Music in American Cartoons versus Japanese Anime

Hey everyone,

I know not everyone has watched anime or heard of J-pop before. I’m fairly certain you have seen various American cartoons ranging from Garfield, The Simpsons, Xmen, The Fantastic Four, or something newer like the Fairly Odd parents or Danny Phantom. The songs in the opening usually are the same through the show and so are the scenes that are shown with the opening credits.

Anime is different the opening songs and images change. Also, the songs are made with kaoraoke so that the viewer can sing along. Often the songs are made by popular Japanese singers like Tamaki Nami who sings Realize and Believe for the Gundam Seed franchise. The singers often make the song for the anime as with Snow for Jigoku Shojo. related SNoW – sakasama no cho [jigoku shojo version].

Some anime has awesome music that sounds oddly similar to a western band. The music in the anime Trigun, for example, sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin. trigun opening

American tried to have a popular pop band do a cartoon song once and guess what it was for? Anime. And guess who was the band? ‘Nsync. Unfortunately, the only song they decided to do for a cartoon was the Poke rap for Pokemon. I’m not sure whether or not to think that’s sad. I mean at least pokemon was successful, but then so was ‘Nsync. Where are they now?

Apparently Americans aren’t for singing along with their cartoons. Maybe we just want something catchy enough to catch our attention instead of something to listen to in the car and sing along with. I for one have been known to watch anime just for the opening and ending songs which I have never done for an American cartoon. For cartoons I was definately watching them for the content, not the fluff.

And don’t worry if the quality of the songs for anime is better, because American’s popular songs go into movies so the quality is better there. Besides the music’s targeted to different audiences in America and Japan. Anime targets a wider range of age groups than Cartoons and therefore the music listening age groups demand good music. While in America the Cartoons are targeted to children who have not learned to care yet. Of course you can always dispute me.


Nami TamakiTamaki Nami



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6 responses to “Music in American Cartoons versus Japanese Anime

  1. American music in cartoon sucks,really bacause i have seen and a lot of it and they are nothing when if compares to music in anime.I mean let’s just admit it,there are times they are trying to imitate the way anime do.Yes,american music on cartoons had its mark but it is still different when it is compared to music in anime.

  2. flakko

    agreed. American cartoon music NOW sucks. In the 90’s the music in a lot of cartoons such as Animaniacs or Tiny Toons were all done with a live orchestra, and they did a great job. my favorite music in an American cartoon would have to be batman beyond also my favorite intro

    its tiiite

  3. abcd

    It’s not just the openings and endings, if you compare background music too, most recent American cartoons have horrendous background music which makes you wish you were deaf.

    While on the other hand, anime usually have OK to great music, meaning that the music is nice enough you’d like to listen to it afterwards. While most cartoon music is to fill the background.

    It’s obviously done on purpose, the Japanese put more emphasis on background music being actual music. And they can sell albums with the music afterwards.

    As for why actual music gets used for Japanese openings and endings, it’s because, in Japan, TV is the number 1 way of advertising music. In the US, songs on heavy rotation on radio sell, but in Japan, people don’t listen to radio much.

    So the Japanese music industry has developped entire strategies to promote music through TV. Many TV commercials feature songs by sometimes famous artists as background music, and the name of the singer or song is written in the corner of the screen. If you go to a record store, you can find stickers on singles saying this song was used in the commercial for shampoo x or car y.

    And many regular tv shows, like sports or news shows, have openings and endings which feature a song by an artist.

    TV dramas often follow a formula similar to anime, with openings and/or endings which can last 1min30 at most.

    It’s to promote the songs in question, and having your song featured in a heavily watched advertisement or TV drama can be serious business and can bring in heavy sales for the artist, this kind of marketing techniques is not looked upon badly in Japan, even rock or punk bands have their music used in commercials.

  4. Anonymous

    American’s can have better openings and closings in their cartoons than any opening or closing in any anime ever made.

  5. Anonymous

    Remember the Justice League Unlimited? It had a composed opening and closing. American’s don’t need to sing an opening and a closing for their cartoons if they can compose a music score that puts any anime opening and closing music score to shame and shambles.

    Don’t believe me? Compare for yourself. And don’t call me stupid, because I know what I am talking about.

  6. Sara

    Yeah, I agree, Japanese openings are better. Though, you gotta admit, DP and Ben 10’s openings are pretty catchy, I just wish Nick kept DP’s first opening cuz it was catchier and alot better. But well, other than that, Americans haven’t made good anime openings since the 90’s, I also agree that you don’t need words for an opening, but we do kinda’ suck right now and our shows are getting pretty stupid, sometimes I think they purposely ruin tv, but only God knows reasons why.

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