Japanese Illustrator Asteroid: Wandering Through The Ruins Of The Future

Whether they are set in the past or in an imagined future, ruins are a favorite subject of illustrators working in the fantasy and science-fiction genres. Not only can they be very visually appealing, they can provide the backdrop for a potentially rich narrative about a once flourishing world and the reasons for its demise.

Japanese illustrator Asteroid (stylized in Japanese as あすてろid) often depicts ruins of what seems to be a future world, either of or own planet or perhaps another world where the human race (or what has become of it) has traveled to. Traces of humanity appear both in the towering and toppled megastructures of its former habitations or in more subtle ways, through crumbling torii Shinto gates. In most illustrations, however, the vast, natural world is seen in the process of reclaiming the landscapes, overgrown vegetation and moss covering the structures, waterfalls pouring through husks of twisted metal.

Another distinguishing feature in much of Asteroid’s work is the presence of a witness, a girl with long white hair called IZ who wanders through these landscapes exploring, observing and pondering the meaning of what she sees, her internal monologue displayed in the form of captions. Moreover, much of the art is framed in the context of what seems to be a video game, with a radar screen, notifications about trophies received for accomplished quests, various commands such as “fight,” “equipment,” and “map,” and IZ’s hit point and energy meter.

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