The Pokémon franchise is without a doubt one of the most famous franchises around the world. What started off as a series of handheld video games is now a great franchise consisting of games, toys, trading cards, anime series, movies, and other merchandise. In today’s article, we are going to talk about the anime, or more precisely – it’s very nature!
The Pokémon TV-series is actually considered to be an anime, rather than a cartoon because it was made in Japan and drawn (and animated) in the Japanese style.
Pokémon, which is short for Pocket Monsters, is a media franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori back in 1995. It is a fantasy franchise set in a world where humans live together with creatures called Pokémon, who take on different shapes and sizes. It started off as a series of video games for the Game Boy console, but soon expanded to other media. The video games and the anime (including the connected films) are the most popular brands today, although the franchise has expanded to even live-action movies like Pokémon Detective Pikachu.
Now, since the anime is today’s topic, we are going to explain to you whether the TV series is actually an anime or a cartoon and why.
What is anime?
Anime (Japanese: アニメ) sometimes called Japanimation, is hand-drawn or computer animation coming from Japan and having a distinct Japanese style. The term anime itself is derived from the English word animation, and in Japan, it is used to describe all forms of animation, regardless of origin and style. Outside Japan, though, the term refers specifically to animation from Japan or to a specific Japanese animation style often characterized by colorful graphics, vibrant characters, and fantastical themes. This culturally abstract approach to the word’s meaning may open the possibility of anime produced in countries other than Japan.
The earliest known commercial Japanese animation dates back to 1917. A characteristic style of animation emerged during the 1960s with the works of Osamu Tezuka and spread in the second half of the 20th century, gaining popularity not just in Japan, but also around the world. Anime initially started off as a theatrical and television form, but later expanded to other media, such as video games.
Production methods and techniques related to anime have adapted over time in response to emergent technologies, meaning that the animation techniques have become more and more sophisticated. As a multimedia art form, it combines graphic art, characterization, cinematography, and other creative techniques. Anime production typically focuses less on the animation of movement and more on the realism of settings as well as the use of camera effects, including panning, zooming, and angle shots. Diverse art styles are used, and character proportions and features can be quite varied, including characteristically large or realistically sized emotive eyes. Anime is classified into numerous genres targeting both broad and niche audiences, different age groups, genders, etc.
The modern anime industry consists of over 430 production studios, with major names including Studio Ghibli, Gainax, and Toei Animation.
What are the cartoons?
Although the world “cartoon” can also refer to short comics, we are going to talk about animated cartoons in this chapter. The original gag cartoons are drawn in a very similar style to animated cartoons, which is why the two terms are used interchangeably. The word “cartoon” is most often used as a descriptor for television programs and short films aimed at children, usually featuring anthropomorphized animals, superheroes, the adventures of child protagonists or related themes. In the 1980s, the cartoon was shortened to toon, referring to characters in said animated productions. This term was popularized in 1988 by the combined live-action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, followed in 1990 by the animated TV series Tiny Toon Adventures, which is still amongst the most popular cartoon shows in modern history.
Cartoons actually vary in style a lot more than anime, who have a more fixed style. Animated cartoons are relatively old, dating back to the 19th century and have developed through the 20th century, becoming a mainstream media form equally popular among children (the primary audience) and adults. Cartoons can be classified in different ways, based on genre, targeted group, length, subject, etc. Unlike anime, who are created with much more liberty when violence and sexual content are concerned, most Western cartoons have certain censorship standards and to not use excessive violence and sexual themes. The styles vary from studio to studio, from tradition to tradition and you can really find a lot of different aspects to enjoy and watch.
What is the difference?
Well, basically – there is none. Both the terms analyzed above are used to signify animation and animated series. And while in Japan, the term anime is a general term that can be applied to all forms of animation, be they Asian or Western in style, and is derived from the longer-term “animation”, in the West – there is a distinction. The term cartoon is used to refer to Western-style animation (regardless of the country of origin), while the term anime is used to describe animation coming from Japan or drawn in a distinct Japanese style. And that is the whole difference between these two terms.
Is Pokémon an anime or a cartoon?
As we have said above, the Pokémon TV series is actually an anime. Although, as we’ve seen, there is basically no difference between the terms anime and cartoon, the fact that the former is generally used to describe Japanese-style animation outside of Japan, we prefer to use the term rather than the synonym cartoon, because it might cause confusion for people. The anime was created in Japan and drawn in its characteristic style, and although there have been foreign co-productions when the animated material is concerned, the Pokémon TV series is without a doubt an anime.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!