How Much Do Anime Visuals Matter?

July 28, 2019 posted by

the answer is obviously that it depends on the viewers taste but the conversation surrounding anime visuals has grown increasingly accusatory as of late with many visually focused viewers insisting that animes first and foremost job is to present good visuals because anime is a visual medium this would seem like a reasonable stance to take where it actually true painting is a visual medium in a painting the quality of the visuals is literally all that matters because it's all that's on display but anime is most often fully written voice-acted scored and given sound effects on top of conveying things visually really it's an audio visual medium and most of that audio consists of dialogue which is written in text yes it's possible to make a great anime with no audio or writing at all and if you kept those things and removed the animation then it would cease to be defined as anime so in that regard animation is the most important element but that's completely semantic drama CDs are proof positive that you can make a story work with every element of anime besides the animation so while I think that anime visuals do matter and that they're necessary for something to even be considered anime and to showcase the full appeal of the medium I don't think that they necessarily have to be amazing or even that it doesn't make sense for someone's favorite show to look like dog shit because anime is a lot more than a visual medium and in fact I think most of what makes anime special is its cultural identity and specifically the kinds of stories and formats that the medium provides I often hear people derisive ly state that if you don't care about the visuals in anime then why not just read a book but this ignores structural elements like that anime is usually split into twenty-two minute chunks that err once a week which is a massive part of how they feel to consume as is the pretty consistent series length between different shows a book doesn't have the ability to control the pace of its consumption in the way that anime does and simply isn't capable of communicating the same density of information and sensations that sound and light can provide manga has no sound and usually no color and is consumed differently comics tend to focus on a narrower range of subject matter and have no sound as well film is generally not dissimilar to its anime counterpart but live-action TV is very differ in terms of what kinds of stories that is likely to tell not to mention there are some stories which just wouldn't make sense in any medium other than animation even if that animation isn't particularly well done take for instance the original Pokemon anime looking back at that show the level of jank and its animation is almost astounding from the constant reuse of footage to the off model character art to the long stretches of episode that aren't even really animated at all but when you take a step back and ask yourself what is the appeal of Pokemon it is obviously the Pokemon themselves being cool and cute and wanting to know about them Pokemon would be horrendous as a live-action TV series or film because the cartoon animals would be so unnatural to the show's world it would feel fundamentally different as a manga series wherein the Pokemon wouldn't have voices or colors or a memorable soundtrack backing them it wouldn't be right as a drama CD because obviously seeing the Pokemon is the main part of their appeal it works stunningly as a video game but the appeal of the game is so much more complicated and different from that of the show that they can hardly be compared at least not until the later generations wherein technology has allowed them to more closely resemble one another so while the visual element is integral to the appeal of the franchise it doesn't even really matter that the animation and art is so often sloppy if the things that are appealing about Pokemon are what someone wants out of a piece of art then it's not at all unreasonable for them to think that Pokemon is the best anime of course I personally feel that Pokemon has gotten better than ever before with its latest season Sun and Moon specifically because it has such strong visuals but if someone told me that the original show was their favorite perhaps just because the original 150 Pokemon are the ones that they liked then I couldn't blame or look down on them at all I certainly wouldn't tell them to go read a book about Pokemon log horizon doesn't have the strongest visuals but seeing all of the unique armor sets and background locations and the mere existence of the opening song elevates it above the original light novels some anime which actually could make sense as live-action series like rakugo Shinju are better off as anime just because of the incredible budget that it would take to tell the same story effectively in live-action as opposed to just drawing the multitude of era-appropriate settings and visual metaphors personally I think that visual novel readers who get mad at my fans for refusing to read the supposedly superior source material just don't appreciate the world of difference between a story that you have to click on to control the pacing of and which goes on for an indeterminate amount of time and one that paces itself as best fits the story with music that is tailored to the length of the scene instead of looping ad nauseam while you read and which tells its story within a set time frame which doesn't allow the author to just spiral out into every random tangent in their characters heads point being simply that there is a lot more to anime than just visuals and there is a lot more to anime visuals than just being of exceptional quality for some it's just the fact that the show is able to communicate something which other mediums either aren't capable of or would handle fundamentally differently that makes anime appealing let me know how important visuals are to you in the comments are there any shows that you love in spite of their visuals but which you don't think would make sense in other mediums regardless share this video with anyone who you think would appreciate it and support me on patreon where I offer shit loads of bonus content follow my big playlist of all the videos I make on all of my channels if you want watching YouTube to become a full-time unpaid job and thanks again for watching I'll see you in the next one


25 Replies to “How Much Do Anime Visuals Matter?”

  1. TheDavoo says:

    0:00 – Koufuku Graffiti

    0:05 – Attack on Titan S2

    0:09 – Berserk S2

    0:14 – Boku no Hero Academia S2

    0:22 – Cyrus the Great

    0:29 – The Heroic Legend of Arslan

    0:35 – The Tatami Galaxy

    0:45 – Furiko (Pendulum)

    1:00 – Little Witch Academia

    1:14 – Inferno Cop

    1:20 – Samurai Champloo

    1:29 – Read or Die

    1:44 – ASMR old book- tapping, reading, and flipping pages [by ASMRshmallows]

    1:50 – Owari no Seraph 8 w/ Drama CD [Review] [by eiyuu3seira]

    2:00 – Hunter X Hunter

    2:04 – DC Comics

    2:07 – AMC Theatres Intro Cinematic

    2:11 – Netflix Commercial

    2:16 – Haibane Renmei

    4:22 – Steins;Gate

    4:52 – Sugio

    4:59 – Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

    5:08 – Baby Steps

  2. Radioactive Panda says:

    Well turns out, that Pokémon WOULD look horrific in real life, but still awesome and interesting. #DP

  3. Jin Svil says:

    Welp detective Pikachu has a voice just sayin

  4. Yonatan says:

    2:47 a year and a half later it ended up looking okay lol

  5. c0mpu73rguy says:

    Animation matters more than visuals since anime is a moving media. Thus the reason I don’t like the trend of using slower 3d computer animation to make better looking animation (last example in mind being Batman Ninja, I really hated the animtion in this).

  6. Zivon says:

    Although I can look past visuals and appreciate an anime for its other components, I enjoy visuals a lot and thus tend not to watch shows I know are good, but don't fit my taste in visuals.

  7. TheCharmanderChannel says:

    In my opinion the first generation of the Pokémon anime is the best. The newer seasons just suck to me.

  8. Hound dogs says:

    4:22 the reason why we say to read the visual novel isn't that we think they are the same experience but better, it's exactly because the two media are so different that we want you to read the original.
    Most adaptations try to tell a story that isn't fit to be told in anime form so they end up with yes a different product, but a bad one that isn't worth your time.

  9. Onsokumaru says:

    Anyone who disagree that visuals matter in anime just go watch the new Beserk?

  10. Gabriel Peres Souza Santos says:

    Every Trigger anime
    Even tho they look kinda gorgeous despite inferior animation

  11. DudeGuy says:

    Shinkai films are definitely elevated from the visuals. Aku No hana is amazing despite its visuals

  12. SMOGPlays says:

    Shows that have visuals distracting enough to take away from the show are the turn off for some series. Kind of like Berserk 2016.

  13. Thumb Head says:

    Bad visuals are distracting if they are truly awful. But in the case of the new Berserk show I certainly enjoy it despite the visuals. Almost every single major criticism that i have seen claiming the show is "awful" has to do with its animation. In Super eyepatch wolf's video for example the only thing he criticizes apart from animation is the way the camera moves in the first episode. I dont understand how people can look at just one aspect of a show and determine its quality based on it.

  14. Tomas Senn says:

    Seki-kun, master of killing time is a perfect example
    The show only looks bad in a few specific spots but its also doesnt alway look good, except for the op and ed

  15. Josiah Baumgartner says:

    This doesn't answer your question but my favorite anime is One Piece. I quite like the visual style but the anime looks like ass pretty often. It totally works in manga form, it even is a better product. The current manga is better at accomplishing what it wants to be than the anime, but I love the anime in particular despite it's very often awful visuals because of the things it has over the manga, the music, voices, color and (though sadly lazy) movement.

  16. ICEEBERG Explains It All says:

    Love how the first Pokémon. Looked

  17. Ryan McNamara says:

    I definitely agree. Here's two things I'd like to add to the conversation

    Yes, painting is entirely visual, and yes, the only way it can convey information is with its visuals. But, the quality of a painting's visuals isn't necessarily the only thing that matters for the same reason that quality visuals aren't necessary for good anime. "Low-quality" painting (abstract art, surrealism, impressionism) conveys so much because it is less concerned with the quality of its visuals

    Second, you should check out how serialization affected readership and publishing in 1800's English literature. Short stories would get published regularly often ending on cliffhanger so people would be held in suspense until the next issue. Essentially manga but for books. It's interesting how books can do that sort of pacing like an anime would

  18. Feuturrr says:

    I think that, with "bad animation", it becomes possible to convey a different kind of emotion, much like how some games play awkward but really work as in the horror genre (for example; the difference from early "Resident Evil" and later ones). Some people don't like "Ping Pong the Animation" because of it's non-pleasant style, but has a subjective message delivered in a much stronger way, kinda like past century art vanguards.
    Also, please, could you define me what you meant with visuals within the video? I think I went out of the way :/

  19. Artemis Da' Fox says:

    I actually preferred the look of the original Pokémon beater

  20. Maurício Rodrigues says:

    I love the way you answer the question on the title right on the start.

  21. mew mew mew mew mew mew mew mew mew mew says:

    Dude thats all really valid and everything but if the animes ugly im not gonna watch it man…its true that what really matters is the plot and the characters and how the story goes but if it aint good animated and aesthetically pleasing im not gonna invest my time on it because if the show didnt bother to put some effort on how it looks im gonna assume it doesnt makes any effort to be interesting either

  22. Nabilah Alshari says:

    it just depends on the show. I watched shows where good visuals elevate bad writing and bad visuals downgrade excellent writing or don't bring out its potential.

  23. Derray Productions says:

    I agree there is a lot more to anime than just visuals, but I feel like you're downplaying the importance, I mean isn't Berserk one of the best stories ever told just to be butchered by its awful 2016/2017 in large due to its animation. Berserk clearly isn't a story only meant for manga, and can't the same he said for early JoJos?

  24. Mr Ronzou says:

    I genuinely think that Audio is one of the most important parts of Anime.

  25. Nami sue says:

    anime is an art form, art can be anything, the beauty of anime is its way of using and synchronising stories, visuals, music, direction, and many more things. to put it simply, one anime can be good in all stats, but still be inferior to an anime thats amazing in a few stats, but sometimes ill admit that we do get all around masterpieces , epic in all categories, like K- on!…and K- on!!……shit thats the only show ive seen id call perfect, and i just finished my 123rd anime, it was monogatari second season, wich you should watch

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