Why do they tend to occur so often in anime?
I'm not really a fan nor knowledgeable, but just curious is there any background behind this.
Here are some examples of what I mean:
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Why explosions in general are popular:
It's not much of a mystery & it mostly comes down to two things:
Budget - it's cheaper to animate an explosion of a building than destroy a set in a movie.
Genres - The most popular anime are usually shounen & action based. Predictably, explosions are something that that audience likes. You won't find many explosions in the romance genres. Western action film love explosions too.
The blinding light of large explosions:
I would say it's a safe guess that this is inspired by a nuclear explosion. The gif below is captured with a good camera, but many clips of nuclear explosion have intensely bright light that the camera cannot record properly - resulting in an almost whiter-than-white colour.
Time comes, and this tremendous flash out there is so bright that I duck, and I see this purple splotch on the floor of the truck. I said, "That's not it. That's an after-image." So I look back up, and I see this white light changing into yellow and then into orange. Clouds form and disappear again--from the compression and expansion of the shock wave.
Finally, a big ball of orange, the center that was so bright, becomes a ball of orange that starts to rise and billow a little bit and get a little black around the edges, and then you see it's a big ball of smoke with flashes on the inside, with the heat of the fire going outwards.
All this took about one minute. It was a series from bright to dark, and I had seen it. I am about the only guy who actually looked at the damn thing--the first Trinity test. Everybody else had dark glasses, and the people at six miles couldn't see it because they were all told to lie on the floor. I'm probably the only guy who saw it with the human eye.
Finally, after about a minute and a half, there's suddenly a tremendous noise--BANG, and then a rumble, like thunder-- and that's what convinced me. Nobody had said a word during this whole thing. We were all just watching quietly. But this sound released everybody--released me particularly because the solidity of the sound at that distance meant that it had really worked.
The man standing next to me said, "What's that?" I said, "That was the Bomb."
Extract from Richard Feynman, American physicist's biography
Obviously Japan has been influenced a lot from nuclear weaponry after the bombings of Nagasaki & Hiroshima in WW2. Because of this it finds itself in a lot of Japanese works. In fact, one of the first manga to be translated to english was Barefoot Gen - a survivor's tale from the Hiroshima bombings.
Nuclear energy's intense devastation is also immense power and it's one of the most powerful representations an artist could use to show the strength of an explosion/character.
Many successful works have used this technique, including Dragonball Z, Akira, etc and because of this, their usage has grown even further.
Attempt 3 at trying to understand what your question means - this time I presume you mean the star-like explosions that are in your videos.
Studio Gainax has these effects as a sort of signature, originally appearing in the very successful Neon Genesis Evangellion. Evangellion has many religious references - including their cross-shaped explosions.
Since then, the studio's work has used these often as explosions. Studio Trigger, which was founded by gainax ex-employees also use the feature a lot - see Kill la Kill for example.
Gainax is responsible for modern usage from their own usage of the explosion type - However, Space Opera was a popular genre in the 80s, causing many shows to be set in space - and also be action-packed, leading to many explosions - some of which being supernova-like. Gundam for instance is one particular show of note from this period.
While your question is poorly qualified and given no bounds, it is probably false. However, in the interest of answering the question, we shall assume you are talking about the subset of Shounen/Action anime.
I'd like to expand @ToshinouKyouko's points of Budget and Genre and include several other considerations for your question.
Default subject matter for the genre
The default subject matter for Shounen is fighting. When fighting, something is bound to give. Explosions are therefore commonplace, especially when the main concept of the show is a super power, mecha, or magic, etc. All these tend to use some kind of power or powerful weapon to destroy the opponent.
Solution for elimination
It is a "clean" solution for killing an opponent. There is no
blood/gore and there are no corpses to clean up. Note that
the default audience for the genre tends to be younger. There is no
problem with having less questionable methods especially if the
audience may be squeamish or if they are considering censorship
issues. Either way it is the most basic and clean solution, to make
As the story goes on, enemies get more powerful, and so does our hero. The easiest way of showing that when they fight is increasingly bigger explosions. The fact that our hero is stronger, means that he should be able to make a bigger Fireball, for example. A bigger fireball makes a bigger explosion as it stands to reason, does it not? The stronger enemy would also be capable of such feats of the same scale, and clashing with them would of course yield an explosion that is at least twice as big! This can be easily observed from anime where the fights can destroy worlds.
Anime as a medium
Anime is freeform storytelling. They are able to achieve more things than a traditional movie would because they can. Anime just need to animate something out and it exists. Movies are increasingly moving towards a lot of CG scenes because of this. Even explosions are getting done in CG more often too. Because it is so free, so unbound, they can do whatever they want. In the case of Shounen, this results in explosions, even on a scale of universes, if they so choose.
Popularity of explosions
Of course one cannot exclude the fact that their target audience may simply love seeing an explosion. Fireworks are simply popular, some even like to see stuff explode in real life. It is also popular for movies. If it is so popular, why not include it in anime, from the previous point, they can do it better. They can control the look and the size and make it however their audience may like it. I'm sure as a shounen anime watcher, perhaps nothing could please them more having the "bad guy" blow up and destroyed.