I’m not going to argue today about the merits of videogame and anime as art in themselves … they obviously are … I’m actually going to discuss the artwork and animation contained within them and how they can stack up to standalone ‘works of art’. Due to the nature of target audience of many videogames and anime films/television, the artwork on offer is usually forgotten or ignored by the wider artistic community, but you won’t have to look far to find tattoos and drawings of famous scenes and characters from videogames and anime on any school book in the land.
Difference between Anime and Manga
Depending on your tastes you might not know (or need some clarification on) what anime and manga is and if there is a difference. They both originated in Japan and in the broadest sense, anime is any animated film or television show and manga is any drawing of a character or scene (usually in a comic book), however they have developed into a style all of their own and Japanese creators will make films, shows, and comics all drawn in the same style that can even be copied, for example the American TV show Avatar: The Last Air Bender is done in an anime style.
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So without further ado, I’m going to briefly discuss some of the most beautiful drawings I have ever seen, all from anime, videogames, and manga,
The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga is a planned trilogy of games, which is so far two entries in and is set in a fantasy setting heavily inspired by ancient Viking and Nordic cultures. The games have innovative gameplay, music, and an emotional storyline, however, for me, the best thing about them is the art work and design of the game’s themselves. The series plays out like a moving tapestry (or banner, if you will) that will leave you in awe as you weep on the floor.
Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Any sci-fi fan worth their salt will have seen and loved the Japanese anime film Akira. Set in the futuristic ‘Neo Tokyo’ the story revolves around a biker gang that gets caught up in secret government plots that threatens to destroy the city and features telepathic floating old-children and massive Dragon Ball Z style fight sequences. The artwork, as with many anime, is stunning, but for Akira, its beauty comes with its cyber-punk stylings.
See the trailer for some of the gorgeous visuals.
Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh
Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh are cross-media franchises that span videogames, television, films, and trading cards and it’s these cards that I want to discuss today. While the films and TV shows have their moments; it’s the trading cards that really have some beautiful and intricate designs, particularly the Yu-Gi-Oh cards. None of them are ever going to win any art prizes, but for fans of manga drawings, they are some of the best around.
Here are a couple of nerdy guys discussing Yu-Gi-Oh artwork.
Whimsical and Original
There are some places where you wouldn’t think to look to find cool videogame artwork and one of those places is online gambling sites. Most people would think I have actually lost my mind, but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to Sun Bingo and their balls … so to speak. The site features simple bingo balls dressed up in fancy dress which strikes me as the type of art work Salvador Dali might make if he were still alive. The majority of online gambling games do look really cheap, I grant you, but occasionally you get some that actually but some effort into the games, like Sky Vegas, for example, which has some great artwork on its games. And for anyone who says online gambling isn’t videogames, you can go away, because technically they are.
Finally, I’ve always found the Bioshock series has some incredible designs and you can take a screenshot of any moment and use it as a desktop background. It’s spooky, grimy, and yet beautiful all at once.
Image courtesy of Flickr.com