Geek-Chic Jewelry: Part 4 - Anime

Design Idea MN26 Necklace
by Jessie, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Are you an otaku? Do you love making jewelry that makes people say "oh, sugoi desu!"? Then the anime trend is for you! Let us be your beading senpai in this arc of your creative journey as we explore this vibrant, diverse and expressive style!

Anime is defined as hand-drawn or computer-animated original works, adaptations of Japanese comics (manga), light novels, or video games, originating from Japan.

Anime is a diverse medium with distinctive production methods that combine graphic art, characterization, cinematography, and other ever-adapting techniques. Compared to Western animation, anime focuses less on movement, and more on setting details and camera effects--we all know things are about to get epic when the lines get sketchy. Though often associated with children's cartoons by Western audience, anime is divided into many genres targeting various broad and niche audiences.

With roots in the early 20th century, anime did not become recognized as a distinctive style until the 1960s with Astro Boy (Tetsuwan-Atomu) and the other works of Osamu Tezuka--a manga artist, cartoonist and animator often considered to be the Japanese equivalent of Walt Disney. In the 1980s anime experienced a huge boom in popularity and hit Japan's mainstream with Dragon Ball (Doragon Boru), Gundam (Gandamu Shirizu), Akira and the jumpstart of Studio Ghibli with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Naushika). Now the anime craze is thriving in American pop culture. Even celebrities like Lizzo, Michael B Jordan, Ronda Rousey and Ariana Grande have been spotted flaunting their anime merch.

With such a wealth of source material to draw from, bringing the anime style into your crafts may seem overwhelming at first. But BELIEVE IT when we say it's easier than you think!

Geek-Chic Jewelry: Part 4 - Anime Geek-Chic Jewelry: Part 4 - Anime Geek-Chic Jewelry: Part 4 - Anime

Start by drawing inspiration from your favorite shows, books and games. Take note of any recognizable jewelry that you could re-create. Anyone could string Kyo Sohma's simple beaded bracelet from Fruits Basket (Furutsu Basuketto) or assemble Howl's earrings from Howl's Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro). Why not make your own version of Usagi Tsukino's sailor scout earrings from Sailor Moon (Bishojo Senshi Sera Mun)?

Geek-Chic Jewelry: Part 4 - Anime Geek-Chic Jewelry: Part 4 - Anime

You can also look at a character's color palettes and symbology. What makes them standout from the other characters and makes them instantly recognizable? Two great examples are Son Goku's orange and blue gi from Dragon Ball or Tanjiro Hamada's green and black checkered haori from Demon Slayer (Kimetsu no Yaiba). Naruto is still one of the biggest animes in America and is a well of iconography. Symbols like sharingan, curse marks, village headband symbols and more will appeal to any fan and give your jewelry an instant call back.

If you want to express a less specific anime style you can focus more on commonalities in the art style or fan culture. Create stackable stretchy bracelets with letter beads to spell out essential anime vocab like "UwU" and more.

Anime was (and still often is) primarily meant for the Japanese market and thus, features many cultural references unique to Japan. For example, anime characters often have oversized, emotive eyes: this is a reference to the common Japanese belief that eyes are “windows to the soul." Though they share many similarities across shows and manga, the style of a character's eyes can tell a lot about their personality. Bring these signature super-sized peepers into your jewelry designs with photo transfers, glass cabochon magnification or seed bead work. Use pixel-style images and patterns, like the one we included above, to bead anime jewelry with peyote stitch and loomwork or use colored cords and embroidery floss to knot complex alpha patterns.

Anime continues to be a source of inspiration for millions worldwide. We hope you can stay inspired with this brief dip into the wonderful world that is anime.

Show us your subarashii anime creations on social media with #FMGinspired. We can't wait to see what you create. Sayonara!

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