Galaxy Angel Character Book
The Galaxy Angel Character Book is one of my favorite art books. That's a pretty impressive feat; not only because I have art books from talented artists like CLAMP and Arina Tanemura, but also because I have no connection to the show that this book promotes. I've never seen an episode of Galaxy Angel, and it's not high on my list of anime that I need to watch in the near future. My appreciation of this book isn't an extension of liking the show. Even with no knowledge of the series, the Galaxy Angel Character Book is fun to read and flip through.
The show (from what I can tell from reviews of it and from the art book) is a comedic sci-fi series, starring five attractive anime girls. There's the clumsy cute one, the diva, the creepy red-eyed one, the manly one, and the pink-haired main character. Being a character book rather then a regular art book, the focus is on them rather then the show itself.
The book starts off with profiles of each character, with the usual trimmings like stats and character designs. The book then takes it further, showing sketches of the characters in the different disguises used during the show, some of which are pretty bizarre. (Why is Mint dressed up like a chicken?) Seeing the different get-ups that the characters wear made me want to see the show just to find out why they’re wearing those outfits.
The other interesting part of the character profiles is the characters' rooms. You can tell a lot about a person from their living space, and anime characters are no exception. Each of the Galaxy Angel girls’ rooms not only gives some insight into their personality, but it also look pretty cool as well. Milfeuille Sakraba’s room is extremely girly, with stuffed animals and lace everywhere, while Forte Stollen’s room is cluttered, and even has a tree growing in it. My personal favorite is Vanilla H's room, a sparse, clean place that seems to reflect her expressionless nature.
Character profiles only take up half of this book. The other fifty percent is an issue of 'G.A Type', a spoof of Newtype. It has two Newtype-style features on the show, meaning splash pages with some text, ads for different Galaxy Angel merchandise, fan art, a 'Galaxy Angel Original Side Story', and an episode guide for the series. The G.A. Type is a neat concept and is an interesting way to get across info about the series.
Most of the information is conveyed through the pictures and screen shots used in this book, but there still is a far bit of text. Unfortunately, the text is in Japanese. There isn't much text in the character profiles, but for more wordy parts of the book, such as the interviews with the show's voice actresses, it can be a little frustrating. If you are a fan of the series hoping to get a behind the scenes look at Galaxy Angel, this book will only give you that if you’re able to read it.
Luckily, a big reason that this book is such a good buy doesn't have to do with language at all. The Galaxy Angel Character Book comes with so many goodies, that it's practically a goodie itself. It has four color pull-out posters, each with a different picture on the other side. At the back of the book is a full sized poster, though be careful when you take it out; mine's already a little ripped because I unfolded it downward instead of to the side. On the back of the poster is a date calendar, and also a cut-out mask of one of the characters (though making the mask means cutting up the poster). Quite possible the oddest extra for any art book that I've seen is the option of cutting up the front cover to make little stands of the characters. I haven't done this as I can’t cut up my art book (I’m sure that most people will feel the same way). Not even to have little pop-up stands of the characters, which I think is a really neat extra but not worth destroying the book for. Maybe someday, if I see a copy of the Galaxy Angel Character Book for sale, I'll get it and cut it up, but not my only copy.
This is a high quality book, so the thought of taking scissors to it is a little distressing. Anyone with an interest in graphic design might want to take a look at this; the page lay-outs are different from the usual character book but are still easy to read. Even things that are commonplace in anime companion books, such as screen shots, are arranged in an interesting way. The book itself is good quality, with nice paper and practically every page in color. The dust jacket is cool, and I suppose it would cover up the part of the cover you would cut up to make the character stands, if you choose to do so. I still can't conceive of doing it.
This book is great for both fans of the show and fans of art books in general. It'd be even better if the text was in English, but otherwise it's a fantastic art book.