Artbook Review: Nanairo Ice

by eternal on March 20, 2009


Out of all of Japan’s excellent bishoujo artists, Naru Nanao would have to be my favourite. I can’t quite put my finger on why, nor can I use any over-the-top artistic jargon to justify that statement, but in layman’s terms, her character designs are absolutely delicious. Seeing as she worked for companies like minori and Circus and designed some of the more famous eroge characters such as Miyako Miyamura (ef) and Nemu Asakura (Da Capo), I highly doubt that I’m the only one who feels this way about her work.

And if you’re willing to pay up to the overpriced import stores, you can see first-hand why she has earned her place as a personal favourite.




The book is colour-coded, if you will, based on flavours of ice cream – or in this case, themes and colours in the designs. You can also see certain trends in the clothing and backgrounds, such as the obvious summer setting in the pictures above, but the one truly important aspect remains: the quality of the designs.






The colours and tones shift into a deeper green, creating a different – but equally powerful – feeling.




The book also contains some of her renditions of other popular characters, such as the girl pictured above: Minamo from Wind – a breath of heart. The game was produced by minori but I don’t believe she was working with them at the time. Takoyaki, anyone?



Nerine from Shuffle!, looking even more stunning in my eyes than when she was drawn by the Navel staff.




Now the cooler autumn tones start hitting, leaning toward light yellow and red.


Irrelevant, but a testament to Nanao’s ability to design characters that appeal to the male otaku instinct without the use of blatant fanservice.



And now for winter, with scarves and sadness and everything else that’s wonderful.


Quite a different style is present in this one, focusing on the surreal background rather than the character. It’s the minimalist approach, I suppose, vaguely reminiscent of the Shaft moments where the screen appears so blank yet so alive.

By this point you’ve probably already determined whether or not you’re interested in Naru Nanao’s work. Actually, if you’re familiar with visual novels, you probably made that decision a long time ago. Despite the number of excellent artists in the industry – Ikegami Akane and Mutsumi Sakaki come to mind – Nanao will always remain as one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite, and I’d recommend her to any and all fans of complex hair ribbons and adorable uniforms.

Name: Nanairo Ice (Rainbow-coloured Ice)
Available From: HLJ (discontinued), beNippon (used)
Scans/Reviews: Hontou ni Taihen Desu


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

De JaY March 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Great artbook. I totally love Naru Nanao’s artworks.

De JaYs last blog post..ef – the first tale translation


Len-Vesper March 20, 2009 at 6:41 pm

The art is very fresh and clean, good use of color theory too. I’m certain it is a good buy. Heck I might pick it up, I really liked some of the pictures.

Len-Vespers last blog post..Nanako ex Machina (Figure Photoshoot)


animekritik March 20, 2009 at 7:45 pm

yes, the world “fresh” comes to mind.

animekritiks last blog post..Crumbs of Animekriticism


slpless March 20, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Naru Nanao is also one of my favorite artist. I’m waiting for her to release another artbook, its been 4 years! Funny, you should mention Akane Ikegami and Mutsumi Sasaki as I have their artbooks sitting next to Nanairo Ice.


Choux March 21, 2009 at 7:28 pm

She’s one of my favorites too, though seeing as I’m poor, I make almost never buy the first artbook an artist releases but always buy the second (I mean, if you compare Nanairo Ice with her recent art, everything feels kind of blah). That why I have Kaen but not Guren (Ito Noizi), Pink chuchu chronicle 2 and Kira Kira Reiki but not PCC chronicle (Mikeou), etc, etc. I DID get Hiro Suzuhira’s CHRONICLE and Ikigami Akane’s Trilogy, though I have to say I kind of regret them due to the low quality of the earlier art. But if she EVER comes out with a proper second artbook (and not another one of those flimsy comiket releases) I’ll definitely buy it, no matter what the cost is. *insert picture with fire in the eyes here

P.S.: Your images are chopped off, might want to fix that.

Chouxs last blog post..TH2AD: Michiru Yamada


M12 March 22, 2009 at 2:48 pm

I also like Naru Nanao a lot. Her designs always end up in titles I like somehow. Also, her drawings are all very clean. So, she’s awesome.

M12s last blog post..On the Rail intro – Kendra


Fang-tan March 22, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Looks pretty nice. Her Nerine is really great too. *q*

Fang-tans last blog post..Niconico Douga mp3 Converter


Q March 23, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Was thinking that the name “七尾 奈留” sounds very familiar to me, turned out to be the artist who also designed Sola characters. Too bad Sola is the only anime I’ve watched whose characters are designed by her. Already liking her characters next to Noizi Ito’s.

This reminds me of a crossover artwork with Naru Nanao’s Shana while Noizi Ito’s Aono, and I got to say I really like her version of Shana~

And now I’ve just realised on your header: Matsuri > Aono. Hahahaha that’s awesome and true~

Qs last blog post..Mount Aso


rangerroh March 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Really great artbook. It does remind me of Da Capo all over again. ^^


ETERNAL April 1, 2009 at 7:21 pm

@ Choux: I’d love to pick up her second release whenever she does one, but I’ve also been keeping my eye on Mikeou’s work, I’ve been thinking that I should get an artbook. I suppose there’s a bit of fire in my eyes as well :P
By the way, I’m not exactly sure how to fix the thumbnail problem, but the pics look fine when enlarged. I stumbled over the formatting quite a lot during this post >_< @ Q: If you want more anime with her designs, be sure to check out Da Capo and ef, particularly the latter. Wind - a breath of heart was a pretty good VN as well. Glad you like her work!


anon October 2, 2019 at 1:49 pm

I like her older work. Late 90s to early 2000s. Mainly the costumes she draws are well designed and provide me inspiration in dressing as I’m not the biggest fan of bishoujo art but she is quite good. Just look at the uniform of Shuffle. I have my own and wear it. I think the uniform is based off of a sunflower. But her newer work is just too much fanservice and meh … Too bad. So many Japanese artists nowadays have too much skimpiness in their artwork. I blame the industry and largely the die hard fans. Oh well. It was good while it lasted. We can still enjoy their work from yesteryear at least.


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