Sorry for the long wait between posts. Type-Moon, the company behind some of my favorite franchises (The Garden of Sinners, Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Zero) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. As such it released an art book compiling images, comics, and interviews from several of its shows: Type-Moon 10th Anniversary Phantasm. The book is available for around $70 on Amazon, and at more or less comparable prices at other sites like J-List. This is an import, and you will find it shipping directly from Japan at most online vendors. And, as a consequence, the entire book (barring the cover and those random bits of English interspersed within) is in Japanese. Normally this isn’t a problem for most art books, but as 10th Anniversary Phantasm is quite the grab-bag of content, it will adversely affect those who aren’t proficient in reading Japanese.
The art book, naturally, reads from right to left. It comes with a nice dust jacket; the actual cover depicts, in amusing fashion, chibi versions of many Type-Moon characters. The first chunk of the book is dedicated to about 97 (by my count) nice pictures from various franchises, in no particular order that I can discern. Each picture has a little line of text (mostly in Japanese) giving its date and origin. There’s quite a variety of stories represented, from Canaan to Fate/Unlimited Codes and even the yet-to-be-released Girls’ Work. The trade-off is that each franchise only gets a few pictures, but Saber fans are in luck: she appears in so many iterations of the Fate series that you will find plenty of pictures centering on her here.
The second section, titled “Pieces of Type-Moon,” basically summarizes the stories of these franchises. The text will be incomprehensible to those who don’t speak Japanese, but even English-speakers can appreciate the neatly laid out charts and images in this section. The next section shares the results (which are hardly surprising) of a character popularity contest. Following this is a long section, titled “Creators and Voice Actors of Type-Moon,” which contains long interviews with eleven people (including Kinoko Nasu, the mastermind behind Type-Moon) and shorter profiles of many other members of the staff. Then there are a few pages showing a bunch of the merchandise that Type-Moon has produced over the last decade, enabling fans like myself to bemoan how much cool stuff we have missed out on buying over the years. That, or how empty our wallets are because we have bought these wonderful items.
Following this is a series of ten images of Saber, drawn in quite the variety of art styles. Then you have a “gender-bender” section where the artists of Type-Moon draw, yes, alternate versions of (mostly minor) characters. The rest of the book is an interesting mixture. There are more large pictures, images of merchandise (including several posters), a string of comics, and then…well, the book devolves into je ne sais quoi. If you wanted to read about what Type-Moon has posted on Twitter, here is your chance. But it ends well, with more comics and a “preview” of what Type-Moon will be working on for the next ten years.
The devoted anime fan has so much to buy! I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this art (or “material”) book over, say, the Blu-ray version of Fate/Stay Night, but if you have money to burn, then go for it. 10th Anniversary Phantasm will be a delight for the Japanese-speaker, and it still contains plenty of content for those of us stuck speaking English.