Since I’m a bit late, I decided I would just include my fairy tale post on Mawaru PenguinDrum when I write about the third episode tomorrow. In the meantime here’s a list of sorts.
I’ve got to admit that I’m a bit shallow when it comes to the anime I watch. If it excellent animation or a style I particularly like then there’s pretty much a guarantee that I’ll most likely check it out. Sometimes I’ll even try to forget about the fact that the show I’m watching completely sucks, just because I like the art. I’ve gotten a bit better at broadening my horizons, I guess you could say, but I’ll always have that part of me were I judge a book by its cover. Here are a few series that I found had both the style and story (in no particular order, trying to rate them would be too much for my brain to handle).
Mononoke is a sequel to the last arc in the Ayakashi Horror Tales, following the un-named medicine seller as he deals with various spirits that cause problems for the living. Mononoke’s art appears to me as being very classical, in the sense that the characters look like they’ve come strait from painting, much like the style of the playstation 2 game, Okami. It’s art was one of the main draws for me, for horror stories don’t typically sit well with me (that epsiode with the boat and the girl and the fish still squeaks me out), but I’m glad I decided to give this one a try. Besides its unique art, its story proved to be one of the things that kept me watching, even if I watching from behind my hands.
Toward the Terra is a unique anime. Despite being made in 2007, it’s style is reminiscent of the early 1990’s, where characters had pointy faces with pointy noses and flowy hair. This regression in style doesn’t hinder Toward the Terra, in fact it enhances the experience, giving this show the exact feeling it needed in order to be the grand space opera that it is.
Ah, Madoka Magica, the magical girl show that changes us all. As I’m sure most of you know the character designs for this particular ground breaker were done by none other than Aoki Ume, the creator of the slice of life show, Hidamari Sketch. The effect this produces, using both Ume’s design and the actual dark and gritty atmosphere contrasted better than I thought it would. There are times when the character designs do clash with seriousness of the show, but overall the feelings the characters and the setting create together is absolutely amazing.
Aria is a unique beast; it’s one of those shows where the background art actually outshines that of its characters, though don’t take that in a particularly bad way, its character designs are still great and pleasing to look at, it’s just they appear to be so simple when compared to its dazzling setting. In fact Aria’s background art is most commonly referred to as scenery porn and rightfully so. Neo-Venezia is as much of a character as the actual characters themselves. Animation wise it may not exceed any ground breaking standards, though as the seasons change, it’s overall beauty grows. Perhaps in its simplicity is where Aria shines the most.
Mawaru PenguinDrum, my new crush. Ever since my introduction to Lily Hishino’s artwork through Otome Youkai Zakuro I’ve been captivated by her style. It evokes a sort of contemporary shoujo style that has yet to be explored to its fullest potential. Despite not knowing much of the story, I’m enjoying this show so much because of its unique style. It’s not just the colorful character designs (though they do kind of steal the show for me), but the various backdrops these characters find themselves exploring. The Takakura household is one such place, where its bright selection of colors draws the eye in and creates a world all its own. (On a side note, does Himari look a bit older than she actually is in this particular picture or is just me?)
In Revolutionary Girl Utena, its style is not in the way it is drawn but the way it is presented to the audience. Take the picture above for instance and you’ll see one of the ways this show is portrayed to the viewer. This allows a rather simple character design to be used in more ways than one, giving it more visual appeal (not to mention it creates something for people to analyze). In the movie, the school itself becomes quite interesting and takes upon some of the characteristics that make Neo-Venezia in Aria so compelling, though personally I’m more fond of the televisions series’ character designs.
At first I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about Steins;Gate art, sometimes the character models look off or just kind of bland, but then it dawned on me; Its the characters themselves that have style. How they act make up just as much of their character as the art that defines them. Okabe’s mad scientist act only enhances his appearance, and Makise along with the rest of the cast only serve to further prove this point. As the show went on, I began to feel that no other art would fit this show, and no other show could effectively use Steins;Gate art style and that’s what makes it special. Oh, I also love the color pallet for this show.
And last but not least we have Honey and Clover. I’ve always loved the way Honey and clover is presented in anime form. The use of a watercolor style fits this story of young art students quite perfectly, though none of them actually use watercolors in the show. It sort of has the same effect as Mononoke in that it feels like you’re watching a moving painting. Its style also helps the somewhat melancholic tales of love these students go through, especially towards the second season.
And there we have it. I’m a bit tired of typing so I’m gonna stop there. A few other shows that have great art that I have not talked about in this post include Hanasaku Iroha, Tengen Toppa Guren Lagann, Soul Eater, Xam’d, Gankutsuou, Sora no Woto, Bakemonogatari and Katanagatari among many others.