【Artbook】Coffin: The Art Of Vampire Hunter D (Amano Yoshitaka Illustrations)

Probably one of the best artbooks ever published in the world(?). It’s so good that the local library has a copy of it, which I borrowed and am reviewing here. And happy new year, I guess. GTFO 2009

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Coffin: The Art Of Vampire Hunter D is a standalone artbook first published in Japan by the name of かんおけ―吸血鬼ハンターD (Kanoke – Vampire Hunter D), and later published in North America by Dark Horse Press. This supersized artbook collects the illustrations and artwork, all by Amano Yoshitaka, from the Vampire Hunter D series of novels (authored by KIKUCHI Hideyuki), and exhibits approximately 190 pieces of artwork from a span of 14 years. Despite initially being published in North America, this version is currently available for purchase worldwide on all Amazon divisions except for China. As well, the artbook is written in two languages, Japanese and English, where all instances of the original text is placed beside the translation.

Order at Amazon: USA (US$26.37) | Canada (CAD$27.55) | UK (£21.85) | France (Marketplace only; €22,50+) | Germany (€28,99) | Japan (¥3,730)

The contents of the book, in order of appearance, include

1. Short introduction by KIKUCHI Hideyuki (1 page)
2. Vampire Hunter D-Portrait of Ixobel- by Kikuchi Hideyuki (6 pages; Exclusive Vampire Hunter D Short Story)
3. Illustrations from Vampire Hunter D by AMANO Yoshitaka (190 pages)
4. Painting Data (2 pages)
5. Notes by Amano Yoshitaka (1 page)
6. Profile of Amano Yoshitaka (1 page)

Opinion: This print publication is so amazing that I don’t really know where to start. Just picking it up and seeing its sheer size had already left an impeccable first impression on me, and it further reinforced that perfect impression by amazing me with its complete contents and high print quality. To be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan of Amano’s illustrations – I thought that they were unique and slightly eerily cool, but they weren’t exactly my favourite. However, this book completely changed my opinion of Amano’s work because it really showed off his versatilty and skill as a true artist. There are so many different styles that Amano uses here (not at all limited to the “usual” wispy, thin style!), and this book can be quite aptly described as successfully representing the “many styles of Amano”.

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【Things You Are Excited About】supercell 2nd Single “Sayonara Memories” Details Revealed

This is a translation (and more) for the Oricon Style article that disclosed further details of the single.

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Jacket picture for supercell’s “Sayonara Memories”, to be released on February 10th. (Illust: redjuice)

Article title: supercell, a big favourite for 2010’s sakura/graduation song!

Article translation: Suddenly debuting at 4th in the charts with their first album “supercell” on March 1st, 2009, doing it again with their first single “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” in August, and making it certain that they had made a vivid debut from the internet scene to the major commercial scene, supercell is a creator group headed by ryo. After “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” first appeared on the charts at 5th, it had continued to be in the Top 20 for 6 weeks, and with long sales, it is now a hit with over 80,000 copies sold.

A 2nd single from supercell, to be released on Feb 10th and titled “Sayonara Memories”, has arrived. Along with composer ryo’s immensely heartrending lyrics and an impressionable melody, the vocals are will again be by nagi from the group’s previous work. ryo brilliantly shows his depiction of the anxious, bittersweet world view that is characteristic of adolescence. Also, the music video will be by MIKI Takahiro, who will make his debut in the coming spring as a film producer with the notable movie “SORANIN” (Starring MIYAZAKI Aoi), and will utilize a projector to feature fantasy-type content, making this a video a subject to be taken note of.

As the jacket and artist picture was illustrated by supercell member and noteworthy illustrator redjuice, the jacket has gathered as much attention as the music itself.

With “Sayonara Memories” having a big hold on being 2010’s huge sakura/graduation song favourite, the formerly internet-based, attention-garnering creator group supercell looks like they would again be of great acclaim in 2010.

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Artist picture drawn by illustrator redjuice.

Description: Although it’s to be released on February 10th, preorders for both the regular and limited editions of the single have already started at various online retailers such as amazon.co.jp and cdjapan. The regular edition is retailing at 1,233 Yen while the limited edition, which includes a Region 2 DVD with music video, is priced at 1,575 Yen (1,338Y at Amazon.co.jp). The CD’s tracklist, from amazon.co.jp, is as follows:

1. さよならメモリーズ (Sayonara Memories/Farewell, Memories)
2. 教えてあげる (Oshiete Ageru/I’ll tell you)
3. 約束をしよう (Yakusoku wo Shiyou/Let’s Promise)
4. さよならメモリーズ -Instrumental-
5. 教えてあげる -Instrumental-

Further according to amazon.co.jp, the total time of the CD amounts to 25 minutes. In addition to having three wholly new songs on the single, the other noteworthy aspect of this would be redjuice’s illustrations, which were drawn in a style quite uncharacteristic of the illustrator’s regularly sleek, mechanical artwork. It’s surprising that a second illustration was drawn other than the jacket artwork, but what is even more interesting is that the second is being billed as an artist picture. What does that even mean? I’m guessing that it’s just a picture redjuice wanted to draw for the single on his own accord, maybe. Hopefully it’ll be used for a special limited edition add on, as the Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari single had an additional sticker with it. Furthermore, ryo wrote on the supercell member blog that there is more to the jacket illustration, and that the full version is even more stunning. Ideally the full, wider version will be released soon! I am also quite anxious to hear the demo tracks for the three new songs, and I’m personally happy that nagi is again providing the vocals for the single. Another notable thing is the curious, supposedly fantasy themed music video. I do hope that it will be more substantial than the “live action” Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari PV.

Sayonara Memories Demo: http://www.supercell.jp/index.html
supercell blog entry: http://www.supercell.sc/archives/2009/12/post-44.html (Japanese)
Original text from Oricon Style: http://www.oricon.co.jp/news/music/71963/full (Japanese)
Preorder at amazon.co.jp: http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B002Y3DFDU/ (Limited Edition ver)
Preorder at CDJapan: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=SRCL-7203 (Limited Edition ver)

【Novel】涼宮ハルヒの溜息 / The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya

More like The Sigh of polymetrica, which was my reaction while and after reading. This will also be the last novel review for a long while, I believe.

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Title: 涼宮ハルヒの溜息 (Suzumiya Haruhi no Tameiki) / The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya
Author: 谷川流 (TANIGAWA Nagaru)
English Translator: Chris Pai
Illustrator: いとうのいぢ (ITO Noizi)
Volume: 2nd
Genre: Light Novel (Comedy, Supernatural, High School)
Status: Ongoing, currently at 9 volumes. Volumes 1 and 2 published in English by Little, Brown and Company and Yen Press.
My Rating: 5/10

Summary: The SOS Brigade, under the directorship of Haruhi, makes a movie to screen at the school Cultural Festival. Tsuruya makes her debut in this volume.

Review: I disliked this volume even more than the first one, as it was not only infuriatingly mediocre, it was immature and just not fun to read. The entire thing was about Haruhi being her usual bossy self and getting people to do things with little to no direction, and the others trying to accomodate her demands to the best of their ability. I found it pretty overboard that she’s torturing Asahina like that, and congrats to Tanigawa for making the reader have sympathy for Asahina, but for me, it was temporary in that it wore out in the middle, and I also thought that the events that happened to evoke pity for Asahina were overdone and really repetitive. After my sympathy was depleted, I turned to disliking Haruhi even more since she continued to be unreasonable, unproductive, and just annoying. Another reason as to why I didn’t sympathize with Asahina anymore was because Kyon was kind of reeling in her suffering, making typical male teenager remarks like how cute her squeal is, or how even her scared face was adorable. There were some saving graces in this book, though, and those would be Kyon’s frustration with Haruhi (whose feelings echoed my own), and Nagato’s uh, action scenes.

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