Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hyperdimension Neptunia + Mk2 Artbook Review

Hyperdimension Neptunia + Mk2 Artbook Review
Publisher: Softbank Creative
Cost: 2,800 yen (or around $60 USD, including import fees)
Released: December 30, 2011
Printed in Japan

The Cover of the Artbook
There are as few games that are as polarizing as Hyperdimension Neptunia, there are some that chide the racy character design and the juvenile humor, while there are others who appreciate the allusions to the anime and videogame industry and the charming cast. The people who enjoyed the game do enjoy the by the unique, eye-catching character designs of Neptunia. For the American release of Hyperdimension Neptunia, we got a barebones artbook that features scant character art and a few conceptual designs of the characters. The fans demanded more, and the companies listened. Softbank Create recently published an artbook of Hyperdimension Neptunia and Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2. Here are my thoughts in my first of many artbook reviews.

Purple Heart,
Swimsuit Edition
The cover of the Hyperdimension Neptunia + Mk2 artbook is eyecatching (as seen above). It features Neptune, the goddess of Planeptune and her little sister Nepgear in elegant flowing clothes in their goddess forms. The cover features reflective lettering that matches the elegance of the cover. The artbook is separated into four different parts: character art, character profiles, hand drawn anime in-game art, and conceptual character design. Each of the four parts is split up into art from the original game and art from the sequel. The character art is gorgeous and it displays the great character designs in a variety of different poses and backdrops. As expected, many pieces of art in the artbook are quite racy and are not safe for work or school. Much of the artwork features the buxom eponymous lead of Neptunia and her sister wearing fewer clothes than their original design and they are in suggestive poses. The character profiles for Hyperdimension Neptunia are very similar to the ones seen in the artbook included in the game, but they include the various body statistics, facial emotions, and conceptual art. The character profiles for Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 features full body shots of each character, body statistics, facial emotions and conceptual art. The in-game anime art shows the various sequences from Neptunia and Neptunia Mk2. Just a warning that the artbook shows ALL the endings in the sequel, so be warned of spoilers. The four parts of the artbook flows well and the different colored pages seen in the sides allow the person to skip right to a part that interests them.

There are many artbooks there; the Valkyria Chronicles artbooks sets the bar in the incredible depth of the information presented in the artbooks. The artbook for Hypedimension Neptunia is not like the Valkyria Chronicles artbooks, all the art is on the female characters in the series. In the 150-page artbook there is no art on the lands of Neptunia, there are no character designs for the enemies you fight. If you find the character art amazing, then this artbook will be a treat for you. If you are the kind of gamer who wants to know the cosmology, history, and the design of the world in which a game is centered on, then you will be in for a world of disappointment. Personally, as a fan of the character designs I can accept an artbook without a tome full of background knowledge that other artbooks have.

It depends on what you like about Neptunia, if you want to see scenery and want to know more information about the world of Neptunia, you will not like the artbook; if you like the art of the characters you will love this artbook and it will likely be a center of your personal collection. If you enjoy the character designs of Hyperdimension Neptunia, you will like this artbook. If you want to cosplay as a character from Neptunia and you want to learn poses or need art to craft your cosplay outfit, you will like this artbook. In the end, depending on what you as the consumer want from your artbook, this artbook may prove to be a valuable piece in your collection or a dud. The fans in Japan have spoken, and the artbook has already sold out in Japan and went into its second print run shortly after release. If you want to have a piece of the franchise on your bookshelf, then feel free to buy a copy, it is well worth it.

Kris Zoleta started working in Anime Expo as a staffer in Manga Library. He worked in Staff Service in Anime Expo 2006 and became the manager of Manga Lounge from Anime Expo 2007-2010. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the 501(c)(6) non-profit behind Anime Expo and is one of the most recognized cosplay photographers in the West Coast.  

If you want to buy a copy of the artbook yourself:
Hobby Search
Amazon Japan

Like with many artbooks, pictures in magazines like this one
found its way to the final artbook.


Kim S said...

The eyes look like power buttons.

KrisZ said...

Hi Kim, I do believe that was the intention with the design. Each of the main "Goddesses" in Hyperdimention Neptunia is a personification of a console. When they switch to this mode, it is natural that they would have something like that which showcases their console origins without dehumanizing the character design.

Lisa Randell said...

OMG, You updated the ART :D

KrisZ said...

Yes I did, enjoy!