Sunday, July 11, 2010

Artbook Review: Zanka

Artist: Yone Kazuki
Games: Hiiro no Kakera series and some others
Format, Pages: A4, 127 (All in colour)
Published: Feb. 2008
Extras: fold-out poster

Yone Kazuki is one of the game designers for Otomate (part of Idea Factory). It is one of Japan's premier developers of dating and adventure video games.
An Otome game is (taken from wikipedia): "A Video game that is targeted towards a female market, where one of the main goals, besides the plot goal, is to develop a romantic relationship between the female Player player character and one of several male characters."
With the airing of the Hakuoki anime Yone Kazuki has gained some popularity as he is the original game designer of Hakuoki too. (This Artbook does not have art from this series though)

Since I can´t understand Japanese I never played any of their games, but I fell in love with the cover art of Zanka immediatly and ended up buying it. Since I do not kow a lot about the series shown in the book please excuse me in case I made mistakes.
The book itself features mainly Illustrations of the different Hiiro no Kakera games. The pictures are printed on sturdy, thick paper and most of the Illustrations either obtain one page or there are two or three printed on one page. I guess that is something very common with game artbooks, because of the nature of games often have smaller artworks too. Quality of the prints seem to be high, since they don´t look pixelated even when viewed from close distance.
There are also a few Illustrations shown twice with different coloration.
If I am not wrong with it, the Illustration of Hiiro no Kakera take up about 70 pages. At the end of this section there are also some b/w artworks and sketches aswell as some text. The text take up about 10 pages, that´s just a wild suggestion because the text shares the page with sketches most of the time, so saying it is only text would be unfair.
While I cannot read the text I enjoy rough sketches aswell as finished linearts too, so I don´t feel like this pages are wasted. And even without the text+design sketches part you still have ~100 pages with Illustrations.

After this section there follow some, as it seems to me, older works from Kazuki Yone aswell as Illustrations of different other games, like for example Fushigi Yuugi. However I do not like this Illustrations as much as the Hiiro no Kakera ones. The style is strikingly different here.
At the end of the book there are some girls too, or mainly a blond haired one which seems to be a main character of one of his games. While the style is different I like those too.

I can really recommend this Artbook to everyone who likes the sample pictures, I promise you won´t be dissapointed.

I even have some more samples for you here in my photobucket gallery.


  1. I love this art book. Before I got it I had spent a ridiculous amount of money on a postcard with the same image as that red armchair artwork. I didn't know that art was in the book so when I saw that image in the book I was in heaven. Ironically, when I thumb through pages really fast to find the armchair page I pass that page every time. The pages sort of clump at that point so unless I slow down and flip one by one, I keep skipping that piece. :D

    What's your favorite drawing?

  2. First, thanks for your comment^^

    My favourite is the image on the fold-out poster. I love how this 4 white fox guys all represent a different age-group. (child, teenager, young adult, older grown-up)
    Wish I could tear it out and put it on my wall. (too afraid of harming the book)

    Do you have the new Artbook from Otomate, "Kagero Usuba - Selection La Soiree", too? I am waiting for my copy and, though its not Kazuki Yone, I am really looking forward to see the artwork.

  3. I've got a few books with posters inside I wish I could pull out. The Hiiro no Kakera one is nice. It's neat how it's made of the same paper as the slipcover.

    ...Leek power! LOL, I like the composition of that artwork with the fire in the background.

    I don't have the Otomate book but I like the art too.

    I saw how you're reviewing art books. It's hard to find anime art book reviews, so it's cool to see them. I thought about reviewing books but many titles I own have been reviewed by others already.

  4. There will soon be a review for the new Otomate book, so look forward to it^^

    Yes, there really aren´t many Artbook reviewing sites. That is a reason why I want to share some books. (Though I am not good in reviewing..)
    I think the Zanka one is my best review so far; in the end I guess most people only want samples anyway XD

    As for me I think it is important to let others know eg: how much text is there, is it all in color and that stuff.

    Btw do you know It is a very good artbook-reviews site. It makes me wish I could order some Doujinshi books..

  5. I look forward to the Otomate review. I think I saw some merchandise with the art but I didn't get it. If there is an art book I could get that instead.

    Reviews get better the more you write them. I tried writing one in my blog and it's harder than it seems. People think reviews are only about pictures, but there are a lot of other things.

    I found your site through :) I always welcome seeing more review sites. Those pictures makes me want to buy a lot of books. Oh no, doujinshi! Doujinshi get really expensive and can cost as much as regular art books. It's a shame doujinshi have so limited numbers.

  6. same u..I dont know much about Kazuki sensei..
    but the cover of this artbook so decied bought it =))
    ..same this arts work !