Abstraction as a form of Aesthetics

Aesthetics, from what I’ve ascertained over my studies for the past X years are commonly known as “Things that the individuals eye and mind perceive as appealing”. So naturally, everyone has a different taste. When I consider what I think as aesthetically pleasing, I’m torn between two major camps. The two being



Allow me to elaborate:

Abstraction“Strictly speaking, it refers to art unconcerned with the literal depiction of things from the visible world”

If we were to allow ourselves to concern animé as art, at least for the sake of this argument, 3 things instantly pop to mind.

Gankutsuou– It’s hard to really pin down the underlying beauty in the art of this show. An abstract retelling of Dumas’ classic tale “The Count of Monte Cristo”, Gankutsuou tells the story of the count, as he tried to get revenge for his past. When makes this show so pleasing to the eye is simply the attention to detail that seems to be in every scene. Every single frame gives the assumption that they’re all hand drawn, everything has such an incredibly fine attention to detail, that it seems unbelivably…fluid. That’s a big thing this show has going for it. Everything literally does seem so unbelievably fluid. The fights, the dialogue, the drama. They all fit together in such a way that it’s hard to not find yourself absolutely stunned by the incredible visuals of this show.

The trailer doesn’t necessarily do it justice, but still exemplifies the stunning art of a futuristic sci-fi drama.

Fooly Cooly– Fooly Cooly, or FLCL is a show that’s forever been near and dear to me. There’s something about the sheer audacity and ostentatious nature of the show that’s unbelieavbly fun. The characters are all fantastic, and so incredibly vivid in each and every animation.The tonal nature of the show is wonderful, and really epitomises the nature of the key narrative ideals. Put short, FLCL is an assault on the senses, a tour de force of incredible visuals, a stellar soundtrack, and such a crazy, well thought out world. The notion of abstraction, or otherness within is often expressed in the bizarre transformation/robot scenes in which a giant robot/monster/planet sized bird/pirate king will burst out of a characters head, and go on a rampage in an attempt to destroy the world. Or city. Or galaxy, who knows!

The fact that all the characters are so…slick and stylish are obviously designed as such. Again, it seems that everything in it is crafted specifically. And FLCL takes those ideas, and subverts them into some of the most outlandish ideas imagineable (And the giant Homage to Day of the Tentacle in the Episode 5 conclusion is just awesome!!) I pulled together a video of a few of the most expressive and exemplary points in FLCL.

Minimalism-Minimalism is defined as “Movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features.” Two things I feel show this to its finest degree are:

-Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei


Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei– SZS is a show about a struggling teacher who seems driven to try to kill himself at any oppurtunity (and bears a somewhat nihlistic view of life not so dissimilar to the protagonist of Welcome to the NHK…). What makes the show look so good is the sheer minimalistic artwork. Everything appears super flat, super 2D, but not in a way that makes it seem amateurish. In a show with such bold character design, and few ACTUAL characters, every single person is so specific, that they all stand out, everything is just drawn so well. SZS is a great looking show, because it’s different. And it’s not just a show with semi retarded girls in high school uniforms created to appeal to pathetic stereotypes. I’m looking at you <Any Harem show ever>.

Machinarium– Machinarium isn’t really something I can describe as to why it’s appealing. You just have to see it for yourself to appreciate it. Every background ingame, every character, every little animation is so sensorally delightful that you’ll have a hard time finding videogame art that looks this…refined. And if you don’t like it, you must just be stupid.

If you’re reading this, what do YOU prefer? Do you agree with any of the things I hold dear?

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