【Illustrator】政尾翼 (MASAO Tsubasa)

So I acquired Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner the other day…

Main visual for Metal Gear Acid. Click to enlarge.

政尾翼 (MASAO Tsubasa) is a professional illustrator and game animator. He is best known for character designs in Kojima Productions games such as ANUBIS ZONE OF THE ENDERS (Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner in the US) and the two Metal Gear Acid games. He has also provided 2D animations for Konami’s Bemani division games such as KEYBOARDMANIA and GUITARFREAKS and was the design manager of the mobile version of BEATMANIA. In addition to providing artwork for games, he is also part of an illustration group called “fde”, for which he has produced original pieces of artwork based on a theme. Masao was born on May 5th, 1974 in Saitama, has blood type A, and currently lives in Kanagawa. Masao is also an avid baseball fan, and supports Fukuoka’s Hawks team. His most current work is providing artwork for Square Enix’s DS game, 光の4戦士 -ファイナルファンタジー外伝- (Hikari no 4 Senshi: Final Fantasy Gaiden).

Since Masao is a pretty versatile artist, he has a few different styles depending on the genre of artwork he is trying to draw.

In his usual pseudo-anime style (as seen in his illustrations for Metal Gear Acid), female characters have have slightly big, round foreheads and head shape, very thin arms, and pointy noses and eyes when drawn in profile. All his character have small squarish eyes and undetailed faces, and hair is drawn with light, thin lines and appear very wisp-like, which contrasts with the thick outlines that frame the character. He is also capable of completely diverging from this style when he draws characters in a super-deformed style. As well, his artwork uses a lot of vivid and solid colours marked with gradients and versatile and fluid poses for the characters. Character design is probably Masao’s forte, as all the characters look unique, stylish, fashionable, and just plain awesome. (Ken Marinaris illust. by NISHIMURA Nobuyoshi[?])

Original artwork for an art event. Click to enlarge.

As for his realism style, all the people represented in them are drawn so accurately that they seem almost like shots cut from a movie. As with his pseudo-anime style, he also uses lots of dramatic lighting, gradients, and vivid colours. There is less posing, and in turn mainly focuses on facial expressions and on emphasizing the atmosphere.

Masao’s last style has a trace of the anime style, but it is more similar to the artwork found in children’s books. Characters’ faces are extremely round and cartoon-like, but with tiny eyes and very thin limbs. The vivid colours and wispy lines are again used, but there seems to be less use of gradients and instead more solidly shaded.

Website: http://www.omega-press.com/
Blog: http://blog.omega-press.com/
Mixi: http://mixi.jp/show_friend.pl?id=3176625 (Japanese, must have Mixi account to access)
Metal Gear AciD 1&2 Gallery: http://www.konami.jp/gs/game/mga2/america/deep_gallery_00.html
Metal Gear Acid 1 Wallpaper Gallery: http://www.konami.jp/gs/game/mga/english/downloads.html
Metal Gear Wiki stub: http://metalgear.wikia.com/wiki/Tsubasa_Masao
Wikipedia entry: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/政尾翼 (Japanese)