Anime (/ˈænəˌmeɪ/ (Japanese: アニメ,
[aɲime] ( listen), plural: anime))[a] is a style of
hand-drawn and computer animation originating in, and commonly
associated with, Japan.
The word anime is the Japanese term for animation, which means all
forms of animated media. Outside Japan, anime refers specifically
to animation from
Japan or as a Japanese-disseminated animation style
often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters and
fantastical themes. The culturally abstract approach to the
word's meaning may open up the possibility of anime produced in
countries other than Japan. For simplicity, many Westerners
strictly view anime as a Japanese animation product. Some scholars
suggest defining anime as specifically or quintessentially Japanese
may be related to a new form of orientalism.
The earliest commercial Japanese animation dates to 1917, and Japanese
anime production has since continued to increase steadily. The
characteristic anime art style emerged in the 1960s with the works of
Osamu Tezuka and spread internationally in the late twentieth century,
developing a large domestic and international audience.
distributed theatrically, by way of television broadcasts, directly to
home media, and over the Internet. It is classified into numerous
genres targeting diverse broad and niche audiences.
Anime is a diverse art form with distinctive production methods and
techniques that have been adapted over time in response to emergent
technologies. It consists of an ideal story-telling mechanism,
combining graphic art, characterization, cinematography, and other
forms of imaginative and individualistic techniques. The production
of anime focuses less on the animation of movement and more on the
realism of settings as well as the use of camera effects, including
panning, zooming, and angle shots. Being hand-drawn, anime is
separated from reality by a crucial gap of fiction that provides an
ideal path for escapism that audiences can immerse themselves into
with relative ease. Diverse art styles are used and character
proportions and features can be quite varied, including
characteristically large emotive or realistically sized eyes.
The anime industry consists of over 430 production studios, including
major names like Studio Ghibli, Gainax, and Toei Animation. Despite
comprising only a fraction of Japan's domestic film market, anime
makes up a majority of Japanese
DVD sales. It has also seen
international success after the rise of English-dubbed programming.
This rise in international popularity has resulted in non-Japanese
productions using the anime art style, but these works are regularly
considered by some as anime-influenced animation rather than anime
proper, especially when swaying far from the stylized standard.
1 Definition and usage
7.1 Fan response
8 See also
10 External links
Definition and usage
Anime is an art form, specifically animation, that includes all genres
found in cinema, but it can be mistakenly classified as a genre. In
Japanese, the term anime refers to all forms of animation from around
the world. In English, anime (/ˈænəˌmeɪ/) is more
restrictively used to denote a "Japanese-style animated film or
television entertainment" or as "a style of animation created in
The etymology of the word anime is disputed. The English term
"animation" is written in Japanese katakana as アニメーション
(animēshon, pronounced [animeːɕoɴ]) and is アニメ (anime) in
its shortened form. Some sources claim that anime derives from the
French term for animation dessin animé, but others believe
this to be a myth derived from the French popularity of the medium in
the late 1970s and 1980s. In English, anime—when used as a common
noun—normally functions as a mass noun. (For example: "Do you watch
anime?" or "How much anime have you collected?") Prior to the
widespread use of anime, the term Japanimation was prevalent
throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the mid-1980s, the term anime began
to supplant Japanimation. In general, the latter term now only
appears in period works where it is used to distinguish and identify
The word anime has also been criticised, e.g. in 1987, when Hayao
Miyazaki stated that he despised the truncated word anime because to
him it represented the desolation of the Japanese animation industry.
He equated the desolation with animators lacking motivation and with
mass-produced, overly expressionistic products relying upon a fixed
iconography of facial expressions and protracted and exaggerated
action scenes but lacking depth and sophistication in that they do not
attempt to convey emotion or thought.
The first format of anime was theatrical viewing which originally
began with commercial productions in 1917. Originally the animated
flips were crude and required played musical components before adding
sound and vocal components to the production. On July 14, 1958, Nippon
Television aired Mogura no Abanchūru ("Mole's Adventure"), both the
first televised and first color anime to debut. It wasn't until
the 1960s when the first televised series were broadcast and it has
remained a popular medium since. Works released in a direct to
video format are called "original video animation" (OVA) or "original
animation video" (OAV); and are typically not released theatrically or
televised prior to home media release. The emergence of the
Internet has led some animators to distribute works online in a format
called "original net anime" (ONA).
The home distribution of anime releases were popularized in the 1980s
with the VHS and
LaserDisc formats. The VHS
NTSC video format used
Japan and the United States is credited as aiding the rising
popularity of anime in the 1990s. The Laser Disc and VHS formats
were transcended by the
DVD format which offered the unique
advantages; including multiple subtitling and dubbing tracks on the
same disc. The
DVD format also has its drawbacks in the its usage
of region coding; adopted by the industry to solve licensing, piracy
and export problems and restricted region indicated on the DVD
Video CD (VCD) format was popular in Hong Kong and
Taiwan, but became only a minor format in the United States that was
closely associated with bootleg copies.
Main article: History of anime
A cel from Namakura Gatana, the earliest surviving Japanese animated
short made for cinemas, produced in 1917
Japanese animation began in the early 20th century, when Japanese
filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques also pioneered
in France, Germany, the United States and Russia. A claim for the
earliest Japanese animation is Katsudō Shashin, an undated and
private work by an unknown creator. In 1917, the first
professional and publicly displayed works began to appear. Animators
Ōten Shimokawa and
Seitarou Kitayama produced numerous works,
with the oldest surviving film being Kouchi's Namakura Gatana, a
two-minute clip of a samurai trying to test a new sword on his target
only to suffer defeat. The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake
resulted in widespread destruction to Japan's infrastructure and the
destruction of Shimokawa's warehouse, destroying most of these early
By the 1930s animation was well established in
Japan as an alternative
format to the live-action industry. It suffered competition from
foreign producers and many animators,
Noburō Ōfuji and Yasuji
Murata, who still worked in cheaper cutout animation rather than cel
animation. Other creators,
Kenzō Masaoka and Mitsuyo Seo,
nonetheless made great strides in animation technique; they benefited
from the patronage of the government, which employed animators to
produce educational shorts and propaganda. The first talkie anime
was Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka, produced by Masaoka in
1933. By 1940, numerous anime artists' organizations had
risen, including the Shin Mangaha Shudan and Shin Nippon Mangaka.
The first feature-length animated film was Momotaro's Divine Sea
Warriors directed by Seo in 1944 with sponsorship by the Imperial
A frame from
Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors
Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors (1944), the first
feature-length anime film
The success of The Walt
Disney Company's 1937 feature film Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs profoundly influenced many Japanese
animators. In the 1960s, manga artist and animator Osamu Tezuka
adapted and simplified many
Disney animation techniques to reduce
costs and to limit the number of frames in productions. He
intended this as a temporary measure to allow him to produce material
on a tight schedule with inexperienced animation staff. Three
Tales, aired in 1960, was the first anime shown on television. The
first anime television series was Otogi
Manga Calendar, aired from
1961 to 1964.
The 1970s saw a surge of growth in the popularity of manga, Japanese
comic books and graphic novels, many of which were later animated. The
Osamu Tezuka drew particular attention: he has been called a
"legend" and the "god of manga". His work—and that of
other pioneers in the field—inspired characteristics and genres that
remain fundamental elements of anime today. The giant robot genre
(known as "mecha" outside Japan), 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 anime like the
The Super Dimension Fortress Macross
The Super Dimension Fortress Macross series became instant
classics in the 1980s, and the robot genre of anime is still one of
the most common in
Japan and worldwide today. In the 1980s, anime
became more accepted in the mainstream in
Japan (although less than
manga), and experienced a boom in production. Following a few
successful adaptations of anime in overseas markets in the 1980s,
anime gained increased acceptance in those markets in the 1990s and
even more at the turn of the 21st century. In 2002, Spirited Away, a
Studio Ghibli production directed by
Hayao Miyazaki won the Golden
Bear at the
Berlin International Film Festival
Berlin International Film Festival and in 2003 at the 75th
Academy Awards it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Anime are often classified by target demographic, including childrens'
(子供, kodomo), girls' (少女, shōjo), boys' (少年, shōnen) and
a diverse range of genres targeting an adult audience. Shoujo and
shounen anime sometimes contain elements popular with children of both
sexes in an attempt to gain crossover appeal. Adult anime may feature
a slower pace or greater plot complexity that younger audiences
typically find unappealing, as well as adult themes and
situations. A subset of adult anime works featuring pornographic
elements are labeled "R18" in Japan, and are internationally known as
hentai (originating from pervert (変態, hentai)). By contrast, some
anime subgenres incorporate ecchi, sexual themes or undertones without
depictions of sexual intercourse, as typified in the comedic or harem
genres; due to its popularity among adolescent and adult anime
enthusiasts, the inclusion of such elements is considered a form of
Anime's genre classification is different from other types of
animation and does not lend itself to simple identity. Gilles
Poitras compared the labeling
Gundam 0080 and its complex depiction of
war as a "giant robot" anime akin to simply labeling
War and Peace
War and Peace a
"war novel". Science fiction is a major anime genre and includes
important historical works like Tezuka's
Astro Boy and Yokoyama's
Tetsujin 28-go. A major subgenre of science fiction is mecha, with the
Gundam metaseries being iconic. The diverse fantasy genre includes
works based on Asian and Western traditions and folklore; examples
include the Japanese feudal fairytale InuYasha, and the depiction of
Scandinavian goddesses who move to
Japan to maintain a computer called
Yggdrasil in Ah! My Goddess.
Genre crossing in anime is also
prevalent, such as the blend of fantasy and comedy in Dragon Half, and
the incorporation of slapstick humor in the crime anime Castle of
Cagliostro. Other subgenres found in anime include magical girl,
harem, sports, martial arts, literary adaptations, medievalism,
Genres have emerged that explore homosexual romances. While originally
pornographic in terminology, yaoi (male homosexuality) and yuri
(female homosexuality) are broad terms used internationally to
describe any focus on the themes or development of romantic homosexual
relationships. Prior to 2000, homosexual characters were typically
used for comedic effect, but some works portrayed these characters
seriously or sympathetically.
Anime artists employ many distinct visual styles
Anime differs greatly from other forms of animation by its diverse art
styles, methods of animation, its production, and its process.
Visually, anime is a diverse art form that contains a wide variety of
art styles, differing from one creator, artist, and studio. While no
one art style predominates anime as a whole, they do share some
similar attributes in terms of animation technique and character
Anime follows the typical production of animation, including
storyboarding, voice acting, character design, and cel production
(Shirobako, itself a series, highlights many of the aspects involved
in anime production). Since the 1990s, animators have increasingly
used computer animation to improve the efficiency of the production
process. Artists like
Noburō Ōfuji pioneered the earliest anime
works, which were experimental and consisted of images drawn on
blackboards, stop motion animation of paper cutouts, and silhouette
Cel animation grew in popularity until it came to
dominate the medium. In the 21st century, the use of other animation
techniques is mostly limited to independent short films, including
the stop motion puppet animation work produced by Tadahito Mochinaga,
Kihachirō Kawamoto and Tomoyasu Murata. Computers were
integrated into the animation process in the 1990s, with works such as
Ghost in the Shell and
Princess Mononoke mixing cel animation with
computer-generated images. Fuji Film, a major cel production
company, announced it would stop cel production, producing an industry
panic to procure cel imports and hastening the switch to digital
Prior to the digital era, anime was produced with traditional
animation methods using a pose to pose approach. The majority of
mainstream anime uses fewer expressive key frames and more in-between
Japanese animation studios were pioneers of many limited animation
techniques, and have given anime a distinct set of conventions. Unlike
Disney animation, where the emphasis is on the movement, anime
emphasizes the art quality and let limited animation techniques make
up for the lack of time spent on movement. Such techniques are often
used not only to meet deadlines but also as artistic devices.
Anime scenes place emphasis on achieving three-dimensional views, and
backgrounds are instrumental in creating the atmosphere of the
work. The backgrounds are not always invented and are occasionally
based on real locations, as exemplified in Howl's Moving Castle and
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Oppliger stated that anime
is one of the rare mediums where putting together an all-star cast
usually comes out looking "tremendously impressive".
The cinematic effects of anime differentiates itself from the stage
plays found in American animation.
Anime is cinematically shot as if
by camera, including panning, zooming, distance and angle shots to
more complex dynamic shots that would be difficult to produce in
reality. In anime, the animation is produced before the
voice acting, contrary to American animation which does the voice
acting first; this can cause lip sync errors in the Japanese
Body proportions of human anime characters tend to accurately reflect
the proportions of the human body in reality. The height of the head
is considered by the artist as the base unit of proportion. Head
heights can vary, but most anime characters are about seven to eight
Anime artists occasionally make deliberate
modifications to body proportions to produce super deformed characters
that feature a disproportionately small body compared to the head;
many super deformed characters are two to four heads tall. Some anime
Crayon Shin-chan completely disregard these proportions,
such that they resemble Western cartoons.
A common anime character design convention is exaggerated eye size.
The animation of characters with large eyes in anime can be traced
back to Osamu Tezuka, who was deeply influenced by such early
animation characters as Betty Boop, who was drawn with
disproportionately large eyes. Tezuka is a central figure in anime
and manga history, whose iconic art style and character designs
allowed for the entire range of human emotions to be depicted solely
through the eyes. The artist adds variable color shading to the
eyes and particularly to the cornea to give them greater depth.
Generally, a mixture of a light shade, the tone color, and a dark
shade is used. Cultural anthropologist
Matt Thorn argues that
Japanese animators and audiences do not perceive such stylized eyes as
inherently more or less foreign. However, not all anime have large
eyes. For example, the works of
Hayao Miyazaki are known for having
realistically proportioned eyes, as well as realistic hair colors on
Anime and manga artists often draw from a defined set of facial
expressions to depict particular emotions
Hair in anime is often unnaturally lively and colorful or uniquely
styled. The movement of hair in anime is exaggerated and "hair action"
is used to emphasize the action and emotions of characters for added
visual effect. Poitras traces hairstyle color to cover
illustrations on manga, where eye-catching artwork and colorful tones
are attractive for children's manga. Despite being produced for a
domestic market, anime features characters whose race or nationality
is not always defined, and this is often a deliberate decision, such
as in the Pokémon animated series.
Anime and manga artists often draw from a common canon of iconic
facial expression illustrations to denote particular moods and
thoughts. These techniques are often different in form than their
counterparts in Western animation, and they include a fixed
iconography that is used as shorthand for certain emotions and
moods. For example, a male character may develop a nosebleed when
aroused. A variety of visual symbols are employed, including sweat
drops to depict nervousness, visible blushing for embarrassment, or
glowing eyes for an intense glare.
The opening and credits sequences of most anime television episodes
are accompanied by Japanese pop or rock songs, often by reputed bands.
They may be written with the series in mind, but are also aimed at the
general music market, and therefore often allude only vaguely or not
at all to the themes or plot of the series. Pop and rock songs are
also sometimes used as incidental music ("insert songs") in an
episode, often to highlight particularly important scenes.
List of anime companies
List of anime companies and List of Japanese animation
Akihabara district of Tokyo is the center of otaku subculture in
The animation industry consists of more than 430 production companies
with some of the major studios including Toei Animation, Gainax,
Madhouse, Gonzo, Sunrise, Bones, TMS Entertainment, Nippon Animation,
Studio Pierrot and Studio Ghibli. Many of the studios
are organized into a trade association, The Association of Japanese
Animations. There is also a labor union for workers in the industry,
Animation Creators Association. Studios will often work
together to produce more complex and costly projects, as done with
Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away. An anime episode can cost between
US$100,000 and US$300,000 to produce. In 2001, animation accounted
for 7% of the Japanese film market, above the 4.6% market share for
live-action works. The popularity and success of anime is seen
through the profitability of the
DVD market, contributing nearly 70%
of total sales. According to a 2016 article on Nikkei Asian
Review, Japanese television stations have bought over ¥60 billion
worth of anime from production companies "over the past few years",
compared with under ¥20 billion from overseas. There has been a
rise in sales of shows to television stations in Japan, caused by late
night anime with adults as the target demographic. This type of
anime is less popular outside Japan, being considered "more of a niche
Spirited Away (2001) is the all-time highest-grossing
film in Japan. It was also the highest-grossing anime film
worldwide until it was overtaken by Makoto Shinkai's 2016 film Your
Anime films represent a large part of the highest-grossing
Japanese films yearly in Japan, with 6 out of the top 10 in 2014, in
2015 and also in 2016.
Anime has to be licensed by companies in other countries in order to
be legally released. While anime has been licensed by its Japanese
owners for use outside
Japan since at least the 1960s, the practice
became well-established in the United States in the late 1970s to
early 1980s, when such TV series as
Captain Harlock were
licensed from their Japanese parent companies for distribution in the
US market. The trend towards American distribution of anime continued
into the 1980s with the licensing of titles such as
Voltron and the
'creation' of new series such as
Robotech through use of source
material from several original series.
In the early 1990s, several companies began to experiment with the
licensing of less children-oriented material. Some, such as A.D.
Central Park Media and its imprints, achieved fairly
substantial commercial success and went on to become major players in
the now very lucrative American anime market. Others, such as
AnimEigo, achieved limited success. Many companies created directly by
Japanese parent companies did not do as well, most releasing only one
or two titles before completing their American operations.
Licenses are expensive, often hundreds of thousands of dollars for one
series and tens of thousands for one movie. The prices vary
widely; for example, Jinki: Extend cost only $91,000 to license while
Kurau Phantom Memory
Kurau Phantom Memory cost $960,000.
Simulcast Internet streaming
rights can be less expensive, with prices around $1,000-$2,000 an
episode, but can also be more expensive, with some series costing
more than US$200,000 per episode.
The anime market for the United States was worth approximately $2.74
billion in 2009. Dubbed animation began airing in the United
States in 2000 on networks like The WB and Cartoon Network's Adult
Swim. In 2005, this resulted in five of the top ten anime titles
having previously aired on Cartoon Network. As a part of
localization, some editing of cultural references may occur to better
follow the references of the non-Japanese culture. The cost of
English localization averages US $10,000 per episode.
The industry has been subject to both praise and condemnation for
fansubs, the addition of unlicensed and unauthorized subtitled
translations of anime series or films. Fansubs, which were
originally distributed on VHS bootlegged cassettes in the 1980s, have
been freely available and disseminated online since the 1990s.
Since this practice raises concerns for copyright and piracy issues,
fansubbers tend to adhere to an unwritten moral code to destroy or no
longer distribute an anime once an official translated or subtitled
version becomes licensed. They also try to encourage viewers to buy an
official copy of the release once it comes out in English, although
fansubs typically continue to circulate through file sharing
networks. Even so, the laid back regulations of the Japanese
animation industry tends to overlook these issues, allowing it to grow
underground and thus increasing the popularity until there is a demand
for official high quality releases for animation companies. This has
led to an increase in global popularity with Japanese animations,
reaching $40 million in sales in 2004.
Legal international availability of anime on the Internet has changed
in recent years, with simulcasts of series available on websites like
The anime industry has several annual awards which honor the year's
best works. Major annual awards in
Japan include the Ōfuji Noburō
Award, the Mainichi Film Award for Best
Animation Film, the Animation
Kobe Awards, the
Japan Media Arts Festival animation awards, the Tokyo
Anime Award and the
Japan Academy Prize for
Animation of the Year. In
the United States, anime films compete in the ICv2.com Anime
Awards There were also the American
Anime Awards, which were
designed to recognize excellence in anime titles nominated by the
industry, and were held only once in 2006.
Anime productions have
also been nominated and won awards not exclusively for anime, like the
Academy Award for Best Animated Feature or the Golden Bear.
Anime has become commercially profitable in Western countries, as
demonstrated by early commercially successful Western adaptations of
anime, such as Astro Boy,
Dragon Ball and Speed Racer. Early American
adaptions in the 1960s made
Japan expand into the continental European
market, first with productions aimed at European and Japanese
children, such as Heidi,
Vicky the Viking
Vicky the Viking and Barbapapa, which aired
in various countries. Particularly Italy, Spain and France grew an
interest into Japan's output, due to its cheap selling price and
productive output. In fact, Italy imported the most anime outside of
Japan. These mass imports influenced anime popularity in South
American, Arabic and German markets.
The beginning of 1980 saw the introduction of Japanese anime series
into the American culture. In the 1990s, Japanese animation slowly
gained popularity in America. Media companies such as Viz and Mixx
began publishing and releasing animation into the American
market. The growth of the Internet provided Western audiences an
easy way to access Japanese content. This is especially the case
with net services such as
Netflix and Crunchyroll. As a direct result,
various interests surrounding
Japan has increased.
Anime clubs gave rise to anime conventions in the 1990s with the
"anime boom", a period marked by increased popularity of anime.
These conventions are dedicated to anime and manga and include
elements like cosplay contests and industry talk panels. Cosplay,
a portmanteau for "costume play", is not unique to anime and has
become popular in contests and masquerades at anime conventions.
Japanese culture and words have entered English usage through the
popularity of the medium, including otaku, a derogatory Japanese term
commonly used in English to denote a fan of anime and manga.
Another word that has arisen describing fans in the United States is
wapanese meaning White individuals who desire to be Japanese, or later
known as weeaboo for individuals who demonstrate a strong interest in
Japanese anime subculture, which is a term that originated from
abusive content posted on the popular bulletin board website
Anime enthusiasts have produced fan fiction and fan
art, including computer wallpaper and anime music videos.
One of the key points that made anime different from popular Western
animation is the emotional content. Once the expectation that the
aspects of visual intrigue or animation being just for children is put
aside, the audience can realize that many emotions such as suffering,
death, pain, struggle, and joy can all be storytelling elements
utilized in anime as much as other types of media. However, as
anime itself became increasingly popular, anime styling has been
inevitably the subject of both satire and serious creative
productions. South Park's "Chinpokomon" and "Good Times with
Weapons" episodes, Adult Swim's Perfect Hair Forever, and
Kappa Mikey are examples of satirical depictions of
Japanese culture and anime. Some works have sparked debate for
blurring the lines between satire and serious "anime style"
productions, such as the American anime style production Avatar: The
Last Airbender. These anime styled works have become defined as
anime-influenced animation, in an attempt to classify all anime styled
works of non-Japanese origin. Some creators of these works cite
anime as a source of inspiration and like the French production team
Ōban Star-Racers moved to Tokyo to collaborate with a Japanese
production team. When anime is defined as a "style"
rather than as a national product it leaves open the possibility of
anime being produced in other countries. A U.A.E.-Filipino
produced TV series called Torkaizer is dubbed as the "Middle East's
Anime Show", and is currently in production, which is
currently looking for funding. The web-based series
produced using an anime art style and has been declared to be
anime. In addition, the series will be released in Japan,
under the label of "anime" per the Japanese definition of the term and
referenced as an "American-made anime".
Netflix declared the
company's intention to produce anime. In doing so, the company is
offering a more accessible channel for distribution to Western
markets. Defining anime as style has been contentious amongst
fans, with John Oppliger stating, "The insistence on referring to
original American art as Japanese "anime" or "manga" robs the work of
its cultural identity."
Anime and manga portal
Fandom culture in South Korea
List of anime
Voice acting in Japan
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