Is Invincible an anime?

Cameron Frew
A still from InvinciblePrime Video

Should Invincible be considered an anime? Fans have been debating this since the show premiered – but there is a right answer.

When Invincible’s first episode premiered in 2021, its closing scene was a mainstream watershed moment for Western animation; more specifically, Omni-Man’s visceral, shocking slaughter of the Guardians of the Globe, earning its 18+ rating in gruesome style.

Macabre visuals and adult themes aren’t new in animation; Watership Down still traumatizes kids, Studio Ghibli’s movies are often overwhelmingly emotional, and as well as DC and Mortal Kombat’s animated features, there’s acclaimed outliers like Waltz with Bashir and A Scanner Darkly.

Article continues after ad

Invincible is a little different though, given its TV format and visual palette evoking other anime shows – so, is it an anime?

Is Invincible an anime?

While Invincible is animated, it is not an anime. Anime refers to animated projects originating from Japan, and Invincible is an American series.

It’s a bit like champagne and prosecco: they’re both sparkling wines, but the former gets its name from its place of origin in France. Invincible’s art style and graphic content may be influenced by anime, but that doesn’t make it an anime.

Article continues after ad

It’s a debate that’s reared its head before, particularly around Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it really is as simple as that: anime comes from Japan, so unless it’s been produced by a Japanese studio, it doesn’t qualify.

As one Redditor explained: “Anime is just a simplification of the word anime. The answer is both yes and no. It would be in the same class as anime but was made in the West so it’s an animation. But they are the same thing, literally the only difference is the country it was made in.”

Article continues after ad

That’s not to say you can’t compare the genres and highlight similarities. An earlier Reddit thread discussed how Invincible is “as close to a Shonen anime” as we’ll get in Western pop culture, given its adherence to the source material and bold violence.

“This show is actually the first American animated show I know of that actually just straight up adapts the already great source material it’s based on and doesn’t do any weird liberties with it just like mangas,” one user wrote, while another replied: “Invincible is more superhero anime than superhero animes.”

Article continues after ad

Invincible Season 2 Episodes 1-3 are available to stream on Prime Video now, which you can sign up for here. Check out our other coverage below:

Please note that if you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate 

Related Topics

About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, Oscars enthusiast, and a staunch Scot. He earned a First-Class Honours Degree in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, accredited by the NCTJ and BJTC. He began his career at UNILAD, starting as a Junior Journalist and becoming Entertainment Editor prior to joining Dexerto. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.