25 Days of Manga, Day 5 of 25 – Keito Koume Illustrations Spice & Wolf: The Tenth Year Calvados (Review)

Publisher: Yen Press

Author/Artist: Keito Koume (some art by Jū/Jyuu Ayakura)

Translator: Paul Star

Letterer: Abigail Blackman

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: OT (Teen/16+)

Release Date: 11/17/2020

MSRB: US $35.00 / CAN $39.00

Reviewer’s Note: I received a review copy of Keito Koume Illustrations Spice & Wolf: The Tenth Year Calvados from Yen Press in exchange for an honest review of the volume. I was not compensated for my review, nor will I be compensated post-review. This review contains mild spoilers for the contents of this artbook, but will be image-free. Opinions are my own.

Day 5 is a bit of an unusual pick, but I chose it because my eyes are weary from the week, and honestly… I just wanted to look at some pretty art. So, without further adieu, we’re going to be kicking back with Yen Press’ new Keito Koume Illustrations Spice & Wolf: The Tenth Year Calvados, which features art from the manga.

I think it would be impossible to review this artbook without talking about its overall packaging. It’s a nice, generously oversized single volume with a matte dustjacket. The book itself is a warm, red-brown with a faux gilt design that’s simple, but elegant. In fact, it reminds me of the limited edition tome version of the light novel that was released a few years back!

Additionally, this artbook isn’t flipped like some artbooks have been in the past. the illustrations “read” right to left just like any other localized manga. Included are loads of illustrations from the manga -covers, splash pages, ect- as well as tidbits of information about the Japanese side of this series’ publication and a short manga at the end of the book. It’s packed with information and content sure to please any fan of the franchise!

The art contained in this is specifically from the manga adaptation of Spice & Wolf, which was illustrated by Keito Koume. Fans of the light novel might feel a bit of dissonance as the art in the original series was done by Jū/Jyuu Ayakura. Still, I think fans of Spice & Wolf will find thumbing through this artbook quite the delight: everything is crisp and carefully placed. You can tell a lot of work went into this, both from the original creator and the localization team, especially with the short story featured at the end.

One thing to note is that this artbook does contain some slightly NSFW cheesecake illustrations. They’re primarily images of Holo: pretty much all of them have her with Godiva hair to hide most of her chest, or her tail strategically placed. No genitalia are revealed: after all, this is an Older Teen rated artbook. Still, this might not be the best “coffee table” book for visitors to happen upon without context.

It’s hard to believe that the Spice & Wolf manga is over ten years old, but here we are, and here’s this gorgeous artbook that looks just as good as Holo’s apples! I’m so glad I got to review it: it’ll be on my shelves for a longtime, and hopefully, will inspire me to fall back in love with Holo’s world all over again. In fact, I think I hear a certain wolf calling for me to read the ligh novels… er, finish them.

TL;DR: Keito Koume Illustrations Spice & Wolf: The Tenth Year Calvados is a lovely collection of art from the manga that really showcases Holo and Lawrence, as well as other central characters, in a beautiful, oversized artbook. The images are high quality, though buyers beware: some of the illustrations are NSFW, though no genitalia are ever shown. Ultimately, this is a really lovely collection that more than earns its $35 price tag. This is a must-have for any Spice & Wolf fan.

Read If You Like…
* Artbooks and/or Anime Art Collections
* Spice & Wolf, especially the manga
* (Slightly NSFW) Nerdy Coffee Table Book

Rating: ★★★★½ / 4.5 out of 5 stars
Bingo Card: N/A

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