Top 10 Anime character design from the original

“Animation project” involves different speciality and people through several processes. Also It is quite different if you compare with Western and Japanese methodology, but “character design” is definitely one of the most important foundation process.

The most considered process for creating Japanese anime is to simulate the characters from the original concept art so-called character-Gennan 原案. It is so important especially if the characteristics of the artwork have reputation from fans.

Here, we would like to introduce some of the best animation titles, which WE THINK, the characters are well reproduced from the original concept.

1. Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない/ Artwork by Hiro Kanzaki かんざきひろ



Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai is based on light novel written by Tsukasa Fushimi 伏見つかさ and the illustration by Hiro Kanzaki. It is a comedy and romance story with lots of otaku essence and his characters are reproduced successfully on animation.

2. Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru 俺の彼女と幼なじみが修羅場すぎる/ Artwork by Rurooるろお



Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru is another high school love romance with a group of female characters surrounding a man on light novel. The illustrator Ruoo has created the character concept for the original light novel, and when the animation was released on TV many of his fans thought that the way Ruroo draws cannot be reproduced on animation, because his lines and colors are quiet light weight and obscure, which makes it looks almost like watercolor painting. But it was realized by A1 Picture that created The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, The Anthem of the Heart and many others.

3. Grimgar , Ashes and Illusions 灰と幻想のグリムガル/ Artwork by Eiri Shirai 白井鋭利





Grimgar , Ashes and Illusions would be the most appreciated RPG animation with the beautiful concept art such as characters, monsters and background in Spring anime 2016 based on light novel. Eiri Shirai creates illustrations with artistic lighting and coloring with purplish tone, and his extraordinary style is represented reliably carried out by A1 Picture.

4. Yuru Yuri ゆるゆり/ Artwork by Namori なもり




The series has 3 seasons and 1 OVA period such as Yuru Yuri, YuruYuri♪♪, YuruYuri San Hai! and YuruYuri Nachuyachumi!. Namori is the author of Yuru Yuri, and is one of the most achieved artists who has the series of both Manga and Anime. The animation quality is quite perfect as it seems like she has been supervising all the animation series.

5. Puella Magi Madoka Magica 魔法少女まどか☆マギカ/ Artwork by Ume Aoki 蒼樹うめ



Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is one of the blockbusters that made over 2 billion Yen at the Box Office globally in 2014. The original TV series was broadcasted in 2011, and the movie series Beginnings[前編]始まりの物語 [Zenpen]: Hajimari no Monogatari, Eternal[後編]永遠の物語 [Kōhen]: Eien no Monogatari and Rebellion[新編]叛逆の物語 [Shinpen] Hangyaku no Monogatari were shown at cinema.

Ume Aoki’s illustration is amazingly optimistic and bright, and her style seemed to be found from Hidamari Sketch ひだまりスケッチ. The idea was to give the opposite impression to audiences with the story when she was chosen to be the designer of character concept for Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. The whole animation series are created by SHAFT シャフト.

6. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri  甲鉄城のカバネリ/ Artwork by Haruhiko Mikimoto 美樹本晴彦




Haruhiko Mikimoto said that his design might not fit with the latest TV animation style because he thought that his style is classic but the result went opposite. He is the creator of Megazone 23 and Macross series and the fans must have accepted with no doubt. Kabaneri is the original TV animation started this April and the characters are perfectly fit for the story.

7. Fantasista Doll ファンタジスタドール/ Artwork by Anmi



Anmi has impressed anime fans when Fantasista Doll was released because she was quite indie and also very new that time. She worked with Hiromi Katou 加藤裕美 the animation character designer for Guilty Crown ギルティクラウン, and as result anime characters look different from the original but they are reasonably reproduced with Anmi’s taste.

8. Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata 冴えない彼女の育てかた/ Artwork by Kurehito Misaki 深崎暮人



Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata is a light novel and the illustration is by Kurehito Misaki who draws fetish and realistic artwork. His illustration is expressed as erotic and is transferred into the animation successfully by A1 Picture.

9. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai 僕は友達が少ない/ Artwork by Buriki ブリキ

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Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai so-called Haganai is light novel based comedy story written by Yomi Hirasaka 平坂読, and Buriki won the first prize for the amazing light novel illustrator 2012. Haganai is a kind of combination of both story and illustration made the category of light novel got known widely in public.

10. Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko. 変態王子と笑わない猫。/ Artwork by Kantoku カントク



Kantoku is an icon illustrator who influences many others and his style has been trendy for the past few years. The animation of Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko. is focused on Kantoku art and you can recognize Kantoku’s design from the animation.

As conclusion, the character design referring from the concept art could be the most important process to produce a good animation art work as the good story and the attractive characters are the perfect blend.

©裕時悠示・ソフトバンク クリエイティブ/「俺修羅」製作委員会
©2016 十文字青・オーバーラップ/灰と幻想のグリムガル製作委員会
©Magica Quartet / Aniplex・Madoka Movie Project Rebellion
© Aniplex Inc. All rights reserved.
“KABANERI OF THE IRON FORTRESS” Animation production by WIT STUDIO Tetsuro Araki directed the series, with Ichirou Ohkouchi providing the scripts
(C) 2013 ファンタジスタドールプロジェクト/FD製作委員会
(C)2015 丸戸史明・深崎暮人・KADOKAWA 富士見書房/冴えない製作委員会
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