10 American Cartoons That Were Influenced By Anime

A lot of the most popular western animations are actually anime-inspired. Japan is known for making very successful animated series, so of course western cartoon companies began to make products that are similar in terms of visual style and fantastical themes. Cartoon Network, in particular, began to show both anime and a ton of shows that were anime-inspired. Most anime fans can thank that channel for introducing them to anime in the first place.

Now a lot of the people who grew up with anime are making their own shows. Here is a list of western shows that were anime inspired, both pretty recent and others that we may need to blow some dust off of.

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10 Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a show that first comes to mind when it comes to a western show with obvious anime styles. Not only were all the fantasy nations based off of various Asian cultures, but the big mouths and eyes of the characters are directly from anime style. Like anime, the faces were able to be very exaggerated when showing different emotions.

There were also a ton of references to Asian schools of thought such as Buddhism and Shinto. Reincarnation was also a big deal in the story, which is way more seen in anime than your average western cartoon. Obviously, The Legend of Korra is also anime inspired.

9 Steven Universe

Steven Universe is not shy about how it was inspired by anime. Various episodes have even referenced anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion, Captain Harlock, and Cowboy Bebop. The show creator, Rebecca Sugar, has shared various times that she watched a lot of anime growing up such as One Piece, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Detective Conan. She was especially inspired by how Utena played with gender expectations, which we also see a lot of in Steven Universe. Utena has been referenced in the show by various fights, angles, and how Steven draws Rose's sword out of Lions' head.


Considering whether RWBY is an anime or just inspired by anime depends on whether you define anime as a product that has to come out of Japan or not. RWBY has everything an anime has, except it is an American show. Another complicated matter as to whether is it indeed anime or just based off of anime is that it is also based off of a web series that was drawn by a manga artist. This is why many refer to this show as an "American anime."

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7 Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi

This is one of the shows we need to blow the dust off of, as it aired from 2004 to 2006. The cartoon was based on a real Japanese pop duo, Puffy AmiYumi, who have exaggerated differences in style and personalities. The visual style was obviously anime-influenced as shown from the large eyes, big mouths, colorful hair, and exaggerated expressions. Due to being based on a Japanese pop duo and its style, it is easy to mistake this cartoon to be an anime from Japan.

6 Samurai Jack

A lot of inspiration went into Samurai Jack, such as the storytelling utilized in silent films, film noir, and comic books. However, its on this list due to its inspiration from anime. The show explores a lot of strange and futuristic worlds, like from the anime movie Akira. In numerous interviews, Genndy Tartakovsky has explained his fascination with samurai and how that made him create the show. He took inspirations from Kung-Fu films and classic anime for the fight scenes. While it is definitely more inspired by samurai culture, there is no denying some anime inspired the fights and settings in this cartoon.

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5 The Powerpuff Girls

You cannot look into those huge bug-eyes those little girls have and say "that is not anime-inspired." The Powerpuff Girls were one out of many cartoons of its time that took hints from Japanese animation styles and themes. In a way, they seemed almost "chibi" which is a Japanese term for a style where something has a huge head and big eyes. It certainly dialed the cute factor to these superheroes way up.

4 She-Ra And The Princesses of Power

This incredibly successful reboot may owe some of that success to its anime inspiration. The visuals are very much like anime, which the big eyes, big mouth, and She-Ra's long flowing locks of hair. Interviews have revealed that a lot of the animation team are inspired by Japanese animation, and that goes into the show they create. The transformation sequence from Adora to She-ra is definitely magical-girl influenced.

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3 Winx Club

The visual style of this cartoon was a mix of European and Japanese elements. The characters designs were based off of popular celebrities at the turn of the 21st century such as Jennifer Lopez and Brittany Spears. In terms of themes, it is very much like an anime magical girl show. Like a lot of anime, it also has a very vast universe for a kids show. These characters travel to different dimensions and even attracted the cosplay community along with fan conventions.

2 Castlevania

This Netflix show can easily be mistaken for an anime due to its incredibly dark themes and animated style. It was mostly animated like a Japanese cartoon because it was based on a Japanese game that already had anime-like character designs. It was no secret that the staff that worked on Castlevania loved anime and put that love into the show.

1 Teen Titans

The original Teen Titans cartoon was incredibly good, and you can thank that partly to anime. As stated so much before, the facial expressions could be exaggerated with large mouths and eyes for the characters. The characters' hair was much more colorful and styled different than in the comics as well. Raven's black hair turned purple, Jinx and Kole got pink hair, and Robin's, Beast Boy, and Kid Flash's hair got spiky,

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