Working from the hair down, characters with hair styles that look like they are trying draw attention to themselves, be it from odd colors to extreme styles that not only would have taken hours to get that way (ask a cosplayer) but also don’t move by the laws of physics that the rest of anime seems to follow, put me off. I can understand some colors being elaborated such as black for dark blue or auburn for red. I also don’t mind extreme hair styles, but within the context that they should at least be shown being prepared for the main characters and at the least becoming damp when wet. Yu-Gi-Oh is an almost the perfect example of these flaws
When it comes to eyes and eyebrows I find that eyes in the general anime design has some large quality to them to emphasize emotion. But when they exaggerate the size of the irises to point that they fill up the entire eye is where the designs become a bit much. Hollow eyes and a black dot swimming in a sea of white is also off putting. Also there is a tendency to extend the eyelashes to go around the sides of the eyes or make them point out past the frame of the character’s face. An exception can be made for certain characters but the ratio of the general character design should have some balance.
Noses are a mixed bag, and as pathetic as it sounds it can really be a deciding factor for me. The noses in Monster almost put me off the series entirely, luckily it didn’t. Most cutsey anime can usually have them tiny to the point of just being a dot or just a single line and some shadow which makes the character seem completely different when in profile. On the other hand noses that are too big are generally to give more distinction between characters which we can see through Hayao Miyazaki’s work. But even this can be tested by the designs of anime like One Piece. Despite being an almost perfect example of everything wrong with anime character design I can only assume Usopp really gets the ladies.
Usopp works as an almost perfect example to those sausage lips and massive mouths. I swear that most of the characters in One Piece are like the Canadians from South Park considering how wide their mouths can stretch. Another thing I notice is that when certain anime try to give emphasis to the upper lips with a few lines it can end up looking like they’re giving the characters mustaches. This is really distracting when you see it on a female character and can’t un-see it. Finally the softer kyo-ani lips that piss me off the most because they’re not mouths rather than incomplete circles in the character’s faces.
I think jaw lines are one of the best ways to distinguish differences in the characters. Simply put for men square jaws shows manliness, pointed jaw can show femininity or evilness and round jaw can show that character is overweight or softness. For some reason female characters have less of this, generally pandering to the cutsey rounded off mid-point in between these because god forbid we have an unattractive female character. The last time I can think I saw one of those was Roy Mustang’s mother from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Oh and there was also the oddity of Hidamari Sketch, what the hell happened there?
I won’t do too much on the body structure as I think the face is the most expressive part of character design but I will say that, like with the face, I like characters to be somewhat in proportion to real life; hence why I’ve never been a fan of ecchi or fan service anime, proportions. Another common design for certain anime characters is their stretched bodies that when looking at some of them can just become absurd. Code Geass has this but still it wan’t as bad as some other of Clamp’s stuff. Hell, I bet even Tim Burton would think some of the character designs from XXXholic looked bloody stupid.
I’d be interested to hear if anyone thought that any other anime character designs put them off certain shows. Share in the comments.