People always tend to have the misconception that both anime and cartoons are alike. Anyhow, the previous statement, more often than not would offend any anime enthusiast. For them, it would be a terrible injustice to put “Micky Mouse” and “Naruto” in the same category. Although, individuals who are not familiar with anime might say that both anime and cartoons are animations. Yet, anime is NOT cartoon, and here is the reason why:
Origin and characteristics:
The first and the foremost difference is the fact that anime is Japanese. The origin of anime dates back to 1917. It began to gain increasing popularity amongst the masses. Around the world, animation created in Japan is an example of anime. On the other hand, cartoons first originated in the West. French artist Emile Cohl created the first cartoon in 1908.
Another distinction between anime and cartoons is apparent through scrutinizing their features. The characters in anime are extremely detailed. They appear to be as life-like as possible. Most of the anime sketches have well-defined realistic characteristics of a human, such as their eyes. Even the facial expressions of the anime characters depict human emotions in a very rational and pragmatic manner. Yet cartoons are far from being too realistic. Individual imagination leads to the creation of cartoons. Consider the example of “Phineas and Ferb”. The appearance of the two characters is not based on the actual depiction of humans in general. Hence, cartoons do not portray realism, unlike anime. This is owing to their target audience in general, which we will cover later.
Series and anime:
All the episodes of anime have a plot. There is always a link to the previous one. It is actually a series. Each episode has a story-line continuing from the previous one. However, most cartoons have a different plot for each episode. In most cases, they have a different anecdote for each episode. For instance, even if an individual has missed episode 5 of a cartoon, (s)he can still understand episode 6. This is because it is not the continuation of the previous one. Yet, if an individual has missed episode 7 of anime, that person will not be able to understand the next episode. It usually presents one story by breaking into several parts i.e. episodes. While cartoons are stand-alone episodes, anime follows the pattern of series. Few series also have as many as six to seven seasons. Cartoons, usually are not that long.
Cartoons are generally for children. They entertain and engage the young population. Most often, it is for individuals in their early and late childhood. Yet, the target audience of anime is quite widespread. Few are for children while others are for older boys and girls, including adults. These are the following categories:
• Kodomomuke: Anime created under this genre are specifically for children. They don’t have any particular theme. Most often, they contain a moral lesson for their audience. Usually, there are more depictions of animals than humans. “Hamtaro” and “Croket” are some of the well-known shows under this genre.
• Shounen: This is among one of the most famous genres of anime for the teen audience (usually males). They depict action, boys with potential embarking on a journey, etc. Few of the series under this genre also broadcast violence. Some of the popular shows are “Code Geass” and “Bleach.”
• Shoujo: This genre is particularly for adolescent girls. The protagonist is usually a female facing a range of issues. The males in such series are more caring and considerate. They are quite different from the usual portrayal in “Shounen”. Well known shows include “Fruits Basket”, “Vampire Knight” and “Skip Beat!”
• Seinen: This genre is for the adult population. These series are more graphic and have sexual content. It consists of adult content i.e. unsuitable for children. “Mononoke”, “Uta Kata” and “Koi Kaze” are popular binge worthy shows under this category.
• Josei: This is also for adults. However, it revolves around the life of women and the problems that they face. It also explores concepts of homosexuality, romantic comedy, etc. Famous shows would include “Gokusen” and “Nana.”
A major difference is, the purpose they serve. Cartoons are solely created with the aim of entertainment and laughter. They are generally hilarious or funny. However, it is not always funny or humorous. Animes have a realistic plot depicting the sorrows or problems of individuals. It captures human emotions in a life-like manner. It also highlights themes such as love, fate, homosexuality, high-school, mystery, and others. Cartoons have a happy ending in most cases, for they aim at the building of fun. Since anime caters to wider demography, it tends to capture mixed human emotions throughout. Adventure, suspense, horror, comedy, love, action are all depicted through anime. They are like regular series.
Cartoons as well as anime are examples of animation. Yet, factors like origin, character sketch, demography, concept, and genre distinguish the former from the latter. Cartoons are a form of entertainment that aims to induce laughter. Anime is a more serious version of the animation. Psycho-Pass, Kakegurui, and The Seven Deadly Sins are few binge-worthy series. One can begin watching those to get a deeper understanding of the differences. Although, both are forms of art!
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