Metronome ~Mitsui Mana Art Works~ felt like it went to press too early, leaving out a the most crucial element: the art work. I'm exaggerating of course, but it's not that far off the mark; the numbered art work pages end on 63, and from that point on it's all the illustrated story Koyoi mo Kanojo ha Gatsu ni Utau (今宵も彼女は月に謡う) that ran in E☆2 Magazine, complete with the story text still on it. And as they were initially designed with story telling in mind, the panel art work just doesn't have the same impact as the full-page illustrations.
Fuzi Choko's Fuji Shiki 2007 - 2011 is an amazing selection of illustrations, showing the strength of her work in a barrage of color and imaginative dreamscapes. While I've seen an illustration or two of hers in a variety of different collections, I've never had the chance to flip through page after page of her A4-sized art works, and it's a truly inspiring experience.
For COMITIA 96, which was held at the beginning of May, Shirabii released a full-color original illustration collection titled L.i.F. Life is Free. Though it's a shorter doujinshi, all of the illustrations are featured on a full page or spreads, and have the lovely overall theme of being school girls in uniforms ^^
The lastest installment of collected E☆2 Magazine illustrations is Girls Girls Girls! 7 ~Anniversary Girl Collection~. The title belies the underlying theme, and the pictures on the whole tend to have a celebratory theme, or were illustrated for that purpose. In all there are 52 artists participating in this volume, with some of the illustrations gathered from E☆2 Magazine issues as far back as 2007.
It may be too early to call it with another six months left but, Foo Midori's Book of Pictures is easily the front-runner for this year's must-have art book. It's 312-pages of all color art works, with each illustration being given a full page (or two). There are pages upon pages of beautifully detailed costumes, character designs and original art works from Fantasy Odyssey/SiLKROAD ONLINE, Kikan S Magazine, FELLOWS! Magazine, Alteil and many other publications.
While looking for Puella Magi Madoka Magica illustration doujinshi, I encountered several new artists along with an event titled Magi Madoka ONLY - Mou Nanimo Kowaku Nai (魔まマ オンリーイベント～もう何も恐くない～) that ran for just one day on April 24, and was strictly Madoka doujins only. Jem & Lights Puella Magi Madoka Magica Fanbook by Sugi (スギ) was one of the many releases, and it presents a full color collection of Madoka art.
Ito Noizi's COMIC1☆5 release revisits the fashionista theme she set in an earlier doujinshi with FASHIONISTA 2011. The collection is deceptively short, but also features two illustrations by Kichiemo, whose appearances in Fujitsubo Machine have been less frequent as of late.
I wasn't too enamored with Girls Girls Girls! 6 Illustrations when I bought it last November, and I still feel the same way. Collection-wise, the gallery themes included were a bit plain overall, and absent of the fantasy settings with beautiful backgrounds. The subtitle for this volume is Fetish Girl Collection, but looking through the works, it would be hard to categorize most images like that.
In May this year, the Eshi 100 Gallery Exhibition opened in the Akihabara UDX building and ran for a brief 5 days showcasing new illustrations by some of the most recognized artists in Japan. The gallery exhibition theme was the very open-ended idea of 'Japan', allowing for amazing creativity from the artists along with many different conceptual representations. This gorgeous exhibition was collected as a book, Eshi 100 - Contemporary Japanese Illustration and sold during the event.
I'm a big fan of Katanagatari, I loved the story, but perhaps more importantly, I loved the unique character designs by Take (竹). And surprisingly, the anime style stayed quite true to the original designs with Kawada Tsuyoshi's adaptations, which led me to get the Katanagatari Visual Book. Though it's what you would expect from a visual book, it does an excellent job gathering all the anime art works from the series.
I'd like to let everyone know that you can now make a free account on BRUSHD! Now everyone can find out how easy it is to make a professional, easy to update online art portfolio with no strings attached. To learn more about BRUSHD! and its on-site blogging, keep on reading ^^