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Anime vs. Cartoon: Know the Difference

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By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Anime, originating in Japan, features complex plots and detailed artwork, whereas cartoons, typically Western, often have simpler, exaggerated designs and straightforward storytelling.
Anime vs. Cartoon

Key Differences

Anime is a style of animation originating from Japan, characterized by its detailed artwork, vibrant characters, and fantastical themes. Cartoons are a form of Western animation, often known for their exaggerated features, simple lines, and humorous content.
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Dec 20, 2023
The storytelling in anime often delves into complex and mature themes, appealing to a broad age range. In contrast, cartoons are generally aimed at children, with more straightforward and comedic narratives.
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Visually, anime tends to have more realistic and intricately designed characters and settings, while cartoons usually adopt a more stylized, whimsical approach with bold colors and outlines.
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The production of anime often involves a higher level of detail in both animation and background art, reflecting a distinct Japanese aesthetic. Cartoons, on the other hand, might prioritize simpler designs for easier animation and appeal to younger audiences.
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In terms of cultural influence, anime often incorporates aspects of Japanese culture and philosophy, whereas cartoons typically reflect Western ideologies and humor.
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Comparison Chart

Origin

Japan
Western countries
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Art Style

Detailed, realistic
Simple, exaggerated
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Target Audience

Wide age range
Primarily children
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Themes

Complex, diverse
Humorous, straightforward
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Cultural Influence

Japanese culture and philosophy
Western ideologies and humor
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Storytelling Complexity

Often deep, intricate
Usually lighter, less complex
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Anime and Cartoon Definitions

Anime

Anime is a Japanese animation style known for its detailed art and diverse themes.
My Neighbor Totoro is a classic anime beloved by all ages.
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Cartoon

Cartoon is a form of Western animation characterized by exaggerated features and humor.
Tom and Jerry is a timeless cartoon that entertains through slapstick comedy.
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Anime

Anime often explores complex narratives and character developments.
Attack on Titan has redefined anime with its gripping story.
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Dec 12, 2023

Cartoon

Cartoon is often used for comedic effect or satire.
The Simpsons is a cartoon that satirizes American culture.
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Anime

Anime often reflects aspects of Japanese culture and philosophy.
Spirited Away is an anime that delves into the spiritual and cultural traditions of Japan.
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Cartoon

Cartoon can be a single-frame illustration or a series of animated episodes.
The Far Side is a famous single-frame cartoon known for its wit.
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Anime

Anime can be both hand-drawn and computer-generated.
Demon Slayer showcases the seamless integration of CGI in anime.
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Cartoon

A drawing depicting a humorous situation, often accompanied by a caption.
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Dec 08, 2023

Anime

A style of animation developed in Japan, characterized by stylized colorful art and often adult themes.
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Cartoon

A drawing representing current public figures or issues symbolically and often satirically
A political cartoon.
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Anime

(uncountable) An artistic style originating in, and associated with, Japanese animation, and that has also been adopted by a comparatively low number of animated works from other countries.
I can draw an anime version of you, if you want.
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Cartoon

A preliminary sketch similar in size to the work, such as a fresco, that is to be copied from it.
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Anime

(countable) An animated work that originated in Japan, regardless of the artistic style.
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Cartoon

A usually short, animated movie or television program.
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Anime

An animated work, regardless of the country of origin.
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Cartoon

An animated character in a movie or television program.
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Anime

Alternative spelling of animé, the resin of the courbaril.
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Cartoon

A comic strip.
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Anime

Of a different tincture from the animal itself; - said of the eyes of a rapacious animal.
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Cartoon

A ridiculously oversimplified or stereotypical representation
Criticized the actor's portrayal of Jefferson as a historically inaccurate cartoon.
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Anime

A resin exuding from a tropical American tree (Hymenæa courbaril), and much used by varnish makers.
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Cartoon

To draw a humorous or satirical representation of; caricature.
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Anime

A hard copal derived from an African tree
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Cartoon

To make humorous or satirical drawings.
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Anime

Any of various resins or oleoresins
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Cartoon

(comics) A humorous drawing, often with a caption, or a strip of such drawings.
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Anime

Anime encompasses a wide range of genres, from action to romance.
Sailor Moon is an iconic anime that popularized the magical girl genre.
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Cartoon

(comics) A drawing satirising current public figures.
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Cartoon

(arts) An artist's preliminary sketch.
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Cartoon

(arts) A full-sized drawing that serves as the template for a fresco, a tapestry, etc.
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Cartoon

(animation) An animated piece of film which is often but not exclusively humorous.
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Cartoon

A diagram in a scientific concept.
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Cartoon

To draw a cartoon, a humorous drawing.
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Cartoon

(arts) To make a preliminary sketch.
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Cartoon

A design or study drawn of the full size, to serve as a model for transferring or copying; - used in the making of mosaics, tapestries, fresco pantings and the like; as, the cartoons of Raphael.
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Cartoon

A large pictorial sketch, as in a journal or magazine; esp. a pictorial caricature; as, the cartoons of "Puck."
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Cartoon

Same as comic strip.
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Cartoon

A motion picture consisting of a series of frames, each being a photograph of a drawing rather than a frame produced by filming a scene of true action, and in which the objects are displaced slightly in succeeding frames so as to give the appearance of motion when projected as a motion picture on the screen. The types of characters portrayed in such films are often similar or identical to those in a comic strip.
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Cartoon

A humorous or satirical drawing published in a newspaper or magazine
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Cartoon

A film made by photographing a series of cartoon drawings to give the illusion of movement when projected in rapid sequence
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Cartoon

Draw cartoons of
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Cartoon

Cartoon often aims at entertaining younger audiences with simple stories.
SpongeBob SquarePants is a popular cartoon among children.
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Dec 12, 2023

Cartoon

Cartoon usually has bright colors and bold lines.
The Powerpuff Girls is known for its distinctive cartoon style.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are anime and cartoons the same?

No, they differ in origin, style, themes, and target audience.
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Dec 20, 2023

Can adults enjoy anime?

Yes, anime often has complex themes that appeal to adults.
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What is anime?

Anime is a style of animation that originated in Japan, known for its detailed artwork and diverse themes.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Are there educational cartoons?

Yes, many cartoons are designed to be educational for children.
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What defines a cartoon?

Cartoons are typically Western animations with exaggerated features and humor, often aimed at children.
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Do anime characters typically have large eyes?

Yes, large eyes are a common feature in anime to express emotions vividly.
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Is anime influenced by manga?

Yes, many anime are adaptations of manga, which are Japanese comics.
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Are cartoons only for kids?

While aimed at kids, many cartoons also have elements that adults can enjoy.
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Can anime be live-action?

Anime is primarily animation, but there are live-action adaptations.
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Is anime popular worldwide?

Yes, anime has a global fanbase and is popular in many countries outside Japan.
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Do anime and cartoons use the same animation techniques?

They can, but anime often involves more detailed and intricate techniques.
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Can anime be for children?

Yes, there are many anime series and movies specifically for children.
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Are anime series longer than cartoon series?

Anime series can be longer, but this varies.
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Do cartoons always use slapstick humor?

Slapstick is common, but not exclusive to cartoons.
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Is there a cultural significance to anime?

Yes, anime often incorporates Japanese culture and traditions.
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Do cartoons have a specific drawing style?

They often feature stylized, simple drawings with bold lines.
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Do cartoons originate from comic strips?

Some do, but not all cartoons are derived from comics.
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Are cartoons always funny?

While humor is common, some cartoons tackle serious or educational topics.
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Are cartoons shorter than anime?

Cartoons are often shorter, but this varies widely.
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Do anime and cartoons both have series and movies?

Yes, both can be in the form of TV series or feature films.
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Dec 20, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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