Creator Spotlight: Sano Toshihide

Sano Toshihide 佐野俊英
also known as: Sanu さぬ
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Curriculum Vitae
Translated loosely from his Wikipedia article: Sano Toshihide was born on April 20th (year unknown) on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. After studying fine arts in primary school he attended design college, and was subsequently drafted into eroge company Tech Arts, Inc. He was elevated to the position of primary character designer with the company following the abrupt resignation of Hazawa Takeshi in 1998, helming the production of MBS TRUSE’s (later to become MBS TRUTH) Keshouzakura.
the first game designed by Sano Toshihide, MBS TRUSE's Keshouzakura
the first game designed by Sano Toshihide, MBS TRUSE’s Keshouzakura

He formed a well-recieved partnership with scenario writer Nekoyanagi Manbo for the duration of his stay at MBS TRUTH, but was transferred from the brand in late 1999 to form Ripe, a new label that would bring his illustrative talents to the fore.
Ripe's Private Emotion, the work that cemented Sano Toshihide's reputation as an illustrator of the
Ripe’s Private Emotion, the work that branded him as an illustrator of “older sister” characters

The release of Ripe’s Private Emotion in the fall of 2001 was his first true smash hit, cementing his reputation as a master of the onee-san (older sister) archetype. Following the release of a few more games on the Ripe label, in 2003 Tech created the G.J? brand for the purpose of propelling him to further prominence and consolidating his image as an illustrator of the onee-san type. He retains his position as lead designer there to this day.

Akibakei Kanojo Futago no Haha Seihonnou Ane to Boin Shichinin no Online Gamers Tsuma to Mama to Boin Queen Bonjourno Anata no Shiranai Kangofu

The current G.J? game lineup, from left to right:

Other Work
Many products derivative of Sano Toshihide-designed games have been created that he’s had varying degrees of involvement with. Primary among these are the two artbooks of his work, Ripe Koushiki Sano Toshihide Art Works released in April of 2002, and “All About G.J?” G.J? Official Fan Book released in June of 2006.


Sano Toshihide artbook Ripe Koushiki Sano Toshihide Art Works Sano Toshihide artbook All about G.J? G.J? Official Fan Book

Aside from the two books above he has penned the covers for numerous game novelizations, eroanime adaptations, and manga anthologies, as well as several magazine inserts; a list of many of these can be found at Wikipedia. No PVC figures have been crafted based on his designs, though at least two resin kits have; pictures below taken from HD’s coverage of WHF Ariake 16 and Wonder Festival 2006 Winter:

Hanamaru Rurisu from G.J?'s Ane to Boin, as designed by Sano Toshihide and sculpted by Vispo Hanamaru Rurisu from G.J?'s Ane to Boin, as designed by Sano Toshihide and sculpted by Vispo Hanamaru Rurisu from G.J?'s Ane to Boin, as designed by Sano Toshihide and sculpted by Vispo Monnbrun (Nagaregawa Kohane) from G.J?'s Shichinin no Online Gamers, designed by Sano Toshihide (sculptor unknown) Monnbrun (Nagaregawa Kohane) from G.J?'s Shichinin no Online Gamers, designed by Sano Toshihide (sculptor unknown) Monnbrun (Nagaregawa Kohane) from G.J?'s Shichinin no Online Gamers, designed by Sano Toshihide (sculptor unknown)
left: Hanamaru Rurisu from Ane to Boin, sculpted by Vispo
right: Monnbrun (Nagaregawa Kohane‘s online character) from Shichinin no Online Gamers, sculptor unknown


The most recent incarnation of Sano’s illustrative might was announced just today in the form of the first Purichichi dakimakura, an “enhanced” hug pillow timed for release roughly in conjunction with Anata no Shiranai Kangofu later this summer; we’ll be following this item closely as details emerge.
Web Presence
Sano’s website has been online at its present location since at least April 9th, 2003; after an initial stream of regular diary updates and occasional image postings his activity tapered off and by 2004 updates were coming once every few months. He closed the site entirely on December 26th, 2005, only to reopen it in April of ’06 in its present incarnation (sadly without any images whatsoever). Below are thumbnails of the few site top images still floating around the ‘net:

Sano Toshihide personal website top image Sano Toshihide personal website top image Sano Toshihide personal website top image Sano Toshihide personal website top image

Impressions
In my opinion, Sano’s gift lies in his ability to express something subtle yet profoundly feminine in his drawings. The delicate, refined, almost wistful yet sophisticated construction of his faces, varying in tone from childlike innocence to predatory guile to mild-mannered simplicity, presents a style that transcends cuteness and manifests in a mature beauty. When combined with a keen sense of raw physicality and enough knowledge of basic anatomy to know how to depart from that knowledge effectively Sano is able to sublimate the female form into something both majestic and almost unbearably erotic. He is without a doubt one of the greatest artists in the eroge field today, and one whose future career I’ll be watching with great anticipation.

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0 Responses to Creator Spotlight: Sano Toshihide

  1. P Laskey May 30, 2007 at 10:23 pm #

    I wish I could be “drafted into an eroge company”… got to agree with your conclusion,
    Sano’s work really stands out from the usual eroge art.

  2. R8 May 31, 2007 at 12:16 am #

    AWWWWEEEESOME. The creator spotlight I’ve been waiting for. Sano’s my ultra fave artist in the eroge world. I need to get that Ripe book. Do you know if it’s any good? though i doubt it’d be that bad. juss wondering if it’s mostly promo art or if it’s mostly hcgs from ripe games or a good mix of both like the all about g.j. is there bigger images of those website pics? there’s two i haven’t seen (the 1st two ero ones ^^;;). Anyways, thanks Shingo, awesome post. I can’t wait for Anata no Shiranai Kangofu.
    Hmm…wonder who’s next on the creator spotlight?…
    hope it’s tatsunami youtoku ^^

  3. loplop May 31, 2007 at 2:33 am #

    Ane to Boin and Tsuma to Mama to Boin are two of my all time favorite eroges. The “All About G.J?” G.J? Official Fan Book is probably the best one out there, especially for those bakunyuu fans out there like myself . . .

  4. Kuzunoha Yukari June 4, 2007 at 8:26 am #

    Once again, you’ve come through for us, Shingo!
    Now that I know what books to put on my Amazon.co.jp shopping list this month, I patiently await your next Creator Spotlight.

  5. Moevore June 12, 2007 at 2:48 pm #

    Wow – Thanks so much for the profile! I love his work. Its great to know so much more about him. If only there were a few more books in print as well. Are there ever any “game guides” produced for works like Queen Bonjourno?

  6. Anonymous August 24, 2007 at 4:22 pm #

    Looks like there’s a new Sano artbook coming out (or perhaps it is already out, I can’t really read Japanese). I wonder whether it has all the stuff from Ane to Boin’s sequel and 7 Online Gamers Offline since All About G.J? didn’t cover those games completely.

  7. Shingo August 24, 2007 at 4:34 pm #

    >>Anonymous
    Yep, we covered the new artbook a week or so ago. It’s coming out on August 31st and will contain samples of his work from the past several years, including Tsuma to Mama to Boin, Shichinin no Online Gamers, Queen Bonjourno and Anata no Shiranai Kangofu (which was just released today! Banzai!). At 96 pages it won’t be a complete survey of all the game material; it seems more oriented toward special publicity material and stuff that hasn’t otherwise been published in other compilations (or games).

  8. Mr Defeater September 2, 2007 at 4:38 am #

    nice work I love sano

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