Anime is the Japanese corruption (i.e. slang deriviative) of the English word animation, only with hard emphasis placed on the first three syllables of the word, rendering it pronounced ah-ni-may. The term has come to describe a genre in itself, typified by over-stylized characters and settings, with frenetic storylines. Since the mid 1980s, however, anime has started to aim towards a more mature audience, and is better known by dedicated followers as having deep subject matter, high technical detail, intense characterization, and stirring drama.

In North America, anime still struggles as being classified alongside cartoons, and typically only enjoys brief waves of popularity with the general public, like in the past when movies such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell were released.