The Making of Onikuma IP Character Design 👹
“It all begins with his adolescence — with rolling hills and raging rivers, rice and watermelon fields.
A young human that has often traversed the surrounding mountains with his trusted slingshots; he sought birds to shoot.
Each day, he traveled higher up the mountains, where he found a cave, but not an ordinary cave. He thought an old sage lived there, but he was sorely mistaken.”
“One fall morning, while he played in the cave, its dweller returned.
It stood six feet tall, roomy, its skin was fire red, a stark contrast to the cold metal of its robotic arm. Its face was expressionless, mouth agape. As he caught its smell — a sickening mixture of odors, both sweet and noxious — it removed its goggles to reveal eyes like portals to another world.
He fired at it with our slingshots, but it didn’t work… He froze with fear, and his breath was stolen away.”
Onikuma Gaming is a melting pot of crossing stories from all over. In 2016, before it turned to be what we see now, a small startup team lost in the maze of electronic manufacturing in the kingdom of Shenzhen was there selling gaming headsets on internet without a brand helping them to stand out from the horde of products that populated the Amazon “metropolis”.
During the year 2018, the creative design team that has meanwhile started in 2020 Naturality Digital was challenged to take over what we can admire now: a very unique-looking visual identity brand designed as a unique masterpiece to help Onikuma Gaming corporate to be one of the few original brands made in China in the most recent years.
This Is Where It Starts
Onikuma look and feel was entirely built on a mixture of reality and imagination, which is melting together the story of the founder Liu Ming, a grown-up successful entrepreneur born in a tiny village in the rural area of China, and the creativity of a team of designers capable to bridge China and Italy by cooking together a perfect mixture of ingredients taken from influential franchises such as the Japanese “Dragon Ball”, the novel “IT” of Stephen King, and the early process of the conceptualization of the brand made out of Japanese mythology and Native American religions.
Engineering The “Dr.Onikuma”
“Where he expected a roar from deep within the beast, it sang a magical song. Its chant pulsed like a wave of thunder and echoed across the mountainside. He covered his ears, and ran, ran, but by the song’s crescendo, he got deafened.”
“By the end of it he had left the cave long behind, and the beast was firmly out of sight. He didn’t know then, but he’d be changed forever. As he recalled its eyes its song kept playing in our heads, a wordless ballad lurking at the back of our minds, unceasing — a story of The One Called Onikuma.”
Drawing the Onikuma character was quite straightforward. We “simply” had to give a body to a lost head with the shades, color, and shape of which can be found in its stylized appearance. The traits of an anime character, the demon-bear totem-faced Onikuma is depicted as a cyborg beast whose magical song awakens the ears of the listener to appreciate the beauty of the world. Accompanying the user in a game-within-a-game narrative, the Onikuma character finds himself populating his imagination and, ultimately, fueling the very image of the brand itself.
Shaping Up The Brand Visual Identity
“As he traveled back down the mountain, his hearing returned, and slowly, the world became alive with sound. That sound heard was the world’s true song for the first time.”
“How hadn’t he heard it before? The raging river’s flow, the birds’ calls, and the snow’s crunch under the feet were music to his ears. The message became clear: The One Called Onikuma wanted the world’s beauty to be heard by all.”
Turning On The Cyborg
“Since that fateful day, he has sought to share the world’s song. With his keen ears, and eager heart, he created Onikuma Gaming. This is not an ordinary story, but had the beast not awakened his ears, he’d not be able to share his experience with the world. So whenever you use Onikuma Gaming Headphones, thank The One We Call Onikuma, and game-like one possessed.”
We didn’t stop there. The production team got into a special session of “Hero Shooting” to capture the upcoming new products of Onikuma Gaming. The final result can be seen on www.onikumagaming.com (at the year 2019).
Finally, we managed to give a forever home to Onikuma by building a fully customized Shopify e-commerce website from zero. Starting from its content, the design, and a code written from scratch.