2000s anime art style
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2000s Anime Art Styles Commonly Seen In These 15 Different Shows

Anime art styles are distinctive. So much so I already talked about it and even categorised them.

But what about anime art styles from the 2000s era? Those are different by design.

They’re old enough not to be like 2023 art styles but not old enough to be different from the 1980s and 1990s.

Let’s talk about it from the perspective of 2000s anime that lead the pack.

Here’s a list.


1. Shakugan No Shana

Shakugan No Shana eyes 2000s

Shakugan No Shana had that art style from the 2000s that can be seen in the eyes. It’s the way the eyes were drawn.

Some of it comes from the 1990s, but it’s different.

Big eyes, a certain stye of face – it was a common art style running throughout the golden era of the 2000s (the last golden era).

Higurashi When They Cry has a similar art style from this 2000s era.


2. Chrono Crusade

Chrono Crusade cover chrono rosette

Chrono Crusade had a familiar art style seen in many 2000s anime shows. The eyes, again, are the dead giveaway. Though the eyes, in particular, aren’t as big as, let’s say, Shakugan No Shana.

But even still.

The colours, the design, the warmth or lack of it – these characteristics from the 2000s can be seen in anime like Chrono Crusade at the time it aired alongside many others.


3. Kanon

Kanon anime eyes

Kanon is one of the stand-out anime from this era, along with Clannad (both by the same studio), that had a certain art style the 2000s known for.

Again, it’s the eyes. Those big eyes, and even a certain-sized mouth, nose, if any at all, and hairstyle gave the anime girls and boys a certain aesthetic.

Kyoto Animation led the way with these characteristics that others followed to some degree.


4. Inuyasha

Inuyasha 2000s anime

Inuyasha piggybacks off the 1990s vibes and adds its own flair as a 2000s anime series. A very early 2000s anime, to say the least.

Inuyasha’s world feels darker and less colourful, and the designs do have some realism to them (a vibe the 1990s gave), but the eyes are still bigger.

Either way, it was a common and familiar art style that was more featured in the early 2000s rather than later.


5. Toradora

Toradora art style

Typical of J.C Staff during the 2000s with anime like Shakugan No Shana, Toradora also kept the tradition going, but they changed it up a bit.

The eyes are always a prominent feature in anime, even today in 2023, but in the 2000s, it had its own feel and style that can only be taken from that era alone.

Toradora was a major example being so popular even today, and the art style overall has a 2000s feel no other era had.


6. K-On

K On green background

K-On was in the late 2000s, or 2009 to be exact. K-On helped make the MOE trend popular, though it didn’t officially start it.

That also goes for the MOE art style that became more of a thing in later years.

K-On takes the common art style form the 2000s and puts its own spin on it, making it different to others in its time but still common for the era.


7. Monster

Monster anime classic

During the 2000s you also saw more realistic anime art styles that were specific to that era and time. Monster was one of the major anime that led the way for this type of style in the 2000s.

To this day, Monster is one of the more realistic anime ever made, and the art style, tones, designs, characteristics, and story are part of that.


8. A Certain Scientific Railgun/Index

A Certain Scientific Railgun Index 2009

Like K-On, Railgun brought its unique art style while still keeping the typical look of anime during that era. Though like K-On, Railgun morphs more towards the newly emerging style that came about in the 2010s.

And being a J.C Staff anime, it has commonalities with its other shows during the 2000s, like Toradora, Shakugan No Shana, and others, while still having that 2000s art style feel.


9. Death Note

Death Note l lawliet and light moments

Like Monster, Death Note is one of the many anime during the 2000s that had a common art style among shows with a more realistic feel.

Death Note became a classic. The strategy and tactics, mind games, psychology, and the madness in between were legendary.

Plus, the art style helped match the theme, and the art style it brought to the table was more common than compared to now.


10. The Gokusen

the gokusen anime

Another anime you could fit into the more “realistic” anime art styles from the 2000s along with Death Note.

The Gokusen is about a new teacher who is actually part of and grew up in a gang. But she keeps this secret and plays the role of a ditzy, unaware woman who knows no better.

Soon though, those secrets are revealed. The anime’s art style was a “realistic” version the 2000s was common for.


11. Full Metal Panic

Full Metal Panic 2002

Full Metal Panic keeps to the realistic art style of that time but still has the big eyes, which is a lot different to an anime like Monster.

This anime was also by Kyoto Animation.

Art styles like these were common in certain genres, with Mecha, action, military, and others being common for this art style.

Relevant: Why Mecha Anime Has Been DECLINING And Losing Its Appeal Since The 2010’s


12. Fate Stay Night 2006

Fate Stay Night 2006

The original Fate Stay Night fit like a glove in the 2000s era as far as its art style and it being familiar along the roster of anime of that time.

The eye shape is still there, but it’s not as prominent as, let’s say, Kanon, Clannad, or other anime that focused on that in the 2000s.

Still, it’s in tune and looks completely different to the later FATE anime series that came about in the 2010s.


13. Ah My Goddess

Ah My Goddess 2000s anime art

Ah My Goddess is a mixture of the realistic art style while still having the usual art style where certain characters (main female MC) have relatively big eyes.

And more importantly, eyes that are distinctive for that time compared to later down the line.


14. Scrapped Princess

Scrapped Princess 2003 series

And then there’s Scrapped Princess, another anime with a sense of realism to the art style that was common among certain shows but still has those “2000s” vibes to it.

This anime was a lot of things, including Mecha, action, romance, fantasy, and even military, in a sense.


15. Azumanga Daioh

Azumanga Daioh girls aesthetic art style

Azumanga Daioh is known for starting the MOE genre as we know it today. It had the art style, the characteristics, the comedy, and other parts that now make up the typical Moe.

This anime’s eyes were still large, but mainly on certain characters relative to their body size (like Chiyo).

Other anime that had common 2000s art styles that were similar is School Rumble and Eureka Seven.


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