He generally works as the artist in collaboration with a writer. He has also mentored several mangaka, including Kentaro Yabuki of Black Cat fame, Nobuhiro Watsuki of Rurouni Kenshin and Yusuke Murata of Eyeshield 21.
He originally became noticed in 1985 when he took a prize in the Tezuka Award for his one shot 500 Kōnen no Kaiwa. Joining the Weekly Shonen Jump staff, he mentored under Makoto Niwano before starting his first major series, Cyborg Jii-chan G in 1989. Having difficulty for several years in finding a hit, Obata began collaborating with other writers on their stories. He finally began the series that established his name when he teamed with Yumi Hotta on Hikaru no Go starting in 1998.
He is most well known as the artist of Hikaru no Go, for which he received the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2000 and the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2003, and Death Note. Obata is rare among shōnen artists not only for the detail of his drawings, but in his penchant for fashion; the characters he draws often wear stylish clothes and trendy items like the latest fashionable scarf, tie or handbag.
- Bakuman with Tsugumi Ohba (writer)
- Cyborg Jii-chan G
- Arabian Majin Bokentan Lamp Lamp with Susumu Sendo (writer)
- Rikito Densetsu -Oni wo Tsugu Mono with Masaru Miyazaki (writer)
- Karakurizoshi Ayatsuri Sakon with Sharaku Marou (writer)
- Hikaru no Go with Yumi Hotta (writer) - supervised by Yukari Yoshihara (5-dan)
- Death Note with Tsugumi Ohba (writer)
- Blue Dragon Ral Grad with Tsuneo Takano (writer)
- Hello Baby with Masanori Morita (writer)
- Uro-oboe Ouroboros with Nisio Isin (writer)
- Castlevania Judgement with Konami™ (Video game Company)
Awards and NominationsEdit
Nominated-Eisner Awards 2008 Best Artist for his work on Death Note and Hikaru no Go.