Like Pokemon and other popular TCGs, a large number of freelance illustrators are hired to portray Digimon from the franchise in their own unique styles. This has resulted in a massive variance within the art, some of which becoming extremely popular among collectors. In this article, we will focus on the Digimon TCG returning illustrator, Ryuda, who is known best for his depiction of Rookie level Digimon cards.
Ryuda, also credited as Ryuda_1 when he first started work on the Digimon TCG, began working with Bandai in 2017 when working on the Battle Spirits collectable card game. The game was created in 2008 by Bandai, Sunrise Inc and Carddass, and combined several anime series, manga serializations and even toys and video games to make one massive collaboration. Despite some of the cards belonging to different franchises, they all followed the same rules and could be played together. The game came to the US in 2009, but due to poor translations and lack of advertising, the game flopped after just five sets. Now, the modern sets can only be found in Asia and are only printed in Japanese.
Ryuda worked on the second collaboration booster, Digimon Super Evolution!, for the Battle Spirits game. Looking at the cards, it’s clear that he bought the same style over with him for the Digimon TCG. These include a lot of rookie level Digimon in leaping poses and Digimon attacking with blurred elements to represent the speed of the movement. The majority of the cards Ryuda illustrated for Battle Spirits focused on Digimon from the second anime series. These included Veemon, Renamon, Terriermon and Guilmon.
Although Ryuda still enjoys illustrating Rookie Digimon leaping and attacking with punches and kicks, he has also branched out to drawing higher-level Digimon in a number of interesting new poses for the TCG. Ryuda tends to stick to the aesthetics of the Digimon anime series, giving some of his work a more cartoonish appearance which fuels nostalgia for those who grew up watching the series.
Ryuda has adopted a specific pose for some of his Digimon designs, which involve the Digimon almost bursting out of the card, with one arm in front of the other. This can be seen in the Monodramon, Pulsemon, Gabumon and Fake Agumon Expert. Ryuda is also a fan of speed lines in his work, which gives some of his pieces a more intense and action-packed appearance.
In the latest Digimon TCG English booster, Great Legend, Ryuda really changed up his style for the alternate art version of DanDevimon. At first glance, you might think that it is Venom from Spiderman, which is undoubtedly an inspiration for this artwork.
Before the release of the Vital Bracelet in Japan, which is like a FitBit that lets you train a Digimon, Bandai created the Pulsemon Digivolution chain to help promote it. Ryuda was tasked with illustrating Bulkmon for his debut in the Double Diamond booster, choosing to complete the Digimon in the style of a comic book superhero, with the artist’s distinctive speed lines and leaping pose to help achieve the look.
It seems that Bandai is trying to follow in the footsteps of the Pokemon TCG when it comes to varied art styles. This gives the artists a lot more freedom and allows them to steer away from the traditional Digimon artwork seen in the anime series and the previous Digimon TCGs.
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
Have a story? Let us know