Anime; Cartoons, yes or no?



  • I have come across this topic of discussion on other forums, so I feel perhaps it is time to open it up here.

    So, the question is; are Anime and Cartoons essentially the same thing?

    This obviously isn’t a simple yes or no answer since there is need for some elaboration on people’s answers.

    Personally I feel they are, and I have a write up prepared which I had already posted on another forum, however, I’m going to withhold that for now and give some other users some floor space to see what they to say on the matter.



  • Anime are Japanese cartoons, end of thread.



  • @TIL:

    Anime are Japanese cartoons, end of thread.

    Lock it up



  • All anime are cartoons, but not all cartoons are anime. That's pretty much it.



  • What TIL said!
    Anime is the Japanese word for animation. Anime are cartoons, cartoons are anime, let's not do this. Please.



  • So far this is the smoothest discussion on this topic I have seen in comparison to other forums; let's keep it that way, but continue to discuss.

    I'm with the majority on this one as I said in my initial post that anime is animation thus cartoons, or for a better way to phrase it, I would say the medium of Anime falls under the umbrella of animation/cartoons.

    This leads me to some questions to ask:

    What is it that distinguishes anime from other cartoons? Is it that it’s made in Japan, or perhaps is it the style, such as the character design and the animation techniques applied that make it “Anime?”

    I have come across some great videos on the matter, but for now, I‘ll hold off, along with the other material I had written and post that later. As for what I have; it's merely conformation as to why I feel Anime are Cartoons, so, there is no disagreement here.



  • That's also easy. Cartoons made in Japan are anime. A Western cartoon can have a large influence from anime, such as Avatar or Korra, but it's only an influence. Similarly, Panty & Stocking can have a heavy Western influence, but it's still only an influence and isn't indicative of where it was created

    I mean, the Toyota Supra exists, but just because it's a muscle/sports car doesn't mean it's American or European. It's still Japanese



  • @Riles, it's a good way to put it, I guess I'll share my larger post on this now and the video I came across that sums up this topic well.

    I strongly feel that the medium of Anime is under the umbrella of Animation/Cartoons. The reason people are unable to make this assessment is the connotative meaning the words “Anime” and “Cartoons” have. It’s similar to referring to full length live action media as “Movies” or “Films” with each word yielding a different mental picture to the individual that hears them.

    In both cases one sounds sophisticated and mature, while the other sounds more frivolous and facetious.

    There are a few distinctions that separate “Anime” from American Animation or what people mean when they say “Cartoons; with American Animation I generally find its more kinetic; more movement and action oriented. I also find some of the tricks used to cut costs are “looping” the background cels while characters or a vehicle are placed over top creating the illusion that it is moving. I’ve seen this often with shows like The Flintstones and Looney Toons cartoons.

    I also find with American Animation there are more “cartoonish” or “exaggerated” character designs and more experimentation with backgrounds and characters. With shows like Panty & Stocking and The Tatami Galaxy or Avatar and Teen Titans there is some crossover in influence.

    While there are some American Animation productions that do have some more “static” animation, it doesn’t happen too often. One show I can think of was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It was one of the first cartoons that would have episodes broadcast Monday – Friday as opposed to once a week.

    This resulted in the animation team looking for ways to be more time and cost efficient which is why He-Man cartoons often reuse the exact same character cels and action sequences or movements over different back grounds with only the mouth moving. The old Spiderman cartoons have become infamous for doing this.

    In the case of “Anime” one of the staple tricks is to take a still frame and merely pan across it with added sound effects which create the illusion of motion. There’s also more close ups of the characters’ faces with very little movement there and maybe only the mouth moving, and even then, one trick I have noticed; dialogue will persist, but the animation will consist of a montage of still frame backgrounds that are relevant to the dialogue in some form, say of allegory for example .

    I also find that these animation techniques, while they are more cost and time effective, they can actually enhance the story telling; I generally find, and when I say generally, I mean most of the time, one of the distinguishing characteristics of Anime to American Animation is that is tends to be slower paced and more cinematic. Hence the more “mature” storytelling, and I use that term “mature” very loosely, I still go by the school of thought that any given piece of media is only as mature as the viewer watching it at a given time is.

    The interesting thing about “Anime” is that the distinct ”big eyes, little mouth” design was the result of artist/writers like Osamu Tezuka who liked Disney animation like Snow White and Bambi so much, he literally stole those design ideas and adapted them to his style. So, speaking of crossover, from a technical standpoint, all anime with "standard" anime character designs are in fact influenced by American Cartoons/Animation to begin with.

    So with these animation techniques, I know both “Anime” and American Animation utilize all of them, it’s more that certain tricks and techniques are used more often in each of the animation types.

    With all that said, I think the only real difference aside from the animation techniques and designs utilized by both Japan and America is the connotative meaning of “Cartoons” and “Anime” and the imagery they create when one hears these words.

    Using words like “Anime” which obviously means Japanese Animation, which produces the imagery of foreign, or exotic, “mature” and “intellectual” which is something of a fallacy because those of us who watch enough of it know not all “Anime” is some deep intellectual journey and at the same time, some of it, while it may not appear so, is actually very deep and intelligent with allegory hidden in plain sight, but that’s a discussion for another day.

    In the case of the word “Cartoon” people usually think of “something for children” or it has to be funny. I remember on the commentary track on my Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Blu-ray set, one of the Voice Actors mentioned that people in North America tend to see Animation as the jester of entertainment in that they don’t take it seriously and expect it to be funny.

    So, at the end of the day, the only real difference between “Anime” and “Cartoons” is the connotative meaning the words produce.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p51neLsWE-4



  • I've always liked defining anime as:
    Animation made for a Japanese audience.
    Now that's not to say anime can't be marketed to an audience outside of Japan, but when studio Bones made Cowboy Bebop they were mainly focused on selling to Japanese cable companies and consumers. Would that mean a show like Big-O's second season wasn't really an anime? to be sure it's an odd case but by definition it is no longer an anime. Is RWBY an anime? I would say no, it's made for an American audience.
    There are even more special cases, like Space Dandy which focuses on both the Japanese and American audiences, but in a case like this I'd say they are mainly targeting Japanese cable companies and consumers since that is where they hope to see their profit.

    It's not a perfect definition, but given anime's extreme differences in style I've always disagreed with trying to tie it into a certain set of techniques.



  • @neonwalrus:

    I strongly feel that the medium of Anime is under the umbrella of Animation/Cartoons.

    I don't agree with that at all. Usually, wherever I go to find anime - from retail stores to online streams - anime is given its own section/category. The genre is fairly respected for something that isn't very mainstream.

    That isn't to say that people can instantly recognize genuine Japanese animation. My older brother once showed me this Korean animation Britney Spears music video that was in the style of anime. Naturally, he thought it was anime, so I tried to show him the D City Rock Panty and Stocking music video for the real experience. He ended up going with the old "way more views on YouTube" logic implying his video was better than mine, but regardless of what he thinks, that video is just an example of anime's influence.

    And if you recall, The Simpsons dedicated a whole scene to Hayao Miyazaki a while back. So while anime is technically animation/cartoons, it is by no means "under the umbrella." Japanese animation has pretty much been recognized as a completely unique form of entertainment.



  • @7jaws7:

    Usually, wherever I go to find anime - from retail stores to online streams - anime is given its own section/category. The genre is fairly respected for something that isn't very mainstream.

    The idea I’m presenting is similar to that of foreign movies being given their own section which tends to happen at many of the stores around here. They’re still movies/films just as Anime is still Cartoons/Animation with the only distinctions being their source location and style; which as I have spoken about isn’t as cut and dry as we think.

    So we come around to what people have been saying with the best, yet most simple expression being:

    @Renzokuken:

    All anime are cartoons, but not all cartoons are anime.

    @7jaws7:

    And if you recall, The Simpsons dedicated a whole scene to Hayao Miyazaki a while back. So while anime is technically animation/cartoons, it is by no means "under the umbrella." Japanese animation has pretty much been recognized as a completely unique form of entertainment.

    Japanese animation is a unique form of entertainment true, and is an entire medium; but it’s all still cartoons. Can we put Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Queen’s Blade, GunGrave or Strike Witches into the same ballpark as Toy Story, Wreck-It-Ralph, Beauty & The Beast or American Tale?

    Obviously we can’t, let alone categorize the anime I listed as the same either. While from a storytelling standpoint they all may cover some of the same content, the approach and execution is what distinguishes them, however, they're still cartoons because they're animated a certain way.

    The logic I’m getting at is if we take music, we can’t put Slayer, Green Day, Beethoven and Miley Cyrus into the same box, yet the rules and structures they follow are the same; however, the approach, style and execution separate them once again to the point that they may have their own section in a store, but they’re still all music.

    So, we step back to square one that everyone has been saying thus far; anime are cartoons; it just so happens they come from Japan, have a different style, use a different approach with a different execution making it a unique style of; Cartoons which falls under Animation.

    The reason I say Anime/Cartoons under Animation is because I forgot to account for stop motion animation earlier which falls under Animation as well; and that's almost a completely different animal yet does share a few commonalities.



  • Every form of animation has it's own unique sets of ups & downs, strengths & weaknesses, all have works both beautiful & horrid.

    @jaws: Anime has it's own section because stores are evil & xenophobic! XD I kid of course, anime is regulated to it's own section in stores as there eventually became a reason ( be it content, demand, etc) to do so. But anime is merely animation from Japan and it is a type of "cartoon" because a cartoon is a type of animation.

    @Neon: I agree with your post, sans maybe the looped/recycled background part neither anime or toons do much of that anymore.

    But yes there are differences, American cartoons for the most part are more abstract with their characters being more stretchy & flamboyant, making a wider array of facial expressions. Where anime is more stiff, but has more defined backgrounds & more realistic or semi-realistic looking characters at times. Again there are some outliers in each of these and many 60s anime & toons alike cut a lot of corners. But yeah, all are toons. Heck lots of early anime were inspired by old U. S. Toons, now we have U.S. Toons inspired by anime, it's a circle I guess. XD

    Now content wide they are very different true, most US animations being comedy and Japaness more action oriented. And lots more nudity XD. But yea, sall toons to me.



  • @neonwalrus:

    Japanese animation is a unique form of entertainment true, and is an entire medium; but it’s all still cartoons.

    I'm well aware that anime is Japanese cartoons.

    The difference is that I look at it the other way - anime is still all cartoons, but it's a unique form of entertainment.



  • @7jaws7:

    anime is still all cartoons, but it's a unique form of entertainment.

    A unique form of entertainment, and its own medium; under the umbrella of Animation and Cartoons the same way foreign film is still movies.


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