Anime as a medium of entertainment is diverse. This means that different concepts and styles are used and blended together to give birth to the final product. This includes the use of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) in the production of anime shows.
WHAT IS CGI ?:
CGI means Computer Generated Imagery. This is the use of computer graphics (either 2D or 3D) to create images, video games, movies, tv series, and other things.
In recent years, the use of CGI in the anime industry has become a lot more common, and why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing it makes me wonder what this means for the future of anime.
While a lot of people talk about whether 2D animation is cheaper than 3D animation or which of the two would be easier to produce, I’ll be talking mainly about how CGI (This means both 2D & 3D computer graphics) is changing anime industry as a whole and what it means for the future of the industry.
EVOLUTION OF CGI IN ANIME AND RECENT POPULARITY
First, CGI is something that has always been a part of anime. Whether its the background characters or the environment itself there has always been a fair bit of use in anime. But recently the way in which it is used has evolved into something other than just background work. A lot of anime use 3D animation to portray monsters, blasts and other things which were not a common use for it previously.
Also, the frequency with which it is used has skyrocketed in recent years. I can say that in every season of anime there’s at least three shows that use CGI in their episodes. From popular titles like Attack on Titan and Berserk, a lot of creators are incorporating it into their craft.
GOOD CGI IN ANIME
Now while a lot of studios use CGI in their shows, some big studios like Ufotable, WIT and Bones make truly excellent use of it. Take for example, the rotating room effect in Kimetsu no Yaiba’s 13th episode, that was entirely computer generated.
You could also think about the use of 3D animation in attack on Titan, as a lot of the environments in that show are actually CG. There are also a lot of shows that truly take advantage of CGI, all in different ways.
BAD CGI IN ANIME
I’ve talked about the good CGI in anime, now its time to talk about the bad. How do you know the CGI in a show’s bad? When you immediately notice it onscreen and it just looks wrong, just like the picture above from Full Alchemist: Brotherhood.
A few examples are something like Arifureta or Berserk as a lot of people who watched these series wouldn’t stop complaining about how the shows just looked wrong as they were poorly animated and in Arifureta’s case, was just of both poor quality and frame rate.
These are things that are actually quite common when it comes to anime that are poorly produced or just lack overall quality. Regardless, its sad to see a method of animation with such potential be used in such a wasteful and lackluster manner.
FULLY CGI SHOWS/MOVIES
The popularity of 3D animation has given birth to a new genre of anime shows and movies that are made completely using only CG. These 3D shows while heavily criticised in the beginning have been able to bring forth franchises that have dedicated followers as a lot care is put into how the show as a whole feel so as not to seem too different from what it is based on.
Movies like Blame or Promare are good examples of CGI anime movies that have a huge following as well as having quite a bit of substance that makes them unique.
There are also shows like God Eater & Houseki no Kuni (Land of the Lustrous) which as I mentioned earlier, takes advantage of the freedom that comes with 3D animation as the action scenes and camera work in the series are stellar.
From everything I’ve talked about I would like to state that I believe CGI is something that when done right, has the potential to push the quality of a given anime by bounds, and when done poorly can result in a fairly sub par creation that would be discarded as a “good show” regardless of its other aspects.
While CGI can be used in many ways it would be fun if we could find ourselves in a time when CGI is being used to its full potential in fun and breathtaking ways, other than just being used as a way to cut production costs or save production time.