Comments regarding the similarities between V-Tuber avatars and Fire Emblem Engage characters expressed on social media may not be entirely unwarranted. Mika Pikazo, best known for creating V-Tuber characters Kaguya Luna and Hakos Baelz, is actually Fire Emblem Engage’s lead character designer.
Pikazo’s involvement with Fire Emblem was announced in September 2022 with a tweet reading, “I designed the characters for the Nintendo’s new FE title “Fire Emblem Engage.” Please look forward to the game!” along with stunning artwork of the male and female variants of the player character, Alear.
From January 6, 2023, until Fire Emblem Engage’s launch, Pikazo shared gorgeous artwork of various characters she designed and illustrated every day until the game’s launch. Since her initial announcement, she has enthusiastically retweeted various pieces of fanart from other Twitter users of the characters she crafted.
In an interview on Nintendo’s website, Intelligent Systems director Tsutomo Tei claimed that the team was looking for “an artist whose design style would appeal to a broad audience.” He described Mika Pikazo’s drawings as “Colorful,” “vivid,” and “a perfect fit for the flashy direction [they] wanted for [Fire Emblem Engage].” The decision to hire Pikazo was reportedly unanimous, with the entire team enamored by Pikao’s artwork.
The first characters Pikazo designed for the team were Alear and Céline, with Alear’s distinctive blue and red color scheme present from the beginning. Tei claims that Pikazo has been a Fire Emblem fan for some time and conceptualized Alear, Clanne, and Framme‘s color themes based on thematic choices from past titles.
Intelligent Systems producer Masahiro Higuchi claims that Yunaka particularly caught his attention, stating that “her personality and the way she talks is nothing like the characters we had before.” While he was wary at first, Higuchi warmed up to the character, describing her as “one of his favorites.”
Prior to her work on Fire Emblem Engage, Pikazo was arguably known best for the design of Hakos Baelz, an English-speaking V-Tuber associated with the virtual talent agency hololive. Pikazo has also illustrated a variety of manga and light novels, as well as characters in Fate/Grand Order.
Fire Emblem is not the only Nintendo franchise Pikazo has worked on, also providing artwork for Petilil and Volcarona in the Evolving Skies and Chilling Reign Pokémon card sets, respectively.
- This article was updated on January 24th, 2023