With credits ranging from Speed Racer to Gatchaman, Yoshitaka Amano is best known among gamers for his Final Fantasy illustrations, character work and logo-work.

A seasoned veteran who entered the anime industry when he was 15, Amano is directing his first animated feature film, Zan.

The film is the product of Amano's new production studio, Studio Deva Loka, and he came up with the story and original character art. Set in the late 19th century, the 3D film follows a samurai named Zan who ends up an alternate universe.

Amano exhibited a statue of a huge black feline last month — it's a steel beast named "Panther" the, according to website ANN, becomes Zan's companion in the film.

世界的アニメーター・天野喜孝氏、初の映画監督…3Dアニメ「ZAN」 [スポーツ報知 via ANN]