Character designs are a big deal for me, and one of the reasons why I love manga/anime so much. When a Mangaka creates a character, they do so in a way which will attract your eye, give you some details about who they are, and apply different shapes to a character to give verity across their manga.
The same can be said for how characters are dressed. There’s a reason Luffy wears a lot of red (I’ve got a whole blog dedicated to the evolution of his outfits) and Zoro wears a lot of green.
Colors are extremely important in the world of design. Advertisers often agonize over which particular shade of color will garner the most favor and attract customers. There’s entire classes for artists about the study and application of color, usually known as “color theory”.
So imagine my delight when I was watching One Piece: Gold and saw this.
It’s just a simple shot which shows the Strawhats getting ready to head into the casino. But what’s interesting about it is a) Nami and Luffy are lined up next to each other and b) all of the color schemes for the characters.
To show you what I mean, I got all the character design sheets for this scene and pulled the colors. It’s a little tricky to get an accurate color from such a low-res picture, but I think it’s good enough for everyone to see. The Strawhats are in the order they join.
When looking at colors I pulled all the colors for hair, except characters with black hair.
Each Strawhat’s color scheme varies in amount of colors, but there’s usually a color which anchors them to a different member of the crew. For instance, Ussop’s design is meant to tie him to Zoro and to Robin. Oda, who served as executive producer, uses the colors this way to keep the group cohesive instead of being chaotic for this scene.
But what’s even more interesting is Luffy and Nami’s color scheme in particular.
Luffy’s shirt, the most dominate of his color scheme, match’s Nami’s hair and her pinwheel tattoo. Her colors are softer while his are bolder (like them maybe? :-P) , but there’s no denying your eye interprets them as being the same or close to the same when on their clothes.
The fact that they stand next to each other and they have these color schemes means the designer wants you to look at them as a unit. It’s not a coincidence. And what’s more, giving Luffy purple and orange with red isn’t really a stylistic choice.
And yes, in the grand scheme of things, I recognize this design choice isn’t the biggest of deals for the pairing. But I like that it’s subtle…that it draws your eye to them, and that it’s a small thread in the larger weave of Nami and Luffy being anchored to each other. :-)