JEDDAH: Mitsuhiro Arita, the famous Japanese illustrator of the Pokemon TCG collectible card game, met his Saudi fans for the first time in Jeddah at the Anime Village in City Walk, one of the nine zones of the 2022 season of Jeddah.
At-home meet-and-greet sessions on May 27 and 28 allowed Arita fans to listen and talk with the artist behind their childhood cartoon and favorite card games.
Arita has illustrated hundreds of Pokémon cards over a 26-year art career that has also produced “Final Fantasy Games”, “Berserk: The Golden Ages” – a worldwide favorite of anime and Nintendo fans – and ” culdcept”.
“I supervised these three works, but all that mattered to me at the time was to obtain an excellent result in the three works, which I like so much. But my admiration goes to “Culdcept”. For me, it’s art and I’m proud that it’s part of my works,” he told Arab News in an exclusive interview while signing cards and autographs for his fans.
“Culdcept” is a series of turn-based strategy video games developed by OmiyaSoft in which the player traverses a map and uses magic tablet-like “cards” to defeat opponents by forcing them to land on specific spaces and pay a toll – similar to Monopoly.
Arita was born in 1971 in Fukuoka, Japan, and now lives in Tokyo, where he began his career as a professional illustrator in 1996, with Pokemon TCG as his first project.
He designed and illustrated over 660 Pokemon cards and also worked on the design of “Final Fantasy XI” for 11 years, as well as designing magazines and movie books.
A self-taught illustrator, Arita has said his inspiration is Katsushika Hokusai, known simply as Hokusai, and famous for the “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” woodblock print series and the iconic “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. .
“When I was in high school, in 1998, a friend of mine introduced me to ‘Final Fantasy’ by Yoshitaka Amano. I used to draw from time to time, and ‘Final Fantasy’ was a source of inspiration, and my favorite artist and model was Katsushika Hokusai,” he said.
The talented and ambitious Arita had the chance to impress the creators of “Final Fantasy XI” when they saw his drawings in the book “Arms and Armor”, published in 2004. He then spent more than 11 years working on “Final Fantasy XI.”
Arita said, “I enjoyed working with the team that built the world of ‘Final Fantasy’; we liked working together.
Saudis have long been fans of Japanese culture, anime productions and artwork, with the first Saudi-Japanese anime film “The Journey” premiering in 2021.
Arita advised young Saudis who want to be illustration artists for anime, manga or video games to “look at different illustration works more than once so that the ideas become clear to you, and make sure you to present anime works that represent your Saudi culture”.
Over the past five years, Arita has traveled the world, appearing at public events in Japan, the United States, China, Italy and now Saudi Arabia.
Arita said her perspective on the Kingdom changed on her first visit after meeting her enthusiastic fans, who were holding stickers, posters and signing cards.
As a sign of gratitude, Arita drew an illustration for the City Walk in a livestream before heading to Anime Village from her hotel. The illustration is available for sale on his website https://linktr.ee/mitsuhiroArita
Among the fans was 35-year-old Saudi Arabian entrepreneur Mohammed Fakhry, who carried an album folder containing over 200 Pokemon TCGs, reminiscent of the 90s when children took their Pokemon trading cards to show their friends at school. ‘school.
“When I heard the designer of the original card game was coming, I wanted to show him my appreciation and what I still have – he still lives on. It’s not just a trend. He stuck with it. us, he is part of us,” Fakhry told Arab News.
“Pokemon was the first card game I was exposed to. We collected, bought, traded cards and battled. I hold the trading card collection – it’s very important to collectors.
Fakhry said he and his friends consider cards an art form.
The longtime fan asked Arita for a unique signing, saying it was an “unforgettable moment” for him.