Artist makes a point about manga tales and ponytails.

There’s a character design archetype in anime and manga, where a shy girl who doesn’t want to stand out or just isn’t particularly interested in looking fashionable will wear her hair in a ponytail. A hairstyle that’s tied back works as quick visual shorthand for a similarly restrained personality, so it’s easy to see why this is a common choice by artists for a character with a shrinking demeanor.

“In manga, you often see shy, plain girls who aren’t trying to be fashionable with hairstyles like this,” says Japanese Twitter user and manga artist @sateyo, who drew the example illustration above. However, that’s not all she has to say on the subject. “But I want to say that I think this is inaccurate,” she goes on, adding:

“The way real shy non-fashionable girls wear their hair…is like this!”

The difference between anime/manga and reality, as @sateyo sees it, is where shy girls tie their ponytail at. For anime character designs, the hair is gathered higher up, she says, at the point at the farthest back of the head. In real life, though, a shy girl who isn’t trying to look fashionable will instead tie her ponytail at the lowest point possible, basically where the back of the head meets the top of the neck, she explains. “If you try to go higher than that, it’s a lot harder to gather the tail.”

@sateyo, who says she herself does the low ponytail style, includes a disclaimer that this is her personal observation and analysis, but reactions from other Twitter users show that she’s not alone in her way of thinking.

“I totally agree.”
“Bullseye. It’s a serious hassle to tie a high ponytail.”
“A high ponytail feels like styling your hair, but a low one is just bundling it.”
“Also the higher you tie it, the tighter you have to tie it, so it’s less comfortable.”
“I’m not coordinated enough to tie a neat high ponytail.”

So why is the high ponytail prevalent in anime? It might have something to do with it being more time-efficient to draw. As pointed out, a high ponytail is usually tighter than a low one, creating a smoother, more uniform shape for the character’s head/hair. The high ponytail may also make it easier to make a shy character emote in a non-verbal way if the artist needs her to do so for a scene, since the higher tie point would give it more bounce when the character moves her head than the lower version.

This doesn’t mean that anime aesthetics never show up in the real world though, as @sateyo herself has shown us before by revealing the anime transformation item that some women walk around with.

Source: Twitter/@sateyo
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Twitter/@sateyo
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he lives in a town he saw for the first time in an anime.