Living in a Distorted World: Illustrator Neko Medo (Black Cheshire Cat, Sakura Miike)


Appreciating the Energy of American Comics

The more of these interviews I write up, the more I try to find interesting, witty ways to write them. But sometimes I can’t help but admire things that are written with a lot of energy, that pack a punch. 


You know, like American comics or cartoons! That’s why we were excited to have illustrator duo Neko Medo with us today, since they take inspiration from American cartoon styles.

Neko Medo’s Logo


Neko Medo is made up of Black Cheshire Cat (a man) and Sakura Miike (a woman). Since they both like Disney so much, we feel safe in comparing them to Beauty and the Beast.


Black Chesire Cat: “The only thing is that our relationship is absolutely nothing like the ending of Beauty and the Beast.”

Sakura Miike: “Yeah, definitely not.”


Why Neko Medo was Born

Alright, I’ll give you that. But I’m interested to hear how Neko Medo developed as a mixed-gender duo.


An Illustration by Black Cheshire Cat: A self-portrait he drew of himself just for us!


Cheshire: “I was originally working as a solo illustrator and animator. Then one day I saw a billboard at one of my favorite restaurants and I thought the art on it was really good. It turned out to be Miike’s work.”


Miike: “Yeah. I was actually working as a voice actress and doing other things when he invited me to work with him.”


An illustration by Cheshire: A portrait of Miike done just for us!


Early Exposure to Foreign Animation 

Interesting. But there are so many different illustration styles out there. How did you both come to appreciate this more cartoon-ish style?


Cheshire: “For me, I’ve loved drawing Disney since I was in preschool. When I saw 101 Dalmations I was absolutely shocked by how amazing the dogs looked. I thought I would never be that good.”


Honestly, I’m more shocked that that’s what you felt when seeing a Disney film as a preschool student.


A piece from a Neko Medo series where they turn their friends into monsters. This is Chesire in monster form (dawn by Cheshire). 


A piece from a Neko Medo series where they turn their friends into monsters. This is Miike in monster form (dawn by Cheshire). 


Cheshire: “After I started elementary school I became obsessed with American comics. My uncle used to travel between the U.S. and Japan a lot, and as a souvenir he would bring me Marvel comics. I couldn’t understand any of the words, but these were a shock for me, too.”


Miike: “In my case, my family lived near a U.S. military base, so I was exposed to American culture early on. My mother always loved Disney, and our house even had rose curtains and a chandelier and stuff. But when I encountered American comics in high school, I was blown away by how different the color schemes were.”


An original monster (illustration by Miike)


Cheshire: “If we’re talking about color schemes, we have to talk about Tom and Jerry.


Miike: “Yes!! Their use of monochrome coloring without gradation is amazing! The art is so good.”


Cheshire: “Plus, Tom the cat is dark grey, like the color of rats.”


Miike: “It’s amazing, isn’t it!!”


Wow…now that you mention it, he is. It’s really fascinating to see what draws your eyes.


An original monster (illustration by Miike)



A World Where Buildings are Distorted and People are Cartoons

Chesire: “I might see the world in a strange way on a general basis. To me, buildings are distorted, and I believe if you’re run over by a car you’ll only be flattened, not die.”


Miike: “Yeah. People’s faces start to look like cartoon characters to me. When I meet someone I immediately think how I can distort their face.”


Cheshire: “My brain now turns everyday sounds, like machine sounds or train noises, into sound effects and speech bubbles. I even think about the font and what katakana to use and stuff.”


Hmm…buildings are straight to my eyes, and people’s faces are normal to me. Sounds are just sounds; I don’t see any letters. These two are most definitely immersed in the world of comics!


Miike’s room has a wall filled with goods!!


There are even things on the ceiling!



What Neko Medo is Planning for the Future

So what has this cartoon-obsessed pair got in store for the future?


Cheshire: “I sometimes help out at an animation studio, but working there makes me want to make my own pictures move. I like strong female characters, so one day I want to make an anime with my own characters.”


Miike: “I do voice acting and radio work, and sometimes I MC at events, so I’d love to start selling Neko Medo illustrations to the people in charge of those events. Cheshire, don’t you think our work would be great for advertisements?…You…Don’t you?”


Cheshire: “Uh…yeah…”


So they don’t always see eye to eye!


Regardless, the combination of princess-like Miike and Cheshire, who can’t help but want to spoil her, is like no other. With these two and their connection over cartoon-style animation, perhaps they really can bring the energy and originality to their illustrations. 


Original monsters (illustration by Miike)




  • Neko Medo




  • Sakura Miike 







  • 読み込み中...

Related Posts