Like Gantz for example has characters with realistic faces instead of big eyes and hair colors but to use to this can be expensive so why is it cheaper to use anime and manga faces that lack realistic features like characters with no visible lips?

  • 3
    detail == money
    – ton.yeung
    Dec 4, 2015 at 22:11
  • 1
    Do you have a bit more than anecdotal evidence that says this is more expensive?
    – Makoto
    Dec 4, 2015 at 22:15
  • @Makoto no but I know that we don't see realistic features mainstream in the anime industry doesnt that explain why realistic features are not common?
    – user18661
    Dec 4, 2015 at 22:18
  • 1
    Not necessarily. Any other rationale could explain it, but I doubt that it's strictly financially motivated. For example, given that it was rotoscoped, what would be your take on Aku no Hana? Are the facial features in that not realistic?
    – Makoto
    Dec 4, 2015 at 23:29
  • 1
    Before I googled "gantz anime" I thought the art was very realistic, but in the end, I don't think that much ("Subete ga F ni naru" has similar art), so I can only guess: it depends on the target audience and the genre, and if it's based on manga, then it tries to follow the manga's art style.
    – Aki Tanaka
    Dec 5, 2015 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


Like ton.yeung said, more detail takes more time and thus costs more money. In theory you could make an anime with every single frame having the same level of detail as a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, but it would be prohibitively expensive; it took Leonardo years to finish a single painting, and you would need a whole team of Leonardos churning out thousands of them in a limited timeframe.

That said, I doubt that it was significantly more expensive to animate Gantz than, say, K-On. The question seems to presuppose that cost is the only thing keeping anime from having more realistic facial art, but I believe it's more about artistry and style. The experience that Gantz was trying to create was drastically different from the experience that K-On was trying to create.

gantz screenshot K-on screenshot

The K-On characters are lacking some facial detail compared to the Gantz characters (in line with well-known rules of cuteness that, yes, seriously, have been studied and derived by anthropologists). Gantz uses smaller eyes, chunkier bodies, and a more subdued color palette; this makes it seem more realistic. However, we can see that both of them are lacking a lot of detail compared with, say, the work of American comics artist Alex Ross.

Alex Ross

(I should note that Ross is primarily a cover artist, because of the time it takes him to produce works of such high detail. To create an animated feature at Ross's level of detail would be untenable.)

Also, shows like K-On and Clannad often have very detailed clothes, backgrounds, and other objects. Look at the instruments in K-On.

Azusa with guitar real guitar

Look at the detail in the background of this random screenshot from Clannad.

clannad kotomi garden

So I don't think the difference in style is primarily about cost. It's about artistry. K-On was well enough funded to make its art look like Gantz had the creators wanted to; but that art style didn't fit with the goals and aesthetic sense of the series. It's the same reason Bugs Bunny looks like this:

bugs bunny

and not like this:

photorealistic rabbit

While the typical anime art style may have originally been created as cost-saving measure, that seems to be no longer the case. It is recognized as a unique style on its own and appreciated by many people on that basis, the same as the highly unnatural Cubism and Mannerism (which produced what seems to be the first known forerunner of the Shaft head tilt).

  • Anime also always lacks visibility of lips on characters often showing only a simple line ,again is this done for the same reasons?
    – user18661
    Dec 7, 2015 at 15:49
  • @user18661 Yes. It's part of the art style. KyoAni had more than enough money to give their characters Gantz-like lips had they wanted to; they didn't.
    – Torisuda
    Dec 7, 2015 at 16:12
  • Why is it anime characters are always depicted with a line on their mouths when you can't see their lips?
    – user18661
    Dec 17, 2015 at 15:07
  • @user18661 As I said in my earlier comment, it's part of the art style. If you want to know why it's part of the art style, I suggest asking a new question as the answer will not fit in comments.
    – Torisuda
    Dec 17, 2015 at 16:08
  • Isnt always supposed to be because they want keep it at cheaper budget to have no lips depicted?
    – user18661
    Dec 23, 2015 at 22:55

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