Release date: August 2011
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
For an aspiring artist, joining the ranks of Marvel is like the holy grail of sorts: Reaching your highest comic art calling. After years of plying his trade putting pencil to paper, Dave Wilkins did just that.
Brace yourself with your newly acquired Rathian armor, sharpen your deadly Tigrex tooth.
Brace yourself with your newly acquired Rathian armor, sharpen your deadly Tigrex tooth, gather your fellow hunters and get ready to enter the vast and dangerous world of Monster Hunter!
Monster Hunter was created in 2004 by Capcom for the Playstation2. This would mark the start of what would be known today as one of the biggest video game franchises in the world. Following the original title, Capcom released multiple sequels and with each new version achieving blockbuster status, Monster Hunter became a phenomenon of epic scale, particularly in Japan. To give you an idea: every new sequel release of the game is practically a national celebration in Japan. Streets become filled with Monster Hunter paraphernalia, from billboards to flyers, gifts, magazines and even large-scale statues of monsters, all announcing the release of the new title.
There’s no doubt about it, Monster Hunter has a huge fan base. But as we all know, the wider the fan base, the harder it is to please everyone, every time. Could a simple art book do justice to a legendary video game franchise and thrill the fans at the same time?
Monster Hunter Illustrations was originally offered exclusively in Japan in the form of two art books and was, of course, in Japanese. After feeling a worldwide enthusiasm for the book, UDON Entertainment decided to re-release the two books as a single volume, featuring 303 pages of illustrations and text in English.
The UDON version, unlike the Japanese, does not include a slip case. But this small detail pales in comparison to the amount of work packed in the book.
Monster Hunters Illustrations is made up of eleven chapters, ranging from monster design, armor design, general concept art, weapons, monochrome art and much more. Every chapter ends with comments from the three leading members of the Monster Hunter team: Fujioka Kaname – Series World Supervisor/ Director, Kambe Tomonori – Designer and Edayan – Designer. The addition of these comments, where the reader gets to discover the process behind the different aspects of creation, is a major bonus.
Our two favorite chapters are definitely Monster and Armor design. Every single design is just bursting with colors and details. We were amazed by the monsters structure, prototype concept and the insane amount of creation behind a single armor. Speaking of which, it’s important to note that there are more than one hundred armors to be discovered throughout the book and about the same amount of monsters. You can imagine how much inspiration a piece of work like this can bring to an artist. Your perfect solution when an art block creeps up on you (naturally) just before a project deadline.
For the video game fans, Monster Hunter Illustrated can be used as an encyclopedia: every monster, armor and weapon is numbered and every number is cited in a list found at the end of the book. A small detail, but one that is sure to be appreciated.
In conclusion, the big question, is this book worth it?
You bet! Monster Hunter Illustrated is definitely a must buy. You are sure to find the required inspiration or reference for your next monster project in it. Even without a project in mind, it is still an amazing collectible to own. Bottom line, this book will not let you down. We loved our experience and will keep it as a reference when we run low on inspiration (hey, it happens to the best of us).
Note: Knowing what a Rathian armor or a Tigrex tooth are is not required to enjoy the book!
The book runs for under $30 on Amazon at the moment (Sept 2011).