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Old 2015-02-03, 10:45   Link #1
iSuckAtWriting
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Aesthetics and you; Legend of the Halation Heroes

The more I stay in this medium, the more I see the saying of don't judge a book by its cover gets lost to the wind. Assuming all things were equal, do certain art styles or methods of presentation have a tendency to cause people to over or underestimate the writing itself? Does quiet and contemplative get too much credit? Is something loud and cute often written off? Do we sometimes pay too much attention to high-quality aesthetics thinking it's all a show has? Is a unique art style the only thing keeping a show symbolic instead of pretentious at points?

You don't have to limit it to those examples, but maybe you get the idea. I can't say for certain I'd be able to take Legend of the Galactic Heroes as seriously as I do if the character designs are something out of an Ume Aoki work. Maybe I wouldn't find Honoka infectiously energetic if Love Live! didn't wave its ability for epic expressions. Perhaps this speaks to how easily or not some combinations of style and substance are accepted.

What's been your experience with this? How often or not do you think your acceptance or denial of a work sways because the aesthetics (visuals, sound, maybe even character archetype) resemble style X instead of style y? How often have you seen this happen?
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Old 2015-02-03, 19:35   Link #2
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I think the most obvious example of this being played for effect was Madoka Magica, where they literally used Ume Aoki character designs to deliberately turn people's expectations on their side. I think there's certainly a tendency to judge a book by its cover, but I also think there's enough buzz in the anime community to overcome that. It's really up to the director and production team to deliver their vision, and use the chosen style to their advantage one way or another. First impressions are important, but they're not necessarily the only important thing.
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Old 2015-02-03, 19:55   Link #3
DOmus
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Im sad because I know it, but I do judge a lot by its cover, I know great animes with plot that I will surely like, but their animation style or character designs turn me off and at the end I dont watch them. Like, until some time ago, I didnt like Fate facial design, but I went with an open mind and then I liked it, a lot.
At the same time, I have seen shitty animes(for my taste) but I went along because of the style.
So, most people do that, but at the same time they learn that there is more from what they, maybe sometimes, shallow views see.
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Old 2015-02-03, 20:50   Link #4
Triple_R
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A few points:

1. I definitely think that aesthetics played a significant and at times major role in the considerable commercial success of Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, Sword Art Online, Love Live!, and Yuuki Yuuna. What all five have in common - A love of color, a love of slightly ornate yet not overly cluttered character costumes, a love of sleek streamlined style, and generally good attention to detail.

If you look at the Puella Magi outfits, the Aincard outfits, the Fate/Series heroic spirits' outfits, the various Muse costumes, and the hero costumes in Yuuki Yuuna, they all bear this out. Almost all of them could, in fact, work seamlessly in the world of DC and Marvel Comics superheroes, which is a world which has just about completely conquered Hollywood over the past two decades. So I think there's something to this particular approach to character design/style that appeals to a lot of people, even to the point of transcending cultural boundaries.


2. Good animation and character design, and good attention to visual detail, is not unimportant. In my view, it shows that an animation studio is really putting the effort into what they're doing, which is
extra-important with an anime original work (since the narrative isn't preexisting in this case, and is being handled by the animation studio directly, rather than simply being adapted from another source).

Now, good stories/characters can sometimes come in visually dull or unappealing packages. And so it's best to not completely dismiss an anime just for visual reasons. However, when I see an anime show with what I would call "good visual polish", I'm inclined to think that this attention to detail may well extend to careful writing as well. It doesn't always, but sometimes I get a vibe of an anime show being a real "labor of love", which was one impression I had very early of each of the five shows I mentioned in Point 1 above.


3. To directly address one of the OP's questions, I think "loud and cute" is sometimes written off prematurely. "Fun-loving" does not necessitate "shallow". Probably my favorite anime character type is the genki girl type. And one reason I have that fondness for this character type is I find that some of the more prominent genki girls are in fact very well-written. Haruhi Suzumiya, Sayaka Miki, and yes, Honoka Kousaka. I think it's generally good when a character has a strong degree of emotional expressiveness, because that's one good way to convey strong emotions, which in turn can help convey some resonant ideas. And while Yui Hirasawa has received a lot of criticism for being airheaded, I'd say that this largely just makes her amusing. And also that as airheaded as she may be, she has nice subtle smooth character development in K-On!! (K-On's 2nd season).
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Old 2015-02-04, 11:05   Link #5
SeijiSensei
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I'll admit to being biased against shows that do not feature adult protagonists. Promotional images that show a bunch of moe girls surrounding an adolescent boy usually discourage me even more. Do I think it is possible that a show set in high school might have some appeal? Of course, but they have be pretty special to get past my initial reluctance. Shows like Cross Game or Kill la Kill are good examples of ones that qualified.
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Old 2015-02-06, 08:23   Link #6
JKL
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Variation is the key. I think the use of a single uniform industry accepted style across the board, regardless of whether or not it appropriately relates to the content, is a sign of uninspired laziness. Why bother hiring character designers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iSuckAtWriting View Post
Do we sometimes pay too much attention to high-quality aesthetics thinking it's all a show has?
While not unimportant, too much value is placed on this.
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