The Concept Art of Shinobi – Yamada Akihiro

Posted By yonghow on February 16th, 2009

Though not exactly a masterpiece, I quite enjoyed Shimoyama Ten’s fantasy/period ninja film Shinobi (released back in 2005) for its fantastic character and costume designs. In fact, the sleek and impressionable characters and their well designed costumes were pretty much the highlights of the film – no surprise, considering they were created by manga artist Yamada Akihiro, who gave us the classic manga Record of Lodoss War.

(above) Shinobi posters featuring the lead protaganists Oboro ( Nakama Yuki ) and Kouga Gennosuke, ( Onigiri Joe ) and their original character designs by Yamada-san below, faithfully reproduced in the film.

(above) Yakushiji Tenzen, an immortal with sacred bloodworms not unlike the swordsman Manji from Samura Hiroaki’s Blade of the Immortal.

Yamada Akihiro’s exceedingly detailed character design sketches are not only a pleasure to look at but an invaluable resource for concept artists looking for some reference material. The same goes for his studies for the set designs. ( below )

Folks who are interested in getting a copy of the book can find a used copy on Amazon Japan.

Anyone else  a fan of Yamada Akihiro’s work ?


16 Responses to “The Concept Art of Shinobi – Yamada Akihiro”


I fell in love with Yamadas art with his original draft work on Rahxephon. I sought out his artbook for the show and its absolutely wonderful, so much detail and thought put into the designs.


The drawings are so darned beautiful!


He’s soooooooooooo good with watercolor

We need another major work like Rahxephon from him

João Paulo Rosman

Wow this is incredible… a super designed art for a superb designed movie

tragic comedy

His art for Lady of Pharis was breathtaking!
so much so that i bought a bootleg copy of one of his artbooks without knowing T.T


I saw this movie recently, and while the movie itself was crappy, I really enjoyed the set pieces and the character designs. The characters themselves, not so much. And the anime that later came on wasn’t so great either, but again very beautiful to look at.

I don’t know, maybe it was too gloomy for my tastes.

On a different note, I just found about your blog today 🙂 Read your About page, I saw Freedom last month, and it was beautiful! Also, glad to know a fellow trance listener. I my self love The Thrilseekers, but AvB is my favourite XD

PS: Linked you on my blog.


AlexR/Olivia – Rahxephon is a big favorite among his fans alright.

Brandon/João Paulo Rosman – Glad you guys enjoyed the artwork, I can stare at it for the whole day too.

tragic comedy – Haha, there are still bootlegs in Singapore ?

th – Thanks for visiting and for supporting Freedom ! So AVB for you huh, he’s good alright. I’ve got your on rss now, so I’ll be visiting often. :]

Eren Gülbaran

I am a huge fan of Yamada san & would like to become his apprentice some day


I am a frustrated illustrator. I’ve been doing sketch ever since i was a child but i am not satisfied with the result. It seems i am not improving.I envy this works. This is the level i want to achieve.


Wow, this is so great, another master of drawing discovered today thanks to you.
i wish i had this book right now. ..


I loved that Yakushiji Tenzen ! 😀


Ok….. I just browse your blog and I stumbled into this… do they sell it in bookstore? do you still have it?


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