An anime is a Japanese animated video. The word is written in three katakana characters a, ni, me (アニメ). It should be pronounced "ah-nee-meh" (the "me" sound is not long, but like a truncated pronunciation of "met"), but in America is typically pronounced "an-ee-may" ("an" pronounced as in "hand"). The word is an English transliteration of a Japanese term, which in turn is generally supposed to be an abbreviation of the Japanese transliteration of the English word "animation" (shortened, as many foreign words are in Japanese). Some anime fans claim the Japanese word comes from the French animé, ("animated"), although no Japanese believes it.

The voice actors for anime are usually called by the Japanese equivalent term seiyuu.

Table of contents
1 Anime characteristics
2 Outside Japan
3 Growth in North America
4 Notable names in anime
5 Types of Anime
6 List of Japanese Animation Studios
7 List of non-Japanese Anime Distributors
8 See also
9 External links

Anime characteristics

Anime is known for its variety of genres, unique artistic style and deep, emotional stories. As with live-action cinema, it spans various genres: adventure, science fiction, children's stories, romance, medieval fantasy, erotica (hentai) and others. Anime is an expressly commercial art form; most anime are produced and marketed for very specific audiences, with well-defined categories for shonen (boys) and shoujo (girls) genres, as well as teenagers and adults.

Critics contend that the name "anime" is very appropriate, for the cartoons are "almost animated". Anime is known for its almost miserly animation compared to the American style of animation, such as that of Disney. Anime studios have perfected techniques to draw as little new animation as possible, such as scrolling or repeating backgrounds, still shots of characters sliding across the screen and dialogue which involves only animating the mouths while the rest of the screen is absolutely still. Others argue that the best anime emphasize sophisticated direction over actual animation (character movement), providing an illusion of motion when there is none.

Outside Japan

The main audience outside Japan has traditionally been boys and young men, so most anime which is translated tends to belong to the shonen style, such as Bubblegum Crisis, Tenchi Muyo and Gundam. However, shoujo anime has made some recent success in the West in the form of Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura, and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Anime fans hope that the positive publicity surrounding Hayao Miyazaki's acclaimed film Spirited Away winning the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature may spur further mainstream acceptance of the form.

Growth in North America

In North America, the public reaction to anime is still mixed, with lingering stereotypes of television series like Speed Racer combined with sensationalized reports of the more risque adult entertainment productions. However, anime series have become a staple of cable television such as the Cartoon Network for both their children's and adult programming block and now on the dedicated Anime Network. Anime has in the last few years become an extremely strong seller on home video, with many major retailers now carrying and displaying anime as a distinct genre.

Strong North American sales of anime (such as Spirited Away) have been encouraging enough for Disney to announce the video release of two more Hayao Miyazaki features in late 2003 after years of the Company seemingly ignoring them.

Anime is now widely available in North America. Local networks in the US, such as Fox and the WB, have imports from the east in their Saturday morning children's television blocks. You can find an even greater selection of anime on the Cartoon Network. The Action Channel also shows anime movies frequently. YTV and Teletoon in Canada also have a few anime programs on their schedules. Last but not least, the VOD service "Anime Network", the first channel in North America wholly dedicated to anime, was launched in late 2002. Print publications focused on the world of anime are also increasingly popular in the U.S., with Newtype USA (the English-language version of the Japanese magazine Newtype) the circulation leader.

Many of the more serious anime, and many of the direct-to-video productions called OVA (Original Video Animation) or OAV, are made with an American anime fan audience in mind. In Japan these more serious animes are not as popular as the more children focused productions — although in Japan these seemingly children-oriented animes are also much appreciated by adults.

One important feature of the anime fan base is anime conventions. Often annual, these conventions allow fans of anime to come together and socialize on a large scale. Many conventions invite guests from overseas. Several of the older and larger conventions are Anime Expo in California, Otakon in Maryland, Project: A-Kon in Texas and Anime Central in Illinois.

Notable names in anime

  • Tezuka Osamu is the god of anime and manga. He directed the first fictional anime TV series Astro Boy and pioneered many conventions of the Japanese style of animation. He is also known for his highly acclaimed work in independent animation.

  • Hayao Miyazaki is a well respected director/producer of many quintessential anime works such as Kaze no Tani no Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind), Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro), Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke) and Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Sprited Away). He also worked on other famous early anime like Lupin III'' and early World Masterpiece Theater tv shows (with his long time friend Isao Takahata. His works are characterized by elaborate and painterly background drawings combined with animation that has higher framerates (and budgets) than most anime produced.

  • Leiji Matsumoto pioneering manga-ka and anime creator who is credited with creating Space Battle Crusier Yamato (Starblazers). Yamato is commonly credited as starting the Golden Age of Anime in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He is also famous for the Captain Harlock universe, in which numerous anime series have been set.

  • Go Nagai's contributions to anime/manga can be compared with Jack Kirby's work in comic books. Nagai pioneered several genres of anime/manga, and his style was widely imitated by many producers for years. His action-packed science fiction series were among the first anime to be widely broadcast in the United States (under the American titles Force Five and Tranzor Z). Most of these works were manga that he wrote which were later adapted into anime.

  • Satoshi Kon young highly regarded director of Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers. Often seen as the most promising young director of anime.

  • Shinichiro Watanabe this well known young director has overseen such projects as Macross Plus and most recently Cowboy Bebop.

  • Hideaki Anno is a controversial director of Neon Genesis Evangelion series. More recently, he also directed the TV adaptation of the manga His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano).

Types of Anime

Target audience


List of Japanese Animation Studios

List of non-Japanese Anime Distributors

See also

External links

General sites

Specific pages/articles

Specific anime compnaies