Why Is Anime Is Not A Cartoon: All Anime Are Cartoons, But Not All Cartoons Are Anime!

Anime vs Cartoon is a debate that has been going on for a long time. Many believe them to be the same. However, anime lovers argue against this. They firmly believe anime is not a cartoon. Japan clearly states that the two are different. Anime is part of Japanese culture, and they use it in their daily lives. 

Japanese people use anime in their marketing strategy, teaching techniques, magazines, books, etc. You will see mature content in an anime show, but cartoons are mainly for children. The tone of the content is lighter in a cartoon. Anime is a relatively new concept, but we have seen cartoon shows for years. 

Cartoons keep kids happy and uplift the mood. Some of them are funny to watch. Anime can scare you at times. The plots are darker, and the characters are darker still. Let us dive deeper into reasons people think anime is not a cartoon.

What Is An Anime?

The origin of anime traces back to Japan. The Japanese people have instilled it into their system and daily lives. Anime can be of many types, mainly television series, short films, feature films, original net animation, and others. An English dictionary also defines anime as a Japanese style of motion picture animation. 

The topics of anime are grave and sometimes violent. They focus on human emotions. Some anime also contain graphic images and sexual themes. It is one of the fundamental reasons to consider why an anime is not a cartoon. The facial expressions of any character in an anime are distinct. 

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What Is A Cartoon?

The origin of the cartoon traces back to the United States of America. It is a type of two-dimensional art. Artists draw cartoons by hand. The characters in a cartoon may have realistic features, but it is nothing like real life. The purpose of a cartoon was different when it first came out. 

People used cartoons as a model or study material for art. Now, in 2023, cartoons make us laugh. The topics are generally light and do not contain mature content. It is one of the reasons why anime is not a cartoon. Children watch it daily. You must have watched cartoons in your childhood as well. 

Some Major Differences

If we sit down for a debate about why an anime is not a cartoon, it will never end. However, we have a list of differences that you may consider. These dissimilarities might clear up the confusion which has been going on for decades. 

1. Visual Characteristics

The visual characteristics of the characters of an anime are mostly exaggerated. If you look closely at the characters of anime and cartoons, you will notice the stark difference. Manga is a form of anime comic. Characters in manga have large eyes, elongated limbs, and huge hair. However, this does not happen in a cartoon. 

You will find traces of daily life in the characters. They are closer to reality but not the same. A few cartoons can resemble human beings we know. But, a cartoon will be a caricature, and this causes it to divert sometimes. Thus, one of the reasons why an anime is not a cartoon is because of the difference between its visual characteristics. 

2. Anime Is Not A Cartoon: Facial Expressions

Another reason why an anime is not a cartoon is because of the facial expressions. This point is similar to visual characteristics but not the same. We know that the visual characteristics of an anime are overly exaggerated. Let us give you a few examples. If any character in an anime is going through stress, you will see a massive sweat drop. 

If a character is angry, you will see vein lines that indicate his anger. Male characters in an anime develop red noses around female characters they love. The red nose indicates sexual arousal. Showrunners and anime artists have adopted a dramatic method of showcasing emotions. 

3. Animation Techniques

Both anime and cartoons use traditional processes of animation production. It includes the plot, the voiceovers of the characters, the designs, and cel production. Unlike a cartoon, people consider anime a type of limited animation. There are reasons for this. The artists draw each frame in a cartoon. But an anime does not. 

The creators reuse common parts instead of drawing a new frame. It saves time and production costs. It also pulls the wool over the viewer’s eyes and makes them believe there is more movement. There is an emphasis on three-dimensional views in an anime. However, a cartoon mainly focuses on two-dimensional views. 

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4. Subject Matter Or Content

The plots are a reason why an anime is not a cartoon. Cartoons make us laugh and feel good. Kids are the target audience. The plot of a cartoon show is humorous, while some can be educational. There is no mature content. Even the educational cartoons are funny to watch. But, it is not the same for an anime. Anime plots contain adult content. 

They also do not follow any concept like cartoons. The content of an anime can range from simple plots like pirate attacks to gory plots like samurais and reincarnation. Cartoon plots are short, but the story of an anime can have several seasons. The characters of an anime are complex and much like humans. 

5. Anime Is Not A Cartoon: History

The histories of both the subjects are interesting. We can trace the first cartoon back to 1499. The people in it were the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. They were playing a game of cards with the kings of England and France. Some consider cartoons to have another purpose since people use them to depict satirical scenes. 

Since 1499, many humorists and satirists have used cartoons for the public. If you search the internet, you will find a lot of old cartoons. However, the origin of anime is very recent. The first anime was in 1937 in the United States of America. The first anime which was released was in 1945 in Japan. It was Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors. It was the beginning of an era in Japan and the world. 

6. Terminology

We can consider anime as a form of art. It comes in various forms, like movies or web series. However, the dictionary has a different definition for anime. It defines anime as a Japanese style of motion picture animation. Anime comes from the French word dessin animé. However, others argue that anime is an abbreviation that came into existence during the 1970s. Before anime became famous, people knew it was exclusive to Japan. 

There is a word called Japanimation as well. People used this term in the 1970s and 1980s. Cartoons served another purpose. It was a model designed to help others with a painting or a study. Cartoon comes from the word karton. It means strong paper. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci have used cartoons in their works. However, with time, the meaning of cartoons has changed. 

Anime Is Not A Cartoon: Conclusion

The debate on why anime is not a cartoon will never end. Some will argue that an anime is like a cartoon, while others will remain adamant that it is not. There are indeed a few differences between anime and cartoons. We should consider the dissimilarities like we consider the similarities. We have tried to cover them in this article. 

The major differences are in its facial expressions and origin. The plots are also a factor. Anime is more grave than a cartoon. Any child can watch a cartoon show, but not every child can watch an anime show. We can also say that all anime are cartoons, but not all cartoons are anime. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is anime not a cartoon?

There are several reasons why anime is not a cartoon. Some of them include facial expressions, plots, visual characteristics, etc. Their origin stories are also different. 

2. Can you give some examples of anime and cartoons?

A few examples of cartoons include Tom And Jerry, Oswald, Bob The Builder, Phineas and Ferb. Examples of anime include Tomorrow I Will Be Someone’s Girlfriend, Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon, Hanma Baki: Son of Ogre, and Jujutsu Kaisen.

3. Where can you watch cartoons and anime?

Regional television channels broadcast cartoons and anime. Some are also available on streaming sites like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Funimation, Disney Plus Hotstar, and others.

4. Who can watch a cartoon show and an anime show? 

Anyone can watch a cartoon show, irrespective of their age. Children should not view an anime show before research by their parents. Some of them contain graphic and sexual content. Children will not understand the story of an anime show sometimes.

5. Are anime shows famous in India? 

Yes, anime shows are famous in India. The anime industry is growing at a fast rate, and the changes are visible. However, no one was interested in it. It is now changing fast. 

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