Constantryan: When watching an anime do you feel the colour palette helps create atmosphere. For example as you've been watching Cowboy Bebop, I think that it's desaturated (is that the right word?) look helps convey it's Old West feel, even though it's set in space.
I definitely do think the palette’s important to creating atmosphere and it’s something that’s often overlooked. Interestingly, Cracked had an article addressing something similar to this (although I disagree about the negative assessment they give.) GURREN LAGANN has a very lively, saturated palette that stands in marked contrast to the more muted, subdued palette DEATH NOTE used - - and that really isn’t rocket science. The former’s an encouraging 10,000 watt dose of fun and sun while the other’s a thicker-than-soup serving of gloom and doom.
However, I wonder sometimes if the mood of a show’s specific palette is sometimes just a reflection of the time it was made. In the case of COWBOY BEBOP, for instance, the blown-out, washed-out palette reminds me of life in urban Asia. If I close my eyes when I think about it, I can almost feel the buzz of the kind of halogen lights. I have similar synesthetic associations when watching CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO and GALAXY EXPRESS 999, though. Both shows' flat color choices evoke a specific mood from me. However, I’m not sure if that’s just a by-product of the coloring technology they had at the time. Maybe they were just trying to go for 1:1 “normal” color scheme, without any agenda, and I’m just having these associations on account of where I was when I first watched them.
Maybe these same technology advances I mention have also allow animators to make more deliberate decisions when it comes to their color choices. Maybe that's it. Hell, JIN-ROH had a nigh-omnipresent bleached-out overcast look that covered every single with a sense of dread. I’d be curious if the previous entries in that anime’s universe had the same kind of flexibility.
I’m sure you Anime Vice lunatics have got a greater context than I do. Can you think of cases where the color scheme enhanced or diminished your viewing experience with a specific anime? Or is that all ephemeral?