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Old 2019-12-12, 10:52   Link #1
Dr. Casey
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Tennessee
Age: 34
How much did anime artwork change throughout the 2010s?

This is a subject that I find incredibly interesting, but lack the insight/knowledge needed to properly analyze myself since I'm a layman when it comes to art. How much do you think that anime changed on a visual level throughout the 2010s, both in terms of animation as well as the artwork itself?

Jumping back to the decade's very beginnings, I think that anime from 2010 itself looked noticeably different from the present day - very much in the same vein and style of late 2000s series. With a couple of possible exceptions from highly stylized series (Panty and Stocking), I would never look at screenshots from a 2010 series I've never heard of and wonder "is this an older series or something that's currently airing?"

Spoiler for 2010 Anime:

Even by the time you get to 2012, though, that holds far less true and there's a good number of series which - if I'd somehow never heard of them beforehand - I couldn't properly date them. 2012, 2016, 2019, who knows.

Spoiler for 2012 Anime:

There's been times where I've thought that the 2010s (minus 2010 and to some degree 2011) have been one of the most homogeneous decades overall, though I've gone back and forth on this. I think late 10s series might have a softer and brighter color palette, and there was a point while watching the then-airing Comic Girls about a year and a half ago, I think, where I thought to myself that production standards had improved somehow throughout the 10s; that late 2010s series provided a level of eye candy that during the early 2010s could generally be found only in movies. I don't remember the scene(s) that led me to feel this way, though, or what my exact thought processes were.

So what are AnimeSuki's thoughts and observations? It would be great if someone with more of a background in art than I do, or who simply has a keener eye than me, can give their own perspective on how anime art has evolved throughout this decade, or point out ways that artwork from 2011 or 2013 or 2016 or whatever is dated compared to the present.
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Old 2019-12-12, 12:06   Link #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2018
I have drawn anime style characters before, so I can definitely say the the art style of today has more variety than before. It's all about the eye design ; )
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Old 2019-12-12, 17:06   Link #3
Transfer Adventurer
Join Date: Oct 2017
I don't feel it has changed all that much since around 2006 compared to previous decades.

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I don't think someone who hasn't seen either could tell apart Fate/Zero (2011-12) from Heaven's Feel (2017-20) or Code Geass (2006-08) from Fukkatsu no Lelouch (2019) based on style differences. On the other hand, it would be pretty straightforward to tell Kanon (2002) and Kanon (2006) or End of Evangelion (1997) and Evangelion 1.11 (2007) or Mushishi (2005) and Mushishi (2014) apart.
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Old 2019-12-12, 21:37   Link #4
Join Date: Apr 2019
I'll take some elements, and some of them can or not be connected with each other. That being said, it doesn't cover everything.

Post-2008 financial crisis: Anime began to have what people call "Cheap generic art style" or "Bland Character Design" reflecting how much was no longer injected into productions. I won't go further with these definitions and discussion, but you probably heard/read someone ranting something along those lines.
Great studios with great projects like KyoAni, Gainax, Trigger, Shaft, kept their quality so this change wasn't too abrupt. But it can be noticed in some VN's and LN's adaptations, in designs and palettes. It "returned" after something around 2012 but with a different pattern, that is our next topic.

Anime and Merchandise, The rise of Waifu/Husbando: Over the years, it's noticeable how the public develops affection with X character from X franchise. Putting aside personality for a moment, the more they are realistic, the more likable they become. Still, they're drawn. What do I mean with realistic? One thing is the proportion.
Body size, hairstyle details, etc. The more they seem "real and unique", the better. Action figures, dakimakuras, artbooks, plushies, etc go to stores.
One of the recent examples is Fruits Basket. To me at least, reflects clearly the "old and new" pattern for anime art. But you can also use Ken Akamatsu or Hirohiko Araki's works to see these changes over the years.

Anime artworks has many variations, so it also relies upon the author's own style: Since we're talking about art, everything can be art. Land of the Lustrous, Aku no Hana, Junji Ito. Even though we can identify some patterns, there are exceptions, as you said.
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Old 2019-12-12, 23:03   Link #5
Join Date: Dec 2006
I don't really feel there has been that much change throughout the 2010s. 2000s to 2010, yes, but not so much 2010s to 2020.

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Old 2019-12-13, 15:43   Link #6
AS Oji-kun
Join Date: Nov 2006
Age: 72
I've been watching the 2007 incarnation of GeGeGe no Kitarou, and the art style is obviously different from the 2018 version. The 2007 version appears to be all hand-drawn, while the 2018 series relies heavily on computer-assisted animation.

Here's Kitarou's tree house in 2007:

Compare that with this trailer for the 2018 version:

The current version makes heavy use of shadings like this scene. I haven't seen anything like it in the 2007 series.

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Old 2019-12-14, 04:16   Link #7
Transfer Adventurer
Join Date: Oct 2017
Let me put it like this:

Urusei Yatsura is an anime that aired from 1981 to 1986. On the left, you see the main character from an 1981 episode and on the right, you see her as she appears in 1986.

Gegege no Kintarou is a franchise started in 1968. Here's a comparison between the 2007 version on the left and the 2018 version on the right.

I don't feel things have changed that much. Yes, Gegege no Kintarou was a cheap production in 2007, so the quality looks awful. Nevermind it not even being in HD, they also cheaped out on other things, riding on the name of the franchise instead. Much like what happened to Dragon Ball Super.

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It's also a thing for Neko-musume from Gegege no Kinarou to get older over the seasons, so her design will change the most:

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But in the end, the more anime changes, the more it stays the same.

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Old 2019-12-16, 17:13   Link #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
I think the artwork has been pretty static for about 15 years.
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Old 2021-02-09, 10:07   Link #9
Lumine Passio
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Age: 15
The last time anime artstyle got that much of a change was when people moved away from cell animation to computer graphics, right?

Also, could we take sometime away from the faces to other body parts? Do you feel like character designs have made a big change in the last ten years? My personal gripe is most male protagonists from light novels look about the same: Average build, spiky hair, etc.
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Old 2021-02-09, 20:04   Link #10
Cosmic Eagle
Join Date: Jan 2009
Pre 2010 though....Now that was quite a big change in artstyle since pre 2010 art is still largely carried over from 90s art styles. But yeah, post 2010 it's been quite static except for certain titles
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Old 2021-02-10, 05:53   Link #11
Obelisk ze Tormentor
Black Steel Knight
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Indonesia
It's hard to judge the art change in 2010s when many of the popular ones are adaptations of the more retro properties (looking at you, Jojo). Attack on Titan, Haikyuu & Tokyo Ghoul are probably three of the most popular manganime art products of the 2010s, not just carried away from the 2000s aesthetics like SAO & plenty other LN adaptations.
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