Posted by psgels on 6 June 2008 with categories: Kurenai

As this episode was mostly boring, I’m going to hijack most of this post for something completely different that caught my attention. I stumbled upon this post, referring to this piece of art, that rants against the lack of shading in the anime of the 21st century.

Ironically, it’s done by the same guy who posted those documentaries on fansubs. This means that there indeed is a lot of one-sided bias against today’s anime. The guy’s very selective about his examples: most of the images from the eighties are from OVAs, while the recent images are all from TV-series. Of course these have a bigger budget. There are enough anime from the eighties with cheap animation as well (Gundam, anyone?). The guy obviously is a narcissistic elitist, but I admit that he does have a point.

The fact remains that the shading in recent anime is usually minimal. I never really paid attention to it, but very rarely do I see a second shade-colour, let alone a third. I’m not going to deny that Hyper Future Vision looked absolutely gorgeous, with its distinctive art style, and it’s such a shame that today, so little anime try to experiment with shading a bit.

Of course, not every series needs shading. Porfy and Kaiba hardly have any shading at all, and yet they’re among the most visually pleasing series to currently air. But the fact does remain that creators could play so much with different kinds of shading, and you hardly see anything of it.

Nowadays, the trend seems to be incredibly detailed background art if you want to show off your budget. It would be interesting to see series break away from this trend, in order to focus more on different kinds of shading. There are of course exceptions here and there, but I do agree that things could be more varied, though I think I’m going to pay more attention to this in the future.

But indeed, there are enough exceptions and Otaking seems too stuck up to notice this. If he happens to read this entry through some strange reason, then I advice him to check out Shion no Ou. Obviously, the show had a small budget, but it’s the perfect example of a show that really tries to play with its own art style, and the best shots are absolutely gorgeous, with intricate shading, creative poses. It’s the perfect example of a visual feast that tries to think outside the box.

Anyway, a bit more about this episode of Kurenai: I guess my expectations worked against me for this time. For this series, I expected an action-packed finale, just like the first episode suggested. What we get is a Shinkurou who needs an entire episode to figure out that he wants to save Murasaki, wasting precious time for this series. This is especially aggravating since a similar series, Crystal Blaze, is about to finish with a huge finale that keeps building up speed, while Kurenai seems to slow down more and more as it goes on.

16 Responses

  1. Denizen says:

    Otaking is too selective and his presentations are always unbalanced. It would be easy to understand him if it wasn’t so easy to contradict him with the simplest of evidence.

  2. nahrub says:

    otaking’s argument is stupid. time changes, so does the animation style n ppl’s taste alike. i personally dislike the over-shaded-80s-style. he’s just an old man who cant let go of the past. n comparing ovas/movies with 100ep anime is just plain stupid.

  3. Archer says:

    indeed there are many people who don’t like the way anime series are made today but there are just as many who don’t like the old anime,we talk about two different generations so of course u cannot have the same style and the way the anime is produced won’t remain always the same and over the time it will chance in good or in bad,everyone will have different opinions

    overall i can’t say i like old anime more than the new one just as i cannot say the quality of the new series is a lot better and i like that ones more,i love anime in general and i think each anime period has its good things and bad things and the current anime generation has given us a lot of gorgeous animation and has a lot of talented artists

  4. Autonomous Monster says:

    In a vain attempt to talk about the episode at hand, I do get this uncomfortable feeling that it’s going to go with the “violence solves nothing” angle and the last episode will be twenty minutes of Murasaki and her father talking out their differences. I wouldn’t care so much, but Kurenai taking Murasaki back to the flat (and Benika letting him ffs) pretty much destroyed my suspension of disbelief and I was hoping for something a bit more towards cynicism side of the scale to balance it out. Shinkurou’s always been a bit naive in his treatment of Murasaki, but I didn’t think he’d go that far. Well. This series is nothing if not good at dialogue.

    As for quality… I will admit that I was never into anime in a big way until a couple of years ago, so I can’t say I noticed. I have to say the shading thing would be lost on me, though; I’m not big on colours. Quality anime to me suggests quality animation. Fluid, convincing and detailed.

  5. TinyRedLeaf says:

    I wonder how those “old guys” would feel about “flat art” anime such as Mononoke and Kaiba? And while shading might have “declined” (in Otaking’s opinion), other interesting styles have emerged. Notice for example the line art used in Toshokan Sensou, which mimics the art style of manga and comics.

    Quite simply, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Not to mention that an audience’s preferences change will over time – it’s called creativity. Ironically, if animators and artists stuck to the shading techniques of the ’80s, as Otaking insists, anime would look very stale today.

    Funny you should hijack a Kurenai blog post for such opinions though. While the animation in Kurenai has been choppy and uneven, the background art, on the other hand, has been stupendously gorgeous. Especially the painted wall screens in the Inner Sanctuary and the Hozuki household.

    When you have such eye candy to hold your attention, who needs gratuitous cell shading? ;)

    Shame that you found this episode boring though. Shinkuro received further development, as did poor Yayoi. It’s also nice to see Shinkuro’s “sisters” give him much needed encouragement. The pieces are falling into place and we’ll soon see how Benika’s masterplan turns out.

  6. omo says:

    I think there are a few other anime that had experimented with shading–Gonzo’s got their kaleidoscopic stuff, and Ufotable is notable for their gradient hair.

    The problem with experiments in shading in animation is that it increases the complexity of actually animating things drastically as shades change with motion.

    In fact, I think Otaking makes the mistake repeatedly. For example, OAVs actually don’t always have big budgets (especially back in the 80s). What makes them shine over TV series is scheduling–OAVs like Giant Robo had all the time in the world to produce, yet Macross Frontier has a brutal, weekly schedule. Time is more of a limitation than money when it comes to TV broadcasting.

    When you want to animate in color, shading will reflect change in lighting. Having 3 shades versus two means your coloring now takes 50% longer. Ever wonder why Kaiba is so pale color-wise? Because it’s “very” animated. With computer inking, we can do tricks like ones in Gankutsuou where you just slap some transparent layer and let loose some CG rendering. CG cell shading is another common form of experiment with shading, because it’s not as labor intensive.

    And truthfully, I don’t entirely blame Otaking as his ignorance regarding the animation process is quite common place among fans.

  7. Denizen says:

    On the subject of the actual episode.

    I do feel that Kurenai has almost run out of steam. It was great at first, but now everything does indeed feel like an extremely contrived device for some drama, and it’s just dissapointing.
    I still have faith for a good ending which can be both a mixture of character interaction and some decent action, but as has been said it could easily go the other way, and really let the show down.

    But considering Baccano built up to an action-packed last episode, didn’t, but still managed to make a good episode and ending – I think I can imagine Brains Base pulling off a good ending.

  8. Autonomous Monster says:

    omo: “With computer inking, we can do tricks like ones in Gankutsuou where you just slap some transparent layer and let loose some CG rendering”

    Was that the effect where the characters’ clothes looked like windows onto a flat texture? I though that was beautiful. :)

  9. RedMaigo says:

    Is Otaking trying to become the hardest working troll in the fandom or what?

    He kind of reminds me of Answerman from ANN. Both of them know their stuff and make very good points. At the same time they also torpedo their own arguments by making sweeping generalizations, providing contradictory evidence to support said arguments and being opinionated to the point of myopia.

    I’m wondering if this guy will ever blog? He could win next years ABA Peoples Choice Best Dorama Awards easily.

    Oh yeah…this post was also about Kurenai wasn’t it?

    I have stopped watching this show as of episode 8 and I am not really sure I want to continue.

    After reading this post I am almost tempted to just delete all of the episodes on my hard drive and move on to something else.

    It was one of the few shows this season that seemed to have some potential. Now it seems like it is going to finish with one big meh of an ending. Kind of like last season’s Spice and Wolf.

    Here’s to hoping I am wrong.

  10. Denizen says:

    I think deleting the whole series is a bit extreme. It’s not as if Kurenai is a major commitment or anything.

  11. RedMaigo says:


    Yeah, but I got a lot of anime to catch up on and only a lifetime to do it in. Which only gets shorter and shorter day by day.

    To paraphrase someone whose name escapes me at the moment, “Life is too short to watch mediocre anime.”

  12. Solaris says:

    @Omo: wow this is the first time i read you and understand your point. You spoke cleverly and precisely. Thank you. :) I agree with you in every single aspect.

    Furthermore, people don’t listen to MightyOtaking’s personal rants. He really doesn’t deserve all that attention. He proved himself to be blind and onesided to his own arguments. He just made fun enough of himself with that hilarious youtube megarant on fansubs history. Not only he proves not to know and undestand modern animation, but he also tends to prove his desplicable thesys with wrong examples.

    I’ll reply about Kurenai as soon as i’ll finish watching the 9th episode.
    But I still will warn you this particular eoisode is indeed the calm before the storm. It was clear from the outcome of the former episode.
    A final confrontation was too early and Shinkuro was easily defeated. Now it’s the time of regret, so we have plain solw and boring episode, but next episode will still begin Shinkuro’s awakening, leading to fireworks in the last episode. Many anime follow that route, and they end up awesome! Just wait and see ;)
    Don’t drop the serie now that’s the best part is finally at hand!

  13. Sang says:

    Man, I’ve never heard of this Otaking, and I’ve been watching anime since Astroboy and Elite-Fansubs was using Vandread to advance the model of online fansubs distribution.

    But whatever, he’s obviously an elitist tool too self-indulgent to listen to anyone elses arguments. He’s like those Final Fantasy nutjobs who swear the series should have stayed 2D because it was more charming.

  14. helen says:

    we can have both wonderful backgrounds and detailed characters – the problem, again, is the funding. Lots of anime have beautiful background art – but their characters are extremely flat. Based on technology in the 80s and 90s, the character shading techniques are already impressive.

  15. Kilroy says:

    I see no problem with a story slowing down for character development. I see no problem with a director taking chances in the current ADD generation. I welcome the slow pace to gain more insight on the characters in order to lay foundation for more action later. I thought it was good, not the best but it’s good.

  16. omo says:

    I guess now that I bothered to come back to this post, I’m going to say I loved Kurenai episode 10. Best in the series so far for me.

    And it’s not just money, it’s time and talent. In fact I would argue those two are more important. Kaiba is a good exmaple…

Leave a Reply


Mail will not be published
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:38 AM)
    @Bam: That berserk chapter isn’t in English its in Spanish =<
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 04:07 AM)
    Kaiser marathons a re-watch of star wars, makes list of pros and cons:
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 09:50 PM)
    @Aidan: well interestingly in the pilot “what doth life?” causes a file not found error, so it fitted perfectly.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 04:24 PM)
    @Bam, Nope. Never seen Xavier.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

One Punch Man – 08

I wish I knew just what that girl at the beginning was parodying as she’s clearly been overdrawn in a completely different style. My closest guess would be the poster girls of creature features in the 60s and 70s as she wouldn’t look out of place if pasted into a movie poster. I don’t think […]

Young BlackJack – 08

While I find the level of risk in this two part arc to be inconsequential, I must admit that I like how it all turned out. For this is the first time in this series that Blackjack failed. While he was able to discern the cause of Johnny’s lack of pain, he was unable to […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 07

Oh those poor seiyūs that had to act in today’s episode. I can only imagine the horror when a Japanese speaking seiyū is told they need to have an entire conversation in English in a fairly dialogue heavy show. Japanese and English happen to be two of the hardest languages to learn so if they […]

One Punch Man – 07

This episode mainly focused on a giant Meteor about to annihilate the city and the introduction if S class heroes, Metal Knight and Bang. Bang makes it a point to say how the top class heroes are hardly very heroic with most not showing up at all to stop a city’s total destruction. Even one […]

Young BlackJack – 07

Racism is always a thorny topic to deal with. Regardless of intent there are just so many ways of messing it up, be it by using strawmen or one dimensional caricatures. It’s a topic that requires a delicate hand to prevent pushing it to its extreme all to make an obvious point of Racism being […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 06

I can’t say I enjoyed this episode of Subete too much, mainly because there was less investigating and more character building. That wouldn’t be a problem if the character building wasn’t so focused on our main leads. The leads are fine, what we need is to expand on the other characters present on the island […]

One Punch Man – 06

It is interesting that the challenges that Saitama faces that get him worried that truly the most mundane and ordinary. Saitama can punch a monster into oblivion but when it comes to essays or going to sales he’s powerless. Here we have him about to be kicked out of the hero association if he doesn’t […]

Young BlackJack – 06

There are times when Blackjacks over the top nature can be entertaining presentation wise and others when it can remove any sense of surprise. While I do like the things Blackjack explores, it is very clear cut on how it shows it. In this episode the man that Blackjack and the army Medic have been […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 05

The more I hear about Magata’s DID, the more suspect it becomes. According to this episode, Magata didn’t conceive DID out of trauma or accident but instead intentionally crafted alternate personalities so well to the point that it became DID. I personally find the mechanics of this rather fantastical as I don’t think anyone can […]

Latest Reviews

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]


Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]


Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]


Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]