National Anime Day

National Anime Day is a holiday that’s observed every April 15th and celebrates a very special type of hand-drawn and computer-generated animation that originated in Japan. In English-speaking countries outside of Japan, “anime” refers to all animation produced in Japan, but in Japan itself, “anime” refers to all animated works, regardless of their origin or style.

Regardless of how a person defines anime, one thing is certain: this is the holiday when they can celebrate it. They can do so in a number of ways, from enjoying their favorite works to sharing them with others.

The History Of National Anime Day

Experts widely agree that the art forms that were the precursors to Japanese anime were kagee and Emakimono. Kagee, very popular during the Edo period, uses an ancient form of storytelling featuring shadow puppetry.

Emakimono was a horizontal narration system of illustrated handscrolls that was very common during the 11th century. Traveling storytellers would narrate anecdotes and legends while the emakimono was unfurled from right to left as a sort of moving panorama.

During the 12th century, the popularity of kamishibai skyrocketed and would remain popular in street theater until the 1930s. Having discussed the pioneers of this genre, let’s quickly turn our attention to the modern era of anime. Many people attribute the origins of modern anime to animator and manga artist Osamu Tezuka.

He adapted and simplified Disney’s animation techniques to limit frame counts and ultimately reduce animation costs. Many of these animation limitations would end up defining the medium’s style. One of the first anime broadcasts on television was “Three Tales” (1960), and “Instant History” (1961-1964) was the first anime TV series.

During the 1970s, manga took its seat at the table, and its popularity exploded. This resulted in genres such as the giant robot genre (mecha), the super robot genre, and the real robot genre. “Gundam” and “Super Dimension Fortress Macross” would grow out of these genres and subgenres and become extremely popular during the 1980s.

During the 1990s, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995), “Ghost in the Shell” (1995), and “Cowboy Bebop” (1998) would go on to define the anime of the day. “Sailor Moon” and “Dragon Ball Z” also attracted an international audience during the 1990s and became mega-successful.

The 2000s continued to define the anime genre with works such as “Spirited Away” (2001). One of the major successes of this era was “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train.” It became one of the highest-grossing Japanese films and one of the world’s highest-grossing films of 2020.

It should be no surprise to anyone that this holiday began in Tokyo, Japan, in 1975. At this initial event, over 700 anime fans showed up. Of course, over the years, the event celebrating National Anime Day has grown significantly and now features thousands of people and hundreds of different anime production companies.

The Best Anime Series For Beginners

People who have no experience with anime often look at the wealth of anime that currently exists and wonder where to begin. Fortunately, we have an answer to that question. We want everyone to be able to enjoy anime, especially on National Anime Day, so we have gathered together a list of some of the anime titles that we would suggest to anime beginners. Let’s look at them below.

  • Cowboy Bebop (1998)
  • Bleach (2004)
  • Death Note (2006)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
  • Attack on Titan (2013)
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (2019)

Observing National Anime Day

This is a day for everyone to share their love of anime. This can be done by attending in-person or virtual anime events, dressing up as your favorite anime character, or watching an anime movie. It’s also a good day to go old-school and check out some of the manga books from back in the day. People can spread the news about this holiday using the hashtag #NationalAnimeDay on social media.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 15 Monday
Next year (2025)
April 15 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
April 15 Saturday
Art & Entertainment