Artbook Review: Takehito Harada Art Works I


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Takehito Harada Art Works I | oprainfall

It wouldn’t be a Takehito Harada art book without Prinnies and Etna!

There are few RPG series’ out there with as much unique artistic style and swagger as Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea series. Drawn by the venerable Takehito Harada, the series is known as much for its demons and antiheroes as it is for its unique cartoony style. Thus, it was with great pleasure that my eyes lit upon the Takehito Harada Art Works I, published by Udon, at PAX this year. This beautiful book is chock full of pictures of characters from Disgaea 1-4, Prinny 1 and 2, Makai Kingdom and Phantom Brave. But let’s start with some of the art from the first game, the one that drew me into the Disgaea universe, called Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.

Takehito Harada Art Works I | oprainfall

Still my favorite entry in the series. Gotta love Laharl, Etna and Flonne.

Set in the Netherworld, you are tasked with playing as the demonic prince, Laharl, on his quest for the throne and title of Overlord of the Netherworld. I fondly remember his inscrutably annoyed exterior, Etna’s demonic nudging and Flonne’s obsession with finding the good in everyone. To this day, I also remember the fight against the Prism Rangers, and the hilarity that ensued. This game was one of the highlights of PS2 RPGs, full of memorable characters and absurd storytelling. There are just tons of pictures from the first game throughout the Art Works, but perhaps my favorite is the following:

Takehito Harada Art Works I | oprainfall

Flonne and Etna swapping costumes. What’s not to like?

Besides this, there are many other beautiful pictures from Hour of Darkness, bursting at the seams with Prinnies, Demons and Angels. Take a quick gander:

There is also a lot of love in the book for Disgaea 2. I never played a game past the first, not sure why, but I have to admit many of the characters in the game look just as fun as those from Hour of Darkness. I especially like Rozalin.

Disgaea 3, which I have yet to play as I don’t own a PlayStation 3, has some interesting visuals. I was most especially captivated by adorable, evil Raspberyl andthe  glasses-toting main character, Mao. Not to mention the curvaceous Sapphire Rhodonite.

I have perhaps the least familiarity with Disgaea 4. The most interesting characters here, in my opinion, are the creepy starfish girl, Desco, the red-headed Vulcanus and the humanoid Prinny, Fuka. I have to say, besides the wonderful Hour of Darkness pictures, those from D4 are especially entertaining.

Next, I want to combine pictures from the various spin-off series’, including the Prinny games, Makai Kingdom and Phantom Brave.

In closing, I just want to reiterate how pretty and fun this art book was. It was full of vivacious, naughty and downright mean characters, and I love all of their designs. Though I am most familiar with Laharl and company, I fully intend to visit the worlds of Disgaea 2, 3 and 4 sometime in the future. In closing, I want to share some of my favorite pictures from the Art Works. Note that some of these are more scandalous than those I previously showed you, none are pornographic or offensive to anyone teen or older. I should also note that Harada himself says in the artbook that he always draws characters without clothing first, and adds it later. Enjoy!

If you ever happen upon this book, and if you are a Takehito Harada fan, I implore you to pick it up! It is truly a bargain for $40! My only complaint would be the overall lack of exposition within. But, if you like artbooks solely for the pretty pictures, give this book a shot, dood!

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About Josh Speer

Josh Speer is addicted to two things in equal measure : Books and Videogames. He has a degree from the University of Washington in English with an emphasis on writing. He joined Operation Rainfall this year while following it on Facebook. His two giant life goals are to write his own series of fantasy / science fiction novels and to get into the creative side of the video game industry. He is beyond pleased to now have his proverbial foot in the door thanks to the opportunity provided by Oprainfall!