Anime has become a very broad genre of art and animation. With so many series and new movies released each season, it is becoming harder and harder to add the same amount of effort and quality into all of them. So you might have overlooked some of the most beautiful of them out there. Of course, “Beautiful” is a subjective term, but most would agree that it includes appealing character designs, smooth animation and detailed backgrounds.
In this post we focus on lesser known Anime series and movies with all of these aspects, and hey, you might find a series or two which you will check out afterwards!
Princess Tutu (2003)
Starting out with one of my personal favorite anime, ‘Princess Tutu’ (Purinsesu Chuchu) is a classic fairy tale with ballet as a central focus. The animation and choreography in the dancing scenes are just amazing and smooth. The art style is very cute and expressive and even though it looks like an anime for children, it deals at times with very heavy topics of belonging and destiny. Give this one a watch for sure!
Ef : A Tale of Memories / Melodies (2007)
From studio Shaft we have ‘Ef : A Tale of Memories’ and the sequel ‘Ef : A Tale of Melodies’. A heavy anime centered around relationships, romance and drama with stunning visuals, which is very typical of studio Shaft – who have delivered anime such as ‘Bakemonogatari’, ‘Puella Magi Madoka Magica’ and ‘3-gatsu no Lion’. The soundtrack sets the tone for this anime especially well with a strong focus on violins and very unique pieces suiting the often tense and dramatic situations. Beware of feels if you decide to give this one a watch.
This stunning anime was made by the legendary studio ‘Toei Animation’ and has a very unique art style compared to most anime we see. Inspired by old Japanese art mixed with monochromatic colors and shading, this anime has a very surreal look and feel to it, that matches the occult elements of the show. The animation is smooth and at times really impressive and complex. It is an adult anime with horror themes and dark subjects set in the old ages of Japan. So if you want to see the trials of this “medicine Salesman” facing the occult troubles of the people on his way, you should definitely check this one out.
This movie is a true masterpiece in animation created by Studio Madhouse. It is based on the manga “Metoroporisu” of the father of anime, Osamu Tezuka. He is the creator of iconic characters such as AstroBoy. Studio Madhouse brought us One Punch Man, Papprika, and Death Parade. The touching story of a robot and a boy facing the harsh reality of this Metropolis is only topped by the stunning animation and highly detailed art.
I can’t recommend this movie enough. The amount of Sakuga moments (highly detailed and intricate animation sequences) in this movie is jaw dropping, so if you are at all interested in art and animation, this is a must watch.
Flip Flappers (2016)
One of the newer anime on this list, Flip Flappers (Furippu Furappāzu) is also a show filled with beautiful Sakuga moments. It is combined with a very light and fast paced animation style mostly responsible by Oshiyama Kiyotaka, who has worked on key animation for shows like ‘Devilman: Crybaby’, ‘Evangelion 2.0’ and ‘Karigurashi no Arrietty’. Flip Flappers has many fairy tale and magical girl aspects to its adventure comedy setting. To top it off, it comes with a very cute aesthetic and adorable transformation sequences!
Satsuriku no Tenshi (2018)
When you think about this anime being adapted from a video game, you might not think it is very great in the visual department, given most of video game adaptations are there to promote the game rather than telling the full story from the game, but not this one. The art and animation is really pretty and you get drawn into the tragic story of the protagonists very easily. Being the newest anime on this list, you might have seen it around. If you haven’t touched it yet, thinking it was just another video game anime, I advise you to give it a chance.
Aku no Hana (2013)
A very controversial pick when the topic is “beautiful”. This anime uses and animation technique called “rotoscoping” where the animators draw off filmed footage of real actors. This style caused a huge uproar when the series was released, but I think it very much comes down to taste. I personally think it suits the very real themes of humanity in this anime and makes the uncomfortable situations the protagonists go through even more real. The animation is very smooth to add to the realism effect. Another series utilizing this animation style is ‘Kowabon’ from 2015, which is a horror anime. Again this style works to make the horrible situations seem very real.