EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY ANNOYANCE (telophase ) wrote,

Part 6.2 - Aging Characters (Kishimoto Masashi, NARUTO and Ai Yazawa, PARADISE KISS)

And now for the last essay in this series, where we get to look at some differences between male and female aging, and at the differences between shounen and shoujo art styles.



Shounen Manga

Kishimoto's style in Naruto tends to the young - his characters have round faces and large eyes. Full adults have smaller eyes and stronger jawlines, but the younger characters from children through their teen years tend to be pretty round and large-eyed.

Naruto recently had a story arc come to and end, and then the action was moved forward by three years, so the younger characters had to grow up from 12 to 15 ([ edit ] actually 13 to 15 1/2, as pointed out by herchuckness in the comments). The younger images here are taken from one of the chapters right before the three-year jump, so as to discount the influence of Kishimoto's style evolving. Naruto has been beat up in a big fight, so he's bandaged up, but the bandages don't hide the shapes in the face, which is what we're looking at.



Younger:

Older:




Not much difference, is there? That's true - the primary difference in Naruto is his height - he's a little bit taller and a little bit skinnier, and his behavior - he's a little bit more composed. A little bit. There's some change reflected in his face, though. His jawline is subtly longer and defined. In the younger picture, his head is almost a full circle, but in the older pic, it's a little bit closer to an egg shape. I think his eyes may also be a teeeeeeny bit smaller, and placed higher up, but it's hard to tell in this picture, because younger Naruto's head is tilted up, and older Naruto's head is tilted down. Tilting his head down makes the bridge of his nose look a little longer, which makes his eyes look higher, but we'll have to look at other pictures to see.


Younger:

Older:




OK, so maybe we're not going to learn about his nose from these two pictures. There's still not much difference in the pictures, but it looks like older Naruto's face is a little bit longer than his younger self.


Younger:


Older:




Well, one thing for sure hasn't changed: Naruto's still getting into trouble.You can see clearly here that his chin is longer in the older picture. His upper lip is also slightly longer. His eyes really haven't changed size or position, and not much is going on with his nose, but his jaw is slightly deeper in the older picture. The shape of his head has also changed - it's longer and less round.

And now, for once, a girl. Female faces aging are usually harder to draw because some of the signs of maturity are more marked in the male face than the female - flat foreheads, deeper jaws. Sakura has aged the same amount as Naruto, and I took the pictures from chapters on either side of the three-year gap, like I did with Naruto.



Younger:

Older:




There are two main differences here - the shape of the face, and the eyelashes on the eyes. Older Sakura's head is tilted slightly forward, which gives the impression that her eyes are higher up, but I don't think this is the case. Her eyes have gotten a darker line or eyelashes, which gives the idea of her wearing makeup, which tends to make women look slightly older in our culture. Her face has gone from the round jawline of younger Sakura to a slimmed-down version with a more distinct chin. Sakura aging slightly more than Naruto is accurate for teens of this age, since girls tend to hit puberty slightly before boys.


Younger:

Older:




I didn't grab a very good profile of younger Sakura. In the above picture, she's actually turned slightly farther away from the viewer than a strict profile would be, but we can still see a few things. Her nose is slightly more defined, as is her chin. Her jawline in profile doesn't seem to be too different, but her forehead is angled farther back in the older picture than the younger.



Younger:

Older:




And now the 3/4 view. The heads are at different angles here, because Kishimoto draws a lot of different, dynamic views of his characters. Good for readers, bad for poor, hapless, essayists who can't be bothered to skim through more than about four chapters for examples.

We can see some differences - younger Sakura's head and face are rounder. Her eyes are slightly bigger in the younger version. Her left cheek is flatter and longer - her face is longer overall - and her forehead is slightly flatter than her younger version. I think her neck may be slightly thicker as well, but I'm not entirely sure.


Shoujo Manga

Shoujo styles tend to be fussier than shounen styles, with more delicate lines. There is less emphasis on action and combat and more on the emotional states of the characters.

Paradise Kiss follows the story of a highschool girl who falls in with a group of fashion design students at a local arts school, and ends up working as their model. The manga itself doesn't cover too much time - a year or so - but Volume 5, the last volume, has a short epilogue occurring ten years later.

Yukari, also known to the students as "Caroline," is a model, of course, so she tends to be made up and dressed to look older than she really is, however it shows how much Ai Yazawa needs to rely on hair, makeup, and accessories to age women. This is not a bad thing, because manga art is so simplified that the subtle signs of female aging are harder to get across without aging them too much.


Younger:

Older:




The only anatomical differences here are a slightly thicker neck and a slightly wider face and jawline in the older picture. Other than that, Yazawa puts 18-year-old Yukari into a silly hair accessory and a trendy hairstyle, with very high bangs and curls. 28-year-old Yukari has a classic smooth updo and a few strands of pearls, which give the impression of maturity. The expression also helps - 18-year-old Yukari does tend to wander around the manga being puzzled and unsure, and the easy smile of her older self makes her look more mature and comfortable with her life.


Younger:

Older:




Here we can see that Younger Yukari's chin is very pointy, while it's rounded off as she ages. Her eyes aren't really different sizes, it's the way she holds them that make the difference - they're big and almost bugging out in the younger picture, and half-closed in the older one. We can see here that in addition to her hair, she's changed the way she grooms her eyebrows - instead of the thin-plucked barely-there line her younger self wears, Older Yukari favors a more classic shape, slightly thicker at the inner ends.



Younger:

Older:




These two pictures reveal that she's actually wearing the same dress. There's very little physical difference - I think her older body is ever-so-slightly thicker, her shoulders may be a little bit wider and her breasts are slightly bigger (hard to say because her body is at different angles in the two pictures) - but the lack of change is to be expected since she's a professional model. A character who wasn't physically active or had a reason, like being a model, to stay the same shape, would probably show more of a difference over ten years. As I said before, though, it's mostly her hair, accessories, and her easy manner that shows her to be more mature and settled in to herself ten years on.

Now we see a male friend of hers, Hiro.


Younger:

Older:




Almost no change here. The difference is in his clothing and hairstyle - his bangs are spikier and fall over his face when younger, but controlled and slicked to the side when older. Younger Hiro is wearing a soft winter scarf, with rounded forms, but Older Hiro has donned a stiff suit. I think Older Hiro's face may be a little bit longer and his eyes a little higher, but due to the angle of the heads, it's hard to say.



Younger:

Older:




Here, Older Hiro's jaw is slightly deeper, and his face slightly wider. The primary difference, though, is in the hairstyle, clothing, and eyes. Younger Hiro is less controlled, with longer, messier hair and soft clothing. His eyes are also held open slightly more, and his eyebrows are more expressive. Older Hiro's neck may be slightly thicker - hard to say - but the tendon is more obvious in his older self.


Younger:

Older:




Very little difference here, except in his expression. Younger Hiro is peaceful, while Older Hiro seems to have gotten a bit more complicated. The eyes provide the most physical difference, since they appear larger in the younger version and smaller and narrower in the older version.



Now you've seen a bunch of different examples of characters aging, from subtle changes to large, and using more than just lines in the face - bone structure, body movements, emotions, and accessories all play a part.

That conclusion sounds properly obvious and lame, so I shall leave it as is. Seeya!





Index to the Series
Tags: manga_analysis
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