Anime has become a significant element of Philippine culture, captivating a growing number of young people with its distinct animation style, intricate storylines, and relatable characters. The annual celebration of World Anime Day on April 15 is a tribute to the impact of anime on the Filipino youth and the local art scene.
Naruto, a popular anime series created by Masashi Kishimoto, has found a vast following in the Philippines. The show follows the journey of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja pursuing his dream of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. The series’ themes of resilience, determination, and camaraderie have struck a chord with many Filipino youngsters, who consider Naruto as an emblem of hope and inspiration.
Another anime that has garnered a massive fan base in the Philippines is Attack on Titan. Created by Hajime Isayama, the series is set in a world where humanity faces a grave threat from giant humanoid creatures known as Titans. Despite debates about the appropriateness of its graphic violence and somber themes for younger viewers, many Filipino fans admire the anime’s complex characters and thought-provoking storytelling.
In recent years, several anime series have been adapted into Philippine television dramas or teleseryes, indicating the growing popularity of anime in the country.
Lupin III, a classic anime series, has also made an impact on Philippine pop culture. In 2007, GMA Network produced and aired a Philippine adaptation of the anime, starring Richard Gutierrez as Lupin and directed by Mike Tuviera. While the adaptation deviated from the original series, it retained the essence of the character and storylines with a Filipino spin.
Lupin III has also made appearances in several Filipino movies and TV shows, including the 2012 film Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, featuring a character dressed as Lupin III.
The original anime that has captivated Filipinos across generations is Voltes V. The classic Japanese anime series first aired in Japan in 1977 and quickly became a sensation among Filipino audiences when it was brought to the Philippines by GMA Network in 1978. The series follows the exploits of the Voltes V team, a group of five young people who pilot giant robots to protect the Earth from an evil alien empire.
In 2021, GMA Network produced “Voltes V: Legacy,” a modern retelling of the classic anime featuring updated animation and storytelling techniques, expanded plotlines, and new characters.
Anime has also influenced Philippine art, with Filipino artists and animators integrating its unique style into their works. A case in point is the well-known Filipino comic book series Trese, created by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo. The series draws inspiration from Philippine mythology and incorporates anime-style art. Recently, Trese was adapted as a TV series on Netflix.
The impact of anime on the Philippine animation industry is also evident. The Philippines is now known for producing top-quality animated content for global audiences, with several Filipino animators and artists working for distinguished Japanese animation studios. Examples include Arvin Bautista, who worked on the anime series Free! and K-On!, and Jojo Aguilar, who contributed to the movie Your Name.
Despite criticisms about anime’s violent and sexualized content, its influence on the Filipino youth is undeniable. Many young people find inspiration, entertainment, and cultural exchange through this medium, contributing to its enduring popularity in the Philippines. As we celebrate World Anime Day, we acknowledge the role of anime in shaping the lives and perspectives of Filipino youth and the local art scene, and anticipate its continued evolution and impact on Philippine culture.