:: THE ART OF OOFURI
Character design interests me a lot, so I guess it's only natural to make an article about how the characters in my favorite cartoon are put together, and how they manage to look different from each other! Without further ado, let's begin.
The 'default' eye type - the majority of the characters have been given these eyes, including Mihashi, Tajima AND Hanai. It's a rather normal, oval shape, curving slightly upwards toward the edge of the face, if that makes sense.
The dopey/sleepy eyes! Starting from the center of the face, they sort of... droop down towards the face edge. Like a slide. You'll find these eyes on, say, Abe, Miyagawa, Junta, Rio, Mizutani and Izumi. They're pretty common, actually.
The opposite of the dopey/sleepy eyes, type three eyes curve UPWARDS, kind of making the characters look like they have pretty eyelashes. The characters with these eyes tend to look highly adorable, just look at Kano and Jin! AWWW!! Then again, Wolverine also has these eyes, so maybe not.
Type three and a half
It may just be me, but it seems like these eyes look just a TIIINY bit different from type three eyes. Like they're... LONGER or something, while the type three eyes are TALLER. I dunno. Like I said, it might just be me. Hello, Momoe and Haruna! Actually, these two seem quite different from each other as well - see, Momoe's eyes definitely have a hint of type one in them as well. I'm confusing myself here!! The only reason why I'm listing them together is because the creator herself apparently thinks they're alike. Can't argue with that, I guess.
These eyes are basically the same as type one, only SMALLER! Characters with these eyes often, but not always, have big noses and tiny eyebrows. Small-eyed characters include Suyama, Nishihiro, Hatake and Ookawa.
These eyes have perfectly flat tops, so they look like the letter D fell to the right. Ichihara from Sakitama is a perfect example, but since I'm mainly focusing on the cartoon here, the eyes in the picture above belong to some random Tosei weed. These eyes point upwards a little like type three eyes, although their flat upper lines make them different compared to the more curvy lines of type three.
Eyes that don't fit into any other category go here - take Oki and Shinooka for example, their eyes sort of look like a bizarre mix between type one and type two. There's something about Shingo's eyes I can't quite place my finger on either!
Some characters, like Yamanoi and Tajima's ma, like to squint. Dangit, Yamanoi and Tajima's ma, what are you hiding?!
Variations within the eye types
Naturally, we have different eye colors. The eye colors in Ookiku Furikabutte seem to be limited to yellow/gold, brown, gray, and that weird purply gray color.
The iris/pupil size also varies - for example, we have Sakaeguchi with tiny irises, and Izumi with rather oversized ones.
Sometimes, Izumi and Mizutani's eyes look more curved than regular type two eyes.
The normal, regularly sized nose! Take Nishiura for example, only two of the team members have larger noses.
The big honkin' potato nose! It's all large and round and funny-looking! You'll find it on characters such as Hatake, Jin and Ookawa.
This nose slightly resembles an eagle's beak, if you know what I mean! See Suyama, Kazuki and Shingo, although the latter's nose might be just a tiny bit smaller. Maybe it's just me.
Oki's nose gets a type of its own because it's the best nose ever. It might LOOK like a type two nose, but it's NOT! It's OKI'S NOSE!! It's VERY SPECIAL because it looks so out of place on Oki. I mean, while the type two and three people have facial features that make their noses fit in more, like small eyes or wrinkles, Oki's face looks completely normal! It looks like the nose was just randomly slapped on his face!
Okay, okay, comic territory and all that. I had to mention Sawamura's nose because it's such a funny little button nose! Sawamura has one of my favorite character designs EVER, complete with his button nose, almost fully outlined eyes, and UNIBROW! He looks SO delightfully cartoony, almost like something I could have designed myself. Of course, that's giving myself WAY too much credit, but yeah.
All ears in Ookiku Furikabutte look more or less the same from what I can tell, and I have not spotted any piercings yet either, which is awesome because piercings are lame. A funny thing that is especially apparent in the comic, is that when the characters are seen from a 3/4 view, the ear that is the furthest away from the viewer looks BIGGER! It's funny and adorable and deserves a mention.
Speaking of the comic, when viewed from a 3/4 angle, the characters' faces are sometimes placed so far out on their necks that it looks like they could... slide off the necks anytime. It could just be me, though! I'm sure there are better examples out there, but I can't be bothered to look for them, so for now, Ryo will have to demonstrate.
It's especially visible on Mihashi, but if you look around, you'll see that A LOT of characters have a tendency to smile this goofy V-shaped smile. The diamond mouth also deserves a mention! I call it the 'diamond mouth' because it resembles the diamond symbol on playing cards. It's Mihashi's trademark dweeb expression, but other characters have been known to borrow it as well.
Some characters have visible lips (like the main character from Batman Beyond) that look really silly. I'm looking at YOU, Maekawa and Machida! I have nicknamed them Fishlips and Fishlips the Catcher respectively.
Unlike in a lot of Japanese cartoons, you'll never find wacky hair colors like pink and green in Ookiku Furikabutte, and none of the hairstyles seem to defy the laws of gravity either! Oofuri really stands out like that - the characters manage to look different from one another without having to do anything drastic. Take Sakaeguchi and Nishihiro for instance, I'm sure a lot of us can say we know several people in real life with the exact same hairstyle. Isn't that amazing?
On some of the characters with lighter hair colors, a tuft of hair on the front has been outlined. It's... sort of hard to explain! You understand what I mean when you look at the pictures above, don't you?
THE STUPID LITTLE BLUSHY THINGS
To be frank, it took me a little while to warm up to these. Unnecessary blushing has been a pet peeve of mine for a while, especially with HIGHLIGHTS! As you can imagine, I was quite overwhelmed when I first opened up Oofuri. Every single character in Oofuri has the blush things, all the time! Now that I'm used to them, however, I might even go as far as saying that I totally dig them - they certainly make the Oofuri art style stand out, and they can be quite adorable and full of character as well. Most importantly, they're not OVERDONE (episode 19 is an exception) - in a lot of other art styles, the blushing looks more like sunburns. In Oofuri, it all looks natural!
INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER DETAILS
Freckles! Tajima has a simply DARLING freckled nose, and Izumi and Maekawa have their share of dots on their cheeks.
Mihashi's eyebrows are thick and squiggly and look really funny! Ruri appears to have the same eyebrows, although hers are slightly thinner. They're still thicker than the regular girl eyebrows though, which is AWESOME.
Speaking of eyebrows, Momoe's always curve... inside-out, like how people usually draw sad or worried eyebrows. She never looks sad or worried, though! Fascinating.
Nishihiro has visible cheekbones! Aoki has REALLY visible cheekbones!
The mysterious Kasukabe twins, Aoi and Ryo, have this weird line poking out of their eyes (which would, by the way, fall into the type one category).
Shiga has no eyebrows!!
KAZUKI LOOKS SO OLD. Seriously, when he first showed his face, I thought he was a coach or something! Same thing goes for Aoki, and he's a SECOND YEAR!! What's up with Tosei and looking old?
When I first saw Ichihara, I was all like "WOLVERINE JR.!!!" I am under the impression that It-chan looks like a younger version of Tosei's coach, and that there's a reason for said coach to never have his name revealed. Sometime in the near future, we just might get a shocking and dramatic plot twist where Wolverine is revealed to be Ichihara's father! Then we get a fun little backstory about Wolverine wanting Ichihara to join Tosei, but Ichihara being rebellious and running off with Oyama's circus instead.