Revisit the one, the only lolita-artist with class, Range Murata! Wikipedia, do your thing of explaining who the heck he is!

Renji "Range" Murata (村田 蓮爾 Murata Renji, born October 2, 1968 in Osaka) is a Japanese artist and designer, known for his unique style combining Art Deco and Japanese anime elements. He is best known for his conceptual design work on anime series Last Exile, Solty-Rei, Blue Submarine No. 6 and most recently, Shangri-la.

He's called an experienced doujinshi (self-published) and professionally published artist whose work has also been featured in a variety of magazines, video games, and anime series. Not the erotic doushinji some of you might be thinking. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't know. His style is immediately recognizable by his characters' frequently elaborate clothing and their soft and colorfully emotional appearance.

These are a few of Range's favorite subjects.

He has published more than a dozen books of his work, some of the most notable being Robot, Rule, futurhythm and All The Way Home. He is also voted "Best Artist of the Year" 2006 in the Seiun Award.

"rule" is a mook-stlye (what the hell is a mook) release featuring a look at Murata's design works [clothing, accessories] for his third major exhibit, fa COLLECTION 003. Expect lots of pictures and other sorts of information about his products. The book also includes just a few older Murata illustrations and a look at the work of yoshitoshi ABe, Youki Kanaya, Makoto Kobayashi, and Suzuhito Yasuda.

If this doesn't make you feel uncomfortable, then continue reading.

re: futurhythm is the regular, mass-produced edition of futurhythm. It is bound like an ordinary book and housed in a hard plastic sleeve with slightly varying contents from the limited edition version.

All The Way Home is just another picture book with lots of cutely drawn little girls. Yes, that sounds about right.

Thought I was lying about the little girls part? Order it while supplies last! (Thanks to Jesus_Freak for these scans!)

Here's an excerpt of a 2004 interview from Cosplay Lab, about Mr. Murata's animeworks, as well as this 'fahsion' line he developed, which I won't cover here because, but maybe in the future...

How do you pronounce your name??

Range, pronounced Ren Ji, is a pen name I made up. The character Len in Japanese means lotus and I really like the lotus flower so I wanted to put that in my name somehow.

How did you get into character design?

I used to be a simple illustrator doing magazine cover art and one day I was contacted to do character designs for an anime. Back when I was studying product/industrial design in college, I created things like watches and office products. So when I started to do character designs, I used a similar approach. I start by setting up a role for each character, then draw the character to fit that role. In the real world, everyone laughs in their own way, so I try to design my characters so that, just by looking at them, you can tell that they laugh and act differently.

The character designs for Blus Sub #6 and Last Exile are quite distinct, how did you achieve this level of detail?

The departure point for the designs is the critical difference in creating the animation. When regular animators begin their career, they draw the same art over and over for cels to make animation before they can advance to character designs. They decrease the number of lines to make the characters easier to animate. They may draw silhouettes that don't look very good as a still image, but look really good when animated. That is their particular style. I started out as an illustrator and when Gonzo recruited me, they said they didn't care how hard it was to animate, just to do what I wanted and they'd animate it for me. So I really did design what I wanted to.

I always wondered, "Why do anime characters have such big buttons? Why are the creases in their clothes so deep?" Things like that. And when I designed the characters for Last Exile, I tried to have them wear clothes that could exist in real life.

See for yourself in High-Definition!

With some knowledge of how clothing design works, I tried to draw in the kind of material that would have been used in creating their clothes and try to represent the stitches connecting the fabric. I always try to represent that in my artwork.

After I designed the characters, the animators color it and animate it, so some of the three-dimensional aspect of the characters is lost, and that is the departure point.

The Guild in the Last Exile are from the future, so when I was designing their outfits, I added a more structured and artificial element. It goes back to what their role in the world is, so I keep that in mind throughout the entire process.

How is clothing an extension of an anime character's personality?

Although clothing can show a lot about the character, it really only assists in showing some of their personality. Sixty to seventy percent of their personality is shown in their face, their eyes, their hair and their expressions. So I think the clothing designs only assist in developing their personality. For example, with clothes, you can show what kind of colors the character likes, or how tall the character is.

Samples of Range's toyline.

If it's a female character, you can show a lot about their personality through making her wear pants or skirts. If she's a tomboy, then you can draw her wearing pants. If she's a calmer type of girl, you can convey this by giving her darker, muted clothing. So I think it is only partially possible to show the personality of a character through the clothing. Some anime shows try to go against this convention by drawing a tomboy girl wearing frilly dresses, but I try to approach it in a more realistic way.

Catch more of this interview here: Cosplay Lab 

Before I forget, there's this other series Range has helped Gonzo develop, called "Shangri-la", according to the site, it's an "... anime series based on the highly acclaimed novel of the same name which was written by Eiichi Ikegami and won the first place in 2005 Japanese Sci-Fi Novel Award."

The story is another one of those bleak futuristic settings filled with very cute female protagonists. Tell me if the story sounds familiar... "...It's set in a neo-futuristic age, in which Tokyo has turned into the world’s largest “jungle-polis” that absorbs carbon dioxide. A tower city called Atlas houses the rich and privileged, and is the object of yearning of all that are not allowed to enter. But Atlas also has ancient secrets which cause a sudden whirl of events. Festooned by colorful characters such as a riotous teenage girl, a child genius, a juvenile princess, a drag queen, a female doctor, an army major, and an elderly gentleman and lady, SHANGRI-LA’s hard-core world view plays out as an anime action saga."

Great! Another animated show which won't strain my eyeballs at bad design. The world needs more of those! Of course, story is always a concern, but who really watches Murata's shows for that?

I jest. Still, that intro in high definition looks pretty slick...

All hail Range Murata!


  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. wholeheartedly agree. i went through your articles on hyung tae kim and the APPLE artbook as well as ROBOT. I find manhwa to be one hundred times more interesting than most anime. I'll be sure to check this blog more often.

  3. ChrisK Says:
  4. That's great! I honestly say though that at least visually, manwha looks waaay better and more imaginative. Partly to do because they're adopting Western painting techniques, so there is a lot of depth to them you won't normally see in other manga art.

    I've seen a lot of real Japanese artbooks and the art always seems kind of bland... I know there's some great talents out there, and some of them are there on the Robot books.

    Thank you for your patronage, hope to hear more of your thoughts on this little manhwa movement!

  5. Anonymous Says:
  6. kool kool. yeah the style and the amount of detail put into it far exceeds that of what alot of people who view just by opening a regular art book or even a manga based book. and I'd like to say,personally, that he is me top fav.

  7. ma-kusu Says:
  8. yeah I've been a fan his art since before I knew who he was when I first visited my nearest book store I saw sum of his art and thought " wow" every since I wanted to see more of his work and now being 19 I go online and buy the robot books just for him
    and I even have the pse collection

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