Tsutomu Nihei

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Tsutomu Nihei
弐瓶 勉
Tsutomu Nihei - Lucca Comics & Games 2015.JPG
Nihei at Lucca Comics & Games 2015
Born (1971-02-26) February 26, 1971 (age 52)
OccupationManga artist
Years active1995 – present
Known forBlame!
Knights of Sidonia

Tsutomu Nihei (弐瓶 勉, Nihei Tsutomu, born February 26, 1971)[2] is a Japanese manga artist. Nihei has been drawing comics professionally since the mid-1990s. In 1995 he was awarded the Jiro Taniguchi Special Prize in that year's Afternoon Four Seasons Award for his submission, Blame. After working as an assistant to veteran comic artist Tsutomu Takahashi, Nihei went on to launch his debut series Blame! in Monthly Afternoon in 1997. Following the success of Blame!, he next penned Wolverine: Snikt! (published by Marvel Comics) and Biomega. In 2009, Nihei returned to Afternoon to launch what would become his most successful series, Knights of Sidonia.[3] An architectural student, Nihei's early work were mainly wordless, relying on visuals and backgrounds to tell their stories. His cyberpunk-influenced artwork has gained a strong cult following worldwide.


Nihei worked in construction but quit to work on becoming a manga artist. He went to New York and studied at the Parsons School of Design. His experience in construction and design has shown up in his manga in his depiction of huge structures which are a strong theme in his manga works.[4]

Nihei has several sources of inspiration, including Manga, American comics and Bandes dessinées. Japanese comics that strongly influenced him include Akira, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Ghost in the Shell.[5] He was also enormously inspired by Swiss artist H. R. Giger, best known for his airbrush images of humans and machines connected in cold biomechanical relationships.[6] Other sources of inspirations include Hard science fiction novels, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, French artist Moebius[7] and Clive Barker of Hellraiser fame.[8] Nihei is also a big video games fan, and mentioned Metroid and the Halo franchise among his favorites. In the mid-2000s, during a trip to the United States, he met the Halo design team, who directly offered him to participate in the Halo Graphic Novel project when they found out that he was a huge fan of the game.[6]

Nihei was a special guest of San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2016.[9] He also received an Inkpot Award from Comic-Con International, the organization that runs San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon. Given to creators for “contributions to the worlds of comics, science fiction/fantasy, film, television, animation, and fandom services,” the Inkpot Award is an honor that Nihei now shares with other comics, film, and sci-fi legends such as Osamu Tezuka, Moebius, and Ray Bradbury.[4]


Serialized works[edit]

  • Blame! – Nihei's first work, detailing the adventures of Killy/Kiri as he searches through a massive city for a human with special genes that could save the world. Originally published in Afternoon, it also gained a 6 episode ONA. Movie released May 19, 2017.
  • NOiSE – A prequel to Blame!, in which a police officer investigates the murder of a gang. Originally publishing in Afternoon.
  • Abara – Published in Ultra Jump, Abara follows Denji Kudou, a man able to transform into a Gauna – a creature with bone-like armor and weaponry.
  • Biomega – Zouichi Kanoe and the AI in his motorbike set out to find humans resistant to N5S, a virus that turns people into zombie-like "Drones". Originally appeared in Young Magazine.
  • Knights of Sidonia – An original story set in the far future about a human colony ship's war against an elusive alien race known as the "Gauna". It was published in Afternoon and is the first of Nihei's works to be adapted into a TV series. In 2015, Knights of Sidonia won the "General" category of the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award.
  • Aposimz – Also known as Ningyō no Kuni (人形の国, lit. "Country of Dolls"). Set on an artificial planet where people on the surface face harsh conditions such as extreme cold and "Frame Disease," which slowly transforms people into biomechanical creatures, while people in the core live in luxury. It is licensed by Kodansha Comics, which releases chapters digitally, and Vertical Comics, which releases print volumes.[10]
  • Kaina of the Great Snow Sea - A "boy-meets-girl high fantasy" set in a world where land is being swallowed by the encroaching Great Snow Sea. Manga written by Nihei with art by Itoe Takemoto has been serialized in Kodansha's shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Sirius since February 2022, adapting an anime headed by Nihei to debut in January 2023.[11]

One-shots and additional works[edit]

  • Abba / Parcel – A short one-shot about a man looking for his brother.
  • Blame – A one-shot prototype for Blame!, collected in NOiSE.
  • Blame!² – A full color, 16 page one-shot published in Kodansha's Mandala Vol.2, following up on the story of Blame! with one of Pcell's future incarnations.
  • Blame! Academy – A comedy featuring the characters from Blame! as students in a school. Published infrequently.
  • BLAME! Fortress of Silicon Creatures - A full colour 14 page one-shot as an extra for the movie, it came with the Japanese limited edition Blu-ray set.
  • BLAME! Movie Edition: The Electrofishers' Escape - A one-shot manga adaptation of the 2017 Netflix film.
  • Dead Heads – First issue of a cancelled horror manga series; collected, as thumbnails, in Blame! and So on.
  • Digimortal – A two-part one-shot about a mercenary hired to assassinate a leader of a new Inquisition. Originally appeared in Ultra Jump, published in Vol.2 of Abara.
  • Halo: Breaking Quarantine – Set in the Halo universe, the untold story of Sergeant Avery J. Johnson and his escape from the bowels of Halo and the Flood.
  • Negative Corridor – A short one-shot, collected in NOiSE.
  • Ningyō no Kuni – A short one-shot set on a frozen planet about an encounter between a young man and a mechanical being.
  • Knights of Sidonia: The Fourth Gauna Defense War - One-shot spin-off from Knights of Sidonia.
  • Knights of Sidonia - Tsumugi, is addicted to "Blam!", 2015 Blu-ray booklet and in (Blame! Gakuen! and so on... Japanese master edition)
  • NSE: Net Sphere Engineer – A one-shot sequel to Blame!, about the Net Sphere.
  • Numa no Kami – A short one-shot about a man encountering a lake Goddess.
  • Pump – A short one-shot about the last Humans reproduction process.
  • Sabrina – A short one-shot about a man coming across a girl whose arm is stuck in a hole. Appeared in vol. 1 Akai Kiba Doujinshi anthology.
  • Idaho - A one-shot published in volume 2 of Akai Kiba doujinshi anthology.
  • (no title)[12] - A 3 page unfinished gundam story from Gundam Ace from 2011
  • Wolverine: Snikt! – A 5 issue limited series of the X-Men character Wolverine. Originally published by Marvel Comics.
  • Winged Armor Suzumega / Sphingidae – A short one-shot about a battle between alien beings.
  • Zeb-Noid – A short one-shot about a hostile encounter between two different species that takes an unexpected turn.


  • Bitch's Life – An erotic illustrations book, featuring contributions from over twenty manga artists; four of which come from Nihei.
  • Blame! and So On – Published in 2003, Blame! and So On contains artwork and sketches for Blame!, Noise, and Wolverine: Snikt!, amongst others; it also contains the illustrations Nihei provided for Bitch's Life and the aborted Dead Heads as thumbnails.
  • Megalomania - (STUDIO VOICE、Published in 2000、INFASパブリケーションズ)Collection of artworks by Tsutomu Nihei depicting large scale megastructures.


List of awards and nominations
Year Award Category Work/Nominee Result
1995 Afternoon Four Seasons Award Jiro Taniguchi Special Prize NOiSE Won[13]
2006 Harvey Awards Best American Edition of Foreign Material Blame! Nominated[14]
2013 17th Japan Media Arts Festival Manga Division Knights of Sidonia Jury Selections[15]
2015 39th Kodansha Manga Award Best General Manga Won[16]
2016 47th Seiun Award Best Comic Won[17]
2016 Comic-Con International Inkpot Award Himself Won[18]
2019 Eisner Award Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia Abara Nominated[19]
2020 26th Salón del Manga de Barcelona Best Seinen Manga Knights of Sidonia Won[20]


  1. ^ "講談社漫画賞で本県出身2人受賞 世界観、高い評価". 福島民友 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on June 13, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  2. ^ @SIDONIA_anime (February 26, 2015). ""◆祝御生誕‼︎◆本日2月26日は..."" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved March 4, 2020 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "Creator Spotlight Sale: Tsutomu Nihei thru 6/12". Kodansha Comics. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Aoki, Deb. "Interview: Knights of Sidonia Mangaka Tsutomu Nihei". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  5. ^ "『人形の国』1巻発売&『BLAME!』映画公開記念 弐瓶勉のセカイ". BookWalker (in Japanese). Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Interview manga de Tsutomu Nihei". planète bd (in French). Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  7. ^ "Interview de Tsutomu Nihei". Éditions Glénat (in French). Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  8. ^ Bayon, Arthur. "Tsutomu Nihei et ses marionnettes martyres". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "Comic-Con International: San Diego – Special Guests". Comic-Con International: San Diego. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  10. ^ "Knights of Sidonia's Tsutomu Nihei Launches Ningyō no Kuni Manga on February 25 (Updated)". Anime News Network. November 26, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  11. ^ "Tsutomu Nihei, Polygon Pictures' New Anime Is High Fantasy Ōyukiumi no Kaina Next January". Anime News Network. January 20, 2022. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  12. ^ "Untitled 3 page gundam story".
  13. ^ "Tsutomu Nihei's classic NOiSE is BACK in digital—read Chapter 1 here". Kodansha Comics. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  14. ^ "The Harvey Awards 2006 nominees and winners". The Harvey Awards. Archived from the original on May 22, 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  15. ^ "Knights of Sidonia | Japan Media Arts Festival Archive". Japan Media Arts Festival Archive. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  16. ^ Nelkin, Sarah. "Yowamushi Pedal, The Seven Deadly Sins Win 39th Kodansha Manga Awards". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  17. ^ Loo, Egan. "Girls & Panzer Film, Knights of Sidonia Manga Win Seiun Awards". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  18. ^ "Inkpot Award". Comic-Con International: San Diego. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  19. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn. "Abara, Laid-Back Camp, Tokyo Tarareba Girls, More Nominated for Eisner Awards". Anime News Network. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  20. ^ "Ganadores de los premios Manga Barcelona Limited Edition". Ramen Para Dos (in Spanish). Retrieved October 30, 2020.

External links[edit]