Anime is everywhere.  You see anime on the telly, in movies and all over the internet, those vibrant characters with huge eyes and exaggerated features that look like they stepped out of a fantasy right onto the page.  They’re adorable and addicting too (trust me).  But what exactly what is Anime anyway?

There’s no one solid answer as there are different interpretations of what anime really is.  The word ‘anime’ in Japanese simply means animation or cartoon.  In the Western world, though, it refers to hand-drawn or computer generated Japanese animation in particular, especially the kind with the distinct fantasy characters that have become so popular.  Not all anime is human either.  Some are spirits, demons, robots and animals and some are even a wild combination of things like part horse and part human.  Anything goes when it comes to Anime.  There are no rules.

Emotions are often portrayed in anime by way of dramatic expressions like big drops of sweat pouring off of them or worry lines plastered across their foreheads.  You never know what might happen next. A female anime character is likely to grab and use a weapon when prompted.   A male may sport a very bloody nose indicating a love interest.

Anime graphics are usually of excellent quality, drawn with distinct skillful lines and lots of soul.  In general, there are diverse camera angles and creative measure of film making that are widely used but not a lot of animated movement of the characters themselves.  The scenery or objects in the setting are usually very detailed and intriguing.

There are a number of styles of productions including theater, video, online and television.  It’s easy to get engulfed in the Japanese animations and many do.  There are anime productions that a broad group of viewers enjoy and then there are niches that a select few hold an interest in.

You’ll find children’s anime, much like what the Western culture calls cartoons.  There are drama anime productions with storylines that bring out the emotional and spiritual sides of the characters and often are a fine cross of fiction, fantasy and real life.  Another quite popular form of anime is porn.

Anime was made public in Japan around 1917 but didn’t really catch on in the rest of the world until the 1960’s.  It was in the 1980’s, however, that it began to take hold, steadily growing into the near-cult it is today.

Pokémon is a fine example of anime that has swooped the Western world.  Not only is there a popular cartoon television series but also video games, movies and even collectable cards.  Young and old alike love Pokémon.

Anime is sometimes categorized in genre, much like Western world movies, such as drama, action/adventure, science fiction, horror, game-based and progressive-style films.  The genres appeal to such groups as young boys, young girls, children in general, women, men and adults in general.  As far as themes, you will see such categories as “Bishoio or, beautiful girls, Bishonen which feature a feminine pretty boy, Sentai is generally about fighting and Hentaii are sexually based productions.

Whether you are looking for clip art, checking into animation programs, seeking a movie to watch or randomly surfing the net, you are going to run into anime.  Chances are that if you watch a variety of the Japanese art forms, you will find one (or more) that suits your fancy just like I did.  There is truly something for everyone when it comes to anime.