Anime refers to the animated media produced by Japan be it a series or a movie. These can be distinguished for their unique art styles, voice acting, creative storylines, and cultural references. As a recent worldwide phenomenon, anime has given inspiration to many other shows and movies around the world. In this list, we will be taking a look at some of the shows that are more often than not misidentified as anime.
Table of Contents
- 10. Ben 10
- 9. Teen Titans
- 8. Kubo and the Two Strings
- 7. The Iron Giant
- 6. The Legend of Korra
- 5. Samurai Jack
- 4. Arcane
- 3. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
- 2. Castlevania
- 1. RWBY
10. Ben 10
First off, Ben 10 is probably the most popular animated series on this list. Almost all of us born in the 90s have seen it on TV at some point in our lives. It follows the adventures of a young boy named Ben as he stumbles upon a device known as the Omnitrix. Using this, he is able to transform into a plethora of alien creatures which each have their own unique abilities. With the help of his new powers and the support of his family and friends, he takes on several villains and their evil plans. With several succeeding seasons and merchandise, it is also a very successful brand among young adults. With its anime aesthetics as well as character designs and action sequences which show clear inspiration from anime, it has understandably been mistaken for a Japanese product several times despite its American creators.
9. Teen Titans
One of the most beloved shows in the superhero genre is undoubtedly the amazing Teen Titans. This refreshing story follows a group of loveable individuals namely, Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, Cyborg, and a few others as they work together to protect the world against formidable opponents. At the same time, they also work out several complex issues regarding their adolescence, and fundamental concepts such as trust, friendship, and the distinction between good and evil which viewers can relate to. For many, this is a show that audiences of all ages can enjoy. At the same time, the personalities seen in the characters as well as references to external media and cultures make the ordinary audience believe that it is indeed from the anime realm. Regardless of this, it still has its own individuality and features that keep you constantly engaged.
8. Kubo and the Two Strings
Kubo and the Two Strings is a mesmerizing movie that combines fantasy and adventure to deliver a hard-hitting tale. It revolves around a young boy named Kubo who goes in search of his father’s armor in order to defeat his enemy, a person known as the Moon King. He is joined by Monkey and Beetle as the trio faces several hurdles that test their camaraderie. The film has breathtaking animation as well as several heartwarming moments which leave the viewers in marvel. With its heavy use of Japanese culture and folklore, it is also often mistaken for being an anime.
7. The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant is a classic among animated movies which never fails to impress audiences with its powerful storyline. It follows the wholesome friendship between a young boy and a mysterious giant who is initially feared by all around him. However, with time, we find that his personality is the exact opposite of his appearance and the bond they share completely invests us into the movie. The film has some fantastic voice acting and designs that only make us love it even more. This timeless tale has visuals that were inspired by Japanese animation and also features several progressive themes of friendship between two different species which is a common anime trope. Hence many fans believe it to be an anime despite its American origin.
6. The Legend of Korra
The Legend of Korra is an exciting series that has managed to stand out from its predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender. We are told the story of a powerful young woman named Korra as she undertakes the path toward being the next Avatar. However, we soon find out that her road is anything but simple, and Korra faces numerous challenges from powerful opponents to getting caught up in political struggles. The series is multi-faceted while keeping fans interested through every episode. Similar to the original Avatar animated series, The Legend of Korra is also misidentified as an anime due to several shared aesthetics as well as character tropes. With a complex plot and well-written characters, this is one animated series you cannot miss out on.
5. Samurai Jack
Samurai Jack is a true classic series that was well ahead of its time in 2001. It follows a Samurai as he is sent into the future by evil Aku. While stuck in this bleak situation, Jack makes his way through his dystopian surroundings with the hope of finding a way back to his home(original timeline) and bringing back peace. The series boasts fluid animations as well as amazing music which blends perfectly with its setting. It also deals with several themes which appeal to both kids as well as a more mature audience. Because of its overall style and heavy inspiration from Japanese samurai films and animation techniques, it is also misidentified as an anime by many.
Based on the hit game League of Legends, Arcane was a groundbreaking series that set the standards for modern animated shows. It takes us to the city of Piltover which seems prosperous at first glance but contains a dark underground world. We follow the lives of two sisters, Vi and Jinx, as they work through their very complicated relationship with a constantly evolving political scenario in the backdrop. The series is filled with amazing writing which makes us appreciate the depth and thought given behind each character as well as the world-building in general. Arcane was also initially believed to be an anime by many due to its bright visuals and explosive action sequences which were enhanced by some electrifying voice acting performances.
3. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse is a revolutionary film that is considered by many to be the best superhero movie ever made. It features a new Spiderman by the name of Miles Morales as he struggles to balance his ”great responsibility” and his life as a student. After getting roped into a battle that threatens the multiverse, however, he joins up with alternate versions of Spiderman and works with them to save the world. The movie is a wonderful culmination consisting of a coming-of-age story as well as the action we love from the genre. With an animation style unlike any other and a variety of techniques being used, it also has the tendency to be misclassified as an anime.
Castlevania is a stunning series that has managed to become one of the most beloved stories in recent times. It follows the struggle of its heroes against the evil Dracula who wishes to wipe out everyone with his powerful forces. We watch as the cast of loveable main characters battle hordes of supernatural creatures in what seems like a futile struggle. Castlevania is a major accomplishment in the horror genre which keeps fans glued to the screen. Due to its amazing dub version as well as many stylistic influences, it is easy to mistake it for a Japanese product.
RWBY is a unique series filled with action and fantasy almost everyone who watches it will be under the impression that it is an anime. It follows a group of four girls who share an adorable bond and work together in order to get stronger and defeat dangerous and mysterious enemies. It combines 3D graphics with the traditional style to provide an anime-like aesthetic and also has vibrant visuals. With detailed storytelling and vast lore, it is almost begging to be called an anime as it shares almost every characteristic with the Japanese animated series that we love so much.