First, I said
Additionally, with Martin’s comment of comparable anime, I’m reminded of the gorgeous backgrounds found in Janggeum’s Dream (series one, not series two). Setting aside that series two actually does have wonderful backgrounds which I was somehow missing (probably due to paying more attention to the plainer backgrounds due to a lack of subtitles), I next proceeded to show off a sampling of backgrounds from Studio Ghibli films headed by Hayao Miyazaki. Now the question is, can I back up my statement of Janggeum’s Dream having as lovely backgrounds as Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films?
Four Kinds of Background
The first thing to remember is that not all backgrounds are the same within any single work, which is especially true of both Janggeum’s Dream and Hayao Miyazaki’s films.
The most common type of background looks nice, might be a watercolor painting, but lacks fine details. Most animation uses this common, “looks nice” background (with various different styles, not only watercolor), and most are even less detailed, using solid colors, and maybe even ignoring light source and shadows. I’ve included a few backgrounds like this in my Studio Ghibli and Janggeum’s Dream screenshots, but I tried to avoid them for the most part.
Second is the action background. This is the least detailed background, often with the least amount of lines and the fewest colors. The scene’s focus is on what’s happening with the characters. Often times the background will even be replaced with a blur of colors.
A third type of background is the 3D background, generated on a computer. I believe this is the method used for the background in a Howl’s Moving Castle screenshot in my prior post.
What I’m focusing on is the fourth type of background. This is the background which has more detail than the common ones. With one look, you can see a lot of time and effort went into the background.
Comparing Against This and That
Before comparing backgrounds with Miyazaki’s works, I recommend first checking the backgrounds in some of your favorite animated series. Depending on the series, the backgrounds may be simple and bland, or may be detailed and show a good amount of work, but on a scale of blank to Miyazaki, where do they fall? And how do they compare with the backgrounds seen in the screenshots below?
Janggeum’s Dream‘s Backgrounds
As much as I hate to just drop a lot more backgrounds, and not put any commentary on them, after about half an hour of trying to write, I find it impossible to come up with anything. I’m not good at commenting on artwork at all! So, please enjoy these backgrounds from Janggeum’s Dream‘s first four episodes. There are even greater backgrounds in later episodes, as well.
Obviously background alone doesn’t make or break a series. A wonderful series can have little background detail, and a horrible series can have beautiful backdrops.