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c.1985, Japanese for "animation," a term that seems to have arisen in the 1970s, apparently based on French animé "animated, lively, roused," from the same root as English animate (adj.). Probably taken into Japanese from a phrase such as dessin animé "cartoon," literally "animated design," with the adjective abstracted or mistaken, due to its position, as a noun.
Manga (q.v.) is Japanese for "comic book, graphic novel," but anime largely are based on manga and until 1970s, anime were known in Japan as manga eiga or "TV manga." The two terms are somewhat confused in English.