Today we have a different spin on some quality fighting game fan art. Now, we have seen the fan favorite characters of Dragon Ball FighterZ (and the Dragon Ball franchise in general) illustrated in numerous ways including Street Fighter 4’s promotional art style, but we have never seen them quite like this before.
Artist Justin Chien recently shared a handful of pieces on Twitter depicting some of the Dragon Ball Z heavy hitters in the Ukiyo-e Japanese art style. Seeing the likes of Super Saiyan Goku, Perfect Cell, and even Super Buu in this highly stylized, classic format is a real treat, and any of these pieces would be worthy of being framed and hung in any household.
The Ukiyo-e art style was prominent in Japan from the 17th century through the 19th century, with artists typically using it to create woodblock prints and paintings of subjects such as kabuki actors, moments in history, and more.
When applied to Dragon Ball Z, a lot of the elements we often see in these traditional works transfer over incredibly well. Chien brings staple scenes from the series to life here, such as Super Saiyan Goku taking on Frieza’s final form, Perfect Cell falling to Super Saiyan 2 Teen Gohan, and Super Saiyan 3 Goku facing Super Buu.
Each villain has a face that resembles an oni, with large fangs sticking out of their mouths and tongues that are even longer. While this is quite different from what they actually look like, the demonic look really works here and helps the whole effect hit that much harder.
The fighters’ poses are dynamic and capture pivotal moments in the story, and everything is further bolstered by spectacular backdrops that utilize clouds, fire, lightning and more to really set the stage. Chien pays extra close attention to detail with these scenes, and you can see this in things like Gohan’s other arm dangling to the side as his dominant arm fires a large Kamehameha beam at Cell.
Personally, it feels like the depictions of classic fighting game and pop culture characters in general that take things in a wildly different direction tend to be some of the best looks as it can be hard to make characters we know and love work properly in other art styles. Chien has certainly succeeded here, and there are more Ukiyo-e style pieces from the artist featuring One Piece, Demon Slayer, and more over on their Twitter page.
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