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Beautiful Shows to Watch for That Anime Aesthetic

From Violet Evergarden — just breathe in that anime aesthetic

Do you ever just want to treat your eyes to some absolutely beautiful art? There are so many aesthetically-pleasing anime out there that are a joy just to look at. If that’s the kind of mood you’re in, be sure to check out these shows. They’re perfect for losing yourself in that anime aesthetic… and, of course, a good story along the way!


The Garden of Words

Garden of Words

Look up any “anime aesthetic” gif set on Tumblr, and this 2013 beauty from director Makoto Shinkai will likely be at the top of the list. The Garden of Words is an emotional and heartfelt story, but gained attention in large part for its absolutely stunning animation and background art.

With a combination of rotoscoping, 2D and 3D animation, and inventive design, the movie reproduces real natural locations in Shinjuku. The rainy-day scenes are especially loved, and for good reason: they’re unbelievably detailed and realistic. Shinkai always goes hard on his backgrounds, but this film in particular still leaves viewers breathless — when it’s not leaving them crying.


Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden

Kyoto Animation has a knack for grabbing our attention with beautifully animated previews, and Violet Evergarden was no exception. Its take on the anime aesthetic is classical and gentle, with a mix of soft historical influence and modern tech.

The title character is an Auto Memories Doll: a ghostwriter who, while human, shares a title with automata made to take dictation. Violet’s history is a gruesome one lived on the battlefield. But after serving in the military (and ending up with a pair of prosthetic arms), she takes on the role to find a sense of purpose. And, perhaps, to find out what the last words said to her by her mentor — “I love you” — mean.


No Game No Life

No Game No Life

And now, for a very different type of anime aesthetic. No Game No Life may not have the realism of The Garden of Words or the soft touch of Violet Evergarden, but it’s still gorgeous to look at… even more so if you’re in the market for some isekai fun.

Stepsibling gamers Sora and Shiro win a trip to the world of Disboard, where everyone resolves their differences via games. As pro gamers themselves, they quickly rise through the ranks to become the representatives of Disboard’s human population. The fantastical art style and eye-popping colors lend an extra surreal edge to the already wild series.

What are some other anime you love to look at?

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Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.