80’s character design VS 90’s and later’s character design


I’ve been holding this in for a long, long time. No, I’m not talking about toilet related humor, but I’ve gotta say this: 80’s rocked! 90’s sucked majorly-sorry-mf#@%#$%$#%-asses and stinks to high heaven!

(Oh just shut up and get over it.) Anyway, take a look at the title of this article, and you may ask, what about the designs? Well, to me, it just seems like the 80’s designs were more distinctive – at least with character designs. Let me explain…

Take Bubblegum Crisis, for instance, or Dirty Pair, or even something completely unrelated like Macross. When one look at each character, let’s say female characters, one can see that each had a distinctive face – by that I mean one won’t think that all these girls came out of the same face factory with just different hairstyles/colors. For a good (or bad) example of later, see Sailor Moon. I loved the show, but all the Sailor Soldiers (forget Scouts, I despise anything dubbed and any terms changed) looked like they came from the same mold, just with different hairstyles and colors! Oh, of course the designer would tell you that “look, here Usagi’s eyes and Ami’s are slightly different, Amy’s droopier and Usagi’s more up and lifted…yadayadayada.” Look, that’s not what I meant, I meant, something like distinctive, completely different, as in two different face molds!

I mean, if someone were to put Nene’s hair on Priss’s head, would I mistake them for one another? Absolutely not! I would instantly know that it’s like a wig-effect, or if someone were to make Misa Hayase (that’s Lisa Haynes for you Mercekized fans) wear Minmei’s clothing, and Minmei’s hairstyle complete with her color, am I going to say, “oh look there’s Minmei”? Hell no!

And then let’s take another classic, let’s say…Gundam!

In classic Gundam, people really change when they age. Granted, Gundam does pass through from the end of 70’s to the beginning of 80’s and beyond, but come on! Amuro grows up, right? And Char changes from Gundam 0079 to Zeta, and then in Char’s Counterattack, he is older, and different. And in later series, each character looked different from the other characters. But in Gundam Seed Destiny, does Kira Yamato really change? No a chance there, bud. The girls would be sooooooo disappointed if he were to look any older. OH AND, if I were to make Athran Zala wear Kira’s hair style and his clothing, but not his hair color, people would think Kira all of the sudden gained a little brother! Actually, at some point I thought they were siblings!

Let’s take a another example…well, there are just so many, oh I know, how about Ohran Koko Host Club? First time I looked at the screen shots, and I thought, wow are these people quintuplets?

Next, since I happen to be listening to Onegai Sensei’s theme song (Kotoko chan’s voice is awesome, I so would go out with her… Yeah, dream on, fanboy) Let’s take the twins from Onegai Twins. It’s not a secret that…oh well, spoiler alert…………….

Miyafuji Miina isn’t related to the main guy,

Miyafuji Miina and Onodora Karen practically share the same face, just different hair colors! Gee, that really would make them twins, wouldn’t you say? Oh their noses are different? Where did you find their noses different?

And the list goes on and on, and you ask, what’s the point of all these?

Well my friend, this is the rant and I think you’re in the wrong place. The moe article was last month.

Then again, all the moe characters look practically all the same, almost everywhere.

One thought on “80’s character design VS 90’s and later’s character design”

  1. After reading this whole thing twice, I still don’t quite get what you’re saying… I understand that this entry is to compare character design of the 80’s with that of later years, but you haven’t particularly outlined how the faces look different in 80’s anime. Are the eyes different in size? Different face shapes? Different positioning of the features? You then brought up the example of the original Gundam series, where the characters’ looks change over time. How does this contribute to your thesis that the 80’s character designs were more distinctive? Please enlighten me…

    Moreover, the Ouran example you picked was a rather bad one, because it contradicts what you were saying. The characters in Ouran look, to me at least, very distinctive. The hosts have variable heights, different eye shapes, distinctive personalities as reflected by their facial features (e.g. eyebrow shape). Sure, their noses seem of the same size, and they all possess the ideal oval-shaped face, but so do most of the 80’s anime characters. I don’t see how Ouran would be on a lesser level compared to, say, Bubblegum Crisis, in terms of character design.

    Since you brought up the topic of characters who change looks over time, one recent and wildly popular title I thought of was Naruto. Surely you’ve been watching Shippuden? Oh, there’s also Hikaru no Go. The character design in these two titles are fairly good, so they should serve as decent counter-arguments to your 90s-anime-all-have-lousy-character-designs-because-their-looks-don’t-change claim.

    This post turned out to be longer than I had intended. I do agree with your rant partially. However, you angered the Ouran fan inside of me by using it as an example to your ill-defended argument, so I couldn’t help it. ;)

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