Before I start, I haven’t been able to update today because I have an impending exam I haven’t even studied for yet – and I mean that. Asides aside (lame paronomasia), let’s get down to business.

Cartoons and anime are essentially the same; however, cartoons are more or less known for Western animation, while anime is known for the most part to be Japanese animation. Cartoons are also known for their episodic nature and their lack of a coherent story: most cartoons don’t even ‘end’ technically – their final episodes are often just as episodic and just as self-contained as the pilot one. Anime, on the other hand, is known to possess a more dynamic and fluent story – a lot of anime aren’t self-contained and for the most part and aren’t episodic. However, lines between these two supposedly clear denotations for ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ have already started to blur. It’s not that they’ve already meshed into one; clearly, the concept of ‘anime’ and ‘cartoon’ is still different for the knowledgeable anime viewer – one who knows what he’s talking and viewing, but because of certain examples, the idea of ‘anime’ and ‘cartoon’ may form a synergy in the future.

Among the biggest (and oldest) example of somewhat a cartoon-y anime (assuming that we based what is a cartoon and what is an anime from the definition above) is Doraemon. After spanning more than 2000 episodes starting from the 1970s, it still is going strong. By all means, it’s Japanese animation – so it’s anime. However, it has an episodic nature – and the plot doesn’t really move forward. Almost thirty years into the future, it’s still about a magical robotic cat and the little boy that it helps with his problems. Another example, although a polar one to our first example, is Avatar: The Last Airbender. No one denies that Bleach and Naruto are anime, albeit protracted ones (the protraction is moot, though). These anime have a progressive story and are for the most part animated in Japan. It is neither self-contained nor episodic (although it does have a lot of filler). What about Avatar?

I’ve only seen a few episodes of Avatar, but judging from the comments of my siblings and from the few episodes I’ve seen, it’s a story of a journey, which means that it’s progressive and not static – the characters are changing as the story progresses, although because it is a means for Nickelodeon to get richer, similar to Naruto and Bleach, it is protracted. The animation, however, is by no means seemingly Western (out-of-proportion drawings of people, phantasmagoric occurrences [you know what I mean, though this occurs in anime too]) – it looks like anime, really. The style of drawing is definitely done with more accuracy than those in cartoons for the most part, and doesn’t have that Mickey Mouse feel when one is watching it. (Of course, your mileage may vary.)

In another post of mine, I’ve even talked tangentially about Akihabara @ Deep. The thing that’s so special about this anime that’s going to show about three years from now is that it’s a joint work by Nickelodeon and an anime company. This may be nothing more than a lucrative business deal for the people at Nickelodeon, but this is another step towards the synergy of anime and cartoons – Akihabara @ Deep is based from a Japanese novel (correct me if I’m wrong), and being a novel, has a definite end to it, a definite plot-progression, and a definite story. Being shown in Nickelodeon may, at the least, improve the standing of anime to young kids – although Cartoon Network have their Miguzi and Adult Swim, it always bodes well when Nickelodeon starts to perceive and appreciate the value of anime as well. Having Nickelodeon do this, however, to reach out or to expand the repertoire, was a good move, lucrative or not, in blurring further the rift between anime and cartoons. Hopefully, in the near future, what was once a niche hobby or like will become acceptable to many, if not to all.

And let’s not forget Ergo Proxy 19 storyboarded by the master himself, Shinichiro Watanabe. It was an eclectic mix of pop culture, cartoons, cyberpunk, a post-apocalypse setting, and many more. It simply was a cartoon in an anime – albeit for only a single episode. What is a cartoon? What is an anime? We knew the answer once as if set in stone, but right now, things are undergoing an upheaval.