There’s an issue people inside the loop have with people outside of the loop. That is to say that people get mad over anime being called cartoons and manga being called comics, and often trying to differentiate them. Another one would be that they might mistake a non-anime character like Hatsune Miku or a character from a game to be an “anime character”, and thus it leads to more fans to become upset. There is no need to get your panties in a bunch over these minor misunderstandings, you can’t blame the people who aren’t fans to understand your fan lingo. Think about it, do you think your non-fan friend will understand this?
Hey man, you’re so kawaii as fuck! I can’t believe I never noticed you! You make my kokoro go doki doki and everything will be daijobu!
(I seriously hope nobody speaks like this, though.)
Ok maybe your friend could possibly understand some of that, however most of the time it’s often a straight no. Do you play StarCraft II? No? Ok try to understand this. You probably will know what I’m talking about though.
I’ve been scanning you, and I must admit that I’ll take a fast third-expansion when I’m with you any day. Hell, it’s about time I focus fire down your Hatchery. My Yamato cannon is ready to fire, and I’m stimmed up and ready to come at you, baby. I even have combat shields to be safe. Still not convinced? You won’t believe the size of my over-engineered codpiece. I’ll be Terran you up and releasing my unstable payload in your base. When I’m done with you, it’s going to be gg.
If you know what I mean. – Haiji Onii-san.
If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. It’s just my super gosu micro skills to pick up 100 girls on the beach (God Damn It Zikang, you probably won’t understand this unless you’re a friend of a certain shrimp). The point is I’m trying to make here is that, if somebody doesn’t understand something, you can explain it to them so that they will understand or point them in the right direction, there is no need to feel terrible about it, just use the opportunity to bring somebody closer to our secret sect so that we can make it easier for our nekomimi loli imouto army take over the world. Wait a sec, did I just reveal the secret plan? Oh shit, YOU SAW NOTHING. Without any more beating around the metaphorical bush, I’ll be attempting to find the definition of anime.
Differences and Similarities in Art Style
First of all, we see that the majority of Japanese pop-culture media such as Anime, Games, Manga, Light-novels, and even Artwork etc. can have a certain distinct art style commonly known as “Manga style” or “Anime style”. If you look closely at this so called “Anime style”, it is in fact not a style at all, it’s actually collection of different styles, if you look at one artist’s work, you see different shading techniques, different eye shapes, and even the proportions may differ as well. As you can see, referring to all of the artwork in Japanese pop-culture as “Anime style” isn’t entirely correct and to some fans it is considered highly inappropriate.
The reason why people who are unfamiliar with the fandom and of characters such as “Hatsune Miku”, and mistakenly think they are from anime is because they simply look like they do. If you think about it, the styles may look drastically different to you, however in some ways the art styles are actually quite similar. For example, over-sized eyes for expressing emotions easily, idealistic body features and proportions make up are just the tip of the iceberg that they can see, and as for the more experienced few, you’ve dove deep enough to see the rest of that iceberg.
So the question here is, can you define anime simply by the similar art styles? Probably not, because you’ll be defining non-anime media as anime as well and also the fact that some art styles of anime resemble the “western cartoon style” which blurs the lines between anime and cartoon a hell of a tonne. Perhaps it isn’t the best idea to define anime by the art style at all. Although it is the easiest way to differentiate between anime and cartoon since most of the time there are many differences but you must be aware of the grey area in which cartoons look like anime, and vice versa.
The Assumption that Anime can only be made in Japan, and by the Japanese
Many fans discriminate quite heavily that the animations made in other countries that aren’t Japan and animations not made by Japanese people are not anime. So by this definition many anime made in other countries and by non-Japanese can’t be called anime. Not even the epic anime short made in Singpore can be defined as anime despite many fans considering it so. So are you sure that people outside of Japan and foreigners can’t make anime?
You can make anime outside of Japan, there’s no doubt about that however just saying that an animation isn’t an anime because of the location it is made is utter ignorance. Likewise, you can’t say that western cartoons made in Japan are automatically counted as anime. This discrimination based on location needs to stop since the fans doing so are severely narrowing the scope, it’s not particularly correct nor is it polite to say an anime made outside of Japan is not an anime at all. Personally I’d consider series such as RWBY and Avatar the Last Airbender, as foreign produced anime however not many fans are willing to accept foreign made anime to be anime, so I’d say give it a bit of time and people may become more lenient with the definition of anime.
The Texbook Definition of the word Cartoon
The texbook definition of a cartoon is that it is a non-realistic or semi-realistic image. Even though the definitions have evolved over time, as the very definition of cartoon has evolved to describe western animations, and the word comic has also replaced the word cartoon for the western graphic novels, you can still consider anime as cartoons and manga to be comics. Many fans are not willing to accept this, are against referring to anime as cartoons, and manga as comics and would like them to be referred correctly as such.
So are we out of the water yet? If you’re willing to put the differences aside and say anime are cartoons and manga are comics, and the entire fan-base is open minded to this then yes, the debate is settled, however I wouldn’t say this would happen any time soon, so probably given it about at least 10 years for this to sort itself out. I ask of you fans to stop being butt hurt over people saying your beloved waifu is a cartoon character, seriously, it’s not an insult, the people don’t mean any harm unless they explicitly insult you.
With the blurring of the lines between anime and cartoon, we see that some cartoons are adopting the common traits found in anime and some anime adopting traits found in cartoons. If you look at the anime such as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, and Kill la Kill, you can see the adoption of a cartoonish style while still be considered an anime and a few series I mentioned earlier made by non-Japanese producers, who aren’t in Japan have adopted the anime-like style.
I’d say we should embrace any good anime series to watch regardless of definitions, art style, location or nationality of the people making it and not be so close minded about it. To an extent we shouldn’t stop people from calling their own work anime just because it doesn’t meet your criteria. While I’ve spent a whole deal trying to define anime, it is very hard to do so since many lines are blurred and the truth is that there is no clear cut way to differentiate between anime and cartoon, particularly those in the grey area. So my dear readers, please do consider looking at this perspective which might be stretching it a bit.
Anime is just another word for cartoons.
Manga is just another word for comics.
What matters is that it is all art.
Good Luck, Have Fun!