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Kawaii Anime Universe: What Makes It Special?

By Thalia Harris
July 03, 2024

What is a kawaii anime universe? It’s a colorful world where cuteness reigns supreme, and every adventure is charming. Let’s look at where anime came from and how it has significantly influenced Japanese pop culture!

What is anime?

Anime is a style of animation that originated in Japan. While the word “anime” in Japanese refers to all types of animation, in English it specifically means animation from Japan. It has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s. The earliest known Japanese animated films were made around 1917, created by pioneers like Ōten Shimokawa, Jun’ichi Kōuchi, and Seitarō Kitayama, who are often called the “fathers” of anime.

A shot from "Astro Boy", a major show in anime history.
Astro Boy was a significant part of anime history! Image via Screen Rant

What makes anime unique? Anime is known for its distinctive art style, with characters often having large eyes and exaggerated features. Characters are usually drawn to be 7-8 heads tall. It covers various genres for all ages, from kids’ shows to adult-oriented series. Anime often includes themes and storylines that can be more complex than typical Western cartoons.

However, anime took off in Japan during the 1970s and 1980s, with popular shows like Astro Boy, Lupin III, and Dragon Ball. It started gaining international popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, especially with the success of series like Pokémon. Today, anime is enjoyed by people worldwide and has influenced art, fashion, and entertainment far beyond Japan’s borders. Whether you’re into action, romance, science fiction, or fantasy, there’s probably an anime out there!

What is cosplay?

Cosplay is a fun and creative hobby where people dress up as characters from movies, TV shows, video games, comics, and especially anime. The word “cosplay” is a combination of “costume” and “play,” which perfectly describes what it’s all about!

This hobby has its roots in science fiction conventions of the 1930s, but it took off in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s. As anime and manga became more popular worldwide, so did cosplay. Today, it’s a massive part of pop culture and fan communities around the globe.

A man cosplaying as Sora from the "Kingdom Hearts" franchise.
Cosplay is a big deal at anime conventions! Image via Shutterstock

When people cosplay, they often try to act like the character they’re portraying, mimicking their poses, catchphrases, and mannerisms. Many cosplayers make costumes and props, which can take weeks or months of careful work.

Anime conventions are among the most exciting places to see cosplay in action. These events bring together thousands of anime fans, and many attendees show up in amazing costumes.

A bunch of people on stage at the anime convention.
Anime conventions are famous all over the world. Image via Shutterstock

You might see someone dressed as a magical girl from Sailor Moon, a ninja from Naruto, or a giant robot from Gundam all in the same place! Overall, cosplay is a perfect way for fans to show their love for their favorite characters and stories. It’s also a great way to make friends who share similar interests.

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Who are some fashionable kawaii anime characters?

Anime is filled with stylish and cute characters who inspire fans with their unique fashion sense. One is Tomoyo Daidouji from Cardcaptor Sakura who is famous for her elegant and sophisticated style. As Sakura’s best friend and distant cousin, Tomoyo comes from a wealthy family and uses her resources to create stunning costumes for Sakura’s card-capturing adventures. Her outfits are often chic and refined, reflecting her graceful personality.

Tomoyo Daidouji from "Cardcaptor Sakura". She's wearing her school uniform and a hat.
Tomoyo is an elegant character from “Cardcaptor Sakura”. Image via Imgur

Another is Nana Osaki from Nana, which represents a different fashion style. As a punk rock vocalist, Nana’s style is edgy and cool, often featuring leather jackets, chokers, and dark colors. Her look embodies the “cool girl” aesthetic many fans admire and try to emulate.

On the cute side, we have Mitsukuni Haninozuka from the shojo classic Ouran High School Host Club. Also known as “Honey-senpai”, he’s a third-year high school student who loves cake, his stuffed bunny rabbit, and martial arts. What makes Honey-senpai so interesting is how he combines his innocent, childlike behavior with surprising strength. His close bond with his cousin Mori-senpai, who always looks out for him, adds heartwarming moments to the show.

Mitsukuni Haninozuka aka Honey-senpai from Ouran High School Host Club. He has short blonde hair, brown eyes and a pink stuffed bunny.
Honey-senpai is an adorable martial arts prodigy with a sweet tooth! Image via Pinterest

Overall, these characters showcase the diversity of kawaii characters in anime, from sweet and elegant to edgy and bold. Their unique styles have inspired countless cosplayers and fashion enthusiasts, contributing to the widespread influence of anime aesthetics in real-world fashion!

Are there some locations in anime that came from real-life places?

There are! Like most artists, anime creators often use real places to inspire their shows. For example, in Demon Slayer, you might remember seeing a place called Asakusa. This isn’t just a made-up anime location – it’s an actual district in Tokyo! The big red gate called Kaminarimon and the beautiful Sensoji Temple in the show are actual places you can visit. Imagine walking the same streets as Tanjiro and his friends!

A scene from Demon Slayer, featuring Taisho-era Asakusa at night.
Asakusa serves as a major turning point in Demon Slayer. Image via Wayfarer Daves

Another example is from One Punch Man. Saitama, the super-strong bald hero, lives in an apartment based on an actual building in Tokyo called Meidaimae. While Saitama’s city is made up in the anime, fans can see the apartment building that inspired his home. It’s not in a deserted city like in the show, but it’s still pretty cool to see where the idea came from.

Using real places in anime helps make the stories feel more realistic and exciting. It also allows fans to see these places in person if they ever visit Japan. How awesome would standing in the same spots as your favorite anime characters be?

Why should I enjoy a kawaii anime universe?

You should enjoy a kawaii anime universe because it offers a world of pure fun and imagination! These shows burst with cute characters, bright colors, and stories that’ll make you smile from ear to ear. It’s the perfect escape when you’re stressed out from school or life.

Two people sitting in a kawaii anime universe.
What shows do you like in your kawaii anime universe? Image via Shutterstock

You might see characters wearing outfits that inspire your style or give you ideas for art projects. Plus, when you get into kawaii anime, you join a massive community of fans worldwide. You can make new friends, attend exciting conventions, and geek out about your favorite shows online! What do you like about anime the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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Thalia Harris

Writer living in Tokyo who likes stories, music and video games. <3

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