Higurashi - When They Cry... Art Record collects illustrations from the manga version of the series, which includes the works of seven different artists. From casual observations, I'd always noticed that the illustrations for the series tended to fluctuate between quality and quality, but it's only now having this art book in front of me that I can see there was actually some order to it all.
Higurashi - When They Cry... Art Record is a thick, 158-page A4 sized book. It's soft cover, and though it includes a lot of two-page illustration spreads, there isn't any printed overlap in the book's margins. It's also full color all the way through, with only one or two illustrations that are done in monochrome.
The art book is sectioned off by artist, and each artist is responsible for a different arc of the story. The first 45 pages feature art work by Karin Suzuragi, who illustrated the Abducted by Demons Arc (Onikakushi-hen), Matsuribayashi-hen and an adaptation of the Atonement Arc (Tsumihoroboshi-hen). Of all the artists, Karin Suzuragi's style seems to change within the section, starting out with a more graphic novel approach and moving into a much softer look with pastel colors.
The second artist showcased is Yutori Houjyou, responsible for the Cotton Drifting Arc (Watanagashi-hen) and the Eye Opening Arc (Meakashi-hen). Yutori Houjyou's style is easily one of the prettiest in the book, with a focus on the twins Mion and Shion. Colors are softer and lighter, and hair colors have a much more toned-down look than one might be used to seeing from this series. This sections runs from pages 45 through 73.
Jiro Suzuki is next, with drastically changing styles from the first picture to the last. Covering pages 73 through 89, it's made to feel even shorter with the inclusion of several two-page spread illustrations. It's interesting to note that while the art work starts out with defined noses, sharp eyes and angular bodies, before the end of the section they transform into round-faced, and round-eyed child-like characters. They were all within the Curse Killing Arc (Tatarigoroshi-hen) so the reason for the change isn't obvious.
One of my least favorite artists in the book is Yoshiki Tonogai, who illustrates the Time Killing Arc (Himatsubushi-hen). The illustrations are mostly of Rika and run from pages 90 through 105. The art style is rather cartoon-y, with very circular eyes and overly simplified hair. It's an interesting style, but I think it might have limited appeal. On the bright side, it's a short section ^^;
Mimori is next, with a very noticeable use of colored pencils and markers in the illustrations, giving them a very different feel from the rest of the digital works in the book. Responsible for the Beyond Midnight Arc (Yoigoshi-hen), this section include mostly illustrations of Mion. It's also one of the shorter sections, covering pages 105 through 120.
The last two artists in the book kind of blend together, with a similar light color, cute character style. Hinase Momoyama and Rechi Kazuki finish off the book, as the artists for the Minagoroshi-hen and Hirukowashi-hen arcs respectively. They cover pages 121 through 149 together, although Rechi Kazuki's section is significantly shorter with just 8-pages of illustrations.
It's interesting seeing this many artists "officially" illustrating a series, especially since each of them made the characters their own stylistically. While I can't say I like all the art work in Higurashi - When They Cry... Art Record, I certainly like enough of it to have made this an enjoyable purchase ^^
- Title: Higurashi - When They Cry... Art Record
- タイトル: ひぐらしのなく頃に 恋映し編 ~WHEN THEY CRY... Art Record~
- Pages: 158
- Release date: 08/21/2010
- Buy: Amazon Japan