Difference Between American Cartoons and Japanese Anime

Over the years, several sources of entertainment have come into being that target different audiences. While some are engaging to people of all age groups, others appeal specifically to children and younger adults.


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American Cartoons and Japanese Anime are two such mediums of entertainment available to people today.

While they may seem similar, American Cartoons and Japanese Anime vary on several grounds, including visual effects, emotional essence, target audience, and romantic plots. 

American Cartoon vs Japanese Anime

The difference between American Cartoons and Japanese Anime is that American Cartoons usually have light stories that lack a deeper meaning. On the other hand, Japanese Anime is full of stories with depth and drastic developments. In addition, American Cartoons are generally superficial and fabricated with filters. In contrast, Japanese Anime is raw and unfiltered. The animative effects of American Cartoons are usually less advanced as compared to those of Japanese Anime.

American Cartoon vs Japanese Anime

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American Cartoons are two-dimensional illustrated visual art. The objective of cartoons is to convey humor, satire, sarcasm, or caricature. The animations of American Cartoons are usually rather impressive.

The cartoons usually have highly exaggerated features. Not much heed is paid to shade as compared to solid black colors. The camera shots used in American Cartoons are usually straight-on with less emphasis on dramatics. 

Japanese Anime is a diverse medium that employs both traditional and modern production methods to convey stories with superior visual effects. Japanese Anime characters usually have small noses and mouths.

It lays greater emphasis on non-outlined highlights and shadows. Japanese Anime also has a greater depth and meaning in their stories as compared to its counterparts. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAmerican CartoonJapanese Anime
Relatability American Cartoons are often less relatable to the general audience than Japanese Animes. Japanese Anime are often more relatable to the general audience than American Cartoons.
Target Audience American cartoons are ideal for children. Japanese Anime is ideal for younger adults. 
Essence American cartoons can be outgrown once a child has developed a better sense of reality. Japanese Anime focuses on a larger demographic and never seems to age.
Romantic PlotsAmerican cartoons usually lack any romantic storylines. Japanese Anime usually has a romantic plot.
EmotionsAmerican cartoons don’t employ as strong emotions and characters as Japanese Anime does. Japanese Anime employs strong emotions and feelings. 

What is an American Cartoon?

American Cartoon is usually a drawing or depiction of a humorous situation. It may be an animation representing public figures or issues symbolically or even satirically.

The American Cartoons include a great deal of original animated motion. In addition, they are usually targeted at children and most animations are produced for this target audience. 

There are stark resemblances to human beings in various cartoons. The animations of American Cartoons are usually rather impressive.

The main emphasis of American Cartoons are humorous and comic strips. They rarely embark upon human issues or counter prejudices and stereotypes. American Cartoons usually rely on imaginative characters.

There are several well-known American Cartoons. The most famous out of all is the Simpsons.

Other popular American Cartoons include Doug, Over the Garden Wall, The PowerPuff Girls, Arthur, The Critic, Star Wars, Aeon Flux, Robot Chicken, Beavis and Butt-Head, King of the Hill, Avatar, The Boondocks, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Legend of Korra, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Hey Arnold. 

Since the main target audience of American Cartoons is children, they represent imaginary characters that are non-relatable to real-life experiences.

Romance is a rarity in American Cartoons because children usually aren’t familiar with romantic relationships and ideas. American Cartoons usually have fewer details as the main aim is to convey the detail in a more understated fashion. 

What is Japanese Anime?

Japanese Anime refers to hand-drawn and computer animations that originated in Japan. It usually connotes all animated works, irrespective of their place of origin or styling.

While there are several original stories, some of the stories featured in Japanese Anime are often adapted from light novels, video games, or Japanese comics. 

The immediate identifying feature of Japanese Anime is the distinctively large eyes supplemented with reflected highlights and detailed color.

The characters usually have small noses and mouths that are made using minimal lines. Features like hair and clothing are depicted in greater detail and there are several color variations. 

There are several famous Japanese Anime. The most popular one is Demon Slayer.

Other well-known Japanese Anime include Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Castle in the Sky, Howl’s Moving Castle, Akira, Your Name, Ranking of Kings, and Lupin III. 

The Japanese Anime employs both modern as well as traditional methods to convey the various animated stories to the viewers. They often throw light on various human issues and tend to do away with stereotypes and prejudices.

The romantic angle is often an inseparable component of several Japanese Anime. Thus, Japanese Anime is popular for the various features it has to offer. 

Main Differences Between American Cartoon and Japanese Anime 

  1. Visually, fewer color variants and shades are used in American cartoons than Japanese Anime. 
  2. While American cartoons are generally comical and thrilling, Japanese anime circles around human life and human emotions. 
  3. The depictions in American cartoons are usually less mature and knowledgeable than those in Japanese Anime. 
  4. The face structure, body, dressing and other features are less advanced in American cartoons than Japanese Anime.
  5. American cartoons are less identical to reality than Japanese Anime. 
  1. https://www.thefreedictionary.com/American+cartoon#:~:text=a.,often%20satirically%3A%20a%20political%20cartoon
  2. https://www.breezejmu.org/opinion/opinion-anime-is-better-than-western-animation/article_97e71366-7527-11eb-b635-6333428926e9.html 
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