Bandai’s choice to hire freelance artists to illustrate their cards has resulted in several outstanding art styles that keep every set interesting. So far, we have covered incredible artists such as Kenji Watanabe, who has been part of the Digimon franchise since day one, and Ryuda, who is a master at capturing motion in his card designs. In this article, we take a look at the work of Nakano Haito, whose skills have been utilised for a number of Digimon titles, including the Digimon TCG.
Nakano Haito has been on board with the Digimon TCG from the very beginning with BT1 and worked on every booster set since. Before that, however, he worked on the 60 card special anniversary set for the Digimon Card Game, which was released to help promote the Digimon Adventure Tri anime series. For this project, Haito took inspiration from the Digimon TCG predecessor, Hyper Colosseum, while putting his modern twist on the Digimon. This has resulted in his cards appearing similar to the original reference book artwork while having far more depth and detail.
Haito has also worked on Battle Spirits, which is a game created by Bandai, Sunrise Inc and Carddass in 2018 and combined several anime series to make one huge collaborative game. Although Nakano Haito completed a number of memorable cards for the series, among his most iconic are the Digimon bust secret rares.
Prior to his work on the Digimon card games, Haito worked on a number of promotional materials, as well as design elements for video games. For the Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth title, released on the PSVita and PS4, he completed the key visuals for the Royal Knight Digimon, including Omnimon. For Digimon World: World Order, which was released on the PSVita in 2016, Haito took the lead on the promotional material. In 2016, the artist worked on the Digimon Universe App Monsters series, which is regarded as the eighth series of the Digimon franchise, despite the monsters being called ‘Appmon’ instead. On this project, Haito designed a large number of Appmon from scratch, which were in keeping with the Digimon aesthetic. He also completed the package art for the Appmon figures that were released in Japan.
In the Digimon TCG, Nakano Haito is an all-rounder, excelling at illustrating darker scenes, such as the black Agumon, Greymon and MetalGreymon cards from the Machine Black starter deck, as well as lighter ones like the Pulsemon promo card and the Lilamon SR from the Great Legend Booster set.
Arguably, Nakano Haito’s most popular card art is that of Sistermon cards, which include Sistermon Ciel, Sistermon Blanc and Sistermon Ciel (Awakened). These Digimon came under controversy in the English game, as Sistermon Noir was censored for her gun-wielding nun-like appearance.
To learn more about the artists behind the Digimon TCG, check out our articles below –
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
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