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Superflat Pop is an aesthetic and graphic design style that was prevalent from the late 2000s to early 2010s, inspired by Murakami's established art movement called Superflat. It is characterized by the use of vibrant color palettes, Kawaii motifs, and funky clothing. It is often used in animation, video games, advertisements, and fashion. It bears similarities to/otherwise overlaps with Y2K Futurism, McBling, Frutiger Aero and Frutiger Metro, but focuses more on Kawaii elements.

History[]

Superflat was coined in 2001 by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami to describe his established art movement based on the flat aspect of traditional Japanese art with anime and manga craze of post-war Japanese society. He helped other artists to put Japan on the art world map and bridge the gap between fine art and commercial aesthetics, basically Japan's answer to Neo-Pop art.

Visuals[]

The visuals of Superflat Pop are inspired by traditional Japanese paintings and their country's cultural elements, being a modern take of Japanese art as a whole. It aims to reflect and emphasize the current state of Japanese pop culture, similar to what Pop Art had been established from the late-1950s to the mid-1960s, but especially Neo-Pop art. The key features of this aesthetic are:

  • Geometric shapes
  • Vibrant (either neon or pastel) color palettes
  • Strong and bold outlines, usually colored black (although it can be other colors)
  • 3D visuals
  • Kawaii motifs
  • "Sweet and Sunny" flowers
  • Graffiti
  • Urban vinyl figures and sculptures
  • Otaku culture and sexuality
  • The Roundhouse font from House Industries

Artists[]

  • Takashi Murakami
  • Chiho Aoshima
  • Mahomi Kunikata
  • Sayuri Michima
  • Yoshitomo Nara
  • Aya Takano
  • Kōji Morimoto
  • Hitoshi Tomizawa
  • Kensuke Sugimoto
  • Yuko Yamaguchi
  • Kenji Yamada
  • Mr.
  • Hideyuki Tanaka (Framegraphics)
  • Groovisions
  • Charo Vargas
  • Keita Takahashi
  • Art Leonardi
  • Charuca
  • LoulouVZ
  • RolitoLand

Fashion[]

Media[]

Television[]

  • 2 Stupid Dogs (Cartoon) (1993-1995)
  • 6 Hearts Princess (6♥︎P) (Anime) (2016)
  • Adventure Time (Cartoon) (2010-2018)
  • Alien 9 (Anime) (2001-2002)
  • Aggretsuko (Anime) (2016-2018)
  • Anisava (Anime) (2013)
  • Ba Da Bean (Cartoon) (2021-present)
  • BENTO (Concept) (2017)
  • Bloody Bunny (Franchise) (2008-present)
  • Bonus Stage (Web series) (2003-2006)
  • Bunny Maloney (Cartoon) (2009)
  • Chop Socky Chooks (Cartoon) (2008-2009)
  • Chikn Nuggit (Web series) (2020-present)
  • Codename: Kids Next Door/(KND) (Cartoon) (2002-2008)
  • Cueio The Bunny (Web series/Cartoon) (2019-present)
  • Dexter's Laboratory (Cartoon) (1995-2003)
  • Digi-girl Pop! (Anime) (2003)
  • Disrespectoids (Capri Sun advertising campaign)
  • Doki (Cartoon) (2013-2019)
  • Doraemon (Anime) (1969-present)
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera (Cartoon) (2007-2008)
  • Fantastic Kidfong (Franchise) (2010-2014)
  • Fishtronaut (Cartoon) (2009-2015)
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends (Cartoon) (2004-2009)
  • Fudêncio e Seus Amigos (Adult-animated cartoon) (2005-2011)
  • Gawayn (Cartoon) (2009-2013)
  • Giga Blaster (Cartoon) (2019-2020)
  • Hanazuki: Full Of Treasures (Cartoon) (2017-2019)
  • Hero: 108 (Cartoon) (2010-2012)
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi (Anime-influenced cartoon) (2004-2006)
  • Homestar Runner (Webseries) (2000)
  • Invader Zim (Cartoon) (2001-2006)
  • Jelly Jamm (Cartoon) (2011-2013)
  • Johnny Test (Cartoon) (2005-2014, 2021-2022)
  • Kaiba (Anime) (2008)
  • Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil (Cartoon) (2010-2012)
  • Kuu Kuu Harajuku (Cartoon) (2015-2019)
  • Kuuchuu Buranko (Anime) (2009)
  • Kung Fu Wa (Cartoon) (2022-present)
  • Lola & Virginia (Cartoon) (2006-2007)
  • LoliRock (Cartoon) (2014-2015)
  • Lucky Fred (Cartoon) (2011-2012)
  • Lu and The Bally Bunch (Cartoon) (2023-Present)
  • Making Fiends (Cartoon) (2003-2017)
  • Matt's Monsters (Cartoon) (2008)
  • Molang (Cartoon) (2015-present)
  • Mononoke (Anime) (2007)
  • Monica Toy (Cartoon/Web series) (2014-present)
  • Monk Little Dog (Cartoon) (2009-2010)
  • Monster Allergy (Cartoon) (2006-2009)
  • Mucha Lucha (Cartoon) (2002-2005)
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot (Cartoon) (2002-2006)
  • Ni Hao Kai-Lan (Cartoon) (2008-2011)
  • Nutri Ventures (Cartoon) (2012-2014)
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt (Anime) (2010)
  • Plim Plim (Cartoon/Web series/Educational) (2011-present)
  • Pocoyo (Cartoon/Web series/Educational) (2005-present)
  • Princess Jellyfish (Anime) (2010)
  • Pucca (Franchise) (2000-present)
  • Purple Devil (Cartoon) (2014)
  • Robotboy (Cartoon) (2005-2008)
  • ROLY POLY PEOPLES (Web series)
  • Samurai Jack (Cartoon) (2001-2017)
  • Shuriken School (Cartoon) (2006-2007)
  • Skatoony (Live-action/Cartoon/Game show) (2008-2013)
  • Spaicy (Webseries) (2000-present)
  • Space Patrol Luluco (Anime) (2016)
  • Sparkle Friends (Cartoon) (2006-2011)
  • Strange Hill High (Puppet-animated) (2013-2014)
  • Studio Killers 404 (Cartoon pilot) (2021)
  • Super Milk Chan (Anime) (1998-2000)
  • Supernoobs (Cartoon) (2015-2019)
  • Sushi Pack (Cartoon) (2007-2009)
  • Teen Titans Go! (Cartoon spin-off of Teen Titans) (2013-present)
  • Toonix (Animated shorts) (2010-2012)
  • Trolls: The Beat Goes On (Cartoon) (2018-2019)
  • The Amazing Digital Circus (Cartoon) (2023-present)
  • The Amazing World Of Gumball (Cartoon) (2011-2019)
  • The Buzz on Maggie (Cartoon) (2005-2006)
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (Cartoon) (2001-2007)
  • The Modifyers (Cartoon pilot) (2007)
  • The Mr. Men Show (Cartoon) (2008-2009)
  • The Powerpuff Girls (Cartoon) (1998-present)
  • Unikitty! (Cartoon) (2017-2020)
  • Urusei Yatsura (Anime) (1981-1986, 2022-present)
  • Vamos Mandy! (Cartoon) (2024-present)
  • Vary Peri (Cartoon) (2012-2013)
  • Villainous (Cartoon) (2017-present)
  • Vitaminix (Cartoon) (2004)
  • We Baby Bears (Cartoon) (2022-present)
  • Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! (Cartoon) (2006-2010)
  • Xiaolin Showdown (Cartoon) (2003-2006)
  • Yo Gabba Gabba! (Live-Action/Educational) (2007-2015)
  • Yin Yang Yo! (Cartoon) (2006-2009)
  • Zica and the Chameleons (Cartoon) (2014-2017)
  • Zombieland Saga (Anime) (2018-2021)

Film[]

  • Belladonna of Sadness (Anime) (1973)
  • Bullet Train (Live Action) (2022)
  • Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! (Anime) (2000)
  • Jellyfish Eyes (Live action-animated) (2013)
  • Mind Game (Anime) (2004)
  • Night Is Short, Walk On Girl (Anime) (2017)
  • Ponyo (Anime) (2008)
  • Summer Wars (Anime) (2009)
  • Superflat Monogram (Anime) (2003)
  • Superflat First Love (Anime) (2009)
  • The Night B4 Christmas (Cartoon/Television film) (2003)
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie (CGI) (2023)
  • Trolls (CGI/Franchise) (2016-present)

Video Games[]

  • Animal Crossing (2001-present)
  • Angry Birds (2009-present)
  • BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! (2017)
  • Billie Bust Up (2017-present)
  • Bloom Defender (2011)
  • BoxBoy! series (2015-2019)
  • Bubble Bobble/Bust a Move (1986-1990)
  • Bust A Groove (1998-2001)
  • Captain StarONE (2019)
  • Chase Chase Jokers (2022)
  • Club BK (2011, discontinued)
  • Cookie Run (2009-present)
  • Cooking Mama (2006-present)
  • Cool Cool Toon (2000)
  • Danganronpa (2010-present)
  • de BLOB (2008-2011)
  • Fight My Monster (2009, discontinued)
  • Figure Fumble! (2022)
  • Fukoumori: Moririi no Unhappy Project (2007)
  • Geometry Dash (2013-present)
  • GROW (2002-2018)
  • GNOG (2017)
  • Hatsune Miku: Project Diva (2009-present)
  • Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai (2012-2015)
  • Hohokum (2014)
  • Ibb & Obb (2013)
  • Jet Set Radio (2000-2002)
  • JMkit (HTML5-based website)
  • Just Shapes & Beats (2018)
  • Katamari series (2004-2018)
  • LittleBigPlanet (2008-present)
  • Little Deviants (2011)
  • Lobotomy Corporation (2018)
  • LocoRoco (2006-2017)
  • Mad Rat Dead (2020)
  • Maimai DX (2018-present)
  • Modnation Racers (2010)
  • Moshi Monsters (2008-2019)
  • Mugen Souls (2012)
  • Muscle March (2009)
  • Mr. Driller (1999-present)
  • MySims (2007-2010)
  • Newt One (2019)
  • Ninjala (2020)
  • Nitrome (Flash games)
  • No Straight Roads (2020)
  • Noby Noby Boy (2009)
  • OlliOlli (2014-2022)
  • Paper Mario (2000-2020)
  • PaRappa the Rapper (1996-2001)
  • Part Time UFO (2017-2020)
  • Patapon (2007-2011)
  • Pen Pen TriIcelon (1998)
  • Persona (Shin Megami Tensei spin-off) (1996-2019)
  • PixelJunk Eden (2008)
  • Planet DOB (1999)
  • Pop'n Music (1998-2020)
  • Project D (TBD)
  • Project SEKAI: COLORFUL STAGE! feat. Hatsune Miku (2020)
  • Puyo Puyo (1991-present)
  • Puzzle Bobble/Bust a Move (1994-2021)
  • Rhyme Rider Kerorican (2000)
  • Rhythm Heaven (2008-2016)
  • Runner3 (2018)
  • Sayonara Wild Hearts (2019)
  • Sengoku Turb (1999)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (1991-present)
  • Splatoon (2015-present)
  • Super Bomberman R (2017-present)
  • Super Monkey Ball (2001-2021)
  • Taiko no Tatsujin (2001-present)
  • Tap! Captain Star (2019)
  • The Adventure Pals (2018)
  • THE iDOLM@STER (2005-2021)
  • Togges (2022)
  • TumbleSeed (2017)
  • Vib-Ripple (2004)
  • Viewtiful Joe (2003-2005)
  • WarioWare (2003-present)
  • Wattam (2019)
  • Wonderputt (2011)
  • Zubo (2008)

Toys[]

  • Funko Pops (Vinyl figures) (2011-present)
  • Furby (Electronic robot pet) (1998-2018)
  • Gogo's Crazy Bones (Collectible figures) (2007-2019)
  • iDog (Robot pets) (2005-2009)
  • Kidrobot (Designer toys) (2002-present)
  • Kawaii Crush (Dolls) (2013-2015)
  • Laugh & Learn (Educational infant toy franchise) (2000-present)
  • My Little Pony (Generation 4) (2010-2019)
  • Num Noms (Toy franchise) (2015-present?)
  • Otamatone (Electronic musical synthesizer) (2009-present)
  • Pixel Chix (Virtual pets) (2005-2009)
  • Tamagotchi (Virtual pets) (1996-present)
  • U.B. Funkeys (Personal computer game) (2007-2010)
  • Zoobles (2010-present)
  • Polly Pocket (1985-present)
  • Disney Tsum Tsum (Collectible mini plushies) (2013-present)
  • Pikmi Pops (collectable mini plushies) (2017-unknown)

Brands[]

  • Gloomy Bear
  • HIME+YOU
  • Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls (original concept by Lauren Faust)
  • Plush Poison
  • Sanrio
  • Mr. Men & Little Miss
  • San-X
  • tokidoki
  • Hello Kitty
  • ItemLabel
  • Tutti Cutti
  • So So Happy

Music[]

  • 2ToneDisco
  • 40m-P
  • Asian Kung Fu Generation
  • bo en
  • Capsule
  • Circus-P
  • Deadmau5
  • Disko Warp
  • DJ Tasaka
  • Doug Goodwin
  • Fantastic Plastic Machine
  • Feed Me
  • Gekkan ProBowler
  • Guchon (Japanese underground artist)
  • Hoyt Curtin
  • Hyper Potions
  • Iglooghost
  • John Guscott
  • Kikuo
  • Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
  • kz (livetune)
  • Marty Paich (Whistle Your Way Back Home)
  • METAROOM (part of Nothing World)
  • Moe Shop
  • MOKU
  • Motion City Soundtrack
  • MYLK
  • Nona Reeves
  • OSTER Project
  • Perfume
  • PinnochioP
  • Puffy AmiYumi
  • Savant
  • Seamus Haji
  • Serani Poji
  • Snail's House
  • Slushii
  • The Go! Team
  • Tokyo Ghetto Pussy
  • Tokyo Machine
  • Vince Guaraldi
  • VOCALOID
  • YAMEII ONLINE
  • YMCK

Music Videos[]

Criticism[]

The original art movement this aesthetic is based on, Superflat, has been criticized for glorifying pedophilia.[1]

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. https://www.brandingmag.com/2011/07/18/cartoon-network/
  2. https://cari.institute/aesthetics/superflat-pop
  3. https://www.dexigner.com/news/21240
  4. https://www.theartstory.org/movement/superflat/
  5. https://www.behance.net/gallery/2678467/Digital-Artist-Magazine-101-guide-to-Superflat
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superflat
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