Wednesday 15 February 2012

Atelier Rorona, Totori, Meruru Premium Art Book (Softbank Creative)

When importing art books I always cross my fingers for each one to have more artwork than interviews or text, but that's only because I can't understand Japanese. As a fan of Mel Kishida's gorgeous art style, and as a fan of the Atelier Arland trilogy, I pre-ordered this book hoping to get nothing but colourful art pieces.  Screw interviews!

The Atelier Rorona, Totori, Meruru Premium Art Book does not displease! This 256 page art book is chock full of pastel pieces from promotional posters, magazines, game covers and game events!

The cover art shows off the main heroines of each Atelier Arland game.  It's no surprise that Meruru is on top since she's the last of the three girls to learn alchemy.  Also, she is the heroine of the third and last game in the Arland trilogy. I'm going to guess the third one is the best out of the series.  I'll know for sure in May when the game is released in North America.


The first section in this lovely art book shows off promotional pieces and cover art.  The book refers to these pieces as "Illust" or "Illustrations".  I absolutely adore the full page spreads.  There isn't a lot of white taking up the space the colours spread out beautifully. 

Mel Kishida truly has a lovely style.  Sure, he doesn't do crazy mech pieces like redjuice, but he certainly excels when it comes to using soft and warm pastel colours.  He also seems to have an obsession with flowers.  Many of his promotional pieces involve the girls being surrounded by a bit of alchemy equipment and ingredients and then flowers all around.  Lots and lots of flowers. I have no complaints though because the flowers just seem to add more beauty to every piece.

You can't go without a bit of girl on girl!
As usual, I love that we get to see concept art for all sorts of things.  Softbank included all the sketches and ideas used for cutscenes and cover art.  The image below shows off some original ideas for the back cover of the Atelier Meruru box art. Not only do you get a glimpse of the sketches, but you also get to see coloured versions as well! Neat!

There are only a few pages of cover art, but being able to see any of them brings a smile to my face.  This is what every game/anime art book should have!

Just look at all the different poses!


The following section is one of the longest in the book.  For those who enjoy cosplaying, I have to say this book can really give you what you need (if you want to cosplay as someone from the Atelier Arland series, that is).  You have your standard front and back shots for each character, but you also get a great bonus! You can see what the characters are wearing beneath the many layers of clothing they have on.  All right, that sounded wrong, but I'm sure you know what I mean!

Now, this doesn't go for all the characters, but you'll get some inside shots for many of them. If you look below, you can can get a better look at Totori and Mimi's shirts, but not for Jeeno.  Granted, there's nothing particularly complicated about the clothing beneath Jeeno's jacket, so it's not a big deal.  I just think it's great being able to see how many layers of clothing a fictional character can wear. I'm sure it can be much more complicated with Final Fantasy characters.

Although they're relatively small, the conversation expressions and poses for each character are included in the art book, which I think is awesome. I can't imagine Softbank enlarging the shots.  I bet this art book would be over 400 pages considering all the characters and designs used for all three games.  If you look at one of the four corners of each character page you'll see some interesting information.  From what I gather, Softbank included the full name, age, height, and blood type of each character.  It's quite nifty since some of these characters appear in all three games.  They just get older and Sterk, who just happens to be an awesome playable character in all three Atelier Arland games.  He starts off at age 24 in the first game.  Then he's 35 in the next game, and finally he hits 39.  


Right after the character art comes the gorgeous full page event shots.  Every event picture from the three games is included in this book and each shot gets its own page!  I personally love this set up.  I find myself irritated when beautiful pictures are extremely small in an art book.  How can you fully appreciate the art work if you can barely see them?

Even in the first game, Kishida's art work left me in awe.  I want to say he kept his style throughout the three games, but I felt there were some changes in the Meruru images.  Something about the faces threw me off, but I really loved all the art work in Atelier Totori.  It might be because that was the first Atelier Arland game I played.

So, you'll get to see all the fanservice shots, the silly ones (like Rorona getting fished out of the water), and some serious shots.  Of course, I didn't include those images in this review.  Some of them contain spoilers!  My dear readers, I recommend you play at least Atelier Totori. It can be a bit frustrating at first but it's beautiful and addictive!

What an unusual fish!

Event sketches are really tiny, but you get the picture (no pun intended).  They already have complete, full-page shots before this section so you can find the final results quite easily.  I do appreciate the fact that Softbank included these.  It's not that they're amazing or anything, but I do like the little extra things.


The last section of the book is where you can find actual concept designs for the characters in the Atelier Arland series.  You'll see different outfits, hairstyles, height, items, etc... I think for the most part, I was happy with the final decisions.  There were some designs that weren't as impressive as the ones selected for the games.

Basically, this book is worth picking up if you're willing to fork over 3800 yen for full page art work, concept art, character art, and no interviews.  I think I made a good choice by pre-ordering this baby.  As I mentioned earlier, I really love Mel Kishida's style.  It's soft, colourful, and the promotional art is simply vibrant.  Plus his designs are, more often than not, very beautiful.  You've got your cute girls, your pretty girls, your dorky little boys, and the handsome ones.  Kishida's covered most areas (plus some girl-on-girl).


Company: Softbank Creative
Number of pages: 256
Purchased from: CDJapan
Price: 3800 yen

Thanks for reading!



  1. Thank you for this particularized review. I will definitely by this book.

    1. You're very welcome!

      Thanks for reading my review! I hope you enjoy the premium art book when you get it!