Given my adoration for the ero-guro master that is Shintaro Kago, i was gonna jump immediatly at the chance of adding an artbook of his to my collection (which it’s quite extensive, if i say so myself)… and i did. Had to import it, since it was gonna be handled by french publisher The Mansion Press, instead of the many italian and international publishers who usually publish his works (including underground – and fellow italians – firms like the excellent Hollow Press).
Not that it mattered, since The Mansion Press ships worlwide, it’s an artbook, and it happens to be localized in english.
“Localized” in the sense the publishing credits and the few titles-thems of the pieces are translated in english. It’s absolutely 100 % import friendly, so worry not on this regard.
And before i go on, i’m gonna excuse myself in doing this since you can’t get it anymore, it was a limited 750 copies print run (and just 250 for the “deluxier” edition with slipcase and signed bookplate glued inside the book, which i didn’t get, btw), and until a new version comes out – IF it ever does -, there’s simply no way to get it anymore. Unless you wanna get scammed, i guess.
So yeah, sorry, but i also need to offer some variety to the material i review on the blog, so i hope you realize this wasn’t made on purpose to irritate those who wanted or might have wanted it.
If you want them, go ask your friends with some fine tastes in comic books, borrow the artbook from them, there are ways to get your mittens on a print copy.
In terms of contents, it’s worth pointing out it was never sold as the “ultimate Shintaro Kago artbook” or anything massive containing a selected numbers of works, makes sense since this is the first artbook of his and he’s… you know, still actively working (the latest work was The 12 Sisters Of The Never Ending Castle, a “sequel” to the amazing Princess Of The Never Ending Castle, the latter being also a perfect starting point for approaching Kago) and not dead.
I’m focusing on this because i feel most people would get hyped and set themselves up for disappoiment, it may seem snobbish to say, but nobody reads what’s written on the tin, and in this case the artbook description on the store page of The Mansion Press says : “Find in this last artbook a selection of works never published before”.
And it’s that, a collection of Shintaro Kago’s artworks that indeed have not been put to print, if you like me – followed him on Instagram for a long time (and he’s quite active there too), you will have seen a good 99 % (if not all) of the illustrations already, so don’t go in expecting that.
That said, the selection it’s good and quite well represensative of Kago’s unique style and designs, even if there’s no proper theming or anything in term of extra content like the author’s comment about a piece, just a collection of his artworks that is structured in a loose way, while a lot of the selected works feature in some way abstractly mutilated or transformed human parts of high school girls, animals, human organ constructs like factory machinery, all with some of the more extreme and inventive gore you’ll ever see. Also, the illustration he did for the movie Nowhere Girl.
In technical terms, the hardcover it’s pretty solid and it’s overall well put together, thought i’m not exactly sure if the glue is of high quality, since i just flipped through the artbook 152 pages three times and i did once hear the spine creak a bit. All of this the very same day i unsealed it from its cellophane seal, but maybe i’m being too nitpicky and worrying too much (time will tell better in regards of the artbook’s craft, after all), and it was priced quite fairly, all thing considered.
So overall, i hope this is just one of many more artbooks about Shintaro Kago’s output!