Movies over the years have become an important source of entertainment in our lives. Animated movies have garnered so much attention in recent years. It’s not even surprising to see that our favorite cartoon characters have cleaned up at the global box office anymore. From the globally acclaimed Disney movies like “The Lion King”, “Frozen” to the sensational anime movies like “Your Name”, “Princess Mononoke”, these genres of movies have established themselves on a global scale. The times when Japanese animated movies or series were limited to obscure VHS releases have vanished; nowadays, the foremost popular anime films tend to have theatrical releases in Japan and across the world.

If you have seen a Disney animation movie and an anime movie, you’ll know they’re so very different from each other.


Animation is that the process of creating the illusion of motion and changes employing a rapid display of a sequence of static images that minimally differ from one another. Animation enables showcasing of motion on screen quickly through the display of a series of static images, with minimal differences.


Anime is an animation style produced by the Japanese. The term anime is short for animation. Animes are characterized by carefully designed characters and vibrant graphics. With its lush visuals and memorable characters, anime has a number of the most devoted fans around. One of the significant strengths of anime is its visual effects. This style pays an excellent deal of attention to the characteristics of the art; the settings and characters are created painstakingly.


Differences in content:

Animes pay more attention to setting, background and characters compared to animation. The script is written for capturing interactions between characters, the flow of scenes, and also the plot narrative. Storyboarding is a crucial phase in the anime creation process. The shot’s length, as well as camera action for every anime scene (side to side panning, zooming, etc.), are detailed. For each cut i.e., for each scene, the corresponding background and anime motion are described.

Animation concerns itself with adventure and humour, whereas anime deals with a more mature and complex subject matter. After studying the animation creation process, it is clear that both anime and animation try to narrate a compelling story in animated mode. Conventional, as well as digital 3D animation methods, are used for this purpose. Emotions and actions of characters are exaggerated in both modes with drama, background music, squashing and stretching, etc.

Differences in animation style:

The designing of human characters differs when it comes to anime and animation. Characters have particularly large eyes with underlining shadows, detailed colouring, smaller noses, and mouths represented by a single line (or two). If the mouth is created broader, then also fewer lines are used for depicting it.

In anime, the settings are characterized by a sense of realism while the plots tend to have a fantasy component. The drawing style varies but in general, the characters have stylized body proportions and distinctive facial traits.

Some characteristics of anime include:

• Large eyes with reflections underneath to create a realistic experience for the viewers.

• Thin and elongated bodies of the characters.

• Usage of an extensive array of shades and colours to enhance the character’s appeal.

  • Attractive and realistic portraying of clothes, body and face of characters.

In animation, the characters are comical or exaggerated in nature. Lesser attention is paid to details in animation as compared to anime. Attention is paid on showcasing style in an understated or subtle mode. Shading is used more in dramatic scenes only when needed. Solid block colours are preferred more while curating the character and the settings. In Animation, motion is more. Frame by frame is done.

In anime, shortcuts are employed rather than extensive animation. In long scenes, the character’s mouth and hair movement is shown while important events occur in the film. For depicting rapid motion, the character is transfixed in an action pose and the background changes in different styles. The backgrounds are patterned and dramatic still shots are used.

Differences in viewpoints and shots of the camera:

In animation, the use of straight-on camera shots is more whereas dramatic and cinematic angles are used less. The scene’s mood is intensified with exaggerated camera angles, zooms and perspectives.

Focus on exaggerated motion in anime is less when compared to animation. The keyframes of anime like start or end are drawn. The allotment of important frames is decided by the budget allocated for anime. For a low budget, bodies of characters are kept still and movement of the mouth is animated. If the budget is high, superlative animation called ‘Sakuga’ is developed. The frames lying within keyframes need not be of high quality. Hence, less skilled animators from outsourced firms are entrusted with the task of filling the frames. In the storyboard, the number of intermediate frames is mentioned on keyframes. The objects are subjected to imitate real life by adding a glow behind the characters along with special effects. CGI which means Computer-generated imagery is used as per the plot’s requirement.

In animation, the most important shot poses are used for conveying the story. The poses must be reliable since all the other frames of the animation are based upon this.

After creating key poses, the motion for every pose has to be broken down through the addition of in-between or passing poses to interconnect the key poses. For streamlining poses, add a maximum number of poses without causing the poses to be interpolated. If interpolation happens, the motion would be blocky. Here, the interpolation of keys is converted from stepped mode to spline. The 3D animation software smoothly connects the motion between each pose. For seamless results, you must add an optimum number of intermediate poses between key poses. Once the keys are set in spline mode, the movement must be made smoother by cleaning up the curves. For preventing all motions from appearing at once, few actions are offset. Disney perfected the ease-in ease-out fluid approach to movement. Animation wasn’t about going from point A to point B. It was about how expressive you can be when going from A to B. Anticipation, squashing, stretching, and other intricacies of movement are the trademark of Disney animation. You don’t see that kind of detail in anime.

Starting from animated movies like lion king, finding Nemo to anime movies like ‘a whisker away’ or ‘ flavours of youth’ they have all been a major part of our lives. We are sure that next time you watch an animation or anime movie you will start noticing the small detailing differences and appreciate them. Even today, animated movies and anime remain the dominant form abroad, and on TV. What are your personal favourite animation and anime movies? Do respond and let us know!

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