“Sakuga” is a Japanese term often used to describe a scene or moment in anime (or animation in general) that causes anime lovers to have weab-gasms through their eye sockets. You’ve probably already experienced this yourself when watching really popular shows like One Punch Man or My Hero Academia. Studios likes Mad House and Bones have been on point with handling huge breakthrough titles such as these—shows which have brought a lot of new fans into the anime community. When you're finished with the more popular shows, we suggest quelling your hunger with some high-quality anime series—or some fine sakuga.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
The Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series has always been a source of inspiration for aesthetics among men. With the characters’ perfectly chiseled bodies and fabulous poses, you can’t help but gawk. Throughout the years, JBA has evolved its aesthetic from being hyper-masculine (think 300) to flamboyantly fluid. The result of this evolution is Diamond is Unbreakable, the most recently animated arc of the series, which exhibits very creative cinematography that has literally been polished for decades.
As far as first episodes go, Gurren Lagann is probably the best when it comes to world building. Without going into spoilers, this anime does a great job of juxtaposing the initial setting of the closed, underground tunnels the community lives in with how grand, terrifying, yet inviting the world above the surface is. In one of the final scenes in the first episode, we get to gaze upon the vast expanse of the outside while a beautiful horizon stares back at us. If any other animes want some tips on how to make a scene memorable, they should use this scene as a reference.
When the novel was published, a lot of people said that it would cost too much to animate because of how amazing it looked. Studio Shaft looked at it and accepted the challenge. They then proceeded to make each frame of action convey emotions so powerful you could just pause at any given time and be struck with awe at how perfectly animated this piece of art is. From the tiniest details like bouncing raindrops on character’s bodies to the err, detail of someone getting his arm kicked clean off, you know that a studio put in real work and love into creating an adaptation they could be proud of.
Violet Evergarden could easily win waifu of the year because of how cute she is, but that’s just one part of what makes this anime extremely enjoyable to watch. The anime is half feel good and half drama. It constantly switching atmospheres. One minute you could be watching girls frolicking through a field of flowers and the next you could be watching people slaughter each other on the battlefield. The visuals just carry the anime to a whole other level that despite its somewhat slow plot development, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by how pretty the show is.
Houseki no Kuni
3D animation done right? Nani?! After the catastrophe that was Berserk 2016, everybody already wanted to give up on life 3D animation, but Houseki no Kuni made us feel like maybe there was more to 3D animation than we could imagine. The show was about (literally) fragile girls made out of different types of jewel-things that fight against moon people. It makes for really beautiful fight scenes and scenery because of how the characters are able to play with the light and their environment—all with some silky smooth computer-assisted imagery.
Seirei no Moribito
This anime just goes to show that a good fight anime doesn’t need fight scenes that make the characters defy the laws of physics. Instead, this series does a good job of making everything hyper-realistic. You can see the emotion and struggle with each blow given and the weight of each sword swing. The way the “camera” or the POV reacts and moves to the way the battle is going really puts this anime a cut above the rest.
Kuroko no Basket
If you still aren't over the cliffhanger that was the Slam Dunk anime ending, immerse yourself in the over-the-top basketball action of Kuroko. With games that border on fight scenes with all the special powers, it will hype even the most fairweather basketball fan. Half the time the animation looks crap, but that's just because they save the budget for all the proper sakuga moments of course.