I’m off to HK tomorrow and I won’t be back for a week, so here’s a parting gift of artbook eye candy to tide you over.
Today the spotlight falls on The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist 2, featuring the work of well-known mangaka Arakawa Hiromu.
A few NBs: The photos suck, as usual – the best one can expect from a rush job and an antique digicam. Apologies for the dim lighting; storm clouds have pretty much blotted out the afternoon sun. And clicking on the images won’t take you to bigger or sharper versions, so don’t bother.
Now back to the book. I hooked this prize from the art shelves of Bibliarch in Glorietta a few days ago. At P1,199 (about US$28), I wouldn’t call it a bargain, but the price tag seems quite reasonable for a good-quality hardbound tome of this kind. What you get is over a hundred pages of art and commentary from the hand of Arakawa Hiromu, creator of the phenomenally popular Fullmetal Alchemist manga series, covering images that were first published between January 2004 and December 2005. Initially released in Japan in 2006, the artbook was picked up by Viz Media and published in 2007 with translated text, although the original right-to-left format has been preserved for this hardcover English-language version.
I’m no Hagaren fan (I dropped the anime a few episodes in and I’ve never touched the manga), but I have a weakness for artbooks in general, so the second I laid eyes on The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist 2 I knew my credit card was about to take another painful swipe. Cracking open the book for a pre-purchase preview, I gave the art a once-over. The illustrations weren’t exactly to my liking – skimpy on details and generally lacking in depth – but I spotted a few gems scattered here and there, and on the whole the art was pleasant to look at.
Each illustration is accompanied by a brief, often humorous (and occasionally revealing) comment from Arakawa-sensei. I would have appreciated a more extensive commentary than the one-liners that ultimately made their way into the book, but since this is more than what one normally gets from artbooks (which are frequently text-free) I’m happy to give the feature a thumbs-up.
Okay, enough chatter. Here’s a small sample of the illustrations published in The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist 2.