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Title:
  Der Mond - The Art of Neon Genesis Evangelion

Distributor:  VIZ Media

Artist:  Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  $24.99 (approx. £16.99)

Number of Pages:  120

ISBN-10:  1-4215-0767-6

ISBN-13:  978-1-4215-0767-5

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

 

As any anime fan will know, pretty much every anime series or film ever made has a book of illustrations or production art available for it.  To be fair it is a pretty easy form of merchandise for an animated film, you just pick up all the animatorsí artwork, put a cover on it and voila!  Because of this the quality varies.  Some are mere cash-ins, throwing together anime screenshots and a load of text, but some are something more.

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is one of Japanís leading character designers, as well as a talented manga artist, author and director.  His distinctive artwork has recently been seen in the .hack:// franchise, but itís his work with anime studio Gainax that he is best known for.  From early hits like Wings of Honneamise and Nadia The Secret of Blue Water, through to the superb Neon Genesis Evangelion and twisted FLCL, Sadamotoís artwork has formed the visual backbone of their catalogue.  His work on Evangelion made him one of Japanís best known artists, and itís this that forms the bulk of Der Mond.
 

 Der Mond is Sadamotoís second artbook, and the first to contain his art for Evangelion.  It was also one of the first Japanese anime art books to be translated and released in America, and now it has finally been re-released.

The American version of this book is a mighty hardback tome weighing in at a hefty 122 pages, and its quality exceeds the original.  Apart from the ĎList of Worksí (an index of images at the end of the book) it is completely in colour, and the printing and paper quality is

 very high.  The detail and colours shine out and the images are huge, each one often taking up an entire page and sometimes even a double page.  There is no writing to obscure the pictures or draw your attention from the art, this is an artbook in its purest sense - beautiful high quality images throughout with an unobtrusive index and artist comments tucked away at the end.

As for the artwork, well, it's stunning.  About two thirds of the book is taken up with Neon Genesis Evangelion artwork, ranging from promotional images to film posters and early production sketches of the characters and Evangelions.  There's even room for some glorious full colour pages of the manga.  The remaining third of the book is filled with images from various projects, including a few from Nadia and one from Wings of Honneamise.  Alongside

these sits cover art for the Fatal Fury game series, cover art for Hideaki Anno's  live action film Love & Pop, poster and cover artwork drawn for various manga periodicals and most surprisingly art Sadamoto produced for an Eric Clapton album cover!  Probably the most interesting thing about this artbook though is the inclusion of production artwork for Blue Uru - the near mythical, never completed sequel to Wings of Honneamise.  At the moment this is the closest you're going to get to Hiroyuki Yamaga's unfinished project, so it's well worth a look for fans of the first film.


It's great to see Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's distinctive artwork reproduced at the size and quality it deserves and at a decent price.  For UK fans this book is better than the Japanese original, and not only because the intriguing artist comments that accompany the index of images at the end are translated to English.  No, it's because this book is superb quality, hardback and because of the strength of the Pound against the Dollar, a lot cheaper to import.  For fans of Neon Genesis Evangelion this is an absolutely essential purchase, for everyone else you'd be hard pressed to find a better example of an anime artbook.  The images are varied and interesting, the art is beautiful, the printing quality is high, and there's more than just Evangelion in it.  In fact I can't think of a way to fault Der Mond, it's absolutely superb.

Extras:

This book is pretty much all about the art, but there is a quite humble afterword from Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and the aforementioned 'List of Works' index.  The List of Works is an index of small black and white thumbnail images of all the pictures in the book with page numbers and a small block of text telling you where each picture was originally printed.  Many images also include comments from Sadamoto himself, and these are often quite interesting - particularly those about Blue Uru and Wings of Honneamise.  It's also nice to see a key that tells you which images were hand painted and which were done with the aid of computer.

Ratings

Product:   Extras:
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