Creativity + Visual Art
While other nations have no lack of artists, it is Japan’s mix of creativity and visual art involved in the cel (celluloid) animation used for anime. While hard economic times and an improvement in technology have created a great rise in the use of computer-generated graphics to supplement cel art, it is ultimately an issue of highly varied visual styles.
I say highly varied, but detractors will say things like, all anime looks alike! and, all anime characters look alike! They’re separated at birth! This criticism is not one I like to indulge in, because I can see a lot of differences in most characters, but I’m looking for them.
The Japanese style of animation is largely drawn from the rounded looks, including the rounded eyes, used in animation by Walt Disney Studios in its famous films. Certainly, this is augmented by decades of experimentation in manga, styles which are copied to the television or theater screen by hard-working animators diligently working to bring animation to life for the masses.
Still, and this is the issue that I alluded to in my first article in this series, as much as being an animator requires great skill, being a creator requires creativity that simply cannot be acquired by skill alone. This is why a flawless forgery of the work of a master painter is not regarded as equal to the original creation.