Is Pokemon an Anime? Cartoon debate settled

A still from PokemonPokemon

Is the Pokemon animated TV series considered a Japanese Anime, or is it more in line with a western cartoon series? Here, we’ll explain the debate and give you a final answer.

The animated TV series has followed alongside the main Pokemon games since their release in the 1990s. Following the rambunctious Ash Ketchum, fans of the series have the opportunity to see each of the eight game generations in motion, from the creepy Lavender Town to obnoxious Pokemon voiceovers.

The Pokemon animated TV series is made in Japan, with each season releasing in Japanese before being dubbed and released in other countries – similar to other popular shows like Yu-Gi-Oh or Naruto. Because of this, many Pokemon fans regard it as a traditional Japanese Anime.

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However, as the series also uses tropes and episode formats similar to western cartoons, a debate has arisen regarding how the show should be categorized.

Is Pokemon an Anime or a cartoon?

Technically, both terms are correct.

As pointed out by Amanda Huntington on Quora, the term “anime” is the shortened version of “animation”, which includes any cartoon TV shows. However, in the US, the term “Japanese Anime” tends to imply that the show originated in Japan, and has either been dubbed or is only viewable in Japanese.

Because the Pokemon animated TV series is technically both a cartoon and made in Japan, both descriptions work. A die-hard Japanese animation fan may consider it an anime due to how it is produced, while younger fans or those who simply like animated shows may consider it a cartoon.

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pokemon tv showPokemon
The Pokemon TV series has been running for over two decades.

Why do people say ‘Pokemon is not an Anime’?

The primary reason fans may not consider the Pokemon TV series a “true” Anime is likely due to the show’s pacing and tropes.

Each episode of the series follows a structure similar to western cartoons, with a basic plot that resolves within the episode’s duration, and repeating themes or conflicts returning in a predictable manner.

Many popular Anime series have long-standing plots that create cliff-hangers at the end of episodes. The stories can also become complex, with numerous antagonists or struggles being introduced throughout a season.

Is it an Anime? The verdict

At the end of the day, whether the Pokemon TV series is or isn’t considered an Anime is likely up to how fans personally define what “true” anime is.

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By definition, Pokemon’s TV show is an Anime.