Fire Emblem used to have a tendency to stick with a character designer or art style for at least a couple games — Sachiko Wada designed all the GBA game characters, Senri Kita did both Tellius games, and Yusuke Kozaki took the reins on the job for both Awakening and Fates. But they’ve been mixing it up more frequently as of late — Atelier’s Hidari did Shadows of Valentia, Uta no Prince-sama’s Chinatsu Kurahana did Three Houses, and we already have the name of the character designer for Fire Emblem Engage: Mika Pikazo, a Japanese illustrator probably best known for designing a handful of VTubers, among other things.
I designed the characters for the Nintendo's new FE title "Fire Emblem Engage". Please look forward to the game!#FEエンゲージ pic.twitter.com/nKhNx2YFTp
— Mika Pikazo (@MikaPikaZo) September 13, 2022
Pikazo designed VTubers Hakos Baelz, Kaguya Luna, and Pinky Pop Hepburn. (VTubers have funny names sometimes.) She also illustrated the Fate/Grand Order character Sei Shounagon and the light novel series Apocalypse Witch. Pikazo’s art style is pretty distinct, and includes a lot of highly saturated mix of multiple colors, particularly in characters’ hair — hence the “Pepsi” or “toothpaste” look for Engage protagonist Alear. While strikingly unusual by series standards, it’s very much Pikazo’s trademark.
Of course, this isn’t going to stop the internet, which is already awash in Pepsi and toothpaste memes involving the new protagonist. I’m pretty sure the majority of people don’t even know Alear’s name. While feelings on the design cast a wide berth, there’s no denying it’s a distinct and striking look. Fire Emblem Engage releases January 20th, 2023.
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