Monday, January 23, 2012

Manga Mondays - Is Anime/Manga style lazy?

Hey everyone. Sorry for last week and not doing a MM feature. Today's feature is a very controversial topic among art students, art critics, and art schools. The big question is:
Click and look at the
details in both the background
and character design.
Notice different elements of
art [I list that later in the
blog post]

Is the Anime/Manga style lazy?

So let's take a moment to really know what Anime and Manga is. In a nutshell, it is basically a simplified version of realism. You can disagree with me on this by stating that "Anime and Manga is for people who can't draw realistic people, objects, etc." However, I stand firmly in my belief that it is not lazy; the styles just differ. I understand why it can be frowned upon. We'll look at both why it isn't a lazy style and why it is a lazy style at the same time.
Although people claim that shounen
has less design than shoujo,
click this picture and feel WRONG.

Let's take for example two different artists. We've got Nakamura Yoshiki's Skip Beat! and Kishimoto Masashi's Naruto, two very popular mangas, both expressed in different anime shows. (one is more mainstream, aka Naruto, while one is low-key popular, aka Skip Beat!)

Simplistic design. However
look at  the background
and proportions of
our friend, Naruto.
Styles are very different from realistic art. However, if you look at both artist's work, the use of correct anatomy (Can be seen in Naruto's action sequences and lack of character "stiffness"), realism in the backgrounds or even in the hair (I.E. SB!), or in the details of the characters (in both). I believe these are two good mangas to seriously look at because their styles differ so much. Yet, both mangas are not lazy at all. Try to draw any of those characters, backgrounds, and designs without looking at them within the book. It's difficult, and I have/am enduring the difficulties of drawing manga. While the designs may be more simplified or exaggerated to a certain extent (I will be referring to this later on...), both artists achieve a semi-realistic feel in their stories. Thus, this proves that manga is not lazy.

However, we always have those who give manga a bad name. Now, I am not trying to be mean or rude to the artist. They have their own style, that's good. Yet, this is why people give manga a bad name:
Nothing may seem wrong with this picture... At first. Notice the features: The barely-there nose, too small mouth, large EXAGGERATED eyes which are disproportional to a girl that looks the age of 14-15, and too big of hair.

So I may seem mean but it's only the truth. Artists and critics alike all see manga as that! But that's not how every manga artist is. I am criticized in my art club because I draw manga. "Manga isn't a real style." Yes. It. Is. I cannot tell you how peeved I get when people say that. They only see that (the picture above) and automatically assume that all manga/anime artists draw like that, which isn't true. 

I'm not trying to point out that we can't be cartoonish; this is a cartoon-derived style. However, there is a fine line between cartoonish and too exaggerated.

Getting the correct proportions (both people and objects/backgrounds), understanding anatomy and movement, and basic artistic knowledge (such as shading, light-direction, and color balance) is the foundation of any artist. Manga artists are exactly the same. If you Google, "how to draw better manga," or any help on how to draw anything "manga," most people, even myself, will say to study real life. Manga comes right from realism, but it is a simplified and unique style created by the artist. No one can take that creativity or uniqueness that the artist creates, whether you are a painter, photographer, or graphic designer.
God, I freaking love this Manga and Anime..

To put it simply, I do not agree that manga is a lazy style. It is the matter of the artist and their style that either proves or disregards that misconception of Manga/Anime art. So slap open a manga book or flip on the anime channel and get to reading/watching!

Inked with Brilliance and Love,


  1. I’m a writer, book lover, and your newest blog follower! My blog is Life of Lois Feel free to stop on by.


  2. I've watched a lot of anime. I mean a LOT. And I can safely say, that while most of their artstyles have similarities, there are major differences. For example, look at the yugioh animated series. In it people have pointed areas around their face, including their chin and nose, and even their eyes are big, but slinted and more pointed. Now look at another anime called Rainbow (won't spell full name. Too long) And you'll notice that people in the show have more rounder realistic features, such as more natural chins and noses. They all look the same at first, but there are major differences if you examine all of them.

  3. Just watch a clip of sunday wtihout god and tokyo ghoul. they do contain big eyes, wacky hair, etc, but look at the use of color. Tokyo ghoul looks more solid, kinda dark, while sunday without god looks all beutiful and colorful. Other than character design, those 2 shows look almost nothing alike. This is why I kinda get a bit annoyed when people say all anime look the same, but I can see where they're coming from.


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