Is Anime A Cartoon (Anime Vs Cartoon – Difference And Comparison)

Lots of people love anime and cartoons. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, you probably have a favourite cartoon, or one that you used to watch as a child that fills you with nostalgia.

There are a lot of great anime shows out there too, with some cool characters, detailed plots and an awesome animation style. You might wonder if anime and cartoons are the same thing, as they are both animated shows that can look quite similar.

But there are a variety of differences between the two which make them distinct from one another. Keep reading to find out about what makes anime and cartoons different. First, you need to know what anime is, and what cartoons are.

Is Anime A Cartoon

What Is A Cartoon?

A cartoon is a collection of sequenced drawings made for television viewing, drawn in a semi-realistic or unrealistic way. The drawings are normally used for humour and are created by animation artists (animators).

From the 1980s onwards, cartoons were generally aimed at children and some famous examples include Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo and Mickey Mouse.

Nowadays, there are some famous and highly popular cartoons aimed towards adult viewers, such as Family Guy and South Park, some of which are not suitable for children due to their explicit nature.

Where Did Cartoons Come From?

The idea of cartoons goes way back to the Middle Ages. Cartoon-style drawings were painted or made using tapestry or stained glass windows. Comical illustrations in the 1843 Punch magazine were the first instance of paper-drawn cartoons, and more instances came from political cartoons and comic strips.

The 20th century was when animated movies began to utilise these magazine cartoons. Cartoons are separated into gag cartoons, including comic strips and editorial cartoons. Editorial drawings and animated movies were similar in style, so the word “cartoon” was used to refer to this style of drawing.

What Is Anime?

Anime is a term used to describe a Japanese art style and is used in comic books, television shows and movies. The word anime is a shortened version of animation. This specific art style uses a vibrant graphic design and fantasy-type themes.

Anime artists put great detail into their art and have a more realistic style than cartoons. However, anime puts less focus into animating movement compared to cartoons.

They can have serious and mature themes so, depending on the type of anime, may not be suitable for young viewers. Some famous examples of anime shows and movies include Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto and Death Note.

Where Did Anime Come From?

The anime style dates right back to the 11th century, when the emakimono was created (paper scrolls). Famous storytellers told legends and anecdotes while showing drawings on the emakimono.

Kamishibai (paper play) was popular in the 12th century as a way to tell stories using Japanese art and remained as a method of storytelling until the 1930s. Puppets and ukiyo-e prints were used to create theater and are seen as some of the first instances of the Japanese animation style.

Finally, mangas arose in the 20th century, which are still popular with anime enthusiasts today. The first Japanese animation movie was created in the early 20th century, and by the mid 1930s the Japanese animation style was well established.

The 1950s brought a host of anime adverts to television, which led to the first animated movie on live television, Three Tales. After this, Astro Boy, the first big anime show was directed by animator Tezuka and led to large anime studios opening.

In the 1970s, manga became very popular and were later animated to create the many much loved anime shows and movies we have today.

What Are The Major Differences Between Anime And Cartoons?

Theme And Audience

  • Anime can have serious, explicit or mature themes so may not be suitable for children. Lots of anime shows are violent and can have sex themes.
  • Cartoons normally have themes centred on humour and satire and are generally aimed at children. Although, some modern cartoons are aimed at adults and can have mature themes.

Animation Style

  • Anime utilises a Japanese animation style with more realistic and detailed drawings.
  • Cartoons use semi-realistic or unrealistic sequential drawings.

Focus On Movement

  • Anime does not focus as much on the animation of movement.
  • Cartoons have a strong focus on the animation of movement.

Plot Detail

  • Anime has a strong character, plot and background focus.
  • Cartoons have less of a focus on characters, plots and backgrounds.

Final Thoughts

Anime and cartoons have lots of unique differences between them, but both are highly enjoyable sources of entertainment for all age groups, and have been throughout history.

There is something for everyone with anime and cartoons, it’s just important to make sure that the type of anime or cartoon you choose to watch is suitable for the viewer.

For example, the Pokémon anime series would be suitable for young viewers, as there are no serious or mature themes throughout and the show is aimed at the younger age group. However, Tokyo Ghoul may not be suitable for young viewers as it has some violent scenes.

In the same way, the cartoon Tom & Jerry is made for and suited to young children, but South Park is definitely not suitable for kids as it has lots of X-rated material.

To sum things up, check out the content of the anime or cartoon you plan to watch before you show it to your kids, and make sure you pick something you will enjoy.