Title: Trigun Art Book (Roman Album)
Artist: Yasuhiro Nightow + various
Suggested Retail Price (SRP): ¥1,300
Number of Pages: 104
Reviewed: 2nd April 2006
Reviewer: Tom (Webmaster)
If you were to ask any anime fan to name a show which featured
stylish, unique and cool artwork then no doubt the answer would be Trigun.
No other series has made western fans appreciate anime as an artform in quite
the way Trigun has, as it manages to impress artistically whilst still
maintaining an action ethos. It can be enjoyed seriously or as
standard entertainment but either way, the unique art style cannot be ignored.
The Trigun Roman Album should, therefore, be the ultimate artbook and the
excellent cover image (above) suggests that the artwork which lies within will be
cooler than a penguin drinking a Slush Puppie at the South Pole.
The first 36-page section of this Roman Album is certainly an astounding opening
featuring a number of cellworks for the anime series. The main characters
(Vash, Wolfwood, etc) are treated to full-page illustrations and a great number
of new pieces created for this art book. Every image is sharp, striking
and colourful - exactly what you would expect from Trigun. Sadly
the lesser characters have less page space, with many being clumped together on
a single page with just a small still from the anime above their name.
This is disappointing as many of the villains such as Monev The Gale and Caine
The Longshot were fascinating creations of complex design that surely deserved
more then just one small picture. Despite this the pictures are still
impressive though, mainly due to the high quality of the paper used and the new
images I mentioned before are fantastic. This at least makes up for the
disappointment of lack of page space for the other characters.
The second 19-page section is a rather pointless illustrated episode guide that
does nothing other then waster paper. The section describes each episode
and recites the next-episode preview of each one (in Japanese) whilst
accompanying each episode with approximately ten small images. I felt this
to be unnecessary as the size of images do no justice to the series and the
small size of the section feels that this was just thrown to fill the book out.
The next section is great if you can read Japanese (!) as it contains several
interviews including Yasuhiro Nightow (creator) and director of the anime
(Satoshi Nishimura) amongst others. The section also contains some
entertaining mini-mangas which involve the cast of Trigun with the anime
staff and also a transcript of Trigun CD drama Prototype & Kill.
But good things come to those who wait as the Trigun Roman Album reaches
its peak toward the end with an excellent selection of line-art and original
illustrations by Yasuhiro Nightow. The line-art gallery may only be eight
pages long, but included in those pages is a staggering range of character detail,
including detailed artwork of their weapons, facial features, poses and
clothing. Minor characters are also featured as well as backgrounds and
even currency. Rather then the usual height comparison charts and standard
poses of many line-art galleries featured in art books, the gallery in this
Roman Album is a detailed study of the character design and illustrates well the
style of Nightow's creations.
Finally the reader is treated to a full gallery of Nightow's original Trigun
artwork which, at only fifteen pages, makes you wish the whole book was full
of his artwork. Nightow's ability to bring his hard-edged and yet
simplistic creations to life is astounding and he achieves this by focusing on
the whole body rather then just the facial features. Witness the detail
given to clothing and you see a manga artist which can produce detailed fashion
like no other. Combine this with simple yet striking facial features and
you have an artist that realises that clothes, as well as body, make up a
person's character. Also included in the gallery are Nightow's cover
illustrations for the Trigun soundtracks and laserdiscs (yes, I said
laserdiscs), which feature stunning artwork for the heroes and villains alike.
Despite initial disappointments of the lack of character art and the pointless
episode guide, the Trigun Roman Album is redeemed by the excellent
line-art gallery and collection of Yasuhiro Nightow's artwork towards the end.
Costing around £15 on import, it is an art collection worth buying for the
latter sections of the book alone, but the episode guide and Japanese-only
interviews may make you think twice before purchasing.
An excellent double-sided pullout poster of the cover
illustration and the main members of the cast is included that turns this from a
'maybe' purchase into a 'recommended' purchase.