The best part of anime is that it can enact completely wacked out ideas without having to worry about the suspension of disbelief or the ability of what real people can and can’t do. However, by using animation, you also allow the audience to experience a certain aesthetic that lacks in other types of media. While animators have to work in a budget, just sometimes they can create a show that is a work of art in itself and not just a device for serving up stories.
If your interest lies in the ability of anime to create something uniquely beautiful, then you will want to check out these stylishly animated shows.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has a very distinct style and the anime came at the perfect time. Just when moe was about to completely consume anime, there rose another. There rose a Jojo with his bulking man muscles that echoed back to the 1980’s where anime women were sexy and not cute and anime men were built like bodybuilders. That aside, using clean animation and vibrant colors allows Jojo to have an addicting style of animation that keeps up with the energetic pace of the story.
All of the -gatari series are pretty notable for having some nice animation, but perhaps it is the setting of Katanagatari that lends to this rising above all of its other relations. Although the details are simplistic, the colors are bright and smooth which allows them great fluidity when things get action-packed.
Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann
Gainax could always do such wonderful things if it put its mind to it, as was the case with Gurren Lagann. In many ways, it is just another mecha series, but in so many other ways, it is not. Not only are the story and characters unique, but the mechs themselves took mecha to another level. With unparalleled fluidity of animation and a stunning color palate, the Gurren Lagann team made mecha feel alive again.
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
After the team of the aforementioned Gurren Lagann finished up, they all went on a relaxing vacation, and it is there where they came up with the idea for this show, basing it soling on things they didn’t get to do with Gurren Lagann. As they were inspired heavily by Western cartoons like Drawn Together, it is no surprise is was both crude and ended up looking more western than eastern.
What makes Afro Samurai immediately notable is that it features a black samurai. While is a legend of an African samurai from the Sengoku period, the creator of Afro Samurai was more inspired by his love of hip hop and soul music. However, despite the race, Afro Samurai should more so be noted by how beautiful its animation is. Highly stylized and fluid, it allows the sword-fighting to be as fast pace as the katana demands.
Kill la Kill
Kill la Kill was the first production of Trigger, a name that is a prized in animation today. However, it was the first project where Panty & Stocking and Gurren Lagann creators had real creative control. Considering its popularity, it didn’t work out too bad for them, did it? Although they adopted a more washed out color palate, the animation still remained fast and fluid with the colors giving it a more grounded feel to it despite the out of this world action.
No Game No Life
Reading the light novels of No Game No Life, you wouldn’t expect the anime to be as whimsically colored and excitingly animated as it was. However, the animation stays true to the way the series was presented on the covers of the light novel. In essence, the animation brings alive the vibrant world that the story tells, and one should expect any less from animation.
What makes Tatami Galaxy special is what used to make all anime special – it was created using all traditional hand-drawn means. Not only that but its unique scene layouts, character actions, and richly expressive natures turns what can be done by the hand on its head. While the story is thoughtful, a large part of the success in this series is in its animation.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
When you set out to make a high-minded philosophical series, you probably know you will need some great animation as a vessel for your concepts. They probably knew that with Madoka Magica, and they succeeded in it. Not only is the ending a feast for the eyes and the mind, but the witch battles throughout convey concepts in visuals rather than words that makes the series more thoughtful overall.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
The animation of Zetsubo Sensei takes a different route from most. Instead of trying to be pretty, it instead features washed out colors and grainy visuals to model itself after an old film. Not only that, but the soundtrack also aids this show to criticize many things about modern Japanese society. And I’ll admit, a lot of that goes over my non-Japanese head. However, it is clear that the animation plays a key role in trying to convey a message to the audience.
While the story of Kyousougiga kind of takes a nose dive, you can expect an anime series about a family set inside the fantasy world of a painting to be singularly beautiful, and it is. Despite being an ONA, it is probably the most stunning piece of animation to come from Toei in years. It is a shame about the muddied story though.
Considering Japan is a land of fish with a long history of fishing, you would think there would be more anime about fishing. However, Tsuritama is the only notable example. Plot aside, it does do a fantastic job of making fish beautiful as well as conveying a place that is relaxed enough to fish, but with something else clearly going on.
From the New World
At first, From the New World’s animation looks almost plain, but as you get into the show, you see a method to its madness in which the plainly animated characters are symbolism itself and actually highly fluid. Watching psychics has never been so satisfying.
You got more anime recommendations for highly stylish anime? Let us know in the comments section below.