Sep 23, 2013

ARTBOOK: Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing - Aerial Log

I finally got a copy of the Aerial Log for Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing. Aerial Log is their fancy title for "artbook." I should've pre-ordered this book last March because sadly! Amazon JP gave out free posters of the cover photo then! OHWELL.

The artbook entices you with its beautiful dust jacket as illustrated by the show's concept artist, Range/Renji Murata. The jacket shows off a cute collage of the main characters. Just the good guys, actually and they look gorgeous. Range does a terrific job drawing the cast each with their own unique expressions and gestures. (NOTE: the limited poster offered during the initial release is a bigger version of the jacket. I can imagine how lovely their adorable faces would've looked like hanging on my wall.)

Underneath the silky smooth flaps is a stark white hardbound cover. It's so white I'm afraid my grubby hands would get dirt all over if I'm not careful. Why do Japanese artbooks have to be so beautifully clean this way?! I do love the sketch version of the jacket illustration printed on the front cover. I always love to see the artist's initial sketches of a great illustration. The gritty unfinished textures delight me.

Like the first Last Exile: Aerial Log, Silver Wing's has over 130 pages. The content includes gorgeous colored illustrations of the anime, plenty of character designs, staff interviews, the series episode guide with screencaps, details of the vehicles and environment sketches. There's also a sad short story titled, "Friends." Those who have watched the first series might have an inkling what that's about.

I only wish the Aerial Log had more full page illustrations. The Visual Archive section seemed too cramped for me as it made the artwork too small to admire while the Story Guide (aka a summary of the anime series) felt like it ate up what space the illustrations could've used. I did like the character profiles and the Mechanic Report a lot as it presented a detailed look into the elements.

Final Verdict: I really adore Range Murata's work. As much as I loved the series, I bought this book for the original artwork. There's an attractive touch to Range's style, especially with female characters. His mechanical designs are amazing too, which makes sense since the internet said he did like to design cars. Whether you're a fan of the Last Exile anime, of Range's illustrations or you like good concept art well enough, Last Exile is a great book to have.

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