Something people often confuse is the difference between the words “manga” and “anime”. And I don’t blame you if you do, because in Japan, “manga” can refer to both animation and comics. However, outside of Japan, “manga” strictly means “Japanese comics”. “Anime”, on the other hand, is simply the Japanese word for “animation”. And before the word “anime” came about around the 1980s, people use the word “Japanimation” to specifically describe Japanese animation. But, to make it simple, “anime” means “animation”, and “manga” means “comics”. One thing that makes manga and anime so iconic and recognizable is often the large and exaggerated… …eyes. You thought I would say boobs, didn’t you? Well, we’ll get there in a moment, but the large eyes on many manga and anime characters can actually be credited to one man. His name is Osamu Tezuka and is often considered the godfather of anime, as he was basically the Japanese version of Walt Disney. And, that is actually what inspired Tezuka. He was inspired by Disney cartoons where many of the characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Bambi featured large eyes. Another iconic design for manga and anime characters is the hair and usually extreme hair colors. However, the colors aren’t just selected randomly. In many cases, they express significant elements of that character’s personality. This is based on the color symbolism in Japan. For example, black can mean mystery or evil, red means joy, love, or aggression, gray can mean intellegence or boredom. Every color has its own set of meanings, however, not every anime and manga use it. In Japan, around 200 new anime appears on television every year, and more paper is used for printing manga, than for making toilet paper. Anime is such a huge phenomenon in Japan, that Japanese animation accounts for over 60% of the whole world’s animation-based entertainment. The highest grossing anime film of all time is “Spirited Away” by Studio Ghibli, which has grossed over $270 million. At second place comes another Studio Ghibli film, “Howl’s Moving Castle” at over $230 million. The longest running anime series, as well as the longest running animated series worldwide is a show called “Sazae-san”. It began airing in Japan in 1969 and currently has over 2,255 individual episodes. It could also be said to have over 6,000 episodes depending on what counting system you use. The most amazing thing about this series, though, is that it’s still in production after all these years. Compared to the Western world, where animation and comics are mostly seen as something only enjoyed by and targeted towards children, anime is quite the opposite. Even though there are a lot of stuff targeted just for children, there’s just as much anime and manga targeted towards teens and adults, which is not afraid of showing death, gore, sex, and other controversial themes that’s usually otherwise only seen in live action movies and series. Anime and manga even have specific categories to specify who the target audience is. “Anime” is a Japanese word, and since they don’t use plurals in Japan, the plural of “anime” is “anime” and not “animes” Because anime and manga originates from Japan, there’s a lot of genres, definitions, and words not often used elsewhere. Here are some examples. Moe (萌え) While it does not have a concrete definition, generally, it’s used to describe that a female character, or even a whole show or comic, is striving to be very cute to invoke a feeling of sympathy and endearment within the viewer. Fan service (ファンサービス) Sexual elements simply included to please the audience that are usually unnecessary to plot development. ONA (ウェブアニメ) Anime intended to be distributed via the Internet for streaming or download. OVA (オリジナルビデオアニメーション) Anime intended to be distributed on VHS tapes or DVDs and not to be shown in cinema or on TV. Mecha (ロボットアニメ) Uh, giant fucking robots. It can be very hard to describe what an anime is because, technically, anime is just a simple abbreviation of the word animation. There are no predefined rules of what an anime should or should not include, yet most of us would identify this as an anime, while this would be a cartoon. However, 活動写真 (Motion Picture) is the oldest preserved anime in existence created around 1907 by an unknown animator. But, even though the word “anime” quite literally covers all of animation, the modern usage of the word usually describes one of two things. The first is that anime is defined by the characters’ unique featues such as the pointy chin, large eyes, spiky hair, elongated thin bodies and limbs, and, of course, the obligatory huge breast syndrome. The second popular definition is that anime’s own animation is created by [the] Japanese and/or was created in Japan.