What Is Japanese Anime?

Anime characters.
An anime character.
An anime girl running.
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  • Written By: D Frank
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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In its simplest sense, anime refers to a cartoon television series or movie made in Japan. The word is derived from the word animation. In a Japanese series, the characters traditionally have extremely large, doe-like eyes and spiky or long hair. Anime is, however, more than just a "cartoon" to its fans. While traditional cartoons in the United States often rely on either humor or simplistic "good versus evil" plots, the typical anime series offers characters who evolve as the series moves along and deals with complex issues, including the reality and acceptance of death. This type of series offers insight into the Japanese culture and often plays upon assorted Asian myths, symbols, and the martial arts.

Anime is an art form not intended simply for children. While some series are directed towards youngsters, most are intended for adult audiences. The word, manga is often used when discussing anime, but they are by no means the same. Manga refers to Japanese comics. In essence, manga is the book form, and many popular series started out as manga. The word, "otaku," is often used to describe die-hard fans of anime and manga, meaning that these hard core fans live and breathe for these art forms.


The popularity of Japanese anime has spread world-wide. Fans across the globe now collect their favorite series in VHS and DVD form. These cartoons are available in a dubbed version, or with the original Japanese language and subtitles. While they deal with serious issues, there are often humorous, perverse, and light-hearted moments in each series. Such scenes are often referred to as "ecchi."

The first anime television series, "Tetsuawan Atom" (The Mighty Atom), was released 1963 and ran in the United States that same year as "Astro Boy." The popularity of this form has spread to other areas as well. The video gaming industry sells millions of games every year that are based on the characters in these series. On toy shelves across the United States, popular characters can be found in action figure form as well.


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Post 10

I had to do a speech on this and this was a great help! I figured out things that I didn't even know! I'm an otaku and also enjoy other forms of entertainment.

Post 9

Ah, anime, my greatest love. I love reading different sites and seeing what other people have to say about anime. And this was actually 100 percent accurate, unbiased and enjoyable to read.

Yes, I am considered an otaku, and I take great pride in that. But, I don't just limit myself to anime culture. I do like other forms of entertainment.

Post 7

I had to do a report on Japanese animation and this really helped. Although I already knew half of this stuff, the things I didn't know were quite interesting.

Post 6

This site really helped me with my Japanese assignment. Thanks!

Post 3

This site was very useful in explaining exactly what manga and anime mean. I love all Japanese anime, but was not sure about the definition!

Post 2

I have just come across this site and will look forward to getting updates.

I am mainly interested in Japanese anime and all things anime. It is just the kind of site that will keep me up to date. Thanks and cheers

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