The beginning of 1980s saw the introduction of Japanese anime into the American and western culture. In the 1990s, Japanese animation slowly gained popularity in the United States.
In the 1960s, manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka adapted and simplified Disney animation techniques to reduce costs and limit frame counts in his productions. Originally intended as temporary measures to allow him to produce material on a tight schedule with an inexperienced staff, many of his limited animation practices came to define the medium's style. Three Tales (1960) was the first anime film broadcast on television; the first anime television series was Instant History (1961–64). An early and influential success was Astro Boy (1963–66), a television series directed by Tezuka based on his manga of the same name. Many animators at Tezuka's Mushi Production later established major anime studios (including Madhouse, Sunrise, and Pierrot).
The 1970s saw growth in the popularity of manga, many of which were later animated. Tezuka's work—and that of other pioneers in the field—inspired characteristics and genres that remain fundamental elements of anime today. The giant robot genre (also known as "mecha"), for instance, took shape under Tezuka, developed into the super robot genre under Go Nagai and others, and was revolutionized at the end of the decade by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who developed the real robot genre. Robot anime series such as Gundam and Super Dimension Fortress Macross became instant classics in the 1980s, and the genre remained one of the most popular in the following decades. The bubble economy of the 1980s spurred a new era of high-budget and experimental anime films, including Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (1987), and Akira (1988).
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995), a television series produced by Gainax and directed by Hideaki Anno, began another era of experimental anime titles, such as Ghost in the Shell (1995) and Cowboy Bebop (1998). In the 1990s, anime also began attracting greater interest in Western countries; major international successes include Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, both of which were dubbed into more than a dozen languages worldwide. In 2003, Spirited Away, a Studio Ghibli feature film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards. It later became the highest-grossing anime film, earning more than $355 million. Since the 2000s, an increased number of anime works have been adaptations of light novels and visual novels; successful examples include The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Fate/stay night (both 2006). Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train became the highest-grossing Japanese film and one of the world's highest-grossing films of 2020. It also became the fastest grossing film in Japanese cinema, because in 10 days it made 10 billion yen ($95.3m; £72m). It beat the previous record of Spirited Away which took 25 days.