|Born||September 15, 1936|
|Occupation||Animator, character designer|
|Spouse(s)||Reiko Okuyama (wid. 2007)|
Yōichi Kotabe (小田部 羊一, Kotabe Yōichi, born September 15, 1936), is a Japanese animator and character designer. He has worked on several anime films from the 1960s and 1970s, on the Super Mario video game series, and the Pokémon series in television and film. He was an employee at Nintendo for two decades doing illustrations, character designs, and supervision from 1985 to 2007. At that time, he began to work as a freelancer for the anime and video game industry, including for Nintendo again.
Kotabe became interested in animation after watching the short film Momotarō no Umiwashi as a child. He was fascinated with how the fighter moved in the film. His father, who was an oil painter, also influenced his decision to work as an artist. Kotabe found oil painting to be difficult, so he instead worked in watercolor painting.
In order to continue working in watercolors, he adopted the nihonga, or Japanese‐style, of painting, and began studying at the Tokyo University of the Arts which had a Japanese‐style painting department. While attending, he was impressed by the film The Tale of the White Serpent and the animator Yasuji Mori, and immediately applied to work at Toei Animation.
His first project there was Hols: Prince of the Sun where he met Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. He left Toei along with Miyazaki and Takahata in order to work at A Pro, and they began work on an adaptation of Pippi Longstocking. That project was eventually canceled, and work began on the two-film series Panda! Go, Panda!.
Kotabe then worked as character designer on two anime television series from Nippon Animation: Heidi, Girl of the Alps, and 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, with Miyazaki working on scene design and layout and Takahata working as series director and storyboard artist.
In 1985, he was scouted by Nintendo and assumed the position of the game development advisor where he created package illustrations for Super Mario Bros. This was his introduction to video games.
|1960||Alakazam the Great||Animator|
|1962||Sinbad no Boken (ja:アラビアンナイト・シンドバッドの冒険 (映画), Adventures of Sinbad)||Animator|
|1963–65||Okami-shōnen Ken (ja:狼少年ケン, Ken the wolf boy)||Animation director (mid-term)|
|1963||Doggie March||Key animation|
|1964–65||Shōnen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru||Animation director, key animation||Also film|
|1965–66||Hustle Punch (ja:ハッスルパンチ, Hassuru panchi)||Animation director, key animation|
|1966–67||Rainbow Sentai Robin (ja:レインボー戦隊ロビン, Reinbō sentai robin)||Animation director|
|1966–68||Sally the Witch||Animation director|
|1968||The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun||Key animation|
|1969||Puss 'n Boots||Key animation|
|1969||Flying Phantom Ship||Animation director|
|1971||Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves||Key animation|
|1972–73||Akadō Suzunosuke (ja:赤胴鈴之助)||Animation supervisor assistant|
|1972||Panda! Go, Panda!||Animation director|
|1973||Panda! Go, Panda!: The Rainy-Day Circus||Animation director|
|1974||Heidi, Girl of the Alps||Character design, animation director||Also related films|
|1976||3000 Leagues in Search of Mother||Character design, animation director, animation|
|1977||Rascal the Raccoon||Animation|
|1979||Tatsu no ko Taro||Character design, animation director|
|1981–83||Jarinko Chie||Animation director , Character design <-- キャラクター設計 -->||film and TV series|
|1983||Serendipity the Pink Dragon||Anime character design|
|1983–85||Kojika Monogatari (子鹿物語, The Yearling)||Key animation|
|1983||Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind||Key animation|
|1984–85||Adventures of the Little Koala||Animation director|
|1985–86||Bumpety Boo||Animation director|
|1986||Sango-sho Densetsu: Aoi Umi no Erufii||Character design||TV special film|
|1998||Pokémon: The First Movie||Animation supervisor||Also Pikachu's Vacation short|
|1999||Marco: 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother||Original character|
|2000||Pokémon 3: The Movie||Animation supervisor|
|2012–13||Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! Season 2||Animation supervisor|
|2013–16||Pokémon XY||Animation supervisor|
|2014||Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction||Animation supervisor||Also Pikachu short|
|2015||Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages||Animation supervisor|
Awards and nominations
- Animator/Animation Director award, Tokyo Anime Fair 6th Annual Awards of Merit, 2009.
- Special Achievement award, 19th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards, 2015.
- "Tokyo Anime Fair Announces 6th Annual Awards of Merit". animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- "Reiko Okuyama passes away". pelleas.net. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- "Nintendo 3DS". nintendods.com. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
- "N. Carolina's Animazement to Host Madhouse Co-Founder Masao Murayama". animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- "井上俊之さん小黒祐一郎さんと一緒に『もっとアニメを観よう！』アフターレポート 作画史年表 日本アニメーター・演出協会（JAniCA）" (PDF) (in Japanese). JAniCA. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- "［異才列伝］より 森康二 穏やかで上品 「アニメの神様」 : ジブリをいっぱい : エンタメ : YOMIURI ONLINE（読売新聞）" (in Japanese). YOMIURI ONLINE. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- アニメ / メディア芸術データベース – 小田部羊一 [Anime / Media Arts Database (search results) – Yoichi Kotabe]. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Japan: Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
- "Akiko Higashimura's Kakukaku Shikajika Manga Wins Media Arts Award". animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved September 1, 2016.