You don't need to be able to read Japanese to appreciate these stunning covers from the Japanese translations of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.
Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire have a lot to be excited about these days. The HBO adaptation of the first book, A Game of Thrones, is apparently not half bad, and the fifth book in the series is finally coming out after a very long wait. Japanese fans of the series may not have been waiting quite so long for A Dance With Dragons, but as it turns out they do get some absolutely beautiful cover art.
Japanese publishing house Hayakawa Publishing has released the covers for its translations of Martin's fantasy epic, and while they're probably not what most fans of the series are used to - they're heavily manga-inspired, for one - the artwork is gorgeous. The art in question is the work of three Japanese illustrators and manga/videogame artists: Ken Sugawara, Noriko Meguro and Yasushi Suzuki.
I'm going to be honest here; I haven't read any of the Ice and Fire books, nor have I seen the HBO miniseries. I may not be able to recognize any of the characters on the covers, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the beauty of the artwork as it stands.
For those who are curious, there are so many different covers because long novels in Japan tend to be released as parts, similar to manga volumes. For those who are also curious, the Japanese title is Kōri to Honō no Uta, which is a completely literal translation of the original title - no fancy subtitles here.
It's definitely a different sort of art from the relatively understated Western covers, but I don't know - I think I like it better. Would you buy the books if the covers looked like this?