Ayami Kojima is probably best known as the artist for the last decade of Castlevania video games. Unlike many artists nowadays, she still works with real media, meaning the art works contained in Santa Lilio Sangre were all originally stroked and etched onto canvases with acrylics, pens, and pencils before they ever made their way into this art book.
The cover art work is quite beautiful if not a bit dark, with the skeletal remains of a baby in the angelic woman's arms. The way her lower body melds into nature, with roots and fruits along with the wings suggests the baby wasn't the only one to pass away... This along with several other illustrations in the back share a macabre theme, but do so with surprising elegance. The front half of the book consists of more commercial works that mesh better with the Castlevania style.
Santa Lilio Sangre is hardcover and an oversized version of the traditional A4-size. The printing is excellent quality making it easy to see every brush stoke in the paintings, on thick, smooth pages. The majority of the illustrations feature men, though Ayami Kojima's designs tend to feature a sometimes androgynous look, with pale skin, full lips and flowing hair.
There's also a solitary illustration from Rahxephon, which I'd seen several times but never attributed to Ayami Kojima ^^;
Throughout the book are spaced two large sections of black and white inked illustrations. The first portion is about 20 pages and runs from page 59 through 80 after which color illustrations resume for another 40 pages. The second monochrome art section runs from pages 125 through 151. But considering Santa Lilio Sangre is a hearty 200 pages in length, you're still getting plenty of color works. It also helps that the majority of color illustrations are presented on a full page, giving you plenty of eye candy.
I had thought originally that there would be more illustrations from the Castelvania series, but I would say that it was featured in no more than a quarter of the book. The art works themselves are scattered throughout the book, some of which are even in the monochrome works section.
Overall, these pictures are fairly representative of the art work in Santa Lilio Sangre, though I did omit taking photos of pages with excessive gore and nudity although can be found in a lot of the illustrations. Fair warning to the faint of heart: just because you don't see it here, doesn't mean it's not in the book ^^; Even if I'm not a fan of some of her works, it's hard not to be impressed by the talent shown by Ayami Kojima in this collection.
- Title: Santa Lilio Sangre Ayami Kojima Art Works
- タイトル: 緋いユリ―小島文美画集
- Pages: 200
- Release date: 12/05/2010
- Buy: Amazon Japan