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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's a week of Miku book reviews! Day 2: Hatsune Miku Graphics: Character Collection CV01 Hatsune Miku Edition

Review by Matt S.

With all the coverage that we've been giving Hatsune Miku and her band of adorable vocaloids, I thought that it would be a good time to review a series of Hatsune Miku (and friends) art books by Udon Entertainment.

And so each day this week we'll be publishing a short review from the library! Yesterday we had a look at official art from Miku's creator, Kei, and so today it's time to have a look at a book of art drawn by Miku's most committed fans.

Hatsune Miku Graphics: Character Collection CV01 Hatsune Miku Edition has, across its 96 pages images drawn by over 30 of the best fan artists in the Miku community. This makes it a very different book to the Kei Illustration Works book that I reviewed yesterday, of course.

For a start, it means that there's no consistency across the book. Each artist has their own interpretation of Miku, and their own artistic style in general. In some cases this means the images are of a similar, if not superior quality to Kei's own drawings. But in other cases the artist's work is barely above amateur, or their vision of who Miku is is so different to my own that I simply don't like thier work at all.

So as an aesthetic produce the Character Collection lacks the cohesiveness of Mikucolor, but what I do love about the book is that it displays just how generous Crypton has been with the character, and how much it is the community that feeds her success. Even when I didn't like a particular artist, I loved that they were able to contribute their own interpretation of the character to the book. Anything that gives young, aspiring and upcoming artists a muse is a good thing in my book.

There's also a tiny little bio for each artist where they're able to contribute what Miku means to them and how they go about their art. These are rarely the deepest insights, but they give the book a greater sense of personality than Mikucolour, which had no words anywhere in the book. Here we get the slightest glimpse into the community that has formed around Miku, and I must admit that it's reassuring to see other people that are as fascinated by this character as I am.

I still would have like to have seen greater insights. The book would have been strengthened by an in-depth interview with just one or two of the more exceptional artists. As with Mikucolor I was left with more questions about the character and her culture than were answered.

And again I was left with the impression that this was more of a book for the most committed fans than someone newer to the world of vocaloids. This book is for people that spend time on vocaloid forums and perhaps write their own vocaloid music. But, for those people, it's going to be an indispensable collector's item. Heck, you probably will find your favourite Miku artists in here.

- Matt S. 
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld
It's a week of Miku book reviews! Day 2: Hatsune Miku Graphics: Character Collection CV01 Hatsune Miku Edition
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