This project grew out of my interest in the cultural exchange of media between the United States and japan. This interest naturally lead me to exploring the genres of The Western and Samurai Cinema. The Western and Samurai genres, though they originate from different cultures and sides of the world, have been influencing and copying each other for decades. It is the touch points between these two genres that inspired this project. The Ballad of Kyo the Ronin is a project about character and world design; it is an exercise in visual development for a prospective entertainment media property. Everything I’ve made is compiled into a portfolio book. It is a collection of sketches, process work, and final designs. It is a record of how the project evolved over the course of the term. The story is set in a non-specific near future, where the entire world is ruled by a handful of waring shoguns based in the major cities with huge sections of land controlled by daimyos and members of royal families. The lands far outside the cities are known as the Fringes. Out in the fringes you will find small settlements for farming, mining, and trading, as well as abandoned land development sides, junkyards full of old rusted equipment, and ghost towns. Out here everything is made from salvage and elbow grease. Most people just want to live their lives and keep their heads down but that’s not always easy when there’s roving gangs of bandits, thieves, outlaws, and a bored, unsupervised military authority. For this reason the law is often enforced by anybody with a weapon and motivation enough to do so, be that moral or financial. They say nobody lives on the fringes without a reason.