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I’m not much of a fan of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, the moe-fied Cthulhu mythos-themed comedy anime, but I find that the main character Nyaruko has a really appealing character design. While she doesn’t look that different from other cute anime girls, Nyaruko draws the eye and leaves a memorable impression to the extent that it makes me want to maybe, just maybe, give her show a second chance. In looking at her more closely, the element that visually differentiates her from other similar character designs, the lynchpin which transformers her into something more distinct and complete, is her checker-patterned dress.

My reasoning has relatively little to do with personal preference (at least as far as I can tell about myself), but is based on the amount of contrast that the checkered pattern provides on Nyaruko’s overall design. Nyaruko does wear other outfits in her series, namely her school uniform, and if you compare the two outfits the checkered dress simply stands out more. There’s the inherent contrast of dark and light that a checkered pattern already has, but there’s also the fact that the pattern stands out against the broad swathes of flat color that make up Nyaruko’s hair, skin, and the rest of her clothing.

You could get a similar effect with stripes, but a checker pattern is like a stripe pattern taken to the next level, and I think that the way the checker pattern is only a small part of her dress instead of the dominant pattern as you might imagine a striped dress to be keeps it from overpowering the rest of Nyaruko’s design. It’s also somewhat of an uncommon clothing pattern among anime characters, which makes it easier to associate the checker pattern with her character before others. What you’re left with then is a visual design which not only pops out but causes others (including other characters in Nyaruko-san) to recede.

There’s the front view and the back view, and then some 3/4 views. Accompanying these shots will usually be facial expressions, different poses, possibly different outfits. Whenever I buy an artbook I look for character lineart and design images, prioritizing them over even full posters. They’re one of the main reasons I bought issues of Newtype and Newtype USA. The odd thing is, I’m not sure exactly why I like them so much.

It could be that I like seeing the creator-side of any sort of production or work. Hell, I’m not afraid to admit that years ago I bought the first volume of Megatokyo just because I was curious what Fred Gallagher had to say about his own stuff. I’m always eager to read interviews by creators, and it’s also the reason I go to their panels at conventions. I try to pick their brains and ask questions to get a better understanding of their process and themselves.

These images are the basis from which everything is animated. They serve as guides for animators to go back to whenever they’re unsure of how a character should look or feel. Character design images are the bridge between still and moving image.

Official sources for Genshiken Second Season

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