Azure Striker Gunvolt’s Anime And Manga Influences

By Ishaan . April 9, 2014 . 5:45pm

Azure Striker Gunvolt, the upcoming Nintendo 3DS action-platformer by Inti Creates, has a very distinct visual style. If you grew up watching anime in the ‘80s or ‘90s, you might have felt that Gunvolt—even what little has been shown of it thus far—reminded you of those days.


Despite the fact that we haven’t seen very much of the game, there’s already a subtle bit of world-building going on in Gunvolt’s promotional material, including the piece of art you see above, with a brightly-lit city against the night sky. That piece of art is what originally got me interested in the game, and speaking with Gunvolt director Yoshihisa Tsuda, I brought it up.


“The world-building which you have seen is used for almost all scenes [in the game],” Tsuda said. “I decided that Gunvolt would fight with lightning strikes during early stages of development. At that point, I emphasized the ‘Night View of the Near Future’ world-building that I considered to be the most effective for Gunvolt.”


I then brought up the anime influence and asked Tsuda if he could lend me any insight into what had inspired the style adopted for Azure Striker Gunvolt.


“I’ve had a lot of formative experiences involving anime and comics from the ‘90s, so I believe Azure Striker Gunvolt has been influenced by those as well,” Tsuda replied. “For example, in the case of anime, this is before the ‘90s, but Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac, Giant Robo (OVA,) Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, and such.”


“In terms of manga,” said Tsuda, “Locke the Superman (by Yuki Hijiri), Fuma no Kojiro (by Masami Kurumada), Raimei no Zaji (by Masami Kurumada), Commander 0 (by Jun Tomizawa) and many other splendid works of anime and comics have been an inspiration.”


Ultimately, however, Azure Striker Gunvolt is meant to be a fast-paced side-scrolling action game, so despite emphasizing a certain kind of world-view, you can’t spend too much on trying to tell the player a story, which is something Tsuda is aware of.


“I think that it is the essence of an action game to play them many times and to improve step-by-step,” he shared. “Similarly, Azure Striker Gunvolt aims for a structure where the story can gradually be understood by the player through obtaining snippets of information.”


“In Azure Striker Gunvolt, the story will be told in the action game through messages that automatically appear on the screen as you play. It’s a system that will have players put together these fragmented messages, as they start understanding the story and character’s feelings better.”


Azure Striker Gunvolt will be available for the Nintendo 3DS in North America and Japan this Summer. A European release for the game is still being figured out.

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  • I guess Duo Maxwell of Gundam Wing inspired Gunvolt’s design in terms of his long braided ponytail.

  • This is the love-child of nostalgia and pure ecstasy. (As is Mighty No. 9)
    I shall reiterate my hype as succinctly possible. *ahem*

    *explodes in fanboy rolling around on the floor*

  • Kornelious

    Anime and manga influences….+100 to Azure Striker :D

    • Ric Vazquez


  • Taedirk

    Did they ever say anything about the weird braid/midriff change from the other day?

    • Smokefall

      Their twitter (GunvoltOfficial) says, “I do not know the detailed reason. I have heard that it is indication of Aizu’s producer.”

    • RajaNaga

      That’s disappointing. : someone should create a petition to make them change their minds, American-ifying the character is really unnecessary. His design looks much better without the change imo, and the sprites will look less interesting too.

      • John Diamond

        i prefer the us style actually

  • TheGioG

    Anime and manga influences WITH the intention of being a spiritual successor to the MegaMan Zero series. Seriously, that trifecta of awesomeness is seen plain as day in their neat character designs (I HAVE to see more of the game’s bosses).

    • natchu96

      May Zero’s legacy live forever.

      • Ric Vazquez


  • They censor the main guy in the English version lol

    • Chaos_Knight

      I’m actually glad they did though. His belly showing was a bit bothersome to me. But they didn’t have to remove his braided ponytail though. That’s what makes him the “new Zero”.

      • urbanscholar

        I like my bare mid drifts, just saying

        • TheFoolArcana

          I like them on women more than men.

      • Hahaha yeah the braid should stay

      • RajaNaga

        Bothersome despite so many female designs having it? I can never understand the outrage, guys showing midrift shouldn’t be looked at as “strange” character design.

        • Elizabeth ‘Ely’ Moreno

          Hey wait a second, nobody said anything about approving it on women (well, except TheFoolArcana, and I guess urbanscholar too). Just talking about me here, but I personally find it bothersome on both genders. I’m not alone on the side of “no to sexualize any gender”, right?
          Still, I know there are outfits that show the midriff for reasons (mostly cultural ones) and I can be ok with it if they give the correct explanation. But in this case, I feel the same as when they give females a bikini armor. You are fighting against who knows what for God’s sake, why would you left exposed your midriff when, like, half of your vital organs are there? But again, that’s just me.

      • natchu96

        Keep the ponytail and censor the midriff with skintight suit if they have to. Looks more Zero-y

  • Aoshi00

    lol, I was a huge fan of Kurumada Masami too, Saint Seiya, and before that Ring ni Kakero and Fuma no Kojirou.. cannot wait for this and Mighty No. 9. Megaman 9 & 10 weren’t bad, but this is the real deal :) The city in the background is mesmerizing.. I hope both games would have awesome soundtracks, want to hear Gunvolt’s theme too.. No.9’s is awesome. though I wish this could be on console too like No.9 instead of handheld only..

    • As much as I wish it were console as well, I’m am, and never will complain about it’s platform. Megaman Zero and Battle Network were on handhelds and they were super tight games. This game also looks like it’ll feel right at home on the 3DS as well.

      And since I’ve mentioned it, we really really could use another Battle Network game. They were a personal favorite of mine and Megaman’s design in it was slick as heck.

      • Aoshi00

        It’s just my personal preference, I like platformers and am more of a console guy, like Megaman 8 or Megaman X4 on big TV, even Symphony of the Night, or MM 9 & 10.. I was okay w/ handheld before, but my eyesight’s not as good as it used to be, it’s tiring to play on handheld for me, I can’t play handheld for a prolonged period of time. Just thought it would be great if it’s multiplatform like No.9. If a game is on both console and handheld I choose to play on the TV (even FFX/X-2 HD again), just like Peacewalker HD (and much needed 2nd analog stick). I would still get it on the 3DS of course. I wonder if it would get ported eventually to console like Batman Origins Blackgate or Castlevania Mirrors of Fate.. these platformers are suitable for PSN/XBLA too.

        • You know what? That’s a very good point. I hadn’t even thought of it that way, thanks for clarifying!

  • “I’ve had a lot of formative experiences involving anime and comics from the ‘90s, so I believe Azure Striker Gunvolt has been influenced by those as well,”

    Yeah, the artwork from the promo image looks very 90’s, which for me is a major plus. Wouldn’t have guessed that Saint Seiya was an inspiration, but can sort of see the stylization in the art.

  • urbanscholar

    I surprised there was no mention of Astro Boy/Tetsuwan Atom. Then again I’m guessing that’s the base standard for near future mecha influences

    • Renaldi Saputra

      yeah, well, Tetsuwan Atom was the very first series that involves future technologies and robots

  • Duo Maxwell’s hairstyle

  • seiya19

    Always nice to see Kurumada getting recognition. Can’t say I see much of him in here, but either way the game looks great.

    I don’t approve of modifying aesthetic designs according to region though… Hard to believe we can’t get this pointless (at least, in my opinion) practice behind us nowadays, given the globalized world we live in…

  • LexKitteh

    For those who haven’t seen, they changed Gunvolt’s design for the US version of the game. They removed his ponytail, and covered his bare midriff.

    • neocatzon

      I don’t care the midriff is there or not but do they have to remove the ponytail too?

      • Ace Esper

        I’m not gonna miss the ponytail, but what an odd thing to take out. Same goes for the midriff. Oh well.

        • neocatzon

          They should remove his manhood too for you know, incite burn on whoever didn’t like the original.
          (I always welcome second coming of Aile)

    • Armane

      Their 80s/90s anime influences even extended to inane censorship!

  • Kroz

    I’ll admit the midriff is off putting, but it doesn’t hurt the design at all. And I really hate it when designs are changed like this, I want to see how the creators envisioned their characters. This isn’t censoring, it’s “americanizing”.

  • alfare

    Something about this game feels really old school. Like NES-kind of old school.

  • Yan Zhao

    This game is an guaranteed purchase for sure.

  • RocKM001 .

    “Europe is still being figured out”

    Why do those words not fill me w/ confidence?

  • David Alexander

    I wonder if Ky Kiske is also an inspiration to the main character design.

  • J_Joestar

    That section in the trailer where the mech shows up kinda reminds me of…
    though GV doesn’t really use his electricity powers to propel ammo

  • heartless141

    getting the japanese ver.
    but man why did they have to remove the ponytail in the US ver. the Legacy of Zero is not suppose to be missing out one of his main feature.
    All Zeroes has ponytails.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    They just had to edit something thing out lol…. his Ponytail?…….what why hahaha! I found it funny * day 1 buy* Ponytails made him metrosexual badass

  • The 80s and 90s were a great time for anime. I go back and watch things I missed from back then as opposed to the stuff that’s out these days.

    • French

      I’m exactly the same.

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