Learn more about Anime
Anime (アニメ?) (IPA pronunciation: [ɑnime] in Japanese, but typically [ˈænɪˌme(ɪ)] or [ˈænəˌme(ɪ)] in English) is an abbreviation of the word "animation". Outside Japan, the term most popularly refers to animation originating in Japan.
While some anime is entirely hand-drawn, computer assisted animation techniques are, in recent years, quite common. Storylines are typically fictional; examples of anime representing most major genres of fiction. Anime is broadcast on television, distributed on media such as DVD and VHS, and included in computer and video games. Additionally, some are produced as full length motion pictures. Anime is often influenced by Japanese comics known as manga. Some anime storylines have been adapted into live action films and television series.
The history of anime begins at the start of the 20th century, when Japanese filmmakers experimented with the animation techniques that were being explored in France, Germany, United States and Russia.
Animation became popular in Japan as it provided an alternative format of storytelling compared to the underdeveloped live-action industry in Japan. Unlike America, where live-action shows and movies have generous budgets, the live-action industry in Japan is a small market and suffered from budgeting, location, and casting restrictions. The lack of Western-looking actors, for example, made it next to impossible to shoot films set in Europe, America, or fantasy worlds that do not naturally involve Asians. The varied use of animation allowed artists to create characters and settings that did not look Japanese at all.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
During the 1970s, there was a surge of growth in the popularity of manga comics—which were often later animated—especially those of Osamu Tezuka, who has been called a "legend"<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and the "god of manga".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> As a result of his work and that of other pioneers in the field, anime developed characteristics and genres that are fundamental elements of the art today. The giant robot genre (known as "mecha" outside Japan), for instance, took shape under Tezuka, developed under Go Nagai and others, and was revolutionized at the end of the decade by Yoshiyuki Tomino. Robot anime like Gundam and Macross became instant classics in the 80s, and the robot genre of anime is still one of the most popular in Japan and worldwide today. In the 1980s, anime was accepted in the mainstream in Japan, and experienced a boom in production (It should be noticed that, Manga has significantly more mainstream exposure than anime in Japan). The mid-to-late '90s, on into the 2000s, saw an increased acceptance of anime in overseas markets.
 Etymology and Pronunciation
The Japanese term for animation is アニメーション (animēshon, pronounced: [ɑnime:ɕoɴ]), written in katakana. It is a direct transliteration and re-borrowed loanword (see gairaigo) of the English term "animation." The Japanese term is abbreviated as アニメ (anime, pronounced: [ɑnime]). Both the original and abbreviated forms are valid and interchangeable in Japanese, but as could be expected the abbreviated form is more commonly used.
The pronunciation of anime in English differs significantly from Japanese. The first vowel is further forward in English than Japanese: [æ] is more likely than [ɑ]. As English and Japanese stress words differently, the second vowel is likely to emerge as an unstressed schwa ([ə] or [I] in English, whereas in Japanese each syllable carries equal stress. As with a few other Japanese words such as Pokémon and Kobo Abé, anime is sometimes spelled as animé in English with an acute accent over the final e to cue the reader that the letter is pronounced as Japanese [e]. However, this accent does not appear in romanized Japanese, and English native speakers may produce [eI].
 The Anime Definition
Due to linguistics, the anime definition is subject to interpretation. In Japan, the term does not specify an animation's nation of origin or style; it is used as a blanket term to refer to all forms of animation from around the world.<ref name="AniDB">Template:Cite web</ref> In English, main dictionary sources define anime as "a Japanese style of motion-picture animation" or "a style of animation developed in Japan".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Thus, non-Japanese works are sometimes called anime if they borrow stylistically from Japanese animation.
In English speaking countries the word is used usually only to refer to animated programming of Japanese origin, with the term "cartoon" or "animated series" used for most other visual styles. The online anime database AniDB generally defines anime (in the singular form) as "an animated, professionally produced, feature film created by a Japanese company for the Japanese market";<ref name="AniDB"/> conversely, any non-Japanese animation resembling anime (such as the American Teen Titans television series) is categorized as anime-influenced animation.
 Syntax and morphology
Anime can be used as a common noun, "Do you watch anime?" or as a suppletive adjective, "The anime Guyver is different from the movie Guyver." It may also be used as a mass noun, as in "How much anime have you collected?" and therefore is never pluralized "animes" (nouns are never pluralized in Japanese). However, in other languages where anime has been adopted as a loan word, it is sometimes used as a count noun in singular and in plural as in Danish "Jeg tror, jeg vil se en anime" ("I think I'll watch an anime") and Hvor mange anime'er har du nu?" ("How many animes do you have now?").
Anime is sometimes referred to as Japanimation, but this term has fallen into disuse. Japanimation saw the most usage during the 1970s and 1980s, which broadly comprise the first and second waves of anime fandom, and had continued use up until before the mid-1990s anime resurgence. In general, the term now only appears in nostalgic contexts. The term is much more commonly used within Japan to refer to domestic animation. Since anime or animēshon is used to describe all forms of animation, Japanimation is used to distinguish Japanese work from that of the rest of the world.
In more recent years, anime has also frequently been referred to as manga in European countries, a practice that may stem from the Japanese usage: In Japan, manga can refer to both animation and comics (although the use of manga to refer to animation is mostly restricted to non-fans). Among English speakers, manga usually has the stricter meaning of "Japanese comics". An alternate explanation is that it is due to the prominence of Manga Entertainment, a distributor of anime to the US and UK markets. Because Manga Entertainment originated in the UK the use of the term is common outside of Japan. The portmanteau animanga has been used to collectively refer to anime and manga, though it is also a term used to describe comics produced from animation cels.
Anime features a wide variety of artistic styles. They vary from artist to artist or by studio to studio. They are generally characterized by detailed backgrounds and stylized characters in a variety of different settings and storylines, aimed at a wide range of audiences.
Anime has many genres typically found in any mass media form. Such genres include action, adventure, children's stories, comedy, drama, erotica (hentai), medieval fantasy, occult/horror, romance, and science fiction.
Most anime includes content from several different genres, as well as a variety of thematic elements. This can make it difficult to categorize some titles by genres. A show may have a seemingly simple surface plot, but at the same time may feature a far more complex, deeper storyline and character development. It is not uncommon for an action themed anime to also involve humor, romance, and even social commentary. The same can be applied to a romance themed anime in that it may involve an action element, or in some cases brutal violence.
The following is a list of the major genres and designations that are specific to anime and manga. <ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
- Bishōjo: Japanese for 'beautiful girl', blanket term that can be used to describe any anime that features pretty girl characters, for example Magic Knight Rayearth.
- Bishōnen: Japanese for 'beautiful boy' blanket term that can be used to describe any anime that features "pretty" and elegant boys and men, for example Fushigi Yūgi and most CLAMP shows.
- Ecchi: Derived from the pronunciation of the letter 'H,'the first letter of the word 'Hentai'. Japanese for 'indecent sexuality'. Contains mild sexual humor, and some fan service, for example Love Hina and He Is My Master.
- Hentai: Japanese for 'abnormal' or 'perverted', and used by Western Audiences to refer to pornographic anime or erotica. However, in Japan the term used to refer to the same material is typically Poruno or Ero. Example: La Blue Girl.
- Josei: Japanese for 'young woman', this is anime or manga that is aimed at young women, and is one of the rarest forms. Example: NANA.
- Kodomo: Japanese for 'child', this is anime or manga that is aimed at young children, for example Doraemon. Hello Kitty, Keropi and Panda-Z are other examples.
- Robot/Mecha: Anime or manga featuring giant robots, examples: Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Moé: Anime or manga featuring characters that are extremely perky or cute, for example A Little Snow Fairy Sugar and Akazukin Chacha.
- Progressive: "Art films" or extremely stylized anime, for example Voices of a Distant Star.
- Seinen: Anime or manga targeted at teenage or young male adults, for example Oh My Goddess!, Outlaw Star and Cowboy Bebop.
- Sentai/Super Sentai: Literally "fighting team" in Japanese, refers to any show that involves a superhero team, for example Cyborg 009.
- Shōjo: Japanese for 'young lady' or 'little girl', refers to anime or manga targeted at girls, for example Fruits Basket.
- Shōnen: Japanese for 'boys', Shōnen is like Seinen, but refers to anime or manga targeted at younger boys, for example Dragon Ball Z.
- Shōjo-ai/yuri: Japanese for 'girl-love', refers to anime or manga that focus on love and romance between female characters, for example Revolutionary Girl Utena and Kannazuki no Miko. It is often being replaced by the term "Girls Love" (GL).
- Shōnen-ai/Yaoi: Japanese for 'boy-love', refers to anime or manga that focus on love and romance between male characters. The term "Shōnen-ai" is being phased out in Japan due to its other meaning of pederasty, and is being replaced by the term "Boys Love" (BL). An example of this style is Loveless.
Some anime titles are written for a very specific audience, even narrower than those described above. For example, Initial D, Wangan Midnight and éX-Driver concern street racing and car tuning. Ashita No Joe is about boxing. Hanaukyo Maid Team is based on the French maid fantasy.
While different titles and different artists have their own artistic styles, many stylistic elements have become so common such that they are described as being definitive of anime in general. These elements have been given names of their own.
A common approach is the large eyes style drawn on many anime characters, credited to the influence of Osamu Tezuka, who was inspired by the exaggerated features of American cartoon characters such as Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse and from Disney's Bambi. Tezuka found that large eyes style allowed his characters to show emotions distinctly. Cultural anthropologist Matt Thorn argues that Japanese animators and audiences do not perceive such stylized eyes as inherently more or less foreign.<ref name="manga characters look white">Template:Cite web</ref> When Tezuka began drawing Ribbon no Kishi, the first manga specifically targeted at young girls, Tezuka further exaggerated the size of the characters' eyes. Indeed, through Ribbon no Kishi, Tezuka set a stylistic template that later shōjo artists tended to follow. Another variation of this style is "chibi" or "super deformed"; which usually feature huge eyes, an enlarged head, and small body.
Other stylistic elements are common as well; often in comedic anime, characters that are shocked or surprised will perform a "face fault", in which they display an extremely exaggerated expression. Angry characters may exhibit a "vein" or "stressmark" effect, where lines representing bulging veins will appear on their forehead. Angry women will sometimes summon a mallet from nowhere and strike someone with it, leading to the concept of Hammerspace. Male characters will develop a bloody nose around their female love interests (typically to indicate arousal, based on an old wives' tale).<ref name=bloody nose">The concept of a bloody nose is supposedly due to blood rushing to the face in an exaggerated blush. Sometimes the character will even be propelled up into the air by a fountain of blood. (See Nosebleeds in fiction.)</ref> Embarrassed characters will invariably produce a massive sweat-drop, which has become one of the most widely recognised stereotype motifs of anime.
The degree of stylization varies from title to title. Some titles make extensive use of common stylization: FLCL, for example, is known for its wild, exaggerated stylization. In contrast, titles such as Only Yesterday, a film by Isao Takahata, take a much more realistic approach, and feature no stylistic exaggerations.
 Anime beyond Japan
 Early anime in the United States
The United States saw its first exposure to anime in September of 1963, when NBC syndicated a dubbed version of the Japanese series Astro Boy. Not counting such Japanese/American co-productions as The King Kong Show and Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero, only seven more anime TV series were released in the United States in the 1960s. These were 8 Man (1965), Gigantor (1966), Kimba the White Lion (1966), Prince Planet (1966), Marine Boy (1966), The Amazing 3 (1967) and Speed Racer (1967). Speed Racer would be the last anime series released in the United States until 1978 when the 1972 series Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman was adapted for American audiences as Battle of the Planets. <ref> Patten, Fred; editor John A. Lent (2001). "Anime in the United States" in Animation in Asia and the Pacific. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34035-7. </ref> Many anime series that made it to American television from the 1960s through the 1980s tended to be sci-fi or action-oriented, such as Star Blazers (the English dub of Space Battleship Yamato) and Robotech and Voltron (both Americanized amalgamations of unrelated anime series cobbled together into a single story).
As the 1980s wore on, more anime series and films targeted at very young children also found their way to U.S. TV screens, often on cable television channels or in syndication. Nickelodeon broadcast many mostly Canadian-made English dubs of anime films during its early years, including TV series such as Mysterious Cities of Gold, Adventures of the Little Koala, Belle and Sebastian, The Adventures of the Little Prince, Noozles, Maya the Bee, Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, and The Littl' Bits, many of which were aired on "Nick Jr.", the network's block of programming for very young viewers. The Disney Channel broadcast both of the feature-length anime films starring Osamu Tezuka's popular unicorn character Unico, and CBN redubbed and broadcast its Bible-based anime TV series co-produced with Tatsunoko, Superbook and The Flying House. HBO also showed juvenile-targeted anime on occasion, including TV series such as Tales of Little Women, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Saban's Adventures of Pinocchio and feature films such as Gisaburo Sugii's 1974 Jack and the Beanstalk.
A great many anime films and feature-length TV series compilations were also released direct-to-video in the U.S., and were often available for rental at mainstream video stores. Some titles which were distributed in the U.S. in this fashion included Candy Candy, Captain Future, Angel, Serendipity the Pink Dragon, Taro the Dragon Boy, Robby the Rascal (Cybot Robotchi), and Ninja the Wonder Boy (Manga Sarutobi Sasuke).
For the most part, though, these TV series and films were not actively promoted as being of Japanese origin; in fact, many of them went so far as to remove most or all Japanese names from the credits except for credits to the animation studios. In the series themselves, character names were often changed and Japanese cultural references removed to make them more accessible to English-speaking audiences. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, this trend began to change as more openly Japanese works, such as Sailor Moon, Dragonball Z, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Gundam Wing, achieved mainstream popularity on American television. Although many of these shows did undergo some kind of "Americanization" in the form of character name changes and edits for violence, language, and the occasional nudity, viewers were more aware of the shows' country of origin, which might perhaps pique their curiosity to seek out other works in a similar style.
 Current reception in the United States
AnimeNation’s John Oppliger had this to say on the matter:
| The support for anime among American anime fans is very strong. The availability of anime in America is truly impressive, especially within the anime fan community. Awareness of Japanese animation in America is at an all time high. However, mainstream acceptance of anime in America lags far behind the advances anime has made in other respects. A close examination of the support for anime on American television may provide a revealing and realistic gauge of the actual penetration of anime into America and American culture. Anime may seem like it's tremendously successful in America because it's high profile, but the facts tell another story.
According to AC Nielsen, Pixar's The Incredibles sold 16 million copies on DVD in America last year. Shark Tale sold nearly 10 million copies. Even the DVD release of Bambi sold 6 million copies in 2005. In comparison, all three Inuyasha movies combined have sold just over 1 million copies in the past year and a half. Evidently, the success of anime in America is very relative. American anime fans are very devoted. Through underground means hardcore American fans now have access to brand new Japanese anime before even many Japanese residents do. America's anime fan community is influential because it's affluent, intelligent, and motivated. But it's not very large.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
Despite assessments like that, and its rare and limited release in American theaters, anime's legitimacy and respect in North America has grown well enough to garner major native artistic awards such as the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for 2002 for Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki.
 Commercial appeal
Anime has become commercially profitable in western countries as early commercially successful western adaptations of anime, such as Astro Boy, have revealed.<ref name="commercially successful">Template:Cite web</ref> The phenomenal success of Nintendo's multi-billion dollar Pokémon franchise<ref>"Pokemon (sic) Franchise Approaches 150 Million Games Sold", PR Newswire, 2005-10-04. Retrieved on 2006-09-16.</ref> was helped greatly by the spin-off anime series, which, first broadcast in the late 1990's, is still running worldwide to this day.
Anime is available outside of Japan in localized form. Licensed anime is modified by distributors through dubbing into the language of the country. The anime may also be edited to alter cultural references that may not be understood by a non-Japanese person and certain companies may remove what may be perceived as objectionable content. This process was far more common in the past (e.g. One Piece), when anime was largely unheard of in the west, but its use has declined in recent years because of the demand for anime in its original form. This "light touch" approach to localization has proved popular with fans as well as viewers formerly unfamiliar with anime. The popularity of such methods is evident by the success of Naruto and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block, both of which employ minor edits. The "light touch" approach also applies to DVD releases as they often include both the dubbed audio and the original Japanese audio with subtitles, are typically unedited. Anime edited for television is usually released on DVD "uncut," with all scenes intact.
Although it is a violation of copyright laws in many countries, some fans watch fansubs, recordings of anime series that have been subtitled by fans. Watching subtitled Japanese versions, though not necessarily downloaded fansubs, is seen by many enthusiasts as the preferred method of watching anime. The ethical implications of producing, distributing, or watching fansubs are topics of much controversy even when fansub groups do not profit from their activities and cease distribution of their work once the series has been licensed outside of Japan.
 Influence on Western animation
Eventually some Western animators will emulate anime at the professional level. Some Western animation use anime methods described in anime physics. Such examples exist in Totally Spies!, The Boondocks, W.I.T.C.H. and Teen Titans. In addition, works such as Avatar: The Last Airbender featured Asian themes. While these examples are not particularly considered as anime, they are best noted for being "influenced by anime".
- Clements, Jonathan, McCarthy, Helen (2001). The Anime Encyclopedia. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-880656-64-7.
- Napier, Susan J. (2001). Anime: From Akira to Princess Mononoke. New York: Palgrave. ISBN 0-312-23862-2.
- Poitras, Gilles (1998). Anime Companion. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-880656-32-9.
- Poitras, Gilles (2000). Anime Essentials. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-880656-53-1.
- Baricordi, Andrea, Pelletier, Claude (2000). Anime: A Guide to Japanese Animation (1958-1988). Montreal, Canada: Protoculture. ISBN 2-9805759-0-9.
- Schodt, Frederik L. (1996). Dreamland Japan, Writings on Modern Manga. Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press.
 See also
- Animated cartoon
- Anime game
- Anime industry
- Anime-influenced animation
- Cartoon physics
- Traditional animation
- Late night anime
 Online encyclopedias
- Anime Music Video - Often Abbrieviated as AMV
- Catgirl - A human girl usually depicted with cat ears and a tail
- Chibi - Drawing in "Super Deformed" style, where the head and body are severely disproportioned.
- Cosplay - Dressing up in a costume of a fictional character
- Dōjinshi or Doujinshi - Fan made manga based upon a preexisting series.
- Fanfic A story written by Fans based on prexisting plots and or casts.
- Lemons and Limes A notation on Fan fiction to warn readers of potentially expliciit content.
- Japanese television dramas
- Hentai - Anime involving sexually explicit or pornographic content
- J-pop - Japanese pop music
- Lolicon - Anime involving sexual depictions of young girls
- Otaku - An obsessed collecter, usually collecting manga/anime
- OVA - Original Video Animation, anime released direct-to-video
- Seiyū - Japanese voice actors and actresses
- Shota - Anime involving sexual depictions of young boys
- Yuri - Anime involving a girl-girl relationship
- Yaoi - Anime involving a boy-boy relationship
 Licensing and translation
- Anime licensing
- Editing of anime in American distribution
- Glossary:Japanese film credit terms
- Animated television series
- Anime Companies
- Notable anime TV series listed by year
- Notable anime movies listed by year
- Anime theatrically released in America
- Notable names in anime (directors, creators, and so forth)
 External links
- Anime News Network - Anime news and database website
- AnimeNfo - Anime database, reviews, and community forums.
- AniDB - Database of anime series, hashes, fansub groups, and 'mylist' feature.
- Anime Bliss - A user driven community containing databases of anime titles, important people, important words, places to shop, anime news, and message boards.
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