Have Japanese Art Styles Gotten Better? Or Worse?

Have Japanese Art Styles Gotten Better? Or Worse?

Time marches on. Things change. So do styles. But how did Japan's animation and manga styles evolve?

Twitter user @mayousa_desuga uploaded the above comparison between two children's book versions of The Little Mermaid: one published in 1985 and the other published this year.

The story is the same, but the art style is... different. It makes for a fascinating comparison.

As mentioned above, the publishers are different, but both books are aimed directly at Japanese children. The newer books are being published this year and feature art by manga artists and animators, most notably Futago Kamikita of Pretty Cure fame. Pretty Cure is infamous for big-eyed characters.

Have Japanese Art Styles Gotten Better? Or Worse?
Have Japanese Art Styles Gotten Better? Or Worse?
Have Japanese Art Styles Gotten Better? Or Worse?
Have Japanese Art Styles Gotten Better? Or Worse?

It's worth noting that these days not all Japanese anime or manga looks like this. However, you can perhaps see how these children's books reflect a common style found in this generation.

Many commenters on 2ch, Japan's largest web forum, seemed to prefer the older style. One wrote that nowadays the eyes of characters are overdone. One 2ch user thought that the fairy tale characters looked like nightclub hostesses. Others even thought that the Snow White cover looked liked an adult video or an erotic anime! "Those dwarves are creepy," chimed in another.

Another commenter posted this old chestnut that shows the country's stylistic evolution:

Have Japanese Art Styles Gotten Better? Or Worse?

"The olden days art was better," wrote one 2ch user. "Why are they doing this style of anime images? Probably because this is the only style they can draw."

Another asked, "Don't you wonder what kind of drawings will be popular 30 years from now?" At this rate, one shudders to think.

最近の絵本がヤバイwwwwwwwwww進化しすぎwwwwwwwwwww [2ch]


    Better. The regular complaint is that all the new stuff looks the same, yet that is the same argument people were making 10, 20, 30 years ago. Every generation finds its niche and expands accordingly, with a few unique ideas that drift off and do their own thing.
    I expect well be having the same conversation in 10 more years.

      Thank god the first comment is this. If things today aren't better than what they were a decade ago, then we as a species are failing, which is somewhat of an extreme way to put but it's how I view life.

    I don't really watch anime anymore, but I got around to watching Evangelion 2.0 yesterday and it did a pretty good job of knocking my socks off as far as my expectations based on what I was watching 10-15 years ago.

    I assume that because it's a movie and it's Evangelion, it probably got some special treatment, but I can't really remember anime movies looking that good before (although the ones I do remember were still beautifully done).

      The first two reboot movies are amazing. Had to turn 3 off :(

        Oh that's a shame. I read ahead a little and I'm still kind of excited!

      Evangelion has always been amazing, the entire series was also redone and looks incredible. Also worth looking into obtaining 3.0, there's come pretty serious deviations from the original series but well worth a shot.

    The current style isn't really new - the style is actually similar to the original Tezuka manga. What's changed is that the moe "big eyes, small mouth" with a tiny nose style now dominates utterly.

    Of the images shown, I find the Little Mermaid one to be the worst personally; the 2013 mermaid is in what is very nearly a "classic" seductive pose.

    But, yah, a bit more variety in character design would be nice.

    Hmm, I'm going to say most anime today is just regurgitated or uninspiring. But when a good show stands out, man is it impressive.

    Yesterday I watched this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJcEN1QkbyA , and I found it way better then most anime shows I've seen in the last 10 years.

    In terms of pure Artistic Style, I think I prefer the modern ones. That being said the eyes of Red Riding and Hanzel and Gretel are way too big, and Ariel's pose is also way too seductive for a children's books.

    I think this is a classic case of not letting go of your childhood. Of course you wouldn't want it to change, but these are aimed at today's kids, not some 20-30 year olds who saw the originals.

    Also, the old ones arn't going away. If you don't like the new ones then you can go watch your classics and leave the modern ones alone.

    Last edited 04/08/13 7:44 am

    I don't know, I kind of preferr the oldschool Animes over the new ones. However style has absolutely improved over the years. Yet some adaptations of Manga never seem to get it right.
    Like Appleseed. While I agree yes it looks amazing, the Manga is far superior in every way.
    Maybe it's the new concepts for Anime's I don't like that much anymore.

    But then every so often you get something like "Attack on Titan" come along to make it all better.

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