Anime in early american television

There are examples of anime spread throughout our culture, Anime in early american television and our recent history. It is prevalent throughout our culture as seen in this example about our tv heritage.

Here is a snippet of an article I found on the web:  These days, a significant number of international anime fans around the world get their information through the Internet and that of course is a great thing. However, what about a time when there was no Internet to help non-Japanese fans discover anime? Of course, you could buy anime on VHS back in the day but they were rare and very expensive, and most rental stores carried hentai or other adult related material. But what other avenues were there to find anime?

The late 1990s/early 2000s was a magical period for a good number of older American anime fans. During that time, Cartoon Network successfully pushed a new block known as Toonami. It had its ups and downs, but it was Toonami that helped bring anime and its identity to mainstream television. Even before the prime of Toonami, anime always had a presence on American television and today’s Editorial Tuesday will be a history lesson of Japanese anime on US airwaves.

The Beginning: Astro Boy and Gigantor

(Photo 1) A History of Japanese Anime on American Television

It is almost certain that most anime fans of all ages are aware of Tezuka Osamu’s (the granddaddy of Japanese manga AND anime) classic, Astro Boy, or Tetsuwan Atom in Japan. Shortly after the anime debuted in Japan in 1963, Astro Boy was picked up and aired by NBC studios. However, in order to adapt to western standards and appeal to American audiences, names and plot points needed to be changed. This practice of westernizing anime adaptations would actually be standard practice even to this day.

Even though a large majority of international audiences are aware that Pokemon is Japanese in origin, it still maintains a practice of westernizing names and plot points to appeal to wider audiences, and certain original elements (such as how regions are named in the Japanese version to reflect Japan’s geography) wouldn’t transition due to distinct cultural and society differences.

Another popular post-World War II anime that successfully hit the US airwaves is Gigantor, or Tetsujin 28 in Japan, one of the original mech anime. Even though the original Japanese version takes place in modern times in context to its original broadcast in the 1960s, the American version took some significant creative liberties and made Gigantor take place in the year 2000!

Go Speed Racer, Go!

(Photo 2) A History of Japanese Anime on American Television

Probably the most famous 1960s anime of all time is Tatsunoko’s Mach Go Go Go, or most famously known as Speed Racer to international audiences, which has a reputation of its rather speedy and over dramatic dub (in addition to its iconic opening theme song). Due to the settings being distinctively non-Japanese and the material taking influence from international cinema (such as the Mach 5 being influenced by 007’s Aston Martin DB5), the transition for American audiences was rather easy. Other than the name changes, the dub masterfully matches the original Japanese dialog literally word for word, and is essentially true to the original Japanese in context to plot points.

This only brings us up to the seventies, and from there the examples only multiply tenfold.