Top Ten Things That Differentiate Anime From Cartoons

There are things which differentiates Anime from Cartoons. I've listed some these here.

The Top Ten


It's lovely to see the anonymous comments defending cartoons (as if I was attacking them). But a truth is a truth. If anime has good animation, it has good animation, and much better than that of cartoons. You need to have eyes to know about that. And please, anime has much more genres than cartoons by a large margin. Ever watched Death Note!?!? Go and look up for Attack on Titan too. They are all meant for mature audience above 14. Have you ever heard about psychological thriller? And yeah, don't ever dare compare the animation of cartoons with that of anime (99 out of 100 times, cartoons animation would lose to that of anime by miles. )
Looney Tunes is one of my favorite cartoon series of all time but to say it's for the mature audience, I can't really digest that (Looney tunes is for kids and younger teens). And if you don't care about anime being made in Japan, then don't bother to write a comment under that section.
And I'm not sure that having only a few adult jokes in ...more - Kiteretsunu

The eyes in anime are usually big (eyes with big iris) and are more detailed than in traditional cartoons. You can compare the eyes of Ash in Pokémon and Aang in Avatar the Airbender. - Kiteretsunu

Anime characters have 8 inches large eyes. - zxm

Bambi - PeeledBanana


"You just don't good animation if it hit you in the face" what does that even mean? Just because we like what you hate, doesn't mean we are biased, not all of us are hating cartoons, if you hate anime, you would've just shut up and ignored the lists saying to love anime, because if you're trying to get anime fans to stop watching it, then stfu and go watch cartoons instead.

You can't but help noticing that anime characters have unique stylised hair with spiky hair all round (which most of the Japanese boys usually do have) unlike Cartoons. The hair detailing is given more importance and you can see characters with hair of all colours. Again you can take Pokémon as an example though almost all the anime franchises do the same thing. - Kiteretsunu

Have you ever watched anything made by disney random person who said cartoons drawing style is bad. I doubt you have since there was always views from distance and points of perspective. Also the American cartoon drawing style isn't bad, you are just a biased hater who thinks if something isn't a Japanese anime then it sucks. Also the cartoon drawing style isn't bad. You just don't good animation even if it slapped you in the face.

Yes they have beautiful silky hair. Cartoons don't however, it never moves and there movement and drawing style is bad. At least anime has views from a distance. It focus a lot on the background. Using different points of perspective.

Smooth and Detailed Animation

This is a pretty hard one to describe. With smooth and detailed animation, I refer to the fact that when seeing an anime on play, you would feel the characters are lifelike as in real movies acted by real world actors. The way of walking and running (which anime characters do ) with hair throwing back as if caught in the wind, portrays a feeling that characters are lifelike and are part of a real world of their own. But then again to understand this you have to closely watch anime yourself. This sense of feeling doesn't come from cartoons whatsoever.
EDIT: 6 frames per second for anime? Giving false facts won't change anything. Just watch attack on titans. - Kiteretsunu

Cartoons also have smooth and detailed animation! It takes a lot more effort and talent to draw one frame in anime, which means some (SOME, not all) anime animations are stiff. Like when they're talking, they stand still. Cartoons have much more movement, and very smooth animating! - SnailPony

Actaully anime runs at 6 frames per second and is limited. It lacks key frames. Hanna-Barbera animation runs at 12 frames per second while not the best animation still being able to accomplish more things than anime. Disney and Max Fleischer's animation runs at 24 frames per second which is really good animation. Anime has terrible frames and body kinetics compared to western animation. With western animation people have to work really hard to create extreme situations mixed with bats crazy FLUID animation to conicde with it which most of the time pays off. What were you saying about 99 percent of the time anime animation would always be better?

"Says the biased anime fan." So, having a preference makes me biased? Okay then...

"And when I meant anime, I meant the lackluster animation of bland shows." If you say that you are just talking about the bad animation of a few anime shows, then you admit that you were generalizing. You assumed that anime in general has bad animation, but you later said that you were only talking about a few anime. Plus, anime does not only have good animation when it is in movie form. Landscapes, physical features of characters, and textures drawn in anime tend to look more detailed than those drawn in cartoons. I really wish I can attach some pictures to show you what I mean.

Too bad the animation for it is not detailed and instead sucks. Lazy animators. Just as lazy as the writes for any anime show.

Detailed Background

Most of the well known anime have detailed background in them. While during a simple conversation between anime characters, you can see the houses, electric poles, sky, etc. in a more detailed fashion, whereas cartoons generally portray a shadow effect on their background. But there are exceptions where roles are reversed like Soul Eater belonging the anime group and Avatar the last air bender in the cartoon group.

EDIT : I think people can't really differentiate between opinions and facts. Do you even know how much effort is put in there to make a single anime/manga series? It's not a matter of a opinion. It's like comparing novels and short stories and then asking which of them is better. And if I choose novels because they have a detailed plot, people would then say I'm a novel fanboy, right? - Kiteretsunu

You may not force people into having to believe that anime is better but what about the guy who created reasons why anime is better. That is a pretty biased list that's just saying that even though this is an opinion, you have to treat it as a fact and if you don't have the same opinion then your wrong. - YakkoWakkoDot

To the maker of the reasons why anime is better list. I'm sorry to say but it was biased same with the American cartoons is better list. They were just two biased lists that never need to be created a ton of drama. - YakkoWakkoDot

Read the title of this list correctly, please. It is titled "Things Which DIFFERENTIATE Anime from Cartoons", not "Things Which Make Anime Better Than Cartoons".

American cartoons also have detailed backgrounds. You just can't accept it because your an anime fanboy.

Complex Plot

What? "To bad anime is boring have the better story because they can keep us normal people entertained and still make us smile." What have you been watching? I don't think shows that centers a different little story (which usually aren't important at all) in each episode counts as story, watch Death Note, Clannad, and other really good animes, then get that stick out of your ass, just because YOU can be more entertained and "smile" doesn't mean it has an automatically better story, cartoons are generally meant for kids, anime is meant for everyone.

Wow! Annoyed much. Cartoons are made for everyone and have different genres to. For example Pinky and the Brain and Gravity Falls to name a few. What I have been watching is really good American cartoons like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Pinky and the Brain, and Animaniacs. These cartoons make a lot of people smile and laugh. They make them forget about the crap going on in the world. Animes just make us remember all of it. You are just a biased dumb fanboy who needs to get the stick out of YOUR ass and realized that American cartoons are good and aren't just made for kids. No I won't watch the crappy shows you recommend for me to watch because they are just boring animes that make people remember the sad moments we had in this world. Also just because you say they are really good animes, that doesn't mean they are.

This is about how anime is different from cartoon since people mistaken anime as japanese/chinese cartoons. And I think those recommended animes were good and I actually saw them. I know, I sound like a fan brat but you were being a fan brat as well. So we're equal. Just please, leave anime alone and we won't insult cartoon - MLPFan

Anime, no doubt, has more complex stories than cartoons. The stories follow a steady flow of time, with characters maturing and progressing as the story goes on and on. Most anime have novel like experience with them. Cartoons generally don't follow this rule (except Avatar the last airbender), maturation and progression of their characters are generally slow or almost non existent. Cartoon characters are either already matured throughout the series or are dumb throughout the series. - Kiteretsunu

If this is saying that only anime has a complex plot, then this is wrong. Not all cartoons are the same, take for example Teen Titans, a cartoon. The plot of it is very complex AND has comedy! The misconception that all cartoons are centered around comedy with no plot should be taken down.

Anime Is Meant for All Age Groups

While cartoons are generally made for kids, anime can be watched by all age groups. For example, Adventure Time; you won't see a 20 year old man watching it. But, let's say with Naruto, there's 7 years olds and 20 year olds watching it. I'm not saying that American cartoons are made for ONLY kids, there's obviously some made for adults like Family Guy (it would be really sad if some second grader watched it). But, my point is that there are animes that adults AND kids can watch.

There are also cartoons that both kids and adults can watch and yes you would see a 20 year old man watch Adventure Time and many more cartoons

Whereas cartoons are generally meant for the kids, anime appeals to all age groups and are made for all age groups. There is Shoujo (younger female audience), Shounen (younger male audience), Josei (older female audience), Seinen (older male audience), Kids (for children below 10 years) and so on.

EDIT : The definition of otaku you looked up in urban dictionary is the Japanese definition of it. Otaku in Japanese means "nerd". It has nothing to do with anime. In japan, one can be called as a gamer otaku, a card collector otaku, and so on. But in America (or according to American definition) otaku means one who likes anime and manga. They don't have to be nerds to like them. Does watching Spongebob Squarepants make you a nerd? I believe not - Kiteretsunu

Cartoons are also meant for all age groups too!

I looked up otaku and on the urban dictionary it says it's used to refer someone who stays at home all the time and doesn't have a life (no social or love life etc). It says they have nothing better to do then watch anime or play video games surfing the internet. Or it means nerd hacker or programmer. or someone who is obsessed with anime. (This is not coming in hate. This is what the dictionary said. Are you sure you liked to be called otakus? )

Congrats for looking up the definition on the most trusted online dictionary website in the whole internet!? A dictionary website where anyone can write their own definitions and meanings of any word. Or can even invent their own ones. A website where the definition of exclamatory word "wow" has something to do with Minecraft. - Kiteretsunu

Anime Has Much More Genres

As cartoons are mostly meant for the younger audience, it has fewer genres compared to anime, and consists of mainly the superhero genre, cat and mouse chase genre or the comedy genre. Whereas anime has more than hundred genres, like mystery, adventure, psychological, fantasy, slice of life, action, romance, comedy, school life, crime, science fiction and so on. So people with different tastes can choose their own anime series and watch them with joy. - Kiteretsunu

When cartoons are meant for a younger audience, anime and manga is meant for all ages, depicting on the anime or manga or sometimes, even both. But anime also has many more genres in it whence cartoons are mostly farts and giggles. Actually, some animes can be very melodramatic or just plain old stupid, but the genres vary in many categories. - NerdyPweeps

Comedy Cartoons have more than just fart jokes but you are to stupid to notice them.

Really cartoons have more than one genre. There's comedy, romance, action, and sometimes a little drama.

Distinctive Personalities In the Characters

Anime producers have an important focus on instilling distinctive personalities to the anime characters, so that the audience can relate their life and personality to them, thus leading to formation of a sort of temporary bond with the characters. The personalities instilled in anime characters consist of dark, bright and sinister ones. This is however absent in cartoons as they are only meant for comedic relief. - Kiteretsunu

Saying someone's opinion sucks? That's very immature. If reasons to love anime lists are retarded, so are reasons to hate anime,

American cartoon characters also have distinctive personalities.

You sound like a 5 year old, Kid. Please learn how to respect opinions - MLPFan

Take the Legend of Korra, a cartoon. This show is full of interesting characters! It ranges from headstrong Korra to serious Mako. Teen Titans. The goofy fun Beast Boy, cheerful and sweet Starfire, and dark cynical Raven. And anime can have clichéd characters too.

Anime Songs

An anime starts with an opening song and closes off with an ending song. These songs are generally borrowed from established artists, where the songs either have been very popular (and hitting good ranking in monthly Japanese song charts (equivalent to billboards), or are used for publicity for these singers. It is the same way as Hollywood sometimes borrowing some of the songs doing well in the billboards. The anime songs are generally of 1 min 30 s and are edited version of the real songs. Cartoons have their own 20 seconds songs in their name where songs are made specifically for them. - Kiteretsunu

The opening and closing songs for anime are, in one word, amazing. I have heard some that are so catchy and awesome that I started singing them at completely random times. For example, the Attack on Titan theme song is so intense and it just draws you in, and you can't help but get into the show.

Hello? Teen Titans anyone?
When there's trouble you know who to call...TEEN TITANS!
That song was sung by some pretty established people, and Teen Titans is a cartoon.

Teen titans was anime based and has many anime influences. But I love that song too. Why did Teen Titans Go have to ruin that show?! - MLPFan

Anime Stays With You for Life

Western animated cartoons can stay with you for life too. It depends on the person for this on so this reason shouldn't be here

Anime's stays with you even long after the series ends and I must add one more thing all anime haters are idiots. - egnomac

Um, I don't hate anime, but like, learn to respect opinions. Cartoons can also stay for life, (Scooby Doo, Teen Titans, Avatar, Gravity Falls) - SnailPony

Anime isn't staying with me for life. The only time I feel myself in a character's shoes is when it's an American cartoon.

The feel of putting yourself in each character's shoes, laughing, crying with the story. just epic.

The Contenders

Bloody Battles
Japanese Culture

Most of the anime tend to portray Japanese culture in them, naturally, because anime are made in Japan. In the same way, cartoons portray the American culture (if made in America) or European culture (if made in European countries), but they DON'T portray Japanese culture whatsoever. - Kiteretsunu

So cartoons have to portray Japanese culture, but you say nothing about anime having to portray any other culture? That's one sided.

Wallace & Gromit is arguably more quittisentially British than Britain itself

Really what I meant was that anime is not part of Japanese culture and really mrcoolfack grow up

More Realistic
Less Cliché
It's from Japan
Dark Colours

But recently in the past six or seven years (probably from 2007) the artists have started to use bright colours in anime also, so that line of reasoning is somehow incorrect. Every modern shoujo and shonen anime has bright colours used in them nowadays. Please check that whether the episodes of anime you are watching were aired in Japan recently or days way back - Kiteretsunu

Ever since the days of Tom & Jerry, most American cartoons in the 1940s were bright primary colours and they still are to this day. Same with British cartoons in the 1970s. Animie is generally a lot more darker in colouring, therefore it's not so eye catching.

Animes Come From Mangas (Japanese Comics)

Not all cartoons but most superhero cartoons

Yet comics come from cartoons - Goatworlds

Deeper Meaning

Cartoons are more all about the comedy while anime has much more meaning to it. - egnomac

So not true. Cartoons can have pretty deep meanings too.

Excuse me? - PeeledBanana

Voice Actors Win Awards

Voice actors for cartoons win awards to

It Has Hentai

The only bad thing about anime. Hentai is just horrible. - Kiteretsunu

The sense of humor

Cartoons win this easily. - Spyrofan35

No "good vs. evil" themes

Was my comparison of protagonists and antagonists in anime to the ones in cartoons not clear enough? If not, I will be glad to explain again. Cartoons are black and white. They always portray the antagonists as "evil". In most instances, cartoons even show antagonists boasting about how evil they are. Shows such as Xiaolin Showdown, Kim Possible, and some Disney movies show antagonists doing this. The antagonists also keep referring to their plans as "evil plans". However, this rarely happens in anime. Anime actually gives its antagonists a variety of personalities. Some anime antagonists are sadistic while others are not. For example, the arrancar Coyote Starrk from Bleach is not as battle-loving as most other arrancars in Sosuke Aizen's army. He was very reluctant to fight Shunsui Kyoraku and had no intent to kill. He didn't even have any motivations of his own which threatened the protagonists. In Naruto, the founders of the Akatsuki originally intended to bring ...more

If anyone wants to comment on this item, read all my comments first. I explain why there are no good vs. evil themes in anime very clearly, and I am sure that my explanations are not that difficult to understand. If you are too stupid to understand my explanations, then don't bother commenting on this item. I would also like to say that good vs. evil themes are NOT the same as action genres. Good vs. evil themes portray all their protagonists as angels and all their antagonists as the scum of the earth. Action genres have fight scenes and battles in the plot, but don't always demonize their antagonists and glorify their protagonists. If you don't know even what protagonists and antagonists are, then look the two terms up on the internet or in a dictionary. It's not that difficult.

Cartoons always have good protagonists and evil antagonists. However, anime is different. Some protagonists of anime series are anti heroes (characters who lack traits which are typical of good guys). There are also a lot of antagonists in anime who are actually good people (examples of such characters are Itachi Uchiha from Naruto and Coyote Starrk from Bleach). Anime also doesn't portray it's antagonists as losers, something which cartoons always do.

I would also like to say that the cartoon fanboys commenting on this item make themselves look like idiots by saying, "provide examples where it is not like this" before reading any of the comments I posted. I made FOUR comments explaining why I find no good vs. evil themes in anime. They are not very hard to find and not that time consuming to read, even though some of them are pretty long. My idea may be new, but it is not stupid just because you pre-pubescent kids disagree with it.

Voice Actors (Seiyuu)
Five Fingers

That made me laug, thanks

Better Character Designs

Well cartoons have better design. The animation on spongebob, for example is great and the character designs on other are much more creative than cartoons for example the simpsons where every character is yellow - Spyrofan35

For most of the time, anime characters have really great designs that were rather well done. Some cartoons do have great character designs. But for most of the time, cartoon has terrible character designs. No offense - MLPFan

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