The Mythological and Folk Tale Origins of Classic Anime

Properties like Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball Z have proven that anime influenced by Eastern myths and folklore can succeed on an international level. While these inspired stories gain fame, their source material often can go unnoticed in the West, or at least not be as well known as the anime itself. The purpose here then is to analyze what these influences are and to relay these influences so that their original stories can gain the notoriety that is due to them.

  • This is a great idea. I'm really curious about the mythology underlying a lot of anime and would love to know more. Some of them are really deep and gnarly, Paranoia Agent by Satoshi Kon for example. – albee 8 years ago
  • an excellent topic idea! Eastern mythology is so prevalent within anime, more so than I realized when I initially began watching anime. Even very popular/mainstream manga and anime like Naruto is riddled with Japanese folklore that Westerners likely miss entirely. – ees 7 years ago
  • As a writer with a keen interest in Mythology, both Occidental and Oriental, I think this is a fine idea for a topic. Sadly, many in the West are oblivious to the some of the ancient themes employed in cinematic storytelling (for instance) and far too often there is a stereotypical 'dumbing down' of our archetypes. Anime in particular is one of the Japanese artforms that still draws on mythological themes, which is one reason why I am drawn to it, but you're quite correct when you state that the source material often goes unnoticed in the West. Perhaps a way to approach this would be to draw parallels between similar mythological archetypes found in the East and the West (much as Joseph Campbell did with his studies of the heroic myth). Folklore is a joint heritage and one that we all respond to, albeit usually on the subconscious or even unconscious level. If I weren't busy with my own mythological analysis at the moment, I'd love to take this topic. A big thumbs up from me! – Amyus 7 years ago
  • One thing with older animes, especially, Yu Yu Hakusho, there was a huge emphasis on feelings. Yusuke could have never became so powerful without getting in touch with his emotions. Buddhism is a big influence, like Dragonball was loosely based off of Journey to the West. – Mikkiravage 6 years ago

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