Anime style is a way in which a manga or animated television program may be drawn. This particular style always has a few defining characteristics.

  1. Very bright colors.
  2. Large eyes.
  3. Well defined color borders.
  4. Color shading.
  5. Over-dramatic facial expressions.
  6. Spiky hair.

This style has been huge in daily Japanese television for 20 to 30 years, but only recently has gained popularity with American audiences. If you want a great guide to the smaller parts to understanding anime style, read A Guide to Anime Expressions.

Anime is the term used for the Japanese style of animation that is based on the Manga (comic book) style. Many popular Anime shows come from Manga.

The most noticeable difference between Western animation and Anime is the unique Japanese manga and anime style, which is distinctive and fairly easy to recognize in all its variations. This is not to say the style is limiting. Within this broad common stylistic ground, each manga artist's technique is distinct. The stereotype is of characters with huge hair (in unreal colours) and large eyes, but there are many variations. Several theories have been put forth about the reason that Anime characters tend to have polychromatic hair, including one theory that states that it is a symptom of the Japanese belief that hair colours other than black (the most common hair colour in Japan) are far more appealing. However, I personally subscribe to the theory that it is because Manga are drawn in black and white, and so a Manga artist would get extremely bored colouring in peoples' hair on every page, and so they left some hair blank because they knew people would realise that the hair was still black. Eventually when the Manga were converted to Anime (in colour) the animators simply used colours other than black for some hair, possibly because people weren't used to seeing the characters with dark hair.

Perhaps the most important thing that sets Anime apart from Western animation is its broad appeal. Anime appeals to everyone, not just children. Japanese manga-ka (manga writers) write for everyone from small children to old men (there is even a category for ex-juvenile delinquent mothers). But even the children's stories tends not to be as simple-minded as the Western versions. Children's manga and anime shows in Japan will sometimes depict death; while the Western stories (on children's TV) seem determined to run away from such realism.

Another large difference between Western animation and Anime is the relative lack of superhero stories in Anime. Anime may put its protagonists into strange situations, but it frequently casts the main character as a (slightly) normal person reacting to events. Because of the general portrayal of characters as more normal than Western comic characters (they actually have lives outside of fighting evil -- see The Tick), much of Japanese manga and anime includes scenes of students in class or doing homework, or of people working in their offices. The work ethic seems omnipresent in the background, and in this way Anime reflects the traditional Japanese national character. Although the characters and their day-to-day lives are outwardly normal and mundane, they often interact with a more fantastic world in which anything can happen. It is this blend of fantasy and reality that can make Anime so appealing to people used to Western comics.

Anime characters tend to be more three-dimensional than their Western counterparts. They have flaws and annoying habits, and they don't always do 'the right thing'; sometimes they are just as selfish and small minded as the rest of humanity. Anime characters often have goals in their lives that give rise to the themes around which the Manga revolves. Anime and Manga are 'character oriented' whereas Western comics are more story oriented; in the Western style characters are often forced into actions against their personality because of the demands of the story, in Anime the story comes from actions that grow out of the character's personality. At least part of the reason for this is the way in which Manga are written. Manga are normally produced by at most two people (as opposed to a committee or a different writer for each storyline as it can be in Western comics). This means that the creator has a lot of control over the story, and so can write stories that fit the characters.

It is worth noting that Anime tends to show things in a far more complex way than Western comics. For example, in Anime the villains normally aren't just pure evil; they have their own hopes and dreams, they have reasons for their actions; in short they are just as well characterised as the heroes. Also, Anime tends to show the consequences of a mistake made by the protagonist instead of coming up with some trite solution to the problem; for example, if the protagonist doesn't help to defend his friends then the villain could kill one of them, and they could be permanently dead - no miraculous resurrections (at least not all the time).

Perhaps more important is that Anime characters change with time; they grow up and learn new things and react differently. They are not as static as most Western heroes. The villains can improve and redeem themselves. Life does have meaning and purpose, though it must be fought for. Hard work will pay off, but maybe only in the long run. Difficulties occur, but they can be overcome. Strength is found from helping others, even to the point of self-sacrifice. Not all stories have these spiritual or philosophical messages, but many do.

Finally, Manga and Anime can end. Heroes and heroines die, or get married, or disappear. They don't drag a story on for so long that it loses its sense of purpose. Many Manga are planned with a story arc over which the plot occurs and, at the end, the story finishes. It is rarely left open for a sequel. Manga tend to have one of three endings: the hero wins, the hero dies (usually after winning), and the hero sort of wins (but at a great loss).

Of course, many manga/anime do not share these characteristics. Some are as shallow as Western animation at its worst, and some Western animation embodies all these traits. This is just a discussion of Manga and Anime in general terms.

I previously left unmentioned that physics are rather more negociable (read as: they are wierd) in anime. This leads to phenomenons such as bulletproof nudity and hammerspace (and, indeed, pretty much everything in Dragonball Z), whereby the laws of physics are suspended for visual impact (read (at times) as 'eye candy).

This is part of my NodeSchool plan - node all those essays I write in school and have hanging around my hard disk.

Anime is the term commonly applied to Japanese animation. Though just being a shortened word for animation, thus applying to all types of animation, it is usually limited to Japanese ones. The first anime was that of Osamu Tezuka's manga Atom Boy. Since then, the tradition has continued of many anime being based on manga, Japanese comics, but there are also anime created originally as anime, and anime based off of video games.

Generally, anime is released in three different forms:

  1. Movie - The anime is released in theaters and then later on video/DVD. This is done with anime that are expected to do well, for most of the time a lot of money is spent on the movie. Examples: Princess Mononoke, Ghost in the Shell, and Ninja Scroll.
  2. Television Series - The series comes out on a channel. It's generally released in a 13 episode season, but it can differ on the series. The budget is usually spread out over the episodes, and many series have fallen prey to having no money in the last episodes. Examples: Rurouni Kenshin, Trigun, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  3. OVA or OAV, Original Video Animation or Original Anime Video. These are direct-to-video/DVD anime. Unlike in America, this is not a bad sign. Normally, these series have a good budget, which ends up having good animation quality. Examples: Mermaid Forest, 3x3 Eyes, and Please Save My Earth.

Recently, the anime and manga section of 00100's Everything Japanese Encyclopedia has been integrated with the anime and manga nodes.

anime/manga is a new usergroup that should be similar to groups like e2comix and e2film. Discussions of anime and manga and nodevertising of anime and manga nodes will be the main part of this group. Join now by /msging me, atesh.

This is a listing of all of the anime that have been added to the database. If you find or create one that isn't on this list, please /msg me, and it shall be promptly added. Also, if you find a mistake with the type of anime it is, please /msg me as well. Thank you!

Characters: Companies: Genres: People: Songs: Extras:
Special thanks to khym chanur, the first person to submit nodes to be added.

"Anime" is one of the very few examples of gairaigo, Japanese words of foreign origin, to be reassimilated by its original language and found in common usage.

Anime in Japanese

Like many modern gairaigo describing new technologies, the word originated as the transliteration of an English word, in this case "animation", which became アニメーション in katakana or animeeshon in romaji. Due to the differences in English and Japanese pronunciations, this word was very cumbersome (having six mora where most native Japanese nouns top out at about four) and was shortened in common use. This gave birth to anime (アニメ). The words are equal in the same sense that "SCUBA" and "Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus" are: the more convenient and natural-sounding shortened word has all but replaced the clunky and artificial-sounding original in normal conversation.

At the time, "anime" had pretty much exactly the same meaning as the word "animation" in English. It still does today. When Japanese children ask an American visitor "What kind of anime do you have in your country?" they aren't necessarily referring to Sailor Moon or Yu-Gi-Oh! -- they're thinking The Flintstones or Disney. Expressions such as "amerika no anime" (American cartoons) or "nihon no anime" (Japanese cartoons) are both equally valid noun phrases in Japanese.

Anime in English

It is is not exactly known how or when "anime" surfaced in English, but it is assumed that it, along with manga (漫画), was brought by fans of Japanese animation when it first began to penetrate Western Culture.

As an English word, it has several meanings. According to the geeks, anime refers to animation made in Japan (as a noun) or to something having the style prevalent to animation made in Japan (as an adjective). Because Japanese animation contains so many disparate works, it is impossible to make a more specific definition.

According to groups such as the entertainment industry, people who make dictionaries, and basically the rest of the world, anime is perhaps best defined as it appears in Merriam-Webster:

a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes (1988)

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Online Edition) accessible at
This is a CST Approved use of copyrighted material.

Yes, the layman's description requires action-filled plots and vibrant characters. Yes, it is the very Pokemon, the Dragon Ball that anime connoisseurs try to escape from. Yes, it is children's anime, shounen anime, or at the very very best, something by Studio Ghibli*, Evangelion, or Utena. Sadly, in practice, the vast majority of anime made and shown in Japan also fits this description.

* With the obvious exceptions of Grave of the Fireflies, Ocean Waves, Only Yesterday, and probably Whispers of the Heart.

I've heard the question too many times when introducing someone to anime: "Well, if this is Japanese animation, then why do all the characters look white?" What most people are asking with this question is really something closer to, "Why don't they look Japanese?" It's time to answer the question once and for all.

Anime characters can look like elfs, mosters, robots, freaks, angels and whatever other fantastic creature the imagination can conjure up. Another question I've heard asked (in the same vein) is, "What's the deal with the big eyes?" Obviously the assumption here is that since the animators are Japanese, they would most likely animate eyes that look Japanese. This is a severe limitation to place on such a diverse medium, and usually it is a question that only Westerners are concerned with.

Firstly, Japan has a wonderfully unique culture that is a combination of the ability of the Japanese to incorporate the sciences and art of outside influences into a Japanese society that is literally an island. That island becomes an incubator for ideas, and often outsiders are confused because they judge all things Japanese without considering the context of Japan.

In fact, the 15th century already saw the Japanese using just drawings to convey a story. While most of the world can't think of animation without simultaneously thinking cartoons and children, anime is not a genre to the Japanese but rather a medium for communicating a story. It is small wonder, combined with the freedom that animation allows, that anime can take on such a myriad of shapes and flavors. When plot, setting and character are completely without limitation, race need not necessarily be as large an issue as it has historically been in reality.

It all started in post-WWII Japan; Hiroshima and Nagasake are just more examples of how there is nothing in the world that quite resembles Japan. They have already been through the apocalypse, and it is evident in their society and art. Shortly after the war, in an action that is representative of the way Japan incorporates outside influences, Osamu Tezuka (the father of Manga) was searching for a new medium. He found it because of the popularity of Walt Disney cartoons at the time. It was the popularity of the medium that was the strongest influence. Japan was no stranger to the drawn story.

The most obvious link then between a Disney and anime character is the big expressive eyes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that anime eyes are a holdover from Disney. Possibly even more so than other cultures, for the Japanese the eyes are the windows to the soul. When you watch your next anime piece, check out the difference between 'good' and 'evil' characters. Good characters have the large eyes that can convey sensitivty and emotion while the badguys are often portrayed as being soulless. Other times, the badguys will have large eyes and very small pupils, the idea being that not enough light has reached their souls. Anime is just trying to do the same thing as every other artistic medium: move you. We as humans respond readily to the language and expression conveyed through the eyes. It is an automatic reaction.

The imagination is limitless, so is the amount of money to make dreams a reality. Faced with financial restrictions, the Japanese utilized "tricks" such as moving two still shots across one another to convey movement, saving the expense of creating hundreds if not thousands of more prints. The animators instantly communicate dozens of complex emotions through the eyes alone. To continue some conjecture, it is also quite possible that the severe individualization of characters in anime (such as the wild hair or the unique eyes) could be a product of a country where everyone has the same color hair and had to wear uniforms through school.

If I may be so bold as to claim a point in all of this, it would be that the amazing variety that anime contains doesn't necessarily denote a caucasian race, if it in fact conveys race at all.

I include this solely to be complete and thorough, because in reality I think it detracts from the piece above. Upon returning from Korea my friend told me how some of his Korean friends commented about the size of Japanese eyes. Apparently they are the largest eyes of the South-East Asian races, or at least that's a belief that was held. The remark was made with a voice of envy. Could pride in such a difference be a factor? I'll leave it for you to think about.
The Animatrix

At the beginning of the twentieth century the Japanese were heavily influenced by two great Western inventions, the comic strip and motion picture. The comic strip and its linear story line allowed Japanese storytellers to make their creations available to the masses in Japan. Soon popular artists like Kitazawa Rakiten and Okamoto Ippei were releasing their own newspaper comic strip series. These later evolved into the modern Japanese comic book, called manga. Manga would eventually become a very heavy influence on anime. Anime are Japanese animated cartoons.

Anime began a little before 1920. Inspired by Western animation and later Walt Disney, the Japanese began to create short motion picture cartoons. These first anime shorts were usually based on old Japanese folk tales and about two minutes long. In the 1930's with the coming of war, the anime shorts started to become more militaristic, and were used as government propaganda. In America Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons inspired Americans to support the war effort and in Japan many of the anime shorts followed this Disney method featuring animals with human characteristics. One of the most popular characters was Private 2nd Class Norakuro, a dog serving in an animal army. When the war started to shift in the 1940's the Imperial government issued their first animated feature' an hour-long, black and white film. The movie depicted the brave animal sailors of the Imperial Navy fighting in Malyasia, freeing occupants from the "cruel hands of the west."

After the war in the mid 1950's, Toei Animation was founded. Toei's goal was to be an Asian film company producing animated features similar to Disney's. In 1958 Toei released Tale of the White Serpent. The movie was based on an old Chinese folk-tale and much darker than the animated features released by Western animators. Toei's following films like The Mischievous Prince Slays the Giant Serpent, and The Adventures of Horus, Prince of the Sun paved the way for more a sophisticated and grown-up approach to animation in Japan.

Then in the 1960's Tezuka Osamu founded Mushi Productions. Tezuka was a renowned and talented manga artist. His stories were stretched out to hundreds of pages and packed with action and emotion. To make a single emotional moment more poignant he would strech one scene out over several pages. His stories were full of kinetic motion though they themselves did not move.

Tezuka's first anime, Astro Boy, was released in 1963. Astro Boy was revolutionary as a cartoon. It was told as a series with an over-hanging plot, where as most western cartoons were stand-alones. His stories were dramatic and dynamic, and forever changed Japanese animation. The art of Tezuka's cartoons was also very different and fresh, he imitated the western style of exaggerating features such as the eyes, and his characters expressions were exaggerated to convey their emotions. Tezuka used large eyes like the western cartoons because he felt that they were necessary to show a wide range of emotion in his characters; this stylistic feature still evident in most anime today. Tezuka also revolutionized cartoons with Asto Boy, and later Kimba the White Lion, by allowing change in the recurring characters. Kimba the White Lion was the first anime to be in color, as well as being the first to have an American co-producer. Tezuka's most popular cartoons were even released world wide and his company was very successful. However, they eventually went bankrupt and Tezuka left the animation of his manga, which he continued to produce, to other animators.

In the 1970's Anime began to split from it western influences and develop into a very unique medium. During this time many new, "mecha" anime were released. One of the most popular mecha anime was Mobile Suit Gundam. Also some anime creators began to deviate from conventional plot aspects. The series Lupin III changed the traditional "good guy vs. bad guy" idea with a main character who was more of an anti-hero and known to be a master thief. The series was also full of adult humor and lots of violence. It was clearly meant for an older audience. It also spurred two sequel series and a few full-length movies. Several anime were also brought to American shores like Speed Racer and Starblazers; most, however, were little-known.

The 1980's, the Anime boom. During this time the animation market was exploding and Japanese animators began to look to the growing manga field for work to adapt to anime. Toriyama Akira's Dragon Ball was one of the first manga to be adapted and went on to become one of the most popular anime of the decade. Yet there was still a great demand for new anime... enter Takahashi Rumiko. Takahashi is responsible for one of the best known anime of all time, Ranma 1/2, which focused on a main character who could change from boy to girl with hot or cold water. The series ran for over 100 episodes. Today Takahashi is also known for her more recent occult series, InuYasha.

Later, in 1988, Akira was released. The movie received world-wide acclaim and introduced anime to the international mainstream culture. The film also started a new brand of anime. Bubble Gum Crisis and A.D. Police were series from the same fast-paced and dangerous mold as Akira. Soon after Masumune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell was released. The movie received just as much, if not more popularity than Akira. Both movies were very large milestones in making anime known to the world and helping it stand out as it's own kind of entertainment.

Not all anime during the time were as wild and futuristic as these, though. Nakazawa Keiji wrote of his experience as a Hiroshima survivor in the manga saga Barefoot Gen, which was later adapted into a movie. He then released the powerful and heart-wrenching film, Hotaru No Haka, released in the US as Grave of the Fireflies. The film followed two orphans struggle to survive after their mother was killed in the fire-bombing of Tokyo.

Out of this anime boom rose two production companies that would lead the industry: Gainax and Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli grew from the works of acclaimed anime creator Miyazaki Hayao and Takahata Isao. Some of their most popular films released were Castle in the Sky, My neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. Takahata and Miyazaki's formidable talents and theatrical and beloved films put Studio Ghibli at the top of the Japanese animation industry.

Anime may be cartoons, but they are certainly not just meant for kids. Over time the medium has grown to include many genres and target many audiences. From war and drama-themed anime, like Grave of the Fireflies and the war propaganda of the 1940's, to horror anime like Vampire Princess Miyu. There are many anime out there that don't fit the cartoon stereotype of being for kids only. In Japan anime is enjoyed by young and old, and a part of daily life.

Anime is still changing and the medium continues to expand today. Popular series continue to be brought to America like Pokemon, Sailor Moon, and Rurouni Kenshin. TV programs such as Cartoon Network's "Toonami" and TechTV's "Anime Unleashed" help to bring anime even more into mainstream culture.

A"ni*mé` (#), a. [F., animated.] Her.

Of a different tincture from the animal itself; -- said of the eyes of a rapacious animal.

Brande & C.


© Webster 1913.

A"ni*mé (#), n. [F. animé animated (from the insects that are entrapped in it); or native name.]

A resin exuding from a tropical American tree (Hymenaea courbaril), and much used by varnish makers.



© Webster 1913.

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