If you’re a gamer who’s too young to remember when Sega made consoles or having six buttons on a controller was a big deal, you might look back on 8-bit video game artwork and chuckle. With everything made out of blocky pixels, it’s impossible to create the sort of fine details that modern hardware easily renders to differentiate one character from another, isn’t it?
Maybe not, as one fan has put his old-school pixel art skills to use to recreate 50 different famous manga heroes, all in the style of the original Mega Man.
It’s a little odd that a Twitter user with the screen name Namcophillia, which would mean “the love of Namco,” didn’t use one of the many classic characters under the Bandai Namco umbrella as his muse. Instead, he used Capcom’s Blue Bomber, Mega Man, as the model for his collection of decades worth of manga stars.
大作完成 #ジャンプ http://t.co/Udm8i8pxXd—
ナムコフィリア＠超人凶器 (@NAMCOPHILIA) November 14, 2014
Older characters are clustered at the top, with more recent favorites popping up the further down you go. Let’s see how many we can identify from the 50-strong roster.
Along the top row of our first block, we’ve got Kochi Kame’s gruff but loveable Ryo, space adventurer Cobra, and fin-headed wrestler Kinniku Man. Below them are three more perennial favorites, Arale from Dr. Slump (Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama’s first big hit), soccer sensation Captain Tsubasa, and man-of-few-words-and-many-head-exploding-punches Kenshiro, star of Fist of the North Star.
▼ Kenshiro isn’t quite as cute in his original form.
Dragon Ball Z’s Goku is unmistakable in his Super Saiyan form, and Pegasus Seiya at the top right also stands out in this block. Of course, it’s always easy to pick the flamboyant Jotaro Kujo out of a crowd, even if he isn’t presently engaged in one of his bizzare adventures, and that blond, shirtless individual at the bottom right must be the star of Jungle King Tar-chan.
▼ Like Kenshiro, Jotaro is a little more chiseled in his normal appearance.
Magical Taruruto-kun’s dual-pointed hood is a dead give away, as is the armor of Dragon Quests’s Dai and the fiery red hair of Slam Dunk’s Hanamichi Sakuragi, who apparently got Mega Man-ized sometime after the point in the manga where he ditches his pompadour for a close-cropped style (but before he got his own custom Nikes). In the bottom right corner, we almost missed the star of Hell Teacher Nube, but his cowlick and cursed left hand blew his cover.
Moving on to characters from after anime and manga established a foothold overseas, the characters become even more recognizable. Reformed swordsman Himura Kenshin, Hoshin Engi’s Konron are standing in the top row, with One Piece’s Luffy and Hunter X Hunter’s Gon along the bottom, plus the prince of tennis himself, Ryoma Echizen, and recently retired Naruto.
▼ What kind of pension package do ninjas get?
Finally, our very last batch features supernatural swordfighter extraordinaire Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach and all-star tailback Senna Kobayakawa from Eyeshield 21 along the upper edge. Lined up beneath them are Gin Tama’s crafty Gintoki, To Love-Ru’s devil-like alien Lala, adventuring gourmand Toriko, basketball player Kuroko, and, perhaps the easiest character to identify in the whole set, Assassination Classroom’s Koro-sensei.
▼ Sena Kobayawaka, who combines the hairstyle of Astro Boy with the running style of LaDanian Tomlinson
As awesome as Namcophilia’s artwork is, though, we can’t help but feel a little irked that our only perfect section came on the very last line of five characters. If you beat our score of 27, give yourself a pat on the back, and if you’ll excuse us, we have some research/manga-binging to attend to.