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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Tolkien Illustrated: Fan Art IIII--Anime Style


Mar 2 2007, 3:17am

Post #1 of 16 (1231 views)
Tolkien Illustrated: Fan Art IIII--Anime Style Can't Post

Here's the subject I've been waiting for all week: anime/manga style LOTR fan art. I have been an anime fan for quite some time (not as much as I used to, though--my taste has become more discerning).

I first discovered anime/manga style LOTR fan art when my sister and I went to our first Otakon. Otakon is the largest anime convention oh the East Coast and is held every year in Baltimore. We were at a booth, flipping through a pile of doujinshi and came across one that had a beautiful cover with Legolas and Aragorn on it. When we went to pay for it, the cashier asked if he could see some ID. Ooops! We had accidentally found the yaoi bin! Ever since then, though, I was intrigued at the possibility of anime/manga style LOTR fan art.

So my question for today is, what affect is achieved when you combine a piece of literature so steeped in Northwestern culture with a completely Southeastern art form? Do the artists intend to mix East and West, or are they just lazy (like me) and draw in anime/manga style because that's the only style they know?


Jennifer Kim (Incidentally, I love the way she draws hands. And her Frodo is pretty cute, too.)

Darkmage (Darkmage's style is very interesting to me, because it combines the style of CLAMP--the most famous doujinshi circle in the world and the most powerful voice in manga--with that of more traditional 70s-style romance manga.)


Angel Rogue

Blue Taco


Wyna Hiros (Now, I like this picture. A lot. But you know you've got problems when Gollum is supposed to look hot. Shocked)

And, oh yeah, me. (And this Galadriel drawing bares no resemblance in any shape or form to any other anime. At all. Really. I did this drawing two years ago, I promise you I've improved vastly.)


Mar 2 2007, 4:58am

Post #2 of 16 (1025 views)
I love Frodo Speed Racer! [In reply to] Can't Post

Blue Taco's Hobbits are wonderful! It is a very odd cultural pairing to see LOTR characters in an anime style, but just as I like Ezpeleta's odd mixture of other mythologies and Tolkien, so too do I like this quasi-Japanese reinterpretation of the legendarium.

(Formerly drogo of the two names!)

Beren IV

Mar 2 2007, 6:03am

Post #3 of 16 (997 views)
Lots to reply to here [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish that all of the artists would include who their drawings are meant to be portraits of.

Anime (really manga) is a very simple style, easy to draw, easy to learn. I often have some issues with it because it gets body proportions out of whack, although that said there is something of an allure to manga drawings, particularly with certain types of characters. Slender-bodied young-looking people tend to come out very well in manga, so it really is a quite good style for depicting Elves, if you are willing to accept some level of body distortion (of course, you don't need to distort the bodies, although most manga artists do). Since I generally favor an Elf-like interpretation of the Edain in particular, I generally think that manga is pretty good for depicting them as well.

In all honesty, however, I don't think that there is a great deal of culture clash between Japanese drawing and Tolkienian fiction. The Japanese seem to me to gobble up Western mythology quite readily, often mixing it with their own, but the result that they come up with is often thought provoking and interesting and not too far from what the original author may have intended. Manga is really a simple enough style that almost anyone can learn it; the name is Japanese, but I don't think it is really stylized enough to be considered exclusively an oriental art form. It can be ported to any culture, and any culture can be ported to it. It's not like the Japanese wood-cuts, which are extremely stylized, and would make something like Middle-Earth look quite strange if combined. This simple nature has led some critics to say that manga is "low art" - but I've seen enough manga or anime with enough thought-provoking ideas that I would not regard it as such myself, at least not necessarily.

Anime also lends itself to the fantastical very well. Within Tolkien's legendarium, I think that manga is more useful in depicting the Silmarillion than LotR.

Daughter of Nienna
Grey Havens

Mar 2 2007, 8:48am

Post #4 of 16 (998 views)
fantastic journey through a parallel universe [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow... I feel like I have just flew on a fantastic journey through a parallel universe.

Thank your for all the informative links. Anime and all its derivatives has been a mystery to me for a long time. First I followed the information trail, the image trail.

This one by Angel Rogue is my favorite. It brought a tear to my eyes. It’s unusual for animation art to do that to me.

Is the Wyna Hiros link one of those strange mis-connects that occasionally crop up in these discussions? A jamberry image come up instead of Wyna Hiros.
I Googled her name finding some interesting & colorful images.

Jamberry has quite a collection on this page:

Websites Directory, my drawings, Aloha & Mahalo

Nienna: “those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope . . . All those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom." — Valaquenta

(This post was edited by Daughter of Nienna on Mar 2 2007, 8:57am)


Mar 2 2007, 4:00pm

Post #5 of 16 (1004 views)
Ooops! [In reply to] Can't Post

Here's the hot Gollum.


Mar 2 2007, 4:33pm

Post #6 of 16 (982 views)
It never occurred to me that that was Gollum [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought that was Frodo and Sam.

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night


Mar 2 2007, 5:29pm

Post #7 of 16 (977 views)
Which makes sense, since Sam is a Harfoot. [In reply to] Can't Post



Mar 2 2007, 5:50pm

Post #8 of 16 (982 views)
Are you sure [In reply to] Can't Post

it's Gollum? The dark hobbit is wearing the Ring around his neck. I wonder if it's meant to be the "dark" side of Frodo, the side of him that is tempted by the Ring.

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.


Mar 2 2007, 6:40pm

Post #9 of 16 (964 views)
Southeastern? Anime is a broad term for any Japanese animation. [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that there are styles more typical of Japan, but not all Japanese cartoonists use the same style. That's especially true of some of the best, like Hayao Miyazaki. And many Japanese animators were originally influenced by American animation. Anyone who draws a stylized, animation-style version of LotR characters, then, might find themselves categorized with anime. But one could just as easily say they are influenced by animation on television, like Dora the Explorer or Kim Possible (to name a couple my daughter watches). In American theaters 3D computer animation has swept aside the competition. But I can easily imagine Bambi in anime.

Animation characters are typically not drawn in as much detail as more realistic portraits. They also tend to be distorted to show emotion, especially by enlarging the eyes. They are almost caricatures, except that they are not comic parodies of real people, but simply stylized versions of imaginary people. They are often exaggerated to make them more beautiful, not less, with tiny noses, slim waists, and perfect skin, for example. But if we saw such people in real life they would look unreal, like costumed characters, or dolls that came to life.

It's a good style for quick drawing, appropriate for thousands of frames of animation. It also can idealize characters, and so may be particularly appropriate for elves, for example, or for the other heroic characters in LotR. Those who are good at it can draw quite beautifully in that style.

Many of Tolkien's drawings are rather stylized, as squire and others noted last week. Tolkien's Smaug, which I love, is rather like an animation dragon, but it works. Tolkien may have done his best work when he abandoned the attempt to draw realistically, and that may be true of other artists as well.

White Gull

Mar 2 2007, 7:21pm

Post #10 of 16 (958 views)
A question [In reply to] Can't Post

That's Gollum? Who's the one in front supposed to be? Sam? Um, both are too hot.

White Gull

Mar 2 2007, 7:23pm

Post #11 of 16 (964 views)
A hot Frodo? [In reply to] Can't Post

Now THAT makes sense.

White Gull

Mar 2 2007, 7:27pm

Post #12 of 16 (962 views)
I've never been a fan of anime [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe I'm too old, but it's always made me laugh. I suppose it doesn't help that my first exposure was with Pokemon. They way they cried was just, well, stupid. (Don't flame me, I'm not wearing flame retardant clothing. (Hah) ).


Forum Admin / Moderator

Mar 2 2007, 8:20pm

Post #13 of 16 (963 views)
Darkmage's "Summer Day" is one of the best. Ever. [In reply to] Can't Post

For some reason, I'm glad he didn't draw Gimli in a swimsuit... (Note what it reads, around Sam's tube!)

Still 'round the corner there may wait
A new road, or a secret gate...


Mar 2 2007, 11:24pm

Post #14 of 16 (965 views)
Last time I checked, [In reply to] Can't Post

Sam wasn't purple.

Edit: Looked at it more closely. I think it's Frodo and Sam. And yes, both are way too hot, especially after spending weeks on Mordor.

(This post was edited by Sandicomm on Mar 2 2007, 11:25pm)

Finding Frodo
Tol Eressea

Mar 3 2007, 3:16am

Post #15 of 16 (938 views)
Hobbit Barbershop [In reply to] Can't Post

That was so funny -- what a kooky, cool idea for a sketch!

I love that you're focusing on this style of illustration today. I don't know much about it, but it's fascinating to look at. And not to take this out of the RR and into Movie, but I think a Japanese animated LotR movie could be quite wonderful in ways that PJ et al couldn't even imagine.

As for my reactions to the artists you linked to, Darkmage was my favorite. His (her?) illustrations are done with skill and feeling, and I like that he chose to portray characters from the Sil that don't have an actor's stamp on them yet. The more amateurish, less-proficient artists don't really appeal to me. Sparrow was interested, but Jennifer Kim was too Precious Moments for me.

Where's Frodo?


Mar 3 2007, 3:42am

Post #16 of 16 (980 views)
More on anime [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, FF, I agree. I also think that an animated LOTR would be stunning. (I always imagined Treebeard to look a little like the Forest Spirit from Princess Mononoke.)

Another thing that I noticed that's interesting is how often the hobbits are drawn in chibi/ SD ("Superdeformed") style*.


More Chibi

Are you not dying from the cuteness yet?

Chibi form is usually reserved for characters who are drawn "normally", but then go into chibi form when they feel great emotion (either really happy or really mad) to make it cute. Some characters, like Chibi Chibi (the second image) are meant to be in chibi form all the time because that's just how they're drawn.

In the movie thread, someone--either Curious or Beren IV--said that he liked how the hobbits were portrayed in the movies--i.e., looking like people and not grotesque humanoids. Hobbits lend themselves extremely well to the chibi form, but it also makes them into caricatures.

*I don't know what the correct usage is anymore. I think SD is preferred because chibi is a derogative term in Japanese, like the English midget.


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