Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: Tsubasa ALBuM De REProDUCTioNS

Serving as a way to celebrate CLAMP's 20th anniversary, and to give fans of the all-female manga-ka team something else to fall in love with, Del Rey has recently released an awesome art collection from their Tsubasa franchise. Entitled Tsubasa: ALBuM De REProDUCTioNS Original Art Collection, this book is quite the sight to behold.

Presented in an oversized format, this art collection is 102 pages of CLAMP masterpieces as they have been pulled from various sources. Each page is loaded with amazing examples of CLAMP's designs and eclectic style. If you're unfamiliar with the manga-ka then you should know that each character features elongated proportions. Legs, arms, and even entire bodies are often stretched beyond reason. It gives the artwork a very unique look that stands out and defines who they are. One look at a single piece here and you'll instantly be able to recognize it as CLAMP.

Now, Tsubasa also happens to be one of their more successful franchises. It's basically a culmination of all their works. Various characters cross-over from one series to the next, but ultimately the series is its own entity. The plot follows the tale of a guy named Syaoran on a quest to save the girl of his dreams, Sakura, along with his travel companions Fai and Kurogane. It's a fantastical franchise that launches its characters from one world to the next, so in each segment the looks is more and more diverse. This art book catalogues a majority of their more striking adventures.
Included here are colored full-paged versions of pieces seen in Japanese magazines, on advertisements, or even CD covers. The breadth of content is formidable and it's safe to say that outside of the manga chapters and anime, these pieces have never been available in the States before. What's great about this book from the standpoint of a fan of the franchise (which I happen to be, by the way) is the pair of drawings and five-page manga, both of which are exclusive to this release. Nice!

Out of the 102 pages of artwork there are a few that stand out above the rest in my opinion. On pages 8 and 9 there are two pieces of artwork that pay homage to the Hanshin Tigers in a rather fantastical way. On pages 32 and 33 there is an epic image of Kurogane and his sword Ginryu that originally appeared in KC Deluxe Version 3 Cover and Case. A great picture of Sakura and one of her feathers makes its way to page 65 while the Witch's magnificence graces pages 78 and 79. In all fairness every single piece here will make you stop and stare. There isn't a bad picture in the bunch and the book's presentation is very high quality. Towards the back (after the exclusive manga) there's also a guide with snippets of information about where the images came from and what inspired the girls to draw what they did.

If you're a Tsubasa or CLAMP fan then this art book is worth every penny you will pay for it and then some. I can't say enough good things about the quality artwork on every page. Del Rey did a great service to fans by releasing this here in the States and this book is truly a labor of love. Highly recommended!

Maki Rating:

Review material provided by Del Rey.

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