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Main Difference – Anime vs Cartoon

A cartoon is a film for the cinema or television which is made using sequential drawings. Anime is a Japanese style of cartoon that is characterized by vibrant characters, colorful graphics and fantastical themes.  The main difference between anime and cartoon is that anime pays more attention to the details of setting and characters whereas cartoons pay more attention to motions and movements.

What is an Anime

The term anime refers to an animation style produced by Japanese. Anime is short for animation. These are a type of cartoons characterized by vibrant characters, colorful graphics and fantastical themes. Anime dates back to the beginning of 20th century. But it was in the 1960s that the characteristic anime art style came into being with the work of Osamu Tezuka. Today it has a large domestic as well as an international audience.

One of the main distinguishing characteristics of anime is its visual effects. Animes present a great deal of art detail; they pay more attention to details of the settings and characters. The details of the characters’ faces, proportions of the body, clothing are closer to reality than cartoons. Anime characters typically have large eyes, small mouths, and noses; their bodies are slender and long, unlike cartoon characters. Overall, anime characters are generally more attractive and realistic than cartoon characters. A wide range of color variants and shades used in animes also help to achieve this effect. However, it is important to notice that anime focuses less on the animation of movement.

Another notable difference between animes and cartoons is their content. Since animes’ target audiences include both adults as well as children, they sometimes contain mature content that touches on sex and violence. Some animes deal with serious and complex subject matters, unlike cartoons which are primarily designed to entertain the audience. Animes are distributed both via television and theatrically.Main Difference - Anime vs Cartoon

What is a Cartoon

A cartoon is a film using animation techniques to photograph a sequence of drawings rather than real people or objects. Cartoons mostly target children, especially pre-teenagers. Since they are designed to entertain children, they are often humorous and laugh provoking. The subject matter includes adventures and silly humorous situations. The features of cartoon characters are mostly exaggerated, and the proportions of the body do not match. These features also help to achieve a humorous effect. However, the amount of motion used in cartoons is more than that of animes.

Most cartoons are simple and shorter than animes. A cartoon often revolves around a superhero, animal or a child hero. Some popular examples of cartoons include Tom and Gerry, Scooby Doo, Garfield, Mickey Mouse, etc.Difference Between Anime and Cartoon

Difference Between Anime and Cartoon


Anime is a Japanese animation style.

Cartoon is a film for the cinema or television which is made using sequential drawings.


Animes focus less on the animation of movement.

Cartoons focus more on the animation of movement.


Animes focus more on settings, background, and characters.

Cartoon focus less on settings, background, and characters.


Anime targets both children and adults.

Cartoon mainly targets children.

Subject Matter

Anime often contains somewhat complex and mature subject matter.

Cartoon often contains humorous and adventurous themes.Difference Between Anime and Cartoon - infographic

Image Courtesy:

Garfield and Odie by Skyrama123456789 (CC BY 3.0) via Deviant Art