Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime That Use CGI

It probably isn’t news that a lot of people don’t like CGI in their anime. And given some of the efforts at using it,  that’s actually pretty understandable. At some point I’m going to have to look at those anime that end up just being an eye-sore, but that isn’t today’s list. Today I have 5 anime where the CGI actually worked reasonably well (though not always perfectly). As always, I would love to know what some of your favourites are so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mention: Ajin.

Number 5: Blame

Blame

I wasn’t the biggest fan of this Netflix movie feeling it was more like an introduction to a much larger story, but I did enjoy the visuals for the most part. There were some great effects with the weapons and the movement of the characters in action sequences was very fluid and fun to watch. Admittedly, like a lot of anime that uses CGI, the characters when they were just talking looked a bit odd, but otherwise I really kind of enjoyed this.

Number 4: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Final Fantasy.jpg

So, there are definitely some odd moments in the animation in this movie, but I never did get over how beautiful the main character’s hair was. I’d never seen an animation that detailed before or that fluid in its movement. While the story might not have blown me away, the visuals in this film actually did and while comparatively there are much better examples today, I have a soft spot for this film.

Number 3: Kado: The Right Answer

Kado2c

Another case where the story fell over, quite badly toward the end, and the characters themselves are kind of creepy to watch move at times. This one earns a spot for its backgrounds and for the design of the cube itself. While at times it may have looked like someone shoved the characters inside a kaleidoscope, I couldn’t help but love the backgrounds of so many scenes in this. Visually it was striking and while again, the character movement wasn’t great, there wasn’t a lot of it anyway.

Number 2: Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan.gif

This one is the opposite of Kado. The backgrounds here seem for the most part to be more traditional and the CG seems to be used for the character movement, particularly during fights. The end result is actually kind of exhilarating to watch and kind of beautiful (until the characters get eaten and we end up with blood splatter). Still, Attack on Titan kind of shows us a good compromise between traditional animation and CGI techniques.

Number 1: Land of the Lustrous

Lustrous9a

Definitely the anime that inspired this list and got me thinking about anime using CGI. I loved the look of this anime and the characters. Certainly, it isn’t a look I want everything to adopt, but the way the animation style and character designs suited the story here was kind of perfect. And that’s really what needs to be considered. Is the CGI really enhancing the story or distracting from it. In cases like Land of the Lustrous, I can’t imagine those characters or some of those fight sequences ever really working without it. Truly beautiful and well worth trying the anime if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet.

So what anime CGI have you enjoyed?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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28 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime That Use CGI

  1. Ajin was a pleasant surprise for me. The CGI is rough around the edges and flat at times but the story and characters were captivating enough to keep my attention. AoT was beautifully done across the board. There’s definitely very few anime that are able to pull off CGI with ease. I might check out the other series mentioned.

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    1. It is good to think about the times CGI has been done right. It is very easy to pull up some bad examples and dismiss it, but as it gets used more frequently there are more and more examples of what it might do and it’s fairly fun to see this period of testing and trialling.

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      1. How could 2 FPS animation (that could easily be made by PowerPoint) be not beautiful?
        It’s very sad that when the number of good CG anime increases one that has really great story potential receives less competent production than it deserves.

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  2. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within I agree on. I saw it when I was younger, but even back then I knew the story didn’t click. Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children had great animation, and good looking action, but that was it. I also didn’t care for the story in that.

    For me, aside from Attack On Titan, my favorite usage of 3D would be Gundam Origin. Whenever in use, Sunrise creates some awesome moments with it, (like the opening action sequence in episode 1) and it fits in great with the traditional animation too. I also liked 3D in Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. There wasn’t anything impressive about how it was used, but I do recall enjoying the movie, and being somewhat creative in its design.

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    1. It’s amazing how so many shows with impressive visuals seem to fall short on the story aspect. And while this list does look at good use of CGI, it doesn’t matter how pretty something looks if it isn’t fun to watch.

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  3. CGI’s biggest problem has always been the fact that some animators always try to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D by lowering the framerate. Other than the Square Enix style and such, most Japan CG stuff is cel-shaded, and try way too hard to feel 2D, instead of embracing the medium.

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  4. I have a copy of Spirits Within – saw that movie in the theater back when it was first released, and I always liked it. Advent Children, too.

    I was surprised when I dug into the “behind the scenes” stuff to find out just how much CGI KyoAni incorporated into Euphonium. It’s blended well enough that even if you know on an intellectual level that some set pieces had to have been done with CG, like the spin around the club room in the OP, most of the time you’re just not thinking about it while you’re actually watching the show. Or at least I’m not.

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  5. Production IG always does good job with 3d graphics (Ghost in the Shell 2 still looks amazing) but speaking of recent shows — I’m really impressed how well CGI looks in the remake of Legend of Galactic Heroes. The studio had to show epic space battles and probably they didn’t any options except 3D, however it seems that the invested into it and it was a right decision.
    Kuromukuro is another one that demonstrated that it’s possible to make a good anime full of 3d graphics.

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  6. Definitely some great examples of CG here. I agree that Ajin was worthy of an HM because most of the time it was pretty solid. To that effect, I would give some other Polygon Pictures shows an HM too. Any way, enjoyed the list 🙂

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    1. Glad you liked it.
      I think with Ajin the issue wasn’t so much the CGI. The issue was more that I hated the character designs so I walked away thinking the show looked quite ugly. I don’t think that had anything to do with the animation though.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ufotable stuff always seems to rub me the wrong way. I usually love the characters and the setting but don’t ever see them working together. Though, I get I’m in the minority on that given a lot of people really quite like their work.

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  7. I’m mixed on CGI in most situations, to be fair. The problem I find with anime is that when it mixes CGI with more traditional styled stuff, it often looks out of place to me. FF:Spirits Within was very good. FF:Advent Children I also really liked. Appleseed Alpha impressed me too.

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