Goldfish Warning! (Kingyo Chuuihou!)
3 Different Styles of Drawing

6 May 2005 - 3 Different Styles of Drawing in GfW

Basics: "Serious" vs "Gag"

In gag mangas and gag animes, the same character is often drawn in 2 (or more) different styles according to the situation.

The first style, shiriasu-gao シリアス顔, or "serious face," is relatively less deformed (i.e. relatively more "true to nature"), and used in "serious" situations.

The second style, gyagu-gao ギャグ顔, or "gag face," is much more deformed, and used in "less serious" situations where things are exaggerated in some way (in other words, when things are expressed in a simplified way).

In many cases, the first style is standard and the second style is used temporarily only for special scenes. Usually the person in the second mode is not as tall as the same person in the first mode, hence sometimes called "chibi" (NOTE: Native Japanese otakus don't use "chibi" in this meaning). Typically, the person abruptly starts acting in a childish way when the drawing style switches to the second one. In some works such as a "super-gag" manga, the second style is default and the first style is used temporarily only when the person becomes exceptionally serious.

A Character Has 3 Modes in "Goldfish Warning!"

Each of the main characters from Goldfish Warning! except Gyopi (Wapiko, Chitose, Aoi, Shuu, and Yurika) is drawn in 3 different, distinguishable modes: serious, half-gag, and gag. The animators who created GfW called them "A Type," "B Type," and "C Type."

I'll explain the differences of the 3 modes, using Wapiko.

A-Type Wapiko

This is "normal" cute Wapiko that you know very well. She is a bit too naive, but nice and sympathetic. The A-Type Wapiko is generally less childish and much more quiet compared to the B- or C-Type Wapiko. Also the A-Type Wapiko is the tallest among the three types of Wapiko, actually taller than "B-Type" Chitose.

B-Type Wapiko

The B-Type Wapiko is about 3/4 as tall as the A-Type Wapiko. Wapiko is drawn in this mode when she becomes more powerful (less quiet), childish, or mischievous.

The A-Type Wapiko has double-edged eyelids, and each eye has 3 eyelashes:

The B-Type Wapiko has single-edged eyelids, where eyelashes are not depicted:

The B-Type Wapiko and the C-Type Wapiko share practically the same eye-drawing style if she is laughing and her eyes are pictured as "half-round arches." However, when her eyes are open wide, the B-Type eyes (left) and the C-Type eyes (right) are clearly different:

C-Type Wapiko

The C-Type Wapiko is the Wapiko that is most deformed. Wapiko in this mode is only half as tall as the A-Type Wapiko. Her eyes are drawn in a most simplified way in this mode:

The C-Type Wapiko pops up when Wapiko becomes very childish, or very powerful and energetic (sometimes even superhuman). Among other things, the C-Type Wapiko runs in a unique and cute way: her legs are depicted as one big scroll (see the third picture below). This is called toruneedo hashiri トルネード走り, or "tornado running." Basically anyone from Goldfish Warning! can do "tornedo running" if (and only if) he or she is drawn in the C-Type style. "Tornedo running" is not always applied when a C-Type character runs, but only occasionally. (They often run in a more "common" way too.)

How the Three Modes Make This Show Vivid

Rapid and rhythmical switching between those 3 modes is one of the noticeable elements that makes this show colorful and vivid. Another interesting aspect related to the 3 modes is interaction between the two persons in different modes. One of the typical situations is, the A- or B-Type Chitose is scolding someone who is in the C-Type mode, but when he or she talks back, Chitose gets mad and switches to the C-Type herself. In other words, unlike some other animes, the mode change is not "global" in GfW: for instance, the A-Type Chitose and C-Type Wapiko can co-exist in the same scene.

I said the animators called these three modes "A Type," "B Type," and "C Type." Technically, Chitose is only one exception in this terminology. In the official settings, the A-Type Chitose is called noomaru Chitose ノーマル千歳, or "normal Chitose," the B-Type Chitose is called han-gyagu Chitose 半ギャグ千歳, or "half-gag Chitose," the C-Type Chitose is called gyagu Chitose ギャグ千歳, or "gag Chitose." This suggests that Chitose is an exceptional character in this show, which is true.

The other characters can switch between the 3 modes freely, while Chitose is "supposed" to be always in the A-Type mode, and it is abnormal for her to be in another (especially the C-Type) mode. Because of this rule, Chitose in the C-Type mode is especially funny. This rule is actually very important and essential in GfW: without Chitose, GfW would be simply a silly and dull show where silly characters were doing silly things. Chitose, who is always trying hard to organize the mess (although, she is actually a very weird girl), is creating an agreeable tension in this show, with Wapiko and the others, who are always making the mess.

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