Book Review: The Art of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

The Art of Ni no Kuni II is an art book in its purest form. Its 152 pages are filled with nothing but glorious sketches and paintings. You won’t find an introduction, a single caption, or even a hint of developer commentary. Here, the art speaks for itself.

The 10.25″ x 10.25″ book is categorized into 16 chapters, featuring artwork for the main and side characters, creatures, villains, Kingmakers, Higgledies, vehicles, kingdoms, and all of those gorgeous watercolor paintings from the game’s end credits scroll. There’s a section dedicated to unused concept art, but sadly it only spans four pages. I always like to see early designs and concepts that were left on the cutting room floor, so it would’ve been nice to have more unused art. Similarly, the Higgledies chapter is all crammed into a single page. Beyond those sections, the other categories are well represented with plenty of artwork to swoon over.

In addition to the galleried art, the book is presented in an elegant fashion. While the paper is a smooth, heavy stock, it’s printed with a sort of faux texturing that gives the effect of the pages being made of parchment. Each page is bordered with a gold trim for an extra layer of class. The book is a work of art in and of itself, enshrining hundreds of other beautiful pieces of artwork between its hard covers.

The Art of Ni no Kuni II is a blissful celebration of Level-5 and Yoshiyuki Momose’s legendary artistry, animation, and character design. As far as I’m concerned, no games in recent memory have captured such sophisticated whimsy, majestic charm, and JRPG nostalgia as the Ni no Kuni series, and all of that is on display in this one book.

Do I prefer art books with informative captions and in-depth creator commentary? I sure do. So I won’t lie and say I wasn’t at least partially let down when I first got the book and cracked it open to find a complete lack of written word to read while gawking at the sumptuous artwork. But when a game looks as magnificent as Ni no Kuni II, it’s just fine that the art is left to do all the talking.

One final note of clarification: From what I’ve been able to compare against pictures and videos researched online, this art book appears to essentially be a reprint of the one that came with the game’s European King Edition. The chapter configuration and overall layout looks the same, but this book has a different cover and some slight alterations to the size and page formatting of the included artworks. The visual arts book that came with the North American Collector’s Edition seemingly collects a lot of the same artwork as well, but has a softcover and a wider, landscape-style format, plus some actual interior text and commentary.

So if you already got an art book from one of the special editions there’s probably no need to get this one, unless you’re so much of a Ni no Kuni junkie that you just can’t resist collecting every edition. But needless to say, if you passed on the special editions this book is an essential addition to your collection.

Buy From: Amazon.com for an MSRP of $39.95.

Disclosure: A copy of The Art of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom was provided to VGBlogger.com for review consideration by Titan Books.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!