While ‘Daisuke Moriyama’ may not necessarily be a name you would easily recognize on sight, many manga and anime fans from the early 2000’s should be able to recall his work as the writer and illustrator of Chrono Crusade. For those who haven’t at the very least watched its anime adaptation, I can highly recommend checking it out (Trailer) unless you can track down all volumes of the even better manga. He has since moved onto his next major project World Embryo, which currently has eight volumes available in English.
While World Embryo might not have gained as strong a momentum in the West in comparison to its predecessor, there is plenty of artwork between the two that is worth showing off. The team at Udon Entertainment have recently allowed all Moriyama’s work to shine with their decision to localize and publish Moriyama Art Works: Chronicle. Coming in at 208-pages in length, this softcover, full-colour artbook dominantly contains art pieces from Moriyama’s two major works, in addition to smaller sections dedicated to other chapters of his long career in the manga industry including Mousou Kikou Adolescence Avatar, Mahoui Neko To Ibarahime, and Bancho Gakuen.
In total there are over 200 pieces of artwork contained within its pages. The contents contain everything from cover artwork for the manga volumes to artwork for drama CD’s to promotional artwork used in particular magazines. There is clearly the variety, and fortunately also the quality to match it – with very few disappointing pieces throughout the book. One of the biggest issues I have personally had with some other artbooks in the past is that the designers can take a fantastic image and then only dedicate a small section of the page to it if not pooling it with another three or four images. While there are still a few occasions where contents are crammed together, much of the portrait imagery is dedicated a full-page while landscape images are generally presented two-to-a-page.
While this is more necessary in what I would call a ‘design compendium’ over an ‘artbook’, there are no individual comments for each of the art pieces from Moriyama either on the page with the artwork or in a separate section. Instead, there is a four page chapter at the back of the book dedicated to Moriyama commenting on groups of illustrations – often clumped together by series. While comments on each image individually would have been optimal, I won’t complain too much on groups as they are still an interesting read. An two-page index is also available, highlighting the source for each individual drawing included in the book.
Because Daisuke Moriyama Art Works: Chronicle is purely an artbook in comparison to quite a few other Udon Entertainment artbook titles which can be considered ‘Design Compendiums’, there isn’t too much else to be said on this release. To put this simply, if you are a fan of Moriyama’s past works then you will very likely find much to enjoy in this artbook.
Still not sure? Udon Entertainment have provided fourteen sample pages via their official website.