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HeyHomie
10-28-2000, 03:10 PM
Why do the human characters in Japanese anime have such huge eyes? If the animators are trying to make their characters' eyes seem more.... western, then this raises two disturbing questions:

1) What do Japanese animators have against their own eyes, that they try to make their characters have western eyes?
2) How freaking big do they think our eyes are, anyway? In all the anime I've seen, the characters' eyes take up a good third of their heads!

What's the deal?

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
10-28-2000, 03:45 PM
This has been covered before, but, like yourself, I'm too lazy use the search engine.


Here's a hint: Japanese dolls also have big eyes. Always have had them.

sailor
10-28-2000, 03:45 PM
Never having seen what you are talking about I can only guess. Eyes are what most make something seem alive. Cover the eyes on any photo and you lose the entire sense of a mind or spirit being behind it.

I forget whose quote this is: "The eye you see is not an eye because you see it, it is an eye because *it* sees *you*".

Another thing I can tell you from experience is that most Asians find larger western eyes very attractive and what you say may be an exageration of that. After all, cartoons are grossly distorted always.

I had a Chinese girlfriend and we would often stare into each other's eyes and she would tell me she loved my eyes because they were so *big* and I couldn't help thinking how beautiful her own eyes were. They were tiny compared to mine but it was the shape, the asian eyelids, that I loved. It seems many of us just like what we find exotic.

Revtim
10-28-2000, 04:17 PM
I've heard it said that the eyes are that way not to look western, but to make it easier to express emotion.

Max Torque
10-28-2000, 04:33 PM
According to my former Japanese teacher, the Japanese tend to think that the big eyes are "cute". Notice how much more exaggerated the eyes are on female characters.

dougie_monty
10-28-2000, 05:14 PM
If you think the eyes in anime are big, get a look at the eyes on the Powerpuff Girls.
There was once a children's book titled Ookpik, about a penguin whose eyes were so big they'd make the anime eyes look like pinpoints. :D

Alphagene
10-28-2000, 05:33 PM
Japanese animated cartoons OR "They don't LOOK Japanese..." (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=8414)
Japanese anime (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=8376)

Hanna
10-28-2000, 05:34 PM
This has nothing to do with anime, but according to a guy who tried to pick me up at a bar, big eyes=likes to party.
:rolleyes:

peace
10-28-2000, 05:40 PM
Japanese or Westerners, we all find big eyes more attractive. Or big breasts. Or big ...
Why are most black women in Africa have "natural" headhair and most black women in westernized world straighten out theirs?
Beauty standards, I guess. They change.

Tapioca Dextrin
10-28-2000, 08:48 PM
The reason that anime characters have such big :cool: eyes is all down to Betty Boop. Japanese animation started in the 30's, and American cartoons were all they had to go by. American animation of the time had many of the same body features as does modern day anime/manga (big eyes, absurd expressions, ladies in short skirts, tears that go off like hosepipes). Just check out an old Hollywood cartoon and you'll see what I mean

Zenster
10-29-2000, 02:19 AM
[rude tone]

Oh get a flaming clue!

Why do you think Micky Mouse has such big eyes grandma?

Why do you think that Main Street in Disneyland has 3/5 (or whatever downsized scale it is) architecture?

Why do you think that all of the costumed greeters at Disneyland have oversized heads and occular features?

Why the flock do you think babies, puppies, kittens and all other infant animals look so cute?

::droning on and on::

Any creature or image that depicts a specifically exaggerated head to body size and eye to head size triggers a very distinct neurological/biochemical response in most humans. This is why we go all sappy and gurgle over infants that we aren't even related too.

It is a natural protective mechanism that we subconsciously respond to whether it manifests in Anime, Warner Brother cartoons or nature!

Please try to remember that most modern day producers are doing their best to manipulate you (and your emotions) like a pair of tweezers!

I implore you to merely take pleasure in what you are watching. Just like sausages, people who enjoy them should never watch them being made. So it is, as well, for Anime.

[/rude tone]

Kamino Neko
10-29-2000, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by rastahomie
If the animators are trying to make their characters' eyes seem more.... western

They aren't, and, to the Japanese audience it's intended for, they don't appear so.

They don't even look freekin' HUMAN, let alone European.

They're stylised to a ridiculous extent - this allows the viewers to fill the details in, to make them look like what they're used to. Thus, to a western viewer, they'll look western, to an Asian, they'll look Asian.

Ura-Maru
10-29-2000, 03:35 PM
To think, an anime thread, and I almost missed it.

Ok, to start with,


1) What do Japanese animators have against their own eyes, that they try to make their characters have western eyes?

They're not trying to make them have "western eyes." The big eyes thing started off as Disney influence, and has kept up partially because that's the way it's always been done, (Why do all comic book artists draw just like Jack Kirby? Why do superheroes wear skintight costumes?) and partially because it's fairly simple to draw, and partially because it's a "good" style for conveing emotion.

Eyes, eybrows, and mouth are the "useful" parts of the face from a animation standpoint. (most anime characters eyes have a tiny "neutral" size, but gets bigger when emoting) The other facial features don't move too much, so they're tiny.

Amarican animators do the same thing by giving their cartoon characters hugely oversized heads.

Also, big eyes are considered attractive in Japan. (most other places, too) Japanese models and actors tend to have big eyes. And I'm not even going to point out that folds over eyes don't make them smaller, they make them narrower. And big eyes give most people fluffy, protective urges, and a bunch of other reasons.

Though the doll thing is true, I'm don't think it's the major influence. If you look at classical Japanese paintings, silkscreens, and woodcarvings, most of them have pretty small eyes, though they tend to be very stylized.


2) How freaking big do they think our eyes are, anyway? In all the anime I've seen, the characters' eyes take up a good third of their heads!


That proabably should have tipped you off that they _wern't trying_ to draw caucasians. Caucasians usually don't have huge spiky blue and purple hair, and shoulders 1.5 heads across, either. People in anime are very stylized, usually.

There are also a lot of different sub-styles of anime, not all of them have huge eyes. In the more realistic ones, (Santuary, GiTS) race is usually distingishable.


If you think the eyes in anime are big, get a look at the eyes on the Powerpuff Girls.


Who, BTW, look exactly like Junko Mizuno characters, who draws very cutsy shogo (girls) characters doing very disturbing things . . . That kind of blobish, absurdly cute design is pretty common in shogo comics.

By the way, this is one of the three questions that is pretty much garenteed to irritate an anime fan. It's basically the eqivelent of asking "Why do american animators think animals can talk, live in houses, and have hands?"

(The other two are "Why are you still watching cartoons?" and "Anime? You mean that porn/pokemon stuff?")

I think I preferred it back when the default reaction was porn . . .

--
"Ah, something else created by Satan, Japanimation!"

Cartooniverse
10-29-2000, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by sailor
I had a Chinese girlfriend and we would often stare into each other's eyes and she would tell me she loved my eyes because they were so *big* and I couldn't help thinking how beautiful her own eyes were. They were tiny compared to mine but it was the shape, the asian eyelids, that I loved. It seems many of us just like what we find exotic.

I'm with you, Sailor. My kids are Korean-born. I adore their eyes, find them lovely. Apparently getting one's eyes "done" is very popular in the Asian community. My son needed eye surgery when he was about 5. The Dr. asked if we wanted to " round his eyes" while he was operating. We were horrified, and both said, " NO " loudly. So, he did the surgery but didn't alter his eyes any in shape.

Equally sad are white or african people who are having their eyes " done " so that they have upswept eyes.

Cartooniverse

quasar
10-29-2000, 05:36 PM
[Hi Jack]

Hey, anime maniacs:

Need your expertise here. What are the differences, if any, between anime, hentai ( sp?) and manga?

Also, whatís so cool about it? I have seen a few episodes of Dragon Ball Z and 1 or 2 movies and I think its O.K. I just donít consider it good enough to justify its popularity. Or maybe I am just watching the wrong anime shows. :rolleyes:

[Bye Jack]

yabob
10-29-2000, 08:46 PM
If we're going to discuss "big-eyed" influences, how come nobody has mentioned Margaret Keane?

Margaret Keane was the artist who did those big-eyed waifs in the 60's. They were very popular then, whatever you might think of them, and bear more than a passing resemblance to the style we are discussing. She's still around painting sad, ridiculously saucer-eyed kids, too:

http://www.laeyeworks.com/noshock/news/keane_e.html

I don't know the vintage of that image, but it would be typical of her whole career.

Whether intententional or not, note that the name of the teacher in "The Powerpuff Girls" is "Miss Keane".

scr4
10-29-2000, 09:21 PM
What are the differences, if any, between anime, hentai ( sp?) and manga?

Anime is short for animation, and refers to animated TV, movies or videos. Manga usually refers to comic books. Hentai means "pervert."

Also, what's so cool about it? I have seen a few episodes of Dragon Ball Z and 1 or 2 movies and I think its O.K. I just don't consider it good enough to justify its popularity.

Well, I personally think that that kind of anime has pretty immature humor. And most anime is aimed at children. But there are plenty of anime which grownups can appreciate. Most movies by Hayao Miyazaki are great. I understand Princess Mononoke was released in the U.S. I personally preferred Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Kiki's Delivery Service. Other than Miyazaki, if you want inane humor you might try the Ranma 1/2 series. For romantic comedy, possibly the Maison Ikkoku series. For science fiction, Akira is popular, though I personally don't like it - too much blood and gore. Shin-seiki Evangelion series was insanely popular a couple of years ago too.

Ponygirl
10-10-2001, 06:40 PM
Yes, I realize this is an old thread. Came across it while looking for info on something else.

quote:
Also, what's so cool about it? I have seen a few episodes of Dragon Ball Z and 1 or 2 movies and I think its O.K. I just don't consider it good enough to justify its popularity.

DBZ is hardly a fair representation of the variety of anime out there. It's repetitive and flat, and the battles get extended to absurdly long proportions. I watched part of the arc where Goku was fighting Freeza, who just destroyed the core of the planet (don't remember which one). The planet was supposed to explode in *five* minutes b/c of that. The fight lasted for over a *week* of episodes, if I remember correctly. I got so sick of it I never watched any of the DB series again, and I had been watching it from the original Dragon Ball (where Goku was the little kid).

Saying you don't see the appeal of anime because you've seen a few episodes of one show and maybe a movie or something is like saying you don't understand why American animation is so popular because you've seen a few Mickey Mouse shorts and one of the Batman movies. They might not appeal to you even though a lot of people like them, but that's hardly even a fraction of the material actually available for viewing (or even just the popular stuff). It really just depends on the types of entertainment you prefer in general, and it sounds like you haven't watched any that'd actually be in your favored genre of entertainment.

furryman
10-10-2001, 10:24 PM
Originally posted by Tapioca Dextrin
The reason that anime characters have such big :cool: eyes is all down to Betty Boop. Japanese animation started in the 30's, and American cartoons were all they had to go by. American animation of the time had many of the same body features as does modern day anime/manga (big eyes, absurd expressions, ladies in short skirts, tears that go off like hosepipes). Just check out an old Hollywood cartoon and you'll see what I mean

That's one theory. Another theory is that it's because Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy drew all his characters that way. Mr. Tezuka is generally considered the father of modern anime.

BTW: I don't care what anyone says. The only really Japanese looking characters in anime look like escapees from American WWII propoganda posters. I'd really like to know why this is.

Lamia
10-10-2001, 11:16 PM
Originally posted by furryman
BTW: I don't care what anyone says. The only really Japanese looking characters in anime look like escapees from American WWII propoganda posters. I'd really like to know why this is.

This would seem to indicate that you think Japanese people actually look like WWII propaganda posters, if characters resembling such posters are the only ones you think look "really Japanese".

I think it is worth noting that many anime characters shouldn't look Japanese because they aren't Japanese, they are aliens, inhabitants of fantasy worlds, or are members of various real-world non-Japanese ethnic groups. The ones who are meant to be real-world Japanese generally have light skin, dark hair, and dark eyes, just like real Japanese people. I don't know what more you could expect from a highly stylized art form.

Fern Forest
10-10-2001, 11:57 PM
I watch a fair amount of anime and I remember one of the things I got a few months ago had a prep for westerners to get into anime and such. And in this short video they explained the exact same thing as has been explained here, that it all comes from the influence of early American animation. This was actually hit home to me in the vert first Dragonball epsiode where this big cat runs of a cliff and does a typical looney tune eye take in that they popped rightt out of his head and got real big, something I've never seen in other such stuff. But damn I wish I could remember where I saw that video.

Gozu Tashoya
10-11-2001, 03:53 AM
Originally posted by Osiris
I watch a fair amount of anime and I remember one of the things I got a few months ago had a prep for westerners to get into anime and such. And in this short video they explained the exact same thing as has been explained here, that it all comes from the influence of early American animation. <snip> But damn I wish I could remember where I saw that video.

Hm, I think I saw that clip as an introduction to <i>Venus 5</i>. Or, um, something that doesn't make me like a pervert.

quasar
10-18-2001, 01:06 AM
Originally posted by Ponygirl

DBZ is hardly a fair representation of the variety of anime out there. It's repetitive and flat, and the battles get extended to absurdly long proportions.

Yeah, that's precisely what I don't like about it; the action doesn't flow, it overextends itself. It's like a a damn soap opera.
In any case, its popularity is just incredible here in Costa Rica. When DBZ was on, every one watched it; heck, people even brought their portable TV's to the movies to see the show during previews.

Saying you don't see the appeal of anime because you've seen a few episodes of one show and maybe a movie or something is like saying you don't understand why American animation is so popular because you've seen a few Mickey Mouse shorts and one of the Batman movies.

You are exactly right, my sample is rather small and therefore lacking any significance whatsoever. I am not trying to criticize it as an art form--or whatever you fans of the genre call it, I only wanted to be enlightened as to why it causes such a devout following among people when--from my "uneducated" perspective--it's not that big of a deal.

On the other hand, I omitted mentioning in my previous post how much I like "Knights of the Zodiac"(literal translation from the spanish version, no idea how it is oficially referred to in English). So, it's not that I don't like anime per se, it is more not comprehending why people like it so much (what incredibly "seducing" elements does it incorporate in order to cause so much mass appeal) what astounds me.

Daowajan
10-18-2001, 01:20 AM
I can't believe no one has brought up that not all anime characters have "those huge freaking eyes."

A trend in recent years, especially with more serious anime series or movies, is to draw the eyes normal-sized and slightly stylize the reat of the face, or just go as flat-out realistic as possible.

A few examples:

From Blood: The Last Vampire http://www.bloodthemovie.com/charindex.html

From Cowboy Bebop http://www.cowboybebop.com/english/session/chara/index.html
Notice that Ed has those huge eyes; that's 'cause she's a little kid.

CalMeacham
10-18-2001, 08:17 AM
Ever since The Little Mermaid, Disney's human animated characters seem to have HUGE eyes. Compare any post-LM character with the newly-released Snow White. Ariel and company have freakishly huge peepers, by comparison. I see this as the influence of Japanese anime on the younger Disney animators, who grew up on this stuff.


Eyes do have a big effect on the observer. I spend a good part of a chapter of my book on this.

ScriptAnalyst
10-18-2001, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by Daowajan
I can't believe no one has brought up that not all anime characters have "those huge freaking eyes."

A trend in recent years, especially with more serious anime series or movies, is to draw the eyes normal-sized and slightly stylize the reat of the face, or just go as flat-out realistic as possible.

I'm glad somebody finally got around to pointing this out! You could find lots of examples over the last ten years or so of feature film anime characters without "big eyes."

Steve Biodrowski
http://www.thescriptanalyst.com

TheMadScientist
08-25-2015, 10:43 AM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoteny

CoastalMaineiac
08-25-2015, 11:18 AM
[Hi Jack]

Hey, anime maniacs:

Need your expertise here. What are the differences, if any, between anime, hentai ( sp?) and manga?

Also, whatís so cool about it? I have seen a few episodes of Dragon Ball Z and 1 or 2 movies and I think its O.K. I just donít consider it good enough to justify its popularity. Or maybe I am just watching the wrong anime shows. :rolleyes:

[Bye Jack]

Anime is an abbreviation for the Japanese word animeeshon, which is just a borrowing of the English word animation. When we use the word in English, we're referring specifically to Japanese animation. When the Japanese use the word, however, I believe it refers to all animation, regardless of origin.

Manga is essentially a comic. Many anime storylines come from a corresponding manga.

HentaiĎis something you'll here girls in anime say a lot when the guy does something, shall we say, un-gentleman-like, like walking in on them while they're bathing, or touching them inappropriately. It basically means pervert. In English, the word also refers to cartoon pornography.

As for the question about eyes, I think it has to do with expressiveness more than anything. If the eyes are exaggerated, then it is easy to make the emotions seem exaggerated as well, which in my opinion, make comedy like this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByEMtJw2uY0) all the more hilarious.

Colibri
08-25-2015, 11:28 AM
Since this is about animation, let's move it to Cafe Society, a forum that didn't exist when this thread was started 15 years ago.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Bryan Ekers
08-25-2015, 12:19 PM
This has nothing to do with anime, but according to a guy who tried to pick me up at a bar, big eyes=likes to party.
:rolleyes:

Hey, there.... you seeing anybody?

furryman
08-25-2015, 05:21 PM
It's interesting to note that in the anime movie Tekonkinkreet as well as several other anime movies the characters actually look Asian. Of course as pointed out before these are basically fantasy characters meant to look cute and have a world wide appeal.

Trinopus
08-25-2015, 10:21 PM
One of my sources said that the "big eyes" effect came from Japanese animators deliberately modeling their style-sheets after Disney's Peter Pan.

I have no idea if this is true, but it's a damn fine UL.