Yoshitaka Amano is a Japanese visual artist, character designer, illustrator, a scenic designer for theatre and film and a costume designer. He’s probably more well known for his work from Speed Racer, The Guin Saga, Vampire Hunter D and Final Fantasy.
Bulk of the book covers The Tale of Genji. The story follows the romantic life of the son of an ancient Japanese emperor, Hikaru Genji and his many relationships and lovers. You can think of this book as a picture book with art that accompanies the story.
The style of art is a mix of spiritual, psychedelic, fantasy with a mix of Japanese culture. The art also looks very sketchy, as you would expect with Amano’s style. The line art seems to be drawn with pencils, and the colours are bold and striking. The art is often of Genji, the lovers, or the two together but there’s no erotic nature to the art.
The last few pages are on Amano’s take on the world of fairies, goblins and other creatures of the fantasy world. The art reminds me of Final Fantasy characters and creatures. The text are short stories for the creatures.
This is a difficult artbook to review. You’ll either like the style of the art or you won’t like it. Based on what I’ve written, you may have guessed that I’m not sure about whether I like this book or not. This is definitely a book you should flip through first before you decide whether it’s for you.
Elegant Spirits: Amano’s Tale of Genji and Fairies is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | AU | JP | CN) and Book Depository
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