Only read this if you’re over 18.
While talking about my Top 10 favorite yuri artists, someone asked me whether I could do another Top 10 list about my favorite artists that is solely based on how much I enjoy their art. I think such a specific list wouldn’t be interesting for that many readers, so I decided to do it a little differently.
In this entry, I will talk about art styles in different manga, doujinshi, and also in visual novels. I will pick up different artists, such as Saburouta, Peko, Ooshima Tomo, Morishima Akiko, Nishi Uko, Takemiya Jin, and probably many more. Let’s simply start by naming a few of the artists that I find have the most appealing art styles. Saburouta, for example, is probably one of the artists who became that popular, partly because her art looks so gorgeous. I don’t agree to most of what Citrus haters say about this manga, but in one point they might be right: If this manga was drawn by another artist that wasn’t Saburouta herself, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal right now.
Of course, it’s obvious that the art is a crucial factor in media like manga and visual novels. In fact, in some cases, the art can even make up for a crappy story. I’m not talking about Citrus right now, but there are some cases in which the art saved the whole manga from drowning in mediocrity.
Simple 18+ stories are probably a good example. Would you really read them if the art looked crappy? Many NSFW doujinshi simply put the focus on the sex and nothing more. So without a real plot, would you still be able to read and enjoy it if the art wasn’t to your liking? In my case, I wouldn’t.
Ooshima Tomo, for example, almost solely focuses on 18+ content. There is usually not much plot. These works just show the circumstances that lead to the two (or three) characters having sex. The art is gorgeous, and it’s also thanks to this more gentle art style that these sex scenes don’t come off as too extreme, like other artists like to make it look. And that’s precisely why I love Oooshima Tomo so much.
After this short introduction, let’s ask the question: What is more important, the art or the story?
I guess everyone feels different about this, so there is no one true answer. I for one, can honestly say that I value art far more than I value a good plot. Well, I’d usually go for the really cute and romantic stories, rather than for the really complex and plot-driven ones. And maybe that’s part of the reason why it’s so easy for me to decide between the two.
Of course, if a story can have both a great plot and great art, then it’s perfect, but perfect is a word I only use for very few works. So after clarifying what is more important to me, let’s now discuss some specific art styles and see which ones I enjoy the most.
First of all, there is no good or bad. I know that pointing out the obvious is probably not necessary, but I’ll still say it, just to make it clear. Just because I don’t like a specific art style doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Just keep that in mind before going into rage mode when you see me talking bad about your favorite author(s). Also, just because I don’t like the art, that doesn’t always mean that I don’t like the artist. Takemiya Jin might be a good example, but let’s get to her a bit later.
A few lines ago, I mentioned some of the artists that I find to have the best or most appealing art styles. Saburouta and Ooshima Tomo fall into the same category. Cute, yet very clean and even mature, art. Well, mature might sound a bit weird in this context, but artists like Morishima Akiko feel like the exact opposite of mature. The lines are not as straight, the faces look round, and the bodies very childlike. It’s cute, but for me it’s just too cute.
Then let’s take a closer look at some more of my favorite artists, like Kasumi and also Peko. Both can be easily compared to one another, since they have a few things in common: Very clean art, with characters that look surprisingly mature. Compare how Pikachi depicts KyoSaya to the way Kasumi does and we can easily see what distinguishes their art. Kasumi, as well as Peko, depict girls with curves. They sometimes even come off as a little plump in some parts, especially their thighs, which makes the characters look far more mature than these tiny and very thin characters in Pikachi or also Niratama’s works.
Since all 4 of these artists tend to have some NSFW tendencies, I for one, find it far more appealing to see characters that don’t look like children.
Now, how about we talk about Takemiya Jin or Nishi Uko. In both cases, I can’t say that I enjoy the art very much. Takemiya Jin’s characters often look like they have very 2-dimensional bodies. Especially the heads sometimes look like they are paper-thin, but that’s not the main reason why I don’t enjoy her art that much. I think Takemiya Jin’s art is like a preliminary stage to what Nishi Uko shows us.
This artist is simply known for what I think is called “non-moe” art. The eyes are not unnaturally big, the faces are rather distinctive, and the whole thing just doesn’t look as cute as we’re used to from many other artists. I certainly like these two art styles more than I like Morishima Akiko’s art, but I think I’d rather take something in between.
Citron, for example, manages to depict characters as both, cute, and mature. It might not sound like it’s that rare, since pretty much any manga can have some cute and some sexy and mature characters, but in this case, I just wanted to name this artist, because she does an extra great job with it in my eyes. Just look at this:
I guess every artist has some characteristics that make them stand out in a way. It’s often not that easy to decide whether they stand out in a positive or a negative way, but anyone can decide that on their own. Tima, for example, draws characters with unnaturally long fingers. I think this can be a turn-on for the right people, while others just find it weird. Furthermore, as mentioned above, Kasumi likes to show girls with curves and plump thighs. This as well, might attract some people, while others enjoy thinner characters more.
I could go on with this list, but I think you get what I want to say, so let’s stop right here before I find even more to say. 😛
All in all, what I enjoy the most is a well-balanced mix between the extremes. I neither like too cute, nor too “edgy”. Huge boobs and a big ass are not necessary to make characters look their age, or even a bit older, but portraying them with ultra-thin limbs and way too small and frail bodies is also a no-go.
Making the characters look cute is a simple must for me, but there certainly is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. So I guess the only possible conclusion to this is the following: I’m super picky.
Ah, well. In the end, I guess this whole entry feels a little disjointed. I tried to manage my way through all of the things that I wanted to mention, but in the end, it was a little too hard to organize it, so it might look like I just mixed up everything together. In any case, I hope that you still enjoyed reading it, and if you want to, I’d like to hear what you think is more important, the art style or the plot, and what artists you enjoy the most.