Good morning/afternoon/evening/ party time AAA community! I finally return to the blogging seen with a topic that has been plaguing me for many years as I try and enjoy the plot or characters of an anime, and that is artwork. Now this is a huge topic, from anime using a style that resembles cut-out stop motion made popular by Jan Lenica to the difference of face size and shape, and so I will be focusing on hand drawn, computer animated, and CGI in anime. Let us begin! One final note is these are general exaggerations. There are plenty of anime I’m not mentioning that don’t fit with the generalizations I am making.
Hand drawn is the oldest method of animation and while it does crop up in new anime (Redline) it has mostly died out of existence. Now hand drawn is, as it sounds, drawn by hand as artists draw each scene and then animators combine them together in order to create anime. Because it is hand drawn there is a huge variance in quality between anime, very noticeable from today’s more common computer animated which usually looks very pretty. Look back to the 1980’s, now back to me, back to the ‘80s, now back to me. Sadly, even I look better than a lot of the anime in the 1980s. This can act as a huge turnoff for fans who want to go back and enjoy some anime, but can’t because the artwork is just ugly. Now this isn’t limited to hand drawn, my sister dislikes One Piece solely because she dislikes the art, however I would say there is a large amount of prejudice against old hand drawn anime because it can be ugly.
Now that is not to say that all hand drawn anime is hideous, not at all. Many older or even younger fans like myself are attracted to older anime due to the hand drawn art. For example the grittiness of Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, or Evangelion can be an attractive point for fans. I still encounter people who refuse to watch old anime, spoiled on computer generated panties and refusing to listen to me saying that hand drawn panties are just as good, but with fans who tolerate it, there is often a great story behind it. Now I don’t claim to be free of this judgment, after all I have refused to watch Galaxy Express 999 because I can’t stand the art but I truly regret my decisions. There is beauty hidden in the grittiness, choppiness, and ugliness of hand drawn, not just nostalgia you post 2000 anime watchers, reach out and embrace it.
One more thing to say about hand drawn is sometimes, just how funny it is. For example, the Hulk is only green do to an error in colouring and the error was too expensive to fix. Look at Goku’s shirt, suddenly his shirt is gone exposing his awesome abs, and suddenly it is back. Love hand drawn for its glitches, because those glitches love you.
Next we move onto computer animated art. I won’t spend so much time on this because this is what most of us see when we watch anime. It’s cute, it looks beautiful, those boobs, but… it can get very generic. Now sometimes an animator will give a stylistic touch like Makoto Shinkai’s work’s or Hourou Musuko, but there a large amount of anime that look the same because there is not so much of an emphasis on an artist’s unique touch. It can just get boring. It’s nice but with so many anime using the same framework for characters I get tired of mixing up one loli blonde with another because their art is the same.
As much as I complain I do love computer animated and I believe that this is what will dominate anime for years and years to come. It will look better sure, but this will be the dominant choice for studios. Let’s just hope studious like Bones encourage different face shapes or else some people may begin to surgically alter their faces to be round with big eyes.
Finally there is CGI, computer generated images. If you had told me an anime had this in it and you recommended I watched it I would have laughed you back into your mom’s basement. However, after I watched Tiger & Bunny I learned that anime could actually use CGI and make it look nice. Now CGI is expensive, and this is a reason for why it often looks terrible, even in American cartoons (come on Disney) and I always had to close my eyes from the sheer horror of CGI. But while I still find most ugly I found it very well done in Tiger & Bunny and gave me hope for CGI. I would still advise all of you to avoid old CGI but in the future we may watch anime solely for CGI.
Eras in anime come and go, from those days where the eye and eyelashes shined through the hair to now where most of anime’s budget is spent animating breasts (here’s looking at you High School of the Dead) and during these times anime fans will be born and grow accustomed to that style. Our job as addicts is to show fans that while pretty art is nice, beauty in anime can be found in all types of art and not to discriminate.
See you fellow addicts later!
~FoliumAAA (Anime Art Accusations),