How Disney influenced a distinctive trait of anime characters

An image of Disney and anime characters

Disney has influenced modern society by promoting creativity, and anime is no different. The art style and characters of each anime are unique to the artist, yet one cannot overlook that almost every series has characters with enormous eyes.

Disney’s influence spread across the world and has inspired artists all over. The most popular trait of anime characters is the large eyes that appear unnatural. Some are even half the size of their faces. 

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Though the large eyes of anime characters have become a norm around the globe, one cannot help but raise the question — how did all this begin?

In fact, anime artists continue creating characters with distinct traits for several reasons. But the primary reason is, surprisingly, Disney and its influence over one of the most popular anime and manga artists of all time.

Disney influenced Osamu Tezuka to draw anime characters with large eyes

An image of Osamu Tezuka with Astro Boy modelsYouTube

Osamu Tezuka was a well-known Japanese anime and manga author during the twentieth century. Tezuka, known as the “God of Manga,” is widely regarded as the father of modern manga and anime. He was highly influenced by Western art and culture, especially by Disney characters. 

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As a boy growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, Tezuka adored Disney movies. He is said to have seen the 1942 Disney classic Bambi 80 times. He also liked Dumbo and the post-WWII Uncle Scrooge comics produced by Carl Bark, a Disney animator.

Characters with large eyes, such as Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Betty Boop, were his main influences. The influence can be seen in Tezuka’s classic series, such as Astro Boy, Dororo, and Buddha. 

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The huge eyes were created in all of these series just to highlight the characters’ facial expressions. Later, as a result of his influence, other artists began drawing their characters in this manner, and it quickly became a trend. Almost every series now has characters with large eyes.

How does creating anime characters with large eyes help the artists?

An image of Nezuko Kamado from Demon SlayerCrunchyroll

Eyes are commonly considered the “windows to the soul.” Eyes immediately reflect a person’s emotions and true personality. Bigger eyes in anime make it easier for the artists to portray emotions more accurately, making characters more relatable. 

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It’s difficult for artists to draw dozens of characters and also make them easy to tell apart. However, by focusing on the shapes and colours of the eyes, they can make it easy for viewers to read the characters.

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