Of course, by new, I mean newly acquired. None of this are really “new”.First, up the Pixiv girls collection. Pixiv is like an American version of deviantart, and while the worst of its members aren’t much better than its American counterpart, the best of them are amazingly talented, like the artist featured on the cover, Tearfish (who, in my opinion, just doesn’t work enough, I want more!).
Like the title says, this is a collection of drawings of girls from various artists, it’s over 150 pages of awesomeness, and it’s really, REALLY CHEAP. Like, almost half the price of a regular artbook! Some samples can be seen at Moe Imouto and Hunting the elusive. I’m pleasantly surprised to see quite a number of artists that I recognize, a few I’ve chatted with through DA or Chinese forums. It’s a great introduction to many up and coming artists that hadn’t really make a mark for themselves but deserve their time in the spotlight. Of course, being a compilation, much of the art can be hit or miss, depending on taste, but I’m sure that the ones you’ll like will heavily outweigh the ones that you dislike.
This soft cover book gets my stamp of approval.
Notable artists within the book: Sayori, Shimeko, Hirokiku, Hikarino, Urimo, Siro, Imperial boy, Nakabe, Deretta, Red Juice, Huke, Onineko, Xephonia, and Kawazu. Note that there’re Chinese, Korean, and Singaporian (is that what they’re called?).
Arriving along with the PGC is Yasu‘s first artbook, named (a tad too obviously, might I add) Yasu Illustrations. Well knows as the original artist for the Light Novels Tora Dora (which had an excellent anime, might I add), he/she had excluded every single image that was ever done for that series, made it into an artbook, and left everything else in this artbook. The thing about Yasu’s art is that it’s incredibly sketchy and simple, but there’s this kind of charm to it, and everything’s really adorable (but a bit of fanservice still sneaked in there).
Around a 1/3 of the book is dedicated to the Light Novel OtoxMahou, with a few pictures from other artists, fanart for the series, that are fantastic too. There are also a few pages of illustrations for a Hayate the combat butler novels, but I have no idea what it’s called. Beside those two, there are more novel illustrations that I cannot name and character designs for a video game. There are artist interviews, drawing walk throughs, and a few pages of random, small drawings that I thought was really interesting. At the back, there’s 25 pages of monochrome illustrations, mostly from his/her novels.
I think that I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I actually knew about any of the stories that are illustrated in there, but unfortunately I don’t. However, if you DO care about the series that Yasu illustrates, this is a good get.
This soft cover book gets my stamp of approval.
I blame the act of me buying this book solely on Eternal.
I never liked Mutsumi Sasaki. I thought that his memories off 2 illustrations were acceptable at best, and the original memories off was hideous. However, time can improve the worse of impressions, and by the time that he churned out Myself;Yourself, I wasn’t feeling so hostile. Since I was planning to play Chaos;Head, and Eternal was pushing this artbook like it was the best thing since slice bread, I thought, what the hell, I’ll buy it. I really like the cover after all.
Then I realized that this guy sucks at coloring. I mean, he REALLY sucked at coloring. I’m sorry to fans of this guy, but he can’t color, seriously. Just look at this, it’s one of his later pieces, yet the colors are dull, dirty, simple, and the girl’s skins were made with a simple feather that looks cheap and unprofessional. The good side to that is crappy art raises my self esteem, the bad side to that is I wish I didn’t buy it. Another thing to note is that despite this being his second book, there are still reprints of his older works, which I didn’t want because I would have much preferred some stuff from chaos;head (which it didn’t have at all).
However, to those that DO like his style, you’ll be happy to know that the artbook is thick, well printed, and contains good, large, clear pictures from your favorite Mutsumi Sasaki series. The book is a big compilation of his works, particularly M;Y, Futakoi, Happy lesson, and magazine spreads, not in that order. There are no interviews or anything else within the book that will distract you from the girls, not even chapter breaks.
This soft covered book doesn’t get my stamp of approval.
Saving the best for last, this is The art of Chouniku, Shingetsu (new moon). Why do I like his art? Because the colors are vibrant, the colorings are paint-like, and the lines are stylish and strong. The book is divided into TCG, games, novels, and other. I don’t like some of his earlier art as much, because the colors are painted on without definition, but his later art really shows the strength of his lines. Now, notice that I said “his”. The reason? The name is Chouniku, which basically means “Super meat”. That just sounds incredibly manly to me, so I made a logical assumption :P.
The book starts with a lot of girls, seemingly unrelated to each other, mostly from other game series such as Happiness, Kanon, and Toheart2, taking up a few pages. Then we dive into a Disgaea section, with colored and black & white novel inserts. After that we have 2 more game features, along with a few pictures and 4 komas of Tristia of the deep blue sea . At the beginning of the novel section, we have one of his earliest works, which wasn’t all that good. But after that we have some really high quality novel illustrations, followed by a short story. The book ends with the others section, which includes his piece for girls girls girls!, some strawberry marshmallow, and a short but sweet section on Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora, which has an OVA that I’m planning to watch soon.
With beautiful backgrounds, adorable girls, vibrant colors, and strong, clean lines, This guy is one of my favorite artists right now. And this book isn’t that expensive either (not compared to Moonlight tea party or Kaen anyway).
This Hard covered artbook gets my stamp of approval.
Do you remember the image at the beginning of this post? That was for Chouniku’s OTHER artbook, Hangetsu (half moon), which focuses almost solely on the things that was made for Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora. When I looked the cover, I thought that Est was going to be a better buy, and ended up not getting this (my card only had a $100 left on it). I sorely regret that now. In that book, there was over 100 pages of Chouniku goodness. And while most of the pictures didn’t cover the entire page and just kind of hovered in the middle, small, it was still really good. (If you’re wondering how I know this, I went and googled for scans of the book after I got home).
Definitely a good buy for anyone who likes his art, and I’m so getting that as soon as I get some money.
Where did I get all this? the first two books were male order, and the last two was through Sakura Media, which recently restocked their artbook shelves with awesomeness.
Other things that I wanted but didn’t buy: Itou Noizi’s Kaen and Guren (because I already had them), Galaxy’s Child art works (because despite the gorgeous first 10 pages, the rest of it wasn’t worth the money), Tony’s Shining Tears (because the cover was amazing and the rest of it was awful compared to it), Ino’s velvet skin (because it was all NSFW and nothing else), and Girls Girls Girls 2 (because I didn’t have money T.T).
So, if you, unlike me, have money for it, please go and check out these artbooks, because there’s something that’s good about all of them~
P.S.: Sakura Media’s stopped using the good plastic bags, and now hands out crappy ones that threatened to break under the weight of my two artbooks. And they don’t hand out coupons anymore, which is just bad for my wallet. But a good number of their artbooks had their prices lowered, which means it’s slightly more reasonable, and you’re not stuck paying over 2 times the original price anymore, hurrah.