Yōichi Kotabe (JP) is an acclaimed Japanese artist known for his animation work on various anime productions on companies like Toei Animation. He spent two decades of his career working for Nintendo as an illustrator.


Born on September 15, 1936, Yoichi Kotabe became a fan of art during his early school years when his mother introduced him to flipbook animation (the act of flipping through pages, each page with an image that progressively changes, to make it look like it's moving).

His father was an artist, though ironically the person who didn't draw much at all was the one who made him interested in animation (his mother). According to him, his mother drew a stick figure in a text book of his at the corner, and on each page the stick figure would be in a slightly different position. As he recalls, the stick figure was exercising. It made him interested enough to try himself.

Since 1959, he was involved in various anime companies, where he worked on various memorable anime series and movies such as Panda! Go, Panda! and Heidi, Girl of the Alps, among many other works. In 1985 he joined Nintendo, where Shigeru Miyamoto commissioned him to design most of the artwork of the Mario series and some other games. He also became involved with the Pokémon franchise, supervising the 3D games and most of anime series and movies.

He retired from Nintendo in 2007, but he is still active as a freelance artist.

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