The 20 Best Japanese Video Game Art Books

Table of Contents

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Written by Juha

Japan is home to some of the most reputable video game developers, including the world-famous Nintendo and Sony. This fact has dictated exciting prospects in the video game industry, with companies going the extra mile to design fascinating video games.

Two decades ago, it was almost impossible to imagine the now rampant video game art books being released by popular providers.

These art books are a great source of entertainment and inspiration for aspiring concept artists. They portray detailed video game graphics and designs that make it easy for you to envision the game setting.

That is why we have put together twenty of the most striking Japanese video game art books you can buy today. You can read through them or use them as inspiration for your own artwork. Take a look.

Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers – The Art of Reflection – Histories Forsaken

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Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers -- The...
819 Reviews
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers -- The...
  • Enix, Square (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 07/28/2020 (Publication...

Are you looking for an illustration-rich piece of art to inspire your drawings or give you an intimate understanding of the Shadowbringers video game? Look no further than this Japanese video game art book. It is rife with hundreds of breathtaking illustrations of equipment, environments, characters, and more. The book also offers comprehensive concept artwork, messages from various prominent artists, and reference images.

Walk right into the world of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers with this exciting video game art book. It is a great piece for fans of the actual game and individuals who have a special interest in top-notch game art.

The Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers paperback is an 8.35 x 0.91 x 11.71 inches large book. It weighs 2.65 pounds and has 304 intriguing pages.

Lots of video game fans who have had the honor of owning this book say that it has impeccable cover art and great images. You will love it if you are looking to look at the Shadowbringers video game from an artist’s perspective.

The Art of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom

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The Art of Ni no Kuni II: REVENANT...
59 Reviews
The Art of Ni no Kuni II: REVENANT...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Titan Books (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 152 Pages - 08/07/2018 (Publication...

Are you a fan of level-5 and Bandai Namco video games? You are guaranteed to be mindblown by this grand full-color book with some of the most magnificent art from the long-awaited video game. The hardcover was released in 2018 and was designed with the help of iconic animator Yoshiyuki Momose.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a thrilling video game that lives up to your expectations. It portrays everything a fervent fan would like to know, including graphic characters, vehicles, monsters, and locations. What’s more? You get access to the original sketches and each development stage until the final artwork was achieved.

This hardcover piece of art is a 10.53 x 0.7 x 10.53-inch big book. It weighs approximately 2.5 pounds and has 152 pages.

The Art of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, a video game art book, is considered a most prized possession to any fan trying to build a collection. You can revel in the extraordinary artistry, character design, and animation by animators you have always wanted to meet.

It has tons of character and monster art featuring even characters with minor roles in the game. The book also has the great paper quality and construction and can be handed down several generations if that’s your kind of thing. It even comes with a collector’s edition, which makes it more worthwhile.

The Strange Works of Taro Yoko: From Drakengard to NieR: Automata

The Strange Works of Taro Yoko: From...
188 Reviews
The Strange Works of Taro Yoko: From...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Turcev, Nicolas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 06/01/2019 (Publication...

If you love video games, then you must have heard of Taro Yoko. He is a famous animator who always wanted to revolutionize the video game industry, especially due to his repulsion by the unnecessary violence promoted in video games from large companies. That is why he came up with Drankengard to NieR: Automata. He wanted to show the deeper reason as to why humans were so obsessed with conflict, even as a mode of entertainment.

This video game art book explores every aspect of his games, including the complex tales, themes supporting his ideas, and behind the scene features. You get a front-row seat at the works of a holistically talented creator who was brave enough to invent his own video game genre.

This hardcover copy is 7 x 1 x 11 inches big and was published in June 2019. It is 200 pages long and weighs approximately 1.6 pounds.

Video game fans love that this art book is accurately translated into English so you can comfortably read artists’ notes and comments. It is also known for providing great history information concerning Japan’s video game scene in the 90s and even as recently as the 2010s.

You need not worry if you haven’t gotten around to playing Drakengard. The video game art book describes each game in Taro Yoko’s series so well; it is like playing the actual game.

The Art of Ghost of Tsushima

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The Art of Ghost of Tsushima
776 Reviews
The Art of Ghost of Tsushima
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sucker Punch Productions (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 09/01/2020 (Publication...

Traditional Japan was a sight to behold back then and the reason why a significant number of video games are created in the same setting. Are you a fan of prehistoric and midcentury Japan? This video game art book portrays phenomenal Japanese beauty and features impressive art from the Sucker Punch Productions video game. The Art of Ghost of Tsushima is produced by Sucker Punch Productions and Dark Horse books and is worth every cent.

The book explores the unique aesthetics of the Tsushima Islands and grants you the clearest access to the Island’s last Samurai. Ghost of Tsushima instilled fear throughout the Island and was at the forefront in the fight to resist Japan’s invasion by Mongolia.

This video game art book describes the adventure that ensued while paying close attention to significant details such as the striking character illustrations, breathtaking landscapes, the exotic dwellers of the Islan, and pictures of different Samurai sword-fighting maneuvers. It also describes the game’s monumental moments with such girth; you will feel like you are watching its cinematic rendering.

This English-written hardcover video game art book comes in 12.25 x 1.16 x 9.49 inches dimensions. It weighs approximately 3.52 pounds and has 208 pages.

The book is famous for the realistic portrayal of the main characters in the video game. The locations are shown in beautifully inspirational art alongside the game art.

If you are a fan of the actual video game, you will enjoy the elaborate commentary and notes from Jason Connell and Andrew Goldfarb. These two artists are part of the Sucker Punch Productions family, and they give the most in-depth descriptions of the making of The Ghost of Tsushima. The book also touches on a proposed extension of the video game, so you know what to expect before everyone else!

The Art of Death Stranding

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The Art of Death Stranding
1,107 Reviews
The Art of Death Stranding
  • Hardcover Book
  • Productions, Kojima (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 02/11/2020 (Publication...

Now, if you are a fan of Kojima, this book will be magnificent for you. Hideo Kojima, the legendary video game creator, designed the Death Stranding game for PlayStation 4. The game was the first of its kind and did not subscribe to the unwritten boundaries that seemed to classify video games into various genres. Death Stranding was nominated for several gaming awards due to its impeccable storyline and graphic quality.

The video game portrays Sam Bridges journeying across a ravaged landscape and fighting all sorts of unsightly creatures to save mankind. If you want to take a closer look at how everything fits into the game, the Art of Death Stranding shows hundreds of character concept art, creatures, locations, and equipment in the game. It also has artwork from the famous artist Yoji Shinkawa and concepts that never made it to the official video game.

The book comes in a 12.25 x 1.03 x 11.05-inch size, which is fairly big. It weighs about 4.35 pounds and has 256 pages inside.

You will fall in love with the detailed concept art that makes this video game art book virtually unputdownable. It clearly describes the making of each game in detail and makes you envision Death Stranding’s haunting world just from reading it. The artbook is truly inspirational, with lots of art you can enjoy and refer to when creating your own artwork. Most readers have left reviews praising the graphic nature of the book’s art with life-like and eerie ghosts and ghouls to give you the ultimate Death Stranding experience.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Official Artworks

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Official...
169 Reviews
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Official...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 10/20/2020 (Publication...

Whether you have played Shadows Die Twice or not, you are going to be dumbfounded when you get a hold of this video game art book. It contains hundreds of storyboards with everything you need to know about the making of the game. You have access to character concept data, locations, and equipment. That’s not all; the book portrays Sekiro’s firsthand and rare opinion on the bloody history of Japan’s Sengoku period.

The 304-page book weighs over 3.5 pounds. It is 8.38 x 1 x 11.88 inches big and comes in paperback.

This is one of the best video game art books out there, with eye-popping illustrations and bragging rights for having an elaborate understanding of Sekiro’s state of mind when Shadows Die Twice was created. Video game lovers appreciate the fact that it describes every aspect of the video game in the chronological order which it appears in the game itself. If you love collecting art books for your library, this one is a must-have.

Bloodborne Official Artworks

Bloodborne Official Artworks / design...
344 Reviews
Bloodborne Official Artworks / design...
  • 電撃攻略本編集部 (Author)
  • Japanese (Publication Language)
  • 255 Pages - 02/26/2016 (Publication...

This video game art book contains priceless artwork and an in-depth portrayal of the behind-the-scenes in the creation of Bloodborne. The prehistoric characters are displayed vividly in an almost spooky yet immensely inspirational fashion.

The artbook weighs around 1.32 pounds and is 255 pages long.

The book offers an all-inclusive illustration of the locations, characters, strategies, and the idea of the entire game without leaving anything out. If you are looking to buy a gift for a Bloodborne super fan, this is it.

The Art of Persona 5

The Art of Persona 5
365 Reviews
The Art of Persona 5
  • Prima Games (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 11/03/2017 (Publication...

If you are looking for one of the best Japanese video game art books, then you ought to check this one out. It has the most exclusive character gallery with exemplary artwork featuring all Persona 5 main characters, their personas, and in-depth personal data, all in English.

The book also has intense concept art with original character concepts, rough sketches, initial drafts, and illustrations that will be worth your time. Each graphic scene is described with game visuals, scenarios, setting illustrations, and significant images. It also has posters and magazine covers for illustration and exclusive commentary from Shigenori Soejima, the character creator.

The 432-page book weighs 3.8 pounds and comes in size 8.38 x 1.15 x 11.12 inches.

Persona 5 fans love the exclusive tidbits in the book that make them feel like a part of the production team. It has lots of significant art but is said to be a little thin on detail compared to its Japanese counterpart.

The Eyes of Bayonetta 2

The Eyes of Bayonetta 2
257 Reviews
The Eyes of Bayonetta 2
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sega (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 11/20/2018 (Publication...

This is one of the best Japanese video game art books for you if you love The Eyes of Bayonetta sequel. It contains all the video game artwork with development sketches, character designs, environment, and weapon designs, as well as promotional content. You also get substantial creator commentary, journal entries, and character and enemy profiles.

The 208-page book weighs 2.52 pounds and comes in the measurements 8.5 x 0.8 x 11.9 inches.

This book will not disappoint if you are a sucker for artistic detail. It has everything from the outfits to the tools in the video game and with great notes to match.

Street Fighter Swimsuit Special Collection

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Street Fighter Swimsuit Special...
467 Reviews
Street Fighter Swimsuit Special...
  • Hardcover Book
  • UDON (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 136 Pages - 07/21/2020 (Publication...

This impressive hardcover makes for one of the best Japanese art books with artwork and details from four consecutive years of the Street Fighter Swimsuit video game. There are original rough sketches and concepts as well as pin-up specials from the UDON production.

The 136-page book weighs approximately 1.7 pounds and 8.9 x 1.4 x 11.7 inches.

The artbook is widely loved by Street Fighter fans due to the exclusive details that portray the pools, beaches, volleyball courts, and the characters themselves. However, some fans find it to be a little disorganized when it comes to anatomy and perspective.

Dragon Quest Illustrations: 30th Anniversary Edition

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Dragon Quest Illustrations: 30th...
869 Reviews
Dragon Quest Illustrations: 30th...
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 12/11/2018 (Publication...

This ranks as one of the best Japanese art books because it showcases the work of Akira Toriyama from a very artistic point of view. It portrays three decades of the Dragon Quest video games with more than 500 illustrations from each original release.

The book comes in 7.13 x 1 x 10.13 inches, weighs 2.45 pounds, and is 240 pages long.

The book offers the most astounding collection of character and monster art that is going to impress any Dragon Quest fan. You will love it if you like your art books with more illustrations than text.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn – The Art of Eorzea – Another Dawn – (SE-MOOK)

FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn The...
144 Reviews
FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn The...
  • Import Game - Japanese Version
  • Compatible with US systems (region free)
  • Japanese language (other languages may...
  • Manual and packaging in Japanese...
  • Square Enix (Author)

This book represents the official Shinsei FFXIV art book and does not fall short of the game’s glory. It offers recorded illustrations of the production process and summarizes the concept behind the entire Shinsei Eoruzea.

The Japanese printed book comes in a 304-page paperback.

The art book offers a magnificent art display for fans who have and have not played the video game. From character designs and outfits to the monsters and locations, you may not be able to put this one down easily.

Valkyria Chronicles 2: World Artworks

Valkyria Chronicles 2: World Artworks
41 Reviews
Valkyria Chronicles 2: World Artworks
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Sega (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 05/15/2012 (Publication...

The book has over 300 pages of character concept art: promotional designs and storyboards, all with detailed character description and creator commentary.

The 304-page book weighs 2.8 pounds and comes in the dimensions 8.3 x 0.9 x 11.6 inches.

The book is famous for the exclusive art on equipment, backgrounds, and characters. However, it does not offer a detailed concept narration.

The Art of Bravely Default (Dark Horse Book)

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The Art of Bravely Default
364 Reviews
The Art of Bravely Default
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 03/05/2019 (Publication...

The Japanese artbook displays original content describing the art and story behind the video game. It has hundreds of concept art and creator commentary as well.

The book is 8.56 x 1 x 12.25 inches big with 256 pages. It weighs 3.55 pounds.

Bravely video game fans love the top-quality cover art paired with the commentary left by actual members of the creative team.

Granblue Fantasy Graphic Archive (Japanese Edition)

GRANBLUE FANTASY GRAPHIC ARCHIVE...
56 Reviews
GRANBLUE FANTASY GRAPHIC ARCHIVE...
  • ポストメディア編集部 (Author)
  • Japanese (Publication Language)
  • 327 Pages - 12/09/2021 (Publication...

This 327-page Japanese art book is rife with character, monster, weapon, and environment illustrations. You will love the detailed character outfits whether you have watched the anime or played the video game.

This is one of the art books I constantly read to get awesome character design ideas, so I can only recommend this art book to you. One of my favorites!

Monster Hunter Illustrations 3

Monster Hunter Illustrations 3
432 Reviews
Monster Hunter Illustrations 3
  • Hardcover Book
  • Capcom (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 376 Pages - 10/20/2020 (Publication...

Are you a fan of the Monster Hunter series? This 4.2-pound 376-page hardcover will impress you with its art gallery from all four generations of the series. You get access to original drafts and sketches, character and monster concepts, as well as equipment art.

Final Fantasy VII Remake: World Preview

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Final Fantasy VII Remake: World Preview
718 Reviews
Final Fantasy VII Remake: World Preview
  • Hardcover Book
  • Square Enix (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 136 Pages - 09/22/2020 (Publication...

The 136-page hardcover has an astounding collection of visual art from the game with old and new characters, gameplay, and all featured locations. It also has introductory comments from Tetsuya Nomura (director) and Yoshinori Kitase (producer).

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Creating a Champion

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the...
4,616 Reviews
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the...
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 424 Pages - 11/20/2018 (Publication...

This hardcover Japanese video game art book contains 424 pages of the most elaborate sketches and illustrations, designs, and commentary from Takumi Wada.

It also features a historical section that graphically describes Hyrule as it is depicted in the video game. Fans are especially obsessed with the interview section that shows notes from the development team.

Devil May Cry 5 Official Art Works (Japanese Edition)

Devil May Cry 5 Official Art Works...
100 Reviews
Devil May Cry 5 Official Art Works...
  • 電撃ゲーム書籍編集部 (Author)
  • Japanese (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 12/09/2021 (Publication...

The stylish 256-page Japanese artbook displays a concrete view with high-quality visuals and designs from the game. You get access to character, demon, and enemy concepts with detailed location descriptions. It’s an excellent coffee table piece, even for those who do not understand Japanese.

Mega Man X: Official Complete Works HC

Mega Man X: Official Complete Works HC
306 Reviews
Mega Man X: Official Complete Works HC
  • Hardcover Book
  • Capcom (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 152 Pages - 04/16/2019 (Publication...

This 152-page hardcover qualifies as one of the best Japanese video game art books due to the detailed artwork it displays from over two decades of the Mega Man X production. It has every aspect, including character concept art, sketches, box art, and pieces that were not released officially. You also get to read notes and commentary from the acclaimed art directors.

These are truly some of the best Japanese video game art books on the market. Whether you are creating a coffee table collection or looking for concept art inspiration, you can not go wrong with our top 20.

Table Of Contents

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