A little while ago…actually I have no clue when this will actually publish so maybe some months ago… I watched A Whisker Away and I was completely charmed by the beautiful views of the city that were present throughout the movie. When an anime captures the beauty of the world surrounding the characters it can be really breathtaking and memorable.

There are a bunch of shows that I watched in part because they were set in such beautifully illustrated worlds. And I’ve got the urge to share some of them with you. I’ve narrowed it down to 6 largely because I actually have screen caps of these readily available but there are so many more examples. The Flying Witch comes to mind…

Be warned, if a picture is worth a thousand words, you are about to get an encyclopedia of a post. Cause there’s gonna be lots of pictures you see… You got it, then I ruined it by explaining it… Let’s pretend nothing happened, back to the post:

Woodpecker Detective’s Office

Sure, this series had its fair share of flaws. Arguably more. But one thing I don’t think we can fault it for is how beautiful it made the classical Japanese landscape look. It adapted a precise architectural style with multitudes of straight fine lines to really work in the details and contrast Western style buildings with traditional Japanese ones. A pleasure for any architecture buff.

A Whisker Away

Well this was a given. In fact you have probably seen this exact montage in my Whisker Away review. I forgot to talk about the alienation of the main character being symbolized through the scarecrows.. well I’m taking about it here where it will make no sense. Because I’m good at this! Also, yay, pretty screen grabs.

Somali and the Forest Spirit

Somewhere along the way I sort of lost the enthusiasm I had for this series but one thing that never changed was the wonderment I had at the sight of Somali’s rich, incredibly varied and simply magical world. The very first seconds of the series open on a lush forest which captivated me and still has me in awe.


Believe me when I say these screen caps are not doing Kyusougiga justice. The weird looking glass world, unrestrained by conventional physics, looks both inviting and off at the same time. It’s soft but frantic and familiar yet unreal. It is a place that has a personality all of it’s own and the bold art style really brings it out. Also, if you haven’t watched Kyousougiga, you should just tab out and do that right now.

Princess Principal

It is possible that I just like vaguely London inspired settings. And by possible I mean it’s that. It’s definitely that. Princess Principal turned out to be very different from what I expected and it part that was due to just how cool the town and school looked. A little gritty and grimy but lovingly rendered in meticulous detail. Kudos.

Blood Blockade Battlefront s1

I mentioned it in my review but the city in Blood Blockade Battlefront just seems so alive and full. The backdrops are positively littered with interesting little details that just make the place feel so real and lived in. This series is the one that prompted me to create a specific Pinterest board just to keep landscapes and architectural screencaps in because I couldn’t get enough of looking at sci fi vampire New York…

Like I said, these are just a few series, there are a lot more. Are there any anime in which you really enjoyed the scenery? Or maybe a show where the interior designs were awesome, those are not as frequent in my experience.

Rini 3 (1)

29 thoughts

  1. Wow! I keep going back to my email notification of this- just looking at these totally takes me to another place.
    It is older, but I love watching Ghost in the Shell series for this reason- the city’s backdrops.

  2. The scenes from woodpecker look really try to life. I’ve definitely got a few Kyoto shots that are real life copies of one or two of the images posted. I’d like to watch some of Somali after seeing your post. I went to an art exhibition in London about the inspiration behind ghost in the shell, the art was influenced strongly by Hong Kong. Japan is beautiful and makes for a great anime backdrop but I like it when they build in more chaotic market / street scapes from Hong Kong and China. I think backdrops are really important for the mood of the anime. From the more popular stuff I always found the cat returns to be really beautiful; I get quite emotional with that one! Thanks for sharing the images I’m going to try and watch some of these 🙂

    1. There’s something vaguely magical about the thought that Kyoto still looks like that. I live in Canada which is beautiful in its own way but just doesn’t have that same sense of architectural history

  3. Kyousougiga is like watching fine art in motion. Just beautiful.

    Somali and B3 stood out, too!

    Princess Principal was an interesting choice. I really didn’t think much about the backgrounds because Ange distracted me. But now that you mention it, they had an enjoyable realism.

    I’m glad Dawnstorm mentioned The Ancient Magus’ Bride.

    I really liked the scenery in Beyond the Boundary and Made in Abyss. The latter in particular was something special.

  4. Lets see what some of my favorite types of scenary are.
    -Serial Expiraments Lain
    -Ocean Waves )
    -Psycho Pass
    -Cowboy Bebop
    -Ghost In The Shell


  5. I want to become more attuned to visual art– written arts come naturally to me. I can tell you exactly what makes any given sentence or verse beautiful… or ugly. But visual art? It requires just a bit more mental processing power on my part. Just enough to make me pause and think for a few seconds. I don’t know if you’re a natural at this stuff, or if it’s because you’ve been at this for a long time (possibly a mix of both?), but colour me impressed. If I didn’t feel personally compelled to discover anime that I find visually appealing on my own merit, it’d be easy for me to relegate that task to you. I’d use any one of these screenshots as a desktop wallpaper.

    1. Just remembered that “relegate” connotes consignment to an inferior position. Pretty sure no-one except me cares, but for the record, I didn’t mean to imply anything of the sort. You’re definitely my senpai here.

    2. I’ve always been very attracted to cinematic language. I find visual storytelling so appealing. Honestly, that’s what kept me watching all those Garden of Sinners movies.

  6. Those look like great scenery choices! Some of my favorite types of scenery that don’t involve Makoto Shinkai in no particular order…

    -A Tree of Palme
    -Haibane Renmei
    -Texhnolyze (as far as dystopian works are concerned)
    -Read or Die

    1. A Tree of Palme freaked me out. I guess it was pretty but not inviting. I don’t remember the Gankutsuou backgrounds much

    2. I’ve never seen A Tree of Palme, so I remembered the title when you posted about it here. Today I decided to look it up, and I find it’s an original anime from the same director/creator as Fantastic Children. Now I really want to see it. Maybe I’ll find it one day.

      1. It one of those anime that I can’t tell you anything about because I’ve mostly forgotten it but it haunts me. I can still clearly see scenes in my head. I remember t being very impactful.

  7. Ooh, I particularly loved Kyousougiga and Blood Blockade Battlefront. Matsumoto is a visual genius.

    And I also quite liked Somali. A lot of care went into the background.

    I also really liked the backgrounds in Ancient Magus Bride, workshops, houses,gardens, city, forests all had their own feel.

    I remember Non Non Biyori having a good sense of space. (Like Flying Witch, it’s set in the countryside, but if you google images, you mostly get character centred ones.)

    I have half-a hunch that I really liked the backgrounds in Katanagatari, but then the show has a really unique look in itself. Looking at screenshots doesn’t really help. Maybe it’s time for a rewatch?

    Hanasaku Iroha had some stunning backgrounds, but I don’t remember how consistent they were. I remember mostly isolated instances, but it’s a PA Works show, so the quality should never drop below “good”, anyway (especially back then).

    1. I haven’t seen Iroha but nit looks quite pretty. It’s one of those makes me want to take a vacation show

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