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Friday, May 29, 2015

“Robotech Art 2: New Illustrations & Original Art from The Robotech Universe”, edited by Kay Reynolds

132 pages, Walsworth Publishing Co., ISBN-13: 978-0898654172

Before the days of online forums for fan art such as Deviantart and Reddit, books like this were a delight, especially for those of us who felt isolated in the Robotech and anime fan community. But Walsworth Publishing Co. was rather overwhelmed by the popularity of Robotech Art 1: The Official Guide to the Robotech Universe (see below), and so Robotech Art 2: New Illustrations & Original Art from The Robotech Universe was published almost as an afterthought in order to capture some more consumer dollars before the popularity of Robotech began to wane – which in a way is odd, for of all of the Robotech Art books, it is this one that has the most “art” within: Robotech Art 1 is an episodic overview of the original series, along with an introduction to the world of anime, while Robotech Art 3 is an overview of the failed Sentinels series along with a long, informative essay on the business-end of the Sentinels production. Robotech Art 2, however, concentrates on fan art, and the results (as might be expected) are highly varied – there are some excellent artists represented (many of whom are professionals in the comic book industry) along with many rather amateurish works. The book also contains reprints of various cells, background paintings, character sketches, and paintings by character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto, one of the top anime character designers of the 80s; however, most of this work is available elsewhere. Finally, there is a short essay on robots in Japanese culture by Frederik L. Schodt, an American translator, interpreter and writer which, while informative, seems out of place in this particular volume.

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