Background Art of Oh! Edo Rocket and Hundred Stories
November 20, 2009
There are many interesting things to say about Oh! Edo Rocket, which is a wonderfully charming comedy series that deserves more recognition. What’s particularly intriguing is its unique background art that reminds one of eastern traditional Ink and Wash paintings. Its forms are free, defined by more intuitive contour lines in varying thickness and rendered in that ethereal watercolour, as well as often having that pleasant rice paper texture. The way these background pieces capture its surroundings are closer to the abstract impressionistic (Xieyi) than the detailed and decorative (Gongbi) and they are very charming to see. What’s even more interesting is how the more crisp and defined (less free) character designs interact with this impressionistic background art.
It almost looks like the characters are actors on stage of a play, and that is exactly how they are portrayed in the show. Oh! Edo Rocket is simply oozing of self-awareness, making fun of its own historical inaccuracies and the hilarious idiocy of 2D drawn figures trying to become more than what they are; endearing characters in a beautiful story of hope and love. Funny thing is that we do fall for these characters by the end, and there are lot of things in this journey that do move us, even if we are told “don’t take this seriously, it’s just stupid fun!” at every opportunity. That’s the magic of Oh! Edo Rocket. It’s the moment when stage dissolves and re-appear as another world, and we are compelled to give ourselves into the characters while being aware that they are nothing more than 2D actors putting on a show.
Another anime series I want to recommend in this post is an underrated horror title, Hundred Stories. Its background art is yet another abstract beast but unlike Oh! Edo Rocket, the characters actually fit in with the background. It’s because there is less rigidity in how the characters are drawn, as their forms and colours are more flexible in order to blend into the geometry and colour palette of different background pieces. Check out how the same characters look in different backgrounds below, and give this one a try if you are looking for a quality horror anime title.