I promise that this is the last art book review in a while, but I think any fan of anime will be pleased with this particular product. I (connoisseur of Japanese culture that I am) certainly was.
Huke (stylized as “huke”) is the Japanese artist behind such works as Black Rock Shooter and Steins;Gate. BLK Limited Edition Art Book is the first anthology that has been released of his work. As of this post, the regular edition will run you about $70 on Amazon. The limited edition costs about $120 or a little more, and comes with a figma action figure.
The art book itself is a beauty. It’s a fairly tall and wide book, mostly black on the outside as the name would suggest. The dust jacket features a Black Rock Shooter picture on one side and an image from Steins;Gate on the other. The actual cover is almost unadorned.
Part of what I love so much about this art book is how it cuts to the chase. It is the absolute antithesis of something like Type-Moon’s 10th Anniversary Phantasm, which I reviewed in my last post. While the text of the art book is in Japanese, there is so little of it that English speakers will be practically unaffected. The entire book is filled with nice, big, beautifully created and printed pictures. It looks wonderful, and would make an excellent coffee table book for even non-anime fans to look at.
The first section of the book is dedicated to Black Rock Shooter; you even get an image of the figma included in the limited edition to ogle, if you so choose. The second section is filled with Steins;Gate pictures. The color palette in the second part is much brighter, as is the content in general. You’ll find a few bikini and maid pictures in the Steins;Gate section along with the more serious entries.
The third section is filled with miscellaneous images. There are quite a few pictures of soldiers and some girls that look as though they belong in Black Rock Shooter. There is one bloody image that has been censored, though I can’t tell if that is somehow part of the artist’s statement or the result of executive meddling. Following this miscellaneous section is an index of all the images in the book.
Overall, it is my kind of art and my kind of art book. Huke’s style is dark and wistful, and the way that BLK is presented only serves to draw out his talent. The only complaint that a fan might have is the lack of identification for each picture.
The figma action figure that comes with the limited edition is quite nice as well. For those of you who don’t know, figma has been leading the market in high-quality Japanese action figures for a while now. This particular figma is a depiction of Black Rock Shooter, and comes with many small, interchangeable parts. It is pointy, and while durable by the standards of action figures, unsuited to all but the most mature of children. Black Rock Shooter’s sword has a bunch of manufacturer text on the back that isn’t the most pleasant, but otherwise she will make a fine addition to any collection. Even the box that the figma comes in is nice enough to be preserved. I personally prefer immobile PVC figures, but BRS’ stand and flexible joints will allow you to pose her in all manner of ways if that is your wish.
BLK and its figma are undoubtedly very well made; the real question is whether they are worth the money to you. I would recommend that any fan of Black Rock Shooter, Steins;Gate, or dark, whimsical art in general at least get the regular edition. More dedicated fans may wish to invest in the limited edition so as to get the figma.