What does Anime Mean?

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You are “anime” fans, but don’t know what the term actually means? We’ll tell you what’s behind it and where it comes from.

What Anime Means: Japanese animated films and series.

The term “anime” is a short form of the Japanese loanword “animēshon” (アニメーション), derived from the English term “animation”. Animated films and series produced in Japan are referred to as “anime”. “Anime” forms the counterpart to “manga”, the Japanese comic book.

Origin of Anime

Japan is known for its extensive animation culture. Until the term “anime” became established, expressions such as “senga”, meaning “light art”, or “manga eiga”, meaning “manga films”, were used. The latter is still occasionally used by Studio Ghibli.

With new “anime” formats in the television world of the sixties, the term also changed. The term “anime” for animated films or series spread in the seventies. At first, “anime” was considered a distinction for more cheaply produced series, as opposed to “animēshon,” high-quality animation art.

In parallel, the neologism “Japanimation” also became popular. “Anime” caught on, however, and was picked up by the rest of the world in the eighties and nineties.

Anime Style and Types

“Anime” is characterized by the features such as a continuous narrative, which readily makes use of cliffhangers and, unlike Western productions, can be aimed at all ages. There is a wide variety of genres from isekai to mecha or sentai to specific categories such as yaoi/yuri or shounen.

Style, imagery, and symbolism are heavily based on the template of manga. While the backgrounds appear detailed, the character design is mostly reduced and iconic, also inspired by concepts like kawaii from manga.

A wider color palette is used and the spatial impression is created through movement and cuts. Unlike in Western productions, the goal of animation is not realistic movement, but the transition between expressive poses.

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The author AWSMONE, who works for Scrollbytes Organisation, has been vetted and has the necessary know-how or education to be able to write about any entertainment topics. Learn more on our about page.