UDON’s new Devil May Cry book is incredible

Sep 17, 2015 // GregaMan

UDON Entertainment’s English-localized version of  Devil May Cry 3142 Graphic Arts   drops tomorrow (Amazon is offering it at a discounted price just under $32), and it’s absolutely  excellent– a must-read for any avid follower of the series. 

I managed to snag an early copy from the small stash UDON brought to San Diego Comic Con this past July, and even with my high expectations I was amazed at the degree of depth and candor this book offers. Much more than an artbook,  DMC3142GA  is loaded with juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits from numerous key staff members from throughout the series. 

(Note: All scans below are low-res images created for sample purposes. The actual pages are crystal-clear, of course!)

“Look closely and you’ll notice that Dante’s leg is cut off.” – Naru Omori, promotional art illustrator.

The book is  full of this sort of earnest self-deprecation, and really helps convey the imperfect, gradual, and collaborative process that led to the creation of such a distinct and beloved series. 

“Even the fans were shocked by the choice to have Dante bare-chested underneath his coat. In truth, his hair and face models weren’t even done at this point, so we just had to fudge it.” – Naru Omori, promotional art illustrator.

Mind you, this “fudged” piece is the one that would eventually be used for the game’s box art, now a well loved classic in Capcom’s portfolio. 

“Ancient portrayals of demons rarely incorporated elements that weren’t already known to people at the time, so they might have the head of a lion but the body of a human, for instance. It was in that spirit that we decided to make most of our monsters proper chimeras.” – Ikeno, character designer (DMC2)

I’m sure I’m not the only series fan who’d never given much thought to the enemy design in  Devil May Cry 2, but Ikeno-san’s insightful tidbits and awesome concept art are enough to make me want to revisit the troubled second installment. All of a sudden that giant orangutan demon seems a lot less arbitrary. 

↑ Note the illustration of the baby twins draped in the Umbrella logo in the bottom right. Even when Devil May Cry was still being conceived as the next  Resident Evil,  they were considering the Dante-Vergil twin concept. Amazing! 

“At the time, someone on the team said my backgrounds looked like oil paintings, which made them pretty unusual compared to other video game concept art….Looking back, I think that style really fits well with the ‘Devil May Cry’ universe.” – Yasuko Shimodo, background designer (DMC1)

It’s pretty mind-blowing to me that even as early as the conceptual stages of the original game, they were exploring an oil painting-like aesthetic–one which would be revisited in Ninja Theory’s take. 

Also, Shimoda-san’s background pieces are freaking incredible. 

↑  “There was also a time when ‘DMC’ was titled ‘Karnival.’ Kamiya-san was adamant that it be ‘Karnival’ with a ‘K,’ not a ‘C.'”  – Yuichiro Hiraki, motion artist (DMC1)

In addition to nearly 200 pages of incredible art, this book also features more than twenty pages (in small font!) of exclusive, incredibly insightful interviews with illustrators, scenario writers, character animators, and even series director Hideaki Itsuno. 

Sooo in conclusion, Devil May Cry fans should buy this book. We’re lucky to live in an age where information can be exchanged so quickly and easily, and with the rise of independent archivist efforts like shmuplations.com ,  we are getting a lot more glimpses behind the curtain of Japanese game development than ever before, but it’s still not that common to see valuable resources like this get localized via an official avenue. When it happens, it’s really special and, I feel, a cause well worth supporting.   

I have pretty much  every Capcom-related UDON book, but I must say, this one is my new favorite.