Adapted from BOX=ART
Jun Suemi is a Japanese master in fantasy realism, with a distinctive style that has made him renowned throughout the role playing game (RPG) world, with notable work for the Wizardry and Brandish series.
After graduating from the Musashino Art University as an oil painter, Jun would go on to produce his first commissioned artwork for the novel Galaxy Crusade in 1983. Book cover art would become a staple in his career, with Jun producing artwork for the long running series Guin Saga and Makai City Blues, among many others.
Although Jun’s early work for the Wizardry series (see below) likely elevated his profile as an illustrator in the video game industry, he had already illustrated box art for games as early as 1984, within a year of his first commissioned artwork. Jun Suemi’s first box art appears to have been for Japanese 8-bit home computers, a title from Login Soft named The Hokkaido Serial Murders: Missing in the Okhotsk (Hokkaidō Rensa Satsujin: Okhotsk ni Kiyu). In the next two years, Jun would illustrate two MSX boxes for ASCII Corporation followed by Silpheed box art in 1986 for Game Arts Co., Ltd. Jun would return to illustrate Silpheed again in 1993 for the Japan and Europe Mega CD releases.
In 1987, Jun served as a monster designer for the Famicom release of Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord from the long-running Wizardry RPG series. The monster illustrations Jun created would later appear on the back of the box for Nexoft’s U.S. NES release of the game in 1990; OVGA has included in Additional Images Jun’s monster design work for the first Famicom Wizardry game.
Jun would remain associated with the Wizardry series for many years. He would be credited as a monster designer for both subsequent Famicom Wizardry releases as well as for the 1992 Super Famicom release of Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom. Later, Jun would provide box art for two titles in the series: Wizardry: Llylgamyn Saga (1998) and Wizardry: New Age of Llylgamyn (2001), both for the Sony PlayStation. His 1998 art for Llylgamyn Saga also adorns the box art for the rare 1999 Super Famicom release Wizardry I•II•III: Story of Llylgamyn, a remake and compilation of the first three Wizardry games.
While not primarily known as a mecha designer, many of his early box arts—Silpheed (PC-88 MkII SR, 1986), Veigus: Tactical Gladiators (PC Engine, 1990), Fire Hawk: Thexder the Second Contact (MSX, 1989), and separate box art for Slipheed (Mega CD, 1993)—would show his talent in this area reminiscent of veteran mecha illustrators Yoshiyuki Takani (Phalanx, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake) and Shigeru Komatsuzaki.
Starting with the box art for Brandish 2 on the PC-98, Jun’s distinctive look of strong, slender and eroticized women accompanied by equally slender, handsome and armor-clad men would be established. His Brandish 2 box art would also depict a style of art he would repeat in many subsequent boxes—instead of a detailed background, Jun would paint colored swirls of mist and bellows of dense fog surrounding his characters as if they were far removed from their world. This design choice imparted on his characters a look of lofty, heroic and grandiose qualities: a sense that perhaps they were fallen angels, seeped in ancient history.
Jun’s skilful use of oils gave his art its aged look (see Asuncia and Brandish 4) that would be complemented by characters rife with Middle Age design traits.
He’d carry on through the 1990s producing excellent box art for Nosteratu (Super Famicom, 1994), Renny Blaster (PC Engine, 1995), and Asuncia (PlayStation, 1997) as well as for sequels Brandish 3 and Brandish 4. Closing the decade he’d become involved in a new series; Zill O’ll (PlayStation, 1999).
In the new millennium, Jun would carry on with the Zill O’ll and Wizardry series in addition to character design for the PlayStation Portable series Rengoku (2005–2006). He would also be in demand throughout this period as a collectable card game illustrator for games such as Battle Spirits, Monster Collection, and Culdcept Saga.
Renowned for being media shy and not one for interviews, Jun’s box art thankfully does the talking for him.
OVGA has included below Jun Suemi 末弥純’s full box art catalogue:
- Hokkaidō Rensa Satsujin: Okhotsk ni Kiyu a.k.a. The Hokkaido Serial Murders: Missing in the Okhotsk (Login Soft | PC-6001, PC-88 | 1984)
- Hokkaidō Rensa Satsujin: Okhotsk ni Kiyu a.k.a. The Hokkaido Serial Murders: Missing in the Okhotsk (Login Soft | MSX | 1984)
- Seiken Achō a.k.a. Kung-Fu Master (ASCII Corporation | MSX | 1985)
- Dungeon Master (ASCII Corporation | MSX | 1986)
- Silpheed (Game Arts Co., Ltd. | PC-88 MkII SR | 1986)
- Veigues: Tactical Gladiators (Game Arts | PC-88, Turbografx-16| 1988)
- Fire Hawk: Thexder The Second Contact (Game Arts | DOS, MSX, PC-88 | 1989)
- Libros de Chilam Balam (Right Stuff Corp. | PC-98 | 1992)
- Brandish 2: The Planet Buster (Nihon Falcom Corp | PC-98, SNES| 1993)
- Slipheed (Game Arts | Mega CD-EUR/JPN | 1993)
- Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan (Nihon Falcom Corp | PC-98 | 1994)
- First Queen IV (Kure Software Koubou | PS1 | 1994)
- Nosteratu (Seta | SNES | 1994)
- The Hybrid Front (Sega | Mega Drive | 1994)
- Sword World SFC2 | T&E Soft | SNES| 1994)
- Brandish RENEWAL (Nihon Falcom Corp | PC-98 | 1995)
- Brandish 2: The Planet Buster RENEWAL (Nihon Falcom Corp | PC-98, SNES| 1995)
- Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan RENEWAL (Nihon Falcom Corp | PC-98 | 1995)
- Dark Seraphim (Kure Software Koubou | PC-98 | 1995)
- Renny Blaster (AV | PS1 | 1995)
- Brandish VT (Nihon Falcom Corp | PC-98 | 1996)
- Not Treasure Hunter (Acti-Art | PS1 | 1996)
- Asuncia: Curse of Matsue (XING | PS1 | 1997)
- Brandish 4: Nemureru Kami no Tou (Nihon Falcom Corp | Windows | 1998)
- Wizardry: Llylgamyn Saga (ASCII Entertainment Software | PS1 | 1998)
- Zill O’ll (Koei Co. | PS1 | 1999)
- Apsaras (Koei | Windows | 2000)
- Wizardry: New Age of Llylgamyn (ASCII Entertainment Software | PS1 | 2001)
- Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory (Hudson Soft | PSP-JPN | 2005)
- Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory (Hudson Soft | PSP-USA/EUR | 2005)
- Rengoku II: The Stairway to Heaven (Hudson Soft | PSP-EUR/JPN | 2006)
- Rengoku II: The Stairway to Heaven (Hudson Soft | PSP-USA | 2006)
- Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll | Koei Co. | PS3 | 2011)
- Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll Premium Box (Koei Co. | PS3 | 2011)
- Wizardry: Twin Pack / Wizardry (ASCII Entertainment Software | PS3 | 2011)