Here Comes the Anger Train: CG in Anime

Oh Boy, It's a Big One.

Oh Boy, It’s a Big One.

Computer generated graphics are a great feat in animation. It makes the job of an animator easier, it allows the studio to spend less time on the show and makes the animation easier to produce. Though I have to say that I prefer classic animation more because it looks nicer, seeing the drawing styles and differences between shows is always fun to look at. What I have problems with is the completely CG shows that replace most things with CG. Kingdom is a fine example of this.

I am a big fan of the manga Kingdom, one reason is the story and the art is awesome to read. The second is I am a big fan of the historical shows, but for some reason I notice a trend where historical shows tend to have more CG in them than most other shows. I am okay with the use of CG in anime don’t get me wrong about that. CG can lighten the loads of the studio by allowing them to spend less time animating a crowd or distant figures. I am okay with that because it isn’t a character we focus on. However, what I don’t like about CG in shows like Kingdom and Nobunaga Concerto where all the characters are CG animated. The animation looks stiff and unrealistic, with the facial expression and movement looking unnatural.

Compare the King of Shin  (Top Season 1, Bottom Season 2)

Compare the King of Shin (Top Season 1, Bottom Season 2)

Though this could be seen as the theory of the Uncanny Valley. Where the more something looks unrealistic the more other people will accept it. The more realistic it tryies to be we find the flaws more prominent and repulsive. This is because we see know it is not real, but because it is starting to resemble life more it feels unnatural. This is not to say that the CG in an anime like Kingdom is so good it looks real that it’s unnatural, but it could be that I am not seeing it over my distaste. The second season of Kingdom though they fixed the animation and added less CG and more hand drawn. I was happy I didn’t have to push through the poor animation.

It looks so bad!

It looks so bad!

Nobunaga Concerto is the anime that got me to write this review. I read some of the manga before the anime was announced, but it hadn’t been completely scanlated. So when it was announced that it was getting an anime, I was excited that I could continue the story, but I have to sit through this crappy animation, that is hard to watch, I just don’t like it. Souten Kouro used CG animation wisely, it was used to animate the armies fighting and the vast crowds. The way they used it, didn’t stand out and wasn’t a problem. The rest of the show was animated well and though you could notice the difference it wasn’t a big problem. CG is also used in most anime for vehicles and Mech’s. It is alright in using it there because it looks okay unlike when it is used on humans. We don’t know what a Mech would look like, so we have no frame of reference to how it would exactly move or look.

CG Mecha from Code Geass

CG Mecha from Code Geass

Overall I think that CG in anime should be put on hiatus for a while, because at the moment it is not fitting well enough. Until that can make the animation look similar to a cutscene in Fire Emblem Awakening or Final Fantasy it should not be used widely. This is because that is good animation and that is going to be how the anime will most likely look like once they are able to produce it during in a limited time.


About dandylion13

I mostly talk about anime, and whatever I feel like on another day. So come on down and read a review!
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11 Responses to Here Comes the Anger Train: CG in Anime

  1. Silvachief says:

    Anime that use CG are always a mixed bag. Sometimes they’re -terrible-, with the switch from animation to CG being incredibly jarring, but with CG technology improving I feel that it can be a great addition to some shows.

    Arpeggio of Blue Steel is completely CG animated, and while that grated on me at the start of the series I was absolutely fine with it by the end because it worked. In Fate/Zero the character Berserker was the only one to use CG and it lent him an eerie, unnatural look the fit him perfectly. Love Live, however, switches between regular animation and CG multiple times during each performance. Sometimes the transitions are really well done but sometimes…well, not so much – still, I don’t mind it overall. To be honest, I can’t actually think of any horrible examples off of the top of my head >.<

    I think you've brought up an interesting point. Good post!

    • dandylion13 says:

      Thank you for your comment and i understand where you are coming from. CG is gradually getting better and it is eventually going to not be a problem. I was harsh about the CG because they are using shows that i generally like.

      • Silvachief says:

        Oh, I didn’t mean to say that you were wrong at all. I know i’d be really annoyed if CG was used poorly in a show that I was really looking forward to.
        Looking back, Fate/Stay Night’s infamous dragon scene comes to mind XD

      • dandylion13 says:

        I didn’t take it like that i wrote that one a while before it was posted and was angry about it. Thank you for the comment

  2. miharusshi says:

    Though I’ve been fine with watching CG animated shows like Arpeggio and Sidonia no Kishi, I’m still somehow hesitant to start watching shows like them. Apparently, it only occurs when I begin watching the show, and I gradually get used to it and won’t mind it, especially if the story’s interesting enough to keep me glued on the screen.

    It’s not always a problem for me, but sometimes CG is used badly on mainly traditionally drawn anime. Although they’re used on background characters, for them to get much attention from the staff to the extent of being animated in CG just makes them stand out even more. This makes them seem foreign and look poor on the whole material, so I’d rather not see them at all. Examples: Kiseijuu, Wolf Children, some of P.A. Works anime like True Tears, Another (if I recall correctly)

    As you mentioned, CG is good enough on mecha and vehicles, not only because they look good and can be more detailed, but also because the can be animated so smoothly with 3D, without having to worry about the mech proportions going wrong. I actually prefer CG mechs over hand-drawn, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like hand-drawn ones, but there’s the danger that the animation for such might get inconsistent in the long run.

    As for the whole usage of CG in anime, I’m not completely against it, but I hope the production staff would know which method (traditional or CG) would look good on which particular element on the screen and when to use them.

    • dandylion13 says:

      Yeah some companies need to know when to use traditional and when not. When CG becomes something similar to the cutscenes in Fire Emblem Awakening I wont be completely okay with it, but I will still enjoy the show. I still love traditional and I don’t want it to leave anytime soon.

      • miharusshi says:

        I think anime should stay mainly traditional, as that’s what we have come to love. 🙂 We have the same sentiment. Furthermore, there’s a lot of budding animators who are yet to unleash their talents on papers, so rest assured. Hand-drawn anime won’t be easily replaced by CG animation. Completely CG anime should only be very occasional, though, since there are studios that are intent on producing them (Polygon Pictures).

        Also, good CG in games are always welcome and wanted.

      • dandylion13 says:

        Yeah traditional should never leave. I will be extremely upset if that ever happens.

  3. mochirochi says:

    If the story is good, then I think it’s easier to overlook the CG. I remember when Kingdom came out, I didn’t like it because it just seemed wrong. Anime isn’t suppose to look like this. It’s meant to be traditional 2d art.

    I still haven’t gone back to it, but I’ve watched Nobunaga Concerto and absolutely loved it. The facial expressions were bad and sometimes character didn’t really show any emotion, but the voice acting, the backgrounds, and the actual plot kept me interested and I ended up loving it.

    Karen Senki is the only CG anime that I think does a good job in its CG. There’s actual emotion shown and it has a lot of fighting and robots so it works. The plot is a bit…but the CG here is good.

    I think it’s really hit or miss, but I don’t think traditional animes will ever stop. Or at least I hope not. Even though I’m slowly coming around to CG animes, I don’t want it to be the norm. It still looks weird whenever I see it on my computer screen.

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