Yoshitaka Amano (天野 喜孝 (formerly 天野 嘉孝) Amano Yoshitaka, born March 26, 1952) is a Japanese artist, character designer, illustrator and a theatre and film scenic designer and costume designer. He first came into prominence in the late 1960s working on the anime adaptation of Speed Racer. Amano later became the creator of iconic and influential characters such as Gatchaman, Tekkaman: The Space Knight, Hutch the Honeybee and Casshan. In 1982 he went independent and became a freelance artist, finding success as an illustrator for numerous authors, and worked on best-selling novel series, such as The Guin Saga and Vampire Hunter D. He is also known for his commissioned illustrations for the popular video-game franchise Final Fantasy.
Since the 1990s Amano has been creating and exhibiting paintings featuring his iconic retro pop icons in galleries around the world, primarily painting on aluminium box panels with acrylic and automotive paint. He is a 5-time winner of the Seiun Award, and also won the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for his collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Sandman: The Dream Hunters.
Amano in mid-October 2006
March 26, 1952
Shizuoka, Shizuoka, Japan
|Known for||character design, illustration, printmaking, painting, sculpting|
|Final Fantasy series, Vampire Hunter D|
Dragon Con Award
Amano was born in Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. As a young adolescent, he was fascinated with drawing. In 1967, he began working in the animation department of Tatsunoko Productions, where he was introduced to the early Japanese anime movement. His first paid project was for the Speed Racer anime franchise. He was a character designer for anime shows such as Time Bokan, Gatchaman, Tekkaman, and Honeybee Hutch.
In the 1960s, Amano was exposed to Western art styles through comic books, which he claims among his artistic roots. He has cited Neal Adams as his favorite comic book artist, noting that he would often purchase used comics based on Adams's cover artwork, only to be disappointed that the interior artist was different. Amano was also fascinated by the art styles of psychedelic art and pop art of the West, particularly the work of American Pop artist Peter Max. In the 1970s, Amano studied the artworks of the late 19th century and early 20th century European movement of Art Nouveau, as well as the ancient Japanese hand woodblock printing work of Ukiyo-e. Amano remained at Tatsunoko Productions until 1982.
During the 1980s, Amano concentrated on illustrations for science fiction and fantasy works. Combined with the influence of his prior experience in animation, this focus resulted in a personal style influenced by both modern surrealism and realism.
He left Tatsunoko Production and started his activities as a freelancer in 1982. He did illustration and cover page design of Kimaira series, written by Baku Yumemakura, from this year. In 1983, he illustrated the novel Demon City Shinjuku and the first in Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D novel series. He also worked as a character designer on the 1985 movie adaptation of Vampire Hunter D, which was one of the first anime movies to be released outside Japan. In interviews, however, Amano has stated that he was not pleased with the final product of the movie.
His illustrations begin to be published in collections such as Maten in 1984. The animation title Amon Saga was written by Baku Yumemakura with character design by him. A manga version of Amon Saga was also released.
In 1987, Amano joined Square (now known as Square Enix) to work on a role-playing video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System: Final Fantasy. Amano produced conceptual design pieces for the game in both traditional and computer designed artwork. At this time, he also worked for another video game company, Kure Software Koubou, producing box cover illustrations as well as some character designs. This work included designs for Kure's First Queen series.
Following Final Fantasy VI in 1994, he stepped down as the main character, image, and graphic designer of the series. He continued to provide promotional and character artwork for the following games and to design their title logos. In 2006, Hironobu Sakaguchi, the former designer and creator of the Final Fantasy series, recruited Amano and composer Nobuo Uematsu to work on video games at Mistwalker.
Amano's first exhibition, called "Hiten", was held in 1989 at Yurakucho Mullion in Tokyo, Japan. In 1990, he began to work as an artist and set designer for stage theater. His first work for theater was Tamasaburo Bando's Nayotake.
Beginning in 1995 with his work at the Biennale d'Orléans in France, he received increased recognition outside Japan. Further international exhibitions followed, including the 1999 "Hero" at the Angel Orensanz Foundation and the 1997 workshop and exhibition "Think Like Amano".
In 2000, Amano illustrated Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Dream Hunters, which won several awards and was nominated for a Hugo Award. In 2001, Greg Rucka and Amano collaborated on another comic book tale, Elektra and Wolverine: The Redeemer. His character designs were used in another Vampire Hunter D movie entitled Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. In 2006, the first volume of his HERO series was released by Boom! Studios. He was key visual and costume designer for movies written by Baku Yumemakura, including Onmyoji, Onmyoji 2, and Taitei no Ken.
In 2004 Amano was asked by creative director GK Reid to create illustrations in collaboration with author Neil Gaiman and featuring David Bowie and Iman as sci-fi characters, for "The Return of the Thin White Duke" a portion of which were published in V Magazine.
In 2008, Amano created an illustrated adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute, published by Radical Comics. He also collaborated with Christopher "mink" Morrison of Quentin Tarantino's A Band Apart production company, providing illustrations for the novel Shinjuku and Shinjuku Azul, as well as a third unannounced follow up and an online game, Shinjuku Nexus. He was the character designer for the 2009 Jungle Emperor (Kimba the White Lion) TV special, directed by Gorō Taniguchi, to commemorate both the 50th anniversary of Fuji Television and the 80th anniversary of Osamu Tezuka's birth.
In 2010, following a small solo art exhibition tour titled "Devaloka" it was announced that Amano had established a film production company, Studio Devaloka, and would be directing a 3D anime titled Zan, with additional projects to be announced in the future. On December 15, 2010, the official website for the film, now titled Deva Zan, was unveiled, along with information concerning an upcoming press conference, to be held on December 21, 2010. The roughly ten-minute-long conference revealed details about the project, including staff, as well as a short trailer for the film, which stylistically emulates the look of Amano's paintings.
In April 2012, an illustrated novel adaptation of the work was announced by Dark Horse Manga. To be released in January 2013, the novel will be Amano's debut as an author and will include over 240 original illustrations. Despite a projected 2012 release date, Amano stated in an October 2012 interview that the animation project was still in its development and funding stages and may instead be realized as a TV series. The possibility of a video game adaptation was also mentioned.
While continuing his freelance and gallery work, in recent years Yoshitaka Amano has begun to groom his only son, Yumihiko Amano, as his successor. In late 2017 their first joint art exhibition, Fantasy Art Collection, was announced.
Select domestic Japanese works
Select Japanese editions of foreign works
A Wind Named Amnesia (Japanese: 風の名はアムネジア, Hepburn: Kaze no Na wa Amunejia), also known as The Wind of Amnesia in Australia and the United Kingdom, is a Japanese novel authored by Hideyuki Kikuchi, originally published in 1983 by Asahi Sonorama. An anime film adaptation was released theatrically on December 22, 1990, directed by Kazuo Yamazaki. An English adaptation of the film was produced and released by Manga Entertainment on home video in Australia and the UK and by Central Park Media in North America.Aerith Gainsborough
Aerith Gainsborough (Japanese: エアリス・ゲインズブール, Hepburn: Earisu Geinzubūru), transliterated as Aeris Gainsborough in the English releases of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics—is a player character in Square's (now Square Enix) role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. She was designed by Tetsuya Nomura with influence from Yoshinori Kitase, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yoshitaka Amano.
In Final Fantasy VII, she is a young woman who joins the eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE. As the story progresses, AVALANCHE begin to pursue the game's antagonist Sephiroth, and the player learns that she is the last surviving Cetra, or "Ancient", one of the planet's oldest races. She has also appeared in the later-released Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts series.
Her voice actor is Maaya Sakamoto in Japanese. In English releases, her voice actors are singer and actress Mandy Moore in Kingdom Hearts, actress Mena Suvari in Kingdom Hearts II and Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, and actress Andrea Bowen in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The character and the events surrounding her death in Final Fantasy VII have met with an overall positive reception from critics and fans.Amano
Amano (天野, amano, lit. "heaven field") is a Japanese surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Akira Amano, manga artist
Eugene Amano, a Filipino-born NFL player
Hiroshi Amano, physicist, inventor of blue LED light, 2014 Nobel laureate
Kohichi Amano (天野 浩一, born 1979), Japanese baseball player
Kousei Amano, actor
Kozue Amano, manga artist
Masamichi Amano, music composer
Shiro Amano, manga artist
Takashi Amano, aquarium designer and photographer
Takashi Amano (footballer) (天野 貴史, born 1986), Japanese footballer
Tsuki Amano, Japanese singer
Youichi Amano, manga artist
Yoshitaka Amano, illustrator
Yuki Amano (天野 悠貴, bonr 2000), Japanese footballer
Yukichi Amano (1933–2013), Japanese columnist
Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency
Yuri Amano, voice actress
Gregorio Amano III, famed Systems and Web DeveloperAmon Saga
Amon Saga (アモン・サーガ, Amon Sāga) is an anime OVA released in 1986. The character and conceptual art was contributed by Yoshitaka Amano. It was released by Manga Entertainment in 2001.Angel's Egg
Angel's Egg (天使のたまご, Tenshi no Tamago) is a Japanese OVA film released by Tokuma Shoten on 15 December 1985. It was a collaboration between popular artist Yoshitaka Amano and director Mamoru Oshii. It features very little spoken dialogue. Its sparse plot and visual style have led to it being described as "animated art rather than a story".Chimera (novel series)
Chimera (Japanese: キマイラ, Hepburn: Kimaira) is a Japanese novel series written by Baku Yumemakura. An anime film adaptation directed by Mamoru Oshii is in production.Hideyuki Kikuchi
Hideyuki Kikuchi (菊地 秀行, Kikuchi Hideyuki, born September 25, 1949) is a Japanese author known for his horror novels. His most famous works include the Vampire Hunter D series, Darkside Blues and Wicked City.Kefka Palazzo
Kefka Palazzo (ケフカ・パラッツォ, Kefuka Parattso, romanized as Cefca Palazzo in the Japanese version) is a character in the Final Fantasy series of video games. Originally designed by Yoshitaka Amano, he appears in the 6th installment of the series - Final Fantasy VI. First introduced as the court jester and army general under Emperor Gestahl, throughout the game he reveals himself to be a nihilistic psychopath after setting in motion events leading to the Apocalypse and pronouncing himself the God of Magic. From that point he acts as the game's primary antagonist.
He is also present in the spin-off fighting game series Dissidia Final Fantasy, wherein he is voiced by Shigeru Chiba (Dave Wittenberg in English localization). As well as these appearances, he shows up in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy Artniks, Final Fantasy 14, and Final Fantasy All the Bravest as an enemy boss character.
Kefka has been rated one of the most memorable and most evil video game villains ever created, with critics and fans noting his intense hatred and maniacal laughter as defining characteristics. He has also been compared to the Joker from the Batman universe.Kure Software Koubou
Kure Software Koubou (呉ソフトウェア工房), or KSK, is a Japanese game development company founded in 1985 that creates games for many platforms, but focusing mostly on home computers. KSK's games are well known for the "Gochyakyara" (ゴチャキャラ "Multiple Character") system which KSK invented, which was a unique hybrid between the real-time strategy, action role-playing game and tactical role-playing game genres. Some of their games also used a European art style in addition to a Japanese anime style. KSK is also famous for having most of the cover art for their games created by renowned artist Yoshitaka Amano.Lily C.A.T.
Lily C.A.T. is a science fiction/horror anime film released in 1987.
Famous Japanese artist and illustrator Yoshitaka Amano is co-credited for character design and monster design as he created the gruesome forms of the alien. Main character designs were created by character designer Yasuomi Umetsu.
Carl Macek, best known for producing and story editing Robotech, produced the English version of the film. Initially released in the 90s on VHS by Macek's now defunct Streamline Pictures, the DVD rights were obtained by Discotek Media in 2013.
Visually and thematically, the film has many aspects in common with the American science-fiction/horror film Alien, as well as The Thing and 2001: A Space Odyssey.List of Vampire Hunter D novels
This is a listing of all light novels in the Vampire Hunter D series, written by Hideyuki Kikuchi, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, Ayami Kojima and Vincent Chong, and translated by Kevin Leahy and Takami Nieda.New Rose Hotel (film)
New Rose Hotel is a 1998 American cyberpunk drama film co-written and directed by Abel Ferrara and starring Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe and Asia Argento. It is based on William Gibson's story of the same name.Terra Branford
Terra Branford, known as Tina Branford (ティナ・ブランフォード, Tina Buranfōdo) in Japanese media, is a character in the Final Fantasy series of role-playing video games published by Square Enix. Designed by Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura for the main series installment Final Fantasy VI, she also appeared in the spin-off fighting games Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, and made small appearances in several other games in and outside the Final Fantasy series.
In Final Fantasy VI, Terra is one of the protagonists. She is the daughter of a human and a magic creature known as an "Esper." Mentally enslaved by the antagonistic Gestahlian Empire, which exploits her magic powers for militaristic purposes, she is rescued by rebels at the beginning of the game. The character was very well received by journalists and fans alike.Twilight of the Cockroaches
Twilight of the Cockroaches (ゴキブリたちの黄昏, Gokiburi-tachi no Tasogare) is a 1987 anime/live-action film written and directed by Hiroaki Yoshida that combines live-action footage with animation. The plot concerns a society of cockroaches who live peacefully in the apartment of a bachelor named Seito until a woman moves in and the humans begin to exterminate the cockroaches. The cockroaches are depicted through animation, and the humans are depicted through live-action footage. Famed Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano worked on the film as an art director and character designer.
Director Yoshida has stated that the film is "about Japan" and that the "concept of a 'hated' species is not unlike the racial and cultural enmity with which Japan is perceived". In his New York Times review, Vincent Canby wrote: "The publicity material for Twilight of the Cockroaches describes the film as an allegory about the fate in store for affluent Japan if it doesn't meet its international responsibilities. The film may read that way in Japan. In this country, it looks somewhat darker and more muddled".The English dub of the film was produced by Streamline Pictures. During the early-to-mid 1990s, the film was shown frequently on Turner Broadcasting stations such as TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network, often paired with Vampire Hunter D and Robot Carnival. As a result, it was one of the first exposures to anime for many American anime fans.
The soundtrack is by Morgan Fisher.
The film has been set for a Region 1 DVD release by Discotek Media on February 26, 2019.Vampire Hunter D
Vampire Hunter D (吸血鬼(バンパイア)ハンターD, Banpaia Hantā Dī) is a series of Japanese novels written by Hideyuki Kikuchi and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano since 1983.
To date, twenty-six novels have been published in the main series, with some novels comprising as many as four volumes. The series has also spawned anime, audio drama, manga, and comic adaptations, as well as a short story collection, art books, and a supplemental guide book.