Trigun Art Book (Roman Album) 

Distributor: Tokuma

Artist: Yasuhiro Nightow + various

Suggested Retail Price (SRP): 1,300

Number of Pages: 104 

ISBN: 4-19-720087-0

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.  A pity. 

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. 

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