Anime vs Cartoon: What’s the Difference?

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While both anime and cartoon fall under the category of animation, there are key differences between the two styles. The distinctive aspects of each type of animation may be better appreciated if you have a firm grasp of the distinctions between anime and cartoon.

What Is Anime

Anime vs Cartoon: What’s the Difference?

Japanese animation style known as “anime.” Characters in this genre are generally shown with exaggerated features and haircuts that set them apart visually. Anime is well-known for its diverse spectrum of genres, which includes everything from action and adventure to romance and drama. Anime is most commonly seen in the form of a television series or a movie, but it may also be seen in manga (Japanese comic books) and light novels (prose fiction).

Symbolism, metaphor, and foreshadowing are all elements of narrative that are distinctive to anime. Anime tales may have several tiers and explore a wide range of topics and ideas. Japan’s animation industry is massive and has a wide-ranging influence on the international entertainment business because of the wide appeal of anime among viewers of all ages and walks of life. Attack on Titan, Naruto, and One Piece are just a few examples of widely-watched anime shows.

What Is Cartoon

Cartoons are short animated films, most often but not exclusively from the United States. Cartoons are animated shorts that can be either hand-drawn or computer-generated and typically incorporate satire, humor, and slapstick. Cartoons are common on children’s television, in the cinema, and in comic books. Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, and SpongeBob SquarePants are among the most well-known cartoon characters. Cartoons, in contrast to their serious Japanese counterpart, anime, tend to be humorous and brightly colored. Similarly, the simpler, more universal tales of cartoons make them appealing to a wide spectrum of viewers.

The Origins and Development of Anime

The history of anime, or Japanese animation, dates back to the early twentieth century. It wasn’t until 1931 that a full-length anime feature film was made, however the earliest anime shorts appeared in the 1910s and 1920s. The 1960s and 1970s saw the development of the genre with the debut of television anime and the establishment of animation firms like Toei Animation and Studio Ghibli. With the success of shows like “Dragon Ball” and “Akira” in the West in the 1980s and ’90s, anime spread beyond Japan’s borders. Anime is a staple of Japanese popular culture, with new shows and movies being produced on a monthly basis.

The Origins and Development of Cartoon 

Anime vs Cartoon: What’s the Difference?

The name “cartoon” was first used to describe a comic image in the London magazine Punch in 1843, placing the genre’s beginnings firmly in the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, a method called cell animation was used to produce the first animated cartoons. To produce the appearance of movement, each frame of animation was drawn on a sheet of translucent celluloid, which was then shot and played again in succession.

Characters like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny helped propel the cartoon animation industry to new heights in the early 20th century. There was a new golden age for animated cartoons beginning in the 1950s, when television became widely available.

Cartoons have remained a staple in the entertainment industry, and they continue to attract viewers of all ages. More realistic and sophisticated animation and storyline are now possible in cartoons because to the development of computer animation and 3D animation.

Key Distinctions

When broken down to its core components, anime and cartoons are obviously different in important ways. One of the primary differences is the intended audience. The target audience for cartoons is the West, whereas anime is predominantly located in Japan. Because of this, anime may cover a broad variety of subject matter and ideas, much like the references and cultural influences it draws from other civilizations.

The animation style is also quite distinct. Expressions and body language in anime tend to be more realistic than in live-action films. However, cartoons are known for their simplistic and exaggerated visual style.

One additional distinguishing feature is the length of the performances. However, although most animated series only run for one season, anime tends to have longer seasons and more episodes.

Finally, cartoons tend to be episodic whereas anime is usually serialized. Keep in mind that numerous examples of anime and cartoons exist outside of these two categories.


• Both anime and cartoon are forms of animation

• Both can be enjoyed by people of all ages

• Both can be based on various genres such as comedy, action, adventure, fantasy.

• Both can be enjoyed in a variety of mediums such as television, movies, streaming platforms.

• Both can have a wide range of art styles and animation techniques

• Both can have a significant cultural impact and influence popular culture.


Both anime and cartoon animation have their own distinct styles. Knowing the distinction between the two can help you better appreciate the distinct aspects of each form of animation. Cartoons are recognized for being humorous and lighthearted, but anime is known for its dark themes and intricate plots. Anime and cartoons are two types of popular media that deliver stories with vivid visuals and empathetic characters.

Stefan Mitrovic

Stefan is a tech guy who got you covered no matter the topic. He's a great researcher, and with a lot of experience in his bag, he'll craft an article or two daily.