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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Artbook Review: Arina Tanemura Collection - The Art of Full Moon

Arina Tanemura Collection - The Art of Full Moon
Author: Arina Tanemura
Viz Media/Shoujo Beat
68 pages

A collection of Arina Tanemura's art for the hit series Full Moon wo Sagoshite, as well as art from Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, Short-Tempered Melancholic, and I-O-N.

First off, despite the title of the book, a good 1/4th of the illustrations inside are not Full Moon; a good number of those are Time Stranger Kyoko related. Still, the illustrations that have been included in this collection are bloody gorgeous, as is the standard for Tanemura’s works. Even if you don’t like her stories, you have to admit her artwork is above the par for her field. Several of her color spreads literally took my breath away at first glimpse.

Only a few of them were below the typical skill set of Tanemura, and she even admits it, but I suppose they were included for completion’s sake. Having said that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; some of Tanemura’s favorites probably wouldn’t rank high on my personal list. Of course, everything is different when you are not the one who created it but just the person who sees it after the fact. Some of these pieces took almost two whole days to complete. Some of them almost got lost right before deadline. Many of them involved little artistic quirks of Tanemura’s design that I’ve never heard of any other manga-ka doing before; she is truly an innovator among artists.

It’s a little hard to read Tanemura’s commentary on her art, since she’s so tough on herself – to a point where ‘modesty’ doesn’t even begin to describe it. It seems she doesn’t believe she’s a good artist and spends a bit of time over critiquing herself; the rare moments she sounds proud of her work, she quickly backpedals with another bit of tacked-on modesty. I know there’s a manga-ka subculture that involves artists downplaying their own talents on a regular basis, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be on display so much in a manga-ka’s art book, which is meant to be a testament to their craft.

While going through the art book, it reminded me that I really like what works of Tanemura I’ve read, which is Full Moon, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, and Mistress Fortune. I’ve not read Time Stranger Kyoko or I-O-N but the art is intriguing enough that I’ll definitely be checking them out in the next month or so. The fact that an art book can spur me to read a series when not much can is pretty amazing – so, like this book. It’s a quick but pretty read, and gives a good look into the headspace of a relatively famous manga-ka; any early era Tanemura fan worth their salt should have this in their collection.