Pokemon artist gives quick illustrated lesson in evolution of anime eyes
One of the signature features of Japanese animation and manga is the unique depiction of the characters eyes, large and overly exaggerated for full emotional effect. But like anything else, anime eyes have always been evolving, even in a relatively short amount of time. Just recently, a digital illustrator for Pokémon got on Twitter and drew up a little tutorial explaining how the eyes in Japanese animation have changed over the years.
Naoki Saito has made a name for himself as one of Japan's top digital illustrators, having worked on the Pokémon games and trading card series. With over 50,000 followers on Twitter, he is known for enthusiastically interacting with his many fans. What caught his fans eyes this time around is Naoki's illustrated tutorial on the evolution of anime eye styles in Japan over the last three decades. When you look at his drawings below, you'll see that there is an arrow over the three heads of anime characters. From left to right, it's past to present. According to Naoki, in the past, the eyes were drawn with a lot of white around the pupils, longer vertically than horizontally. After that, the eyes generally got larger but more angular, with more focus on the dark eyelashes. And now, the eyes seem to have gotten a little rounder, less white and more conservative in shape.
Most all of his fans and others who saw Naoki's tutorial seem to agree with his observation. One Twitter follower even gave examples of anime that had the exact same eyes as Naomi's drawings, of which you'll see below, under Naoki's illustrations.
Slayers from 1995
K-ON! from 2009
Sound! Euphonium from 2013
Remember to keep your own eyes open in the future when watching anime — you might just notice the next trend of eye shapes in Japanese animation.