Why isn’t anime considered art?

Why isnt anime considered art?

Vaishnavi Nayak, Staff Writer

Anime is type of a Japanese art form that includes drawing characters with vibrant colors and big eyes. Many professional art teachers all over the world disregard it as “ too easy” and do not consider it art. 

First of all what is art? According to some, it is expression of human imagination in any form. Many others say that art is about representation. They consider the meaning behind the art is more important than the appearance, even if it’s just a blank canvas. According to the philosopher Socrates, “art is the painting of things as they are, rather than what they appear to be.” Now you may be wondering, which of these definitions is most accurate? Well, all of them contain truth, and anime appeals to all these claims. So why do some art teachers hate it so much or even ban it in their classrooms?

When asked about this issue, art teacher Mrs. Vokic stated that she allows her students to draw any kind of art, but she prefers to have artists draw from life. She says, “You should start with drawing from life first, learning how things relate, then you can practice a style like anime. Ultimately, you would then want to be able to draw on your own without looking at other works of art.” She explains that anime is easier to replicate and it does not help you grow as an artist. When asked if she had drawn in this style before, she stated that she had, on a very small scale. She has had many students who practice Manga.

According to Alvaro Muñoz Ruiz, a former student teacher, Manga is not encouraged because it oversimplifies the work.  He states, “Things such as faces or hair are not derived from observation but stylisations and standards long-settled before you started drawing.”  This can be bad for an artist since they won’t be able to grasp other artistic concepts and may get stuck in an artistic rut. Keeping an artist trapped in a bubble stops him from developing a deeper understanding of what he’s making. To the art teacher, it will seem like a student is drawing anime because it’s popular rather than doing something that is inspired or conceptual.

Another art teacher, Tzeitel Rosalind, also states that anime stops students from developing their own art style. She remarks, “I can’t tell one student’s anime from the other, so therefore I can’t see any sort of personal art style being developed.” This is a valid point since developing a personal style is very important to an artist’s career;  it makes possible to differentiate one artist from another, even if they’re working in the same genre.

Others say anime is not a good building block to start with as an artist. Jesus Rivera, a graphic designer, states, “if you’re just learning… learn the building blocks first then dress it up as you see fit. Learn to build, then deconstruct. Learn how to draw a realistic eye, then make it as big and impossible as you need.” Anime does not allow individuals to develop a sense of understanding of body structure, shading, shadows and realism. For beginners to art, these are very important concepts. Anime is based on using a general physical body shape that most other anime cartoons use. This causes the artist to never understand how to draw “real” body parts.

Despite all of this, there are also many who feel that anime is art. A lot of artists begin with anime and build on it. When they go to art school, they may initially be met with shame and disrespect, and their talent may be discredited. One user named Meimi 123 no Itonami expresses her concern saying, “They just want us to do poncy watercolours and oil paintings it seems…Modern art, which a lot of the time doesn’t even have any real form. I know art is in the eye of the beholder and all that jazz, but really, some of the modern art I’ve seen in galleries is complete garbage.” Many artists have shown this kind of concern for modern art, which many say is “meaningless” and unprofessional.

Often, anime artists are really fond of what they do and have a passion for what they create. Meimi notes that the negative view of anime can be “spirit sucking.”  She also states that the teachers “haven’t seen enough” and that “they think it’s all the same, whereas a fan will know it’s most definitely not all the same.”  

Even though students and art teachers may have different views on anime, it does not mean they do not appreciate artistic talent. For the most part, they may just want anime-loving students to step out of their comfort zones and try something new.  Teachers would rather have students develop their own  style. Even though teachers may discourage anime in the classroom, it does not mean students have to give up on anime as a whole but rather embrace learning new styles while also drawing anime on the side.

And as many students suggest, teachers should also stop being so hard on people who draw anime. When done right, artists who draw anime can learn to include realism in their styles and get an idea of how the real world looks. When teachers hate on anime, it can causes students to quit and become uninspired.











The two artworks here show the different types of art, anime (1st) and realism (2nd)