This is just a discussion I found on's forums. It's a thread where folks discuss how many veteran artists have deemed the 'anime' style as somewhat amateurish. I will post some of the more interesting responses for reference.

Flamedragon speaks:
  • With anime, on average it's quite a mouth might just be a line across, the calves might just be lines curving upwards, a line to indicate the neck muscles from the front. I like seeing the muscles show, shadows...I want to get the feeling that the character is alive! That's why nowadays I've been getting back into comic books.
Ah, the simplified style of anime is most troubling in that these 'lines' are supposed to mimic complex muscle formation. Not good if you want to be treated as a serious artist who takes his craft seriously it seems.

Kev Ferrera:
  • I think the limitations of anime art are somewhat analogous to Egyptian Hieroglyphs or Persian Miniatures. It can be beautiful, but its a bit like fast food. Easy and simple and enjoyable, but often offering only empty calories.
No comment.

  • The reason Anime exists as it is, is because it's a style intended for animating. It necessarily needs to be simplistic.
Now this person speaks of anime's origins - where the country's devastated economy forced young (and old) Japanese artists to work with such low budgets they had to devise a way to animate things simply...

  • Personally, I don't have anything against the anime aesthetic. In fact it does a lot of things really well using the aesthetic. My issue with young artists placing a strong emphasis on anime is that it drives them into a stylistic and especially conceptual corner. I've seen this over and over, where young artists who subscribe to this style becomes uncreative - all of it ends up looking the same, feeling the same, reading the same - and more over, the concepts don't vary at all. I think it's really important for any contemporary illustrator to diversify, to be flexible and versatile. Subscribing purely to anime, from what I've seen, goes a long way in killing those qualities.

This is interesting - Brendan is convinced that sticking to to 'anime'-style would lead to a kind of 'stagnation' - which is true. More often than not, the only distinguishing feature amongst a lot of anime characters is through hair-type, eye-color. This blandness is dangerous and will definitely lead you to creating a lot of same looking art.

Seba boi:
  • As for anime-style animation, as already said before, it's simplistic because it's made to be drawn thousands of times... But that said, there's still a significant amount of very innovative character designs from the anime world... And I'm particularly fond of some of the works in CLAMP, Ah! My Goddess, Cowboy Bebop, Serial Experiments Lain, Last Exile, and Rurouni Kenshin... And I love it when some of them tries to emulate the Mucha style like some art pieces for Wolf's Rain and X...
This person refers to anime's stylistic achievements. These are pretty good examples of the medium, and shows how far it could go, but I'm not sure it would convince serious art enthusiasts. Is it possible that national pride among artists also plays a role to the rejection of Japanese anime, as a style?

  • Why does anime get all the attention? Am I wrong, or do young artists also confine themselves by emulating American comics, Disney, and whatever cartoons are playing on Cartoon Network? If you hop over to the creature-creating world, every other drawing looks like it stepped out of The Lion King, Balto, or Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron - no appreciation for animal anatomy. I'll admit there are a lot of anime artists out there, but before anime took over wasn't everyone drawing steroid-pumped men and big-breasted women with tiny waists?

    The important thing... is that anime and manga creators normally have a very strong understanding of anatomy before they begin to push it into their own style. And as mentioned, anime needs to be simpler because of the medium. That's the step that most kids miss... and if they're lucky, they'll figure it out. Otherwise, they're just going to do what most all kids do: copy the stuff they like.
I like her point. Anime isn't the only style we should discuss. There are generations of young artists who have preferred a particular style - some would stick to Lion King, or as Ren & Stimpy's John Kricfalusi mentions - "The CalArts UPS style" (More on that in the future)

Megas Imperius:
  • There are certain anime that throw the stylized characters into contrast with realism, in a good way--Cowboy Bebop, for instance, has very detailed backgrounds and, though the futurescape is strange, it's handled in a very realistic way.

    And there are works like Castle of Cagliostro which have astoundingly fluid animation--if you really pay attention to the way characters move, it looks almost mo-capped. Not to mention that Castle's environments were some of the lushest I've ever seen in an anime.
Weird, huh? Liking anime's symplistic style to stick figures moving around photo-real environments. This point is similar to the one above.

Here something. Not all Japanese artists stick with the anime style. If that's what you're thinking...


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