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Old 07-27-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
Talon87
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Nishida Atsuko

You've all heard of Tajiri Satoshi, the famed creator of Pokémon and CEO of GameFreak. You've probably all heard of Sugimori Ken, GameFreak's art director who is famous for drawing the official artwork of the Pokémon video games. And there are other bigwigs at GameFreak I'm sure you know like Masuda Junichi, head of development for the Pokémon games, and Ichinose Gou, the talented young composer credited with writing most of the famous Pokemon medleys of the past fifteen years. But there's one name you may not have heard of before, a name so untalked about by the fans that she's not even listed in Bulbapedia's shortlist of key figures within GameFreak. That person is Nishida Atsuko.


Today when I looked up the artist for this one TCG card whose art I really like, I saw the name Nishida Atsuko and decided to investigate further. When I saw that a lot of her artwork was hit or miss for me personally, I didn't press on much further, though I did see an article mention how she had a hand in creating Pokemon characters in many of the games. When I shared this information with Yuki on Skype, the question came up again: who exactly did Nishida Atsuko have a role in creating?

That question took us on a trip 'round the web. Wikipedia was very vague, offering nothing of use to us in English. But in Japanese, it laid this promising breadcrumb:
Quote:
ピカチュウはにしだのデザインである。
Spurred on by the claim that the world's most famous Pokemon may have been created by this practically unknown person, we decided to investigate further. And while our investigation is still ongoing, we did find this partial list of Pokémon designs accredited to their respective creators:
デザイナーが確定してるポケモン

杉森建:ゲンガー、ウソッキー、アチャモ、ディアルガ、パルキア、ヨーテリー、ムーランド、ナゲキ、ダゲキ 、クイタラン、アイアント、レシラム、ゼクロム
森本茂樹:ニャース、ミュウ、ツボツボ
吉田宏信:ソーナンス、ノコッチ、セレビィ、デオキシス、ダークライ
海野隆雄:ヤナップ、バオップ、ヒヤップ、チョロネコ、アーケン、ワシボン、ウォーグル、コバルオン、テラ キオン、ビリジオン
大村祐介:ポッチャマ、ミジュマル、フタチマル、ダイケンキ、シビシラス、シビビール、シビル ドン
吉田絵美:ピンプク
李ヒョンジョン:フォルムチェンジロトム(ヒートロトムだけ?)、ポカブ、チャオブー、エンブオー、シママ 、シキジカ
田上怜子:ツタージャ、ジャノビー、ジャローダ、マメパト、クルミル
井部真那:ビクティニ、ハーデリア、ダルマッカ、ヒヒダルマ、プルリル、ブルンゲル、キバゴ、オノノクス、 マッギョ
ジェイムスターナー:バニプッチ、バニリッチ、バイバニラ、ゴビット、ゴルーグ、バルチャイ、 バルジーナ
にしだあつこ:ヒトカゲ、リザード、リザードン、ゼニガメ、カメール、ビードル、コクーン、スピアー、ピカ チュウ、ライチュウ、ロコン、ナゾノクサ、クサイハナ、ラフレシア、マダツボミ、ウツドン、ウツボット、ポ ニータ、ギャロップ、ミニリュウ、ハクリュー、グレイシア、ムンナ、ムシャーナ、モンメン、エルフーン、チ ュリネ、ドレディア、ゾロア、ゾロアーク、チラーミィ、カブルモ
The first name you see in that list is Sugimori Ken. His credits include such awesome designs as Gengar and Torchic, such okay designs as Lillipup and the box cover dragons of the past two generations, and such terrible designs as Sawk and Throh. The last name you see in that list is Ms. Nishida. Let's see what her credits include, shall we?
Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Squirtle, Wartortle, Weedle, Kakuna, Beedrill, Pikachu, Raichu, Vulpix, Oddish, Gloom, Vileplume, Bellsprout, Weepinbell, Victreebel, Ponyta, Rapidash, Dratini, Dragonair, Glacia, Munna, Musharna, Cottonee, Whimsicott, Petilil, Lilligant, Zorua, Zoroark, Minccino, and Karrablast
...

...

... this woman invented Charizard ...

... this woman invented the Squirtle Squad ...

... this woman invented Pikachu ... and Minccino ... and Vulpix ...

... the entire Gen 1 Oddish line ...

... Whimsicott and Lilligant ...

... and Dratini and Dragonair but (maybe) not orange dreamsicle Dragonite? :O~~~

This woman is a god!

Now, the list above is obviously incomplete since it doesn't provide a creator for each of the 649 Pokemon. Part of that may be because it's difficult to assign the creation of a Pokemon to just one person when it was created as the result of a collaborative effort over at GameFreak HQ, and part of it may simply be that whoever wrote up this list either doesn't know who did what or doesn't care to type out 649 creatures. But one thing is clear: Nishida Atsuko is a name that every Pokémon fan should know. Right up there along with Satoshi Tajiri and Sugimori Ken, this woman has played a key role in helping to create the franchise we all know and love so much.

P.S. Poooooooooooooooooooooor Glacia.

Last edited by Talon87; 07-27-2012 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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Oh my.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for changing the picture =p

Where was she for Gens 2-4? (since 3 basically doesn't count)
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:04 PM   #4
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Like I mentioned, the lists are clearly incomplete. You could leverage that same criticism against the super-fandom-famous Sugimori Ken if you wanted to. "He only contributed one design out of the original 151? His solitary contribution out of a hundred to Generation 2 was Sudowoodo? " Obviously that can't be right. I suspect the same thing with Ms. Nishida.

But to give some serious thought to your question, let's suppose she did drop off the face of the GameFreak planet, or at least the video game development continent of it, from 1999 until 2010. Where did she go? Clearly, she went to the PTCG. Her list of cards is so lengthy that Bulbapedia didn't want to list them directly in her own article, instead creating a separate entry for the nearly 400 cards she's illustrated over the past twenty years. Granted, one wouldn't think that 20 cards a year would be enough to keep food on the table but I'm sure she's done other things with her time besides draw Pokemon artwork for the PTCG.

Do I think she dropped out of GameFreak for most of the 2000s? No, no I do not. I think we're missing the complete picture. But what this initial piece of the puzzle does reveal for us is that Nishida Atsuko has played an invaluable role in shaping the franchise as we know it. Without her there'd be no Pikachu. Without her there'd be no Charizard. Without her there'd be no Vulpix, no Dratini, no Squirtle. When one woman can be credited with single-handedly coming up with the creature designs for three of Ash Ketchum's main Kanto six, I think that says a lot for how influential she has been.

Like was asked on Skype, it'd be interesting to know who invented Bulbasaur. (My money's actually on Tajiri himself but I honestly don't know.) And I agree with you that it'd be wonderful to have a fuller picture of her involvement in Gens 2, 3, and 4.

Gotta love that rogue mention of Glacia though.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:10 PM   #5
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Y'know Talon, if you're looking for a project, you could always rectify Bulbapedia's mistakes about Nishida. I'm sure many fans would love to know this kind of stuff.

If you updated her page with information once you found it, you could then put something in the trivia section of popular Pokemon like Charizard, saying
"Charizard was created by Nishida Atsuko, a designer who was substantially influential in the 1st generation of Pokemon and the Pokemon Trading Card Game"

or something like that.
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