Anime Impact: The Movies and Shows that Changed the World of Japanese Animation

By Ernest Cline

99 ratings - 3.79* vote

Toward the end of the 20th century, anime was beginning to break through to mainstream America. What was once considered a niche medium was becoming more accepted. Today, anime fans are all over the world, and its cultural impact has never been more apparent.Anime Impact: The Movies and Shows that Changed the World of Japanese Animation examines the essential works that ha Toward the end of the 20th century, anime was beginning to break through to mainstream America. What was once considered

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Book details

Kindle Edition, 350 pages
April 15th 2018 by Mango
Original Title
Anime Impact: The Movies and Shows that Changed the World of Japanese Animation
Edition Language

Community Reviews

Siona St Mark

Mainly picked this up to support Danika XIX (Comicbookgirl19), who has some entries into this book. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought it. It was alright. I’m not as much into manga/anime as I used to be, but this has reminded me about some I really want to check out.

Edric Unsane

A good book about anime that falls short on the impact that changed the world of Japanese animation and that for the most part talks of the impact on the individual authors themselves.

John Rodriguez

Full disclosure: I'm one of the contributors to this book, and a friend of the lead author. Obviously, that colors my opinion somewhat. Yet after finishing my read-through yesterday, I feel compelled to share my thoughts. Take them with the appropriate amount of salt, but I do promise to remain objective to the best of my ability.

The first thing you need to know about "Anime Impact" is what it isn't. It isn't a list of "making-of" facts and trivia. It isn't going to delve into behind-the-scenes anecdotes. If you're expecting to walk away knowing everything there is to know about the anime being covered here, you'll likely walk away disappointed.

What "Anime Impact" IS is essays on how anime touches lives, framed around the greatest anime ever created. It's a love letter to the art, penned by folks who came upon their love through badly dubbed imports scrounged from old video stores and mail-order catalogs. And, speaking personally, that's EXACTLY what I looking for.

Over and over, I found myself marveling at how a contributor's personal experience with a particular anime mirrored my own. Jeffrey Timbrell's trauma when the Zentradi bombarded Earth in "Robotech." Emma Fyffe's inspiration at the female-forwardness of "Tenchi Muyo!" ... even if it IS just harem anime. Ernest Cline's joy at discovering "Cyber City Oedo 808" - a joy that prompted one of those frantic searches for a horribly dubbed VHS copy that those anime fans who grew up in the VHS era remember all too well.

Even when the experience wasn't related to my own, the way contributors bring bits of themselves into what otherwise might have been stuffy academic dissertations is wonderful. I don't need August Babington to tell me that Hayao Miyazaki's "Castle in the Sky" is a classic, but I sure do enjoy hearing how his discovery of "Castle" became one of the biggest nights in his life. And just try not to be affected by the story of how the Dragon Ball series literally saved Derek Padula's life.

Criticisms? I have a couple. Most of the contributors manage to inject a bit of themselves into their writing, but a few entries do fall into the "college dissertation" trap. Luckily, that's not the norm.

My larger issue, though, is the complete absence of stills or artwork. Here we have a book detailing one of the world's most beautiful art forms, and we can't get anything more than a couple drawings stuffed into the table of contents? I understand that Mango is an indie publisher and that the book already weighs in at 450 pages. Yet the exclusion of art make the entries look cold and clinical. Which is terrible, because that's precisely the opposite of what they are.

See? Not so hard.

Still, I urge you to look past the bland presentation, because there's so much goodness to be found here. Again, no, you won't be slathered in facts and factoids. If that's all you want, you'll be better served by the plethora of anime fansites repositories scattered across the Internet. If you're looking for relatable stories of anime fandom, on the other hand, then you've come to the right place.

It's that relatability that makes "Anime Impact" particularly outstanding for folks who haven't yet bought into anime as a serious art form. These aren't people likely to be excited by anime trivia. Rather, they're looking for a reason not to write anime off as trivial. This book supplies those reasons. It perfectly articulates how anime can be just as (if not more) affecting than the Hollywood films most Westerners grew up with.

Which is to say, this book just might make a fan out of that non-fan in your life. And isn't that what we current fans want most? To spread our love of anime to others? I know I do. And I think "Anime Impact's" relatable recounting of classic anime can be just the thing to turn that trick. That makes it a win in my book.

Ashley Lambert-Maberly

I have some major reservations about this. I started by giving it 5 stars for breadth and ambition, then knocking off 2 stars for execution, then putting one back because it's easy enough to skip what one doesn't like (unlike in a novel), then taking 1 off again for missed opportunity.

The main problem is the author has distributed his workload with uneven results. Some contributors write wonderfully evocative essays that arouse your interest without spoiling too much, convey a great sense of the tone and beauty of a show, and entice you to watch it (or lead you to realise you wouldn't like it). But other writers have crafted essays that either (a) tell you a lot about the writer and little about the show, or (b) expect you to have seen the show to be able to appreciate their article, or (c) describe the plot and events and characters with the intricacy and excitement of a perseverating tweenager, or (d) bore you to death:

"Please Teacher! and Please Twins! is a rare media-mix in which the two texts form a "worldview" that bears its own reflexivity."

Gee, I was hoping the next anime I watch would be a show which bore its own reflexivity. Thanks for the hot tip!

But as I've said, if the essay is sub-par, skip it (but either way you won't be motivated to watch the show the bad essay describes, which could be a shame. The one about Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (one of my faves!) does a terrible job of explaining what makes the show so interesting to those of us who like it. Among everything else, I think it's the gayest anime out there, like Liberace crossed with Tom of Finland crossed with Wayland Flowers and Madame level gay. Oh, and the article on Sword Art Online was given to a hater--apparently a famous hater who receives death threats via his youtube channel based on fans (crazy fans, obviously) reacting to his hatred. That's not who should be writing about the anime.

There should have been a template: what's it about? what makes it distinctive? who would like it? who wouldn't like it? what is it similar to? How is it different/better/worse than those similar shows? etc., etc. Like the OED--you don't read the definition of "asthma" and think "wow, if only the guy who wrote "slattern" had handled this word. It all matches.

Nonetheless, thanks to this book I've been exploring older anime that I never would have thought I'd be interested in. Galaxy Express has turned out to be particularly weird but haunting, and I'm glad I'm watching it.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve!

Balerion The Black Dread

I like this book, but I have to give it two stars.

Mostly because it fails to address the "Impact" part of it's title - and indeed, it's advertising; it was marketed as a book discussing the impact these anime had on the writers - far more often than it does. A LOT of the content of this books is little more than just reviews and some of them barely qualify as such and the writers fail to say anything particularly substantial.

The worst example of the lack of a discussion on impact came from Geoff Thew, who is known on YouTube as Mother's Basement - a channel in which he makes anime related video essays and also delves into gaming and live-action film from time to time.

He wrote a chapter about Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and failed to mention the fact that his "What's in an OP" videos about the series ARE WHAT LAUNCHED HIS YOUTUBE CAREER! How could one NOT discuss something like that in a book about how an anime impacted your life?

If not for those videos he would not be where is now in his YouTube career, had he not become a big name AniTuber he would not have met his girlfriend and he would never have written an entry in this book. I spent more time talking about how Jojo's Bizarre Adventure impacted his life than he did.

Some of the writers have no really shows. A lot of the writing is really bad and some of it comes off like the author is trying too hard to look like they know how to write and can craft brilliant writing, but end up falling very short. There are a lot of mixed metaphors and even when that's not the case the way they try to express themselves comes off clumsy, awkward and confusing. Some of them don't even have conclusions to their essays...

Reading this book I find myself asking A LOT how it made it past editors, to printers, to shelves.


Movie critic YouTuber Chris Stuckmann is an anime fan. A look at one of his Anime DVD & Blu-Ray collection videos makes it pretty clear about this love and passion for the Japanese medium. Today, many people have the notion that anything that is animated is for kids, therefore it shouldn't be taken seriously as an art form.
But Chris has another viewpoint: anime can be as impactful, artful and groundbreaking as every other film ever produced. From renowned artists, animators, directors, and producers like Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Hosoda, Satoshi Kon, Shinichirō Watanabe, and up and coming talents like Makoto Shinkai, Naoko Yamada and Mari Okada.

However, anime extends farther than the big screens of movie theaters. It's a cultural phenomenon, with myriads of people from all over the world who's lives were touched by their favorite anime series, the characters who speak for them and relate to them, and the journey the characters go as they face many challenges.

Chris brings a number of people from different backgrounds (from bodybuilding instructor, YouTubers, Ernest Cline, and many other) in this book and each have contributed on a number of anime series and movies thought the past 60+ years and how it had an effect on their personal lives, as well as how it depicts the society we live in.

It's not an history book on the origins of anime, but more like a love letter from fans of the medium and how it has changed their lives.


The title requires a bit of a clarification. The authors featured in this book are focused on selling their personal stories and perspectives on the impact specific anime have had on the industry. This is basically a book of persuasive essays/anime recommendations. There are some really good authors featured here who sold me on titles I would have never otherwise checked out, but some of them are a bit dry.

Some (but not all) of the highlights of the book:

1. Chris Stuckmann (the main author)'s essay on GoShogun: The Time Etranger managed to sell me on adding a film I'd never even heard of before. (Okay, I only added it to my 'plan to watch', but that's further than a lot of anime get. I'm also not big on mecha.)

2. I'm not a Naruto fan, but Omar Rivera did a great job sharing his story and telling about how powerful Internet fandom/communities can be for introverted kids and for kids who feel embarrassed by having "nerdy" interests.

3. John Rodriguez is a great persuasive writer. I agree strongly with his thoughts on Tokyo Godfathers: "Tokyo Godfathers is often ranked as one of Mr. Kon's lesser works. Don't you buy it. It's accessible. It's uproarious. It's brave in its inclusivity."

I received a free eBook copy through a Goodreads giveaway, which had no effect on my review/rating.


A collection of short essays written by various people including authors, youtube personalities, and fans, "Anime Impact" focuses more on the impact these shows and movies have had on their lives over the past 50 years. Many of the writers are in their early 20s to early 40s and as an almost 30-somthing myself, I found myself having nostalgia about the shows they were talking about and identifying with their experiences.
I read the whole thing and have a good list of anime I haven't seen before that I now want to see and oldies that I want to revisit. I would not recommend reading the whole thing like I did. It is better perused by titles you are interested in.
Recommended for anime fans ages 16+ as some of the anime listed in the book contains rape scenes and other adult situations.


I received this book for free from a Goodreads giveaway.

I actually watch quite a bit of YouTube so I’ve seen Chris review cinema as well as videos from other contributors to this book.

I enjoyed reading this book and there are definitely some anime that I need to watch. Some chapters of the book were better than others, but overall an enjoyable read if you like anime.

It took me a long time to read because the sections are short, and it’s easy to put down only after a few pages. It’s not a novel so it doesn’t drive you forward with plot, but it’s not suppose to.

Well done Chris!


The title for this book is a bit misleading. Rather than showcasing the impact of just a few anime that revolutionized the industry and had long-reaching effects, Stuckmann brings together a large swath of people to write about their favorite anime and talk about what they liked about it. Which, is fine, I suppose. But if I wanted to read people's reviews of a particular show, I'd hop on Amazon and read the reviews there. It's a shame because I really think this is an interesting concept for a book but it's far too broad.