Every so often I’m noticing that silhouette is one of the most wildly used art in Japanese cartoons. Its intricacy and mystifying nature are so brilliant that it wonderfully presents harmony in complementariness—it’s so defined but yet so abstract. Now that I’m thinking more about it, lots of anime that I enjoyed incorporated this visual feature into their animations.
For sure lots of anime viewers are now picking their favourite OP’s and ED’s of the season. If there’s something that stands out for me, that would be to Tsuritama. I enjoy watching the use of silhouettes because it gives a fun visualisation. The light vibe and colourful ambience of the setting is not just a mere background rather it’s upfront “facial” value of the scene. Most of all, it’s pleasing how the booming posture and playful movements are nicely synchronized with the music and matched so well with the symmetry of the design.
Another OP that I enjoyed not because of its music, but due to its animation is the one from Ef – A Tale of Melodies. The whole presentation embodies everything that I love in a design which is the showcasing of minimalism at its best because truly less is more. The vibrant use of the black and white tones poetically emphasized the melancholic nature of the series and the beauty of the art of 2D space.
Aside from the clean lines and delightful visual profiles, it’s enjoying how it artistically integrated wordings into the design. And what even made it more perplexing is the fact that the words are in Deutsch—for I don’t understand the language. It felt like the texts were silhouetting my thoughts. They clearly outlined the feelings yet still left me hanging in mystery.
Speaking of mystery and silhouettes, who would’ve ever forgotten Ikuhara’s Revolutionary Girl Utena? The human’s perception of shadows is usually being linked to nothingness. An interesting sense, being nothing can be both meaningless and emblematic. Say for instance, I commend how Ikuhara cleverly used the shadow girls and likened them to the shadows of meaning themselves. Through these figurative shadow puppets, he’s able to illuminate nonsense by forming an absence of meaning which is pretty much just like how shadows are the absence of light.
On a similar vein, Mawaru Penguindrum theatrically indulged the viewers and poignantly encapsulated the symbolisms through the use of shadows by entrenching some nonsense to keep the viewers speculating. However what I liked the most is how these beautifully outlined the profiles of the characters. The sharp-edged and finely formed solid shapes of the human body are such visual delights.
So perhaps the very idea of absences cause things makes the visualisation of silhouettes so fascinating. It’s really indeed amazing how a clear image can be so featureless and at the same time unleash a mystifying and imaginative nature.