A brief animation or static screen displayed immediately before and after the (one) commercial break on anime television shows. The eyecatch may be the same throughout the series or may differ from episode to episode. Often accompanied by sound effects or a jingle, the eyecatch serves to frame the commercial break while reinforcing the show's branding. This is especially useful in anime, as many of the techniques used to go to and from commercial in live-action shows, such as establishing shots and fades are not as commonly used. It is common for a show to build up to a cliffhanger or major revelation and then immediately cut to the eyecatch. This pattern has become so deeply ingrained in anime that even some (commercial-less) OAVs include an eyecatch.

I'm not familiar enough with live-action Japanese TV shows to know if they feature eyecatches as well. I do have a vague memory of something similar on some of the children's TV I watched growing up (mostly Nickelodeon), though it's quite possible that these are imaginary memories. In any case, there is no present-day American analogue that comes to mind.