Yōichi Kotabe

15, 1936 (1936-09-15) (age 83

[create] Documentation
Nationality Japanese
Occupation Animator, character designer
Spouse(s) Reiko Okuyama (wid. 2007)[1][2]
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Yōichi Kotabe (小田部 羊一 Kotabe Yōichi?, born September 15, 1936),[3] is a Japanese animator and character designer and has worked on several anime films from the 1960s and 1970s.[1] as well as working on the Super Mario video game series and the Pokémon television series and films.[4] Kotabe worked as an employee on Nintendo for two decades doing illustrations, character designs and supervising those from 1985 to 2007, when he began to work as a freelancer for the anime and video game industry, including for Nintendo again, this time as a freelancer.


Kotabe became interested in animation after watching the short film Momotarō no Umiwashi as a child. He was fascinated with how the fighter moved in the film. His father, who was an oil painter, and also influenced his decision to work as an artist. Kotabe found oil painting to be difficult, so he instead worked in watercolor painting.

In order to continue working in watercolors, he adopted the nihonga, or Japanese‐style, of painting, and began studying at the Tokyo University of the Arts where they had a Japanese‐style painting department. While attending the university, he was impressed by the film The Tale of the White Serpent and the animator Yasuji Mori,[5][6] and immediately applied to work at Toei Animation.

His first project there was Hols: Prince of the Sun where he met Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. He left Toei along with Miyazaki and Takahata in order to work at A Pro, and they began work on an adaptation of Pippi Longstocking. That project was eventually cancelled, and work began on the two-film series Panda! Go, Panda!.

Kotabe then worked as character designer on two anime television series from Nippon Animation: Heidi, Girl of the Alps and 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, with Miyazaki working on scene design and layout and Takahata working as series director and storyboard artist.

In 1985, he was scouted by Nintendo and assumed the position of the game development adviser where he created package illustrations for Super Mario Bros.. Until that time, he was not familiar with video games.

Works Edit

Year Title Crew role Notes Source[7]
Script error Magic Boy Animator  
Script error Alakazam the Great Animator  
Script error Sinbad no Boken (ja:アラビアンナイト・シンドバッドの冒険 (映画)?, Adventures of Sinbad) Animator  
Script error–65 Okami-shōnen Ken (ja:狼少年ケン?, Ken the wolf boy) Animation director (mid-term)  
Script error Doggie March Key animation  
Script error–65 Shōnen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru Animation director, key animation Also film
Script error–66 Hustle Punch (ja:ハッスルパンチ Hassuru panchi?) Animation director, key animation  
Script error–67 Rainbow Sentai Robin (ja:レインボー戦隊ロビン Reinbō sentai robin?) Animation director  
Script error–68 Sally the Witch Animation director  
Script error The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun Key animation  
Script error Puss 'n Boots Key animation  
Script error Flying Phantom Ship Animation director  
Script error Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves Key animation  
Script error–73 Akadō Suzunosuke (ja:赤胴鈴之助?) Animation supervisor assistant  
Script error Panda! Go, Panda! Animation director  
Script error Panda! Go, Panda!: The Rainy-Day Circus Animation director  
Script error Heidi, Girl of the Alps Character design, animation director Also related films
Script error 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother Character design, animation director, animation  
Script error Rascal the Raccoon Animation  
Script error Tatsu no ko Taro Character design, animation director  
Script error–83 Jarinko Chie Animation director , Character design <-- キャラクター設計 --> film and TV series
Script error Serendipity the Pink Dragon Anime character design  
Script error–85 Kojika Monogatari ( 子鹿物語?, The Yearling) Key animation  
Script error Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Key animation  
Script error–85 Adventures of the Little Koala Animation director  
Script error–86 Bumpety Boo Animation director  
Script error Sango-sho Densetsu: Aoi Umi no Erufii Character design TV special film
Script error Pokémon: The First Movie Animation supervisor Also Pikachu's Vacation short
Script error Marco: 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother Original character  
Script error Pokémon 3: The Movie Animation supervisor  
Script error–13 Pocket Monsters: Best Wishes! Season 2 Animation supervisor  
Script error–16 Pokémon XY Animation supervisor  
Script error Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction Animation supervisor Also Pikachu short
Script error Pokémon the Movie: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages Animation supervisor  

Awards and nominationsEdit

  • Animator/Animation Director award, Tokyo Anime Fair 6th Annual Awards of Merit, 2009.[1]
  • Special Achievement award, 19th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards, 2015.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Tokyo Anime Fair Announces 6th Annual Awards of Merit". Retrieved September 1, 2016. 
  2. "Reiko Okuyama passes away". Retrieved September 1, 2016. 
  3. "Nintendo 3DS". Retrieved February 29, 2016. 
  4. "N. Carolina's Animazement to Host Madhouse Co-Founder Masao Murayama". Retrieved September 1, 2016. 
  5. "井上俊之さん小黒祐一郎さんと一緒に『もっとアニメを観よう!』アフターレポート 作画史年表 日本アニメーター・演出協会(JAniCA)" (in Japanese). JAniCA. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
  6. "[異才列伝]より 森康二 穏やかで上品 「アニメの神様」 : ジブリをいっぱい : エンタメ : YOMIURI ONLINE(読売新聞)" (in Japanese). YOMIURI ONLINE. Retrieved April 16, 2013. 
  7. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}" (in Japanese). Media Arts Database. Japan: Agency for Cultural Affairs.✓&asf%5Bkeyword%5D=小田部羊一&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=tv_a&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=tv_sp&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=movie&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=ova&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=event&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=personal&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=etc&asf%5Bmedia%5D%5B%5D=blank. Retrieved September 1, 2016. 
  8. "Akiko Higashimura's Kakukaku Shikajika Manga Wins Media Arts Award". Retrieved September 1, 2016. 

External linksEdit

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