Word of the Day


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a style of Japanese animated film or TV programme

Origin and usage

Anime is a recent word that became popular in the 1970s and 1980s. It likely comes from the French word ‘animé’ which means ‘animated, lively’. The word anime shares its origin with the English word ‘animate’, which has Latin origins.


Anime refers to a style of Japanese illustration that has gained worldwide popularity over the last 40 years. In Japan, the word anime refers to any kind of animated entertainment; outside of Japan, it carries a more specific characterization.

Typical anime artwork features colourful images and vibrant characters with large eyes, small mouths and spiked or pointy hair. It often explores themes of fantasy, such as science fiction and folklore. Anime films and television programmes put emphasis on the quality of the artwork as a whole, rather than striving for realistic movement of characters through scenes. Attention is also given to perspective, with three-dimensional scenes that often feature impressive, well-developed backgrounds that are important to the overall story.

There are more than 430 anime production companies in Japan, and many of these studios work together to create feature films and other complex projects. Animated entertainment accounts for a significant percentage of Japan’s total film market, and anime movies consistently rank among the highest earners in Japan each year.

Some popular anime programmes include Pokémon, Dragon Ball and Naruto, and feature films like Spirited Away, Ghost in the Shell and My Neighbour Totoro.


“I want to have the fun of doing anime and I love anime, but I can’t do storyboards because I can’t really draw and that’s what they live and die on.”
(Quentin Tarantino)

“Like many other kids, I liked watching anime.”
(Takashi Murakami)


animation, Japanimation
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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1 Comment

  • Anime in general had been synonymous to any 2D hand drawn animation. Although, it always differ by regions, thus it literally refer to the Japanese animation which also looks similar to Donghua (Chinese anime) and Manhua (Korean anime).

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