Deceptively titled “Anime Conquers the World,” it’s truly a docu-comic that dances through the evolution of the major animation touchstones that occurred from the mid-1970s to today: the rise of Pixar, Studio Ghibli, the groundbreaking television shows on the 1990s, and Disney’s reaction to its competitors on multiple fronts.
High kudos have to be lavished on Fred Van Lente’s script and artist Ryan Dunlavey’s panels. Their inventiveness never ceases. The art is never a literal rendering of the events described. When Van Lente discusses historical figures or events, Dunlavey illustrates them according to the characters and IP closely associated with said figures — former Pixar chief John Lasseter looks like Rex from Toy Story, only with Lasseter’s trademark glasses and Hawaiian shirts; Studio Ghibli head Hayao Miyazaki looks like Totoro, only with the director’s trademark glasses and facial hair; producer of Batman: The Animated Series Bruce Timm looks like Robin, only with his trademark glasses. (Never realized how many animation movers and shakers have trademark glasses!)
It’s also hilarious when the actions sum up what the text does not say. For example, when Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke overtakes E.T. as the number-one movie of all time in Japan, the character San is seen eating E.T.’s heart (“Eat your heart out!”) in a similar pose as when she tends to the wolf Moro’s wounds in the film. In that way, it’s funny if you haven’t seen Princess Mononoke, but doubly funny if you have. There are layers upon layers in the gags.
This is definitely worth checking out. Find the first four issues for more fun history and clever visuals.
For general readers. Some cartoonish violence.
Creative Team: Fred Van Lente (script), Ryan Dunlavey (art & letters), Adam Guzowski (colors), Riley Farmer (editor), Tom Waltz (supervising editor), Amauri Osorio (design assists)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Click here to purchase.