I want to know if there is a term for the scenes in anime and manga where the style of drawing changes markedly, often to reflect comic relief and step outside the current scene to accentuate an emotion. A subset of this style is addressed in this question, and called super deformed style, but it seems to specifically refer to miniaturizing the characters, and not the related elements that are often used without drawing the characters small. These scenes often often have a surreal/unnatural aspect to them in the sense that things often happen in them that would not be possible in the normal plot. I imagine they were initially developed in manga to better convey emotion without detailed faces or narration. These scenes can be detected by the presence of one or more of the following elements:

  • The background fades out and is often replaced by colors, icons, or character heads, with the animators only drawing the character(s) and object(s) central to the moment.
  • The style change happens whenever someone gets a nosebleed to depict sexual arousal
  • The style change is also very common when a character is chastising another
  • The characters are often drawn in the Chibi style during these scenes, but I'm not referring to Chibi style in my question, I'm referring to the larger concept of the change that often does not include Chibi characters
  • A character 'popping a blood vessel', signified by 4 curved red lines that form a '+' and indicate anger/frustration
  • A sweat drop or nose bubble
  • Red lines that emanate from a point to highlight something
  • Characters drawn without pupils (that normally have pupils) or with pupils that are a specific shape
  • Deformed depictions of the characters, often moving in ways not physically possible, such as undulating appendages/body
  • Breaking the 4th wall: I've seen characters even acknowledge the illustration changes, such as in this clip
  • Specific sounds for things like hunger, as seen in this clip
  • Simplified illustrations

Here's a compilation that seems like it's all examples of what I'm talking about. Is this still considered SD or Chibi, or does this phenomenon have a terminology of its own?


1 Answer 1


This is referred to as a "monologue" (モノローグ). It is essentially what is referred to as an externalzaton of character inner state and depending on the author, can include meta-action content between other characters. It's literally a figurative voice from a character's heart. The cut in anime is typically set up a a montage shot.

Monologue typically focus predominantly on one character at a time, in order not to confuse a reader or viewer. The depictions can vary drastically between series and genres.

Chibi style monologue are intended to convey a lax atmosphere, cutting away from the norm or typical seriousness, a mood or tone shift as you will.

monologue panel 1

monologue panel 2

Alternatively, more detail can add seriousness or tension to the situation, application can vary depending on the skill and experience of the author and/or artist.

A Light laugh

  • 1
    Do you have a citation for the use of 'monologue' as a specific style application in anime? I'm aware of the term referring to 'a long speech by one actor in a play or movie', but that term doesn't really include any of the elements I listed except the isolation of a single character.
    – ffollett
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 17:15

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