I have always loved the Disney classic, Aladdin. It is a beautiful rags to riches story about a young boy who wanted to gain the world but grew up in poverty. There are so many people in the world who want to be loved and understood. Any woman, man, or child can relate to that. Aladdin also wanted to be rich and have all the money in the world. What he didn't understand was that he was rich all along because he had good friends and a heart of gold that Jasmine surely appreciated. I still love this movie today because it showed us that inanimate objects like a lamp or a rug could come to life and become characters on their own. I love how fierce, independent, and strong-minded Jasmine was. Even though she was surrounded by people who wanted to control her and tell her what to do, she fought to stand on her own two feet and forge her own path.
Anybody remember DJ Tanner's really cute but dubious boyfriend, Steve, from Full House? Well, Aladdin was played by the same actor, Scott Weinger! According to IMDB.com, after leaving Full House in 1994, he left to attend Harvard University. While going to school, he was able to find time to voice Aladdin in the Saturday morning cartoon TV series, complete two more full length Aladdin videos, and make a final appearance on Full House. He did this all while maintaining excellent grades at school. He even also held a part-time job as a youth correspondent for Good Morning America. Talk about multi-tasking!
The most memorable character to me was the Genie, played by Robin Williams. According to IMDB.com, most of his dialogue in Aladdin was ad-libbed! During the course of recording the voice of Genie in 1992's Aladdin, Robin improvised so much they had almost 16 hours of material. He also ad-libbed so many of his lines that the movie's script was turned down for a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award nomination. Fun Fact: Robin Williams was a very overweight child. As a result, nobody would play with him so he started talking in different voices to entertain himself. That's one of the reasons why he was so good at imitating voices.
Finding Nemo is another childhood Disney/Pixar favorite of mine because it showed us for the first time how realistic and life-like creatures in the sea are! It was a heartfelt story about a strong bond between a father and son who loved each other so much that not even the ocean could keep them apart. Plus, where else can you find a movie where fish and sharks get along! Add Dory in the mix and it was a hilarious combination of comedy and action, and the whole time I was praying that they would find each other because I really didn't want Nemo to be an orphan! By the end of the movie, I could not keep Dory's famous mantra, "Just Keep Swimming!" out of my head, but throughout the years, that song has been a constant reminder to keep going even when things weren't going my way.
Behind the Scenes of Anime
I have always wondered how anime began so I decided to dive into the history of anime and this is what I found:
Japanese animation, also known as anime (pronounced "ani-may"), is a popular form of animation in Japan which is quickly spreading in the U.S. The major difference between anime and American cartoons is that unlike American cartoons, which are only watched by children, anime is popular among the Japanese adults and is watched by millions. The audience is not merely directed to children but to teens and adults as well. The same applies to Japanese comics known as manga (The History of Anime & Manga by Marwah Zagzoug, History 135, April 2001).
During World War II the entire Japanese nation was mobilized. The people were forced to conform to the government's demands or pay the ultimate price. According to Frederik Schodt's book, Manga Manga: The World of Japanese Comics, those who failed to cooperate were punished by the government through bans on writing and social ostracism. They were forced to support the government through art.
Around 1940, many organizations for artists and cartoonists were formed. Among them were the New Cartoonists Association of Japan (Shin Nippon Mangaka Kyokai) and the New Cartoonists Faction Group (Shin Mangaha Shudan). During that time, the government used the few remaining cartoonists, who were not banned from working or who were not in the army, to influence the people through their artwork by creating comic strips filled with propaganda to use against the nation's enemies.
In another part of the world, an influential artist who went by the name of Walt Disney was struggling as a cartoonist. Long before Mickey Mouse, he started out with Alice's Wonderland and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in the 1920s. Then on November 16, 1928, Mickey Mouse was born and became an instant hit in the United States. Disney decided to work on other projects and started on an animated feature film called Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film, released in 1937, was a spectacular hit. Things went smoothly for the Disney Studio until World War II came along. Despite making incredible masterpieces like Fantasia and Bambi, Disney was struggling to make a profit so he decided to concentrate on making propaganda and training films for the military. By 1950, Disney Studios regained success with the live action film, Treasure Island, and the animated feature, Cinderella.
I've always been fascinated with drawing anime characters because they are so beautiful, unique, and show so much emotion. Their eyes are so expressive. I love to draw these characters and imagine what their stories would be like. I also thought anime characters lacked a little color so I always make them look like me: black and beautiful. I think someone should draw anime characters that represent women of color. Might as well be me. Here are a few of my drawings! Tell me what you think!