I have decided that I would do something a little bit different this weekend and rather than review anime or video games, I would go through my small collection of artbooks and pick out a couple of them to review at random. These will include ones currently available to the English-language market such as titles from Udon Entertainment, while others will be imported and/or out of print releases. These are all designed to be mini-reviews and not the length you may have seen in my review of the Persona Design Compendiums for example.
My third review in this set of artbook reviews focuses on a book pretty different from the last two. For one, this was actually released internationally, and while published by Tokyopop which means it is quite likely out of print, it is still available from Rightstuf.com for a very reasonable price of $14.99. As I have mentioned several times on this site, Pita Ten holds the title of being the very first anime series that I watched all the way through many many years ago (Thinking back that could have been in back in 2003/2004). This artbook is however not based on the anime series but rather the far superior manga series that it was (loosely) based off storyline-wise.
All the artwork in this book has been produced by Japanese manga artist Koge-Donbo, who in her career has had a number of manga productions asides from the 8 volumes of Pita Ten including Di Gi Charat, Kamichama Karin, Kon Kon Kokon and Yoki Koto Kiku to name a few. This book contains a total of 122 pages of artwork, and the few pages where there is text, it has been translated into English by the team at Tokyopop.
There are no chapters in the book per ce, however they do initially split up the artwork into separate character batches – with the order going from Misha to Shia to Misha x Shia and then finally bringing in the other characters to the mix. Most of the artwork in the book aside from a few on the latter pages are not available in the standard manga releases, although according to the translated index in the back of the book have been sourced from other promotional materials such as trading card collections, magazines, DVD jackets, phone cards and more. Other additional goodies include a message from Koge-Donbo herself taken in November 2003 and three fold out artworks at the front of the book (Including one featuring Misha/Shia, one featuring main character Kotarou and his school friends and one with Kotarou, Misha, Shia and Shino in their animal pyjamas).
Overall there is a good variety of artwork in the release, and as much of the art is portrait in style, most of them take up a full-page. This was the best choice in my opinion, and while there in turn is nothing much I can say about the layout in this case, it gave the focus on the artwork and the pages which did require some more creative formatting it was designed pretty well. In terms of the print quality I can’t say it was the best I have seen in an artbook, but the actual artwork itself made up for it – carrying over Koge-Donbo’s signature art style and well-detailed works. Overall, I was pretty pleased with this release, especially considering how long ago it was printed.
Pita-Ten: Koge-Donbo Illustration Collection (English Ver.) was published by Tokyopop on the 9th May 2006 for a listed price of $19.99. This book features artwork from Koge-Donbo, whom herself was responsible for the rather charming manga series this book is based on. While it was initially released now more than seven years ago, online stores such as Rightstuf.com still keep it in stock – although for how much longer remains a mystery.