What is Anime? The Art of Japanese Anime Cartoon

What Does “Anime” Mean?

Definition of the word ANIME

what is animeAnime (translated as “Japanese animation”) is a computer-generated or hand-drawn form of art. The word anime is usually defined (Wikipedia) as “animation from Japan.” The brandishing distinction between cartoons of different parts of the world and the Japanese ones is exactly what Anime is. When one hears “anime,” images of peculiar fashion, big eyes and colorful hair come to mind. Anime is the prevailing style in manga (Japanese comic books). In Japanese, the word “anime” is written as “アニメ”, which is short for the “animation” or “animeeshon” word (アニメーション).

Anime in Japan – History

In Japan, only people engaged in the animation business initially made use of the word “animation”. The general public had different words for Japanese cartoons which appeared on television or in movie theaters – “TV manga” or “terebi manga” (テレビ漫画), or the also awkward “manga movie” or “manga eiga” (漫画映画). There was another one, “douga” (動画), literally meaning “moving image.” All of the above words referred to what people would today call “anime”. On the other hand, “manga” refers as a word to what would be called graphic novels and comic books in English.

Anime and the Western World

Outside the boundaries of Japan, anime is used specifically to refer to animation from Japan or as Japanese-disseminated style of animation, ordinarily characterized via fantastical themes, colorful graphics and vibrant characters. The stylization approach may open up the likelihood of anime being fabricated in countries other than Japan. Many Westerners, however, strictly view anime as a product from Japan. There are scholars who suggest defining it as quintessentially Japanese may be related to a form of orientalism.

Anime Genres

The typical anime genres or themes include:

  • Ninja or other martial arts;
  • Science fiction including spaceships and robots;
  • Horror or supernatural story
  • Romance
  • and many others.

anime genres and industry

Anime Industry

Anime industry currently consists of more than 430 production studios, of which major names include Toei Animation, Studio Ghibli and Gainax. Despite the fact that it comprises only a fraction of domestic film market in Japan, anime makes up the majority of DVD sales in the country. It has seen huge international success following the growth of English-dubbed programming. The rise in international popularity resulted in the creation of non-Japanese productions which use the anime art style. However, these works are normally described just as anime-influenced animation.

How is Anime Created?

how is anime createdAlthough the process of creating anime may seem quite simple, a lot of effort and time goes into producing one animated scene.

First, there is the person who draws the character design, which is where the characters come to life, together with their expressions. Then the sketches are sent to the illustrators who get ready for digitization via tracing over the sketches with hard graphite pencil. After being placed in the system, all characters and backgrounds get colored in and usually it is done for 8 different frames prior to them all being strung together in order to form a scene.

Finally, the project comes in the last stage where voice is put along with the movement of characters’ mouths. Usually, it occurs before the anime is completed allowing the artist to draw key expressions to fit the reading, although, because of low budgets, voice acting is sometimes done afterwards and causes an unpleasant time gap between movement and sound. Looping, which is a prominent technique applied since the birth of anime history, cut costs and enabled animated souls to talk in a fixed loop, later matched with audio. Though there are an abundance of mouth positions, most of them can be simplified to only two looped frames. The techniques enable synchronizing mouth movement and audio to make the two match.