AniDB Definition:Anime

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These are basically guidelines to follow. There are certain shows that some people are certain are anime, yet others are equally certain that they are not anime. This is meant to help determine what is considered an anime for AniDB. Questionable shows should be discussed in the DB Change Requests forum and the mods or exp will decide if it is appropriate to have in the database.


What does "anime" mean in Japan?
"Anime" in Japan technically means any animated film, regardless of origin. Also, "manga" is any printed cartoon.

Why not use this definition?
This is too broad, this would mean anything that is animated (Bugs Bunny, Micky Mouse, ...) would be considered anime.

What does the rest of the world think?
People in the rest of the world take "anime" to mean animated films from Japan.

Why not use this definition?
What does "from Japan" really mean? What if a show is produced by a Japanese company and was released in Japan, but was drawn in India because of cheap labor, is it an anime? What about that animated commercial for a bar of soap, is that anime? Also, many people consider many shows from China and Korea to also be anime because their style is similar to other anime.

What about using the styles to define an anime?
Anime styles are frequently distinctive and fairly easy to recognize. The stereotype is of characters with huge hair and large eyes. Although this is true of many animes (to varying degrees), there are also many animes that do not fit this description. Also not everything with big eyes is necessarily an anime either.

So what is an anime?
An anime is an animated, professionally produced, feature film created by a Japanese company for the Japanese market.

What does this mean?

  • First of all, an anime needs to be animated. Live action, or something with just a few animated scenes is not an anime.
  • An anime has to be professionally produced. This means that fan made shows are not considered anime.
  • It has to be a feature film, that means it has to have a plot. For instance an animated soap commercial is not an anime.
  • The anime needs to be created by a Japanese company. The company can collaborate with other companies out of the country, but it has to have some involvement with a Japanese company.
  • The anime needs to be created for the Japanese market. For instance, Disney may collaborate with a Japanese company on the making of a film for the United States, but it is not an anime even though a Japanese company is involved.
  • The AniDB mods and ultimately exp have the final say in what is appropriate for AniDB.


Yes, every rule has exceptions. There are a lot of borderline cases, but these cases should be discussed before adding them to the database. If there is something in the database or you think should be added to the database that does not match the definition above it needs to be discussed in the Forum. First, you should Search to see if there as already been a discussion about the anime in question. If you cannot find one, then you need to make a post in the DB Change Requests forum, put [ADD][ANIME] or [DEL][ANIME] in the subject of your topic.

What about Chinese/Korean productions?

Are animated, professionally produced, feature films created by a Korean/Chinese company for the Korean/Chinese market allowed? Generally, yes, check the forum before adding them though.

What about AMVs?

The keys here are they professionally produced and do they have a story line? If so, then yes. Note, in some cases an official AMV related to a series can be added as a special, but VERY rarely will an AMV have its own anime record, check the forum before adding something like this. An example is Macross: Flashback 2012.

What about Game CGs?

Most are fan-made, so they are not professionally produced so they would not be considered anime. Animated ads for a game, although professionally produced probably do not have enough of a story line to be considered an anime.

What about Fan-Made Shows/Parodies?

No, they are not professionally produced.

What about Parody Subs/Dubs?

Not as anime entries. These are sometimes allowed as specials to an existing anime.

What about Live Action?

Fan-Made live action is not professionally produced and is not allowed in AniDB. If there are some live action scenes that are incorporated into an anime that otherwise meets the requirements and when looked at as a whole they can still be considered animated, they may be anime. Check the forum before adding anything like this. Examples are D.C.~Da Capo~ and Hanaukyo Maids.

What about Omake?

Not as anime entries. Official omakes are allowed as specials to an existing anime.

What if it is or is not listed as anime on some other site?

Although that would be part of an argument for or against listing it as an anime, that does not mean that it will be automatically added or removed from AniDB. Every site has a different user base and administrators with their own opinions, you will find that no two sites have the exact same list of anime.

What about the film "ABC", does it belong?


[1] - Yes. The Animatrix should be allowed because it was animated by many well known Japanese artists. -Ultima

Anime Fiction

No. english company producing for the english market -Der Idiot


No. Amateur english company producing for the english market (check the "about us") -Der Idiot

Evangelion X

No. japanese fanproduction -Der Idiot

The Item

No. Amateur english company producing for the english market (check the "about us") -Der Idiot

The Last Unicorn

No. Ran across this, and as far as a bit of googling tells me, this is a US animation only, not even a coproduction like some are (The Mysterious Cities of Gold for instance). -Rar. I was renaming the "The" titles and stumbled upon this.. according to IMDB this isn't really an anime at all... -nwa english company producing for the english market -Der Idiot

Mania - Secret of Green Tentacle

No. english company producing for the english market -Der Idiot


No. japanese fanproduction -Der Idiot


No. japanese fanproduction -Der Idiot


[1] [2] [3] - Yes. [1]Robotech for example has Japanese origins because they were licensed from Tatsunoko Studios for international distribution by Harmony Gold USA.] -Ultima Robotech was neither dubbed nor creatd by the Japanese.. there wasn't even any Japanese studios involved with it? in that case... it's not anime and should be deleted :P -nwa I wouldn't allow Transformers US Movie or the US Robotech.. aah.. whatever.. they might as well be there.. -nwa

Sailor Moon and the 7 Ballz

No. I don't see why it wouldn't. -PetriW they are crappy, but still hentai I guess -nwa Well, personally, removing Sailor Moon and the 7 Ballz wouldn't be a "huge" loss. I guess we should just allow official hentai productions into AniDB. We do the same for official anime music videos released on anime DVDs. I think we should do the same for hentai. -Ultima With a runtime of ~50 minutes, ~70 people who have the files in their lists and ~40 votes, this entry should be kept IMO. -wahaha english company producing for the english market -Der Idiot


No. Amateur english company producing for the english market -Der Idiot

Star Ballz

No. english company producing for the english market -Der Idiot

Understanding Chaos

No. Amateur english company producing for the english market -Der Idiot

For an ongoing list of items that have been requested for deletion, or have been deleted, see List of duplicate and "not anime" entries in AniDB

Please note that some of links in this guide are pointing to Internal Docs section and are not available to everyone. Those are meant to be references for people who work on AniDB documentation.

If it is not an anime, where can I find more information?

Every anime related website has different ideas about what is an anime, you can try one of those sites. Also, you can try The Big Cartoon Database.