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Yomiko Readman, from Read or Die

Anime is a movie-animation style that originated in Japan in the 1960s, largely through the work of artist, animator, and producer Osamu Tezuka. It was greatly influenced by Japanese printed comics, which are collectively called manga. In general, anime (the word comes from the English word "animation") has a distinct look. Characters have exaggerated features: big eyes, little mouth, long thin limbs, and a tendency to over-emote, reacting in an overblown manner with exclamation marks (in manga) and enormous mouths when shouting. The full range of elements common to most anime is beyond the scope of this article, but a basic overview of the style can be gleaned from this online article about manga, from the Japan Times website.

Anime and Daria

Origins and History

The 1990s was a most peculiar time and decade in popular culture of the Western Hemisphere. With the overflow of innane byproducts of the 80's, receiving a huge backlash from a growing teenage audience, against such things like homogenized music (glam rock, synthesized bubblegum pop), corporately controlled entertainment, and the effects of an out of control mass production and consumer centered economic society, the youth of the decade did little other than what they did best in times like this: Rebel.

While it's no doubt that music had its grand share of boom and rise of "underground" and "rebellion" genres, from rap and hip hop to grunge and metal, television and media also had its fair share of rebellion as well.

As with MTV, it's no mystery to one likely reading this page. A subsidiary of Viacom, the corporation had also seen the rise of "youth power" that struck the nation, and along with supporting a huge new wave of "made by kids, for kids" entertainment on Nickelodeon, especially specifically Nicktoons, MTV also had caught on with its proto-animation block, Liquid Television. Beavis and Butthead, the series starred on this block, that debuted our sharp witted sardonic jade prismed star herself... well, history had written itself upon her debut.

However, crossing the seas since the late 1980's, thanks to the Japanese Economic Bubble Boom and a huge wave of cultural exchange, the minds of youth would see a new spectrum of reality that would help add on to the backlash and rebelliousness of youth all over. Arriving big time in the mid 1990s, that sensation that swept the underground entertainment nation would ensure that the Western World would know its name: the animated medium of Anime.

Anime, in itself, was a groundbreaker and somewhat of a big middle finger to the US animation and comic industry. While the US did see cartoons and animation, there was a lot of bad history and juju regarding anything handdrawn in the nation. The US Comics Code that started in the 1950s ensured no comic did more than superheroes and Archie, and while Frank Miller helped start the hip new thing of "gray and black morality" with superheroes in the 80's, it soon descended into a cesspool of senseless "edgy" trash with unsympathetic "heroes" and trashy, controversial, off-putting stories; even with the underground scene of comics, stories still were mired in their own "edgy" and unreaching content. With cartoons, the 80's sure didn't help either; lots of them were regarded at best, stuff meant for kids and "family orientated fun" made by Disney, or at worse, 30 minute toy commercials that oft plagued Saturday morning. Anime, however, helped come to destroy that illusion when it came and hit the world by storm big time.

When it made its waves, Anime rose and swelled up in fandom. Not only did it show things that shattered these ingrained stereotypes, expanded the imagination, pissed off mom, dad, the PTA, the Man, the Cops, the local clergy, and the siblings too, it reminded lots of people that animation was a medium with its own merits, and as much right to be orientated with respect, freedom of expression, creativity, decency of humane compassion, and the vision one wanted to be, in any thematic, literary, and contextual presentation, for anyone it designated to. From kid's shounen and shoujo shows, to seinen adult manga, to even the ranks of explicit hentai and ecchi, from romance, comedy, drama, action, martial arts, horror, psychological thrillers, political drama, sci fi, fantasy, to even huge mixes and mash ups of genres; made by fans and artists on their own, to animation studios and professional mangaka, Anime showed people that it did any genre of any sort in its own way- And did not give a damn about stigma nor censorship, even from its own originating country.

Although the message was missed and misinterpreted by many, keep in mind, it's likely without anime, the world of animation and the fight for creative expression would likely be a different place, and although it's not as popular as say, Disney, just be happy that it's not just as invasively popular, and inflexibly uncreative like disco.

When Daria came around in the late 1990's, although not everyone was, it wasn't uncommon for fans of Daria to be fans of anime as well. With Daria's in your face and sarcastic satirical commentary on teenage and high school life, along with anime that didn't care if it pissed people off, both made a huge staple of the now former teenage and college aged fans of animation back in the day, fueled with both rebellion and a strive for a level of humanity. With fans all around, and although the world isn't what it used to be, Daria and Anime are still the hand in hand figureheads of creative freedom and respect.


Nonetheless, as it's not surprising to have fans of anime be fans of Daria, Anime has spilled over into the Daria fandom and influenced it in numerous ways since before the demise of the Daria TV series. The most important effects that it has had include:

  • Artwork of Daria characters with recognizable anime-derived features (e.g., the works of Wouter).

External Links

Recent anime crossovers

Recent Daria-as-anime artwork (by Wouter)

Anime as a character interest

Anime terminology