Doing Something a bit Different
Today I felt like talking about my desktop backgrounds and my thought process behind how and why I choose the ones I have. This article is a good way to get to know me some more and an opportunity for folks to share some cool images with each other. This isn’t really meant to be in-depth or anything, just for fun. I know this is something fairly atypical of me but I hope you’ll indulge me a bit and enjoy 🙂
When it comes to my computer I’ve never been one to really care about what wallpaper I had. For the longest time I would just use whatever default background wasn’t overly distracting and called it good. However, last year I decided to actually create a collection of images to put on rotation for my computer. Unlike most people, I had a list of criteria to help focus what and when I would add a new image to the collection. Here is what it takes to make the cut:
- The image needs to look good. This means some things that I might want to include I don’t because they aren’t high quality images.
- If it is something that is my favorite or resonates with me on a strong aesthetic level, then it can be added.
- For anime specifically, I avoid backgrounds that are “obviously” from anime. There are a few exceptions though.
- The background needs to strike a good balance with my existing icon lay out (everything is on the left margin). This ends up disqualifying more images than you might think.
With that, let’s start exploring my backgrounds. I’ll tell you what the image is from and why I included it before moving on to the next one.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
This is the only background that I find of questionable quality in my collection. I really like Fullmetal Alchemist and so it was an easy inclusion when I first started amassing pictures. However, a lot of the backgrounds I was able to find just didn’t do it for me. I finally settled on this one, but as you will see, it is just really plain compared to everything else. It’s not a bad image though and it would be a crime to leave off an anime of this caliber for a collection of pictures that are largely comprised of my favorite things.
My thoughts on Baccano! are no secret. The anime is excellent and one that I am sad to see lost to time in terms of availability. I won’t waste time explaining why I love the show so much here, but it is clear that it had to be included in this collection.
Since the show is set in New York with a colorful cast, I thought that the background absolutely had to reflect that. The character lineup on the left has a wonderful balance of color with just enough urban architecture to assemble the main feeling of the show’s setting. Then you have the title framed right in a striking, but not overpowering font. To top it all off, the image feels like it is kind of like someone spilled ink onto some parchment paper which adds to everything given the nature of the story itself.
Clannad is a series that I watched fairly early into my anime career and it was one I quickly feel in love with. I love romance stories. This was an anime that went above and beyond for me in terms of how everything is portrayed. The first season is pretty weak but still a good time. It isn’t until season two that things really shine and the show hits you at every opportunity with emotional blows. Falling into the “love it or hate it” camp of anime, it is hard to argue that Clannad wouldn’t have some stunning images for wallpapers.
One of my favorite aspects of the story was “The Girl and the Robot.” It was just so different and I haven’t really seen anything else capture that same feeling. That is why I am so glad that I was able to find this image and use it for a background. It captures the beauty of the show while highlighting one of my favorite parts. Of course, there is a lot more I loved in this show but they wouldn’t have all made for great backgrounds.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
A more recent addition to the collection but a prime example of something I’m sure you’ll notice, I don’t use a lot of landscape shots. They look wonderful, but they are kind of boring in general. However, sometimes a certain location is just so iconic and integral in a piece of media that it would be criminal to leave it out. The Ancient Magus’ Bride has become one of my favorite shows despite it not being over yet, and this location brings me to its world without fail.
Here is an oddity. I actually don’t like Tokyo Ghoul that much. It had some great moments and ideas, but overall was a pretty average show with not a lot going for it (I’m still going to watch season three though). That didn’t stop me from including it in this collection however. Why? Mainly because it had the potential to provide a lot of excellent backgrounds.
I ultimately settled on this one for a few reasons. The first, and most important one, was that it looks like a painting and isn’t overly “anime” in appearance. The problem with a lot of images I could have used is that they had great color, but the wrong aesthetic based on my criteria. The next reason was that the white backdrop contrasts nicely with the other darker backgrounds. When I had originally included it, there weren’t a lot of brighter colors and the focus was on darker images. It’s a solid picture that just looks clean despite the fact that I’m not a huge fan of the series.
Probably not obvious from the image, but this is from Last Exile. It’s not from the show itself, but somebody created it and I really like the way it looks. Some of you may know that the very first thing I covered on this site was Last Exile over the course of a three part series. You can check out part 1, 2, and 3 by clicking on their respective numbers if you wish. It’s not my greatest work but I put a lot of effort into it.
Studio Gonzo has fast become one of particular interest of mine. In some ways I know far too much about that studio and Last Exile is what got that ball rolling. This isn’t the only show of theirs to make it onto the list either. While the series is not even one of my personal favorites, it was pretty great. Mainly, I decided to include it to pay homage to what got everything here started.
What is easily the best installment of the “;” series, at least from what I’ve seen so far, Stiens;Gate left quite the impression on me. While the other shows in the series all offered interesting ideas, they lacked the general polish and presentation that this anme brought to the table. On top of that, Steins;Gate is the definitive time travel story in any visual medium period. It is pretty easy to see why I would want to include it in this collection. To some, the image I settled on is probably going to be overly plain. However, I think it perfectly embodies the show while still making an ideal background image. Not a whole lot else to say about this one.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Gonzo has made some interesting stuff in their time. Here is another such example. Back when they were doing classic literature adaptations, of which they did three, one of the ones they did was The Count of Monte Cristo. It was unique for several reasons, but most notably in its visuals. Everything was a wallpaper, it isn’t exactly obvious in a still, but in motion the whole thing was a fairly out there experience. The only other thing I’ve ever see use this visual style was the Cartoon Network series Chowder.
Due to the unique visuals, a lot of people were put off by the show. It even gave some viewers motion sickness. However, it is a show that is well worth your time. You will adjust to everything fairly quick so long as it isn’t making you ill. Any way, the reason I picked this image to end up as a wallpaper was because it framed the two main characters well. Additionally, the background of the image has a “classic” look that compliments the more modern visuals. This is probably the busiest and nosiest image in the collection but one I like a lot.
My favorite anime! There was no way it wouldn’t be included in this collection. Mawaru Peingundrum is wonderful. This image isn’t the one I actually wanted to use, but it was the only tasteful one that was HD quality. Still, I like the duality of the picture and you can’t go wrong with a character shot filled with symbolism (just like the show).
An absolute classic, Cowboy Bebop, had a lot of images for me to choose from. Some were visually more interesting than this one but they lacked to capture the feeling the show gives me. This iconic moment really sells what the show is for me and immediately communicates so much about the show, even if you haven’t seen it. Another easy inclusion for my wallpaper collection.
A rare location picture. Death Parade was a show that I both really enjoyed and had a lot of options in terms of backgrounds. I ultimately settled on just an image of the bar without any characters and a lone chair. It just screams Death Parade to me. Additionally, it has such great personality and detail in something that is really pretty sparse. Both inviting yet distant all at the same time. I like this image so much it is actually my Google+ background for the site (I bet you didn’t even know I had one of those).
I just added this one a few days ago. Ai Emma has such a great design. Hauntingly attractive, she just really captivates my attention. This isn’t my favorite image that I could have used for a background, but the only one that looked good out of the ones I had selected. Still, it’s Ai Emma so I am not going to complain.
While I haven’t finished Hell Girl it is a show that I have been enjoying a lot more than I would have expected to. I was really bummed when Amazon got rid of it. Fortunately, I was able to obtain season one digitally for viewing (even if the dub is not the best) and bit the bullet to buy seasons two and three. I see this anime being pretty high up their for me, if not landing on my favorites list.
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex
Both seasons of GitS SAC are excellent shows. However, The Laughing Man, was something that stuck out to me. Naturally, I was very pleased to find this image of his symbol and quickly made it available in my background images rotation. Aside from that, the general concept of The Laughing Man speaks to me as somebody who was pursing a sociology minor at the time as he is a prime example of a lot of theories/ideas in that field (much like most of the show really).
I’m actually surprised I found such a flattering picture for Higurashi. Being among one of my favorite horror/mystery series, I just had to include it. The problem was finding something that both looked good and wasn’t just horrific murder. I almost went for that money shot of Rika but it wasn’t a crisp HD image and looked awful blown up. Settled on this and it is probably one of my favorite images in the bunch. If you’d like to know more about my thoughts on this series you can see my reviews of season 1, 2, and 3 here.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Of all the wallpapers I have, this is probably the most “anime” of them all. Madoka Magica has this awesome art style with great character designs. Ideally, I was going for something that resembled the witches areas within the show to have as a background, but ended up settling on this character lineup. The reasons for this are that finding a good HD image of my original intentions wasn’t easy and in doing so I wouldn’t be showing off one aspect of the show that I also liked. Reaching a happy medium is what’s pictured above. You get the characters and just a taste of the trippy art style that I absolutely love.
Here’s an interesting choice for me. Up until now, all of the images were of things I’ve already experienced. Most of them were things I also liked a whole lot. With Mushishi I haven’t actually seen the anime yet! That being said, I knew it would make for some superb wallpapers and just simply couldn’t help myself.
While I haven’t seen Mushishi, I know it is going to be one I absolutely adore. Everything about the series just screams something that is my aesthetic. I also always hear the show as being described as such a chill ride which is not usually what I seek out. Mushishi will be one of those shows I need to be in the mood for, but when that time comes I know it’s going to be a standout.
Somehow I still haven’t ever reviewed Psycho-Pass. Though, I’m sure nobody would be surprised to learn that it is an anime that I hold in pretty high regard. The dark moody atmosphere, oppressive cityscape, and Orwellian setting is a perfect combination for me–well, so long as it is done right! Psycho-Pass, naturally, does just about everything I could ask for. It’s tricky portraying a world that is a utopia for many, but an equal dystopian future as well.
Enough about the actual show. The reason I selected this picture to represent the show in my background collection was because I wanted a shot of the city while somehow still indicating what show it was from. This is a tall order and I really thought it would be impossible to find such an image. However, as you can see, I did manage to pretty much do it! While not my favorite, it does look really good blown up as a background. It also reminds me of a play mat for a card game for some reason, so if you never had that idea, your welcome (I guess?).
Not much need be said about Anohana that I haven’t already in my ABC review. I love the show and think this is among one of my best reviews ever written here so check it out. Any way, the anime speaks to me on such a personal level that fully explaining it would just take too long. It belongs in the collection, that much should be clear though. The importance of this image is the character lineup with the ever significant forget-me-not where Menma should be. It says everything about the show without giving anything much away.
The Garden of Sinners
Ok, first imagine the black bar at the bottom is gone. The photo is just a bit too big for my screen so that part gets cut off. Any way, while I haven’t watched all the films in this franchise, I love The Garden of Sinners. If anything it is stunningly gorgeous and unlike anything I had really seen when first getting into anime. Even early on, I was obsessed enough with the medium to purchase a copy of the series (which at the time, was no easy feat). Originally, I aimed to watch the whole thing with some friends but after film 5 everyone else fizzled out on it. I swear I’ll finish it someday though, just as soon as I finish…
I don’t think anybody would fault me in saying that Satoshi Kon was an unrivaled genius that left this world too soon. Had he not died, this man would have almost assuredly become more of a legend than he already is. His films (and one TV series) are already held in high regards in both the anime and international film community, so that’s saying something. Paprika is just one of these films. While I consider all of Kon’s work to be excellent, though certainly enjoying some works more than others, none is as wallpaper friendly as Paprika.
My favorite part of the film is the insanity of the dream parade. That song that goes with it is just sooooooo good. Not to mention, it is just a fun sequence. That was my goal with finding an image to represent and this ridiculous line up of “characters” fit the bill perfectly.
This doesn’t really need any explanation. Your Name is great. You can read my full thoughts on it here. The whole show could be a wallpaper. I just went with this one for its clarity and sharpness as an image. It captures the main moment of the show, but doesn’t give anything up. Whoever made this image did a great job.
To the Moon
Nani?!? Something that isn’t an anime??? All kidding aside, we are finally reaching some new territory. It really seems I need some more variety from other mediums (easier said than done though). This picture is from the video game To the Moon. If you have never heard of this game: play it. This was so far and above my expectations and something I want to cover on the site, I just don’t know how I would do it justice. You owe it to yourself to give this a try. You play as two Inception-like Dr.’s that help people on their death beds fulfill their dream. It’s just a wonderful game. Please play it.
This picture represents one of the most beautiful board games I own, Tokiado. In that game you travel across Japan with the goal of having the most fulfilling journey. That feeling is captured really well, and despite it being a competitive game, still manages to focus on the journey vs. the destination. It’s nice to win, but not the focal point. This makes for an interesting feeling while playing and a testament to its design. I can’t wait to try the expansions out and look forward to playing it for years to come.
This one is for both the game and the anime adaptation. Of all the photos in the collection, this one is my favorite. I didn’t do these in any special order or anything so this isn’t the last one, but I just really like this image. If you’ve read my thoughts (which you can do by clicking the link above) then you’ll know this was a pleasant surprise for me. An easy choice for my wallpaper collection.
From the New World
At least that is what the photo is credited to be from. I actually have no idea if this is from the anime, From the New World or not. Regardless, it is just a nice shot of the sky. If it is from that show, great! I think this reflects one of the aspects of the show I really liked and that would be the beauty of nature. Not the best representation but still. If not, then at least I still have a nice image that I like.
Your Lie in April
Oh wow, am I glad that I bought the Aniplex Blu-rays of Your Lie in April. This is another anime that is filled with great moments that would make for excellent backgrounds. While on the predictable side and a few other shortcomings, this anime was still one I really liked. I had a feeling similar to Clannad with this show despite them depicting pretty different ideas and themes. Solid show and a solid spot in this collection.
Terror in Resonance
Let’s be real, Terror in Resonance wasn’t Watanabe’s greatest work. Still, I really enjoyed it. This was something I watched at a time where a ton, and I mean a ton, of terrorist attacks were going on. The message here spoke to me and I can’t really fully explain it. This show just worked for me.
What I like about this image though is, well, the imagery. The feather blood from his finger gun is cool looking. It’s a style over substance kind of picture while still having some substance. A bit of an anticlimactic finish for this collection but still an image I like a fair bit.
How About You?
What are your wallpapers like? Do you just have one or do you have several? Feel free to make a response article or just share a link to the photos below. I’d really love to see what kinds of images people are using, and who knows, maybe I might find some more great ones to add to this collection! I know this was different than my usual, but I hope you still enjoyed it any how.
Let me know if this style of article is something you might want to see more of in addition to your comments below. If you would like to support the site and everybody who makes it happen, then click the button below to learn about my Patreon. As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!