Kia Asamiya (麻宮 騎亜 Asamiya Kia, born on January 28, 1963 in Tokyo, Japan) is the pen-name of popular Japanese manga artist Michitaka Kikuchi whose work spans multiple genres and appeals to diverse audiences.
He is well-known for using influences from American comics, television, and movies in his work, and describes himself as a big fan of both Batman and Star Wars. One of the most widely-published Japanese mangaka, nearly all of his stories have been translated into other languages, including English. His two most successful and popular manga series to-date are Martian Successor Nadesico and Silent Möbius.
Prior to becoming a manga artist, Asamiya graduated from the Tokyo Designer School, and then worked as a character designer for a number of anime series, and even designed models for some of the later Godzilla movies (1980s). For this career, he used his real name, Michitaka Kikuchi (菊地 通隆 Kikuchi Michitaka), and maintained the two professional identities separately for many years. Several of the anime series that he worked on were very popular both inside and outside of Japan, most notably including Sonic Soldier Borgman and Project A-ko. Even after focusing primarily on his manga career, Asamiya continued to do character designs and creative consultation on anime series based on his stories, occasionally under the Kikuchi name.
In the early 2000s, Asamiya has shifted his focus from teenage and young-adult stories to stories designed for children and for an American audience. In the former case, he credits his young children as a motivation, but in the latter case, he points to a long-standing desire to work with his favorite American characters. To that end, he has worked on projects with Image Comics, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics, as well as developing a manga adaptation of the movie, "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace".
While many Japanese artists (and artists in general) are quite reclusive, Asamiya often makes an effort to be available to his fans. He maintains a website with news and information about his studio, Studio TRON (named after the Disney movie TRON). He also aids and assists his Official Fan Club by sending them regular announcements and limited-edition merchandise. Despite these actions, he shunned all public photography, and had the often-hilarious habit of depicting himself with a placeholder sign for a face. It has become a trademark feature of his books that instead of a picture of the artist, there is an elaborately decorated rectangle sporting the words "Now Printing".
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