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Magazine Review: Monthly Anime Style #1 with Taiga Petit Nendoroid

14 Jun

Monthly Anime Style is the reincarnation of “Anime Style” magazine. One of the things that makes the new “Monthly Anime Style” so exciting is the fact that each issue will come with a Petit Nendoroid of a character from the anime featured in that issue. I’ll admit the #1 reason I picked up this magazine was because I recently viewed and fell madly in love with Toradora and I had to have the Taiga Nendoroid. As it turns out, Monthly Anime Style is a pretty awesome magazine if you are curious about the inner-workings of the animation industry.


Cover featuring Toradora!

This particular issue’s main feature is “Toradora!”. Also included are articles on Heart Catch Pretty Cure, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt and 放浪息子 (Hourou Musuko).

Nendoroid Box

Taiga's Box

The box that the Nendoroid comes in is the same dimensions as the magazine. It seems unnecessarily large, but it keeps the magazine from getting bent when stacked. Anything that keeps the book in top condition is a good thing, if you ask me!

Taiga Puchi Nendoroid

While the lighting in my photo brings out some paint imperfections, the Nendoroid is just as lovely and high quality as I’ve come to expect from Good Smile Company. This is, of course, Taiga in her outfit from the final episode epilogue of Toradora. It is most certainly one of the most memorable scenes in anime! I’m beyond delighted to have such a cute and affordable little version of her.


The introduction to the extensive Toradora article features one of my personal favorite pieces of official Toradora artwork. There’s a fantastic cleaned-up, high-res version of this artwork available here on, which I offer because my photograph didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped.

Screenshots Galore!

There’s a few pages of text and screenshots to start out with, the first one featuring the many moods of Taiga. (Tsun tsun and dere dere!)

Colorful Production Artwork

I really love the pages of genga (original production drawings) in particular. Some people might not find these too interesting, but I think they’re fascinating. I am a big fan of animation and in the past I collected animation cels before they were phased out. One of the few types of production art not done on the computer nowadays are these beautiful hand-drawn genga.

The Famous Kiss Scene!

Here we have pencil drawings of Toradora’s precious kiss scene. Seeing production art like this makes you realize the effort and delicacy with which these extremely important scenes are constructed. These scenes are normally drawn by what’s known as the “key” animator, who sets the standard of how each character should be drawn and animated.

Makoto Shinkai!

I was pretty excited that this magazine also included a section on the animation of Makoto Shinkai.

Shinkai's Settings

Shinkai manages to bring out the magic hidden in normal everyday settings. He is a master in his usage of color and light. In addition to this 2-page spread of settings, there’s quite a few gorgeous screenshots from his newest work 星を追う子ども (Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo). Unfortunately, my photos couldn’t do them justice, so they are not included here.

Hourou Musuko

Hourou Musuko has a truly unique animation style that mimics the art of the manga. Presented in its relating article are examples of the animation before and after applying this watercolor-like effect.

Panty & Stocking Manga

The end of the magazine includes a section on the Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt animation. Screenshots are accompanied by character model sheets as well a handful of pages of manga. This manga has the heavily stylized drawing of the animation as well as its trademark usage of foul English interjections. The artist has introduction of the color pink along with black and white to pack extra punch and make the comic feel that much more zany.

Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo

I took a picture of the back of the magazine because it has a big advertisement for Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo and that’s awesome. You can also consider it my apology for not taking any good photographs of the Hoshi wo Ou Kodomo screenshots in the Makoto Shinkai article. If anything, consider that another incentive to pick this magazine up! (As if you needed one in addition to the Taiga Nendoroid.)

I found this magazine’s content to be a pleasant surprise. I’m pretty used to animation magazines such as Newtype covering all of the good artwork with words and generally being too text-heavy. While there’s a lot going on in the articles, you can still enjoy this magazine quite a bit while only looking at the images. And with every single issue planning to include a puchi Nendoroid, “Monthly Anime Style” is a potential must-get for animation fans and figure collectors.

You can still get this issue at J-List for a limited time!

(As a heads up, issue #2 will be coming with a positively adorable Nadia!)

Magazine Review: Animedia Deluxe

18 Apr

Have you ever wished that there was a Megami Deluxe type of magazine aimed at a female audience, with great artworks of male characters? Well, your wish has sort of come true. Animedia Deluxe not only focuses on male characters, it’s also a magazine consisting of 100% full color artworks which are unhindered by text. It is worth noting that none of the illustrations span two-page spreads, thus making them crease free and suitable for framing if you wish to remove them. All of the landscape format illustrations are positioned sideways inside of the book. In addition too all of the ‘mini-posters’ that this magazine consists of, there’s also a double-sided B3 sized poster which is folded and included in the center of the magazine.

Cover Image from "Hakuoki"

The magazine is separated into 8 sections; each section features a different anime series with a varying amount of pages, which seems to be somewhat dependent on how popular that particular anime has been so far.

Image index for "Hakouki" section

The only pages in the book that are not full color illustrations are the index pages for each series. The index page contains page numbers and thumbnails for each illustration!

Hakouki Shinsengumi Kitan

The first section has 8 illustrations from Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan, which based on a very successful otome game series in Japan. I’m a big fan of the artwork of Kazuki Yone, who does the artwork for all of the Hakuouki games.


Section 2 is 9 pages of the wacky series Hetalia. This is a really popular show and one I’ve been meaning to watch for awhile now.

Fullmetal Alchemist

The newer Fullmetal Alchemist series (aka “Brotherhood”) gets royal treatment at 19 pages of illustrations!

Kuroshitsuji II

Like FMA, Kuroshitsuji (the second series, to be specific) gets another meaty section of the magazine at 18 pages.

Sengoku BASARA

I know virtually nothing about Sengoku BASARA, other than that it exists and it has some dudes in it. This series gets 10 pages of illustrations in the magazine.


I was quite pleased that the incredible “Durarara!!” made it into the book, as it was one of my favorite series of the past year. I only wish it had more seasons because I’m dying to know what happens next. It is less represented at only 5 illustrations, however.

Tegami Bachi

Tegami Bachi (aka “Letter Bee”) is a unique show that I’ve seen just a bit of. It has a kind of fantasy mixed with Steampunk feel to it. The character designs are also really interesting. It gets another humble 5 images in the book.

Kaichou wa Maid sama!

The final section is a typical but cute looking shoujo series called “Kaichou wa Maid sama!” This series sort of skipped over my radar as I tend to be a sucker for high school romance shoujo but I might check it out sometime.

Back Cover

The back cover has some thumbnails that preview the contents, which was useful for me at least because the magazine came shrink-wrapped. This is probably to keep people from swiping the loose poster inside.

Hakouki (Side 1)

Fullmetal Alchemist (Side 2)

The double-sided B3 poster is quite lovely. The front features the Hakuouki illustration which is also on the front of the magazine, and the back is a Fullmetal Alchemist image with Ed and Al looking very much all-growed-up. :D

Magazine purchases can be a huge gamble as they cost a lot to import and the contents vary greatly. Animedia Deluxe turned out to be a stellar purchase that really delivered to what some would consider to be a ‘niche market’. It’s hard to find anime magazines aimed at women that aren’t strictly yaoi-centric, so this one was a great find that I highly recommend even if you don’t care for magazines.

[Artist’s Special] Kanzaki Hiro

31 Jan

かんざき ひろ (Kanzaki Hiro) is an artist you may safely consider a Jack of All Trades. In addition to being a professional animator & illustrator, he is also a doujin artist, Vocaloid music composer and professional trance music artist. Being a huge fan of all these fields, I felt he was an individual worth recognition.

Kanzaki may perhaps be best known most recently for his character design work on this past season’s anime series Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii wake ga Nai! (aka – Oreimo).

Kousaka Kirino Character Designs

He also did the original illustrations for the OreImo light novels which the anime is based upon; this particular image being the most famous. It has now become a famous meme across the Japanese internet to re-draw this particular image with various characters from different series. (My personal favorite being this Harry Potter one.)

The Birth of a Meme...

Kanzaki’s doujin circle is called tabgraphics. His doujin work these days largely features Hatsune Miku with some other fanart thrown in. This comes as no surprise considering how much Miku he has to draw in order to animate his own Vocaloid videos! Of course, he also has a Pixiv account. You can check out scans of some of his doujinshi works at, I recommend tabgraphics works summer100815 & tabgraphics works winter091231.

Plug Out

As producer of Vocaloid music, Kanzaki Hiro goes by 鼻そうめんP (HanaSoumenP) or HSP for short. He specializes in Miku Trance, which is my personal favorite genre of Vocaloid music. You can find his music videos on Nico Nico Douga and YouTube, and even purchase his “Incarnation” EP from the U.S. His videos are highly worth a watch as they have really lovely animation done by the artist himself.

"Unfragment" Miku Designs

Kanzaki’s birthname, and the name he goes by as a trance music producer is 織田広之 (Oda Hiroyuki). His music has been recognized and published under trance legend Armin Van Buuren’s prestigious Armada music label and played on his A State of Trance radio show. Thanks to this recognition, there is a wealth of Oda’s trance MP3s available internationally on Amazon.

It’s worth mentioning that fellow blogger Polymetrica also has a fantastic and informative post on this artist that you can and should read here! Perhaps my post proves redundant, but I’ve been meaning to start featuring artists for awhile and I really wanted to give the multi-talented Kanzaki Hiro a mention.

All images used in this post are from

The Dying Art of Cel Collecting

4 Nov

It all started with the Allen Schezar cel above. For $50, I acquired an actual piece of one of my all-time favorite animations, Tenkuu no Escaflowne. Little did I know that it would spawn a collecting addiction that would last for years. The only thing that would stop me, in the end, was the animation industry’s ceasing of using cels to create animation altogether. You could say I was broken-hearted when animation switched over to full CG, but in the long run I was a lot better off. Cel collecting is a habit that really broke the bank, but if I could go back and do it all over again, I would. Nothing quite compared to the high of acquiring an actual piece of your favorite moment of your favorite show while knowing it was one of a kind. I also made a lot of good friends while collecting cels who I still keep in contact with to this day. Lets consider this post my ode to the dying art of collecting animation cels.


My favorite anime at the time was far and away “Fushigi Yuugi”. It was also the show from which I focused my cel collecting. The same year that I got the Allen Schezar cel, I found this Tamahome cel online and asked my dad to get it for me for Christmas. I eagerly awaited the holiday and when it finally came, Tamahome was mine! I couldn’t have been happier. After that, I began to scour the web for sites that sold cels and also discovered a cel forum where I would eventually come to make a lot of good friends. I built up a very respectable collection of FY cels.


There’s no doubt that the pinnacle of my cel-collecting “career” was aquiring this opening sequence cel of Tamahome and Miaka. For a cel collector, owning part of the most re-used sequence of your favorite show – the opening – is a special thing, indeed.


Many dollars, cels and years later, one of my final purchases was this shot of Nuriko. While far from ideal, it is possibly my personal favorite cel for a variety of reasons. One of them perhaps being that Nuriko was far and away the most popular, rare, and expensive character to collect cels of. The harder it became for me to get ahold of a Nuriko cel, the more I wanted one. At the time, it became an obsession. I ended up landing a few “better” shots of Nuriko, but nothing topped this one for me. Nuriko looked his best by far in this episode, and he is wearing my favorite of his costumes, which I would later sew from scratch for cosplay. This cel has so much sentimental value to me, that if I could, I would purchase a better cel from the sequence if I had the chance, even though I no longer collect cels. Another image from this sequence belongs to my good friend Jody of Mind Eclipse Cels, so check out her gallery.


Fushigi Yuugi certainly was not the only show I collected cels from, but it was the most special to me. Over the years I acquired some stunning pieces of the show and even now I would have a horribly difficult time selling them if I was strapped for cash. The fact that they are one of a kind is perhaps what made collecting cels so incredibly alluring to me and to many others. Over the years I was fortunate enough to get several cels autographed by Watase Yuu and even one by Midorikawa Hikaru, making them even more special and unique.


While I am content no longer being able to collect cels, I certainly don’t regret the time that I did and I still greatly treasure my collection.  I am thankful for the friends I made who shared my hobby (most especially Ryouko, LadyBrick and Trebuchet) and the help they gave me in finding the scenes I loved. As an avid fan of animation, I can honestly say that it was an incredibly exciting and fulfilling hobby, and I will always look back upon it with happiness in my heart. While it is unfortunate that cels are no longer used in creating animation, it only makes the ones that still exist that much more extraordinary.

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