Terrible Anime Art Style

10 Worst Anime Art Styles Of All Time, Ranked

Audiences unfamiliar with anime might believe all anime looks the same; such a sentiment couldn’t be farther from the truth. Like any visual medium with a long history, anime has developed an impressive roster of unique recognizable art styles.

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Each anime style, from the gritty realism of popular seinen to the unmistakable designs of old-school shojo series, has its time and place. However, some anime art styles became an eyesore for fans, especially in their worst incarnations. The medium would look much more appealing without overusing unfavorable or illsuited art styles.



10 Chibi

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Cutesy and heavily stylized, the chibi art style is an eye-catching, minimalistic visual aesthetic that exaggerates characters’ features. Chibi designs are easy to recognize by their disproportionately large heads and stubby, short bodies. In anime, the chibi art style is most commonly seen in comical spin-offs, such as Isekai Quartet or Toradora SOS!

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However, this popular art style has countless shortcomings. Whenever a show tries to cover something even remotely serious, the chibi aesthetic turns it into a gimmicky farce, too cartoonish to convey any grounded themes.

9 Moe

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Kamichama Karin Funny Karin Face

One of the most varied yet easily recognizable anime art styles, moe aesthetic is characterized by its emphasis on cute, appealing designs and idealized character proportions. Most Kyoto Animation shows, like K-On! and Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, mastered the art of the moe aesthetic.

However, the moe art style can also go wrong when the creators take the desire to make their characters cute too far. The grotesque designs of Kamichama Karin, Eiken, and Air showcase how a seemingly appealing art style can turn into a laughable abomination.

8 Kodomomuke

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Yo-Kai Watch Yo-kai Keita and friends

The direct translation of kodomomuke is “intended for children”, indicating a genre and aesthetic of shows targeting the youngest demographics. Artistic similarities between such series as Yo-Kai Watch, Beyblade, and Digimon are impossible to miss.

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Unfortunately, the stigma associated with pleasing the kids’ market leads to the creation of series repetitive in both their plots and visuals. The kodomomuke art style is simplistic, lacking in detail, and often close to identical between series, with rare creative outliers spicing things up for those who enjoy kids’ anime magic.


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Yuuko and Watanuki from xxxHolic.

Most studios and creative groups within anime develop an art style unique to their work. While some distinctive visual styles, like Trigger’s dynamic angular designs or Ghibli’s magical aesthetic, are popular for being good, CLAMP’s signature look is notoriously hard to appreciate.

Not every series produced by the creative group features the disproportionate figures of xxxHolic and Code Geass. But these questionable character design sensibilities are a staple of CLAMP’s art style. Hopefully, more CLAMP shows look like Cardcaptor Sakura and Chobits instead of X and RG Veda.

6 Masaaki Yuasa’s Animation

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Ping-Pong-the-Animation

Similarly to studios, some anime directors are known for their signature art styles. Out of every prominent figure in the medium, Masaaki Yuasa’s visual sensibilities are the most controversial.

His works, such as Ping Pong The Animation, Tatami Galaxy, and Inu-Oh, look distinctively sketch-like and minimalistic, intentionally stylizing characters to look rough and unappealing, the opposite of most shows. While some fans adore Yuasa’s visual aesthetic for its uniqueness and motion fluidity, others refuse to watch his titles based on the art style alone.

5 Shojo

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Vampire Knight-1

Like any other genre, shojo anime comes in various multifaceted art styles. Yet, when most hear “shojo aesthetic,” a distinctive style pops up in their heads, and the associations tied to it are rarely good.

Older shojo titles, like Vampire Knightand Skip Beat, tried too hard to make their characters dreamy and attractive, producing the opposite effect as a result. A lot of older shojo looks awkwardly unrealistic and unnecessarily detailed, which often limits the characters’ movements and gives shojo anime its notorious stiffness.

4 Yaoi

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Junjou Romantica's main pair, Usami Akihiko and Takahashi Misaki, flirting

Back when BL anime was still commonly dubbed yaoi, fans started to notice a disquieting trend in these shows’ visual presentation. Most of the old-school Boys’ Love series share not only the same toxic themes and relationship tropes but also the same hideous art style.

Series like Junjou Romantica and Okane Ga Nai share a similar love for disproportionate character designs, washed-out color palettes, and pairing up exaggeratedly feminine and absurdly masculine characters. Thankfully, the BL anime scene of today left these stylistic trends in the past.

3 Generic Anime

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Asuna, Yuuki and Kirito in Sword Art Online

There’s hardly anything more redundant and frustrating than seeing shows adopt the same generic art style more and more. The merits of current technological development allow studios to produce more anime than ever.

Yet, when most seasonal anime look exactly the same, one starts to wonder if the visual quality was sacrificed for quantity. The flat, big-eyed, and expressionless character designs of most modern anime make heroes impossible to distinguish, while such aspects as background art and unique movement dynamics lose all priority in generic anime art style.

2 Rotoscope Animation

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>A still from Flowers of Evil.

A rare technique for anime, rotoscoping refers to the art of tracing animation over motion picture footage to produce the most realistic effect. Yet, there is a reason why this unique art style didn’t find its place in anime.

The few experiments with rotoscoping fans have seen, namely Flowers of Evil and The Case of Hana and Alice, were heavily criticized for their uncanny visuals. The aesthetic incompatibility between the anime style and realistic animation proved that rotoscoping might not be a favorable direction for the medium.


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>berserk 2016

No creative decision is hated by the anime community as much as the choice to use CGI in place of traditional animation. Unfortunately, fans have good reasons to be skeptical of CGI in anime.

Smooth and good-looking CGI shows, like Trigun Stampede and Beastars, are a novelty most didn’t trust for the longest time. Yet, anime fans had to deal with the uncanny likes of Berserk 2016, Hand Shakers, and Knights of Sidonia ever since the technique was introduced to the medium.

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