The Plural of Anime: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

Learning a language’s grammatical concepts is arguably one of the most difficult things about learning any language.  For example, for anyone who has ever learned a foreign language before, you know how difficult it is to memorize verb conjugations, different forms of pronouns, lists of noun rules, and various other grammar rules.  And if you have ever learned more than one other language, it can be very easy to get them confused.

Welcome to English, a language that is considered to be one of the most difficult languages in the world to master due to the complexity of its rules and the fact that it actually breaks its own rules more often than not.  The exceptions often outnumber the rules, and it can be very hard to keep track of what is right and what is wrong, especially if you find yourself working with several different groups of people with their own colloquialisms or slangs.  English lends itself to several common grammar mistakes that beginners and experienced English speakers alike make often.  

In this article, let’s explore the singular noun “anime”, learn its proper use, how to create its plural forms, look for its synonyms, and learn its etymology and context. 

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What Is Anime?

The first step in trying to understand a word is to learn what it means.  This can be especially difficult when, like in this case, the word is from a completely different language.  So while we can look at the English definition, it may be helpful in this case to also visit the Japanese dictionary as well for clarification.

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary in English, the word anime can be defined as “a style of animation originating in Japan that is characterized by stark colorful graphics depicting vibrant characters in action-filled plots often with fantastic or futuristic themes.”

On the other hand, in Japanese, the word anime, written “アニメ” is an abbreviation for the Japanese word “アニメーション,” pronounced animeeshon.  The word essentially just means animation, in any context, and is not specific to the Japanese art style. 

The concept that most people think of when they think of anime in America is actually called manga in Japanese and is the specific Japanese animation art style that we think of in Western culture.       

What Language Does the Word Anime Come From?

The word anime comes entirely from the Japanese language, and its etymology will be discussed later on in the article.  Originally, the only people who used the word in Japan were people actually in the animation industry, and they were not actually describing the art style or the art form, they were just using the word to describe the technology of a moving image being drawn.  According to Kotaku, the general public actually used different words for the Japanese cartoons that appeared in movie theaters and on television at the time.  This may be different for video games, as well.

Can You Say Animes?

The thing that makes the English language so difficult to learn is the fact that it so often breaks its own rules.  For example, in creating the past tense of verbs, you typically add “-d” or “-ed” to create the past tense.  However, several words actually break this rule and create their own irregular past tenses.  For example, the verb “to run” does not add a suffix; instead, it completely changes its spelling.

This is the case with the pluralization of nouns very often as well.  While most nouns just add “-s” or “-es” to create a plural form, the plural of some nouns is irregular and involves changing spellings.  

And in the case of the plural form of anime, pluralizing is completely irregular because the word is not even an English word.

Because language is driven by culture, words can be appropriated into other cultures and other cultures’ vocabularies very easily.  The usage of a word defines its commonality and “acceptability” in any given form.  As such, the dictionary cannot be the definitive authority on anything related to language because the dictionary takes its cues from people.

In the case of anime, the two most commonly accepted forms of the plural of anime are “anime” and “animes.”  Both are acceptable, although some argue that anime is an uncountable noun and can be used as such in most contexts, while others argue the counterpoint, saying that you can have, for example, “six favorite animes.”  

The History and Origin of the Word

One of the best ways to understand a word is to learn where it came from.  A word’s etymology can reveal a lot about the changes a word has gone through to get to where it is today in modern English.  According to, the word anime was first used in the late twentieth century and is derived entirely from the Japanese language.  A word like this that is adopted by English from another language without change is called a loanword. However, there is credence to the fact that the word was brought to the Japanese language by way of the French word “animé,” meaning “animated, lively, roused,” which in turn came from the same Latin source animus as the English word animate.

This should come as no surprise because the majority of nouns in the Modern English language can be traced back to ancient languages such as Latin and Greek, while the majority of verbs come from more modern European languages such as Saxon, Old English, and Proto-Germanic.  

Examples of the Word in Context

Another great way to learn how to use a word is to explore the word being used correctly.  Either reading the word in its proper context or hearing someone else use it in conversation.  Here are some common examples of the word anime in context:

  • “Do you like anime as an art style? What are some of your favorite mangas?”
  • “He does nothing but watch an anime series on his computer all day rather than actually getting any work done. He’s such an anime fan.”
  • “Which anime version is trending right now?”

Synonyms for Anime

Unfortunately, the word anime does not have any synonyms in English because (at least in its English form) the word refers to such a specific concept and art style.