Anime has a rich history and immense cultural significance in the world; even though Anime is an entire entertainment category in its own right, can the colossal Anime culture and library be categorized into a single word?
Yes and no, depending on the category.
To know, follow along as I break down the differences between Anime and series.
What is the Difference between Anime and Series?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Anime is a style of animation originating in Japan while series are a set of regularly presented television programs each of which is complete in itself.
Anime films or series don’t always adhere to a single theme. Their narratives could indeed range from pirate raids to witty adventures to Samurai tales. There are multiple genres in Anime, including but not limited to:
|Shōnen||Shōnen Anime is primarily marketed toward male teen readership. The themes in Shonen Manga include sub-genre like martial arts, mecha, science|
fiction, sports, horror, or mythological creatures.
|Seinen||Seinen Anime is aimed to attract young adult men. Seinen Manga mostly focuses on action, politics, science fiction, fantasy, relationships, sports, or comedy.|
|Josei||Josei Anime, also known as ladies’ comics, the most popular themes of Josei Mangas are typically drama, romance, or pornography.|
|Isekai||Isekai is a genre that’s entire fantasy based, where the main character is teleported to, reborn, or trapped in a fantasy or parallel unfamiliar universe. A few Isekai even have beings from other worlds visiting Earth. Isekai uses world-building to develop an unfamiliar and adventurous setting.|
Series, on the other hand, could refer to a plethora of things. Movies, TV shows, dramas, cartoons, and soap operas could all be a part of the umbrella term series.
Series is an even bigger umbrella term for a type of entertainment compared to Anime, so it can’t be categorized into a few set rules or themes.
Anime is well-known for its Deux-ex-Machina plot devices, funky character designs, and main characters that have been dropped on their heads one too many times.
It’s safe to claim that Anime by no means holds any resemblance to reality as we know it, instead, it’s just fiction and imagination going wild, and that’s precisely why we fell in love with Anime in the first place.
Series, on the other hand, are more realistic and contain traces of everyday life. They tend to remain within the realm of reality as we know it, although there are series like The Witcher and The Mandalorian that have mythological concepts foreign to humans.
Trying to stick to reality or at least not using completely unrealistic concepts as plot devices are a trademark of almost all series, except for cartoons, because cartoon characters, like Anime, are animations; they frequently deviate from reality (for example, Courage who is a pink colored dog or Popeye who can summon the strength of a 1000 men from eating raw spinach.)
The dividing line between Anime and cartoons is more ethnic and cultural than technical, with origins dating back over a century.
In short, Anime is intended for people with longer attention and philosophical capacities who enjoy watching a plot unfold over multiple episodes or don’t mind starting from the path of metaphysical reality.
Whereas a series is more for people who like to watch something that’s closer to reality and is somewhat logical.
Is Anime a Type of Series?
A series is an all-encompassing umbrella term; this term includes Anime as well. All Animes are a series, whereas not all series are a part of Anime.
As long as there are multiple episodes or multiple movies named by the same or similar title, it would be classified as a series, Anime or not.
Anime movies, on the other hand, are a completely different topic. Even though popular Anime movies such as Your Name or Weathering with You are indeed Anime in nature, and no one can refuse that, they can’t be classified as a series; due to their singular nature, there’s no prequel or sequel to Your Name, making it an animated movie, not a series.
What makes a Series an Anime?
A series could be unanimously categorized as an Anime as long as it’s:
- Animated or at least hand-drawn
- Originating from Japan or a Japanese author
What does Anime Series mean?
Before we jump into these questions, let’s have a quick look at the exact definition of the word series and its situational context when applied to shows, movies, and Anime:
- a group or connected succession of similar or related things usually arranged in order
- a set of radio or television programs having the same characters and setting but different stories
- a set of books having the same format, related content, etc., published by one firm
So from this, we can deduce that a series:
1) Has to be related to its predecessors,
2) The main cast has to remain relatively the same or at least similar
3) Has to be published by the same author or studio.
Many modern Anime titles fit all three definitions of “series,” which makes them Anime series.
Does an Anime have to be made in Japan?
Yes and no, it can get complicated, and the answer differs from person to person.
Anime is an English-derived Japanese word for animation. This word has no geographic or political connotation attached to it, so technically Anime according to its lingual roots can be from anywhere regardless of race or location.
Outside Japan and within English terminology, Anime refers to Japanese animation. However, in Japan and Japanese culture, Anime refers to all animated creations, regardless of style or origin (Japanese or not).
- According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Anime is a style of animation originating in Japan while series are a set of regularly presented television programs each of which is complete in itself.
- Anime films or series don’t always adhere to a single theme. Their narratives could indeed range from pirate raids to witty adventures to Samurai tales.
- Popular Anime movies such as Your Name or Weathering with You are indeed Anime in nature, and no one can refuse that, but they can’t be classified as a series; due to their singular nature, there’s no prequel or sequel to Your Name, making it an animated movie, not a series.
- Outside Japan and within English terminology, Anime refers to Japanese animation. However, in Japan and Japanese culture, Anime refers to all animated creations, regardless of style or origin (Japanese or not).