Anime Body Types
Anime is not known for drawing realistic body types, but some art styles stand out much more than most including Noodle People and the impossible hourglass figure.
Noodle people is a basic character model made popular by CLAMP and Naoko Takeuchi. The visual style involves drawing characters with thin torsos and elongated arms, making the characters look anorexic in a way.
Code Geass- (character design by CLAMP)
I’ll grant you that it’s a little different, but no more or less outlandish than some other art styles I’ve seen from Japan or anywhere else in the world. What really brought the noodle people trope to the forefront recently was the Sailor Moon remake, Sailor Moon Crystal.
Original Sailor Moon anime
Sailor Moon Crystal
As you can clearly see, Sailor Moon Crystal uses a very different art style and can be somewhat jarring to fans of the original version. FYI- The art style of Sailor Moon Crystal is much more like the original manga than the first anime was. The big question now is, do real life noodle people actually exist?
Connective Tissue Disorders
If you remember from the Yaoi hands post, connective tissue is the tissue that supports and protects the body.
So connective tissue disorders can cause changes in the body’s shape, depending on the particular part of the tissue that is defective. In is case we will be talking about Marfan’s Syndrome again. If you remember from Yaoi Hands, Marfan’s Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes a long list of conditions some of which can be fatal. This includes having fingers that were longer and thinner than normal. However, the visible effects of Marfan’s Syndrome extends beyond long thin fingers.
As you can see, the individual’s arms and legs are much longer and thinner than what can be considered normal. This is due to a defective Fibrillin-1 gene which is necessary for the creation and maintenance of elastic and non-elastic fibers. These fibers are a key component of connective tissue. Its absence impedes the normal function of connective tissue and it is weaker than it should be. The defect also has an effect on growth factors and these issues probably combine to cause the longer than normal limbs in Marfan’s Syndrome.
The most dangerous defect of Marfan Syndrome is an aortic aneurysm, which is related to the weakened connective tissue caused by the syndrome. The aorta is the largest artery in the human body and comes directly off heart before separating into smaller arteries as blood heads to the rest of the body. In Marfan’s Syndrome the connective tissue of the aorta is weaker and slowly expands over time, causing an aneurysm.
The connective tissue can weaken to the point where the aorta ruptures, causing large amounts of bleeding inside the body, and it is a very serious and potentially fatal condition.
While it is possible for noodle people to exist in the real world, it is not a benign or envious condition.
Impossible Hourglass Figure
Let’s face it, anime is not known for realistic portrayals of the female form and skinny women is a regular thing in anime. However, some anime do take it a bit further than others…… I’m looking at you, One Piece.
I mean poor Nami here makes Lucy from Fairy Tail downright normal to a little heavy.
I do know that Eiichiro Oda has described drawing the women in One Piece as drawing two circles and an X, which I can kind of see when I look at the art work. Now the big question is of course, is it humanly possible to have the exaggerated hourglass figure characterized in anime? One Piece volume SBS volume 69 helps out a bit by providing some real-world numbers, so I do not have to speculate on what they could actually be. Post time skip Nami is 5’7.5” and her measurements are 38.5”, 22.8”, 34.6”, with an H cup. While still extreme these are decidedly more normal than what her art work suggests. So, is it possible to have a body like Nami’s?
A 23inch waist correlates to a size triple zero which has caused something of a stir in the modeling world as there are real world models at this size, and incidentally are about the same height as the fictional Nami.
However, to pull this off requires winning the genetic lottery and stringent diet and exercise routines. I’ll leave the discussion of possible eating disorders for another time. Another thing to keep in mind is that while these women have Nami’s waist size, they are extremely skinny overall. This sets up the main problem of attaining Nami’s figure; while it is possible to be as skinny as she, it makes it almost impossible to maintain the other aspects of her figure (H cup is considered a plus size) at the same time without outside help, like surgery.
World’s Skinnest Woman
Currently the world’s skinniest woman is Cathie Jung with a 15inch waist. This was achieved by wearing progressively smaller corsets over a number of years. Just in case you didn’t know, a corset is a garment that is used to hold and train the waist into a desired shape. While it is mainly used for fashion purposes, corsets can be used to treat certain medical conditions related to the spinal cord.
She was able to do this simply through wearing a corset and she did not report using any special diets or exercise. FYI- Do keep in mind that corsets do compress your internal organs, causing issues for the digestive and respiratory systems, to name a few.
Yes, it is possible to attain an impossible hourglass figure, but it is not without outside help such as surgery, and corsets, not to mention potentially dangerous diet and exercise.
Just for your own information the original impossible figure was Barbie and it has stirred some controversy over the years. Here you can see a life-sized Barbie standing next to a normal woman.
And here is the woman that used extreme diet, exercise, and surgery to make herself look like Barbie, Valeria Lukyanova.