The World of Anime

The word anime — pronounced “ah-knee-may” — is an abbreviation of the word animationIn Japan, the word is used to refer to all animation. However, outside of Japan, it has become the catch-all term for animation from Japan.

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. Nonetheless, 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.

For decades, anime was produced by and for Japan — a local product, with a distinct look-and-feel to not just the artwork but the storytelling, the themes, and the concepts. Over the last forty years, it has become an international phenomenon, attracting millions of fans and being translated into many languages. A whole generation of viewers in the West has grown up with it and are now passing it on to their own children.

Because all things anime tend to be lumped together, it’s tempting to think of anime as a cartoon or genre. It isn’t, at least no more than the animation itself is a genre, but rather a description of how the material is produced. Anime shows, like books or movies, fall into any number of existing genres: comedy, drama, sci-fi, action-adventure, horror and so on.

But before we proceed any further, please allow me to address the difference between an anime and a manga, a brief difference.

A small brief on the difference between manga and anime

Manga is a form of Anime. Manga is a Japanese version of western comic books because Manga has illustrations, graphics, and dialogues just like comic books. However, Manga is mostly aimed at adults because of its content, such as violence, crude humor, sexuality, and anatomized graphics. The graphics in Manga and Anime also tend to be more anatomically correct to the human body. This is one of the reasons why Anime should not be considered as a cartoon.

Most Anime is targeted toward adults, although there are some shows that are meant for children. Every Anime show may have a different storyline, but the graphics have the same content. Anime shows do not have the same characteristic as western cartoons such as Adventure Time, Regular Show, or any other show on the Cartoon Network channel. Every western cartoon show is over-exaggerated and is not anatomically correct to the human body or human activity.

Even though Anime has its own genre. People still argue that Anime is a cartoon, and there is no difference between cartoons and anime. Some people believe that anything that is drawn is considered a cartoon.

So now that we have touched basis, let’s cover a couple of common questions in regards to anime shall we?

What Makes Anime So Special?

Most anime fans can sum this up in two words: “It’s different.” Anime is as unlike most American cartoons like “Batman” and “Spider-Man” are different from the comics that run in daily papers. These differences show up in many ways including the artwork storytelling, breadth of material and even cultural nuances exhibited by the characters.

Anime art styles range from the flamboyant and outlandish in shows like “Samurai Champloo” and ” FLCL” to the simple and direct in shows like “Azumanga Daioh!. That said, even shows with more “basic” artwork can still be visually striking. Anime has this way of making everything look fresh and new.

It doesn’t shy away from epic storylines, either, which often run for dozens (sometimes hundreds) of episodes. The best anime, though, no matter what their length, all demand great emotional involvement from the viewer. 

The sheer range of anime shows out there means a fan of most any other kind of TV or movie can find an anime series that mirrors its style. For fans of hard science fiction, the show “Planetes” would be perfect for you; romantic comedy fans will love “Fruits Basket” while crimefighting lovers will enjoy “Ghost in the Shell.” There are even adaptations of classical literature like “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

Is Anime Okay for Young Kids?

Because anime’s so broad-reaching in its subject matter, it’s possible to find anime aimed at just about every age group. Some titles are specifically for younger viewers or are suitable for all ages like the animated series “Pokémon” or Studio Ghibli film “My Neighbor Totoro” while others are aimed at teenage audiences and older like “InuYasha.” There are even some animes aimed at older teens like “Death Note” and some for mature audiences only like “Monster” and “Queens Blade.” 

Japanese cultural attitudes about sexuality and violence require some titles to be placed a category higher than they might normally be. Nudity, for instance, is handled much more casually in Japan; sometimes a show that isn’t meant specifically for adults will have material which may seem racy to Western viewers.

Anime distributors are generally quite conscious of these issues and will include either an actual MPAA rating (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17) or a TV Parental Guidelines rating as an indicator of what the intended audience is for the show. Check the show’s packaging or program listing to see which rating applies.

Are There Anime Comic Books?

Anime refers exclusively to animation. There is no such thing as an anime comic book. The Japanese comic books which inspire many anime series and films do exist however and these are referred to by non-Japanese fans by the Japanese word, manga (which means comic book).

Similar to the word anime, the manga is used in Japan to describe all comic books, not just comics from Japan. Interestingly, the English word comics is also used in Japan to describe Japanese and foreign comic books.

What’s the Best Way to Watch Anime?

Anime series and movies are often aired on numerous TV channels around the world and are also available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray. Several streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Video also provide users with a large number of anime franchises to stream while Netflix has invested heavily in the anime genre and has exclusive rights to some series like Glitter Force. Netflix is even producing several anime films and series in Japan for global releases on its platform.

There are quite a few streaming services that focus exclusively on anime with CrunchyrollFUNimation, and AnimeLab being three of the most popular. Each has their own official app for streaming their content which can be downloaded on smartphones, video game consoles, tablets, computers, and smart TVs. These three anime streaming services also offer free ad-supported viewing options or free 30-day trials.

What’s the difference between Anime and Manga?

Anime and Manga are two different storytelling media. They both originate in Japan, and are closely related, but are ultimately two different things. The confusion between the two arises mostly because it’s often the case that the same story will have both an anime and a manga version. The terminology will vary a little bit depending on whether the person you talk to is a Japanese person or a westerner

Anime being an animated variant of the drawn like the depiction of the manga, again both are Japanese oriented and have similar aspects however in most recent years as of writing this there have been fan’s who have made their own version of their favorite manga’s, think of anime as bringing a manga to life through animating the chosen manga.

For more information on what a manga is click here.

What is a dub and sub in anime and manga?

SUBBED(sub-titles): For example, watching a Foreign film in its mother tongue, that’s carrying a written translation (in widely used language/s) to enable the various viewers around the world to follow the dialogue. Film/show is kept intact in its original state, otherwise.

DUBBED (Dubbing) : instead of written subtitles, (the film, video, etc) have the original dialogue replaced with another language to make it appear that the actors/presenters are speaking in the converted format. Remember the original Bruce Lee’s movies, shot in Hong Kong, where the dubbing in English was so atrocious?? Lol. Btw, all the cartoons have been dubbed, since the likes of Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck never learnt to talk! Most of the dubbing is provided by third-party professional orators and,now also, computer-generated voices.

If you’ve gotten this far in and you’re still reading I have to applaud you, well done! I didn’t name this site ‘The Passionate Enthusiast for nothing you know 😉 

Now that we have answered a couple of questions in regards to anime, let’s go over a few adaptions that have been made in most recent years.

Genre Shift / Anime and Manga

There have been many changes and shifts in Manga over the most recent years as of writing this,  such as the lewd but exhilarating thrill of  Shimoneta – A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist and Citrus to the parasite like invading organisms of Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu/Maxim Parasyte or the terrifying but exciting horrors of Blood C. Proceed with caution as these types of genres of anime will leave you quelling in your boots if you are squeamish.

Fanbased Manga’s and Animation adaptions

In most recent years or rather over the last 10 years or so as of writing this fans who are dedicated and yield a profounding and earnest respect for a given anime will create their own adaptions/versions of said anime. Most often this leads to a community grouping together as one of their favorite anime fans has gone and created an adaption of their own, which serves to what the fans would’ve most likely wanted.  

Final thought’s

If you are new to anime or you are interested in anime then it may take some time for you to get used to it, however, you should start off with a nice warming anime if you are new, I would recommend Clannad. Again it may take some time for you to get used to the style that anime portrays however as with all thing’s as time passes you will begin to get used to it and as time passes you can delve deeper into the more frantic and weird like styles that anime and manga introduces.

So In my opinion, it’s totally worth getting into, just don’t become consumed by it and become an otaku (A Japanese obsessed with 
computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills).