Guest Post: Colour Theory in Anime


Karandi: A huge thank-you to Average Joe for stepping up as the second person to guest post for 100 Word Anime. If you don’t follow Average Joe Reviews I definitely recommend checking out some of their anime reviews or discussion posts. However, today, they’ve written a fantastic post about colours and comparing how three anime have used colour. I hope you love it as much as  I did.

Before starting I would like the thank Karandi for letting me be a guest on her blog. I hope you like my post.

Colours and Their Effects

Colour. It’s one of the things many of us take for granted, but it bring so much to our lives. Colour makes things appealing to the eye, is used to indicate certain things and can have an affect on your mood. Different colours and colour palettes imply different things; Red for anger, green for envy, blue for tranquillity the list is endless. In this post I’m going to be discussing how colour and its effects apply to anime. I’ll pick out 3 different anime and address their colour schemes and common colour to explain how said colour affects our views of the show as well as the actual connection it has to the show.

New game

The colours in New Game are very pale and a lot of pastels. These colours help compliment the shoujo nature of the show. New Game isn’t a show with much urgency in its story, therefore it’s subdued colour scene demonstrates this with calm colours with very few sharp or contrasting colours. New game is an inherently slow paced show, the slow pacing compliments the calmer colours since pastels are associated with calming moods and settings. No colours contrast with one another, or stand out against each other, this creates a set level of dimension and makes to world seem smooth and simple in design. The only part of the show I could find that was consistently bright was the eyes, which are rather large with very bright iris’. Since eyes are a major artistic component in anime it makes sense that they’d be brighter, so as to convey more emotion since the brighter colours pop out against the subdued colours. The colours also have an effect on our perception of the show, if the colours are calm and soft, it will have a calming effect on your mind. This improving your overall enjoyment of the show since it is meant to have a calm and gentle style to both its art style and narrative.

New Game


And now we go to the exact opposite in the form of Redline. Redline has sharp colours and is rampant with contrasting colours. The colours of the cars and characters are all very bright and sharp, showing the ferocity of the animation and to accentuate the intense nature of this world the movie is set in. The settings are dark and grungy, and this is shown in the city shapes through very harsh grey as and deep browns. The vehicles are the highlight of the movie, their colours are extremely bright and contrast greatly with the backgrounds and other settings. This adds to the focus being on the vehicles since they stand out so much against the backgrounds. The character designs also get in on this trend, with a lot of harsh darks for JP, mellow yet bright colours for Sonoshee McLaren and dark reds and other sinister tones for Lynchman, each characters personality and style reflected in their colours. Redline is a show that has tons of depth and dimension in its animation, and a major part of that is its combination of dark colours and contrasting brights that make the world seem almost 3D with how much everything pops off the screen.


Death Note

To close off this post, let’s talk about the joyfest that is Death Note. This show doesn’t necessarily have dark colours, instead it has very dulled down and faded colours. It’s both like New Game and completely different from it. It’s similar in that it uses faded and less harsh colours, but it’s different in that it’s done for entirely different reasons. New game did it to create a calming and cheery tone, Death Note does it to create a sombre and depressed tone. Death Note is a show that bleeds cynicism, bringing up ideologies of faith and godhood in its narrative with Light and his God complex. The show isn’t optimistic, and this creates a dim setting that the colours compliment by being very faded. The majority of these colours are greys and browns, colours that are often associated with gloom. The faded colours help to add to the darker tones of the show, the paler colours perhaps being reflective of the lack of value of life in the show with the power of The Death Note capable of taking it away. Duller colours have an effect that leaves its observers feeling more negative emotions, or at least being more exposed to them, and this helps sell the message Death Note provides, one about how sinister the power of a god can be in the hands of a human.


Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it, if you did please consider visiting my blog for reviews, discussions and more. Once again, special thanks to Karandi for featuring me as a guest, this was a lot of fun to do, please support her and her blog. Till next time.

Karandi: Another huge thank you to Average Joe and I hope you all enjoyed reading that post. If you’d like to check out more of their posts check out:

If you would like to write a guest post for 100 Word Anime, please contact me via the contact page or twitter and we can hopefully organise something in future months.

Thanks for reading.

Karandi James


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8 thoughts on “Guest Post: Colour Theory in Anime

  1. I love this idea!! Colour and animation style can say so much about a show. You can get such a great idea of what kind of show you’re getting yourself into just by the shades of the colour palette! 😍🎨

  2. Colour theory isn’t something I undermine in series since it’s helpful to storytelling like in the examples you mention. If used properly, it can it further than plain old writing would. Color schemes is also something I don’t think about a great deal since I’m usually more engaged, or annoyed at the writing in a work. That usually grabs my attention. When done right it’ll go unnoticed, but when done badly it’s noticeable.

    You put some good work into this Joe!

  3. It’s something I often don’t think about except in very unusual cases (like the colors schemes in No Game No Life). Something for me to keep an eye out for in the future!

    1. Thank you for writing the post. I know you’re busy with your own blog but I really love this article you put together and I’m happy you let me share it.

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