Kristof Dedene offers some insights into creating stylized smoke and explosion effects.
The last couple of tutorials from Kristof Dedene saw him translating the anime style into 3D using Blender. One showed how to make fire effects, while the other dove into creating Ghibli-style clouds. This new tutorial expands on that premise showing how you can create smoke and explosion effects in Blender through some clever tricks.
Part model, part animation, and part shading all come together to create this nice looking explosion in Blender. You can download the scene files and the shader for this tutorial here.