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.
This fourth review is once again different from the first three I posted up, this time being less of an artbook and more of a movie guide. The book is the official movie guide for Wolf Children Ame and Yuki that recently held a screening in Australia during the Gold Coast Film Festival, with director Mamoru Hosoda also in attendance (See my interview with the legendary director HERE). While my review of the film still has not gone up, and given its impending international release by Funimation / Madman Entertainment in North America and Australia respectively there is a chance I will not have one up until then, I have decided in lieu to review this guide instead.
Containing approximately 176 pages in total, this book contains a number of different types of imagery, from direct screencaps from the film, character profiles, imagery of scenery adapted for use in the film, concept artwork, photographs of the cast and more. As this title has only been released in Japan, the text is completely in Japanese and be forewarned that while there is lots of artwork and pictures in the book, it is also very text heavy and full appreciation may require proficiency in the language. The team at Udon Entertainment however confirmed their acquisition of the Summer Wars Material Book a few months back, and may be reflective of their plans to localize other books based on Mamoru Hosoda’s work.
Potential language barriers aside, there is a wealth of content available across its pages – and while I would have appreciated more concept artwork or even storyboards added to the mix, everything was commented upon in detail, there were some decent interviews/commentary with different cast members / staff and it was evident that a lot of work went into producing this book. In that same regard, the layout was far from simplistic, often with creative backgrounds or visual knick-knacks to keep your attention on some of the wordier pages – and while on the image-centric pages the images could have potentially been bigger, their design was still effective in balancing the imagery with the descriptive text.
While I will most probably be spending days or weeks trying to translate the whole book, as it currently stands I think this is one of the nicer movie books I have seen, and is a standard for what I would like to see in future film guides.
Wolf Children Ame and Yuki: Official Book has to date only been published in Japan I believe by Kadokawa Shoten in 2012 following the theatrical launch of the film. This book features imagery and concept artwork from the film Wolf Children (おおかみこどもの雨と雪 | Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki) directed by Mamoru Hosoda and co-produced by the teams at Studio Chizu and Madhouse. According to my copy of the book it retails at around 1,600 yen.