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ANIME HISTORY - THE 1970s

Anime History - The 70s
During the 1970s, the Japanese film market fell apart due to competition from television. Toei slowly got out of the production of lavish Disneyesque musicals and focused mainly on producing TV series. Also, Mushi Productions went bankrupt spreading many animators into new studios such as Madhouse Production and Sunrise. As a result of these two events, many young animators were thrust into the position of director before they would have been promoted to it. This injection of young talent allowed for a wide variety of experimentation.

An example of this experimentation is with Isao Takahata's 1974 television series Heidi. This show was originally a hard sell because it was a simple realistic drama aimed at children. Most TV networks thought the TV show wouldn't be successful because children needed something more fantastic to draw them in. "Heidi" wound up being an international success being picked up in many European countries and becoming popular there. In Japan it was so successful that it allowed for Miyazaki and Takahata to start up a series of literary based anime called World Masterpiece Theatre. Even though Miyazaki and Takahata left in the late 1970s, this series lasted until the mid-1990s.

Gatchaman, one of the most famous anime series of the 1970s. Another genre known as mecha came into being at this time. Some early works include Mazinger Z (1972-74), Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972-74), Space Battleship Yamato (1974-75) and Mobile Suit Gundam (1979-80). These titles showed a progression in the science fiction genre in anime, as shows shifted from more superhero-oriented, fantastical plots to somewhat more realistic space operas with increasingly complex plots and fuzzier definitions of right and wrong. One famous example would be that of Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam who changed from antagonist in the original series to tenuous ally in the sequel series, Zeta Gundam and back to the villain for the movie Char's Counterattack.

(Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)

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