By , Gal #11.
One of the most common questions about Japanese art of this type is the difference between 'anime' and 'manga'. I'm not an anthropologist or studying Japanese at the moment so I'm not sure what either of these words mean. Anime pertains to the animations, be they television series or movies. Manga refers to the comic books from Japan. Got that? ::grins::
Sometimes, manga and anime are very related. I've seen manga turn into animes or animes from novels turn into manga after they are released and receive due popularity. But the topic of this article is anime.
A word of warning, though, this article is not to truly encourage someone to change their style to completely anime. I don't think anyone has that intention in mind. I do wish, though, that artists will view anime as a new style, somewhat like the Renaissance for the 21st century. There really is no one way to draw anime figures. There are many styles of anime with similar features. If after you've gone through my suggestions, I'll explain the rough aspects of 'drawing anime'.
This article is not only for artists, but writers in Wyvern as well. Anime is like Hollywood, you have shallow movies, and then you hit on something like Forrest Gump or Good Will Hunting. Inspiration for plots, characters, and settings abound!
Permission to use certain images were obtained from Gainax Network Systems. ) Images, character names and titles are copyrighted by A.D. Vision / AIC / AnimEigo / Bandai Visual / Central Park Media / Fuji Animation / Kodansha / Manga Video / Nikaku Animart / Pioneer Anime / Pioneer LDC / Production IG / Right Stuf International / Software Sculptors / Streamline Pictures / Studio Ghibli / Sunrise / Toei / Viz Video / Youmex (to cover all the possibilities). I don't mean any copyright infringement using these images here! I'm just another fangirl! Now, on with the show!
Contrary to Popular Belief...
...Anime does not necessarily mean little proportionally inaccurate people bouncing around with high pitched voices, eyes bigger than half their face, a check mark for a nose, and a wafer for a mouth. Sure, there are anime out there with super huge puppy-eyes, but please don't stereotype anime of any sort. In fact, the 'landmark' anime films like Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, and Akira do not use that style of drawing. The Hakkenden: Legend of the Dog Warriors actually has a very realistic style to it. Set in feudal Japan, it is a definite must-see. Yet if you are set on the over-large eyes, watch Dragon Half or Ranma 1/2.
We are all aware of Sailor Moon and Dragonball in its television forms. What the public is not aware of is that for American release (sorry, I'm American, don't know what it's like in other countries), these anime are very edited for the 'children audience'. Very well and good, but I personally think that there are better, more true anime out there. I submit to the court, the following.
The Anime Classics
With the suggestion and help from fellow artist, Alex Abdoulaev, I've made here an image trip down memory lane. Anime started at around the 60's, perhaps even from the time Disney started fooling around with moving drawings. The older anime can be remembered in the form of Speed Racer released in the early '70s (correct me if I'm wrong).
According to Alex, 'Fist of the North Star can always be on that list (killer poses, dynamic animation, perspectives -- and character design).' According to Serpent, there isn't much else to the movie besides fighting. Vampire Hunter D (dark medieval), Voltron (futuristic), Ronin Warriors ('80's Tokyo), and even Megaman ('80s) (my least favorite), are the best known anime movies and television series'. Saint Seiya, relatively new anime (as far as I am aware of) mid '80's style of anime with very nicely intricate armor designs, if a little cookie cut.
Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs is a recommendation of Alex's and he says: 'Now, as for the artistic impact: well, since this film is comparatively old, one can say it laid down the foundation for later anime films. Also, in terms of dynamics and simply design (what they did with the landscapes and the character designs, I thought at the time, was incredible) it was top-notch for its day. I think some films (not sure which ones) actually used SR as basis.'
The non-typical anime of that time would be Record of Lodoss War. I personally have not seen it, but many fantasy artists base it as fantasy anime, which the pictures show it to be. There is a drow present which has very trademark ears (which I hear have been emulated to death), and probably a few dark sorcerers.
Little note about coloring: If you notice that there are differences in anime-style pictures here, you are right. Since anime is animation, they don't gradient their colors or shadows, unlike the feature animation Anastasia from Fox Entertainment where they used a computer program to color most of it. It's easier and faster to just animate with blocks of colors, usually in the form of highlight, midtone, and shadow. In manga, it looks like the artists use pencils and inks, gradienting their pictures (most of the time) to translate better in black and white. Both coloring styles are valid techniques, it's even nice to try it on real life figure drawing classes.
Previously mentioned Dragon Half is about this half dragon, half human who has adventures in medieval times to meet the superstar knight she has a crush on (think regular teeny bopper fan of that Titanic guy). Hilarious in it's raunchy scenes that flash back to super-deformed/'chibi'/'chan' (those beanie-baby styled figures with heads the size of the overall body) versions of the characters, this is a 'fun' anime in all sense of the description.
Ranma 1/2 is pretty much the first thing semi-anime watchers think in terms of funny television series'. The style of art is very clean, circular in rhythm, and simple. Set in current times, it talks of this boy that turns into a girl whenever he is doused with cold water (he turns back into a boy with hot water). This has barely anything to do with Elfwood art, but the premise is creative humor for the Wyvern writers.
Sailor Moon we all know about. The story of a group of middle school girls discovering past lives and mystical powers based on the planets of our solar system. Arguably wiccan/pagan in nature, Sailor Moon is the young generation's exposure to anime. The character designs are simple, a template uniform is applied to indicate unification in the groups of bad guys and good guys. Monsters are creative, but I do not recommend the DiC translated version of this seasoned anime. The manga has a more feminine touch to the characters, and an airy way of inking. Minimal detail is in the backgrounds and props (which is common amongst all manga and American comic books), which makes for an all character manga which I find disappointment in.
Ah! My Goddess! is the story of a boy who dialed the wrong number for a fast food delivery service and received a goddess instead. Romantic situations arise, as well as the goddess' sisters. The costume designs in this anime are one of the most intricate, angelic, and ethereal I have ever seen. Please do rent it and also track down the manga that it was based off of.
Fushigi Yuugi and Tenchi Muyo (translated 'No Need for Tenchi'), is a mix of fantasy and reality. In Fushigi Yuugi, a schoolgirl is transported into another world, while in Tenchi Muyo, alien visitors keep stopping by this average boy's home and wrecking his life. FY has yet to be released to the waiting American fans (November 1998, I hear), but Tenchi Muyo is going strong with at least one spin-off series and a movie. I suggest sticking with the original series and definitely rent the movie.
For those Peter Keres/cat people fans out there, All Purpose Cat Girl Nuku-Nuku is very reminiscent of cats, but it's more suggestive of the story of Pinnochio (another great Pinnochio-ish anime is Key: the Metal Idol which I am currently watching) where a robot seeks to become as human as she can. His manga influences are more American made manga. Reality Check and Gold Digger, are some of his named inspirations, check those out.
Other humorous anime series/movies are Debutante Detective Corps (high school detectives in skimpy skirts?), Devil Hunter Yohko (it's what it sounds like), The Abashiri Family (a little risqui), and Golden Boy (For mature audiences ONLY!!!).
Stuff for Lothlorien
Bastard is a Classic fantasy/Dark wizard/Heavy Metal-esque, as aimed for the male audience as Vallejo artwork. I enjoyed it because the plot called for the all powerful evil mage warlord guy (Dark Schneider) to be controlled by a young girl. I heard the manga is far more racy than the anime, but I don't believe that the manga is easy to obtain in the States. In either case, the artwork of the manga covers are worth mentioning. They seem to be inked, with water colors (most common manga coloring technique) and/or acrylics (?). The colors and the shadows are a bit washed out, but the effect is of an old painting, which works for the setting of the story.
3x3 Eyes is a pretty good translation of a successful manga into an anime. The plot is so thick into mythology, I can't even begin to summarize what it's about. The costume of the Sanjian (yes, sorry, watch it, please ;D ) is almost middle eastern, with many layers of clothing on top of the other. The series released into video is quite worth the rental since there are three episodes per tape. Then again, the volumes seem to be released once every year, so they probably give you more to tide you over. ::grins::
Slayers! is a very enjoyable anime. You follow the mage Lina, a bounty hunter that uses any magical means possible to catch her targets. Along for the ride is a knight with a darn spiffy sword named Gourry with many other characters as the series progresses. A perfectly humorous medieval anime.
Rurouni Kenshin is yet another series I have not seen.... ::scratches the back of her head sheepishly:: I do recognize the red-headed main character, the subject of impressive action stills on online websites for anime. Serpent ranks this as 'extremely recommended' and he is rarely gentle. Another series about a hero with a dark past, this looks to be of early '90's origins with a style that can be easily translated to this milenniar date.
Heroic Legend of Arislan. Even if I haven't seen this, the artwork impresses the (insert word) out of me. As gravity-defective as CLAMP's style, things are flying in the air and the characters seem intricately made/drawn. Guess what's next on my list of what to watch? ^_^
Ellcia is a highly commercialized series that only has two volumes released so far. One episode is a quest for a sword, another is pretty pirate-ish. Or I might have it mixed up, I haven't watched it, but the style here is very clean cut and realistic. Not as realistic as The Hakkenden, but this is not a series full of pretty people. Ellicia is not a 'bombshell' nor does she wear skimpy clothing. For that, I respect this series for not being part of the pack.
Stuff for Zone
The best anime ever in any genre, in my opinion, is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Plot (set in 2015, summary is found on the site listed), characters (children 15 years of age with the traumas of any adult), setting (a futuristic Tokyo with mechas [robots] that would make you drool when they're in action), everything about this series is thought provoking. I've turned several friends into Eva freaks and even made a personal shrine. So, yes, this is my highest recommendation. 13 volume series.
Iria has space based plot, action sequences that are 'kewl' and character designs that are creative. Not giving away much plot, it is about a bounty hunter girl named Iria who's hunting down this alien who killed most of her friends. But, really, does anyone ever die in movies anymore? 4 volume series.
From old to new, Armitage III is reviewed as a mixture of Blade Runner, AD Police, and Bubblegum Crisis. I thought I'd cheat renting all 5+ volumes by renting the movie and BOY did that really really suck. Never rent the movie versions of series'... no matter how good the editing is, you never get as involved with the story. Anywho, more of a cop-of-the-future spiff here. For those really wants these kinds of anime, there's Angel Cop, Burn Up and Burn Up W (I've only seen W, 4 volumes out so far), Dominion Tank Police (chicks with little to wear), and AD Police (sequel series to Bubblegum Crisis). Don't even try to ask me why most of these cop anime are about female cops.
Blueseed is about a girl named Momiji who is of the line of the Kushinada princesses... basically, if she dies, then the monsters of the world go back to sleep. Ah! But it's so much more deep than that!!! For sci-fi, it mixes olden tales with scientific ways of getting rid of monsters. Think X-Files, but animated with a moral, more belief in the supernatural, and expanded into a team of specialists, but it's much more involved. (And, YES, this is the series some of my stuff is based off of, the blueseeds are BEADS, not tattoos!!)
Macross and Macross Plus is a series and it's sequel series. Personally, I find more appeal in Macross Plus because 1) HOLY (bleep!) this thing has the best computer imaging sequences for fighting jets that I've seen (though I haven't rented Wings of Honneamise yet) and 2) the music has got to be the best soundtracks of anime I have run upon (yes, even beating Evangelion ::sniffle::). Both Mac Plus and WoH are from Manga Entertainment, the company the put out Ghost in the Shell. As I've observed, Manga Entertainment is very into the gritty anime, pulls no punches in the dark plots and heavy on the sci-fi spin. Look into them if you're curious. (Macross Plus: 4 volumes, WoH: one shot movie)
Battle Angel (Gunnm) is also an anime dubbed 'landmark' as in a high impact anime in the genre of anime. Based off of the highly successful manga, Battle Angel is about a girl robot, trying to find out what she is and defeating the men out to get her since she is a highly advanced creation. The setting is a world of junk, where the rich dump their waste (sorry for the icky summary, please just see this anime). Fight sequences about with a very lithe figure defeating heavily armored enemies. A one shot movie.
Other high-on-the-mecha anime that I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing is Patlabor, Appleseed, Guyver (organic armor-type), Gundam, and, of course, Robotech.
Stuff for Wyvern or Mixture Anime
According to many anime fan-boys/girls, Vision of Escaflowne is an anime we're all drooling for Pioneer Entertainment to release to American audiences. It's a story of a girl in present time following the boy of her heart to another world named Gaia. 'Escaflowne' is the name of some guardian god. As I haven't seen it, I can't truly tell you all of the plot and the plot itself is so complex, many sites have summarized individual episodes.
I can never rant enough about Neon Genesis Evangelion. The characters here are incredibly deep and you get to know them slowly through the series as to fully understand what their childhood/pasts were like to make then think and act as they do in the present time of the series. Freud would have a killer time if he ever saw this. It has moved me to tears, adrenaline rushes, screaming.... this anime has it ALL! Including philosophical, sociopsychological issues on the child's mind, and what it means to be an individual. Yeah, all that! Let's see Disney beat THAT!
For incredible philosophical depth of plot, Ghost in the Shell takes the cake. I personally had to buy it and watch it a couple of times to fully appreciate what they were getting at. Now, Akira still confuses me, if anyone knows what the heck that movie was about, tell me! :D
As for crying your eyes out, some parts of Sailor Moon, I have! :D By the end of Blueseed, I was crying and feeling the love of everyone and nature (oh yeah, the feeling of having your soul touched).
El Hazard is one of what I call mixture anime. They have a lil' bit of fantasy dashed in with a bit of sci-fi/kewl guns, etc. Yet again, it's with 'normal' people of current time finding themselves in a fantasy world setting. El Hazard (pronounced 'el huh-ZARD', not 'hazard' as in 'Dukes of Hazard') is nice because it has a mystery involved in the series (not to mention the main male character's cross-dressing ^_^ )
CLAMP is a group of shoujo (girl comic/romance) artists whose style is defined by delicate bodies and huge, liquid eyes. Their style is very detailed, amazing in its level of elaborate layers. The manga they draw are somewhat hard to get into at first, the lines are so dense you would have to stare at particular sequences for a bit of time.
RG Veda is the first anime I was aware of that CLAMP did designs for. The characters are very much to the style of CLAMP, I'm not sure of the animation house that produced it. Set in fantasy, it talks of this little girl and her warrior guardian trying to hide her secret identity and survive. Very nice drawings since the children look like children. Proportions are lanky and far too lean, but that is CLAMP's style.
X/1999 is one that I think I heard Madhouse produced. Madhouse is well known for participating in Ninja Scroll and Ghost in the Shell (this information, I still have to confirm completely. ;D ) The plot centers around Kamui, a mysterious young man who comes back to Tokyo after years of being away and freaking out the family he had known closely when he was a boy there.
Magic Knight Rayearth is a television series as yet unreleased (legally) in the States. As I gather, it is about three schoolgirl friends who discover that they have powers and past lives and/or must protect this princess. Sounds Sailor Moon-ish? I'm not too sure, but I'd watch it just for CLAMP's style.
I put a section on CLAMP here because they are 1) one of the most popular groups in Japan and 2) they pretty much draw in the stereotypical anime style, but they do it in a very admirable way. Their level of intense detail (check the hair and costuming of the characters), character design of people(body structure)/armor/mecha/props is unique to them. They're as easy to identify from other anime styles as Michael Whelan is from Romas or Jody Lee. If there was a 'stereotypical anime style' to aspire to, it would be CLAMP's.
For those who love kung-fu movies and are looking for something more than Ninja Scroll for inspiring those kick(arse) poses, there are the anime series/movies that are based off of video games. Fatal Fury and Street Fighter. I like the Fatal Fury movie series whereas I enjoyed the Street Fighter movie rather than the television series. Dark Stalkers was turned into the anime Vampire Hunter and the artwork is that of the DarkStalkers games, which (I think) is also the same artist for the new Street Fighter/X-Men games. Either case, I like that artist. Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer is so action oriented with a semblance of a plot, it could be an arcade game. Again, these anime have extra-huge breasts, so... you've been warned. But hey, the guys aren't bad at all!
Cybernetics Guardian and Dominion Tank Police are other rather thinly plotted violent series/movies. Not much to truly say about them, except they can be inspirations for battle poses, armor, action sequences, etc.
For more information, I have also found this site: The Beginner's Guide to Anime. I guess I didn't have to write this article -_-'
Image Archives and Anime Summaries
These can really help. Just browse through a series or whatever does catch your eye. Titles can be very decieving, but I've pulled a lot from Ultimate Animanga Archive for this article. Check out some of my other favorite sites!
OtakuWorld! | Anime Web Turnpike | Anime Genesis | Anime Pistop! | Anime Web Guide
AOL keyword JAPANIMATION
(AOL only, don't click if not on AOL browser, and yes, that's the un-PC way to say it)
Serpent's Anime Page
highly recommended site, with even multimedia tidbits of some anime!
::sigh:: How to Draw Anime
Really, I just started 'drawing anime' by watching a few anime. Once you watch enough, you start to know how to enlarge the eyes the way you like it (Subtly different eyes from say Blueseed and Sailor Moon). The same principles apply at drawing anything: observe and mimic. I do hope, however, that you develop an eye for your own style be it anime or anime integrated. But since you all came this far and seem to really want an easy 1-2-3 step course..... I'll try to explain it, but I will not completely explain it because you really should watch or access the source and not have a third party interpretation.
Ok, first off, the eyes, the most identifiable aspect of anime. Eyes can be very subtle in the differences. In Blueseed, you'll notice that there is only one eyelash at the far corner of the eyes while in Sailor Moon, there are lashes along the top eyelid. The iris' themselves are large, yes, but proportionate to the eyelids. Like life drawing, never show the iris as a full circle, but only make marks like this: (..) for the eyeball, letting the eyelids 'close the gap'. The iris itself can be so varied, it boggles the mind to list. CLAMP's style is highly liquid, as previously mentioned, while Blueseed has the eye color, the shadow casted onto the iris, and one to two 'white spots' where white light reflects off the eyeball itself.
Noses are, for the most part, check marks. For the profile of a face, you can either put in a nostril or not, it depends on you, the artist. Other times, what the anime artist does is shade in the underside of the nose and the shadow it casts on the upper lip in an upside-down triangle shape. Or you could do an obtuse triangle up the side of the nose, indicating the shadows that the full nose casts when the light source angles in on the side. (I repeat: It really is much easier to just watch anime and see for yourself.)
The mouth can be a little dash (normal), a little dot (perplexity/confusion), or not at all (cute anime face). The lips are rarely indicated by line unless it is a more mature anime. Sometimes, the lips can be indicated by skin shades or lipstick shades, but then again, your choice.
The shape of the face usually reminds me of a full circle with a small point on the bottom for the chin. If you would look at a few of the cutesy anime I listed, that feature can be seen. But, if you look at, say, Macross Plus, it isn't there, yet identifiably anime. I can't explain why it does look anime, except perhaps, the way it is drawn overall. It wouldn't be mistaken for a work by Disney or any American based animation house.
To place the eye is the same way how you draw regular faces and heads, but you'd extend the bottom of the eyeball to mid-way down the nose. The appearance of that would be overlarge eyes. The necks on anime figures tend to be on the skinny side with longer legs (ala Sailor Moon), but if you look at Record of Lodoss War, it is not so. Artist's preference is inserted here.
Chibi or Chan form of a character is the 'cute' form of it, as demonstrated beautifully by Jessica Mark's Chibi Gabrielle. The proportions are shrunken and usually, the head is larger as well as the eyes. The extremities such as hands, feet, arms, and legs are stripped of detail, depending (again) on the artist. The keyword here is exaggerate.
Whew! I should try for a Ph. D., eh? ^_~ j/k Anywho, this is Sylver, signin' off! >^..^<~
The Complete Anime Guide : Japanese Animation Film Directory & Resource Guide
Annual guide to anime films of that year.
| ||The Anime Companion : A Guide to Cultural Arcana in Japanese Animation. |
I guess this book is what it says! (Sylver)
| ||Anime Interviews : The First Five Years of Animerica, Anime & Manga Monthly (1992-97) |
Edited by Trish Ledoux who performs translations for many anime video distribution houses, this book is for a magazine that reviews all kinds of anime and manga. (Sylver)
| ||Big Eyes, Small Mouth: A Universal Japanese Anime Role-Playing Game. |
This book is all about the anime-role play genre. Reviewed as not only about mecha, but of fantasy, sci-fi, and other subjects of the genre. Innovative in it's use of fan art,this book has recieved high praise. (Sylver)
| ||The Complete Anime Guide : Japanese Animation Film Directory & Resource Guide |
Annual guide to anime films of that year.
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