ARTBOOK SPOTLIGHT: Bride of Deimos Original Illustration & Treasury Collection
August 5, 2011
Etsuko Ikeda / Yuho Ashibe – Akita Shoten – 2009 – 124 pages
Bride of Deimos is a shoujo horror series that ran from 1975-1983 in Princess Magazine. I’ve done brief reviews on all the volumes here along with a series overview over at Manga Recon. Jason Thompson also wrote it up for his House of 1,000 Manga column, and he’s far more entertaining than I am.
In 2007, the series restarted in Japan as Bride of Deimos: Final Chapter, and from what I can tell, the new incarnation has little to do with the original. The restart explains why Akita Shoten released this little hardcover artbook 20-odd years after the original series ended. None of the new stuff is in here, but there’s plenty of vintage shoujo illustrations to ogle, if 70s shoujo is your thing. The artbook was an unexpected surprise when it came out, and I’ve been meaning to write it up here for some time. It’s definitely worth a look, and I’m not one to waste an opportunity to talk about Bride of Deimos.
Also, I’ll admit I fudged my translation of the title. I think the gist of the original is that it has both illustrations and uncollected comics in it.
I hate scanning artbooks because I don’t want this post to be a substitute for buying the book, unlikely as that is in this case. But there’s at least 80 color pages, and I’ve selected a dozen of my favorites. Know that the book holds a ton of amazing content that I’m not showing you here.
I don’t actually have that much to say about this book. A third of the book contains uncollected Bride of Deimos stories, and the rest of the illustrations pretty much speak for themselves.
I like Yuho Ashibe’s artwork quite a bit. She’s got a very soft and ornate style that’s well-suited to fantasy series. She also has quite a knack for drawing all the strange and ethereal creatures and the environments they appear in for Bride of Deimos. Ashibe has another fairly popular and very awesome series called Crystal Dragon that’s firmly rooted in Celtic mythology. Alas, it’s another series that’s been running off and on since the 80s and is still unfinished, currently on hold due to the Final Chapter of Bride of Deimos.
Part of what made this book so exciting for me was that I hadn’t seen very much of Ashibe’s color artwork. Admittedly, a lot of what’s here are simply portraits of Deimos, Venus, and Minako, but some of them are quite lovely. And some of them are unusually detailed.
There are three sections to the artbook, the first contains fantasy-themed images like the three below, the second reality-themed and/or Japanese Folklore images (or images of Minako), and the third consists of the uncollected comic stories.
You can click on most of the images in this post to see a larger version. It’s worth it for the strange Venus illustration above.
This next one is a Venus illustration that was on the back cover of most of the ComicsOne volumes. I saw it a lot, but it’s still very striking.
And this is just a nice light color palette, which is unusual among all the dark Deimos images.
The two below are from the “Temporal” section, or the Minako/reality images.
And to finish things off, a nice dark portrait of Deimos menacing Minako, along with a really amazing noh-looking painting. Not sure what’s up with Minako’s hand in that first image, it was probably meant to be cropped.
There are three comic stories that I believe were previously uncollected. At the very least, one of them was uncollected, and I doubt the other two are in here because they’re cool. One of the stories is about eight pages long, fully painted, and appears at the end of the fantasy section. The other two are longer and in the third section of the book. One of these features beautifully painted historical scenes for the first four pages. Of course, the rest of the artwork is just as lovely, but it’s always interesting to me to see what the rare color pages in these old series looked like.
Yuho Ashibe’s art has changed quite a bit since Bride of Deimos stopped running, and while I still really like her portraits of Deimos on the new issues of Mystery Bonita, the comic artwork is a little more spare and less interesting. But I do love her old stuff, and this book was very much worth having for me. 70s shoujo art collections that are in print are fairly uncommon, too, even if you don’t like Bride of Deimos.