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What is animé?
"Animé" is a Japanese word, originally taken from the French dessins animées, or cartoons. Here, it means all forms of animation originally produced in Japan, whether for film, TV or video release. The output of the Japanese animation industry is huge; well over a hundred film/video titles a year, and covering a much broader range of genres than the typical Saturday morning kids' fare common to Western animation. There are a number of features of animé which set it apart from Western animation. The typical standard of the artwork is very high; a great deal of imagination goes into the character and technical ("mecha") designs and the backgrounds are often works of art. The plotlines are typically more complex, with characters expressing a full range of emotions, and growing over the course of a series.

Its NOT Manga!
Many people, especially in the UK, know Japanese animation better as "Manga". This is largely due to the efforts of one UK company, Manga Video, which insists on promoting the products they license as "manga". In Japanese usage, manga refers to printed comics, and not to video. Fans of animé can get quite annoyed about the misuse of the term, so be careful!