The difference between anime and cartoon.

Every fan of Japanese animation was faced with the desire of others to understand

  • why “there are all Asians with big eyes and long legs”,
  • nonsense ”,
  • how anime differs from a cartoon.

You can check your answers:

  • Because it's beautiful!
  • And not at all for children!


Big eyes and unrealistic proportions of the body are really almost they are present in any anime, but there is nothing particularly surprising in this. We are not outraged that in the movies we are shown beautiful men and women of all ages and positions, and in the subway and shops we are surrounded by ordinary people, with far from ideal appearance? The Japanese also use aesthetically pleasing images, that's all. As for the audience, its age composition depends on the genre: there is anime for children (by the way, a very small number), there is teenage, there is for young people and students, there is also for adults (and this is not always the notorious hentai). To see what is the difference between anime and cartoon, you first need to define the terminology.

A still from a cartoon

Animation is the usual name of animation for Russian speakers, hence the type of video production - cartoon. Initially, this term described the technology of frame-by-frame rendering on film, and now we call it any animated film.

Still from anime

Anime - hand-drawn animation films created by the Japanese for the Japanese (later can be adapted for audiences in other countries)... Accordingly, from a technical point of view, these are exactly the same cartoons as "Hedgehog in the Fog", "Well, wait a minute!" or "Monsters, Inc." They are distinguished into a separate category because of a number of striking features, which we will try to understand.


If you make a list of your favorite cartoons, it is easy to see that they all differ in the way they are shot. Everyone clearly sees the differences:

  • hand-drawn animation

  • computer animation

  • puppet animation

  • plasticine animation

  • flash-animation

And all these are usual, familiar and favorite cartoons.

But anime is exclusively drawn animation, and does not imply any variety in types. In addition, the vast majority of Japanese masterpieces, with the exception of rare commercial series, are based on manga that have passed the popularity test, or on games. Plots of cartoons most often do not require a pre-prepared audience. Hairstyles with practically obligatory strands of various lengths, the color can be very different. Hair may not obey the laws of physics and is almost always in motion, corresponding to the position of the body, the emotional state of the hero or the situation. In cartoons, the image is abstract, and we rather guess about the reaction of the character in words, sounds and actions than we see it.

Separately, it is worth mentioning the symbolism in the anime. Hair color, hairstyle, shade and size of eyes can tell a lot about a character: at least reveal age, role in events, main personal characteristics, status. Both eyes and hair of Japanese artists perfectly convey emotions - and this is practically the only way to turn a drawn hero into an actor.

In the anime, all the characters are similar to each other, as in general real people are similar - the differences are only in the subtleties and details of the features. In the cartoon, the characters can be absolutely any, their appearance often does not even approximately resemble a human. They can portray emotions only schematically, and the viewer's reaction is mainly caused by the action.


Anime Cartoon
Most cartoons have their own original scripts (or adapted classics)
The audience is predominantly adolescents and adultsThe audience is predominantly children's
There are almost no anthropomorphic animals among the charactersIn most cartoons, the main characters are anthropomorphic animals
Realistic details even in fantastic plots, naturalistic imagesIdeal worlds and abstract image technique
Scripts and direction are as close as possible to cinema