Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Infinity Aesthetic

The general consensus is that Infinity is heavily influenced by anime.  While I do agree with this I do think that it is an oversimplification or an overstatement.  

The art for Infinity is heavily influenced by anime; indeed most if not all of the illustrations in the core rulebook are in a heavy anime style.  Now personally I am not a huge fan of anime (or manga or however you wish to term it, I don't really understand the differences).  My appreciation hasn't gone further than Cowboy Bebop, which I love for the style, cinematography and the music rather than for the particular aesthetic of the animation.  I can comfortably say, then, that I would not really be interested in a game who's miniatures were wholly anime in style.

Infinity's anime art

In my opinion, anime is a subtle influence for the style of Infinity's miniatures.  The proportions are much more slender and lean than the "heroic scale" we are used to from other games, and it is perhaps arguable that some of the facial features are styled in a manner reminiscent of anime.  To me, the features and proportions of the miniatures have a "realistic" aesthetic rather than an anime one.  By this I mean that the forms are more directly proportional to real life than they are an abstraction of it.

Haqqislam Ghulam Infantry: realistic proportions and poses,
without an over-accentuation of the female form!

Ariadnan Zouave: fantastic pose with a gritty realism.

Haqqislam Naffatun: An example of Infinity's realistic proportions and dynamic poses.

I think that it is the technology in the game that shows its anime influences more apparently.  TAGs and Heavy Infantry from the Pan Oceania and Yu Jing factions are much more anime-inspired in appearance, for example (though obviously Yu Jing have an "asian" influence that is a part of and transcends anime!).  I think that it is for this reason that I don't hold a whole lot of affection for some of the miniatures for these factions; however, at the same time I love almost all of the miniatures in the Haqqislam range!  Certain miniatures also appear to me to be a bit more cartoon-ish than others, and I suspect that many of the earlier miniatures in the range might be slightly more abstracted in style.  These aren't really to my taste, but the position of the community seems to be that Infinity is a game where you aren't pigeon-holed into "must have" units.  This means that you can pick and choose your force based on the miniatures you like.  I can't think of any other game systems off the top of my head where this is viable!

Haqqislam Kum Motorised Troop:
A bit cheesy and not to my taste.

Nomad Daktari: Obviously anime-inspired,
but "taking the piss" a bit too!

Pan-Oceania Armoured Cavalry: I think that the technology of this faction
is heavily influenced by anime.

If you've dismissed Infinity outright for its "anime aesthetic", I challenge you to give it another look.  Take a look through the miniature range for each faction, you may be pleasantly surprised!