Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Artist: Ugetsu Hakua
Genre: Illustration Book (Art)
MSRP: $24.95 US
Rating: 18+ (Recommended for older readers)
Release Date: Now Available
Cute curvy girls with guns … what’s not to like?
As an art student, I tend to examine manga art and animation to an almost obsessive degree. I’m also the wrong person to take when going out to by anime because I spend more time eyeing the DVD covers than picking up what I want to purchase. A year ago, shopping for anime at a local Fry’s Electronics with fellow reviewer Kiki Van De Kamp, I picked up the first volume of an anime series called Burst Angel. The DVD cover art just made me want to plunk down my money and buy it. It was then and there that I became a fan of artist Ugetsu Hakua.
So it came as a very pleasant surprise that Digital Manga Publishing has brought to our shores the work of Ugetsu Hakua in an illustration book entitled Flamboyant. The first thing that caught my eye – aside from the gorgeous cover – is that the first few 50 or so pages are dedicated to Burst Angel. Fans of the anime series and Hakua’s art know that Hakua was character designer for the series so this section of Flamboyant brings us the jacket artwork for the DVD volumes (including the Special Limited Edition Collector’s set jacket artwork) as well as promotional artwork and rough sketches.
The sketches aren’t numerous but what is here is actually quite revealing seeing as Hakua also included his thoughts and other notes about what he liked and disliked as well as what he wanted to see for each individual character. For example, Meg’s bust seems to get bigger with each sketch and that’s mainly a cosmetic change that was designed to compliment the less curvaceous Jo. Burst Angel fans will also appreciate that the CD album covers are included as well as the cover for the rarely seen Burst Angel novels “Girlpop Inferno” and “Boy Meets Angel.”
Of course, there’s more to Flamboyant than just Burst Angel art. The collection also includes Hakua’s work for Phantasy Star Online (the MMORPG video game), his work for the series Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko (also known as Everyone’s Bounty Hunters). Speaking of video games, Ugetsu Hakua has worked on the cover art as well as promotional material for a few games be it on a console or PC. There is also some original artwork in this collection … which is a lovely exclusive bonus for the U.S. edition.
I must note that aside from the fact that this illustration book is dedicated to gorgeous women that are barely dressed. There are five revealing (and by that I mean topless) drawings, which makes this book more for mature art lovers. Anyone who doesn’t have a problem with art of lovely, curvy girls will like a lot of Hakua’s depiction of the female form. Guys will definitely love his talent for making cute girls look damn cool wearing close to nothing. I don’t have a problem with it myself but I do have a bit of a problem with the fact that some of his work seem to include very young girls in revealing outfits.
Flamboyant is definitely an illustration book worthy of buying if you appreciate good art and Ugetsu Hakua’s talented body of work. It’s definitely not a book for the younger crowd or those who are easily offended by scantily clad girls with weapons. If you can look past that or appreciate hot girl art, Flamboyant is a Must Have. If you’re a already a fan of Hakua, then this is book you must not be without.
Those Burst Angel fans that loved the DVD covers will definitely love Flamboyant in all it’s colorful glossy illustrated glory. There are a number of sketches here that will thrill art students and you got to love the back page filled with text commentary about each image from Hakua himself.
Long-time admirers of Ugetsu Hakua will certainly enjoy this collection of art that isn’t short on lovely, scantily clad ladies and gorgeous illustrations that were worthy of putting on DVD covers. Of course, Burst Angel fans will love the deep insight of each of the characters. If you like great art then Flamboyant should be among your collection.