Drawing Emotion in Eyes – Demon Slayer Masterclass. [Kimetsu no Yaiba : 鬼滅の刃]

Drawing Emotion in Eyes – Demon Slayer Masterclass. [Kimetsu no Yaiba : 鬼滅の刃]

November 27, 2019 2 By William Hollis


Character design is tricky business. WIth
countless anime and published manga series, how can artists still create original works
with a fresh spin, whilst staying in the rigid yet relatable framework of contemporary anime
style? A character’s traits, personality and position
in the narrative can be reflected in their design. Authors do this through tweaking the
physical appearance of a character, beit their hair, clothing, default facial expression,
accessories etc etc, setting the tone, manipulating how they would like us the audience to perceive
them. For example the wide eyed, heavily shadowed
psychotic grimace of the yandere. The Conflicted, blushing, yet in-denial tsundere, and even
the braindead fair maiden and damsel in distress with a series-persistent vacant stare, just
as hollow as their role’s usefulness to the story. But Demon Slayer is different. It does it
all. Each character’s eyes are unique to the point that after a while you could identify
them with just a slither of their face, as long as it contained a portion of their gaze.
Not only acting as a unique identifier, they are also dramaticized to the same extent that
some of the characters personalities are also dramaticized. Dialed up to 11. Jumping into some examples, let’s start
with the pillar of stone gyomei himejima. The author wants this character to embody
absolute compassion. His monk-like posing and constant clutching of prayer beads do
a fantastic job at nailing down what this character is about, but Koyoharu Gotouge goes
even further with his design. Gyomei’s pupil-less eyes are always seen streaming with tears
of endless sympathy. And it makes total sense. Yes he has the entire package, but I would
argue that his eyes are the defining visual aspect of his character. Next Sanemi, the pillar of wind. Look at this
badboy. The aesthetic of Sanemi’s eyes are consistent throughout his appearances so far
in print. But when he is first introduced in the anime, this look of insanity is hard
to miss. Permanently wide open, and often twinned with a sickening grin. I found it
hard to believe at first that he is one of the good guys. Even when the mood shifts,
he lowers his head and straightens his face in a show of respect for oyakata, the essence
of his maddened stare continue. Slanted downwards and blood shot in the corners seemingly always
beaming out intensity. Oyakata, the head of the ubuyashiki household
is quite simply the polar opposite of Sanemi. He radiates kindness. His eyes are usually
drawn narrowed, which can often imply the character is condescending, knowing more than
he let’s on, or possibly plotting and scheming. He however, is an exception to that rule.
He is as good natured as it gets and gives off a super peaceful vibe. Just a chill guy. The three childeren of the ubuyashiki family
have a serene aspect to their expression, but also stray off into eerie end of the spectrum.
Those wide eyes and large pupils on such little people are reminiscent of horror film murder
dolls usually brandishing a sharp knife, waiting in a dark corridor. But overall I feel the
tranquil aspect of their eyes are the dominant trait. Then we have the slitted pupil and piercing
gaze of muzan kibutsuji. His snake-like stare is perfect for the big bad of the series.
The features of his eyes carry-over to post transformation nezuko, and where muzan wears
these eyes in a way that suggests he could never feel emotion and are simply used to
display his evil intent, Nezuko pulls off a similar demonic gaze, but with hints of
her humanity struggling to stay at the forefront of her consciousness. A prominent style among the demon slayers
would be the wide, neutral and dilated eyes seen by Tomioka Giyu, Muichiro Tokitou and
Shinobu Kocho. I actually have my own head canon as to why this style is seen often on
the pillars and it derives from Kanao’s fight with upper demon moon two, Douma. Manga
spoilers ahead. In Kanao’s fight, she used total concentration breathing to flood her
ocular blood vessels with oxygen, allowing her superhuman vision, almost slowing time
down around her. I’d like to think that all the pillars do this to a very small extent
in total concentration constant, and thus they exhibit this abnormally wide dilated
stare. Just a theory. Honorable mentions for great eye design and
presence include, Iguro’s heterochromia, the demon moons having their numbers imprinted,
tengen uzui’s cool tattoo around his eye, and of course the super creepy three girls
of the butterfly estate. As well as making characters stand out a mile
from the crowd with their uniqueness, the opposite can be said for supporting background
characters such as Murata. He is purposefully bland, and tastefully done. Thats pretty much it, and this video was just
a long winded way for me to say, that Koyoharu Gotouge draws excellent eyes in Kimetsu no
Yaiba. Thanks for watching, if you like this video
please subscribe and you’ll be telling me hey, you should make more videos just like
this. I’ve made a ton of Demon Slayer discussion videos so go check that out. Let me know what
you think of the art work in Kimetsu no yaiba and hit me up with some ideas for future videos.
This was anime fried chicken, I’ll catch you next time. Cheers.