READ THIS: WHATEVER I SAY IN THIS POST IS MY OPINION. YOUR OPINION MAY BE DIFFERENT OR SAME. ABOUT EVERYTHING I SAY HERE IS SUBJECTIVE. KEEP THIS IN MIND WHILE READING.
Many of us enjoy watching anime of various kinds. Some like Naruto. And others like Fairy Tail, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z or One-piece. Some of us even like the less-talked-about titles like Future Diary, Higurashi or Hell Girl. But what exactly is an "Anime"? How you define anime? Well, let's check Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia and Dictionary.com.
*Urban Dictionary says:
1. a style of animation that originated and is still heavily centered in Japan.
2. Japanese Animation
3. Yet another thing that Americans managed to completely flak up, resulting in poor translations, unnecessary censorship, horrible dubbing, and people who don't know any better hating Japan for it.
4. Anime means "animation" in Japanese.
The rest of the definitions were not listed as they were about as helpful as a rock.
Anime is a term used to refer to Japanese animated products featuring hand-drawn or computer animation.
Yeah... Although these definitions aren't wrong, they're not really helpful either.
According to the definition given by Dictionary.com;
1. A vast majority of anime series will not be counted as anime.
2. I haven't read any manga, so I can't agree or disagree with this.
Answer to Urban Dictionary;
1. Although true, it doesn't really help us identify anime that much.
2. By this logic, anything the Japanese make, as long as it's animated is anime.
3. Doesn't help us identify anime.
4. ... Thank you. Now please, leave.
Answer to Wikipedia;
So what sets it apart from Japanese cartoons like Doraemon or Kaiketsu Zorori?
So how do I define anime? Well... For me, it's hard to believe that a requirement of anime is that it has to be made in Japan. Although I haven't seen it done perfectly outside of Japan, It doesn't mean that it can't be done perfectly outside of Japan. Out of all the western animation I've seen, the one that came closest to anime is Teen Titans (I haven't watched Avatar: The last Air bender, don't kill me).
How did I come to this conclusion? Well to me, anime is a specific art style used in animation. The distinct features of anime are facial features of the characters, in the animation and their expression of various emotions. This style of animations has been patented, used and perfected by Japan. This style sacrifices a very small portion of it's compatibility with slap-stick comedy and light-hearted children's stories stories for realistic visuals and compatibility to more intense and serious stories. This doesn't mean that anime can't be funny or light hearted. All I'm saying is that you can't make shows like Tom and Jerry, Dexter's Lab or Looney Tunes in this style of animation (Well, you can but it'll be crap).
But anime can be light hearted and funny too. Most of the humor of anime comes from the dialogue, the situation the characters fall in and their reactions to various elements. Here's some visual examples to help make my point clearer.
Anime to Anime:
Pay close attention to the eyes. Their structure is similar, if not same. Now look at this:
Notice the faces are miles different from each other. Now tell me, which picture looks more realistic? The one on the left of course!
But now compare anime to Teen Titans.
See the resemblance? There are a lot of similarities between these 2 pictures. And finally, let's compare Japanese cartoons to anime and western cartoons.
Now tell me, which one does the picture on the top resemble more? It has more similarities to the picture on the middle than the one on the bottom. So even though it's made in Japan, can you still call it anime despite the fact that it bears little to no similarities to anime? In the same way, is it really logical to say shows like Avatar and Teen Titans are not anime, even though they bear so many similarities to anime, only because they weren't made in Japan? I don't think so!
Well, this is how I define anime. All the stuff I spouted were just my own opinions if you agree, then that's great! Leave a Like! If you don't agree, then that's okay too. Everyone has their own opinions. If you know with a 100% certainty that something I said here was wrong or I missed or misinterpreted something, I'm always eager to learn. Leave a comment showing me my mistake and I'll thank you for it. Now, If you'll excuse me, I have to go hide before I get Kamehameha-ed into oblivion by the anime fans I ticked off.
Thanks for reading!