Done by Bob DeJesus

Anime 101 - By Cassie

arrow Back to Main Anime page

What is Anime?

Anime (pronounced annie-may) is defined as Japanese 'animation'.

The word was originally borrowed from the French when animation was introduced. Animation as an industry is much larger in Japan than it is in North America, being of the same order of magnitude as the 'live-action' film industry there. Anime separates itself from Amerian animation in many ways. In America animation is commonly perceived as children's entertainment, as American animation is designed for generally a younger audience. In Japan however, animation is not merely viewed as a form of children's entertainment, but as a visual medium and artform that can be used and manipulated to tell stories in a way that could not be possible with live-action. Anime works covers nearly all film and television genres one could possibly imagine. While anime varies in quality according to both production techniques and artistic merit, the level of sophistication is, in general, far superior to it's counterpart outside Japan, the 'cartoon'. The beauty and appeal of anime is most likely due to the fact that there is a show for nearly any interest and any age group. Anime is distributed in three forms, TV episodes, Original Video Animation (often called OVAs or OAVs), and full length feature films.
  • TV Episodes
    These are the animes shown on TV in Japan. TV series in Japan run according to different sydication rules than in the US, and can run to very different lengths. Series such as Vision of Escaflowne run only 26 episodes, while other series such as Dragonball have aired over 500 eps. Many TV series are based off of manga, Japanese comics, providing lots of ready story material. The art ranges from adequate to good, but since the animes have more time to develop their characters, they are usually more enjoyable.

  • Original Video Animation
    Also known as OVA, or OAV (Original Animated Video). Both mean the same thing. These anime go directly to the video market. Originally creators were given the freedom of creating a story that was not constrained by time limits, commercial breaks, sponsors, or specified episode runs. OVA's could be as long or as short as the animators wished, several episodes or a one-shot. Shows like Black Magic M-66 and Riding Bean are examples of the one-shot OVA. Bubblegum Crisis is another example of the freedoms the format could afford. Each episode was a different length to fit the story, and the opening and ending music changed every episode as well. More recently, however, OVA's have been adopting standard formats that include half-hour length episodes and 'eyecatches' where commercial breaks can be inserted.

  • Full Length Feature Film
    These anime are made for the big screen. They feature some of the best art works around. Feature films generally last anywhere from 60 minutes to 2 hours.

Many common anime shows that are currently in the US are: They are currently shown on various different channels. But widely know for Cartoon Network on a program called Adult Swim. There is also Anime channels now on cable as well.



Back to Main Anime Page