If you've been near a theater in the last few years, you've seen it happen: Somewhere deep in the middle of a bustling city an ill-defined ball of crackling "energy" swells. But just where does this rapidly-spreading trope come from? Here are its origins.

After taking a much closer look at the scenes in the newest Fantastic Four trailer, a discussion began about one scene in particular — the slightly mystifying clip up top (in which the city center is seemingly encased in some sort of magnetic field fishbowl — and how often it had popped up in our recent cinematic history.

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But, if it only showed up in our live-action cinema recently, the sum total of its history is actually much longer, and owes much of its origins to Anime, and the storyboarders and VFX artists who grew up on it:

redskull3000

Man, how many times have we seen this exact same "expanding ball of energy in the middle of the city" shot in the past few years?

Da Hellix

That's the Animeification of movies. From what I understand more and more Hollywood movies are using storyboarders and stuff aside from the scripters and that due to the fact that they use CGI, which pretty much amounts to Computer Animation. Now, guess who like to get into storyboarders in the CGI Animation Industry? Animation Nerds of course!

Anime being as Big an influence to a lot of animators, especially recently with the huge batch of people who got to experience the bootleg days of Anime in their youth, and so they look into the stuff they saw as kids, as most of the time that's what they were most impressed from.

Case in Point:

Akira:

Which has in turn Influenced a lot of animators on all sides of the world, obviously including those that work in GCI FX business . . .

afterthought: Josh Trank Also did Chronicle which in its final Act borrowed a lot from Akira too, so the Animefication might have been his idea from the start from that shot.

Also, This:

Feels a lot like Akira too:

Which in turn reminded me of this:

The video "Stronger" by Kanye West

Can you think of more places that you've seen this effect, or do you have other effects to point out that also have their origins in anime? Shout them out in the comments.

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