A Look At Udon’s Disgaea, Atelier, Growlanser, And Valkyria Art Books

By Matt Hawkins . April 4, 2013 . 11:20am

UDON will publish the revised version of R20+5 later this year, which is the revised version of the Japanese Mega Man + Mega Man X 20th Anniversary Art Book (which was also localized by UDON, but split into two book, each dedicated towards each series).


This time, UDON is keeping both halves together, and it will feature the same material as before, along with all the updated material, naturally. It’ll be published under the name MM25: Mega Man and Mega Man X Official Complete Works.


Alongside MM25 will be SF25: The Art of Street Fighter, Asura’s Wrath: Official Complete Works, Dragon’s Dogma: Official Design Works, and Monster Hunter Illustrations 2. Aside from these, however, PAX East 2013 was also where a number of other books finally made their official debut.


First you had Takehito Harada Art Works Volume 1. Harada is best known as the primary illustrator behind Disgaea, and UDON last year published DISGAEArt!!! Disgaea Official Illustration Collection. This latest volume encompasses all the games that Harada has been involved in, including the Disgaea spin off Prinny, Phantom Brave, and Makai Kingdom.


Chris Butcher, UDON’s marketing manager, explained to me that Takehito Harada Art Works Volume 1 is noteworthy for showing the process that Harada uses. Everything from the original line work to how the colors are laid out.






Next was Atelier: Artworks Of Arland, which collects all the art from the Atelier trilogy: Atelier Rorona, Atelier Totori, and Atelier Meruru. Ash Paulsen, associate editor for all the books on hand, cited Artworks of Arland as being a prime example of all the improvements that UDON sometimes undertakes.


An extra fifth color has been added, described as “warm neon pink” by Paulsen, one that was designed to enhanced skin tones. Which it really does; it’s impossible to convey the effect via photographs, one simply needs to see the printed page in person. When asked how the original publisher felt about such an undertaking, Butcher explained that they were surprised, since it’s such an expensive process.






Moving on was Growlanser Art Works, featuring the work of Satoshi Urushihara. It covers six of the Growlanser games, four of which have managed to come to America.


When asked about the changes that are sometimes employed, Butcher reiterated one of the core mantras of UDON: “The rule is to reproduce books that are just as good, if not better, than the Japanese editions.”


That being said, it was explained that, for the most part, UDON aim for a 1:1 reproduction. Any alterations are often to simply accentuate the material itself, and not to re-create something.


It would appear that covers are what are played around with the most. Both the Mega Man Zero and Star Force books were also cited; each had foil added to their covers, to make them more eye catching. There have also been rare cases in which the cover art has been completely changed, because the original design didn’t speak to American gamers.






Next was Valkyria Chronicles Volume 3: Complete Artworks. Paulsen was quick to point out that it represents the only localized material for the game. The book includes pretty much every single facet pertaining to the game, including the story. For the time being, it might be the only way to gain closure to the trilogy, until Sega decides to bring the game it is based upon to the west.


I asked if UDON is viewed as source of spiritual solace for fans of games that have been ignored by western publishers, and the answer was “absolutely”. I also asked if game publishers inquire as to how well a particular book does, to gauge any interest as to whether the source material should be released as well. According to Paulsen, “they’re certainly interested, but it’s not the only factor that they use.”


He adds: “There’s not always a correlation. Want to know our most popular book? Believe or not, it’s Okami. We’ve had the most reprints of that of any of our other releases. But the game itself did terribly, sales-wise.” [Editor’s note: Capcom might say otherwise.]


Both men at UDON are also quick to point out that the business of publishing games is a complicated one, and they were by no means representative of Capcom, when it came to their Mega Man line.


Butcher stated, “When you’re outside of the industry, it can look like no one cares, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes… Capcom is trying to get that series back on its feet. In the meanwhile, we’re thankful that we can continue to publishing Mega Man books. I think it shows that they care about the character, and his fan base.”






But art books that are originally from Japan aren’t the only things that UDON publishes, they do engage in original projects. Like the Art of Brutal Legends. Described as their biggest book, both in scale and scope, pages feature two layers of foil, for that extra shine, there’s also silver ink, which allows for hidden messages throughout. It also features cloth binding so the book lays flat, and the entire thing is 12 x 12, shaped like a record.






All of the books described above have release dates that have not happened yet, but some are currently available via Amazon. Others can be pre-ordered.

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  • Luna Kazemaru

    Did they even say what the VC 3 art book keeps getting delayed ?

    • z_merquise

      Yeah, I was planning to get this since December 2012.

    • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

      I’m not sure if there’s been any official word on why. I’ve had it pre-ordered for like half a year now (early Sept 2012).

      But at least it’s supposed to come in 2 weeks now. Thank the Lord!

  • “When you’re outside of the industry, it can look like no one cares, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes”…

  • rorschacht

    I need that book of Brutal Legend soo bad D:

  • Richard N

    WTH!? Growlanser artbook. I didn’t realize there were that many people out there that warranted for them to bring it over.

    Now if only someone can bring over Growlanser VI.

    • EmptyWarrior

      Maybe VI will get an OverReloaded version or something and Atlus can bring it over.

    • TheExile285

      Growlanser IV is the only one I’ve played but it was awesome. I liked it so much I even bought the art book, lol. After looking through it, I need more Growlanser (or Satoshi Urushihara) in my life lol. I hope XSEED localizes Growlanser 1 PSP.

      • EmptyWarrior

        If you want to play more Growlanser, then I really recommend you track down a copy of Growlanser Generations. So good.

        • TheExile285

          yeah, I’ve been looking into getting it. wish I known about this series sooner, lol

        • Kenneth Richardson

          Growlanser Generations is ripe for a PSN release. I frickin loved that game

      • DaveyD

        It just plain sucks that we haven’t gotten an English release of Growlanser 1. I don’t think XSEED could do it even if they wanted to though. Since ATLUS owns the rights,it would have to be ATLUS USA if anyone. But for some reason it looks like they passed on it.

  • zferolie

    I have the 2 disgaea ones in japanese. Drove to the kiniko books in times square to get them

  • Endy Operin

    Dammit, I already have this Atelier artbook. I’d wait for it if I knew that Udon will publish it.

  • SirRichard

    Going to be snatching up the Atelier and Brutal Legend ones for sure, and maybe the Mega Man one because it sounds comprehensive as hell. UDON do pretty great work putting these together, I’m glad to see them knocking out so many artbooks now.

  • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

    Been waiting for that Valkyria Chronicles 3 book for a while now. So glad it’s coming out soon.

    Also Lol, “There have also been rare cases in which the cover art has been completely changed, because the original design didn’t speak to American gamers.”
    Nice segue, as the picture that follows this sentence has a cover with various girls with various breast sizes. They may be anime breasts but I’m pretty sure boobs speak to gamers of any country.

    … … …

    Maybe I’m reading way too much into this. >_>

    • puchinri

      That depends on whether or not the person is into boobs (and the size and type). I’m not picky about boobs, but I know people who are (and plenty of people that could care less about boobs; most being certain gamers).

      It kind of reminds me of a conversation I saw the other day actually that talked about how covers of games changed between regions (notably, the FF covers of NA and JP). I’m not sure how significant the differences are now though, but my mind went to that. (Where here, many publishers felt that they had to have the protag on the cover to sell the game, but it was usually just the game’s name/logo on the JP cover.)

  • z_merquise

    Hey, it’s been a while. I like Valkyria Chronicles series’ character designs, mechs and settings and for some reason, it’s the 3rd game the one I’m really looking forward to play for a long time. So yeah, I’m going to get the VC 3 artbook.

    I read that XSeed wanted to localize VC 3. Why can’t Sega let them? I thought the series got a respectable amount of fanbase outside Japan and the 3rd game seems to be the best in the series. I’m still depressed (and fucking frustrated) on Sega’s decision for not giving this game a chance.

    • TheExile285

      Apparently Sega doesn’t have a good history with letting others localize their games (at least, thats what I’ve been told). Its a shame because XSEED is the cream of the crop when it comes to localizes handheld games and I’m sure they’d do a great job.

  • Oh man I want them all but if I have to choose I want to buy the Growlanser one first. The VCIII book is tempting as well maybe good sales will convince SEGA to localize the game /optimist

    • TheExile285

      I have the Growlanser one, its amazing. Just be warned, its a tease since all the games haven’t been localized, lol

      • Yeah. I have 2,3 and 4 so I can get half mileage out of it.

        • TheExile285

          when you say 2&3, do you have the PS2 version (Generation)? If so, how are they? I’m considering getting it because I loved IV. I really hope Atlus localizes the PSP version of G1.

          • That’s what I got. Well worth hunting down. You will like 3, since it has the full movement while 2 has to moving around a world map grid. Gameplay is solid all around.

        • Ryos

          When you’re talking Urushihara designs you’re getting full mileage even without the games! It is a pretty good book and far nicer than the one included with 5. Which I guess makes sense for the price, right?

  • Hound

    The art of the Atelier games has always been very beautiful with its washed-out faux-pastel colors and the attention to detail.
    If I hadn’t heard things like “their skirts are too short in-game and the camera angle too low,” I’d probably have every game in the series just because of the beautiful art style.

    I didn’t know there were art books being released for it. I’m definitely picking it up when I get the chance.

  • TheExile285

    I got the Growlanser art book on Monday (I pre-ordered). Its amazing. The world needs more Satoshi Urushihara!

    After playing Atelier Totori Plus on my Vita, I’m kind of tempted to pick up the artbook that series too. Maybe if Temco localizes Meruru Plus I’ll get artbook too.

  • michel

    It’s crazy that the west got Valkyria Chronicles III artbook, but not the game!…

  • Michaelius

    Looking at that translated VC3 artbook feels like cruel joke.

  • JohnNiles

    *counts books*

    What to buy, what to buy…

  • Oltheros

    Very nice to hear about udon, I’m a big fan of what they do. Somewhat selfishly I hope they continue growing so they can bring over even more Japanese art books. I think like 90% still stay in Japan.
    PS localize the Fire Emblem artbook!

  • Ladius

    The Growlanser artbook is actually out :) By the way, Udon is a fantastic publisher that has done a lot for jrpg fans in the last years. I’m happy to support them, and I hope their lineup can grow even more in the future.

  • DaveyD

    I just got an email from Amazon saying my Growlanser art book has shipped. Yay! As I understand it, in Japan this art book was created in large part to promote the release of the PSP version of Growlanser 1. Hmmm…

  • revenent hell

    Oh man I’m a horrid collector…..I just ordered the Growlanser art book….I didn’t even realize there was one coming out, well available now……I feel awful…..

  • T-X

    Need all of these, LMS artbook, Hyrule Hystoria and Fire Emblem Awakening Artbook! Wallet why you so poor?!

  • TheBlackgirl123

    This black girl is gonna buy these books whether i die or not. But definetly NOT brutal legends. Sucks butt

    • revenent hell

      I’m not trying to be rude or anything but is there a particular reason why you feel compelled to proclaim “This black girl” every time you make a post?
      Not trying to be ignorant here or anything but I don’t think the majority of people care what color anyone else is or what it even matters.
      I just find it silly you feel the need to say it as often as you do as if it holds some baring of some kind….

      • TheBlackgirl123

        Oh sorry. Someone forced me to say it but i’m so embarrassed. Please forgive me

      • tubers

        I find it.. interesting.. *glasses on*

  • ShadowDivz

    Want to know our most popular book? Believe or not, it’s Okami.
    God yes….
    Atelier book looks nice.
    Fun fact: my cousin who plays FPS, loves ninja gaiden and similar hard games. Would love to watch me play totori. He even named his kinect Ceci.(totori’s sister) Yes, that creeps me out too.

  • So many artbooks. I wish they bring Breath of Fire book too.

  • So we get a translated artbook of Valkyria Chronicles 3 but no translated third game? Well played, well played XD

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