What is Anime?

DATAWhat does “anime” mean in Japan?
“Anime” in Japan technically means any animated film, regardless of origin.

Also, “manga” is any printed comic.

Why not use this definition?
This is too broad, this would mean anything that is animated (Bugs Bunny, Micky Mouse, …) would be considered anime.

What does the rest of the world think?
People in the rest of the world take “anime” to mean animated films from Japan.

Why not use this definition?
What does “from Japan” really mean? What if a show is produced by a Japanese company and was released in Japan, but was drawn in India because of cheap labor, is it an anime?
What about that animated commercial for a bar of soap, is that anime? Also, many people consider many shows from China and Korea to also be anime because their style is similar to other anime.

What about using the styles to define an anime?
Anime styles are frequently distinctive and fairly easy to recognize. The stereotype is of characters with huge hair and large eyes. Although this is true of many animes (to varying degrees), there are also many animes that do not fit this description.
Also not everything with big eyes is necessarily an anime either.

So what IS an anime?
An anime is an animated, professionally produced, feature film created by a Japanese company for the Japanese market.

What does this mean?

  • First of all, an anime needs to be animated. Live action, or something with just a few animated scenes is not an anime.
  • An anime has to be professionally produced. This means that fan made shows are not considered anime.

  • It has to be a feature film, that means it has to have a plot. For instance an animated soap commercial is not an anime.
  • The anime needs to be created by a Japanese company. The company can collaborate with other companies out of the country, but it has to have some involvement with a Japanese company.

  • The anime needs to be created for the Japanese market. For instance, Disney may collaborate with a Japanese company on the making of a film for the United States, but it is not an anime even though a Japanese company is involved.
  • Information source: Wiki Page

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    13 replies »

    1. I’m assuming that when you say feature film, you don’t necessarily mean a movie or film. Or are you saying that a television show is not an anime?

      For the most part, I can agree with your definitions. A little hard and fast, but fairly clear cut.

    2. Very deep down explanation about the misconceptions of the word. Thanks very much for this definition. 🙂

      ~Hannah from

    3. awsome post, that was really interesting. i really hope to hear more from this site. your doing a great job and i really enjoy reading these articles! keep up the good work. Anime is awsome!!

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