What’s the Difference Between Cartoon and Anime?

Last Updated on September 3, 2020

difference between cartoon and anime

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Japanese animation, or anime, was first introduced in 1960. However, there is debate as to whether or not Anime should be considered a cartoon. Most westerners consider Anime to be another form of a cartoon.

Never the less, Japan does not want anime to be considered as a form of a cartoon. Japan is covered with Anime images, and they use Anime in everyday life. It is part of their culture. Anime is used in Japanese education, marketing strategies, magazines, movies, and books.

what's the difference between cartoon and anime?

So, what’s the difference between cartoon and anime?

Anime (Japanese: アニメ?, [a.ni.me] are Japanese animated productions, and come in all formats, such as television series (such as Dragon Ball and Inuyasha, animated short films, and full-length feature films.)

A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor.

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No matter how you look at it, an anime is a cartoon. The main difference is that an anime is considered a Japanese style of cartoons in the West.

Many English-language dictionaries define anime as “a Japanese style of motion-picture animation” or as “a style of animation developed in Japan.”

However, in Japan, the term “anime” does not specify an animation’s nation of origin or style. Instead, it serves as a blanket term to refer to all forms of animation from around the world (both foreign and domestic).

The word “anime” is loan word referring to “animation” or “cartoons,” adapted from the English word “animation.” So, Pokemon is both, no matter if it is designed for kids or what.

difference between cartoon and anime

Or, the TL,DR (the too long, didn’t read version) the difference is mostly a matter of opinion and location. Most of us will agree that Pokemon and Sailor Moon cover both but other shows will fall under just one category.

As always,

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What do you think the difference between cartoon and anime is? Let me know in the comments below!

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difference between cartoon and anime

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SEO Marketing Analyst who spends her time watching anime and reading anything she can get her hands on. Passionate about Disney, Harry Potter and helping those with depression and anxiety.
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  1. @Ashdawn your comment is unrelated to the article and it is also self-defeating, modern science is literally a complilation of lies and unproven theories that came from a few unstable individuals with psychological problems, you honestly commit an intellectual and spiritual suicide by using the public school system, this is why higher education is dying

    Also anime is a lot more important and it is virtually part of everything now, anime and manga are everywhere

  2. Anime has always been called anime and manga has always been called manga throughout the entire history, anime has nothing to do with cartoons and manga has nothing to do with comics regardless of the location of origin, the latter ones are dying concepts that do not belong in the world anymore. Anime and Manga have become something so beautiful, powerful, widespread that now have roots everywhere and can make everything in its perfection that it is almost as if anime and manga is essentialy an aspect of the Image of God. There are so many reasons that completely demolish any accusations that desperately go against the truth which have been said many times but here are some of them.

    Anime has the overwhelming majority of the content produced, for every one outdated “cartoon” there are hundreds of high quality new anime each year, for every outdated “comic” there are hundreds of manga and hundreds of light novels, this is also why the lesser categories are collapsing in their market while anime and manga has always been growing more popular and powerful than ever. So you cannot take a category that is an unfashionable minority (even in the west culture now) and try to identify it with a superior medium that has been expanding and is the majority as it should be.
    Anime as a term has never been exclusively connected with the episodes, movies or entertaiment specific, it is a much larger medium which ecompasses countless of multimedia franchises and can be part of practically everything, this includes the general artstyle, episodes, movies, manga, light novels, web novels, videogames, merchandise, clothing, food, personal companions, various campaigns, spiritual guidance in religion, hopes for an afterlife anime world and many more. Anime is basically part of everything. Everywhere that has something about anime, it is always called anime, regardless of what content it is, for example in videogame platforms such as Steam or PSN, the largest amount of their library is anime videogames (mainly visual novels) and they are all categorised as anime, in clothing stores the clothes that are about anime are all categorised as anime, so anime is part of everything.
    The general artstyle that encompasses anime and manga, has essentially accomplished the most perfected appearance that something can ever be manifested with, no other method was ever able to present something in such a beautiful and wonderful way, the characters and environments in anime have the most beautiful and charming silhouettes, characteristics and overall feelings than anywhere else, mumbling that the art-style is “unrealistic” based on your fallible standards is utterly ridiculous as firstly the term reality itself is indefinable due to the spiritual aspect but also on the one side anime and manga have generally the most appropriate body proportions that people have while at the same time being in their most charming and glorious appearance while on the other side the abstract cartoons and comics have the ugliest and weirdest drawings ever, the characters there are squares, circles and generally a mess of geometric nonsense with no substance or meaning in anything, adding that with their terrible overall concept they have nothing to do with anime.
    Anime and Manga encompass all genres and subgenres imaginable and have something for everyone regardless when or where they came from or how old they are, the wholehearted feelings, devoted spirituality, various lessons and overall environment that anime and manga offer is pure perfection while cartoons and comics had always the same soulless, outdated, ugly, lame old jokes, and with ridiculously bad artstyle content that is not even attractive to western children anymore, let alone other people, because they belongs in the garbage bin, all people prefer anime and manga nowadays over the other and this is how it should have been.
    Every single time that someone tried to identify anime with cartoons, it has never been out of genuine means, but has always been as a failed attempt to mock or degrade something, usually because they have either some personal psychological problem or other cultural issues and jealously, this is because it is obvious that anime and cartoons or manga and comics have nothing to do with each other and that anime has always been far superior and will always be part of everything.
    Saying that anime and manga are specific the Japanese style of animation and artwork is completely fallible thinking, firstly the anime artstyle has always been used throughout all Asia with Japan as its foundation and secondly, not only it has become a worldwide medium but many non-eastern companies and individuals have adapted the anime concept as well and various anime and manga are created worldwide because anime and manga are a lot more valuable and favorable for everyone.
    The argument that in Japan specific the term anime means animation in general is full of ignorance and outworn prejudices, Japan more than anyone else knows the difference between anime and the lesser concepts because the foundation of anime came from there and a large amount of the economy and overall way of life is from anime and manga. Nowadays when a Japanese person asks you if you like anime, which they tend to do, they obviously mean the same thing that you are thinking, the actual anime medium and not a vague term.
    The usage of wikipedia to support falsified arguments shows complete desperation at this point, everyone knows that wikipedia is the most biased and deceitful site on the internet for virtually any subject, it is grounded in outdated western materialism dogmas from the nineteenth century that influence and censor all articles, although in this specific case even that spurious website will not help you much either since the most that can be done from there is call anime animation which is still misleading since anime is a lot more and part of everything.

    So in the end, it has always been clear that anime has always been anime and manga has always been manga, nothing can ever change that and as anime and manga have become a personal aspect of so many individuals and are also alluring for everyone else it has become crystalline that anime is both aesthetically and spiritually the ultimate reality for how mankind should have been in this world as well as the afterlife.

  3. Anime is a big part of Japanese culture of been around for years is used in the Japanese lifestyle is marketng advertisements, learning aids and was developed after major historical events in Japan. To compare it to a cartoon and start saying that they are the same is basically reducing a whole Japanese culture to a single concept that is a exaggerated form of animation that is meant to be humourous only. That vomparison cannot be made just like that. If you say they are both a type of animation then yes that’s true but you cannot compare a Western concept to a Japanese concept. You simply cannot integrate the two.

  4. I believe anime is it’s own thing. I think of it like this, an apple(anime) and an orange(cartoons) are both fruit(animation). However, they are two very different things because of tropes and art style etc. I also feel like anime is it’s own art style instead of being a Japanese style of cartoons. Technically, the definition of anime as “Japanese cartoons” is incorrect, as the term cartoon is implying that the art is extremely exaggerated, and anime on the other hand is pretty realistic. I Also feel like other countries besides japan can produce anime as well, such as RWBY from America that has actually been recognized as an anime. Also if anime is a cartoon, then why Do the two have different definitions, and history? Because they’re not the f*cking same!

  5. NOPE- anime ain’t a cartoon. Cartoons were specifically made to humor kids. Anime, on the other hand, was made for teens and adults. If you show a kid an anime, per say Attack on Titan, they won’t understand the emotions behind it or the plot, much less, they would be scared. You wanna speak logic? Anime DOES mean animation, or cartoons. However, it isn’t what you think it might be. Just because the names are that of different sides of the same coin doesn’t mean it’s the exact same. Anime is ART and BEAUTY! I wouldn’t describe cartoons as such, though. Anime ain’t a cartoon.

  6. science and math books instead of comic books

  7. Animated mature wester
    Dcau ?
    Dc animated movies?
    Spawn ?
    The maxx ?
    Primal ?
    Eon flux ?
    Avatar series?
    Samurai Jack?
    Young justice ?
    Exosquard ?
    Undone ?
    Teager mutant ninja 2003 ?
    Wolverine and x men ?
    Bojack ?
    Green lantern serie animated?
    Spider man 2008 ?
    Star wars clone wars ?
    Syn bionic titans ?
    Marvel animated movies ?
    The venture Bros?
    Moral orel ?
    Final space ?
    G1 joe resolute ?
    Constratine demons of city?
    Heavy metal 1 and 2 ?
    The plague dogs?
    Wateship down ?
    Felidae ?
    Invasion América?

  8. Samurai Jack 2017

  9. Cartoons mature
    Spawn the animated series
    The maxx
    Dc animated movies ( Batman year one,Batman under the head hold, Batman the dark Knight,league justice gods and monster etc)
    Dcau bruce tiim
    Eon flux
    Young justice
    G1 joe resolute
    Constratine demons of city
    Avatar series
    Marvel animated movies ( Hulk vs,Planet Hulk,doutor stangers,Iron man,ultimate aavengers 1 and 2 )
    Heavy metal 1 and 2
    The plague dogs
    Wateship down

  10. i think it’s similar to the geometry of squares and rectangles. All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. I do agree with the idea that cartoons tend to be targeted to children with dumb humor or older audience with controversy humor, South Park for example. Cartoons also appear more two dimensional, while anime can have the same two dimensional appearance, the art can also be a bit more on the 3d side of the spectrum. You have a perfect example of this with the picture at the top.

  11. Thanks this help me a bunch on my compare and contrast essay

  12. very convincing , like it soooo much XD

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