If you visited Michael’s Winx Club today, you may have noticed he said something a little strange in his new report: Winx Club is “not an anime from Japan.” Isn’t all anime from Japan? Winx Club is an Italian show, which means it’s not an anime, right?

Yes, it is. Time for Anime 101.

Anime (アニメ) is short for animeeshon (アニメーション), the Japanese transliteration of “animation.” In Japan, it’s the term used for all animated works, no matter what country they’re from, what types of animation they are, or what length they are. That means Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Dreamworks’ Madagascar, Spongebob Squarepants, and everything else like them count.

Winx Club is a mahou shoujo (魔法少女) or “magical girl” series. (You probably knew that if you love Japanese anime like I do; in fact, the magical girl genre is my favorite.) It belongs with shows like Sailor Moon, Ojamajo Doremi, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and Shugo Chara!, which share the same element: transforming super girls with magic powers.

Panicked Amu chibi thinks about all the boys she likesThe pixies are also based on characters from Japanese anime. They’re drawn in super-deformed style (sometimes called chibi), marked by big heads and bigger emotions. Chibis are very popular in Japan and appear on food labels, drink cans, park signs, and billboards. Sometimes in anime, non-chibi characters are turned into chibis for a comic effect. This picture shows Amu, the main character from Shugo Chara!, as a chibi while she’s panicking over having too many crushes. Don’t you feel her pain? 😛

Okay, lesson over. That settles it, right?

Not really. We have to look at the other side. In the western world, we often change the meanings of foreign words, even ones from other parts of the west. For example, the entrée is the appetizer in France and the main course here in the states. Obviously, anime has come to mean “Japanese animation,” which is why you rarely see Japanese and non-Japanese shows shelved together in a store unless the Japanese shows have been dubbed by a company like 4Kids TV. There are a lot of fans of Japanese anime who think it and “cartoons” should never mix anyway (especially since a lot of those fans hate dubs); for people who don’t like Japanese anime, it helps to keep it in its separate world; and for everyone, it makes the shows easier to organize. Imagine an A-to-Z list of every cartoon in the world!

So, one more time: is Winx Club an anime? My answer: absolutely. But I guess it depends on who you ask.

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29 Responses to “Is “Winx Club” an Anime?

  1. Personally, I would like to lump it all together as ‘cartoon’ but since there is as many animes as there are western/European cartoons or more, it would make it easier to organize. Now, Totally Spies/the Amazing Spiez and Martin Mystery…it’s about the same case as Winx Club except with better animation.

    • Yeah, they’re all cartoons. It makes no more sense for only western cartoons to be called cartoons than it does for only Japanese anime to be called anime. “Cartoons” would be an easier word to group them under.

      I’ve never seen Totally Spies, but I’ve heard of it. Is it good?

      Oh, you reminded me of something I forgot to say in the article. I hope you don’t mind that I added it in after reading your comment.

      • Totally Spies is okay but I think it’s better to watch it in the original langauge (French) because a lot gets lost in translation such as the actually titles of the episodes. Anyways, the show ended with five seasons even though they still play it on Teletoon and the movie came out last month.

  2. I’ve been wondering that same question. Winx club is a Italian carttoon with a charm and flair of mahou shoujo stlye anime(like stated upbove) I call winx club a “Italian anime” if there is such a thing, Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    I remeber in my senior year in high school correcting a boy on my bus about this topic; Qinx club was not a Japanese Anime, of couse I was right since winx is from Italy.

  3. I always thought that anime was defined as coming from Japan. I’ve been told that Avatar: The Last Airbender wasn’t anime because of its American origins. However, the drawing style is still the same (or close to the) same style as the cartoons of Japanese origins…

    • Avatar is in a class of its own. (I love it, by the way. ;p ) I’d still define it as anime, though, since anime is just all cartoons. So if you thought that it was an anime, you were right. 🙂

  4. Actually, not so quite.
    Although you are right on Anime specifically being short for animation in Japanese, anime is considered (even in Japan) as its own sub-genre of cartoons, that being following certain art direction and or animation style etc etc, that most, if not all Japanese cartoons have.
    It’s like saying there’s no such thing as K-Pop, just because it’s just pop in Korean.

  5. i would prefer to think of winx as an anime because if Iginio Straffi can create his own anime over in Italy that means i can here in Britain too and its my dream to create my own anime.

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