My most recent buy Shinigami to Shoujo Official Picture Book, had me in an extremely excited mood when it arrived. Going through it made me want to replay the game. Since I also have past Dengeki Girl’s Style issues which featured Shinigami to Shoujo, I’m also going to compare that content with this so that you all will know what you can expect. Lots of photos underneath and huge spoilers for Shinigami to Shoujo. I’ve only posted a non-spoiler review for the game so don’t be surprised if I ramble away in this spoiler post.
First up we have about 18 pages of gorgeous illustrations – both new ones for this Official Picture Book as well as the ones featured in Dengeki Girl’s Style 2010/2011 issues. I have compared them with the magazine spreads on top vs. the Official Picture Book spreads below. As you can see it’s pretty much equal in size. They also included the Sayo and Tooya illustration that was featured in Dengeki Girl’s Style’s 2011 calender and that’s pretty much equal in size too. I was so happy that they included it, it’s one of my favourites. Moreover I just can’t resist saying this about the Sayo and Ao (in the rain) illustration: 時雨ぇぇぇ /bricked.
Okay after each little “section” there will be a page dedicated to the various staff blog entries, including the pictures the staff posted there. It’s really cute as they would include the short stories written there too for special events such as Valentine’s Day. After the illustrations we have the character pages. They included all the main and sub-characters’ profiles and the staff comments for each of them. It pretty much corresponds with the descriptions provided in past Dengeki Girl’s Style issues. In case you’re wondering about the characters which appear in only one story chapter (eg. Dazai Tomoe), they appear in the next section – the story pages.
These pages are so damn beautiful. We have enlarged CGs accompanied by short descriptions of the ongoing stories, the novel stories and illustrations featured in each chapter, screen captures, memorable quotes, character comments, Fushimachi’s diary-like comments, descriptions of what they call “secret stories” /BREATHES.
That’s not the end. They also included the Shinigami to Shoujo novel featured inside the game (plus the Atogaki and Nanaki’s memorable quote!), as well as the picture story, Ohime-sama to Shoujo, that was featured in past Dengeki Girl’s Style issues. In the middle photo below, the left is the Official Picture Book while the right is a Dengeki Girl’s Style issue. As you can see, the illustration has been decreased for the Official Picture Book but it’s still decent. I’m thankful that they changed the text from vertical and horizontal ‘cos it really makes reading easier. The story section takes up the bulk of this and everything was just so beautifully spread out across the pages. I had so much fun recounting everything, seeing that it’s been a year since I fully completed the game.
The next section are the world pages which first feature the background pictures – in 2 pages. I really wouldn’t have minded if they spread it out more ‘cos some of them are lovely – especially the clock tower. I guess they had to work with page limits or something, especially when I compare it to Amnesia Later’s VFB (which I didn’t think needed pages of background pictures) the contrast just feels all the more striking!
After that are the character, illustration and CGs sketches. Once again, I’ve made the comparisons with my Dengeki Girl’s Style issues. The character sketches in Dengeki Girl’s Style are bigger and once again I think that they were really working with page limits for the Official Picture Book lol, which is a pity. But still they included all the sketches, just smaller. What they didn’t include was the crisp CG sketches, but instead they included the very rough ones. If I could be greedy and ask for more, I’d love to see the CG/illustration drawing/colouring process. In case you’re confused as to which is which, Ao’s Character Details + Tooya’s CG sketches are from the magazines – the rest are from the Official Picture Book.
We also have a lengthy interview with Fujimoto, the person behind the scenario and planning of Shinigami to Shoujo. Inside was also a screen capture of the start menu screen of Tooya and Sayo once you finished Tooya’s route, and the comment that many were touched/shaken/blown away by a wave of feelings – THEY JUST HAD TO INCLUDE IT IN. I love them. There are also shorter interviews with the artist and SD artist. I compared all these interviews with the ones in Dengeki Girl’s Style issues and they are all different. But that’s good ‘cos that means these should be conducted after they’ve finished the game and have had time to reflect on it!
The last section includes the capture guides and the short stories that were featured in past Dengeki Girl’s Style issues. As you can see, the short story text in magazine was vertical and they switched to horizontal for the Official Picture Book! Usually I would just leave it at that but I must comment on how detailed the capture guide is – yes I can’t believe I’m actually saying this. It’s not just mere choice-making, they also included how you unlock…basically everything: the secret scenarios, memories, tokuten etc. What I also loved is the fact that they included the full list of words and their “meanings” you collect in the game. Yes, it’s not hard to include but it’s little touches like these that make the purchase feel more “special”. For one thing, Shinigami to Shoujo shows how powerful words are. By including a list of those key words it feels as though they’re complementing that fact. Well, that’s my personal take.
One last thing I’d like to note is that the voice actor interviews aren’t included inside. I’m not referring to the ones on the website but the ones in Dengeki Girl’s Style. Those were done just when the game was about to be released and I was already intrigued by how Kawashima Tokuyoshi said Tooya is really like a “brother (?)” in a sense (lol) or how Suzuki Tatsuhisa said that Hinase can’t be simply summed up as “interesting” and is a contradictory existence in himself. Imagine what they all could have said in the Official Picture Book where all spoilers are good to go! /o\
Okay, I’m getting excited and tearing up on my own. This is definitely one of those buys I have zero regrets about. Even though the background pictures and sketches were reduced into a few pages, the rest were gorgeous and this Official Picture Book is packed with content. I am sure that fellow fans will love their own copy too. Shinigami to Shoujo just leaves me with so many feelings and it’s just as Nanaki aptly said – this story won’t end as long as people still read and enjoy it. ❤