Animation refers to the process in which pictures or images are manipulated and hence made to appear as moving objects. We can trace back the origin of these images to the dark ages where cavemen drew pictures on the walls of their cave. Later, as technology and the intellect of humans developed, they tried to move these images and what was produced as a result is what we now call animation. Most of the older animations had an extremely low frame rate. Frame rate refers to the frequency at which frames in a television picture, film, or video sequence are displayed. Shadow Play and Magic lantern are some of the methods through which the process of animation was carried out in olden times. The history of animation is very long which cannot be covered in a single piece. Thus, this article tries to revisit what we know about animation and also try to find out what animation refers to in a country like Japan.
Anime refers to the Japanese style of animated movies and series. Japan is considered as the centre of anime. Anime can be seen by people of all age groups while other animated series like cartoons are made for kids. All of the anime have been taken from its manga of the same or different name. The manga are comics created by Japanese writers and artists. Manga, unlike normal comics, are very long and it is usually read from the right to left. The people who write and draw manga are called manga-ka or manga writers. Japanese manga consists of a variety of genres which include horror, comedy, science fiction, drama, detective, mystery, romance and others. Manga was initially targeted at male audiences even though they had a large base of female readers. It is divided into categories of manga for readers up to 18 years of age, commonly called shounen, and for older people from 18-30years of age. Nowadays, there are a large amount of manga writers who create manga for female audiences. The manga aimed at female audiences are called Shōjo manga. Initially, these mangas consisted of genres such as romance, super heroine and other such subgenres. Anime is created based on these manga. If the manga is considered a hit, then it is usually made into an anime. Sometimes manga is produced from anime, but such instances are rare.
Anime usually shows a lot of bloodshed and gory scenes whereas cartoons do not show gory and bloodshed scenes as they are specially made for kids. Anime has a genre called Kodomo which is made for kids. Like cartoons, they also try to imbibe good morals and values into the minds of children. Though they have a subgenre like Kodomo, all the other subgenres of anime are not like that. They are made for youngsters and adult for male and female. Though both the types of animation appear to be similar to an extent to a person inexperienced in cartoons or anime, there are a lot of differences between them. A person who is seeing anime for the first time would categorise them under cartoons without a second thought.
In terms of animation, cartoons are animated differently in comparison to anime. Anime can be easily recognized by observing the physical traits of the characters. Most of them have large eyes, black hair and very detailed facial features. So they can be termed as a slightly exaggerated kind of animation. A person can recognize anime based on how the characters are animated. The animated characters have a striking resemblance to the Japanese people. They have long, pale and wide faces. Their eyes are smaller than most but bigger when compared to the Chinese and the Koreans. They have successfully included these facial features into their animation. They give attention to not just the facial features and the details in the surroundings, but also to the way in which the storyline is created. For example, if an anime on football is made, then they include even the smallest details of the game of football. By watching that anime series, one can learn the rules and the basics on how to play football. The makers will also include major team strategies. Even though the animations in anime are a little exaggerated, anime does give a realistic touch when it comes to stories. There are anime based on science fiction and they are far from reality. One reason for the limited detailing seen in cartoons might be that they are produced for children. Children can recognize shaped figures more easily and the cartoonists try to make the same keeping that in mind.
The storyline of an anime series would see the emotional, mental and physical development of the characters. One can see an actual change in the characters. The lead characters can be seen relying heavily on their team as teamwork and family are very common ideals in anime. Furthermore, anime contains scenes which are only appropriate for mature audiences. These kinds of animemay include violent scenes which have a lot of blood, gore and sexual content. This gives evidence to the fact that anime is produced mainly for adult audiences unlike cartoons, which do not contain such scenes of violence and sexual references. There are also anime produced, which contain storylines closely associated with jail and prison life.
The cartoons made by the non-Japanese countries give more importance to the main character(MC). He is shown to be an epitome of goodness. Thus, the children can be influenced using that character and they can be used to inculcate moral values in their childhood itself. Anime and manga do not give the main characters all the importance. They are seen to progress with the help of their friends and family. Only certain anime have the exception of the main character being the strongest but even in those cases, the other characters play a very important role in the overall development of the main character. Such anime are mainly used to promote themes such as teamwork and hard work among others. The main character goes through extreme hardships so as to reach his maximum potential. These hardships are shown in detail in anime due to which the readers or the viewers are able to sympathize with the Main Character more. An example of such an anime is "Bleach", adapted from the manga of the same name created by Tite Kubo. In this anime, Ichigo Kurosaki develops from a normal person to the most powerful character in the anime with the help of his friends and family. Thus, they try to highlight the values of family and friends and repeatedly ask us to keep them close. Furthermore, the main character in an anime is subjected to development throughout the span of the whole series. In cartoons, we usually do not see that kind of development as the hero or the heroine portrayed in the cartoon is shown to be the best version of the person that they can be in the initial stage itself.
Anime has had a good impact on people in other countries. There has been a surge of people reading manga and watching anime in the last decade. The amount of people who like anime has really increased in numbers. The main problem they face is that people who do not know how to differentiate anime from other cartoons criticize them. The main criticism they face is that they are too old to watch cartoons. One should be able to enjoy anime or cartoon without having the fear of being judged. This can be attributed to the fact that most of the people do not know what anime is or what draws the line between anime and cartoons. The manga and anime have a greater effect on America than American comics on Japan. An example of this would be "Avatar; The Last Airbender" and "Avatar; The Legend of Korra". They use fighting styles originated from the Asian countries. The popularity of Anime in America and other countries can be seen from the presence of more anime characters than cartoon characters in comic-cons.The main problem that we see in the world is that every animated product, be it from Japan or any other part of the world, is always termed as a cartoon. The concept and production of what one calls animation has reached great heights due to the development of technology and graphics designing. Animation has seen developments unlike any other due to the presence of modern technology. Anime is usually made for people of all age groups, while cartoons are made for people of a specific age group, namely kids. Even though as kids as we are subjected to cartoons, somehow in the notion of watching cartoons, we somehow end up watching anime.
Enthusiast, Anime. " Difference between Cartoon and Anime." 03 Feb. 2014. Accessed on February 2018. http://www.differencebetween.info/difference-between-cartoon-and-anime
Ruble, Julie, and Kim Lysne. “The Animated Classroom: Using Japanese Anime to Engage and Motivate Students.” The English Journal, vol. 100, no. 1, 2010, pp. 37–46.