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What is Anime? [Anime VS Manga VS Cartoon]

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Jun 11, 2024• Proven solutions

You may have heard of Anime. What is Anime? Anime, Manga, and Cartoons all are the exquisite openings of little portals into the other worlds that will entertain, delight, and educate you at the same time.  They are the forms of art and words creating a unique medium for sharing the realities of the world, spirituality, and ideas.

The digital world has grown so immensely, and then Amine, Manga, and Cartoon have become popular in the whole world that people often confuse these terms. To understand them better and to decode the myth of anime, manga, and cartoon, we’ll go deeper into each and see what anime is, and show the differences in anime, manga, and cartoon.

Part 1: What is Anime?

Anime is the Japanese form of animation – word for word. This scrupulous style and form of animation originated in Japan characterized by its vivid imagination and bright color usage. The thematic elements of fantasy and fiction combined with science give this style its unique look and feel. This meticulously thought and designed animation is nowadays produced all around the world intending its huge fanbase not just in the Japanese but all over the world.

The story is behind the word anime is interesting – the Japanese animēshiyon is a loanword from English animation, which then made its journey back to English as anime. So, the Japanese borrowed it from English and the English took it back modified. This modified version of animation became the basis of many popular TV shows and movies that excite people to know more about anime.


Subbed Anime and Dubbed Anime

There are two common ways to enjoy the anime world, subbed anime and dubbed anime. A “sub” is an anime-type that is shown in its original Japanese voice with subtitles of another language (mostly English). While the “dub” anime is the one that is released with a new re-scripted voice – voice actors speaking another language recorded as voiceover to make it suitable for a worldwide audience.

Though the topic is often a debatable topic among anime fandom. I’ll just highlight my thoughts on both versions. As anime is mostly Japanese creation and watching them in the western world required either an English subtitle or dubbed over by English-speaking voice actors.

Anime hardcore fans or purists argue the original voice and theme of the anime should not be altered to keep the original imaginative flair and theme of the series. While the dubbed anime released with a re-scripted voice track translated into English or any other language for that matter to allow a larger audience to enjoy the anime series without the hassle of reading through the subtitles.

Part 2: What is Manga?

Manga, on the other hand, is the Japanese version of comic books and graphic novels. It has the same detailed and amplified facial features with a vivid and bright color combination. The Japanese word manga came from man-, meaning aimless, while, -ga, means pictures. So, it means aimless pictures.

Manga is unlike the usual superhero comics such as Marvel Comics or D.C. Comics written by many writers and editorial boards. Manga is more detailed and complete like novels that often are the vision of a single author. Mostly following the lives of seemingly ordinary people to develop an interesting and engaging experience – a cliffhanger.

Part 3: What is Cartoon?

The word cartoon comes from the Italian word cartoon meaning a large sheet of card or paper. The word cartoon generally signifies a visual art as animation or a funny drawing while in a historical perspective it can refer to a preparatory drawing for an oil painting, fresco, or tapestry. A cartoon in literal meaning is a caricature intended as satire or a one-dimensional non-realistic or semi-realistic portrayal.


Image resource: Mr. Bean Cartoon World

Did you see Mr Bean Cartoon? A cartoon can be animated, a motion picture of a sequence of illustrations causing it to feel like a moving caricature. In the 19th century, cartoons were humorous illustrations in magazines and newspapers transforming into comic strips and animated films in the early 20th century, as we know them now.  

Part 4: Differences between Anime, Manga, and Cartoon

Here we will talk about the differences between anime, manga, and cartoon from the following three aspects:

1. Relation

To effectively understand the difference between anime and manga you need to remember this little trick for anime vs manga,

  • Most manga can be never converted to an anime series. But numerous manga serves as a basis for anime. Put in another way – anime is mostly, but not always, is the animated form of manga.
  • Anime and manga are character-oriented where characters have goals in life that play a large thematic role in their life and the stories revolve around that.
  • However, the cartoon vs manga and anime is another story altogether,
  • In the western world comics and novels became animated cartoons with the advent of the digital age. In Japanese and wider Asia, the manga which is the Japanese version of comics and print cartoons turned into animated cartoons – anime.

2. Content

  • Anime is a distinctive art form with diverse production techniques, it amalgamates graphic art, cinematography, characterization, and other imaginative techniques. Anime is hand-drawn, which separates it from reality into the fiction realm that provides an ideal path for the fantasy world.
  • Manga showcases an illuminative and vivid imagination of the creator in the form of magazines and publications. The content incites the reader to engage deep into the artistic world of the creator.
  • A cartoon is also a form of art, including and not limited to humorous illustrations, political and satirical drawings, and animated films. From art to entertainment, and political commentary, cartoons play an essential role in influencing the world.

3. Style

  • While the western design cartoon has its specific features and details and the Japanese manga and anime have their rich history and imaginative flair to them. On the whole, they are part of the same family of art and human illustration techniques developed to showcase the tingling visualization of the creator.


The Japanese storytelling is so rich and vibrant filled with dynamic characters and caricatures which serve as the best entertaining setting for both children and adults. All of these art forms have their dedicated audience which reveres one or the other. Creators that depict their vivid imagination into eloquent and exquisite characters conveying some message and thought-provoking idea. So, altogether none is better than the other and there are millions and millions of people reading and watching all these forms of artistic mastery. Just pick the one you love!

You may also like: Best Anime Websites to Watch Anime for Free >>

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Shanoon Cox
Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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