Fans Share Face Shape Theory to Prove Anime Characters Look Japanese

There are debates that will never die. Should the toilet paper be under or overhand? Does pineapple belong on a pizza? Do anime characters look Japanese or white?

Love Live! School Idol Project


It’s a debate that has raged on since ’80s once anime started creeping into Western pop culture. Fans love to project themselves onto their favorite characters and it’s easier to do that when they look like you. Others love “Japanese exoticism” and the aesthetic that comes with it. Either way, it’s a debate that will continue when we’re all gone and dead.

Below is a comparison between “Japanese” and “white” people that can be found on 2ch. Using physical characteristics like the space between eyes and eyebrows, jawline, nose shape, and cheek structures explain why Chie Satonaka “looks Japanese.”

Japanese vs White Facial Structure

Image via 2ch


One older thread on Terminal went even further, using profile shots to prove an anime character’s Japanese look.

Japanese vs White Profile Structure

Image via Terminal


Of course, there are characters and people whose facial structures don’t fall in line with the charts. Some obsessive fans wave those comparisons away, but it’s a flaw worth mentioning with so many fans invested in this debate.

Non-standard Facial Structures

Image via 2ch


While most anime characters maintain Japanese characteristics, one 2ch user made a mind-blowing discover: what if they’re all cats? It seems silly, but many modern anime characters have a “neko-gata,” which is a cat-shaped profile.

Anime Cat Profile

Image via 2ch


What do anime characters look like? Japanese or human-cat hybrids? It’s no secret that many anime character designers are fellow fans and that their primary source of reference is other anime. Director Hayao Miyazaki famously said that newer artists don’t use people or nature as references, which has led to an “unnatural” art style.

One can argue that they simply look like “anime.” Big eyes, small noses, and slit-like mouths don’t exist in real life. They are anime people, and fans and art critics may have to drop using human-like comparisons when assessing character designs.

I sometimes write words so I'm here to bring a different perspective to anime culture.
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