Two Styles of Animation

I made quite an effort to explain the difference between Japanese and American animation in my english class essay. Maybe it’s worth blogging it.


There are two popular styles of animation in the world, American style (Hollywood style) and Japanese style. I’ve watched a lot of American animation, and many of them made me love them, such as "Toy Story", "Monsters Inc" and "The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata". And Japanese animation is a part of my daily life. I’m catching three Japanese TV-series animations, "Death Note", "D-Grey Man" and "Yamanade", every week. Although the two styles are both popular, they are very different in many places. We will study the differences by first comparing Japanese animation with American adult movies and then contrasting American and Japanese animations to show that the most significant difference is whom the animations are oriented to, kids or adults.

We can find the difference by comparing the subjects of Japanese and American animation. Japanese animation is oriented to adults. This make Japanese animation try to show audience an actual world. So Japanese animation, which is almost same as American movie, has a wide range of subjects. The range is wider than American animation’s subjects’. There is also a part of Japanese animation’s subjects are oriented to kids. But most of them are not only for kids, and some of them are not for kids, just same as American movie’s. For instance, there is a category of stories, which are called love comedy, such as "Honey and Clover" (Japanese animation) and "When Harry meet Sally" (American movie). I think this category of stories is not oriented to kids. And there are a lot of crime and detective stories in Japanese animation ("Death Note", "Perfect Blue"), just like American movie. And some of them have too many crime scenes to be suit for kids (Brad Pitt’s "Se7en"). There are also a lot of hard-science-fiction style stories in Japanese animation ("Ghost in the Shell"), same as American movie ("Matrix"). Maybe many kids even cannot understand what the story says. Comparing Japanese Animation, the principle of American animation is "serving to kids". American animation does not have so many types of subjects, because American animation is limit to show the goodness, kindness and beauty of world. So most American animation’s subjects are very childish. Many of them are adapted from fair tales ("the Little Mermaid"). The others always tell the story about how the leading character fulfills himself ("Lion King", "The car"). By contrasting the subjects of Japanese and American animation, it’s easy to find to whom the two are oriented, adults and kids.

Let’s look at some specific examples. The first is "The Little Mermaid", Disney’s animation, which is adapted from Andersen’s famous fair tale with the same name. In Andersen’s version, the Little Mermaid cannot kill the Prince and dissolves into sea foam at the end. The tragic story moves a lot of people. But Disney doesn’t want children to leave the cinema crying, so the Little Mermaid defeats the Sea Witch with the Prince in the end. What a happy ending! I think Andersen’s story is destroyed. But you can see clearly to whom the American animations are oriented. The second example is the animation I’m catching, "Death Note", tells how a young man, Yagami Light, picks up a magic notebook, which can kill the person whose name is written on it, and becomes a murderer. Then an incognito detective, L, tries to catch Light. But in the end, Light finds out L’s real name and kills him! Evil defeats justice! Maybe it cannot be imagined in American animations, but in Japanese animations, it can. That’s because Japanese animations are oriented to adults, while American animations are oriented to children.

In conclusion, the most significant difference between American animations and Japanese animations is whom they are oriented to. Because Japanese animations are oriented to young men more than kids, they’re very suit for graduate students watching in daily life. American animations, on the other hand, by seeing them once in a while, can help you meet your childhood sometimes.

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