Anime: Japanese Animation Style

Cute Anime Girl
Cute Anime Girl

Anime: Popular Animation Style

Anime is a hugely popular animation style originating from Japan. Anime is special because it has unique characteristics in it's character drawings compared to traditional western art. Instead of realism, Anime accentuates a characters body part, such as the eyes. Anime also usually contains less complicated animation than western cartoons, due to the limited finances japanese cartoonists had.

In the beginning, Anime was actually a substitute for the live action western films that Japan could not afford to make. So instead they replaced these live action films with animated cartoons. This was a cheaper alternative than real actors and a real set.

Anime gained huge popularity in Japan, spreading all the way to America. Today anime is a staple for kids who watch channels such as Cartoon Network. Popular tv shows like Inuyasha, Pokémon, and Fullmetal Alchemists are anime styled cartoons. Even western film have adopted some of the characteristics of anime.

How Anime Began

Anime was used as a replacement for live action films in underdeveloped Japan in the 1930s. Due to the scant resources and finances the live action industry had, anime was the main source for both live action and kids films.

Comparing animation between the west and Japan's anime, there is a visible frame difference. Western cartoons usually have more complicated gestures and movements, while in anime there are long dialogue scenes which only have the mouse and eyes moving. This was due to the limited finances of animation companies. Animating the eyes and mouth during dialogue scenes stretched resources that much further.

In the 1970s, Anime was aided by a growing surge of popularity with manga. Manga are comic books in japan, which would later be so popular there would be a demand for it in animation. It is very commonplace for an anime to have started as a japanese manga. A few examples are animes like Death Note, and Go Naigi.

Human with Anime Eyes
Human with Anime Eyes

Anime Cartoon Characteristics

Anime cartoons have significant differences with their western brothers. Differences range from realism face, body proportions, hair, and body parts. Anime focuses on clean, accentuated lines. It doesn't focus so much on the realism, but the feeling they want the audience to feel for a certain character.

Here are notable differences between anime and traditional western animation:

Body Proportions: Bodies in anime can have very disproportionate sizes. The heads on anime characters are unusually large, and faces shaped in sharp or narrow lines not seen on human faces. Also in some anime, the breasts are largely drawn either for hentai or comedy. Feet, eyes, and mouths have all been disproportionated in anime.

Eyes: Anime eyes are %90 of the time very large, sometimes spanning half of the head. Eyes in anime are usually very expressive, with a black center, and colored gradient. The eyes are usually fox shaped, sloping down, or very wide and boxed, resembling the shape of a window.

Hair: If you were given a picture of a hair from anime compared with 10 others from different animations, it would stand out like a sore thumb. Anime hair is very stylicized, and in unusual contortions. The most popular hair style is the grass cut, with long strands poking out of the hair. Anime hair also comes in bright unnatural colors. Ranging from purple to red, to pink.

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Comments 19 comments

Yuurixwolfram 8 years ago

this is really cool and nice to know^^

yA FACEEE 8 years ago


anime_nanet profile image

anime_nanet 8 years ago from Portugal

Did you know Anime art style was inspired by Walt Disney Earlier works?

Find more about anime history on my hub

HentaiM 7 years ago

I agree that Anime is very popular all over the world. I really like anime!!!

3D Anime Me 7 years ago

I like Anime more than cartoon or 3d movies from Europe!)

ANIMEFAN 7 years ago

I agree with you man. Anime is much better than 3d or cartoons by Disney!)))I think so)))

PONeAfin 7 years ago

86. Very interesting style!!!

RanniaRazebasan profile image

RanniaRazebasan 7 years ago

anime is the best!! XD

Kagoma 7 years ago

wow Kinichiawo ppl

chuchu5254 6 years ago


I like anime because most of the characters in anime are expressive even if they are not realistic. Most of the drawing style in Japan anime can express emotions. They can express feelings and personality through that certain drawing character. Look at the eyes in that picture, she looks sad... hehehe. For me, she looks sad. Those big eyes is not realistic but it certainly give expression to the audience.

shot_down117 6 years ago

anime is an oposite of cartoon ,, the way they express feelings ,, anime is more to human anatomy and structures ..

But cartoon is the oposite pretty wacky ,, ..

i know anime come from mickey mouse,, based on ozamu tezuka the first anime creaton in japan ,, his 2st prj was astro boy ,,

Sojhin 6 years ago

oh hey i recognize the anime of the first picture.... its mahoromatic the picture is of mahoro at a festival with suguru. But yes anime is the best... i could live life seeing only anime and no other types of movie/show/cartoon and id be satisfied

Black_Wings 5 years ago

I love anime and manga. They are very awesome!

lynnechime profile image

lynnechime 5 years ago

did u draw that one 1st picture

harini 5 years ago

i am really happy to see japan growing...:) japan ,and japanese rocks in evrtything,right guys n.n

i am a big fan of them

yusuke 4 years ago

im addicted to anime

did u know ghost fighter

yuyu hakusho

julioluver 4 years ago

i love anime so much it's amazing i don't know what I'd do without it

omo 4 years ago

sorry, but this was very inaccurate. not all animes are like this.

Anime Reviews profile image

Anime Reviews 4 years ago

"Anime was used as a replacement for live action films in underdeveloped Japan in the 1930's"

This sentence is wrong in so many ways!

1) Japan was already an industrialized country on par with the West in the 1930s.

2) There were only 2-5 anime series airing per year, while there were tens of live-action movies airing at the time.

3) Making an anime was (and is still is) more expensive than making a live action TV series or a cheap live action movie.

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