Manga, anime and tattoos
Everything you need to know about tattoos in this world
24 January 2023
Japanese culture has a wide repertoire of stories, plots, fantasy tales and mythologies that are very significant for the culture of the rest of the world.
The way they tell stories have caught thousands and thousands of fans of different generations.
The consumption of manga and anime has spread so much that the conventions are already too small, the craze for these series has created quite a stir and many fans want to pay tribute to their characters in the tattoos they wear.
Therefore, if you are interested in this world, keep reading to know everything about it, and we will give you the best advice you need to know to be able to tattoo them in the best way.
What is manga?
The term manga refers to "comic" and was first used in 1798 with the excuse of describing the illustrated book Shiji no Yukikai.
But its history is traced back much further to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with the appearance of scrolls written from right to left. Between 1603 and 1867, during the Edo period, another picture book called Toba Ehon appeared and adopted the concept of manga.
Even in the XXth century, we can already find these illustrations on scrolls, often very long, between 9 and 10 meters long, which were seen in landscape. These drawings are known as emakimono or emaki, and they were sequential images that told stories of all kinds.
But the popularity of manga, as we know it today, came with the arrival of characters from the West in Japan, and between 1945 and 1952, during the postwar period, with the American occupation of the country.
Before that, manga were more like satirical drawings of anthropomorphic animals painted with ink and brush on paper.
Although there was a ban on any art that referred to war and Japanese nationalism, this did not specify the inclusion of manga. That is why Japanese artists were able to give vent to their creativity and development of their own style during those years and after the occupation.
From the expansion of manga and its influence on the avant-gardes of the middle of the last century, we can highlight two that became very popular, Astroboy (1951) by Osamo Tezuka and Sasae-San (1946) by Machiko Hasegawa, who were very important to consider a comic industry in that country.
Subsequently, several types of manga were created for the different kinds of consumers, creating styles such as:
- Kodomo Manga, children's themes and fantasy stories for the little one.
- Shonen Manga aimed at adolescent boys where situations of a lot of action and also humor with male protagonists.
- Shojo Manga aimed at teenage girls, where they generally refer to human and sentimental relationships.
- Seinen Manga for young and adult men.
- Josei Manga for young and adult women.
Current manga have very particular characteristics, such as:
- The opposite of Western reading
- The morphology of the characters and objects designed with great resemblance to reality.
- The use of large and very expressive eyes.
- The themes that almost always swing from between romance to action, science fiction and fantasy.
Among the best known current manga we can find One Piece, Detective Conan, the mythical Dragon Ball, Naruto, Death Note among many others that we can also remember as animated series.
The craze for these comics grew to such an extent that many decide to wear tattoos of them. That is why it would be normal to see these repeated designs. If you want to tattoo them, pay attention:
Take into account the essential features of the characters will help you when drawing them in the best way, since copying them as faithfully as possible is highly valued, which will make your designs stand out.
To tattoo manga, the good use of the different techniques, and the precision in the strokes or points and shading are essential.
What is anime?
Anime is the type of Japanese animation.
The beginnings of anime date back to the early years of the last century, when it was known by the name of senga eiga, which literally means animated line movies, and later, it was known as doga, which means moving images. But then, round the middle of the century, it started to be known as its current name: anime.
This conceptual change, when naming this movement, was an important step to consider them within the classic audiovisual narratives.
Between manga and anime, confusion can occur, since many comics later became successful animation series. It also happens that they are animation first, and then they became comics.
Originally, animators worked by hand, frame by frame, to achieve the illusion of a moving image in the combination of infinite drawings, which required very precise skills.
But currently this has been abandoned for the digital world, which allows designers to be able to create more things in their creations and present more elaborate worlds and characters, but above all, speed up the work process.
As with manga, animated characters share many characteristics, only by adding movements and sounds, games and narrative resources are much more varied.
Anime, Manga and Comic Tattoos
We could really go a long way on these topics and all otakus would be happy. But let's see what happens in the tattoo world.
There are excellent illustrators for comics and animations, and also outstanding tattoo artists. Their popularity has been growing in recent times.
Just to mention some characteristics that make them so striking, we could say that:
- The use of strident and very striking coloured inks is one of the main things we think about when imagining tattoos of this style. Manga and anime usually stand out for this, the same happens with tattoos.
- The perfect copy of the original drawings, and by this we mean that the accuracy of the strokes, shapes and colours is important when it comes to tattooing. The client generally seeks to replicate their favourite characters in their tattoos. In some cases, they want to have a different version of them. The possibilities are many. For this reason, we recommend a lot of practice.
- More faces and full bodies of the characters are usually tattooed, so knowing them well is very helpful. Although there are people who would like to add context, such as a setting, a space or replicate a particular scene, what is most often chosen is to prioritize the morphology of the character and then investigate the potential variants.
- The use of techniques is very varied. Although we mention that accuracy is often a requirement, the different ways of application can vary according to the tastes of the client and the style of the artist. So we can find tattoos made in dotwork, embroidery style, etc.
- Some also prefer black and white. Because in fact, many manga are illustrated in this way, besides it always depends on the client's preferences and the possibilities offered by the artist.
You must want to know who the artists who are dedicated to this are
Below we will mention only a few, since the list is really very long. There are designers who are better known than others, and you may have seen their work on Instagram or blogs, but there are also emerging artists who may not be as popular, but whose work is truly exceptional.
In this account you can find many artists that are republished so that more people know them. Follow them and like their work!!
Artists in Black and White
This is a Spanish artist based in Barcelona. He works with the dotwork technique, obtaining beautiful results. Contact him!
This is an artist from Rio de Janeiro who also bases his work on the dotwork technique, but with thicker and more defined finishes.
This is a French artist more dedicated to fine line. What do you think of his work?
Artists in colour
Impossible not to think of this artist as the first choice in the world of colour otaku tattoos. He is one of the best known in this style, and his original designs stand out in the market.
Laura Aguilar, better known as Laura Anunnaki, is a pioneering artist in this style, very famous on the social networks for her use of very specific colours and designs and with a very marked personality.
She has travelled the world with her art and has been sponsored by Cheyenne, the tattoo machine’s brand.
Truly amazing! Right?
He is an Irish artist who takes more time to preserve the original designs of the drawings.
She is an Italian artist based in New York. Her work is really remarkable.
Devoting yourself to tattooing anime will make you part of an incredible culture
The world of anime and manga attracts many fans, and for very good reasons. It's very interesting! The craze for comics and animations has grown a lot in recent times, not only in Eastern countries, but areound the world.
Although it is originally from Japan, and it has historical components behind it, today, anime has become a very marked style for telling fantasy stories that attracts followers from very different social sectors.
Tattoo artists are able to express their own passion in the designs they make, and display to show their talent in them. The inks and techniques they use are also very important, especially for their duration over time. Their gifted skills for this style is also very remarkable.
What do you think of this world? Do you consider yourself an otaku? Would you tattoo this style? Drop us a comment, we can’t wait to read your messages!