明けましておめでとうございます！Happy New Year! I realize I’m a little bit late on that. To put a long story short, I’ve been really busy since October 2011 and some of my hobbies have been set aside for more important matters. Nothing bad, though, because I now have a job helping to localize manga for Digital Manga Publishing. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s a lot of work! That, coinciding with the holidays, caused me to sorely neglect my blog entries. In fact, I have a couple of books I photographed ages ago that I simply haven’t written reviews for yet. I hope you’re willing to forgive me, because in the meantime, I want to tell you about a lot of really cool stuff coming out this year!
Udon Releases Pixiv Almanac Vol. 1
Getting on to the fun stuff, in what is pretty much the best news ever of all time, Udon Entertainment has announced that they’re releasing the very first domestic book from Pixiv! It’s titled Pixiv Alamanac Volume 1, and the projected release date is April 11, 2012. The book will retail at $39.99, but of course you can pre-order off of Amazon for the significantly lower price of $25.24. (That price is subject to change, but with the pre-order price guarantee, you’ll get it for whatever the cheapest price is before release.)
How many artist profile images to you recognize on the cover? Sayori, Nardack, Cuteg and quite a few other popular names make their appearance!
Udon’s track record with imported Japanese artbooks is pretty rad at this point, as they’ve released high quality English-language editions of a lot of other great books lately, including but not limited to Ar Tonelico Visual Book, Shigenori Soejima Artworks, Tony’s Artworks from Shining World, the incredible Okami Official Complete Works and even the Atelier Series: Official Chronicle. Udon’s done a fabulous job localizing every one of these books and I fully expect them to do just as well with our first Pixiv artbook. Kudos!
Otome Time! Aksys Releases Hakuoki in the United States
In other unbearably awesome news for the U.S., Aksys Games has released 薄桜鬼 “Hakuoki – Demon of the Fleeting Blossom” in English, just in time for Valentine’s Day. An otome game coming to the United States is BIG news. I’m hoping this bodes well for the future of visual novels in the U.S., because I really enjoy them. I believe it’s a misconception that Americans just can’t appreciate visual novels the way Japanese do, and I’m grateful for every company that gives them a chance here on a “major” platform such as the PSP.
To sweeten the deal, there’s a limited edition of Hakuoki that comes with a little artbook and a soundtrack CD. (I picked up this one, because I’m sucker for that kind of packaged deal.) If you have any passing interest in visual novels and you own a PSP, definitely give “Hakuoki” a try. So far, there’s nothing about it that leads me to think that only females can enjoy it (although otome games are certainly marketed towards a female audience.) The game has a rich story, along with great dialogue and fantastic artwork by Kazuki Yone. You can get the Limited Edition with artbook & CD here, and the regular edition is available here.
Fantastic New Figures at Winter Wonder Festival 2012
An event that PVC figure collectors very much look forward to is Wonder Festival, the Winter version of which was just held on February 12th, 2012. For a huge review of what was showcased at the most recent WonFes, I recommend hopping over to Neko Magic’s Wonder Showcase, where you can oogle at the abundance of upcoming figures, organized by the companies that manufacture them.
One thing I always look forward to is the release of a new Snow Miku Nendoroid. Each year, a slightly different Snow Miku is designed with different parts or accessories, along with another fun novelty item. 2011′s Snow Miku came with an ice cube tray for making Miku-shaped ice cubes. She also went from being a regular Nendoroid in 2010, to a Super-Movable type Nendoroid in 2011. The Snow Miku Nendoroid for 2012 comes wearing a fluffy coat and a light up stage. For full details and lots of great pics, check out Mika-tan’s blog entry on this special new Nendoroid!
While I could write a novel on all of the WonFes figures I’m currently drooling over, I just want to point out that the incredibly popular Momohime figure by Alter is going to be re-released this year, along with a brand new 1/8 scale release of the busty fox-lady Kongiku from Oboro Muramasa! This figure is very highly sought after, and while she’ll have a higher retail price this time around, I’m sure this re-release will be anticipated by a lot of collectors. While I don’t plan to buy her for myself personally, she’s one of a very small number of figures my boyfriend reaaaally wants, so I will be helping to make sure he gets her this time around!
At last, a new Tinkle artbook that everyone can get their hands on!
The last item I want to mention is the brand new artbook by Tinkle, which will be released in March 2012. In following the trend of their first two artbook titles (Tsukiyono Chakai and Byakuya Chakai), the third book is titled 密夜茶会 or “Mitsuya Chakai”. The first Tinkle artbook has long been out of print and the second was purely a doujinshi release, so a wide release of a new book of Tinkle’s illustrations is sure to be a hit.
The book can be reserved now at Amazon Japan or Toranoana, for the retail price of 3,990円. (About 49.89 USD) Expect to pay a lot along with the shipping or deputy fees in order to get this book, but be aware that if it’s anything like it’s predecessors, every penny will be worth it. Tinkle’s 2nd artbook (Byakuya Chakai) remains one of the most worthy (and expensive) additions to my collection to this day.