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Hajime Katoki

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Hajime Katoki (カトキハジメ, Katoki Hajime, born 1963) is a popular Japanese mecha designer. A member of the studio Sunrise, he is highly noted for his work on the Gundam series as well as his work on video games, such as the Virtual On series and Policenauts. Hajime Katoki was one of the mechanical designers who worked on Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, and Mobile Suit Victory Gundam. Mr. Katoki was lead designer for the Wing follow-up OVA Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. After having redesigned the upgraded Gundams with a more sleek look, Mr. Katoki went back and redesigned the original Gundams to hold with the appearance of their successors seen in Endless Waltz. The names for these version of the Gundams is usually followed by "Ver. Ka."

Biography

Born in 1963, Katoki gained fame with his designs for the graphic novel Gundam Sentinel. He then worked in the OVA series Gundam 0083, where he designed the famous RX-78 GP03 Dendrobium Orchis mobile weapon. His next big work was V Gundam, where he was the main mechanical designer, creating the main mobile suits Victory Gundam, V2 Gundam and the hefty V2 Assault Buster Gundam. After that, he worked in G Gundam, now in design of the evil mobile suits. He then worked in Gundam Wing on some minor mobile suits, but in Gundam Wing Endless Waltz he designed all of the mobile suits, and re-designed the Gundams with a more fantastic style, creating one of his most famous mechs: the XXXG-00W0 Wing Gundam Zero Custom. To correspond with these new designs, he also redesigned the 5 original Gundams from Gundam Wing, as a result, his redesign of Wing Gundam has become a popular model kit.

Katoki’s designs usually have a blocky, sturdy look to them that has lead many fans to say his designs are the way giant robots should look. His excellent attention to detail makes him a wonderful illustrator for diagrams and cutaway views of mecha that help many people visualize his designs as real machines. Katoki also has worked in Super Robot Wars and Virtual On video games, and in the Patlabor 2 movie. He also collaborates quite frequently with Bandai, often doing touch-up designs for the Master Grade model kits and production of the Gundam Fix Figuration (G.F.F.) series action figures.

In his art book Gundam Fix Katoki said, "Do people, like myself, spend time imagining what it would be like if Gundam robots were actually present on the streets of our cities? Are you sure you're not limiting yourself to the images that were offered in the animated series? One of the reasons that I fell in love with Gundam was that it excites me to imagine what it would be like if these machines actually existed, and I worry that other fans may be losing out..." He said he hopes his work will catch peoples' attention"...then people who had never before been drawn in by the magic of these giant robots may discover their attraction for the first time."

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