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As a child, I was always fascinated by both cartoons and anime. Having come from similar backgrounds, anime and cartoons were both created in the same industry. It is a common misconception that people mistake anime for cartoons. Because of their similarities, it is understandable that people would get them mixed up. Although, anime does differ from standard cartoons in terms of subject matter, intent and length.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘anime’ is defined as a style of animation originating in Japan and is characterized by colorful graphics and vibrant characters.
Enormous eyes, lengthy limbs, and humongous hair are common features that anime characters have. Despite that, anime characters tend to mirror the average human more than the average cartoon character.
Although there are cartoon characters that parallel humans, they deviate from reality with qualities that are not relative to their bodies. Anime characters typically have more proportion to their bodies and have a likeness to human anatomy in comparison to the average cartoon character.
Cartoons were created for the intent of satire or humor. An example of this is SpongeBob SquarePants, which is a popular show directed for the young audience. In fact, most cartoons were created for the entertainment of children; hence they are usually mild, do not involve serious topics and themes such as sex or violence, and focus mainly on entertaining small children. Some examples of themes that cartoons normally include are slap-stick comedy such as in Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes, developing friendships like in My Little Pony and Arthur, and guileless adventures like in Adventure Time and Steven Universe.
Anime, on the other hand, deals with many serious topics. Although anime can include comedy, it mostly consists of dark humor and some satire. The main reason behind the fact that anime is lacking in humor is that the directed audience are often teenagers and adults. Because of this, often times, anime touch into topics that are sexual or violent. This is evident in shows such as Psycho Pass or Death Note which are considered as psychological anime; psychological anime tends to be dark, twisted and tricky because nothing is as it seems and death seems to lurk around every corner. Another deviation from cartoons is that anime can contain graphic violence, an element that most cartoons do not have. Tokyo Ghoul, Berserk, Deadman Wonderland are prime examples of animes with graphic violence that are not suitable for children.
In terms of length, cartoons normally last from 5 minutes to an hour, while anime usually lasts 20-25 minutes per episode (30 minutes in total if you count the opening and the ending). Another similarity that cartoons and anime have is that they both input a lyrical opening and ending, as well as the credits. In a standard cartoon series, openings range from 30 seconds to 1 minute; anime openings are almost exactly 1 minute and 30 seconds. Cartoon endings typically last from 30 seconds to 8 minutes, whereas anime endings only last 1 minute and 30 seconds at the maximum. Anime openings and endings are limited because of production cost, which is explained in an online thread asked by a user named Killua.
Both anime and cartoons are created digitally and are normally created in a type of drawing first. The process to create anime and cartoons both include the original storyboard, character designs, and voice acting. The only difference in the creation process is that anime produces the graphics before the voices and cartoons finish the voices first and then the graphics. Consequently, by doing the visuals first, the voices can be altered much easily rather than doing the opposite. By finishing the voices first, difficulties arise when certain phrases need to be changed or edited. Therefore, the method in creating anime is superior to those in cartoons.
There is no doubt that anime is different from cartoons. Characters from anime mirror reality by being more proportional than those in cartoons. Cartoons primarily focus on entertaining younger viewers and lack the presentation of violence, whereas anime focuses on older viewers and include more serious topics such as sex and violence. Lengthwise, cartoons have the potential to be longer while anime are consistent with their episodes. Lastly, the process in creating anime differs slightly from cartoons because they finish the graphics first and finish the voices last. Therefore, anime is superior than the standard cartoons.
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