When you watch your favorite anime these days, it doesn't hurt to remember where they first came from. Each show has a humble origin no matter how big it is today. Even Dragon Ball had to start somewhere, and its beginnings decades ago followed a very different Goku. Sure, the story has changed immensely since then, but the artwork of every anime has shifted at least once if it lasted long enough. And for some series that are still going on today, it is crazy looking back at those old days.
Of course, that is why ComicBook.com decided it was time to revisit those days of old. We have collected some of the most popular anime franchises thriving today which date back at least ten years. There is no short supply in that area as the shonen genre is known for its longevity... and that isn't even factoring in One Piece.
You can find our examples below to see how art has shifted over the last decade or more. Back in the last 1990s, many of the series fans saw go live had a grainy texture and flatter appearance. There was more emphasis put on bold color palates, and anime's old-school love of blocking is impossible to overlook. You only have to check out Ash Ketchum's jawline to see that is true, but things have changed a lot since then.
These days, anime has grown leaps and bounds along with its viewership. The medium is truly global now, and its creators have been inspired by all sorts of animation around the world. As such, anime artwork tends to favor a softer look that hones in on highlights, lowlights, and muted colors. Sakuga lovers are able to get their fix of high-octane action sequences due to better technology, and show's have a crisp overlay which makes each scene shine.
When it comes to which art style is best... well, that is up to you to decide. Personal preference dictates your favorites, but there is a clear trend going on in the industry. And before we all know it, another wave of art will sweep in and shake up everything once more.
Which anime series have you kept up with the longest? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!