How Graphic Designers Carry Anime’s Appeal



What is the relationship between graphic design and anime? I participated in a seminar full of examples familiar to anime fans who love nonton anime indo (watching anime in Indonesia).

At this seminar, Mr. Tsuyoshi Kusano from Tsuyoshi Kusano Design Office and Mr. Yohei Someya from the creative team BALCOLONY. took the stage as guests, and Mr. Mitsunori Motonobu, editor-in-chief of the graphic design magazine “MdN”, and Mr. Naoko Noguchi, the magazine’s former editor, served as moderators.

At Tsuyoshi Kusano Design Office and BALCOLONY, 90% of their current work is related to anime. In this seminar, the participants first introduced what kind of work each office had been working on, and then took up the first work and talked about the direction of each design.

Examples of Tsuyoshi Kusano Design Office included binding and bookmarks from the original science fiction novel “BEATLESS”, a video package for the TV anime “THE IDOLM@STER”, an exhibition of the special exhibition “Manga*Anime*Games from Japan” held at the National Art Center, Tokyo, and the body design of Hatsune Miku Racing ver.2015.

BALCOLONY. introduced the package design of “Magical Girl Madoka Magica” and “Nisekoi”, the main visual of “MADOGATARI Exhibition”, the teaser site, and the cover design of the comic Yurihime.

A concrete example of BALCOLONY.’s work was the package design for the TV anime “How ♭ to Raise Her Ugly”. In addition to the outside, we also worked on sleeves, waterproof bag-shaped inner boxes, and special goods.

Since the work itself contained meta elements such as current affairs stories and the appearance of real work names, the bonus goods were also realistically designed with things that the characters really seemed to have. For example, in the mobile phone-type bonus goods, it is said that the incoming call history of the phone call that the character in the volume was in the works is designed.

Mr. Kusano commented on this kind of design rich in love with his works, saying, “Because he himself has passed through a culture that loves girls, such as bishōjo games, he has inherited the culture.” For his part, Someya says it’s “a survival strategy to fight against Kusano’s seniors, who are definitely superior in graphic design skills.”


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As a specific example of Tsuyoshi Kusano’s design office, the package design of the TV anime “Bungo Stray Dogs” was cited.

The simple black and white bicolor design imply a confrontation between a detective agency and the mafia.

Kusano’s idea is that anime videograms should be a luxury item that adults buy, so they should not get old or swept away by trends even after many years. When light is reflected on the surface of the package by pseudo-eupos processing, a passage from the novel that became the motif of the work comes out, but even that is said to be “minimum service”.

“You have to follow design trends to a certain extent, but trends always become obsolete, and the design trends themselves have nothing to do with the work,” he says, explaining the need for a simple design.

In response, Mr. Someya asked, “How do chefs serve meat?” If you think about it, I’m the type of person who seasons well and sticks to the presentation. Mr. Kusano is simply salty. Which meat you want to eat depends on the day, so I don’t think there is any superiority or inferiority,” he said, explaining the diversity of the designs.

When asked by the moderator about the future interaction between anime and graphic designers, Mr. Kusano said, “The Ming dynasty body of director Kon Ichikawa was inherited by Director Amano, and Shinohara’s monitor graphics design at the beginning of Mobile Police Patlabor 2 the Movie was the basis of ‘The Matrix,’ so there is an original relationship between anime and graphic design. Some of them were great even from a global perspective. However, in recent years, I think that such a trend has been interrupted.”

In response, Mr. Someya said, “The mecha design for ‘Lagrange of Reincarnation’ is handled by Nissan’s car designers. The town revitalization of ‘Girls & Panzer’ is also a collaboration between anime and different industries, and the design is one of them. Rather than being involved with anime because you are a graphic designer, how do you participate in anime making use of the abilities you have, including design skills? That’s the attitude that’s important.”