). This has the potential to take Japanese products into the entertainment mainstream, even if most of the titles released to Western markets are specifically made to appeal to consumers in these places and most Japanese titles are only released nationally. Regardless, characters like the Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog, which were all Japanese and in an anime style, are pop culture staples easily recognizable by Western members of generations X and Y. In the sense that anime has pervaded something like computer games and the popularity of that phenomenon has taken off in its own right, anime can be said to have influenced Western culture even if be default.

6. Conclusion

This dissertation has aimed to discuss Asian animation, known as anime, and how it has influenced Western culture. It has done this by discussing the theoretically bases of globalization and looking at the different approaches to cultural change in an era of globalization have made this possible. It then gave specific examples of how anime was both influenced by, and itself influenced, the West. It cautioned against arguing too strongly in favour of a chain of linear influence, as it is often difficult to qualify the extent to which one thing can be said to have influenced another. In the end, it has agreed and given examples of how anime has influenced Western culture, largely by using other cultural phenomena as a vehicle. As for whether this trend will continue, or what will happen next - we simply cannot say. But this was never the aim.

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