I once read on the “Anime” magazine, a letter sent by a fan ranting about how mad it made her when people referred to Japanese animation as cartoons. She said it was not the same, because cartoons is for kids and “anime” is not. I laughed about it for the rest of the year!

The word “anime” simply means animation, and animation -however you wish to put it- is, without a doubt, a cartoon. It is something that has been drawn into a paper or computer, and put into motion; an animated film, or TV series. Whatever… a cartoon!

Now, on my research for the truth of the origins of the word “anime”, I found that there are different theories; and that in fact, the biggest controversy that surrounds the word “anime” comes from those who are questioning themselves whether to call “anime” any other non Japanese cartoon which uses the same style that Japanese cartoonist use. This I found to be very interesting, but also –in my opinion- very trivial. Why make mountains out of a molehill? Is the reason as to why we should waste our brain cells thinking if we should give the term “anime” a more general use a tangible one? OK… let me start from the beginning.

The origin of the word anime is not completely clear. One theory is, that it comes from the French language. This is in part, because in France Japanese animation was very famous around the 80s. Another reason is, that the word for animation in French is; “dessin animé” Which if we were to translate it word by word, it would be “animated drawing.”

Another theory is that in fact, it does come from the English word animation, and this theory I’m more incline to believe. Not because I am a Cuban-American, but because it makes more sense to me. It is known to all, (at least to all that know a little of the Japanese language and how it works) that Japanese have borrowed words from the English language and give them different pronunciation without taking away part of the English. The complete word for “animation” in Japanese is “animeshon” and the short version for this word is “anime.” Thus the idea that “anime” comes from “animation.”

So, my thinking is this; If we know that “anime” comes from “animation”, and in America anything that is animated -no matter what style or type of animation- we call cartoons. Then, why should we give the word “anime” a deeper meaning? When I use the word “anime” I do it to make a difference on what type (as in, from what country) of animation I’m referring to. Most of the time I refer to it as Japanese Animation, because most people I speak to about this subject –believe it or not- are not well inform on what anime means. If I were to talk to one friend that shares my same passion for animation, then, yes! I say anime when referring to Japanese animation. But, for crying out loud! Lets not get complicated and think that because it is anime then it is not a cartoon. Fact is, it is a cartoon/animation, here. It is anime/animeshon in Japan.

Please! I am not saying it is wrong to call it anime. In fact most people do, and its OK, because it is anime (Japanese animation) but it is wrong to think that its not animation or cartoon. It is wrong to think that it is not the same as “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends,” or “Batman,” or “Batman Beyond”. There is; “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons,” and countless and countless of animated TV series that are not for kids, those this make it anime? Also, should we change the meaning of anime from “animation” to “style of animation”? When you think about it, what exactly is the specific style of anime? Not to get too deep into the type of animation program that Japanese use versus the one Americans use, which have nothing to do with the style of animation really, but I have seen many Japanese animated films and many series, and they are -most of it- pretty much different in style. Example: “Vampire Hunter D” is different in style from “Spirited Away”. Another example? OK; “Eureka 7” is different -totally- in style from “Sailor Moon”. And like these examples there are many more. Same goes for American animation.

So, again; Is it OK to change the meaning of the word “anime”? I guess it is, since the world is constantly evolving and new words and new meanings to old words form every day. However, I will stick to what I know about its meaning, and I will use it in its right context. How are you going to use it?

If you want another opinion, visit this forum;

I got my information from: “Anime News Network. The Internet’s most Trusted Anime News Source”


10 thoughts on “Animeshon

    • Asi le digo yo cuando hablo con mami por ejomplo. Asi le dice papi, y imagino que personas de su edad. But even my brother in Cuba uses the term “anime” like if it was something totally different from any other cartoon, if you know what I mean. Hahahahaha!

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