So going into this art book went as follows: “Hm, I don’t know who Ugetsu Hakua is, but the art looks familiar,” flip into the first couple of pages, “OH! Burst Angel!” I have yet to see any of Burst Angel, but I do know a couple of things about it: the pictures look yuri-tastic, and there’s a girl with a cowboy hat who has very big, round boobs that somehow manage to stay inside of her tank top. And all I could think as I was flipping through the art book was, “this is the artist behind those boobs!” That would definitely explain the parental advisory warning on the book.
Writer/Artist: Ugetsu Hakua
Translation: Duane Johnson
Adaptation: Duane Johnson
What They Say:
Ugetsu Hakua's first illustration book hits the US shores in DMP's release of Flamboyant. Most widely know as the character designer for Bakuretsu Tenshi (Burst Angel released in the US by FUNimation), Hakua's illustration work is filled with toned and sexy young women, showcasing his unique visual style and powerful energy. This art collection features more than 80 of Ugetsu's illustrations including art from Burst Angel, Phantasy Star Online, Fate/Stay Night, and numerous original illustrations.
What We Say:
While Ugetsu Hakua is best known for Burst Angel, he was also a featured artist in “Robot,” a full-colored manga anthology brought together by Range Murata, who is known for series like “Last Exile.” Ugetsu has also worked on the visual novel games, “Magical Girl AI,” “Samurai Jupiter,” and has done a number of doujinshi under the doujinshi circle “Yellow Tag.”
This art book is his first solo work. Its main focus is Burst Angel but there’s a number of other series and original works in this book. Going into the book, after realizing that this is “the Burst Angel guy,” made me think that this book is a fanboy’s dream. It’s hard to not notice the scantly clad girl whose chest is showing, her nipples being covered with what sort of looks like red leaves. The same girl is on the back cover, a full body picture where she’s wearing very long boots/stockings and her rear end is on full display except for that, again, convenient leaf looking design. The first page is an insert that advertises the book, preparing us for “bikini babes, outlandish tattooed maidens and scantly-clad gals wielding BIG GUNS!” Then we are treated to two double-sided posters, all of them from Burst Angel except for one that’s an original work of a silver-haired girl with a lot of tattoos going down her body.
The first set of pictures are all from Burst Angel, a variety of dvd, vhs, cd, novel, magazine, and manga covers. The advertisement for the book certainly doesn’t lie, because there are a ton of scantly-clad girls wielding big guns! There’s rarely a guy in sight and every girl is showing skin in some form or another. I can only recognize the two main girls from different dvd covers, I have no idea who anyone else is, but this book has renewed my curiosity about the series and what its actually about..
A series of sketches follow the colored Burst Angel pages. I always love this part of an art book because it shows how different characters and ideas came to life. It also sort of gives the artist a feeling of normality, showing that they made mistakes and made a lot of changes before the final piece was created (his original idea for Meg, for example, had her look even more like a cowgirl). Each page has different comments from Ugetsu, talking about his original ideas and how the characters turned into who they are today. If you read the comments on the pages there’s a bit of character profile information, and there’s some facts about the ladies of Burst Angel… like… bra cup sizes.
If you’re curious, Meg is a D-cup.
The last half of the book is full of a variety of illustrations. There’s illustrations from light novels that Ugetsu enjoys, such as “Everybody’s Bounty Hunters” by Ryo Ikehata and “Dear My Ghost,” by Arimi Yazaki. The light novel art is some of my favorite to look at because it’s Ugetsu’s interpretation of different characters and backgrounds in the novels he’s read (I really like the “Becoming a mother, even in war,” which shows two girls standing together with a baby in a bag, one of the girls letting the baby squeeze her hand and the other holding a gun). There’s some game art (including a picture from Phantasy Star Online) and a lot of original art, and towards the end there’s a gorgeous picture of Saber from “Fate/Stay Night. The original art is probably my favorite of all of the art in the book simply because there’s such a variety of work. We still have the big guns and bad a** chicks, girls with robotic arms or wings, and girls with big bikes, but there’s also the beautiful tattooed women and almost peaceful pictures (there’s one that sort of has an aquarium in the sky) that shows a real diversity in Ugetsu’s style.
This is definitely a must have for Burst Angel fans, or fans of Ugetsu Hakua, but anyone can definitely pick up the book and appreciate the artwork. For the most part I get very tired of the half-naked anime girl with big T and A, but for some reason the reaction when I saw the book was, “Wow, that’s pretty.” Because it is. The art is gorgeous, and the character designs are interesting. I like the clothing designs and the weapons, the colors, everything. I found myself not complaining (or rather, not complaining as much--I still think Meg‘s breasts are ridiculous) about the big boobed warriors and instead enjoying the art.