Toradora! Photoshop Anime


Toradora appears to be an anime where the staff have been uncharacteristically dependent on taking their cameras around Tokyo in order to make the backgrounds; a great number of such scenes have been discovered, and doubtless there are many more:

These scenes are all from northern Tokyo (Kita-ku), though a letter in the show lists Aisaka’s address as being in Saitama.


Photoshop anime or legitimate use of photographic reference, call it what you will, but it seems we are receiving a rather convincing picture of northern Tokyo whilst viewing the title. And of course such economies can have positive effects on overall production values.

If you have any interest in this, be sure to check the frightening comprehensive Google Maps anime comparator

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  • I know perspective, i have studied it for more than 10 years, and if the post implies what i think, that photos have been traced, i think is unfair.

    it seems in order to make this backgrounds pictures have been indeed taken “as reference” in order
    to have all the detail they have, but actual backgrounds have been rendered by hand and not traced over,

    Why i affirm this:

    if they had been traced over the visual mistakes produced by the curvature of the earth would appear, an instead i see all architectural elements to allign quite nicely with the imaginary lines, , that converge in the vanishing point. (one has to draw when using perspective,which proves perpectives rules aren’t all that precise and don’t reflect rality just take a look at M.C. Escher drawings)

    just take a look at the 2nd photo in it the curvature i talk about is quite obvious, while in the rendered background the elements look more alligned,
    straight lines rather than curves.

    • This might not be the only photo of that street, nab. and ofcourse he’s using basic drawing techniques when producing background CGs for an anime scene. That’s what he’s a background CGer for. Some people are fckin stupid and fail to see the big picture.

    • That’s because they use vibrant colors and unrealistically pretty clouds and they can easily tweek lighting and add pretty details and usually leave out details of realism that would be perceived as less pretty comparing them with their 2D counterparts.

  • How nice, Taiga lives in my hometown…now I know where to look. She’s turning this anime into shit & she must pay. I kinda like the Kannagi scenes better. Its always great to see the places you’ve been to in an anime.

    • Use as a reference seems more likely, given that Toradora!’s equivalent real-life locations aren’t known and knowledge of these resemblances are mostly unknown by otaku.

      Not a negative comment towards the show, of course. I think it looks swell.

  • I fail to see what the big deal is about all of these, though. So they look to real life to depict a scene. Your point? I’d actually expect someone who’s, for example, making an anime taking place in Tokyo to actually look at Tokyo as references for scenery. Now if something’s way out of place, then sure, have issue with it, but seriously, how do you plagiarize real life? Next thing you know? “Oh, that person was drawn as a human! It must be plagiarism!”

    Now then, outright tracing I’d not have an issue with in terms of plagiarism, but WOULD have an issue with in terms of sheer laziness. You can use it as reference, sure, but if you freaking trace it? That’s just lazy.

    • Traced pictures still need to be colored, shaded, lightened, etc. It’s hard to define any urban area realistically. If they trace a photo and burn the photo it’s just as good for me.

  • Slowly, slowly, the hidebound otaku conservatives will come to understand that the “Photoshopped backgrounds” are not a crime, but sometimes excellent. If it really makes the process cheaper, we will see more and more of it.

  • I myself think it’s a great and effective way for BG’s. It brings a sense of reality to the audience and connection. Showing that these characters are in a real world, in real world situations….supposedly.

    I think the issue of whether not it’s bad may depend on who reads the articles. Adding the word photoshop anime rubs me the wrong way personally. I would prefer the latter, “photographic reference”.

    Whether they do trace over it or not, I can see why they would. The perspective, details and angles on some of the shows are rather intricate. My assumption is based on time and budget, that would be the most logical sense of execution. Given these BG’s.

  • im an architect and i love anime. well about this i think is great. you know the enviroment can change peoples mood i would probably find the perfect place and then draw it. i totally agree with this. and i have realized that somehow before, when i started watching toradora. keep it up.

  • Like it or leave it…its the way of future anime…unless u prefer the perspectively failed scene in certain anime…lol…45 degree…

    i think it all started since MAKOTO SHINKAI kantoku so openly showed that how he shopped his scenes in his well crafted anime…LOVE it

  • Yep, I never really understood people complaining about animes that uses real life scenarios to compose anime locations and stuff…

    In fact, I find this a positive point about animes in Japan.

    Seeing places in animes you like, sometimes even with some cultural reference to it…

    And even if artists do that to get the work done faster and more efficiently, I don’t see a problem if the result is good.

    Wouldn’t call them lazy too, since we all know how stressful and how tight their schedules can be…

  • Also worth to point out is the statement that the places dont match. I might be wrong, but residential areas are a bit iffy to depict ‘accuratly’ since people may or may not want their house shown accuratly in a mediaform widely spread around the world. Atleast thats one reason i would use to use accurate renditions on the wrong locations.. so to speak >_>
    Because obviously obsessive fans do go to great lengths to actually find the places and go ‘zomg photoshop anime!’

  • I like seeing these comparisons. For the fans who find them, it’s like an extra bonus assignment. Detective work or a memory test: “So have you been here before?”

    And I agree with a previous comment that the characters are supposed to be living in a modern Japan that we’re all familiar with. They’re celebrating the same holidays and traditions in the show; why not also live in the same city with the same buildings?

    It allows for a closer attachment to the series, I think. It’s a fortunate convenience, and I wouldn’t call it cheating or “shopped” in the negative sense.

    • I like it. This gives the anime a bit more reality as said. Japanese Teenagers living in Japanese areas. Why not orientating on the real world ?If you forget about thats mostly all clean and neat in the animes compared to the real life pics.

  • Honestly, I rather like the increased usage of background photos. If the point is to make the series a realistic fiction (+/- magical subtype), then using real locations make sense. It’s often hard to grasp the details and atmosphere of an urban landscape without some heavy use of references.

    • Thank you, I was going to say the same thing.

      Only a fool of an artist never uses reference, whether it be real or photos. These are hardly “photoshopped”, they aren’t a blatant tracing.

      I’m sick of seeing these posts, waste of space.