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Kia Asamiya (麻宮 騎亜 Asamiya Kia?, born on January 28, 1963 in Tokyo, Japan) is the pen-name of Japanese manga artist Michitaka Kikuchi whose work spans multiple genres and appeals to diverse audiences.
He is well known for using influences from American comics, television, and films in his work, and describes himself as a big fan of Batman and Star Wars. One of the most widely published Japanese manga artist, nearly all of his stories have been translated into other languages, including English. His two most successful and popular manga series to-date are Martian Successor Nadesico and Silent Möbius.
Before becoming a manga artist, Asamiya graduated from the Tokyo Designer School, then worked as a character designer for a number of anime series, and even designed models for some of the later Godzilla films (1980s). For this career, he used his real name, Michitaka Kikuchi (菊地 通隆 Kikuchi Michitaka?), and maintained the two professional identities separately for many years. Several of the anime series that he worked on were very popular inside and outside of Japan, most notably Sonic Soldier Borgman and Project A-ko. Even after focusing primarily on his manga career, Asamiya continued to do character designs and creative consultation on anime series based on his stories, occasionally under the Kikuchi name.
In the early 2000s, Asamiya has shifted his focus from teenage and young-adult stories to stories designed for children and for an American audience. In the former case, he credits his children as a motivation but, in the latter case, he points to a long-standing desire to work with his favorite American characters. To that end, he has worked on projects with Image Comics, Marvel Comics, and DC Comics, as well as developing a manga adaptation of the film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
While many Japanese artists (and artists in general) are quite reclusive, Asamiya often makes an effort to be available to his fans. He maintains a website with news and information about his studio, TRON (named after the Disney film Tron). He aids and assists his official fan club by sending them regular announcements and limited-edition merchandise. Despite these actions, he shunned all public photography and had the often-hilarious habit of depicting himself with a placeholder sign for a face. It has become a trademark feature of his books that instead of a picture of the artist, there is an elaborately decorated rectangle sporting the words "Now Printing".