Distributor: Kadokawa Comics

Artist: yoshitoshi ABe

Suggested Retail Price (SRP): 1,400 (6.70 approx.)

Number of Pages: 80

ISBN: 4-04-713434-1

Reviewed: 31st January 2006

Reviewer: Tom (Webmaster)

Although I have never been a great fan of the anime series NieA_7 I did admire the detailed and unique art of the series throughout.  Here was an artist which did not stick to the usual bright bold colours of anime and was not afraid to use duller tones and limited colours to bring his remarkably detailed visions to life.  This 'scrapbook' brings together a small selection of ABe's (not a mistype, that is how he writes his name) images. 

The book opens with an impressive gallery of beautiful art which shows the original line-art drawing as well as the full-colour version.  Sadly these images are not all full page but nonetheless still highlight ABe's talent well.  Full descriptions of each picture are also included, albeit in Japanese only, but you do not need to be able to read these descriptions to appreciate ABe's accomplished style - being able to feast on his artwork was enough for me. 

Also included are an original manga and 'how to NieA_7' (a guide to drawing a Niea_7 picture), although these are both in Japanese I doubt that they would make much more sense in English.  The manga is particularly bizarre and seems to involve NieA coming across a bowl which the cast then decide to cook dinner in, only for the bowl to fly out of the window.  A living carrot also makes an appearance but I was not certain what it's role exactly was and I doubt that, even had the manga been in English this could have been explained.  The manga is remarkably drawn in a great 'rough' style however, that still manages to showcase ABe's talent wonderfully.  The 'how to NieA_7' section is also hard to follow as the guide does not tell you how to produce the incredibly detailed piece of line-art that the first step gives, it expects you to draw it without instruction!  The guide instead begins with these piece of art and then goes through the process of how the image is coloured using various layers.  On reflection this section is probably showing how the creative process takes place rather then inviting the reader to actually draw the image, but if you want to give it a go the instructions are there.  In Japanese. 

The final section of the book contains a number of concept sketches, line-art and mini-mangas which showcase ABe's talent more then other section.  The concept sketches highlight ABe's talent for comedic impressions whilst the magnificent monochrome line-art shows his ability to capture the form and also to display all human emotions.  The mini-mangas are more bewildering then the main manga, containing cowboys, censored faces and cannibalism.  I had no idea what was going on in any of them but the artwork was top notch as usual. 

Despite being a small art book, NieA_7 SCRAP showcases ABe's talent wonderfully and is an ideal choice if you want to pick up a cheap import art book featuring his art.  The import price is approximately 15 for the UK which is good value for an art book and is worth purchasing as the bigger ABe art books can cost up to 50.  Also ignore the fact that text is predominantly Japanese, the artwork on offer here is too sumptuous to pass up. 


A bibliography is included but is unfortunately all in Japanese.  A list of ABe's machine spec is not however, and makes for interesting reading. 


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