Art Focus – Gates of Chaos (L5R)

When we talk about a new set on the podcast, we spend a lot more time talking about the mechanics of the cards than anything else. But, of course, there’s a lot that goes into making a good card (not a powerful card, but a good one) beyond the rules text. One of the things that our usual audio format is least suited to addressing is the art. But, hey, look, these blog post things can have actual pictures in them! So, if you want to see some neat L5R art … well, you should go to Adrian Burton’s Gates of Choas Focus: Art article. Or Adrian Burton’s Tumblr feed. But you’re already here, so why not at least scroll down, look at the pretty pictures, and not be too annoyed at the inane and oblivious commentary?

Best Clan Champion

Tony Foti’s Akodo Dairuko is featured in the marketing copy for a reason. Dairoku’s pose and the swirling leaves manage to convey action and power without obvious violence.

Best Lion Pretending To Be From the Burning Sands

Now, I’m pretty sure that the flavor text is nonsense, and the rest of the Lion are going to use his talents and then treat him horribly when they get back to Lion lands, because my great-grandfather never wore bandages on his face, and that means I’d rather gut myself than wear bandages on my face. But, whatever, Aurelien Hubert’s art looks pretty nifty, and we get to see Jeiku in action on The False Route:

Prettiest Terrain (tie)











Well, they’re both pretty, but now that I label them tied, I’ve decided to give the win to Lakeside Retreat, because a refreshing lakeside retreat straightening someone makes a lot more sense than a rainbow giving you extra Force. Now, you may say, that’s unfair to the rainbows art, to take the text into account. Rubbish, I say, because one of the qualities of the art is exemplifying the text. But you’d probably be right to say it’s unfair to the artist, Nikolay Stoyanov, because his assignment probably didn’t say anything about the rules text. Still, win for John Donahue.

Best Art That Has Nothing To Do With The Card It’s On

Speaking of which … why does a card title and flavor text about a samurai’s ritual preparation for combat feature art with two ninja fighting? I mean, they’re really cool ninja by Sergio Camarena, but they seem to have nothing to do with the rest of the card.

Honorable mention to:

Why is this art on a non-Terrain Strategy? Why is there a Strategy called Holding Cells? I mean, I get that you could have a Strategy that involves capturing a guy, but you don’t call that “Holding Cells,” you call that “grabbing a guy to put him in a holding cell.” Still, creepy atmospherics by Jason Behnke.

Best Art On A Guy Who Just Doesn’t Get It

OK, Crane players, I know you’re all still cranky about that other Asahina debacle. But what’s up with Shigemitsu? The Asahina seek honor through peace. “We will never seek peace at the cost of our honor!” would be right at home on any random Lion. This is, I imagine, what you get when Matt Zeilinger decides to make your guy look cool.

Best Storytelling

Pun intended. The flavor text here really helps to drive home Jason Juta’s art, which deviates from the usual recipe of “static shot of the Item sitting on a table.”

Best Fallen

Yesterday’s Crane Ninja is today’s Crane Crazy Guy. Tobei looks like he’s having a little too much fun, which I find more appealing than some of the more desperate-looking Fallen (Bojan gets the nod in that sub-category). Also, congratulations to John Donahue for the extremely high honor of being the first artist to appear on this post twice (Aurelien Hubert doesn’t count, no fair getting mentioned twice in the same section for art of the same character).

Most Likely To Cut Off Your Hand If You Don’t Move It

All right, she’s probably still a bit chilly out in the woods wearing that little, but if you’re going to have a female character wearing too few clothes, at least have her by like Wenjuinn’s Toritaka Chokichi, who is not going to put up with you. And who has at least bothered to wear a shirt under her armor to prevent chafing. Also, glowing swords and tattoos are cool.

Beefcake Prize

Noritada has been hitting the gym, courtesy of Conceptopolis, to make sure that there’s a little male eye candy in the set as well. Just don’t confuse him with Hoshi Noritada, who went just as topless, but wasn’t nearly as well-defined.

Most Likely To Get The Author Back On Track

Our second Conceptopolis entry seems to my completely uneducated eyes to be a pretty good exercise in composition. You can clearly see the character depicted on the Personality card, while still getting a good view of the action. The focus on Manami is enhanced by the literal focus on Manami – he’s drawn more sharply than the assailant in the foreground.

Well, that seems like way too long of a post already. So I guess it’s time to stop before we get to Best At Conveying Plot, Best Personality Being Calm, Most Grizzled, Most Likely To Be Mistaken For Extras From Planet of the Apes, and Best Art I’m Too Tired To Come Up With A Category For.

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