Avatar: Cartoon or Anime? How About Both?

A subjuct a of speculation amoung anime fans and Avatar fans is whether or not it should be considered an anime. There are opinions on both sides, as well as a third that say that it’s both, but the main argument for the” no” side is that because Avatar is made in America, not Japan, it’s a cartoon and not an anime.

The very idea that is HAS to be be made in Japan to be anime sounds like something a preteen fan girl with a Gaia Online account would say. “Anime” is just the Western term for animation made in Japan, the Japanese themselves don’t really distinguish between “anime” and “cartoon” as far as I know, it’s just what we call it when they’re the ones making it. In that mindset, any anime is a cartoon and all cartoons are anime.

Spongebob Sqaurepants? Anime.

Tenchi Muyou? Cartoon.

Ocassionaly the No side will  throw out the definetion of an anime- “Japanese style of motion- picture animation, characterized by highly stylized, colorful art, futuristic settings, violence, and sexuality.”-as a reason for it not to be anime.

Well, that definition can be used to prove why it is anime, and why that very argument is wrong.

Let’s get the obvouis out of they way: By their own logic, most animes arn’t anime because not all of them are futuristic, or violent, or have stylized and colorful art, or sexulized. You guys like Lucky Star as much as I do? Well, too bad, it isn’t anime becuase it isn’t violent or futuristc and the only thing sexual about it is Konata’s brain if that counts.

So, according to them, if you live in America and draw in anime style, it’s a cartoon

However, i do think “Style” is the keyword here; if anime and cartoons are the same, then it’s whether it’s done in Japanese style that would make the argument.

Fans of the Avatar series, and anime in general, know that the series is highly inspired by Japanese style animation and art, and like most anime, it follows a coherent plot with characters that develop throughout it. Western cartoons on the other hand, really don’t; there is no plot, rather, the focus on characters and the events in their world, each episode following its own arc with everything returning to normal as the resolution.

World building is also key for style. Many anime take place in sci-fi and fantasy worlds and do a great deal of exploring these worlds and explaining aspects of them such as technology, culture and government,  and even how their magic works.

Avatar has this as well, with its own world, divided into four nations each with their own geography and culture, and of course the bending of the four classical elements that is the central aspect of the series.

The series just reeks of Japanese style and influence, which is why it isn’t surprising that most of it’s fans also like anime, if anything it’s a great example of an “American anime” which is what American cartoons are called in Japan.

At the very least, it would be the series could intorduce people to anime who weren’t fans of it already.