Ah! My Goddess Illustration and Artwork Collection
Every so often, you come across an artbook so beautiful that it takes your breath away. For me, anime and manga are artforms, and this gorgeous artbook is one of my prized possessions.
Containing art from the original manga covers, to anime used in promoting the original video animations, and artwork created for the 2001 movie, the Ah! My Goddess Illustration and Artwork Collection is a time capsule for this much-loved series.
Each page is devoted to a different piece, with several double page spreads. The final thirty-five pages are dedicated to character notes, a synopsis for the movie, and a vast collection of black and white character sketches.
The cover, which featuring everybody's favorite deity, Belldandy is the same image used for the Japanese DVD release, and the large size and crisp colors herald what is to come. This is actually one of my favorite pieces, with a winged Belldandy hovering over the Earth, sitting on a giant egg.
Inside, we are thrown straight in. Excluding the character sketches, there are no notes or side bars at all in the book. It's one hundred percent goddess goodness. My only problem is that the artwork itself is all pretty random. On one page, you can have a picture used in the original manga, and on the next, a piece of promotional artwork used for the movie.
However, there are also several pieces that were never used in the manga, anime or movie, including a nice piece showing the anime Morgan Le Fey rising from an enchanted flower, while her sister-fey fly off-focus in the background.
The artbook also contains artwork used for the covers of the American OVA releases, as well as two gorgeous, almost luminous covers from the Japanese movie comics, showing Belldandy and Holy Bell, and Urd with World of Elegance. The deluxe Japanese movie DVD cover, which was included with the American version as a pencil board, looks especially glossy, and each print has been carefully enlarged to fit the page.
The selection of original manga covers is impressive, but there seems to be no logical order to them. Belldandy, Urd, Skuld and Peorth are all featured, but there are some particularly memorable ones, such as Skuld playing a sitar, Peorth with Gorgeous Rose, and Belldandy riding on a goldfish.
The section of the artbook devoted to the movie begins with several pages of screenshots, showing each character and a short synopsis. There are then six pages showcasing their wardrobe. Belldandy has a total of eleven outfits, but sadly, this does not include the sight of Belldandy in a Japanese school girl's uniform. Four pages show the highlights of the movie in no particular order, along with several of the best sound bites superimposed over the screenshots.
The character sketches, which take up the remaining pages, are truly a fan's dream. Overall, this rare find is a must buy for anybody for has an artistic appreciation for anime, or who just loves Ah! My Goddess. I tracked my copy down on eBay two years ago without realizing what a wealth of beautiful artwork it contained, so if anyone accidentally stumbles across a copy, don't hesitate to buy it!