In anime, sakuga is defined as a moment in a show or movie where the animation’s quality improves so drastically that it is impossible not to notice. This style is used pretty often throughout the medium today, resulting in some really beautiful moments.
To celebrate those scenes, we’ve put together a list of four anime sakuga moments that are so beautiful that they honestly belong in an art museum.
Spoiler Warning: the following spoils key scenes from Ping Pong the Animation, Demon Slayer, Mob Psycho 100, and JuJutsu Kaisen. If you haven’t seen parts of these anime, we recommend you hold off reading until you have.
If you have seen the anime, or simply don’t care about spoilers, then continue onward.
(Featured image credit Bones & Crunchyroll)
Ping Pong the Animation – Kazuma vs Smile
At first glance, Ping Pong the Animation looks kind of crudely drawn, as there isn’t much detail given to the backgrounds, characters, or environments that aren’t the focus of the scene. Interestingly enough, it’s that lack of detail that makes the overwhelming amount of animation that does get put into the show’s moments of sakuga that much more impressive by comparison.
Take the fight between Kazuma “The Dragon” and Smile as an amazing example of this. While many of the ping pong games we’ve seen before this match had plenty of cool details, all the stops are pulled out for this bout.
Small things like a line following the ball’s insane curve and the picture in picture format immediately give this game a weight we haven’t seen up to this point, serving to convey what a monster Kazuma is at ping pong. Things only get crazier as the fight goes on, as the camera angle paints Smile’s opponent as if he were towering over him.
Kazuma’s strikes are even given their own distinct animations, featuring an electric purple, superpower-like streak of lightning that trails after each hit. The match crescendos with one last hit by Smile, as his entire journey up to this point plays in the background of the ball’s path, only for it to be interrupted and crushed by a purple dragon.
The crazy amount of sakuga that goes on in these two minutes is all you’d ever need to show anyone on the fence about why they should watch Ping Pong the Animation.
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