What is Anime?

What anime is, where it's from, recommended series, and how to pronounce it

Misty, Ash, and Pikachi from the Pokemon anime series
Misty, Ash, and Pikachi from the Pokemon anime series. The Pokemon Company

Anime is a word used by people living outside of Japan to describe cartoons or animation produced within Japan. Using the word in English conversation is essentially the same as describing something as a Japanese cartoon series or an animated movie or show from Japan.

The word itself is simply the Japanese word for cartoon or animation and in Japan is used by people to describe all cartoons regardless of country of origin.

For example, a Japanese person would think of Sailor Moon and Disney's Frozen as both being anime, not as two different things from separate genres.

How Do You Pronounce Anime?

The correct Japanese pronunciation of anime is a-ni-me with the a sounding like the a in art (though slightly shorter), ni sounding like the ni in Nick, and me being said like the me in met.

The way anime is said by native English speakers however is slightly different with the a sounding like the a in ant, the ni sounding like the ni in Nick (same as the Japanese), and with the me being said like the month, May.

While most Western anime fans are aware of their incorrect pronunciation, most choose to stick with it because it's easier to say and due to the fact that it's the most-commonly used pronunciation (outside of Japan). It's similar to how everyone knows the correct way to say Paris (with a silent s) but chooses to stick with the traditional English pronunciation (strong s).

Are There Anime Comic Books?

Anime refers exclusively to animation. There is no such thing as an anime comic book. The Japanese comic books which inspire many anime series and films do exist however and these are referred to by non-Japanese fans by the Japanese word, manga (which means comic book).

Similar to the word anime, manga is used in Japan to describe all comic books, not just comics from Japan.

Interestingly, the English word comics is also used in Japan to describe Japanese and foreign comic books.

Is Anime Okay For Children?

Not all anime is suitable for children but some of it is. There are anime series and movies made for all age demographics with series like Doraemon, Glitter Force, and Pokemon targeting the under seven year old age bracket and others like Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, and Naruto Shippuden being made to appeal to teenagers and older.

Parents should be warned that there are some anime films and series created specifically for adults and anime porn is very much an established industry. Parents and guardians should always check the ratings of a show before letting a child watch it. 

What's the Best Way to Watch Anime?

Anime series and movies are often aired on numerous TV channels around the world and are also available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray. Several streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Video also provide users with a large number of anime franchises to stream while Netflix has invested heavily in the anime genre and has exclusive rights to some series like Glitter Force. Netflix is even producing several anime films and series in Japan for global releases on its platform.

There are quite a few streaming services that focus exclusively on anime with Crunchyroll, FUNimation, and AnimeLab being three of the most-popular. Each have their own official app for streaming their content which can be downloaded on smartphones, video game consoles, tablets, computers, and smart TVs. These three anime streaming services also offer free ad-supported viewing options or free 30-day trials.

What's the Difference Between Subbed and Dubbed Anime?

Subbed is short for subtitled which means that the anime is likely available to watch with the original Japanese audio and with English subtitles placed over the footage.

Dubbed means that the anime has been redubbed with a language different to that of the original Japanese. More often than not, this means that it has an English language version with English-speaking voice actors. Occasionally this can also mean that the songs have also been replaced with English versions.

Most popular anime series and movies will have both subbed and dubbed versions available to watch on streaming services such as Crunchyroll and on their official DVD and Blu-ray releases. Viewers can usually switch between the different versions from within a streaming service's app or website. The language can be changed on a DVD or Blu-ray via the language options on the disk's main menu.

Note that some series may be only available in English if footage considered inappropriate for Western children (i.e. nudity or violence) was removed during the adaption process. Pokemon is one such anime series where this was done as is Netflix's Glitter Force.

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