All About Japan

The (Recent) Evolution of Anime Eyes

Anime Manga

Naoki Saito is a professional digital artist with a glowing resume that includes work for the Sangokushi Puzzle Taisen mobile game and art for Pokémon games, as well as the Pokémon Trading Card Game. His vibrant style of illustration has earned him a huge fan base online, with more than 50,000 followers on his Twitter account alone.

Saito’s most recent work delves into the transition of 2-D anime character eyes over the years. According to the illustrator, the image on the left shows how eyes were drawn long ago, with a vertically long oval shape and lots of white space around the pupils. The portrait in the middle shows the transition to more angular eye shapes that are larger in general, with a focus on strong, dark eyelashes. On the right, we have the image that’s commonly in use today, with less white space inside the eye and features that are more conservative and low-key by comparison.

The image on the left resembles characters from the anime franchise Slayers, which started as a light novel series in 1989. The middle image is reminiscent of the K-ON! cast, which first appeared in manga form in 2007, and the picture on the right looks like characters from the Sound! Euphonium 2013 Japanese novel series.

Different generations are bound to feel an affinity for the various styles of art pictured above. And who knows what the next generation of manga and anime artists will bring to the drawing table?

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