Sunday, November 11, 2012

Natsukashii by the Barrelful--Atelier: Artworks of Arland Artbook Coming to US

Fantastic news for fans of Mel Kishida and the Atelier JRPGs in the English-speaking world--as previously reported by Anime News Network, Udon Entertainment will publish a translated version of the 2011 artbook Atelier:  Artworks of Arland for North American release in March 2013.

Budding flowers and lush fruit, plus those apples look pretty good too.  Image courtesy of Hobby Search.
This artbook is a compendium of character designs, settings, and staff interviews from 2009's Atelier Rorona, 2010's Atelier Totori, and 2011's Atelier Meruru, known otherwise as the Arland Trilogy, produced by game developer Gust and released in the US by localizer extraordinaire NIS America.  The three games, similar in spirit to the dozen-or-so Atelier games before them, ask the player to guide the astoundingly moe protagonist in a pastoral quasi-European setting, synthesizing items out of collected basic materials to aid in quests du jour, while making friends and solving problems along the way. 

While the games themselves received warm critical praise, what sets the Arland Trilogy apart from previous Atelier games are the character designs of Mel Kishida, whom anime fans will recognize as the man responsible for penning the casts of Hanasaku Iroha, Sora no Woto, and Kami-sama no Memo-chou.  Astoundingly, NIS America removed Kishida's artwork from the cover of Atelier Rorona, instead opting for a completely sterilized version, presumably to attempt to appeal to a wider consumer base while completely nullifying the moe-seeking fandom that the game was seemingly designed to appeal to, instead appealing to the interests of absolutely nobody.

Fortunately for us all, NIS America reinstated Kishida's character artwork onto the subsequent releases of Totori and Meruru, and the characters certainly do have a way of standing out amongst the space marines, wastelanders, and zombie-fender-offers that the games share retail space with.

This new artbook should not be confused with Udon's marvelous previous release, Atelier Series:  Official Chronicle, which collected art materials from all of the Atelier games up to and including Atelier Rorona.  Udon has done immaculate work with their Ar Tonelico and Valkyria Chronicles collections as well, and there's no reason to expect anything less than loving perfection on this release. This book will be all Kishida, all the time, and I for one will have this on pre-order.

Tittilating Titular.  Thanks to for the image.

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