Araki by Araki is an interesting collection selected by the man himself for his 63rd birthday. This makes the book both incredibly interesting for those already familiar with Araki and a poor choice for those unfamiliar with his work. These pictures are very personal for Araki for reasons not really explained, but first-time viewers would do well to start with a collection that contains more of his classics.
The photographs are arranged chronologically, which allows us to see the evolution of his aesthetic over the course of his long career. This is rather unique, as most other collections are grouped by theme or some other organizational scheme. It's not necessarily better per se, but it is unique.
Another interesting aspect of this collection is that some of the photographs are presented retouched, as Araki tends to do. In the Taschen collection, the pictures appear as they do on the film negative, but as we know, Araki tends to paint over his pictures - both to add vital color to some of his monochromes (which he describes as death), and to self-censore some of the more explicit areas. Its quite interesting to compare the originals with the retouched versions, so that will doubtlessly be of interest to connoisseurs.
Also on the note of censorship, I noticed at least two instances of cloudy pixillation - very minor - but this is probably due to the Japanese publisher and their rather strict guidelines.
Finally, a word on the commentary. I was disappointed to find very minimal commentary spanning only two pages. Araki provides two or three sentences on maybe 60% (or less) of the photographs within. If you're buying this for the commentary, I'd think twice. He doesn't say much in these fragments that he doesn't also say in the excellent documentary "Arakimentary." Since the commentary is so minimal, an introductory essay would have been nice. I don't think Westerners such as myself can fully understand Araki's aesthetic without at least a little cultural context. Everything I've read on Araki directly translates into more viewing pleasure and I'm fairly sure that would be the case for anyone.
This is not a huge collection like the ones available from Taschen or Phaidon, but for the collector, this is an interesting volume, if only to see which pictures Araki feels the deepest personal connection to. You do get many many photographs, but they tend to be small (his massive "Tokyo Lucky Hole" is summarized on two pages!!), so I wouldn't necessarily buy this for the reproductions alone. While the image quality is very acceptable, I'd rather have fewer, bigger reproductions. Regardless, I highly recommend it to collectors. If you decide to make this your first Araki book, just make sure it isn't your last.