Finally, three months after placing my order, I received my Clannad Visual Fan Book yesterday, shipped all the way from Nippon. And so it is about time I revive TsundereStorm, I’ve been on “hiatus” for more than a month (though occasionally I was finalizing my design for TsundereStorm 1.0 in my sketchbook on the subway).
Yeah, working in retail is busy, especially before the Christmas season. I finally got back into the animanga business after the New Year. Good timing for the arrival of my Clannad book!
This softcover artbook has 144 full-colour pages. The first 38 pages is a gallery of images of Nagisa, Kyou, Ryou, Kotomi, Tomoyo and Fuuko, these are the scans you frequently see on high-resolution wallpaper and scan imageboards like konachan.com and moe.imouto.org. As beautiful as these illustrations are, they arn’t the reason I get these artbooks, since these images are readily available for download from the aforementioned sites.
The following 34 pages are character bios and gestures. There’s a lot of Japanese text here, a lot more than I had anticipated. I’ll have to get my friend to translate it for me or teach me Japanese. The only information I can get out of it are facts that have to do with numbers, like bust/hip/waist measurements, birthdays, etc, but the sketches and miscellaneous illustrations are the main reason I get artbooks, since it gives a bit of insight into the design and development process of the series.
There’s a surprising amount of detail put into the character design, it is to be expected for a character-based show to have highly detailed characters but I didn’t know they would go to the point of making separate illustrations for Tomoya’s wristwatch, Nagisa’s shoe, etc.
All the supporting characters are accounted for and there’s also a section that goes step-by-step through each of the main characters’ stories. Again there’s a ton of text here and I wish I could tell you what all this text is explaining. They numbered each episode by character episode and by airing episode. For example, episode 10 is the 3rd part of Nagisa’s and Kotomi’s arc, the 4th part of Kyou/Ryou’s arc, the 2nd part of Tomoyo’s arc. I’m not really sure how this would be of use, but I might find it interesting when I start playing the game (which will be when After Story finishes airing.)
The Story section of the book is 56 pages long and covers the season on a per-episode basis. There are storyboards for the major parts of each episode. I find it amazing how the producers can show so much emotion in the characters from such simple sketches.
A small part of this section details the architecture used in the animation. As architecture student, it was this section that made me decide to purchase the fanbook (I glanced at scans I found online) as there are very detailed hand-drawn perspective illustrations of the school, the houses, and the rooms in the world of Clannad.
The last 16 pages is a staff and cast interview, unfortunately this is almost all text so again I can’t give any details here. But there are nice portrait photos of the main cast.
At the very end there’s a small gallery of official collectible goods, like postcards, cell phone dangly-things, calendars, and other small miscellaneous accessories. I think the little card that comes slipped in the middle of my book is an order card, but since I don’t live in Japan it doesn’t really do me much good.
Another artbook review should be coming soon!