The twenty-third day of the challenge is most definitely a challenge and one that I’m going to cheat with in a way. The basic premise is to come up with an “Anime you think had the best, or most interesting art.”
Well, that can go a lot of ways and I’m sure people will break it down into various subcategories, character designs, backgrounds and so forth. When this question comes up, and I’ve had it many times on Twitter, forums, conventions and elsewhere, there are two examples that I take with me of things that really stick out. And that’s what gets to me with a lot of these questions. They’re things that have stuck with me for awhile and stood the test of time in my mind, not just another flash in the pan or ooo, shiny moments that I’m having.
The first one that comes up is the one that is more traditionally animated but stands out for me with the best art, design and overall direction. While it was largely panned, I adored the dark visual take of Soul Taker when Geneon Entertainment released it because it blended that with some beautiful things that we hadn’t seen much of at that point in anime visual history. It was striking with its backgrounds, the use of color and the flair to it. It’s stuck with me for quite a few years now because of the way I felt when watching those visuals flash across the screen and few shows since then really have stood out like it.
The end sequence only captures a hint of it but it’s definitely there.
The other show that stands out is one that is considered to be pretty controversial since the style of art used for it has caused some people to have headaches and to be unable to focus on the show because of its look. For me, Gankutsuou stands out as something really creative and a great use of style to bring something very different to a story that’s already being reworked from the familiar to a new setting. The people involved in this style, particularly for the costume design, have some strong credits behind them in the fashion world and it shows here. It’s not like other things you see and really makes something unique and engaging.