One of the most famous features of anime is, of course, the large, expressive eyes, which are so good at showing emotions. These oversized eyes seem to be the first thing Westerners notice about Japanese animation, and we generally perceive them as taking up half the characters’ faces, though when you look closely you see that there’s a lot of variation in character designs. Since anime is all about helping us escape from the dreary, mundane world we all inhabit, artists take the opportunity to create characters with unique eye features, some of which don’t exist in Japan, such as purple eyes or heterochromia (differently colored eyes). Though these large eyes define anime today, it’s easy to forget that Japan has always taken their cues from Western animation like Disney and Betty Boop, and it’s not hard to see the influence of Bambi in anime eyes today. J-List stocks many fun How to Draw books from Japan, and we recently got one in that shows techniques for drawing beautiful anime eyes.
One concept that’s always interested me is 常識 joshiki, the Japanese “universal common sense” or knowledge that all reasonable people are supposed to possess here. The Japanese have a vast storehouse of this knowledge and it’s one of the reasons why Japan seems to be such a harmonious place when viewed from the outside. Have a traffic accident? The insurance companies will work out the percentages of who was at fault according to guidelines the industry has established, so there’s never a need for a lawsuit. Going to have a baby? Virtually all babies are born in traditional hospitals, and you almost never hear of alternate birthing methods. In the West a man with a family needs to have a will in place in case something unexpected happens to him, but no one bothers with that in Japan, where it’s common sense that a man’s estate will always go 50% to his wife, and in equal portions to his children, unless he’s made other arrangements. Another bit of joshiki is that all restaurants will have a set day off, usually Monday or Tuesday, for the staff to rest and relax, but since foreigners like me aren’t plugged into this common sense system, I always end up trying to go out for ramen on the one day my favorite restaurant is closed.
(My wife once told me that it’s common sense for people to never poop in the bathrooms at work, instead holding it all day until they get home. That one seems a little unhealthy to me.)
At J-List, we love to help you bridge the gap between the 3D world we all live in, and the 2D world where most of our fantasies exist, and one fun way to do that is with the parody onaholes and other toys we sell. Browse them all now and see what new items we’ve posted to the site recently!