It’s been a while since I dipped my toes into the alien anime scene, with Astro Boy now almost two years old, but it’s returned with a vengeance of late, thanks to certain Frenchmen. We begin with these twin terrors. Though disparate in derivation, they are brought together by one powerful affinity. If you thought Sonic the Hedgehog turning yellow was impressive, well, take a look at these chaps.
Firstly, from Naruto, is the titular hero of a series which has appeared in various incarnations since the late nineties. It appears that his particular ability comes courtesy of his ninja father – whilst fighting a monstrous nine-tailed demon fox, Kurama, his father somehow managed to instill the beast into his son’s body so that only he can use it. This was not without consequence; it was in fact a sacrificial act, leaving Naruto orphaned and something of a pariah in the world of Konoha, for they know what lurks within. In a bid to follow his father’s footsteps and gain the respect of his fellows, Naruto strives to become a ninja himself, while also learning to taking control of his inner demon.
I was initially compelled to try a ‘split personality’ angle, but I soon found that rather difficult given the extreme disparity in scale, and besides, people have done similar elsewhere, and much better than I could. With that, I moved to a simpler concept of our hero standing as guardian before his beastly companion.
The murky orange overlay seemed to add to it, and that progression lead to the final, with some texture thrown in, just because, really.
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I thought I would carry this over for Gnar, our next subject. Part of the League of Legends series, he is a prehistoric creature whose cute, delicate exterior masks a very different reality. Quite the temper, fury and rage is at the heart of Gnar’s combat – he thrives on it. One most definitely shouldn’t wish to incur his wrath, for Mega Gnar is ever waiting to be unleashed, turning this curious little critter into a gargantuan monster until the blaze dissipates.
Following on from Naruto, once the characters were drawn it was a case of trying out some different effects based on the colours of creature and beast:
And experimenting with custom typography, though I ultimately decided against that. It’s a relief to have them done and dusted now, since they’ve been in the works for a while, coming to life almost immediately after the Twenty-Six Spins challenge (I promise to stop linking to that now). I’ve been slapping effects on here, there and everywhere for a while, and not to a tremendous benefit.
There we have it – for now, anyway. I know who Naruto and Gnar are, now. There may be more of this ilk to come.