10 Western Cartoons The Cosplay Community Adores

The following is a short list of cartoons that were often mistaken as anime or have been accepted into the cosplay community. Due to their appealing themes such as Slice of life or Magical Girl/Boy, as well as having generic anime art style similarities! Let’s not forget that many of these shows had amazing storylines that we believed to be anime worthy.

1Samurai Jack

Samurai Jack is an American action-adventure chanbara (the Japanese genre called samurai cinema in English) animated series created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network. The series follows Jack, a time-displaced samurai, in his singular quest to travel back in time and defeat the tyrannical demon Aku. The series is known for its cinematic atmosphere, masking-based animation style, and battle scenes which pay homage to samurai films. The show was said to be inspired by an anime called, The Little Prince and the Eight-headed dragon. Not only did it take in the chanbara theme, but has also been counted on the lists of a few anime streaming sites.

Samurai Jack

[Cosplayers: Effektd Cosplay and Nicolle King]

2Avatar the Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra

The Legend of Korra

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Avatar: The Legend of Aang in some regions) is an American animated television series that aired for three seasons (referred to as “books” in each episode’s title card) on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in an Asiatic-like world in which some people are able to manipulate the classical elements by use of psychokinetic variants of Chinese martial arts, known as “bending”. The show combines the styles of anime and American cartoons, and relies on the imagery of various East Asian, Inuit, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and New World societies. Therefore, whether or not the series can be considered as an anime work is often discussed.

The Legend of Korra is an American animated television series that aired on the Nickelodeon television network from 2012 to 2014. It was created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino as a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Likewise, it is animated in a style strongly influenced by anime. The series is set in a fictional universe in which some people can manipulate, or “bend”, the elements of water, earth, fire, or air. Only one person, the “Avatar”, can bend all four elements and is responsible for maintaining balance in the world. The series follows Avatar Korra, the reincarnation of Aang from the previous series, as she faces political and spiritual unrest in a modernizing world.

This show is one, if not the, most popular cartoon series in the anime and cosplay community. From visuals to the story, to legacies embedded into this show, it’s really hard to believe that this show was not inspired by anime. Instead, it was more influenced by Asian culture than anime itself.

[Cosplayer: TophWei]

[Cosplayer: Prince Cruel]



RWBY (pronounced “ruby”) is a 3D anime-influenced animated web series created by Monty Oum for Rooster Teeth Productions. The show is set in the fictional world of Remnant, where young people train to become Huntsmen and Huntresses to protect their world from monsters. RWBY may not be confused as anime as much as Avatar, but it was the first ever series to be translated from English to Japanese for Japan. Even creator Monty Oum wants his audience to know that RWBY is anime. Don’t believe us? Check it out.

[Cosplayer: Zer0PM]


4Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi is an American-Japanese animated fantasy-comedy television series created by Sam Register for Cartoon Network. Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi follows the adventures of two pop stars and best friends: Ami Onuki, a peppy, optimistic, and cute schoolgirl; and Yumi Yoshimura, a cynical, sarcastic, rough, and tough punk rocker. Both are based off the real Japanese pop duo Puffy AmiYumi, but with different appearances and exaggerated personalities. They travel around the world on their customized tour bus, along with their well-intentioned yet greedy manager, Kaz Harada.

From rockin’ out at a concert to hanging out in their hometown of Tokyo, the duo takes the world by storm with their musical talent, trendsetting style, and humor, dishing out lessons in J-pop justice and establishing the international language of “cool” along the way. Why was it so easily accepted into the anime community? For one, the animation style is very similar to Panty and Stocking: An anime series produced by Gainax. It also portrays the idol genre many anime watchers love.

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi

[Cosplayers: ayumisquirrel and chibi-yuuko]


5Totally Spies!

Totally Spies!

Totally Spies! is a French and Canadian animated television series created by Vincent Chalvon-Demersay and David Michel and produced by Marathon Media Group and Image Entertainment Corporation. The show was made to resemble anime styles and was originally based on the concept of a girl band. It focuses on three teenage girls in Beverly Hills, California, United States, who work as undercover super agents.

It was admittedly influenced by four main things: Charlie’s Angels, The Avengers, James Bond, and anime. More specifically, the show was highly influenced by an old manga series named Cat’s Eye. Cat’s Eye was a story of three sisters who were highly skilled in thievery. Much like Samurai Jack, Totally Spies is also streamed on a few anime streaming websites. There’s even a poll on Crunchyroll asking if Totally Spies is an Anime or not.

[Cosplayer: Polligulina]


6Powerpuff Girls

The Powerpuff Girls is an American animated television series created by animator Craig McCracken for Cartoon Network. The show centers on Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, three girls with superpowers, as well as their father, the brainy scientist Professor Utonium, who all live in the fictional city of Townsville, USA. The girls are frequently called upon by the town’s childlike and naive mayor to help fight nearby criminals using their powers. The character design is similar to stereotypical chibi styled girls from small bodies and big eyes. Many believe that there are a few fight scenes that could have been Dragon Ball Z rip-offs.  

Powerpuff Girls

[From Left to right- Princess Morbucks: Stephanie Michelle/Zilla308 ButterCup: Hannah Dugas AKA Luna_Moth Blossom: Courtney Dawne Bubbles: Kelly Eden]


7Steven Universe

Steven Universe

Steven Universe is an American animated television series created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network. It is the coming-of-age story of a young boy named Steven Universe, who lives in the fictional town of Beach City with the “Crystal Gems” – Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl, three magical humanoid aliens. Steven, who is half-Gem, goes on adventures with his friends and helps the Gems protect the world from their own kind.

Sugar developed the series while working as a storyboard artist on Adventure Time, and it premiered on November 4, 2013 as Cartoon Network’s first animated series to be created by a woman. Steven Universe is probably one of the most popular shows being mentioned in the anime and cosplay community. Anime News Network even made an entire article to lay it down for us. The majority of Steven Universe‘s tributes are shojo or mahou shojo-related. From poses to fight scenes, to even more unsuspecting attributes like traumatizing its audience without warning.

[Cosplayers: Yellow Pearl and Editing – Hanari Solomon and Blue Pearl – Wundernerd Cosplay ]


8Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is a 2014 American 3D computer-animated superhero comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures—the first superhero film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and the 54th overall. The film is inspired by the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. Directed by Don Halland Chris Williams, the film tells the story of a young robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada from, get this, San Fransokyo. Who forms a superhero team to combat a masked villain.

I don’t know about you, but a robot and boy who saves the world seem pretty anime. Let’s just list a few popular series: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Full Metal Panic!, Evangelion, Star Driver, and Knights of Sidonia. So it’s no surprise that Big Hero 6 made it big with anime and cosplay fans. For inspiration, directors Chris Williams and Don Hall turned to everything from Hayao Miyazaki’s films (hits that include Spirited Away and The Wind Rises) to a Shogun Warriors 24-inch toy with a shooting fist that Hall had as a child. While the resulting animation doesn’t look like a “Pokemon” episode (other than its lead’s spiky hair), the essence of anime is there.

[Cosplayer:  Liui Aquino]


9Adventure Time

Adventure Time

Adventure Time is an American animated television series created by Pendleton Ward for Cartoon Network. The series follows the adventures of a boy named Finn and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake, a dog with the magical power to change shape and size at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. While it isn’t confused as anime, Adventure Time has made some clear anime references before.

Such where Fionna is seen in a dress all too similar to Sailor Moon.

Or here. Where in the episode “Orgalorg” they snuck in a reference to Robotech.

Adventure Time

Or what about THIS lovely and CLEAR reference to Evangelion? Hmmm? Hmmmmmmm???

Adventure Time

Adventure Time

[Cosplayer: Lilume]


10Disney Films

While Disney films have never really been confused as being anime, they have been greatly and warmly welcomed into the community. Especially into the cosplay section of the anime community. Be it the flowy gowns or the pretty hair, Disney princesses have what most cosplayers may enjoy recreating.

The Little Mermaid

[Cosplayers: Ariel by ryoko-demon and Vasya-Wowa as Prince Eric ]

(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ What are some of your additions to this list? Comment down bellow and let us know!

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