Yoshitaka Amano

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Yoshitaka Amano
天野 喜孝
Yoshitaka Amano Oct 2006.jpg
Amano in 2006
Amano Yoshitaka (天野 嘉孝)

(1952-03-26) March 26, 1952 (age 70)
Known forcharacter design, illustration, printmaking, painting, sculpting
Notable workFinal Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D, Speed Racer, Gatchaman, Casshan, Guin Saga
AwardsSeiun Award
Dragon Con Award
Julie Award
Inkpot Award, 2018[1]
Artist Guest of Honor, Worldcon 65 (Nippon 2007)[2]

Yoshitaka Amano (Japanese: 天野 喜孝, born March 26, 1952) is a Japanese visual artist, character designer, illustrator, a scenic designer for theatre and film, and a 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, Honeybee Hutch, and Casshern. 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.[3]

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.[4]

Amano's influences include early Western comic books, Orientalism, art nouveau, and Japanese woodblock prints. In early 2010, he established Studio Devaloka, a film production company.[5]

Amano's design work for early anime series such as Gatchaman drew inspiration from Western comic books.


Amano was born in Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan to Yoshio Amano (1917–1962) and Kesano Amano (née Fujimoto). He is the youngest child of four. Amano's father was a lacquer artist, specializing in traditional Suruga lacquerware.[6]: 9–13  As a young adolescent, Yoshitaka Amano 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.[7][8] 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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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 Russian orientalists (Leon Bakst, Ivan Bilibin) and the ancient Japanese hand woodblock printing work of Ukiyo-e.[11] Amano remained at Tatsunoko Productions until 1982.

Early fantasy works[edit]

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.[9]

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.[9] 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.[12]

His illustrations begin to be published in collections such as Maten in 1984.[13] That year he drew the manga Amon Saga, written by Baku Yumemakura, which was later adapted into an OVA.

Video games[edit]

Amano's work on the Final Fantasy series, as with his science fiction and fantasy illustrations, is known for its wispy lines and vibrant use of color.

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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

Amano became the world's highest-earning artist in 1996, earning $40,000,000 (equivalent to $69,000,000 in 2021) that year from sales of silk screens, lithographs and etchings based on his book illustrations. His work began receiving international recognition following the release of Final Fantasy VII in 1997.[17] 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.[3]

Amano and Nobuo Uematsu worked together again on videogames like Fairy Fencer F at Compile Heart.[18]

Branching out[edit]

Amano's first exhibition, called "Hiten", was held in 1989 at Yurakucho Mullion in Tokyo, Japan.[19] 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.[11]

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".[20][21]

In 1998, Amano appeared as Hiroshi in the 1998 movie New Rose Hotel, loosely based on the William Gibson short story of the same name.[22]


In 2000, Amano illustrated Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: The Dream Hunters,[23] which won several awards and was nominated for a Hugo Award.[4] In 2001, Greg Rucka and Amano collaborated on another comic book tale, Elektra and Wolverine: The Redeemer.[24] 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.

He illustrated three album covers for the Japanese power metal band Galneryus: The Flag of Punishment (2003), Advance to the Fall (2005), and Beyond the End of Despair (2006).[25]

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.[26]

In 2008, Amano created an illustrated adaptation of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute, published by Radical Comics.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29]

Studio Devaloka[edit]

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.[5] 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.[30] 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.[31]

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.[32] 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.[33]

In 2013, Amano collaborated with Japanese rock star Hyde (L'Arc-en-Ciel/VAMPS) on an art exhibition titled Destiny and Decay: Nippon Evolution.[34]

List of works[edit]



  • A Wind Named Amnesia English Version (2009)



Select domestic Japanese works

Select Japanese editions of foreign works

Foreign works

Art books[edit]

  • Maten / Evil Universe (1984)
  • Genmukyu / Castle of Illusions (1986) (ISBN 4-403-01029-6)
  • Imagine (1987) (ISBN 4-403-01031-8)
  • Hiten / Flying Universe: The Art of Yoshitaka Amano (1989) (ISBN 4-257-03229-4
  • Dawn (1991) (ISBN 4-87188-135-0
  • The Heroic Tales Of Arslan (1991)
  • The Illustrations for Tarot Card by Yoshitaka Amano (1992) (ISBN 4-87519-401-3
  • Rasenoh / Spiral King (1992) (ISBN 4-19-414749-9)
  • Le Roi de la Lune (1992) (ISBN 4-8164-1224-7)
  • Mono (1993)
  • Untitled set of 10 postcards (1993)
  • Steps To Heaven (1993)
  • Yoshitaka Amano Postcard Selection (1994) (ISBN 4-87188-800-2)
  • 'Japan, Final Fantasy (1994) (ISBN 4-87188-338-8)
  • Katen (1994) (ISBN 4-06-206858-3)
  • Budōhime / Princess Budou (1996)
  • Yousei / Fairies (1996) (ISBN 1-59582-062-0)
  • Guin Saga (1996) (ISBN 4-15-207984-3)
  • Yoshitaka Amano: Collection of Paintings (1996)
  • 1996 (1996)
  • Kan'oke / Coffin (1997) (ISBN 1-59582-061-2)
  • Think Like Amano (1997)
  • Biten (1999)
  • Alice Erotica (1999)
  • 1001 Nights (1999)
  • Märchen (2000)
  • Vampire Hunter D (2000) (ISBN 4-257-03606-0)
  • POEM (2001)
  • Kotatsu I (2002)
  • Kotatsu II (2002)
  • Guin Saga Chronicle (2002)
  • The Sky (2002)
  • Kiten (2002)
  • Symphony' (2002)
  • Amano First (2003) (ISBN 4-257-03683-4)
  • The Virgin (2004) (ISBN 4-894-52846-0)
  • Yoshitaka Amano x HYDE - Destiny and Decay: Nippon Evolution (2013)

Video games[edit]


Other Works[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Inkpot Award". Archived from the original on 2017-01-29. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  2. ^ "Worldcon 65". Nippon 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  3. ^ a b ANS Exclusive Interview: 10 Questions To Yoshitaka Amano Archived August 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2006-09-16.
  4. ^ a b Powells.com Bibliography "The Sandman: The Dream Hunters" Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2006-09-16.
  5. ^ a b World-famous animator Yoshitaka Amano's new film, the 3D anime "ZAN" (世界的アニメーター・天野喜孝氏、初の映画監督...3Dアニメ「ZAN」) Archived April 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Gorges, Florent (October 2018). Yoshitaka Amano: The Illustrated Biography—Beyond the Fantasy. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books. ISBN 978-1-50670-753-2.
  7. ^ McCarter, Charles. Flights of Fantasy Archived October 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2006-05-09.
  8. ^ RPGamer interview. Archived 2016-11-05 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2006-09-16.
  9. ^ a b c 1UP.com A Day in the Life of Yoshitaka Amano Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2006-09-16.
  10. ^ Q&A with Yoshitaka Amano Archived 2009-05-19 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2009-02-12.
  11. ^ a b c Unno, Hiroshi. Amano: The Complete Prints of Yoshitaka Amano Collins Design: November 4, 2003. ISBN 0-06-056763-5.
  12. ^ "Yoshitaka Amano & Hideyuki Kikuchi Exclusive Interview". The Diva Review. 2008-09-27. Archived from the original on 2016-06-09. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
  13. ^ "Maten (Evil Universe) 1984". Amano's World. Archived from the original on 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2020-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  14. ^ ABC News The Genius Behind Final Fantasy. Archived 2011-06-29 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2006-09-16.
  15. ^ Kure Software Koubou Official Homepage Website Archived 2011-07-09 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2010-05-01.
  16. ^ Japan Vibes interview Archived May 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2006-09-16.
  17. ^ Phipps, Lang (6 October 1997). "Is Amano the Best Artist You've Never Heard Of?". New York Magazine. Vol. 30, no. 38. pp. 45–48 (46). ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  18. ^ Amano, Uematsu and Compile Heart developing Fairy Fencer F. Retrieved on 2013-05-08.
  19. ^ "Exhibitions". Amano's World. Archived from the original on 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2020-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  20. ^ "HERO Exhibition". Amano's World. Archived from the original on 2008-03-02. Retrieved 2020-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. ^ "Think Like Amano". Amano's World. Archived from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2020-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  22. ^ Combustible Celluloid Movie Review New Rose Hotel Archived 2017-12-01 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2006-09-16.
  23. ^ CNN Review "A dark tale of enduring charm" Archived 2012-11-06 at the Wayback Machine, December 23, 1999; retrieved 2006-09-16.
  24. ^ "Cinescape Comics Book Review Elektra and Wolverine: The Redeemer". Archived from the original on 2012-09-26. Retrieved 2006-09-16.
  25. ^ cdjapan.co.jp Galneryus listing Archived 2007-09-13 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2006-09-16.
  26. ^ Christopher Borrelli. "Neil Gaiman on his love for David Bowie" Archived 2015-04-21 at the Wayback Machine, ChicagoTribune.com; accessed July 28, 2015.
  27. ^ From Vampires to Mozart Archived 2008-12-10 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2008-12-13.
  28. ^ Experience the Mystery and Majesty of Amano’s Shinjuku Archived 2008-10-09 at the Wayback Machine; retrieved 2009-02-12.
  29. ^ Geass' Taniguchi, FF Games' Amano on New Jungle Emperor Archived 2009-02-03 at the Wayback Machine, January 27, 2009; retrieved February 12, 2009.
  30. ^ Deva Zan official website Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine; accessed July 28, 2015.
  31. ^ "【イラスト追加】『FF』シリーズのイメージイラストなどを手掛ける天野喜孝氏が劇場用SFアニメを監督". Archived from the original on 2020-12-17. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  32. ^ Dark Horse Manga: Announcing Deva Zan! Archived 2012-06-26 at the Wayback Machine, darkhorse.com; accessed July 28, 2015.
  33. ^ Interview with Yoshitaka Amano Archived 2012-11-03 at the Wayback Machine, AnimeNetwork.com; October 29, 2012.
  34. ^ Destiny and Decay: Nippon Evolution Archived June 18, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, amanoxhyde.com; accessed July 28, 2015.
  35. ^ "Budouhime (Princess Budou) 1996". Amano's World. Archived from the original on 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2020-07-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  36. ^ Komatsu, Mikikazu. "Japanese-Themed Project GIBIATE Unveils Its First Anime PV for Summer 2020". CrunchyRoll.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2019. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  37. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (September 13, 2022). "Exception: Sci-Fi Horror Anime Readies to Launch with New Trailer, Images". Animation Magazine.
  38. ^ Hodgkins, Crystalyn (December 2, 2022). "Yoshitaka Amano's ZAN Anime Project Rebooted as Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 24, 2023.
  39. ^ http://www.darkhorse.com/Books/20-138/Deva-Zan-HC Archived 2012-06-10 at the Wayback Machine Deva Zan Hardcover
  40. ^ "Unchained Blades Exxiv With Final Fantasy Artist's Dark Knight". Siliconera. 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2022-01-29.
  41. ^ "Fairy Fencer F detailed in Famitsu". Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  42. ^ "Exclusive Interview with Syu". Archived from the original on 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
  43. ^ "VOCALOID3 Library ZOLA PROJECT". Archived from the original on 2013-07-22. Retrieved 2013-06-23.
  44. ^ "Liliana, Dreadhorde General on Scryfall". Archived from the original on 2020-11-14. Retrieved 2020-11-17.

External links[edit]