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Anime refers to Japanese animated video. The word is written in three katakana characters a, ni, me (アニメ). It should be pronounced "ah-nee-meh" (the "me" sound is not long, it is like a truncated pronunciation of "men"), but in America is typically pronounced "an-ee-may" ("an" pronounced as in "hand"). Ironically, the word is an English transliteration of a Japanese term, which in turn is generally supposed to be an abbreviation of the Japanese transliteration of the English word animation (shortened, as many foreign words are; for example terebi is the Japanese word for "television", or in Japanese pronunciation "terebishiyon"). However, some anime fans state that the Japanese word comes from the French animé, meaning "animated" although no Japanese believes it. The voice actors for anime are usually called by the Japanese equivalent term seiyuu.

Anime is known for its variety of genres and unique artistic style. Just as with live-action cinema, it spans various genres: science fiction, children's stories, romance, medieval fantasy[?], erotica (hentai), and so forth. Anime is an expressly commercial art form, and most anime are produced and marketed for very specific audiences, with well-defined categories for shonen (boys) and shoujo (girls) genres, as well as teenagers and adults.

Outside of Japan, most of the audience for anime is among boys and young men, so most anime which is translated tends to belong to the shonen style, including titles like Bubblegum Crisis, Tenchi Muyo and Gundam. On the other hand, shoujo anime has more recently made some showing in the West in the form of Sailor Moon, Card Captor Sakura, and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Unlike U.S. animation, there is a sizable faction of anime especially tailored to adult audiences, and numerous titles are classified in the United States as not suitable for minors.

In North America, the public reaction to anime is still unsure with lingering stereotypes of classic television series like Speed Racer combined with sensationalized reports of the more risque adult entertainment productions. However, anime series have become a staple of cable television like the Cartoon Network for both their childrens and adult programming block and anime is a strong seller on home video[?]. Furthermore, anime fans hope that the positive publicity of Hayao Miyazaki's acclaimed film, Spirited Away winning the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature might spur further mainstream acceptance of the form. The strong North American sales of the title have been encouraging enough for Disney to announce the video release of two more Hayao Miyazaki features in late 2003 after years of the Company seemingly ignoring them which can be a positive sign.

For extensive list of Japanese anime, see List of anime.

Table of contents

Anime in the United States of America





Notable names in anime

  • Hayao Miyazaki is a well respected director/producer of one genre of anime. His works are characterized by elaborate and beautiful background drawings. If one were to take a snapshot of the frame of his anime, one can see that each frame looks like an artistic painting.

  • Go Nagai's contributions to anime can be compared with Jack Kirby's work in comic books. Nagai pioneered several genres of anime, and his style was widely imitated by many producers for years. His action-packed science fiction series were among the first anime to be widely broadcast in the United States (under the American titles Force Five and Tranzor Z).


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