How Anime Influenced Western Animation

Samuel Edwards

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Did you know that many highly sought western animations are heavily inspired by Japanese anime? The reason is that Japan is recognized for making highly successful animated series. Therefore, western cartoon companies created the same products with fantastical themes and anime-influenced art style.

For instance, Kakegurui is a gambling based anime that has inspired a variety of casinos worldwide for instance withing the anime you get to witness high stake games such as poker, blackjack or even bingo just to name a few and such games can be found and enjoyed on 5 dollar deposit casinos that have taken inspiration from this anime. 

Can anime be western animation?

European and Japanese elements are different. In countries such as the United States, ‘anime’ is used to refer to Japanese animation. You see, anime is a Japanese word, and thus, western audiences often use it for Japan’s animation work. Meanwhile, the Japanese use the word anime for all types of animations.

You will find a common misconception that anime and animation are two different things. Nonetheless, both terms are similar, except for the animation’s visual style and the pronunciation of ‘animation’ in the Japanese language.

The word ‘anime’ is inspired by the English word ‘animation.’ That word is tough to pronounce in the Japanese language. That’s why the tern anime started being used in Japan for the sake of simplicity. That new term unintentionally established a new chapter in animation.

What has Japanese animation influenced?

Manga and anime have long been at the heart of Japanese culture, along with a consistent wave of fame between the generations. Over the past years, the popularity of anime and its comic strip counterpart, manga, has increased substantially in the US and the UK.

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One of the critical reasons anime endured the test of time and grew in fame worldwide is its unique way increases its viewers. According to anime expert Takasama Sakurai, the Japanese animation concept broke the notion that anime is something that children watch. 

Overseas anime fans claim they enjoy the power of storylines and the endings that are challenging to foresee, as anime is often intended for adult audiences.

In the West, many kids watched anime TV shows growing up, including Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, Cowboy Bebop, and Dragon Ball Z. During those times, kids wouldn’t have realized they were watching Japanese anime-inspired works. However, the popularity of the shows meant that it established a shot spot in the hearts of anime.

Currently, with the rise of the internet and streaming services like Netflix, it has meant that anime has become more accessible and accommodating for adults to remember their childhoods through some age-appropriate anime films.

Today, leading channel networks in America are producing anime-inspired shows such as:

  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • Beast Boy
  • Teen Titans
  • Ultimate Spider-Man
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • ·Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Steven Universe
  • She-Ra and The Princesses of Power
  • Winx Club

The anime influence of anime aesthetics has extended even to Hollywood, where many American producers made a live adaption of these anime. That includes Dragon Ball Evolution, Ghost In The Shell, Death Note, Amazing: Alita: Battle Angel, and more.

Which Japanese anime made anime popular in the West?

North America is not as big an anime market as Japan. Nonetheless, anime has left a significant mark on American pop culture. Here is the top anime that had the most influence on the US.

  •       Pokémon – This show is not even considered an anime at first. After it hit the US back in 1999, it is still famous as ever.
  •       Naruto – Naruto dodges the still surviving negative features anime is thought to have (like that all anime contains adult content). It also teaches kids the value of determination, friendship, and other qualities parents like their kids to have.
  •     Cowboy Bebop – This show appealed to a broad audience along with its convincing adult characters, gangster vibe, and excellent jazz score. It feels like a prime-time frame with the wild west sci-fi theme.
  •     Princess Mononoke – Take note that this is not one of those Disney films! Hayao Miyazaki was many of American’s first exposure to anime. This movie tells the story of what happens when our environment loses its magic. It was also the best-selling anime in 2001. Other anime produced films of Miyazaki like Howl the Moving Castle and Spirited Away also held American hearts.
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Other anime that made anime popular in the West are Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, Dragonball, Astro Boy, and Bleach.

What makes anime different from Western animation?

Are you now wondering what makes Japanese anime-influenced shows different from the classic animation you watch on your TVs? Here are essential features you need to watch out for:

  •       Targeted age group

Many American cartoons target children, while anime series doesn’t specifically target any age group. Their work isn’t limited to kids. It is mainly composed of mature and complicated plot themes. Thus, while many adults enjoy watching it with their children, they more often watch it for their own enjoyment.

  •       Selection of genres

The main audience of American anime are kids, but they choose genres that adults would love to watch, such as drama, musical, adventure, fantasy, and comedy. Those American animations follow a basic and simple-to-understand story, allowing a kid to understand what’s happening on the screen while still appealing to a broader, more mature audience.

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This is the fantastic thing about anime series: it’s not limited to kids only. You will find thousands of anime in each genre. Further, their plots are usually one-of-a-kind and follow a complicated story that a mature mind can understand and appreciate.

  •       Style of animation

It’s the most crucial aspect when comparing anime and western cartoons. In American animation, animators don’t concentrate on the characters’ physical sketches. Their characters are motivated by cartoons. That’s why the details are fewer. They also focus on the object’s movement to get clean and smooth footage.

Compared to western cartoons, anime offers utmost importance to the character’s design instead of their movement. Anime’s character design is often close to a caricature of reality. Their characters have a small nose, big eyes, mouth, and detailed coloring, with details like eye and hair colouring having their own meanings and stereotypes.

Final Thoughts

With anime’s influence from cult hit series to groundbreaking Academy Award-winning feature movies, anime culture isn’t ending anytime soon. It will continue to motivate people across the globe. With the rise of the internet, you can watch anime online anytime, and with different anime concepts coming up, you’ll see more anime-influenced animation.

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