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Top 10 Prettiest Anime

Top 10 Prettiest Anime

-Written by: Kelly C

People say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when it comes to beauty in anime there is objectively beautiful anime and some not so great anime. Overall, beauty in anime comes down to the quality of animation, the style of animation and character designs. This list takes all of these factors into consideration along with originality. Studios tend to have a lot to do with animation style, so the studios who made the anime are listed next to the titles. I highly encourage you to check them out!

10.) A Silent Voice - Kyoto Animation

This heartbreaking tale of bullying and redemption is highly praised for its beautiful story and animation. A Silent Voice can feel pretty similar to Your Lie in April. The animation compliments the various moods through use of colors which establish a soft feeling throughout the anime. Soft pinks and blues are very common colors in this anime and fit the moods well.

On the left is Shouko, the victim of bullying, in the center is Shoya the reformed bully, and on the right is an example of how the anime uses colors to give it a soft feel. (A Silent Voice)

9.) Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Studio Shaft

As a huge Madoka Magica fan, I had to put this on the list for multiple reasons. When first watching Madoka Magica, you notice that its animation style is different from what you see in most anime. The anime is brightly colored and clean-looking in scenes, despite the dark tones of the plot. One thing I found divisive among fans of Madoka Magica is the way the witches are animated. The witches/villains of the series have a random multimedia-like appearance which I personally love for its originality. The character designs are also unique, for example, the character’s lack of pupils gives their eyes a softer appearance. The characters all look very girly and cute but potential viewers should be warned that this anime is very dark despite it's aesthetic.

On the left is Madoka, Sayaka and Kyubey with a donut. In the center is Madoka at her house. On the right Madoka faces a witch, the main villains of the series. (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)

8.) Made in Abyss - Kinema Citrus

Despite how sad this anime is, the world building and illustration is one of the best in anime. Made in Abyss involves a giant abyss that two explorers, Riko and Reg, are trying to get to the bottom of. In the manga and anime, there are seven (known) layers to the Abyss. Each layer has a different curse, such as nausea and loss of humanity, while also having a different landscape. The landscapes in this anime are incredibly creative and rival that of James Cameron’s movie Avatar. There are huge flower gardens, and in the 6th layer there are large crystals and horrifying monsters. The animation and manga do an amazing job at creating a sense of vastness while making the Abyss feel like an alien planet. The Abyss can best be described as looking like a beautiful dreamscape, but is more akin to a nightmare when you get to know it more.

On the left is the Abyss. In the center is a dangerous Crimson spitjaw that lives on the 3rd layer of the abyss. On the right are the main characters, Reg and Riko. (Made in Abyss)

7.) Wonder Egg Priority - Clover Works

This simulcast show surprised everyone when it came out last month with its deep, complex plot and visual beauty. There is rich symbolism throughout the anime is especially present in how they use "flower language". Flowers are used throughout the anime to represent things such as a white lily representing girl's love/lesbianism or primroses representing desperation/love-sickness. What really stands out in this anime are the character designs and scenery. The characters are highly detailed in their designs, on top of being sharp against the backgrounds. The vivid dreamlike scenery and symbolism, especially when it comes to the monsters, makes Wonder Egg Priority a treat for the eyes.

On the left is an example of the flower language being used. In the center is Ai and Momoe. On the right is an example of animation detail and flower language being used, specifically with primroses. (Wonder Egg Priority)

6.) Your Name - CoMix Wave Films

Your Name is a visually stunning story of two students, Mitsuha and Taki, who wake up one morning to find that they switched bodies. Both Mitsuha and Taki start to search for each other to try and solve this mysterious incident. The animation in Your Name is vibrant and detailed. The animation of the sky is especially beautiful in this anime along with the top-notch character designs.

On the left is Mitsuha and Taki meeting in Tokyo. In the center is Mitsuha and Taki in front of a sunset. On the right is an example of the way Your Name animates the sky at night. (Your Name)

5.) Weathering With You - CoMix Wave Films and Story Inc

Weathering with You is the story of a runaway teenager in Tokyo who finds a girl that can control the rain. As you can imagine, weather is one of the running themes of this anime. Weathering with You often feels like a painting in some scenes. The landscape is slightly blended together while the characters are in sharp focus. On top of that, Weathering With You animates clouds, rain and sunshine masterfully, which feels like an afterthought for many anime.

On the left is Hina making the sun come out. In the center is a shrine. On the right are the main characters, Hadoka and Hina. (Weathering With You)

4.) Promare - Trigger/XFLAG

What first caught my eye about this anime was the neon colors and the unique character designs. Promare is about a group of flame wielding mutants called the Mad Burnish who do battle with fire fighters called the Burning Rescue in the city of Promepolis. The main character, Galo Thymos, sets out on a quest to learn more about the Mad Burnish and discovers truths that make him question everything he knows. This anime, on top of having an amazing storyline, illustrates fire in a unique manner. Instead of traditional orange and white colors being used, Promare makes the fire into a vapor-wave with shades of bright magenta and cyan. Promare is bright, yet the designs are simple. Unlike the other anime on this list, there is very little heavy detail in character designs and landscapes. Instead, this anime leans more on colors and simple shapes, making it feel abstract. On top all these things Studio Trigger decided to make the sometimes risky choice of using a CG technique that mixes 2D and 3D animation which gives the animation a different feel from most anime.

On the left is Lio, captain of the Mad Burnish wearing amour. In the center is Galo. On the right is Lio showing off his flame producing abilities. (Promare)

3.) Garden of Words - CoMix Wave Films

Looking at the cover of Garden of Words, you can tell that this slice of life anime is going to be a visual masterpiece. Garden of Words takes place in a garden whenever there is rain. The rain is beautifully animated while the garden looks lush and vibrant. The greens of the plants and the purple of the flowers blend together to make a cool yet relaxing tone for the movie. What surprised me the most was the water animation. Animating water can be difficult and as you may have noticed with a lot of anime, the water doesn’t look like actual water. The water in Garden of Words looks clear like water, but is prettier and seems to reflect light.

On the left are the main characters, Yukari and Takao. In the center is a shot of the rain. On the right is an example of how the anime uses lush shades of green to establish mood. (Garden of Words)

2.) Land of the Lustrous - Studio Orange

Land of the Lustrous is about an island of sentient gem-stone beings that are hunted by Moon people who want to kill the gem-stone beings and use them as decorations. To capture the beauty of the gem-stone beings, CG and 2D animation was used instead of traditional methods. This allowed the light and color changes to work well during movement scenes, while also allowing good use of facial expressions. Since the characters are based off of gemstones, it gives them a unique, often iridescent character design. The fights often involve gem stones and capture the full lusture of them.

On the left is Diamond holding the main character, Phosphophyllite. In the center is Cinnabar, one of the gems. On the right is Diamond, one of the gems. (Land of the Lustrous)

1.) The Monogatari Franchise - Studio Shaft

Monogatari is definitely unique in the world of anime for various reasons, one of which being visual. The animation style of Monogatari is very similar to Puella Magi Madoka Magica as they are both from Studio Shaft. The Monogatari franchise is hard to describe plot-wise, since there are so many different series in it, similar to Fate/Stay Night. There is strong symbolism throughout the franchise along with a unique style of animation similar, but different, to Puella Magi Madoka Magica.The line work in this anime is unique as are the shots and usage of colors. Symmetry is constant throughout The Monogatari franchise, as well as shots that highlight one color. The Monogatari franchise sometimes has an abstract feel to it which compliments it's plot well thus enhancing the story telling.

On the left is adult Shinobu from Kizumonogatari.  In the center is a shot from Bakemonogatari. On the right is the main character Koyomi with his girlfriend Hitagi in Bakemonogatari. (Monogatari)

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