Satoshi Urushihara Cell Works

Publisher:  Movic

Authors/creators:  Satoshi Urushihara

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  2,000 (16 approx.)

Number of Pages:  132

ISBN-10:  4-89601-086-8

ISBN-13:  978-4896010862

Date Published:  April 1994

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

Satoshi Urushihara is not as well known a name nowadays as he was back in the 90's.  Even fans from the 90's may not know his name, but they'll probably recognise his art.

Urushihara is best known in the UK for his design work on the video anime Plastic Little (released here by Kiseki a long time ago) and on the Langrisser and Growlanser series of games.  Some may also remember his design on the frankly rubbish (but fantastic looking) video anime Legend of Lemnear, but he has also created his own manga and released several collections of his distinctive artwork.  Satoshi Urushihara Cell Works was the second of these art books, and features full colour artwork from all of his major anime, manga and game works plus character sketches and storyboard samples.  Oh, and a large portion of them show female characters in the buff.

Yes, Urushihara's main focus art-wise is on nubile young women in various states of undress, and that is largely what this art book delivers.  The front cover, which shows the main characters from Plastic Little and Legend of Lemnear with only the book title maintaining their modesty, is a good yardstick for the book's contents.  Cell Works alternates between original artwork and art from Urushihara's various projects, with the first 87 pages in glorious full colour.  The original art generally features topless or nude women in various poses, whilst the work from his known titles sees his characters retain their clothes and dignity.  The front cover art is indicative of the quality and style of the art inside, with the colour artwork taking the form of anime cel art rather than traditional paintings.

The Plastic Little and Legend of Lemnear sections are pretty short, featuring just nine promotional images between them, and similar treatment is given to his other works.  The Langrisser section is seven pages long and is followed by sections dedicated to the SNES game Cybernator (known in Japan as Valkan), Techno Police and a series which appears to be called Game Boy.  These are interspersed with sections of original art and various one-off pieces of official art and followed by a black and white section of production sketches and story boards for Plastic Little and Legend of Lemnear.  The quality of the artwork in the book is excellent.  Urushihara has a very distinctive style and to be honest there are few better at drawing beautiful young women.  Cell Works is an excellent showcase of his work from the early part of his career, and its great to see art from his anime, manga and game projects together in one place.  The images are bright and colourful with great composition that is matched by high quality clean printing that really shows them at their best, and the majority of them are full-page too.  Alongside the colour section it is refreshing to see a black and white art section that not only crams in a lot of production art that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere but is printed to the same quality as the rest of the book.

There's a lot of art crammed into this book but my only real gripe is that they could have put in more promotional art from his known works.  What is featured is excellent but it could be more comprehensive, it feels like a whistlestop tour of his work rather than an in-depth collection.  However, as a showcase of his early 90's career it's very effective, and it is one of the better books of cel artwork I have come across.  I must admit that the book is also the only place I have ever seen promotional artwork for the old arcade / Sega Mega Drive shooter Fantasy Zone.  Urushihara has strayed further into pornographic territory in recent years but the images in this book are pretty tame, giving it more credibility as an art book than some of his later works.  It's a shame that the book pre-dates his work on series like Growlanser and his popular yuri manga titles such as Ragnarock City, but fans of both will find plenty to like here and you can see the germs of his later series in some of the original artwork.  Despite being published over fifteen years ago the book is still quite easy to get hold of, and if you are a fan of 90's anime or RPGs (and naked women) it is well worth a look.


The book features the usual index at the start and comment from Urushihara at the back, as well as an interview with him...in Japanese.  The interview appears to discuss his game and anime work so it's a shame we can't read it, and the book is unlikely to be released in English.  Removing the flycover reveals the original sketch of the cover artwork but best of all the book actually comes with an A3 poster of one of the many topless images featured in its pages.  Pretty good.


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