The History of Mushi Pro – 1.5 – Atom through its storyboards

In the previous article of this series, I stated that Tetsuwan Atom’s production was “centered on one document, the storyboard”. Although the production pipeline of anime has changed a lot with time, the storyboard’s central place has remained constant. It is, alongside the layout, the lifeline followed by most of the staff, the central document which has to be both adapted and interpreted. It is therefore very important to understand the history of how anime storyboards, or ekonte, appeared, evolved and were used.

The History of Mushi Pro – 01 – The Road to TV Anime (1960-1965)

Osamu Tezuka, the God of Manga, is also the father of modern anime - not only did he coin the word, his Tetsuwan Atom was the first animated TV serial in Japan, and pioneered the “limited animation” techniques still associated with anime. Or so the story goes. In actuality, things are far more nuanced: the goal of this first article is to show that, and narrate the events that led to the completion of Atom in all their complexity. I hope to achieve that in mostly two ways: avoiding teleology - that is, the idea that Tezuka’s goal was to make TV, “limited” animation from the start - and shifting the focus away from Tezuka as an individual.