Lord of Vermilion is an arcade-based fantasy collectible card game developed by Square Enix. I've not seen card games played on arcade machines before. It's real time and the players pull off moves and character summons to defeat the the enemy.
The art of these collectible cards appear in two art books, the Black and White, which are sold separately. This is a paperback edition with semi gloss pages.
Some of the contributing artists include Katsuya Terada, Shiro Amano (Kingdom Hearts), Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy), Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Kazushi Hagiwara (Bastard!), Hyung-tae Kim (War of Genesis), Atsushi Okubo (Soul Eater), Ito Ryoma (Final Fantasy), Naora Yusuke, Minaba Hideo, Yoshida Akihiko and a lot of other Japanese game artists.
In this fantasy world, there are six races. The black art book features demons, armor and the undead. The concepts and character designs are really unique and imaginative. These are the sort of creatures you would expect to see from Japanese fantasy games. In fact, it features a few cards with characters from Final Fantasy, Valkryie Profile and other games (which I don't recognise) as part of special crossovers.
This book is a great showcase of variety, style and treatment. You have the painted, the rough, manga, refined, and much more. The art and creativity can be compared to World of Warcraft and why-on-earth-don't-they-have-an-art-book-yet Magic: The Gathering. The characters and creatures don't fall into typical fantasy race archetypes like orcs, elves, wizards, etc. If the races weren't mentioned, I'll have a hard time classifying them.
The back of the book has a few more illustrations on weapons, concept art and (I think) the story of the game in Japanese.
Needless to say, this is an inspirational book for fantasy art lovers. Remember to get both the black and white editions for all the cards.
You can check out more on Lord of Vermilion on www.square-enix.co.jp/lov/. Be sure to visit the illustrations gallery.
Visit Amazon to check out more reviews.
If you buy from the links, I get a little commission that helps me get more books to feature.
Here's the Amazon Japan buying guide for your reference.