First of all, many people get confused between an Anime and a Cartoon, just because both are animated that doesn’t mean that they both are same. There are so many differences in Anime and Cartoons. While both are caricatures that may be animated, anime usually has visually distinct features for characters. So, here I will now explain the difference between these two. Anime are Japanese animated production, that come in different formats like, television series such as dragon ball z, Naruto, one piece etc., animated short films, and full-length movies. But cartoons are two-dimensional illustrated visual art, non-realistic or semi-realistic drawings.
Anime characters have distinct facial and physical features that are very similar to reality, their big eyes and small mouth are created because of cuteness. On the other hand, cartoons physical features are very far from reality than anime. Anime characters also show different kinds of distinguishable facial expressions whereas cartoons don’t.
Cartoons are generally made to make people laugh, so the genre mainly is comedy. But there are also many cartoons that are educational, teaching something good to mainly toddlers and kids in a fun, interactive way. For example, mickey mouse, Donald duck, bugs bunny etc.
Unlike cartoons, anime doesn’t stick to only one or two genres. Anime shows and movies are all based on some kind of plot which continues through the entire series, for example, bleach, one piece, Naruto, etc. Anime is based on real-life issues or something that are closer to human emotions and have many more genres than cartoons such as, drama, school life, slice of life, romance, action, etc.
But if you look at both of them as separate entities, or as same, you won’t be able to find a clear difference between the two, and that is why most of the people get confused between the two and end up calling anime and cartoons are same.
The first cartoon was said to be produced in 1499. It depicted the pope, holy Roman emperor, and the king of France and England playing the game of cards. However, Japanese animation began in the early 20’s, when Japanese filmmakers were experimenting with different techniques. By 1930s, as an alternative to the live action industry, animation was established.
As cartoon are two-dimensional figures drawn and used in animations, as caricatures in newspapers, and books. If we were to define what Anime is then the general idea of some of the common and agreed upon notions would be “Japanese, animation, vivid designs, and hand-drawn” would be predominant buzzwords.
Today, Anime only seems to refer “animations only from Japan” to make it more understandable for people. After all this is human nature to like the things which are easily understandable and easily categorized.
To make the distinction clearer, let’s take the example of the tom and jerry and dragon ball z. So, you may think what’s the difference between the two when they both are animated and have good visuals, backgrounds, sound effects and even the animated drawings are nice. But, there are many differences in them which differentiate them from anime to cartoon. Like, their concepts are totally different, as you know every episode of tom and Jerry is different and is not related to any of the previous episode or continuing some kind of story from a point but in dragon ball z every episode is related to the previous one, and continue the story from where it stopped in the previous episode. And their genres are different too, as tom and Jerry is purely based on a cat and mouse fight and made to make people laugh and their watch time fun. On the other hand, dragon ball z is kind of a journey of a saiyan to save the Earth and the universe from several threats, he fights for saving everyone, with the help of his family, friends and fellow saiyans. Dragon ball z is can be categorized in many different genres, like action, adventure, comedy, super power, etc.
Another thing in which some people may distinct anime and cartoon would be that cartoons are for kids whereas reach of anime can be extended to many other age groups and other areas.
But what I think is, cartoons are not just children material, because as we can see in the newspapers, and on television too, there are many cartoons containing and targeting many political, religious views. Most of these messages are hidden and unrecognizable for children, so that adults can enjoy watching them with kids. Whereas some of the anime contains high adult content and thus are not safe or good for little kids to watch. Those kind of anime are made entirely focusing on adult audience. But there are also some anime series which are absolutely safe to watch with kids. But nowadays, even normal anime’s may have some scenes which are not supposed to be watched by children.
So, I think, where cartoons are safe for kids to watch, anime shouldn’t be considered safe enough for them. But no matter how old you get, you can still enjoy it as it is.
I feel that, anime has deeper thought in them, well developed characters, broad story-line, a solid theme, realistic background animation, real life situations, dialogues, expressions, etc. all of these things bound us together to watch all the episodes (whether there are 12 or 24 or more than a hundred of episodes) of the anime series. Whereas on the other hand, cartoons, regardless of whether they are telling a story or just aiming for comedy, have shallow characters and themes.
Cartoons doesn’t look that creative compared to anime, as anime characters are so different from each other and very well developed too.
There’s one more thing which we can say that differentiate anime and cartoons, that is, for example, in the Simpsons, Bart is the class clown for the entire show but in most of the anime the character’s traits change dynamically, like in the starting they may be kind of shy, or maybe considered as weak or harmless, but later on they become stronger than most of the other characters.