Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Bushra. Bushra Wonders, “How was the anime style created?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Bushra!

Do you like cartoons? Of course! Who doesn't, right? Most children have one or maybe even several favorite cartoons that they love to watch.

Parents and grandparents might fondly remember Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Roadrunner, and Wile E. Coyote. Today's youngsters might instead prefer SpongeBob SquarePants.

Still others might have grown up watching Pokémon or Dragon Ball Z. If you enjoyed these shows, then it's likely you're a big fan of anime.

The word "anime" is simply an abbreviation of the word "animation." In Japan, "anime" is used to refer to all animation. Everywhere else in the world, people use "anime" to refer specifically to animation from Japan. People who like anime often also enjoy Japanese comic books, known as manga.

The earliest examples of Japanese animation can be traced back to 1917. The defining characteristics of the anime art style we know today first emerged in the 1960s through the works of Osamu Tezuka.

If you watch modern anime, you'll quickly pick up on the unique look and feel of the anime art style. Bright, colorful graphics combine with dynamic characters and spectacular storylines to create art that has become an international phenomenon over the past thirty or more years. In the United States, for example, anime began gaining popularity in the 1990s.

Anime characters usually have large, doe-like eyes and brightly-colored hair. Their movements and gestures, as well as their emotional responses, tend to be exaggerated. Historians believe anime artists may have been influenced by early Western cartoon characters, such as Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse.

Don't think of anime simply as Japanese versions of American cartoons, though. They're quite different in several important ways. First, anime isn't directed solely at children like American cartoons tend to be. In Japan, you'll find anime for every age group, including adults.

Since anime is directed at all ages, its content goes well beyond the child-focused themes of American cartoons. You'll find anime that features epic storylines for a wide range of interests, from comedy and romance to action and science fiction.

Finally, fans of anime also know that most anime reflects many aspects of Japanese culture. From religion and nature to culture and history, anime can rarely be separated from its connection to Japanese culture.

Wonder What's Next?

Mmmm! Can you smell that? Join us in Wonderopolis tomorrow as we defrost a frozen Frisbee and bake it into a tasty treat!