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4.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon June 13, 2009
Okami is an action-adventure video game released on Playstation 2 and Wii. And this is not a game guide; it doesn't show you how to take on enemies.

Okami features the most unique art direction I've seen for any computer game. It is heavily inspired by Japanese watercolour painting and wood carving art of the Ukiyo-e style. It's an amazing concept to combine watercolour in computer game art, moreover, use it in the actual game itself.

This thick 288-page art book is filled to the brim with content. There are official character art including the concept sketches, storyboards, paintings created by by Issun the Celestial Envoy while on journey with Okami Amaterasu and even some music sheets at the end. The application of watercolour to create cute character design is very refreshing.

Everything in the book is captioned. Characters have their introductions. The character designs are explained to the detail of why they wear what they wear. Concept sketches come with artists' reflection. And then there's the journal of Issun, which is a whole big section by itself. There's so much stuff to read, so much information and stories into background of the characters and places.

This book is highly recommended and worth taking a look even if you have no idea what the game Okami is about.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on June 24, 2008
This book is an astounding value, and one of the best art-related purchases I've ever made. I was a huge fan of Okami from the beginning, but this book is excellent enough that even people that have never played the game before can get enjoyment out of it.

The book includes a brilliant holographic cover, high-quality paper stock, and vibrant coloring. My single favorite feature, though, had to be the "Gossip" section that followed up on what happened to the characters after the game was over. The storyboards, sheet music, and production sketches were all absolutely brilliant as well.

This art is not only striking and memorable, but it also manages to evoke real emotion. Any person that places any value on good artistry should look past any biases against the videogame origins of this art book and pick it up.

Best book purchase I've made in the past three years, undoubtedly.
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on January 30, 2012
Long before I even got the game, I bought the art book for Okami just based on the few samples I'd seen online. While I didn't think the in-game graphics looked that great, the art direction was phenomenal, and I loved the style of everything. Lush colors, bold lines around characters and objects, traditional Japanese woodblock art, there was just so much to like. The best way to describe the Okami Official Complete Works art book is 'eye candy'. Someone's already posted a video review, so doing one here too would be redundant, but I can't stress enough how great this book is. Even if you have no interest in the game, if you love art or are an aspiring character designer, this book is a must on your shelf.

Everything you could possibly want from Okami is here. Final art, rough sketches of characters and weapons, things that didn't make it into the final product, storyboards for cutscenes, the gorgeous woodblock art shown when the narrator is talking about events, all the cool enemy artwork that is shown when you bump into a new demon, sheet music, promo art, EVERYTHING! It wasn't until I beat the game that I could really grasp just how much was in here. Sure I knew right from the get-go that this book was packed, but upon completing the game, I realized that there wasn't anything they forgot to include. There are notes for the majority of the pieces, ranging from tidbits about the characters to what the artists did or didn't like about a certain design. I especially loved the things that didn't make it into the game, like seeing the piece with dinosaurs, and the odd appearance of Amaterasu when she would've transformed into a dolphin and falcon. How that would've worked in the game, I have no idea, but it's cool to think about when you see the drawings. Fans of the character designs will be spoiled by this book, as they're all shown in their final forms in the beginning of the book, but later on you get to see how they came to be. Oki's tribe members and the Canine Warriors are some of the highlights in that section. No pieces in this book are too small, but with how beautiful everything is, I wish a bigger version were made, with every woodblock image taking up a full page, and the bosses too instead of some being divided into two pages.

I could keep going on about why you should get this book, but I think everyone should get the hint by now. As for my rating, trust me when I say that it hurts to give this anything less than 5 stars, but if you've owned a paperback Udon art book before, you probably know how it goes. Unless it's one of the newer ones that are paperback but still have a dust jacket (these ones are somehow made better, as shown by the Street Fighter Tribute book), the standard paperback books are goners after a few months of regular use. I've had my book for about a year now, and the first 20-30 pages are coming out. As usual, I'm super careful when opening the book and going through it, but it's no use. Just like Shiranui, the book is seemingly destined to die! I don't think a hardcover version exists, but if it does, expect it to go for big bucks like the other few Udon ones that got hardcovers, as they're all very limited.

Okami fans know that there's not much merchandise to get their hands on, so this book is an absolute must for the collection. And if you plan on getting an Okami-related tattoo, as I am, the Official Complete Works here makes for an excellent resource. Get this book before it goes out of print for good.
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on September 10, 2008
A truly stunning book. With 288 huge full-color pages and shiny gold FOIL on the cover, this book is most certainly worth $40, even $50.
I love reading all the artists' and game creators' notes. They're so fun... and funny. Big full-page spreads of the brush gods, characters, divine instruments, bosses, etc. Not only are they big, they're super high quality! I'm also very glad that Udon kept the original Japanese right-to-left alignment. There would be lots of flipped images and confusing things if they had flopped it.
There are actually quite a few disappointing things about the book, but they didn't dishearten me enough to drop a star in my rating. For one thing, there are a few poorly translated things, and I was a bit sad that some of the translations that are supposed to use in-game text are simply translated and not written in accordance to the English version of the game. Also, 'Takamagahara' appears in the book several times... and is spelled three different ways. These inconsistencies were a bit saddening, but not too sad... mistakes happen, I guess.
Also, the binding isn't terribly great... I don't mind at all that the spine creases. In fact, that adds to the book's old beat-up look. However, just a few flips through it caused a few segments of pages to come loose of the binding glue. Thankfully it's all kept together by tough string, and about half the pages are still attached. Not to mention there are thick pages glued together at the beginning and end of the book, so nothing will be falling out any time soon. Life is good. :)
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on January 18, 2012
Okami is a very special treasure. It is easily one of the best video games of the 2000's, one of my all-time favorites, and is most definitely one of the most beautiful, uniquely artistic games of all time. Okami's graphics are immediately striking in their vibrant style and focus. If you're like me, and you love the art design behind Okami, then this is an essential purchase to make.

First off, in keeping with the overall eastern focus of Okami, this book was kept in its Japanese format, so you'll be reading it right-to-left, "back"-to-"front." It's pretty enjoyable and easy to get used to. Thankfully, the book is wonderfully organized too. First is a section of water-color paintings of the final version of each character as you encounter them chronologically in-game, as well as information about them. After this, you get essentially the same thing, but about the enemies and bosses. Then is a conceptual section organized in the same order as the previous section, but instead of finalized versions, there are many conceptual sketches and really insightful commentary from the artists, detailing the process of making each character from start to finish. I found the commentary in this sections really fun to read; they are very informative and have a lot of character. Then comes conceptual paintings of enemies, with commentary on these. Next is concept art for the settings, again with fascinating insight from the artists. Finally, we get some paintings from "Issun the celestial envoy," which basically boil down to breathtaking paintings of key moments from the game and its story, done as if they were paintings from historical periods of Japanese art. These are the main sections of the book, but there are little bits here and there that are added in at various points in the book, such as unique pictures from events showcasing the game. It's all quite expansive.

The book is huge, over 288 pages devoted to paintings, sketches, concept art, even music sheets, pretty much anything and everything artistic you can imagine pertaining to the game. Okami's gorgeous Eastern-influenced art style is designed to look like Japanese water color paintings, as well as the famous (and gorgeous) block print paintings of the Ukiyo-e style. This book is so beautiful, poignant, and just so delightful to behold in every aspect. I'd swear some paintings were done by Hiroshige himself! The writer commentary is awesome too, offering great insight and the kind of lovely humor that helps define the game itself. Some of the paintings really seem to fit in with the ancient, established styles that inspired them, and are just as beautiful too. I really cannot emphasize how lovely the art in this book is, it's fantastic.

In pretty much every aspect, I'd say getting this book is a no-brainer. Even if you don't know about the game Okami, this book is worth getting for the merit of its art alone. It's exceptionally well organized, the commentary and information within is very engaging, and the art itself is absolutely spectacular. Buy it, take in the vibrant majesty of this art, and get lost in a truly beautiful world.
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on June 20, 2008
This massive collection of sketches, conceptual art, Japanese-print style illustrations, stage and character designs, and bestiary are a joy to behold and a great source of inspiration for budding artists, anime fans, and gamers. I am glad I waited for this English translation of this book, for it's certainly nice to be able to read the text of such a beautifully printed book at a fraction of the cost of the imported version. The bright color palette and the watercolor cartoon sketching style of these illustrations is not only strikingly bold but also deceptively simple to emulate which would make them an ideal non-threatening goal for beginning artists to strive for.
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on April 3, 2009
Okami is an artistically beautiful game on the PS2 and Wii. (If you have not played it, I recommend you do!)It is great to see such art compiled into a gorgeous art book. There plenty of sketches of many characters--from the townspeople to the monsters/demons to the various Brush Gods. Of course, Okami has several sketches, being the main character and all.

There are even rough sketches of the various characters in the back, showing the artist's brainstorming and their unused ideas for characters and backgrounds/environments. There are even some small manga pieces and other various art.

The only two complaints I have are: (1) Many of the background and the various misc. art are a little too small (which is a shame because they are beautiful!)and (2) The binding on this book is fragile. The book is very thick and the cover binding is very thin and fragile, so handle with LOTS of care.

Besides that, this is a game artbook I highly recommend to Okami fans, to people who like Japanese artwork, and even non-gaming artists. It is truly "a work of art"...
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on October 15, 2013
Amazing is an understatement when it comes to describing this artbook, it simply goes above and beyond! I like art I enjoy it vigorously, so naturally I had to buy this book (Even though I've never played the game, although I will) I like everything about from the Japanese text to the pictures! I also like that this book has to be read from the right to left (In order to preserve the substance of the book.) Last of all this book gives me ideas for tattoos! if I ever get a tattoo it's for sure gonna be based on the world of Okami.
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on June 23, 2011
Okami Official Complete Works is a compendium of artworks, illustrations, sketches and miscellaneous images from the game, which it's art is based in the traditional Japanese watercoulor style.A 288 page book that contains illustrations of all the characters and enviroments from the game, both official artworks and primary sketch dessings, aswell as a complete high-quality bestiary of all the monsters ecountered on the game, all presented in beautiful and wonderous manner, full of color and brightnes.Along with the artworks the book is complemented with information and data of all the characters, monsters and stages, including several notes from the designers explaining them, compleating the experience of the the game.Also the book contains several storyboards from in-game scenes, retro versions of some characters and even a music score for one of the game songs.An excellent compendium that captures the very essence of one of the most wonderful and creavite games ever, all wraped in a shiny holographic cover, a magnificent sight to behold.Any fan of Okami, video game artwork or Japanese style illustrations should have this masterpice, even if one has never played the game, it is not necessary to enjoy this wonderful pice of art.A recommendation that i made from the heart.
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on June 27, 2011
While we wait, there's this book. If you are like me, you're hoping that the Okami video game will be re-released one day for today's console (or a future one).

This beautifully designed book is at best, beautifully designed. Most importantly, in the translation nothing seems to be lost. If you're new to this book the Japanese right to left format of reading is not hard to follow. The book is not at all text heavy with some artworks taking up a page or two.

The book is well laid out that it feels like you're playing through the story again. Nothing seems amiss. I actually found information here that I totally missed in the game.

What I found the most strongest element of this book was the section on concept works. It was wonderful to see how the characters were designed. The artist's original Japanese comments are preserved with English translations cosily fitted in, were insightful and amusing.

Having read this book now I want to find the original soundtracks of the game. There are sections in the book (aided by symbols which are described in the Table of Contents at the beginning) which suggest a soundtrack to play as you're looking through. A nice touch if you enjoy some background music while reading.
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