Prismtone – Range Murata Art Book Review

Posted By blauereiter der on August 22nd, 2010

“Prismtone” is a whopper of an artbook by renowned Japanese illustrator ( and concept artist/character designer ) Range Murata, best known for his work in Last Exile and Blue Submarine. The book covers comprehensive character design sheets and illustrations for his portfolio of work from 1998 to 2006.

If there is only one Murata artbook you can ever own, with the most bang for your buck, this would probably be it. ( not all of us are rich enough to buy the exorbitantly priced “Form Code”. )

While a huge body of Murata’s works feature scantily clad, doe eyed adolescent girls that venture uncomfortably close to Lolicon territory, ( I had a similar discussion in this older post ) he also produces much more realistic renderings of human characters ( see above ), demonstrating his formidable range of drawing skills and a profound understanding of the human figure.

(above and below) Page after page of detailed character design sheets that one can pore over.

The character design for Last Exile is gorgeous, but I’ve never seen the anime series, is it any good ?

Prismtone – Range Murata Art Book details :

- Dimensions – 11.7 x 8.3 x 1.1 inches
- 304 pages
- Soft cover
-Full color, Black and White

You might also be interested in these items :


11 Responses to “Prismtone – Range Murata Art Book Review”


Last Exile is one of the better anime of the last decade – one of Gonzo’s top efforts in its heyday. But one problem with Murata as a character designer is that this designs (whether “realistic” or not) have such detail they need a pretty high budget to animate, otherwise the result ends up lousy. This basically eliminated any chance of commercial success for Shangri-La, the last of his collabs with Gonzo, where the main characters appearance looked very different on screen and their appearance was much criticized by otaku, leading to truly abysmal sales and being the final nail in the coffin for Gonzo as major studio.


skchai – Thanks for the insightful information ! I’ve only seen the character designs by Murata for Shangri-La but like LE have not seen the actual animation. Gonzo was the first studio in Japan I went for a job interview, while the were prepping for Mardock, which unfortunately never got made I think.


Yonghow! Where did you acquire this beauty? I’m most definitely interested.

Rafael Pizzo

Murata’s character are gorgeous indeed, and mostly I must say his painting techniques are amazing.

As skchai had said, Last Exile has a special detailed work and the photography / art direction are beaultiful.
(In such a level, that I remember reading in a interview on Comickers Magazine, that people on studio were claiming his charachter were too much difficult to animate!)
Take a look on the opening video:

However, I haven’t finished watching it myself too, but it looked very good at first view =\
Does this artbook is so expensive like you said? >_>
~I really would like to have one


Out of curiosity, in the below post you’ve got images he did for a magazine. Was wondering how many of them were re-printed in Prismtone?

p.s. awesome review, and so glad I’ve found another good quality set of artbook reviews.


weigy – I bought it from a Kinokuniya store in Singapore, and unfortunately the book is sold out on amazon Japan right now. I’ll try to post a purchase link from elsewhere soon.

Rafael – Thanks for the link ! I hope to find a chance to watch the series too. :] Artbook’s 3800 yen, fairly pricey but well worth the money I think !

Zeb – Thanks for dropping by, only one or two are in Prismtone, most of the pieces appearing were specially drawn just for Kikan I believe.


did your copy come with a plastic cover/dust-jacket “line-texture”(or whatever) with it? did you take it off?


Charlie – Sorry, I should have mentioned that the book comes with the plastic dust jacket – yes I removed it when taking the picture, it should come with a copy of the book.


so coooool! i’m speechless, everything is just too awesome! :)


  1. Range Murata’s Shangri-La | Halcyon Realms - anime|photography|film
  2. Kikan S Illustration Magazine No. 47 Book Review - Halcyon Realms - Art Book Reviews - Anime, Manga, Film, Photography

Leave a Reply