【Illustrator/Animator】 吉成鋼 (YOSHINARI Kou)

Lenneth Valkyrie from Valkyrie Profile. Click for hi-res full version.

吉成鋼 (YOSHINARI Kou) is a professional animator and illustrator best known for his artwork and character designs in the Valkyrie Profile video game series. His most recent anime work include doing the character designs for the White Album TV series. Yoshinari Kou is the older brother of Yoshinari You, and the two frequently work together on both Valkyrie Profile artwork and anime animation. Yoshinari Kou’s birthday is on January 1st 1969, and was born in Tokyo, Japan.

Y.Kou’s illustration style is essentially realistic and with heavy oil-paining like colours. He seems to specialize in detailing everything from hair to clothing accessories. The eyes are quite small compared to standard anime-style art, and with correct proportions, shading, and even actual lips, Y.Kou’s art usually evokes a strong similarity to standard fantasy-themed western art, though he might stray from his personal style for the sake of his job. Compared to his brother You’s colouring, Kou’s colours are extremely solid, and the folds of the fabric on clothes usually have significant depth and even look sculpted sometimes.

Y.Kou’s animations skills are even more incredible than his illustrations, and he is higly renowned and respected in the Japanese animation world for them. He is extremely good at animating explosion and walking sequences, though to be honest, he is almost godly at animating whatever he was assigned. The high degree of fluidity and number of simultaneous subtle movements is absolutely astounding. Please see these sequences for yourself.

Keep in mind that these sequences are NOT CG and were drawn frame-by-frame by hand.

In no particular order:
1. Yoshinari Kou MAD (niconico link)
2. Eureka Seven movie sequence
3. 秋色恋華 (Akiiro Renka) OP (niconico link) (This was animated by both Y.Kou and Y.You)
4. Eureka Seven TV&DVD Sequence Re-animation Comparison
5. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Clip
6. Muv-Luv Total Eclipse TV CM (niconico link)
7. Genius Party Beyond Wanwa (niconico link) **6000 frames in 50 seconds**
8. OVA 超機動伝説ダイナギガ (Chou Kidou Densetsu Dynagear) OP (niconico link)
9. Tales of Phantasia PS1 cutscene (niconico link)
10. (niconico link) **Y.Kou’s part starts at 4:15**

Wikipedia entry: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/吉成鋼 (Japanese)
Profile at ANN: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=30364
White Album character design material gallery: http://news.dengeki.com/elem/000/000/126/126470/
Y.Kou Youtube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CF38C92F6CC4948C