I thought we could all use a nice light post that’s just a general excuse for thinking about anime characters we like. And while I was thinking about anime characters I liked, I started to think about general design elements that I seem to enjoy whenever I notice them.
It’s not like I need any of these things to appreciate a character design or anything. Many of my favourite characters don’t have these features. In fact, a lot of character designs I love don’t have any of them. But whenever I do see them, I think to myself, huh…that’s cool!!!
5. Contrasting eye colours
Anime eyes are generally just beautiful. I always enjoy when more than one colour gets mixed in, going from a midnight blue to a soft green for instance. But lately, I’ve noticed a still uncommon but growing trend to throw completely contrasting, even complementary colours together on a single eyeball.
Probably the first thing I noticed I noticed in Bungo Stray Dogs (an anime just teaming with lovely character designs, where Atsushi’s purple and yellow eyes. Purple and yellow together! Who does that??? I never would have believed it could look anything but gross yet….
4. Ombre hair
And we are still on colours, what can I say, I have a brand. I love ombre hair. I think it adds dimension and weight. I can see how it might be kinda difficult to animate though so it’s no wonder I’ve mostly seen it in relatively calm slice of life shows.
An offshoot of this is the dark roots on bleach hair that seems to appear more and more. I still don’t know how I feel about it but it certainly makes Kenma stand out!
Ok, so maybe I just like punk design elements… I think piercings are a very easy way to visually single out a character without drastically changing their look. Tattoos can be hit or miss as the tattoo itself can be ugly or absolutely beautiful and make the design.
But piercing are much more subtle and easy to hide. Yet they still give that slight rock and/or roll edge to the character!
2. Sharper slanted (or closed) eyes
I get that the ideal anime aesthetic is is big round eyes that look innocent and kind. I understand and I’m all for them. But I can’t help but like the squinty ones. Maybe it’s because those characters are so often trolls and it’s nothing to do with the actual look of it. It’s hard to tell how it started. At some poi8nt, I just found that I preferred the more closed eye look with sharper almost cat like edges. Let’s see if I can explain..
Rather than this:
1. Messy hair
Many characters have amazing hair. Not only colourful but also gravity defying. However, nothing impresses me as much as a messy mane with loose strands all over the place and uneven hairs sticking out. Why? I don’t know…
For example Fumi of sweet blue flowers has beautiful sleek straight black hair for most of the series, but in this one scenes, she collapses in bed and her hair gets all dishevelled and I thought it looked amazing! I get that this is probably a lot more complex to draw which is why we don’t see it much. Still when we do see it, it’s great!!!
Ohoh, quick extra one, I like when characters have dark circles under their eyes. No freakin clue why ut I just ove the lack of sleep look on anime characters.
Nice, a short and sweet list. not to mention fun to put together. Do you guys have character design elements you consistently enjoy seeing? Are there design elements that can sort of ruin a character design for you?