In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Anime

  • Introduction
  • Guidebooks
  • Popularization
  • Exhibition Catalogs
  • Magazines
  • Journals
  • Narratology
  • Formal Analysis
  • Media Studies
  • Cultural Studies and Ethnography
  • Fan Studies

Cinema and Media Studies Anime
Thomas Lamarre
  • LAST REVIEWED: 16 August 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 June 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0232


Japanese animation comprises a variety of forms, formats, genres, franchises, and markets. Its forms include cel animation, digital animation, puppet and doll animation, silhouette animation, cut-paper animation, and different kinds of experimental animation. Its formats include films for cinematic release, both feature length and shorts; television series, which range in length stand-alone series of approximately thirteen, twenty-six, or fifty-two episodes to a series, continually expanded, renewed, or “retconned” in various ways; direct release-to-video or DVD, some of which are original video animation (OVA), or OAD (original animation DVD), some of which are related to television series; and more recently, animations that appear as extras or bonus material bundled with manga weeklies, manga paperbacks, or light novels. Its genres are sometimes loosely defined in terms of demographically defined markets commonly linked to the manga industry—for instance, kodomo or children, shōnen or boys, shōjo or girls, seinen or men, otona or adult, and redīsu or adult women; and sometimes more precisely in terms of a range of image-narrative motifs, frequently extending to at least two hundred recognizable genre patterns. Japanese animations are commonly produced as part of larger multimedia franchises, including manga, animation, games, soundtracks, novels, toys, and a range of other products. Finally, in addition to diverse domestic markets, the Japanese manga-anime-game industry identifies considerable overseas markets in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America. The North American market is the least important of these four in terms of sales. In sum, the question of whether anime should be considered as form, format, genre, medium, or market remains a source of productive debate and serves to define different disciplinary approaches. Given this variety of forms, formats, genres, franchises, and markets, it is not surprising that accounts of Japanese animation have settled on the blanket term anime (pronounced “ah-nee-may”), which is the Japanese term for animation, and thus have focused on the legacy of cel animation, popular films, and television series. The term anime, an abbreviation of the Japanese pronunciation of animation (animēshon), however, is used in three different ways: to refer to animation in general, to refer to Japanese animation, and to refer specifically to television animation (terebi anime).


With the boom of popularity of anime among English-language audiences in the 1990s, guidebooks and encyclopedias appeared that provided summaries and production information for major anime titles, such as McCarthy 1996; Clements and McCarthy 2001; and Baricordi, et al. 2000. Poitras 1999 uses a similar format, but offers more cultural information. While online sources have largely rendered such books obsolete, they provide a historical record of anime reception.

  • Baricordi, Andrea, Massimiliano De Giovanni, Andrea Pietroni, Barbara Rossi, Sabrina Tunesi. Anime: A Guide to Japanese Animation (1958–1988). Translated by Adeline D’Opera. Montreal: Protoculture, 2000.

    A translation of an Italian guidebook first published in 1991, this guide offers summaries and production information for anime titles available in Italy at that time, year by year from 1958 to 1988.

  • Clements, Jonathan, and Helen McCarthy. The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation since 1917. Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge, 2001.

    This guide offers summaries and production information for major anime titles, organized alphabetically and indexed thoroughly.

  • McCarthy, Helen. The Anime! Movie Guide. New York: Overlook, 1996.

    This guide offers summaries and production information for available anime titles, year by year from 1983 to 1995.

  • Poitras, Gilles. The Anime Companion: What’s Japanese in Japanese Animation? Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge, 1999.

    A dictionary of objects and practices deemed culturally Japanese—this book provides, for each entry, examples of the appearance of such objects and activities within popular anime.

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