It's been a long while since I wrote about my anime book collections. In fact, when I went home in April, I took pictures of all my anime book collection but I have yet the time to upload and show it off here. Well, today is still not the time. As I was tidying up my treasures, I finally decided to write about the few books which I bought for the past few months. Too lazy to take pictures on my own so the pictures here are taken from a lot of places around the net.
Firstly, Hikaru no Go Illustration Book [Sai]. This is an oversized and gigantic artbook measuring 37cm x 26.5 cm. When it first came out, I was still a poor dumb student who thought $100+ something for an artbook was too much. My threshold during that time was still $50-$60 per book. I even bought the bootleg version (shame on me!) as a compensation. The bootleg is in Indonesia so I am unable to compare how it fares against the original. I finally got this book from Yahoo! Japan for $60.66 including shipping and middleman service. Good price so I have no right to complain about the dust jacket which is not up to my "good" standard. But still, what's the meaning of few dollars? If I bought the book first-hand initially, I am sure I will still own a book which is still in top condition. Anyway, this book is quite interesting: the pages run from 0 from both front and back covers! They meet at the center at about page 90. The art and drawing inside are gorgeous. My only complain is that the actual hard cover is just plain white! Meh..
Next book will be xxxHolic Kocho no Yume artbook. I almost missed this but I can proudly say that I bought the last available copy in Singapore's Kinokuniya!! Haha.. The book is simply: orgasmic! On the surface, it looks disappointing with an external cardboard box with a large picture of Yuko and a large picture of Watanuki at the other side. Yes, cardboard material does not justify the high price tag of 6900 yen. But hey, don't judge a book based on it's external box. Inside the box, there is a three-way hardcover material with Yuko (the picture below). Upon opening, beneath it is Watanuki. And wait.. this three-way hardcover material is not even the book cover!! It forms sort of a cage and the actual book is still inside.
The actual book cover is sort of a disappointment after the gorgeous Yuko and Watanuki book cage. However, it fits the traditional Japanese theme. The paper also has this funny Japanese smell which I commonly smell from old books I imported from Japan. Haha.. The first half is full-colour illustration while the second half is black and white illustration. To be honest, words do not do this book justice!! Seeing is believing but I am too lazy to take picture. Haha..
I can't remember how much exactly I paid for this but in total I spent $129.20 for the book and New Prince of Tennis TV Animation Official Visual Book. I am not particularly fond of buying books with digital artwork from anime. But with a lack of Prince of Tennis artbook (as far as I remember, I can only recall Prince of Tennis 30.5) and the fact that Prince of Tennis is one of my favourite anime, it was a no brainer for me to buy. Ah, I did not remove the price tag for this ($37.50). With 20% sale, you can calculate back the price of xxxHolic book. Anyway, as per usual TV animation book, there is nothing much worth mentioning about this.
Next is Fairy Tail Illustrations -Fantasia-. I love Hiro Mashima's artwook in Rave but I find a lot of changes with his style with Fairy Tail. While the drawings inside are fantastic: hand-drawn and fully coloured, my enjoyment is ruined because of 2 factors: the oversexualisation of the female bodies and the exaggeration of male abs. Too many pictures of ladies in "compromising" poses and the lack of clothes make this book more like a "soft-porn" art rather than an anime/manga artbook. A bit sad actually. He is talented (good writing and good drawing) and I suppose he will be as successful without sexualising the ladies. However, in the end I still think that this is a $33.94 well spent. Haha..
Back to another book which I already own the bootleg version: Dear Boys. I was not being stingy when it first came out. I did not buy it because I was still oblivious to the manga back then. Haha.. Yup I bought the bootleg for about $20+ and guess what, I bought the real one for $28.91 inclusive shipping! Ridiculous isn't it? Content-wise, there is actually no issue having the bootleg. Haha.. However, the original trumps the bootleg with the cover. You see the picture of the cover below? The actual book cover is actually full grey in colour. The picture of Aikawa is actually on the transparent plastic dust jacket! Heh! Cool.. This was released during the first Dear Boys series. With the manga reaching Act III now, I think it is just time for Hiroki Yagami to release another artbook. If he does, this time I will definitely buy the original right from the start!!
Moving on to my favourite series now: Gundam Wing. With Endless Waltz ended more than a decade ago, I totally never expect there will ever be any Gundam Wing artbook. I was jumping with joy when I saw Gundam Wing Sunrise Art Works TV Series. But I was too late.. only 3 months late and the book was already sold out in many places. Surprisingly, I never even saw it in Kinokuniya! Bah.. I was on the brink of giving up when I saw eBay sellers were selling at USD80-100+ when the original retail price was only 3800 yen. I was very lucky that I could manage to snag one from Hobby Link Japan with original retail price! Yay.. $62.34 gone in total. The book is purely in black and white and the content is all sketches. I am being biased here but no complaint about that as I bought it simply because it is Gundam Wing! Haha.. But to be more objective, it did not reach the "orgasmic" level like xxxHolic artbook did! Lol..
I imported Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle Character Guide I and II from Amazon.com. I am not a big fan of Tsubasa but I am totally confused about the story so I suppose these books will be able to help me understand the manga better. The 2nd book was on Bargain Price from Amazon so it was dirt cheap. Amazon claimed that Bargain Price books are over-stock from supplier and not second-hand items from customer. It was rubbish! When it arrived, the condition was atrocious. Bleah.. No issue with the volume I. Luckily, Amazon refunded me the price of the first book (the non-bargain price one) and the shipping so my faith in Amazon was restored! Haha.. The books itself are so-so. And I don't know why the size of the first book is about A5 while the second one is more of a B5. Simply weird.. And nope, the book did not help me to understand the story better. I need to re-read from the first book when all volumes had been released in Indonesia. Anyway, $15.61 for both books, I should just suck it up.
I reach the final one which just arrived today: Valkyrie Profile Material Collection. I did not buy when it was first released for the same reason as why I did not buy Hikaru no Go. Lol. Shame on me! It set me back about $70 I think. But lucky me, the condition is near mint, unlike the Hikaru no Go. The item consists of 2 books housed in a slip case: the first one is illustration book and the second one is more like the game walkthrough. Similar to xxxHolic, I thought this book was "orgasmic" too! Haha.. The art is damn good (for sure!) but its bonus point is: reminiscence of my teenage years. Oh yeah!! Why didn't I buy this earlier? Haha..
These are all my latest loot. Hmm.. come to think of this, I am quite shocked: I bought all of these within April-May only!! ZOMG.. No wonder how I run out of money so quickly.. Haiz..