As anime lovers, we all know that the art style plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall experience of watching an anime.
So, today, we’ll be taking a look at 20+ must-watch anime that not only offer captivating narratives but also boast unconventional and remarkable art styles.
From retro aesthetics to watercolor backgrounds, these anime have something special that will keep you hooked from the very beginning.
- 1 Ping Pong the Animation
- 2 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
- 3 Mononoke
- 4 Kill la Kill
- 5 Mushishi
- 6 Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
- 7 The Garden of Words
- 8 Aku no Hana
- 9 The Tatami Galaxy
- 10 Land of the Lustrous
- 11 Mob Psycho 100
- 12 Kaiba
- 13 Katanagatari
- 14 Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
- 15 Paprika
- 16 Dead Leaves
- 17 Mawaru Penguindrum
- 18 The Night is Short, Walk On Girl
- 19 Tekkon Kinkreet
- 20 Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
- 21 Cat Soup
Ping Pong the Animation
The first anime on our list is “Ping Pong the Animation”. This sports anime, directed by Masaaki Yuasa, has a unique art style that sets it apart from all other sports anime out there.
The animation style is quite distinct, with a rough and sketchy look that may take some getting used to. But once you do, you’ll realize just how well it fits the theme of the anime.
The characters are drawn in a simplistic yet effective way, with exaggerated features that emphasize their emotions and expressions.
The backgrounds are also beautifully rendered, with a mix of watercolor and digital techniques that create a dreamy, surreal atmosphere.
Overall, Ping Pong the Animation is a great anime with a unique art style that perfectly complements its themes and story.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Next on our list is “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”. This anime is known for its bold and over-the-top art style that perfectly complements its equally bizarre storyline.
The characters are drawn with exaggerated features, such as bulging muscles and sharp angles, that make them look like they’re ready to jump right off the screen.
The use of color in this anime is also quite striking, with bright, bold hues that add to the overall craziness of the series.
The animation is fluid and dynamic, with the characters moving in a way that emphasizes their unique personalities and fighting styles.
If you’re looking for an anime with an art style that’s as wild and crazy as the story, then JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is definitely worth checking out.
“Mononoke” is a supernatural anime that tells the story of a medicine seller who travels through Japan, exorcising demons and evil spirits.
What sets this anime apart from others is its unique art style, which combines traditional Japanese woodblock prints with modern digital techniques.
The backgrounds are particularly noteworthy, with a mix of flat colors and intricate patterns that create a stunning visual effect.
The characters are also drawn in a style reminiscent of Japanese woodblock prints, with bold lines and intricate details that make them stand out.
Overall, Mononoke is an anime that’s worth watching for its stunning visuals alone. But the story and characters are just as captivating, making it a must-watch for any anime fan.
Kill la Kill
“Kill la Kill” is an action-packed anime that combines elements of science fiction and high school drama. The art style of this anime is bold and colorful, with a mix of traditional animation and CGI that creates a unique look.
The character designs are particularly striking, with exaggerated proportions and intricate details that make them stand out.
The use of color is also quite impressive, with bright, bold hues that add to the overall energy of the series.
The animation itself is also quite impressive, with fluid movements and dynamic camera angles that make the fight scenes particularly thrilling to watch.
If you’re looking for an anime with an art style that’s as energetic and bold as its storyline, then Kill la Kill is definitely worth checking out.
Last but not least, we have “Mushishi”, a supernatural anime that tells the story of a traveling medicine man named Ginko, who specializes in solving problems related to mysterious creatures called “Mushi”.
The art style of this anime is unique, with a focus on creating a tranquil and serene atmosphere.
The backgrounds are particularly noteworthy, with a blend of soft colors and textures that create a dreamy, almost ethereal feel.
The characters are also drawn in a realistic style that emphasizes their humanity, which contrasts well with the fantastical creatures they encounter.
The animation is slow and deliberate, with a focus on capturing the beauty and complexity of the natural world.
The use of light and shadow is particularly impressive, with scenes that are both haunting and beautiful.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” has garnered immense popularity not only for its gripping story but also for its visually stunning art style.
The anime beautifully combines traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern animation techniques, creating a visual feast for the eyes.
The intricate details in the character designs, particularly during intense battles, showcase the immense talent of the animators. The use of vibrant colors, atmospheric lighting, and dynamic action sequences add to the overall impact of the series.
Moreover, “Demon Slayer” incorporates breathtaking visual effects, such as water and fire elements, which heighten the intensity of the battles. The stunning animation perfectly complements the emotional depth and thrilling narrative of the series.
For fans of action-packed anime with visually captivating art styles, “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” is an absolute must-watch.
The Garden of Words
“The Garden of Words” is a visually stunning anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. Known for his breathtaking animations, Shinkai delivers yet another masterpiece with this film. The art style of “The Garden of Words” is simply mesmerizing, with highly detailed and realistic backgrounds that showcase the beauty of nature.
The attention to detail in the animation is remarkable, from the raindrops falling on leaves to the delicate movements of the characters. The use of lighting and color further enhances the immersive experience, creating a tranquil and melancholic atmosphere.
If you appreciate artistry and want to indulge in a visually captivating anime film, “The Garden of Words” should be on your watchlist.
Aku no Hana
“Aku no Hana,” also known as “Flowers of Evil,” is a psychological thriller anime that stands out due to its unconventional art style. The series employs a rotoscoping technique, where live-action footage is traced over to create the animation. This technique adds a distinct layer of realism and eeriness to the visuals.
The characters’ movements and facial expressions appear raw and authentic, heightening the sense of unease and discomfort that permeates the story. The muted color palette and atmospheric backgrounds further contribute to the dark and unsettling tone.
If you’re seeking an anime that breaks away from the traditional art style and delves into psychological depths, “Aku no Hana” offers a unique and compelling experience.
The Tatami Galaxy
“The Tatami Galaxy” is a mind-bending anime that employs a distinctive art style that sets it apart from other series. The animation utilizes a blend of hand-drawn and collage-like visuals, creating a fast-paced and visually dynamic narrative.
The art style captures the frenetic energy and chaotic nature of the protagonist’s journey through parallel universes and college life. The use of vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and rapid scene transitions keeps viewers engaged and adds to the surreal atmosphere.
If you’re looking for an anime that experiments with its art style and delivers a thought-provoking narrative, “The Tatami Galaxy” is a must-watch.
Land of the Lustrous
“Land of the Lustrous” is a visually striking anime that showcases a unique blend of 3D CGI animation and captivating character designs. Set in a world inhabited by gemstone-based beings, the show features beautiful and ethereal visuals that shine with a sense of otherworldly elegance.
The use of CGI animation allows for fluid and dynamic movements, enhancing the action sequences and highlighting the characters’ gemstone features. The meticulous attention to detail in the gemstone textures and the intricate world-building create a visually immersive experience.
If you’re intrigued by anime that seamlessly integrates CGI animation and offers a captivating fantasy world, “Land of the Lustrous” is a gem of a series to explore.
Mob Psycho 100
“Mob Psycho 100” is an anime that boasts a distinctive art style characterized by bold and explosive visuals.
Created by the same author as “One Punch Man,” this series utilizes a vibrant and colorful art style that accentuates the supernatural abilities of the characters.
The animation features an imaginative blend of traditional hand-drawn animation and psychedelic effects, creating a visually dazzling spectacle.
The dynamic fight sequences, along with the exaggerated expressions and character designs, bring an extra layer of excitement to the series.
For those seeking a visually dynamic and action-packed anime with a unique art style, “Mob Psycho 100” is an absolute must-watch
“Kaiba” is a mind-bending anime that takes place in a distant future where memories can be digitized and transferred from one body to another.
What sets “Kaiba” apart is its minimalist and abstract art style.
The character designs are simple, with bold lines and limited color palettes.
This stark approach serves to emphasize the emotional depth of the narrative, making it a visually striking and emotionally resonant experience.
The background art in “Kaiba” is equally mesmerizing, with surreal and dreamlike landscapes that add to the overall sense of wonder and mystery.
The combination of its unique character designs and surreal world-building makes “Kaiba” a must-watch for those seeking an anime with an art style that defies convention.
“Katanagatari” is an epic adventure anime that follows the journey of a swordsman and a strategist as they seek to collect twelve legendary swords.
The art style of “Katanagatari” is characterized by its distinctive character designs and intricate, almost storybook-like backgrounds.
The characters have long, slender limbs, and their faces are expressive, with detailed eyes that convey a wide range of emotions.
The animation in “Katanagatari” is deliberate and precise, allowing viewers to appreciate every swordfight and action sequence.
The series’ art style gives it a timeless quality, reminiscent of traditional Japanese art.
“Katanagatari” is a visual masterpiece that pairs beautifully with its compelling story and well-developed characters.
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
“Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo” is a reimagining of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel, set in a futuristic world with a unique twist – the characters’ clothing and backgrounds are replaced with intricate, mesmerizing patterns.
This art style, known as “texture mapping,” uses patterns and textures that move independently from the characters, creating a surreal and hypnotic visual experience.
The opulent and otherworldly designs in “Gankutsuou” are a feast for the eyes, creating a sense of unease and wonder that perfectly complements the story’s themes of revenge and betrayal.
Watching this anime is like stepping into a living tapestry, making it an unforgettable viewing experience.
“Paprika” is a mind-bending science fiction anime film directed by Satoshi Kon.
The film’s art style blends reality and dreams in a visually stunning manner.
The line between the waking world and the dream world becomes increasingly blurred as the story unfolds, and the art follows suit.
The dream sequences in “Paprika” are a riot of colors and surreal imagery, while the real-world scenes are grounded in a more conventional anime style.
This stark contrast between the two realms is not only artistically captivating but also thematically significant.
“Paprika” explores the power of dreams and the consequences of tampering with the boundaries of reality, and its unique art style enhances these themes in a way that only animation can.
“Dead Leaves” is a wild and chaotic ride of an anime film, known for its over-the-top action sequences and unconventional character designs.
The characters are drawn with exaggerated features, from their elongated heads to their comically large eyes.
The animation style is frenetic and fast-paced, matching the breakneck speed of the story.
The art in “Dead Leaves” may not be as intricate or detailed as some of the other entries on this list, but it’s undeniably unique and eye-catching.
The exaggerated character designs and bold colors give the film a punk-rock aesthetic that sets it apart from more traditional anime. “Dead Leaves” is a visual rollercoaster that demands to be experienced.
“Mawaru Penguindrum” is a surreal and thought-provoking anime that explores themes of fate, family, and love.
One of its standout features is its art style, which is a mesmerizing blend of vibrant colors and symbolic imagery.
The character designs are both charming and expressive, making it easy to connect with the characters on an emotional level.
What sets “Mawaru Penguindrum” apart is its use of symbolism and abstract visuals.
Throughout the series, you’ll encounter recurring motifs like apples, penguins, and the mysterious Penguindrum itself. These symbols are woven seamlessly into the narrative, creating a visually rich and intellectually engaging experience.
The Night is Short, Walk On Girl
“The Night is Short, Walk On Girl” is a whimsical and surreal film that takes you on a one-night adventure through the bustling streets of Kyoto. The art style in this anime is a vibrant and kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes.
The colors are vivid, and the animation flows with a dreamlike quality that mirrors the protagonist’s surreal journey through the city.
The character designs are distinctive, with exaggerated features that add to the film’s sense of whimsy. As the night unfolds, you’ll be treated to an array of surreal and whimsical scenarios, all rendered with impeccable attention to detail.
“The Night is Short, Walk On Girl” is a visual delight that perfectly complements its quirky and heartwarming story.
“Tekkon Kinkreet” is a visually stunning anime film that tells the story of two orphans navigating the gritty streets of Treasure Town.
What makes this anime stand out is its edgy and urban art style.
The cityscapes are a chaotic blend of neon lights, graffiti, and architectural diversity, creating a vibrant and immersive world.
The character designs in “Tekkon Kinkreet” are equally striking.
The contrast between the two main characters, Black and White, is visually arresting, with Black’s dark and rugged appearance juxtaposed against White’s purity and simplicity.
The animation is fluid, bringing the action sequences and emotional moments to life in a way that’s both gritty and poetic.
Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
“Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor” is a psychological thriller that follows the unfortunate gambler Kaiji as he faces life-or-death challenges.
The art style of this anime is unique in its ability to capture the intensity of the gambling world.
The character designs emphasize the characters’ desperation and emotional turmoil, with exaggerated facial expressions and intense close-ups.
The use of dark, dramatic shading and camera angles adds to the tension and suspense of the series.
“Kaiji” doesn’t rely on traditional anime aesthetics but instead opts for a gritty and raw visual approach that mirrors the harsh realities of its characters.
“Cat Soup” is a surreal and experimental anime that defies conventional storytelling and art styles.
The animation in this short film is a fluid and ever-shifting blend of bizarre and dreamlike imagery.
The characters themselves are simple in design, allowing the abstract visuals to take center stage.
“Cat Soup” is a testament to the power of animation as an art form.
It invites viewers to interpret its surreal sequences and symbolism in their own unique ways, making it a deeply personal and thought-provoking experience.