Anime a History Review


Melanie Bigler

Art 335

Book Review

Anime: A History. Clements, Jonathan.  (London: Palgrave Macmillan on Behalf of the British Film Institute, 2013. 256 pp.).

Johnathan Clements’ Anime: A history showcases an in depth look of the evolution of anime while highlighting eras that have been overlooked by many. Anime, a style of animation in Japan that has influenced many over the years and has become a big topic to many as well. Anime is a growing subculture in American and in other countries as well. Clements explores the world of anime by going giving an in depth look on the process of anime.

Clements breaks up his content in ten chapters going in chronological order. Clements starts off in the early 1910’s with pieces like circa. He continues through to the twenty first century with animes like spirited away. By breaking up the content in chronological order it makes the text clean and easy to follow. He heavily focuses on the animation in the early years to show the true origin of anime.

There are few anime history books that have been published. Many of them refer to Astro Boy and Akira as the classics and origin of anime instead of the pre-animation back in the early 1900’s. An example of this is from a book called Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier. This book starts off with Akira being one of the first animes and moves up to more recent films, however Akira and Astro Boy are not the true beginnings of anime. Pre-animation was the beginning of anime as it evolved with more modern technologies and practices it could turn into the anime we know today.

Clements starts off with the early animations in chapter 1 called kid deko’s new picture book. These animations are from the years 1912 – 1921. The board becomes strange is one of the early Japanese cartoon films that he talks about. Clements also incorporates the influences of Western films that have been introduced to Japan; such as The Haunted House in the Ruins of Napoleon’s palace. He shows this film even though it is not truly an animation, but consists of stop motion. By incorporating stop motion, it shows the process on moving from film to stop motion to animation. Clements choice of early films is very meticulous. Many have forgotten these early works and by reincorporating them in his book people then can begin to remember and appreciate these old animations. The early adaptation The New Adventures of Pinocchio had come out with episodes that were 12.5 minutes long half that of Astro Boy.

Clements still incorporates Astro Boy as a beginning for anime. Astro Boy can be considered as a beginning for anime because it was what sparked the want for more similar cartoons. It was one of the first animes ever to be broadcasted overseas. This anime also has a style that is unique in comparison to other animations. It is a great milestone in anime history and he chose to still incorporate even though he wanted to showcase the pre-animation. We can further appreciate Clements work with how he incorporates every little detail even ones where he isn’t to keen on.

Clements incorporates tables throughout his book. These tables showcase a chronological order of set films as well as other data used in his arguments. One of the data tables that he used in an argument is table 9.1 (183 pp). This table shows the ten most viewed Japanese films at the US box office. The table is in the Pokémon Shock chapter which he highlights on the foreign market. Clements argues that these films have a limited success within the cinema exhibition community which indirectly relates to a smaller subculture. The anime subculture is predominant in America it ranges from 15 to 20 million anime fans while those who just watch films are over 1 billion. It is true that there is limited success due to sheer numbers of people interested in it.

In conclusion, Clements focuses on the origin of anime as well as the creator and their influences that helped shaped the anime. He also explores how they transformed the nature of subsequent productions. He doesn’t focus primarily on anime itself, but focuses more on the behind-the-scenes of the creators of these animations while also hitting at the industry and subculture of anime. Clements provides accurate and detailed information on the creation of anime as while as highlighting the industry behind such anime. He provides more information than many anime history books that are out there.




Raven Poster


The image I chose is an anime poster. The poster is of Raven from the Teen Titans. She is a fictional character in the DC comics as well as the television show teen titans. The character first appeared in a special insert in DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980). Raven is an can teleport and control her “soul-self”, which can fight physically, as well as act as Raven’s eyes and ears away from her physical body. The image is just a poster and is used for decoration purposes only.

Primary colors found in the image are red, blue and yellow. Red is used for the gems in the belt, clip for the cape and the forehead. Yellow is shown as a rim around the red. Blue is used for the cape. The secondary color is violet which is predominately shown throughout the image. It is shown in the background as well as the hair. Neutral colors are black, white and gray. Black is used throughout the image as feathers, orbs and slashes.  There are highlights and shadowing that give the figure a three dimensional feel. In the background of the poster there are organic line shapes in the background. These lines are curved and are reaching towards the center. The overall shape of raven’s body in this poster is very curvy which makes raven sexualized in this poster.

The overall design of this poster is effective. The choice of colors relates to the character being portrayed in the image. The original character is uses lots of purples and blues. The colors have a subtle contrast that gives the image a somber mood. This relates to the character because the personality of raven is very somber and quiet.  The artist who created this piece wants people to want to buy this particular poster. The purpose of the poster is to be used as a decoration. People need to feel the need to hang this poster up. The design of this poster relates to what we have talked about in the art 335 class. There is a heavy influence of Japanese art seen in this poster. It resembles the anime style and is a newer form of Japonism.

Vladimir Tatlin

Vladimir Tatlin was a Soviet painter and architect. He was the creator of the Russian Constructivism. He worked as a merchant sea cadet which allowed him to travel abroad. After his return from the sea he attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture for about 2 years. He was influenced by Pablo Picasso’s Cubist reliefs and Russian Futurism. He wanted his work to suit the Russian Communist revolution by blending art with a modern purpose.



Vladimir is most known for his piece Monument to the Third International (1919-20).  This piece has also been referred to as Tatlin’s Tower. This tower was a model for the headquarters of the International Communist movement. The tower stayed as model and was never actually built as a headquarters due to funding and other reasons. This piece is a three dimensional piece that is made out of wood, iron and glass. To Tatlin steel and glass were the most modern materials for construction as well as a reflection of the ideas of Constructivism. These materials reflected constructivism because they were simple, modern and everyday materials which were key to the Constructivism movement. The tower consists of a steel spiral frame which is 1,300 feet tall. This spiral represents the rising of the Russian Revolution as well as constructivism. The spiral start from the ground and steadily rises to the sky symbolizing the growth of Russian Revolution Communism.  Vladimir combined art and technology to create this revolutionary piece which many has said has a utopian vibe.


Vladimir Tatlin was a big inspiration for the arts. He was the creator of Constructivism. Constructivism was a new approach to making objects which abolished the traditional thinking of composition and replaced it with the construction. His works have been inspiration to many architectects and artists to use new forms of art.


Work Cited

“Vladimir Tatlin Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works.” The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Japan and Art Nouveau


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Art nouveau was heavily influenced by Japanese art this phenomenon was later referred to as Japonism. This influence was brought on mainly due to the Japanese wood-block prints that consisted of floral, bulbous forms and whiplash curves. This influence started after the trading rights were established with Japan in the 1860s. Before then Japan was a secluded country and after the trading rights westerns were finally able to look into Japan’s art and culture.


One of the main Japanese prints that many took inspiration from was Hokusai’s “The Great Wave”. Many were taken by the flat-perspective, bold lines, curves and strong use of color. Art nouveau was a movement that wanted to stray from the norm and Japanese prints were different from that. They would often refer to the natural world. They would contain organic forms and layers.


Siegried Bing was one of the main figures in the introduction of the Japanese arts. He was a German art dealer living in Paris. He had owned an import-export business which concentrated on the sales of Japanese and other Asian objects. He opened a gallery called the Maison de l’Art Nouveau. His gallery had works from William Morris to glassware by Tiffany. He had aslo published a monthly journal Le Japon Artistique.  The main focus of this journal was to celebrate the dynamic creative crossing of Japanese Design and European Art.


Le Japon Artistique volume 10 distinctly shows Japanese art. The figures are traditional Japanese people. From the way the hair is to the lady wearing the kimono. The figure contains many repetitive lines in the gray of the kimono. The kimono shows of a floral pattern. The kimono is the focal point since the color is the boldest. This piece can be mistaken for being designed by a Japanese person instead of Siegried Bing because of the almost identical style to the Japanese Prints.

Work Cited

“Art Nouveau and Japonisme of Naturalistic Spoon.” Naturalistic Spoon,

“Decorative Arts: Le Japon Artistique; Documents D’art Et D’industrie (v. 2): Le Japon Artistique Publication Mensuelle No.10 Février 1889 [femme Et Enfant, Par Kiyonaga].” Browse – UW Digital Collections,

“Le Japon Artistique: Japanese Floral Pattern Design in the Art Nouveau Era by Museum Of Fine Arts Boston — Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists.” Goodreads,

Seishonagon3. “Art Nouveau from a historical perspective.” WordPress,

Wanczura, Dieter. “Art Nouveau – Artelino.” Auctions of Japanese Prints – Artelino,