Background Art in Anime (1.0)

Whenever we watch an anime, we notice the plot, the characters, the character designs, the animation and music. Rarely do our eyes focus on the drawings behind the characters, and rarer still, find the background art amazing. Maybe they always are, but most of us don’t notice it. Yes, I am one of them; but there are some scenes in anime that tore my eyes away from the characters and focused them on the background art and today, I will attempt to write about some of the unique backgrounds in the anime I have seen so far.

I haven’t been watching anime from the day I was born, so my selections may not be as educated as others- but I like sharing my thoughts, and I think background in some anime really increases our love for it.

5 Centimeters per Second’s Vanishing Points: We probably notice backgrounds with perspective a lot of times. But usually, they drawn from an upward-facing angle with only, one side of the ‘corridor’- I don’t know much about art, but I do know about drawing from perspective. So, I noticed that Shinkai’s camera angle faces straight ahead, or downwards in perspective backgrounds (creating a slope): which isn’t as frequently presented in other anime. 5 Centimeters per Second shows us more number of times than other anime. I am sure there are other anime that implements this style, but the fine detail and the lighting in the art really makes these backgrounds unique from other anime.

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What a view!

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Detailed, Natural Backgrounds of Wolf Children: Beautiful anime like Wolf Children deserve beautiful backgrounds. The resemblance to a scenery painting really fits with how nature is in a countryside. The color palette has variation and the lighting really tells us the different moods of the characters; and with the often moving backgrounds- cinematography in anime couldn’t shine any brighter other than here. Sorry, sometimes- backgrounds can be all about the aesthetic and reproducing that in written form requires pulling the strings from different departments that are involved with backgrounds.

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Wonderful lighting

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This background animation was really well done

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Starry Skies in Children Who Chase Lost Voices: Here I go gushing about Shinkai again. Seriously though, Children Who Chase Lost Voices does show us some beautiful, vibrant colors in the sky near the end.Screenshot (239)Screenshot (238)Screenshot (237)Screenshot (236)Screenshot (234)

Nagi no Asukara’s Blue-toned visuals: I think that these backgrounds really carried the show; these backgrounds are beautiful and this goes to show how much potential a fantasy world has to produce such gorgeous, bright artwork in its backgrounds.Screenshot (268)Screenshot (269)Screenshot (270)Screenshot (267)Screenshot (266)Screenshot (263)Screenshot (261)

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The most beautiful scene in the series

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Realistically Stylized Backgrounds in Garden of Words: You must be annoyed by this amount of Shinkai-gushing I am doing, but Shinkai had no direct hands on the backgrounds in this film. The first time I watched this film, I was stunned by the vibrant colour palette for a rainy day! Seriously, though- the colours refracting off the thin borders on the characters and the umbrellas- just gorgeous. No higher praise can be given to the masterful use of lighting here.

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Wonderful lighting

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Where backgrounds add color to the characters
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Droplet animation
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Good example of characters interacting with the background
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Wonderful opening scene

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Those dancing lights on the ceiling remind me of Takaki’s classroom in 5 centimeters per second

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Bakemonogatari’s Characterized Backgrounds: I am sure there are other Shaft shows that use the ‘type’ of backgrounds. Each character’s rooms have different backgrounds with a different color palette: it doesn’t matter whether they have a deep symbolic meaning or not. Let’s take a simple background, like, Kanbaru’s room- which seems to be full of red books. This shows her ‘messiness’… wait, that wasn’t a good example. The way the backgrounds are drawn don’t always follow a specific art style, but the use of basic geometric shapes is prevalent.Screenshot (302).png

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The exaggeration of abandonment

This post had a lot of showing and insignificant telling. I missed out on  Ghibli because I haven’t yet watched Only Yesterday, My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky. Feel free to share your anime with great backgrounds in the comments.

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