Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
To be honest, the first time that I saw the designs from Higurashi, they almost pissed me off. Indeed, these are some of the most anatomically impossible designs around, as the characters balance planet-sized heads on tiny twigs of necks and bodies that look like they are about to be smashed to pieces (well, they are, but you know what I mean.) Once I got used to it though, I began to adore the designs. I love the odd outlines of the characters’ legs and arms that aren’t quite like any others. I like the slenderness and fragility of those bodies that makes your desire to save them that much stronger as you watch them get torn apart time and time again.
One of the cool things about this series, too, is that there are no school uniforms involved, and instead each character has a unique look (excluding ShMion, whose exact resemblance is a plot point.) The clothing worn by the characters is simple and breezy in response to the endless summer that the series takes place in, but they are nonetheless interesting. In particular, Satoko’s pink button-up shirt coupled with her short-shorts stands out as very cute. Rika’s loosely-worn dress completes her childishness, which makes the story revelations of the second series all the more interesting as we reconnect the appearance and personality in a new way. I’m a huge fan of Rena’s sailor uniform, especially the poofy hat (god I love poofy hats.) The guys in the seiries are all good-looking enough in their own right, and I can’t say that any named character is particularly unmemorable. I will say that Mio’s everyday wear is less than exciting, though the gun that she constantly carries around just cracks me up big time.
The series has some costume changes, though they are mostly just your average school swimsuits and miko robes, with the notable exception of Angel Mort’s cosplay uniforms, which are insanely attractive. My favorite design from the series is Rika, whom I own a figure of and who keeps showing up in my dreams.
Hirano Kouta’s designs are instantly recognizable by their absurdly long arms and legs and clownishly gigantic hands that make their action figures near-impossible to balance. Every character in Hellsing is designed to the purpose of looking as badass as possible while doing anything. Alucard’s red trenchcoat-fedora combo and round shades with their zig-zap handles are legendary, and anyone who can pull the look off (i.e. only him) is guaranteed coolness for life. Any named character in Hellsing, regardless if their are going to be mercilessly slaughtered and insulted at the end of the chapter, is designed so that Hirano can draw a vicious slasher smile on their face at every instance of their violent actions.
Seras Victoria is an interesting design in that she walks both sides of the coin between ‘cute’ and ‘vicious.’ Her police uniform is built for fanservice, but the innocence of her expressions and personality makes her convincingly cute, until her vampiric instincts kick in and she becomes the next crazy hell-bound nightmare of a joyride. Even the god damn old butler looks like a crazy badass in this series (and, surprise, he is!) Alexander Anderson has always been my favorite character from Hellsing (Norio Wakamoto, man) and I think it’s almost genius that Hirano managed to draw his priestly garbs as if they were actually a trenchcoat. His cross and glasses glinting off of the moonlight in a pitch-black room is surely an unforgettable image.
Character Designer (and other shows that I liked their designs in): Yoshida Kenichi (Overman King Gainer)
Eureka Seven is the rare case of an anime rife with older and unattractive characters who are given as much style and attention as the rest of the cast. And that cast is fucking massive. Because most of the characters are crew on a sky-faring ship that is it’s own counter-culture movement paralleled to our surfer culture, the fashion of the crew is strongly rooted in urban styles that run the gambit from gutter-punk to upscale ghetto-gal. The designs carefully reflect the personalities of the characters without breaking consistency within their place in the story. The villains, most of whom belong to the military, are given any manner of uniform, but never are they less than carefully and skilfully designed.
Yoshida Kenichi has a very distinct style, with outlines that ebb and flow like the tide itself and create sort of round features that pop off of the background and give this amazing sense of life even from still images. He also draws trademark wide eyes full of mystique, especially on Eureka and Anemone, who are both indeed deservingly mysterious. There are only a very tiny number of costume changes in Eureka Seven, but it works because the characters’ clothing is so ingrained into what they are. When the series does change a character’s appearance, it reflect a radical change either in the series’ plot or the character’s own mind.
Eureka herself is easily my favorite design from the series, as well as one of my alltime favorites. Her blue-and-white uniform-type-thing and boots are just stunning, and the way that her hair compliments her eyes gives me shivers. Eureka’s design undergoes many huge changes throughout the series directly in reflection of the development of her personality, and my favorite look of hers is certainly the same as her greatest moments of awareness.
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