Tsutomu Nihei (born February 26, 1971) is a seinen mangaka. His works include vast amounts of postcyberpunk Scenery Porn with neat building structure due to the fact that he studied architecture. He's also gained a large cult following in Germany. Aside from the more famous series he's written, he's made several one-shot comics, including Blame Academy, a High School AU parody of his own series and 5 Wolverine comics published by Marvel Comics.
A Halo fan, he was quite inspired by that series' megastructures, and was doubtless quite happy to write and illustrate part of The Halo Graphic Novel.
Series he's written
- NOiSE, which is a prequel to the above.
- Biomega, which is not.
- Knights of Sidonia: Not to be confused with Knights of Cydonia by Muse.
Tropes related to Tsutomu Nihei:
- Aborted Arc: Has become slightly infamous for this - several of his one-shot works were intended to be pilot episodes for their own series—but for one reason or another they never came to fruition.
- Art Evolution: Especially notable over the course of BLAME!, his longest manga.
- Author Appeal: Absurdly scaled architecture, powerful weapons, transhumanism, and bears.
- It's also possible to say that Nihei likes everything to be huge. Environments: huge (Blame's setting is a structure so enormous that its mostly-solid volume has expanded beyond the orbit of Jupiter from the Sun). Architecture: huge (the interior of said megastructure is laced with hallways that are hundreds of miles long and deep). Monsters: huge (gauna appear at several points in Knights of Sidonia that dwarf the main characters' generation ship). Love interests: huge (main character Nagate ends up with his comrade in arms Tsumugi…a vaguely woman-shaped alien crustacean/human hybrid who is the size of a battlemech for most of their courtship). Guns…really really small, but with huge output (the well-known Gravitational Beam Emitter is palm-sized, but can create beams of destruction that don't lose their coherence for hundreds of miles).
- BFG/Hand Cannon: Loves exceptionally powerful ones at that. Most of the guns he comes up with can easily be described as being about "misapplied force". In other words, guns way, way, waaaaaaaay too powerful to justify use on a person. The most (in)famous example is likely the Graviton Beam Emitter, a weapon about the size of your average Glock. It's so powerful that it doesn't quite fit under the umbrella of Hand Cannon, more as a Wave-Motion Gun.
- Bio Punk: Nihei really likes to blur the distinction between mechanical and Organic Technology. In Biomega, this is done to such a degree that after a few volumes, the distinction becomes more or less meaningless.
- Cyberpunk: NOiSE being a fitting example.
- Dull Surprise: A common criticism leveled at his rendition of human characters.
- Finally averted with Knights of Sidonia, where main character Tanikaze is blazing with emotions up to humorous level. Other characters tend to be more stoic but nevertheless often show surprise, happiness, shock and even mass cheering. Tanikaze still takes the cake with his hilarious expressions.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Nearly all of his manga take place during or after Earth has been destroyed in some creative way.
- Blameverse: Deconstructed to build a Dyson Sphere.
- Biomega: Turned into a giant wormlike thing.
- Sidoniaverse: Consumed by the Gaunas.
- Humongous Mecha: Show up in short stories Zeb-Noid and Winged Armor Suzumega and the new serial Knights of Sidonia seems to be Nihei's take on the typical Mecha story. Strange in that its mechs lack the technorganic quality that has come to define the author's work.
- Mukokuseki: Most of his manga have several distinctly Asian-looking characters, although considering the trans-human leanings of most of them, this could often be more an issue of personal taste than ethnicity.
- Silence Is Golden: It's a distinctive trait of Nihei for his works.
- Silent Scenery Panel
- So My Kids Can Watch: Aposimz is an interesting example, according to an interview, the manga has a glacial setting due the fact that his daughter told him that a manga with a dark palette was boring, and he should do something brighter, like... Attack on Titan.... We're well aware of the Irony.
- The 'Verse: The Blameverse, so far consisting of, in rough chronological order:
- Netsphere Engineer!
- Abara, Knights of Sidonia and a short Humongous Mecha piece called Winged Armor Suzumega, also known as The Armored Insects Sphingidae may also have some connection, as all feature aliens known as Gaunas, though they're somewhat different in each incarnation, ranging from spiny, shape-shifting humanoids in Abara, to giant fetus-like monsters in Sidonia, while in Suzumega it's not exactly clear what they're supposed to be. Dialogue in Suzumega, referring to a "Planet Vanishing" and Sidonia's premise of being an evacuee ship from Earth, which was destroyed by the Gaunas also apparently allude to the events of Abara.
- Likewise, Aposimz is possibly in the same universe as well, as the titular planet hosts the remnants of a highly advanced human colony, and uses many similar terminology such as the Regular Frames relying on "placenta", which is the same organic material Gauna are made of.
- Then again, it could be he's just pulling an H. P. Lovecraft and reusing names and themes to create the impression of a Mythos.
- Word of God: He has cleared the confusion—Biomega is not in the same 'verse as BLAME!.