Anime is one among Japan’s most notable cultural exports, with even those that do not watch it recognizing the medium as Japanese. Its reputation has launched a number of Japanese phrases to Western followers’ lexicon, together with shonen, shojo and naturally, isekai. Nonetheless, regardless of reflecting Japanese tradition, there’s an obvious dearth of anime primarily based on particular Japanese folktales.
Whereas there are notable exceptions, lots of the anime primarily based on single folktales are impressed by these from outdoors the Land of the Rising Solar. This stems from the identical idea that makes anime so in style with non-Japanese audiences, and it explains why the Japanese would possibly seemingly be so disinterested in their very own cultural tales and fables.
Anime Avoids Japanese Fairy Tales for Exoticism
There have been quite a few anime over time which might be — to various levels — primarily based on Western fairy tales and folks tales. Maybe the obvious instance was the Eighties collection Grimm’s Fairy Story Classics. Just like the Seventies anime Andersen Tales, it introduced iconic German bedtime tales collectively in an anime anthology. The extra fashionable collection Grimms Observe additionally tailored the works of the Brothers Grimm, albeit in a much less conventional method.
Alice in Wonderland and The Little Mermaid have additionally been changed into anime all through the previous a number of a long time, with these diversifications starting from the staunchly correct to the closely reimagined. European tales aren’t the one non-Japanese fairy tales to be changed into anime, nonetheless. As an example, the Chinese language story Journey to the West is a frequent inspiration in anime. One anime that it influenced was Saiyuki, however maybe its most notable “adaptation” was the original Dragon Ball series.
The prominence of non-Japanese fairy tales as inspiration for anime is smart in the identical manner that Western viewers have taken to anime a lot. Japanese storytellers and viewers are doubtless as aware of their very own fairy tales as Westerners are with the exploits of Goldilocks or Little Pink Using Hood. Thus, the unique nature of international fairy tales has extra cultural curiosity to the creators of anime provided that it is much less acquainted territory. The identical goes for anime primarily based on the history of non-Japanese countries. Equally, Western viewers would possibly watch anime for the “Japanese” side of it, or due to how totally different it feels from their very own international locations’ animated productions. This harkens again to the origins of the anime business, with older works such as Astro Boy meant to emulate the artwork model and really feel of Disney’s first animated choices.
Are There Any Anime Primarily based On Japanese Fairy Tales?
The Story of the Princess Kaguya was a 2013 anime film from Studio Ghibli, and it is probably the most well-known fashionable adaptation of the Japanese fairy story The Story of the Bamboo Cutter. It isn’t the one anime primarily based on this folks story, although it adapts it in probably the most simple manner. Different, a lot looser diversifications embody Sailor Moon, which options ideas from the identical story. Romantic comedy Kaguya-sama: Love is War has characters named after these in The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, whereas Flip A Gundam, an entry in the Gundam mecha franchise, additionally surprisingly attracts closely from it.
This is only one instance of how anime tends to make the most of Japanese fairy tales. On condition that the tales are intrinsic in Japanese tradition, correct diversifications are normally eschewed in favor of anime that remix the characters and ideas, turning them on their heads to maintain the fabric recent. That is analogous to how Western movies and TV reveals involving Greco-Roman mythology will typically diverge closely from the supply materials to not appear old-hat. Yokai-based franchise GeGeGe no Kitaro is an instance of a collection that includes varied elements of Japanese mythology and never only one singular supply.
Folktales from Japan was a uncommon exception to this rule, outright adapting Japanese fairy tales in an anthology throughout over 300 episodes. Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Tales did the identical factor with a horror twist, with a narrator bringing a few of Japan’s creepiest city legends to life. These anime, which may each be streamed on Crunchyroll, have been launched prior to now decade, maybe beginning a shift of anime that faithfully brings Japanese fairy tales to a contemporary and international viewers.