Anime - Visual Characteristics

Visual Characteristics

Many commentators refer to anime as an art form. As a visual medium, it can emphasize visual styles. The styles can vary from artist to artist or from studio to studio. Some titles make extensive use of common stylization: FLCL, for example, has a reputation for wild, exaggerated stylization. Other titles use different methods: Only Yesterday or Jin-Roh take much more realistic approaches, featuring few stylistic exaggerations; Pokémon uses drawings which specifically do not distinguish the nationality of characters.

While different titles and different artists have their own artistic styles, many stylistic elements have become so common that describe them as definitive of anime in general. However, this does not mean that all modern anime share one strict, common art-style. Many anime have a very different art style from what would commonly be called "anime style", yet fans still use the word "anime" to refer to these titles. Generally, the most common form of anime drawings include "exaggerated physical features such as large eyes, big hair and elongated limbs... and dramatically shaped speech bubbles, speed lines and onomatopoeic, exclamatory typography."

The influences of Japanese calligraphy and Japanese painting also characterize linear qualities of the anime style. The round ink brush traditionally used for writing kanji and for painting, produces a stroke of widely varying thickness.

Anime also tends to borrow many elements from manga, including text in the background and panel layouts. For example, an opening may employ manga panels to tell the story, or to dramatize a point for humorous effect. See for example the anime Kare Kano.

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