Oh yes yes it’s intentional. I’m happy you noticed this because in my forever journey of learning art I’m always questioning these kind of things
Anime/manga is pretty much stylized art: the eyes aren’t anatomically correct, no shadows or shadows with sharp terminator, characters without nose, etc. BUT it looks nice right? At least our brain knows (or learns) how to recognize the stylized features of a manga character and identify them as “human features” instead of just random colors and strokes on a flat surface.
Yes, a character that looks nice in 2D can be converted into 3D with some “trickery”. There are tons of examples of good 3d characters with manga style. Like Genshin Impact.
IMO the problem with this style is migrating from a 2D medium to the 3d world. Because when you do this you spend a lot of time doing visual “tricks” in 3D in order to make it look 2d.
So you sculpt something in 3d in order to make it look… less 3D?
And I like this style a lot. But in the final result I rather prefer more accurate 3d eyes that look good from any angle than eyes painted on a sphere that look ‘weird’ from some angles.
I think 2D should stay 2D and 3D, when using a 2d concept as a reference, should aim for a new version of the concept that looks different but still preserves key details from the original. It’s not always a good idea to just copy something as it is.
That’s why I usually make my sculpts different to the concepts: because I want to spent more time ‘sculpting in 3d’ and less time ‘painting in 2d’. But I admire people who like to translate a 2d style into 3d of course!
Again, this is a personal preference. I tried to translate 2d concepts to 3d in the past and I always struggled to get decent results. So in the end I decided that instead of tweaking shaders or faking the geometry/normals, etc I rather redo/re-imagine the concept as I feel it should be.
(BTW These 3 concepts are from the same artist)
Finally, this super interesting video explains better what I’m trying to say here.