Pixiv Becoming Alarmingly English-Friendly

2 Jun

For quite awhile I’ve wondered how the folks at pixiv feel about English users on their site. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a bit a bit nervous when attempting to blend in to a largely Japanese community. The good news is that we can now safely say English speakers are being welcomed to pixiv.

It started a few months back when pixiv gradually began to introduce an English-language interface for the website. As time goes on, there are more and more translations implemented which will make it much easier for an English speaker to use pixiv. There’s still quite a bit left untranslated, but the important things like the bookmark button and interface for submitting artwork are now available in English. Understandably, I think the top priority has been to make it easier for foreign artists to submit their works with ease. Pixiv has submissions from artists all around the world, but in the past the submissions have been limited by those who can utilize it’s Japanese-only interface.

The artwork submission section has the most complete translation thus far.

In addition to the implementation of a translated UI, many were happy to discover that Pixiv started up another Twitter account in English, which is located at pixiv_en. In addition to the usual ranking updates, it’s also the perfect place to get in touch with a pixiv staff member.

pixiv encyclopedia

Quite possibly the most interesting and fun of the new English pixiv community is the encyclopedia, which is essentially a wiki that aims to explain every possible term, meme and pop culture reference that influences the artwork which the denizens of pixiv upload. This can include anything from anime titles to bizarre phrases to infamous otaku terms like 絶対領域 (zettai ryouki). It’s a really outstanding way to figure out the meaning of seemingly nonsensical or obscure image tags and the fact that it aids you in your ability to understand the community lingo will make you feel a little more like you’re part of the “in” crowd.

I’ve gotta say I’m pleased as punch at these additions, especially the new Twitter account and the dictionary (I try to stick with a Japanese pixiv interface to aid me in immersion-based language learning) and I hope that they continue to add more. I don’t particularly want to see pixiv turn into another deviantART, but I’m not sure that is even possible because of the sheer amount of convoluted bloat that dA has accumulated. Pixiv is far more simplistic and streamlined and I have a feeling that, by design, it is going to stay that way regardless of any influence the English-speaking art world may have on it.

Thank you, pixiv, for welcoming us English speakers to your website. We promise to behave.

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.

Hetalia

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.

Durarara!!

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.

The Earthquake in Japan; What Can I Do?

13 Mar

Japan has long been a country very dear to my heart, and now more than ever, I wish I was there to help and comfort the Japanese people in their time of need. As you know, the entire country has been in distress due to a large Earthquake and the aftermath that it brings. There are various ways to help, even if you can’t afford to give up a dollar.

Twitter has proven itself to be more useful than ever in helping people around the world keep in touch and stay up to date on current happenings. If you have an account, make sure you re-tweet this post from Bing, claiming they’ll donate a dollar towards Japan relief efforts for each time it’s RT’ed.

Headfone Dreamy by Yoko Furusho

If you prefer to donate in the form of an actual purchase, there are many artists out there selling artworks and giving the proceeds to disaster relief in Japan. Japanese illustrator Yoko Furusho is donating the money from sale of her lovely “Headfone Dreamy” print, so you can get a great piece of art and at the same time know you’re doing something to help out.

Bracelet design by Lady Gaga

Music superstar Lady Gaga designed a $5 “We Pray For Japan” bracelet that you can now purchase at her online merchandise store.

If you are skilled at translating Japanese, you can translate the latest Japanese news and post headlines or translations onto Twitter or a site like Reddit. There’s been a lot of criticizing aimed at CNN for the fact that their news just isn’t up-to-the-minute and accurate enough. The good news is, many English-speakers currently residing in Japan have been doing everything they can to keep the rest of the English-speaking world as informed as possible.

Those with a Pixiv account should see the scores of artworks tagged as 日本頑張って (Nihon Ganbatte) or “Good Luck, Japan”. There are thousands of hopes and prayers on Pixiv in the form of illustration submissions. If you’re an artist and you possess a Pixiv account, you can be a part of it by submitting your artwork and adding the 日本頑張って tag. While some insist that money donations are the way to go, the Japanese sincerely DO care about all of the well wishes that the world is sending their way, and this is just another little way that you can reach out to them.

To everyone in Japan, we are hoping for your safety! We will do what we can to help you recover from this disaster. You aren’t alone!

[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 oreno.imouto.org, 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. Amazon.com. 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 oreno.imouto.org.

Doujinshi Review: “Colorful Sweets” by Ame Nochi Yuki

8 Oct

“Colorful Sweets” is a full-color K-on! fanbook by Ame Nochi Yuki, released at C78.

Asuza is the cover girl with her watermelon-on-a-stick. Or perhaps it is only ice cream that looks like a watermelon.

The back cover has  previews of the Mio and Mugi illustrations featured inside on little doily-shaped cut-outs.

The inside cover has colorful stripes, doilies, sweets and all the things you’d expect to see at a shop that sells cakes and candies.

Following the mandatory introduction is the first illustration; a “No, Thank You!” version of Mio.

The Azusa illustration used on the cover is next with a two page spread and inset doily. Notice, however, that on the cover she’s wearing a sundress and in the two-page spread she’s wearing her trademark pink swimsuit.

The Mugi waitress illustration might be my favorite in this particular book. To her left is Yui as a maid. For some reason, Yui in a maid outfit seems terribly uncharacteristic. I imagine she lazes around while her imouto does all the housework!

I love Yui x Azusa images, and this one is no exception. Again, Azu-nyan scores a two-page spread. So cute.

The rest few pages aren’t K-On! but rather various other girls (and traps). This page features Hideyoshi (from Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu) and Misaka Mikoto (from To Aru Kagaku no Railgun).

These are some work illustrations of a couple of girls in shimapan-inspired swimsuits.

At the end is this nice little “Making of” section for the Mio illustration on the very first page. As an artist I always enjoy these sections because it helps me to learn new digital coloring techniques!

For the sake of completion, the inside of the back cover. :)

This was a nice little book, albeit short, and a real treat for Azusa fans. The Azu-nyan and Mugi illustrations alone are definitely what made it for me. You can find some nice high quality CG versions of the cover illustration and the Yui x Azu illustration on Ame Nochi Yuki’s website. Rather than posting them here I’d prefer that you just go to the doujin site and get them yourself; they’re not terribly difficult to find. ;)

Doujinshi Review: “Paint or Die” by SOLOIST (Riv)

13 Sep

Riv’s bold graphic style has become a favorite of mine and so I’ve made it a point to get any new doujinshi publications I can. I am happy, for once, to get a SOLOIST doujinshi that isn’t Touhou themed but is Riv’s original work. During Comic Market 78, a 44 page color & monochrome illustration book entitled “Paint or Die” was released. I’m glad to say that it’s a pretty nice little tome.

The cover features a shimapan-clad catgirl with an appetite for chocolate bars. I won’t lie, but female crotch bulge creeps me out a bit. Riv has the original CG version of this image here on Pixiv in a 1024×768 resolution.

The inside of the front cover, of course, treats you to shimapan zoom layer. Always a pleaser. I guess. *female apathy settling in*

The first illustration is a catgirl, with what appears to be meatbuns. Includes thigh-highs and gratuitous panty shot. The page to the right of this image includes an introductory paragraph by Riv in both Chinese and Japanese. According to the Pixiv description for this image, Riv drew it for a CG lecture in a magazine. The picture’s title そんな目で見ないでください (sonna me de minai de kudasai) could be translated as “Don’t look at me with those eyes.” or ” Please don’t look at me like that”. Cute, eh.

Some sort of maid girl character design. I wonder why they often have little heart badges near their waistline. Must be a maid cafe thing.

I am noticing a theme and that theme is shimapan. Also, you can see this book has a crease in the corner. It arrived at my doorstep that way and I’m not too happy about it. I have no idea if it was the doing of Toranoana or Shopping Mall Japan, but it really sucks when you pay 5x the original item cost in deputy fees to acquire it.  /endrant

A lovely little dog-eared girl.

A purple-haired elf or demon lady perhaps. I find the anatomy in this illustration particularly well done.

All of these characters are for an original doujin game cover. Riv claimed to be a little worn out after drawing this one. ;) (View on Pixiv)

Another doujin game cover. (View on Pixiv) There’s another version of this image that only features and girl in the foreground, and it’s pretty darn awesome.

This is probably another doujin game. Ren ai, I bet. I was pretty excited to see a drawing of male characters for once.

Here are some typical moe style images that we know and love. The left illustration is also on Pixiv and its title ひまわり笑顔 (himawari egao) means “sunflower smile”.

These are characters illustrated for a Taiwanese novel. (View on Pixiv: The seeker 01 & Girl and Sword)  I find that Riv’s bold drawing style really suits strong fantasy female type characters. More so than gentler moe characters, anyway.

Well, it doesn’t get much more moe than two mikos in each other’s laps.

The rest of the book is in monochrome. All of the monochrome artwork is a pleasure to look at, however, I chose to only photograph a few pages as an example. This one features a variety of nekomimi characters.

I think Riv’s sketches are fantastic. I feel in some way like the style of sketching in these is similar to my own. It’s also interesting to see how much different the images feel without their signature coloring. Particularly the eyes. A graphic style is so different when you strip it of the CG.

These two images are just gorgeous. The girl with the leaf is undoubtedly one of my favorite Riv illustrations overall.

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with this book. Of course, I always want the books to be larger and to include more color illustrations, but the monochrome work in this book really is very nice. While not as impressive as Yumeiro Mangekyou in terms of presentation, “Paint or Die” is still a really lovely little compilation of Riv’s work.

Related Links:
Buy P.O.D. – Paint or Die at  Toranoana.jp
Riv on Pixiv
Riv on Twitter
SOLOIST

Pixiv Guide: Profile & Browsing Customization with Pixiv’s New Site Options

10 Sep

This year Pixiv rolled out a brand new look for their website along with a variety of new features to make your browsing experience more fun and personalized. Unfortunately, this change made some of the information in my older Site Preference and Bookmarking tutorial obsolete. Because so many new options and pages have been added, this tutorial will only cover the material located under the Site Options section of the main navigation menu. I’ll go over bookmarking, art submission and other stuff in a future tutorial, so keep an eye out.

Let’s get started!

User Info

Click on the far right text link on the main navigation menu. This will take you to the Site Options section. The first tab is for the User Info page.

Your nickname, username and email address are displayed, followed by a text field where you insert your email if you’re making changes. The next two fields are for typing in a new password and then re-typing it to confirm the change.

A dropdown menu exists for changing the display language of the Pixiv website. Currently, you are only able to choose between Japanese and Chinese.

The following section is where you can enable the display of adult content. You must first confirm that you are 18 years of age. The first radio button is “yes” and the second is “no”. After confirming this, you can choose whether or not you wish to view 2 levels of adult content while browsing. The first is R-18 (Adult Content), the second is R-18+G (Adult and Gore Content). The first radio button selection will enable that content and the second will disable it. In my sample image, R-18 is set to enabled and R-18+G is set to disabled.

The final page section has 15 blank text fields where you can insert the user IDs of any Pixiv members who you don’t want to be able to follow you or see any of your Pixiv contents. Chances are pretty good you won’t ever need to use this.

Profile Details

The second tab under site options is for setting up your profile. Under this tab are several subsections, the first of which is for your primary profile details. The first and most important text field is where you put in your desired nickname. This can be anything you want it to be and it’s the name by which people will know you on the website. It doesn’t have to be unique; only your username does. Your nickname can be up to 15 characters long. Under that, you can input the URL of your personal website, and then a list of personal tags (tags that you plan to use frequently) separated by spaces.

There’s a variety of information that you supply via checkboxes and drop-down menus. This includes your sex, blood type, country, birth year, birthday and occupation. Follow the image as a guide and take note that all of those pieces of information come with a customizable privacy setting to their right. On the image, I’ve set 3 pieces of information on 3 different settings so that you can see which setting is which.

If you’d like to supply contact information for Skype or an Instant Messenger of some sort, you can do that in the next section, but I opted to enter my Twitter info. Insert whatever you’re comfortable with, or nothing at all. The blue text link right underneath it will add another text field, so if you want, you may supply all of your different contact methods.

A large box at the bottom is meant for writing a short biography of yourself or an introduction. If you can, write a little bit about yourself in Japanese.

The last field is for inserting your circle.ms info. If you aren’t a member of a doujinshi circle, then you don’t need to worry about this.

Profile Image

The next subsection of profile editing is for your profile image. This is the avatar that represents you across the site. You can upload more than one and switch between them, but I only have one uploaded here in my sample screenshot. It’s fairly straight-forward; just be aware that you can’t use an animated gif as your avatar unless you have a Pixiv Premium account.

Work Environment

The Work Environment subsection is a fun way to let everyone know where and how you work on your art. Of course, if you aren’t an artist, some of this information won’t apply to you. If you are, great! You can put in information such as your type of computer, monitor, tablet, scanner, printer and more. There’s even a space to put in the music you like to listen to while working and what sort of knick-knacks you keep on top of your work desk.

Profile Design Options

Profile Design is one of Pixiv’s newly added features. It allows you to customize the look of your profile background with colors or a background image. It’s very basic, and if you choose not to use it, you can just leave this page alone, as it’s set not to display a background image by default. Once you’re done with this page, that’s it for the subsections of the profile tab, so click on the next site setting tab at the top.

Notification Email Settings

This small page is simply for specifying when you want Pixiv to send you notification emails. Currently, there are only two options. One is for notifying you when you get a private message and the other is for notifying you when a piece of your artwork makes it into one of the rankings. Unless you’re a very active Pixiv member, you’re probably not going to be getting any of these emails. Personally, I just leave them on.

stacc! Feed Options

The next tab is for another nice new feature on Pixiv called the stacc! feed. It’s basically an activity feed of what you and others do on Pixiv. It makes Pixiv more like a social network, so you can see when your friends bookmark an image, submit new work, add a new favorite artist, or anything else. This page is where you set up what activities you want your personal feed displaying and what you want to see while browsing other people’s activities. If you want to see when your friends add adult artwork to their favorites, you’ll have to set that up here, otherwise it’s turned off by default. [This is a separate setting from the overall ability to view adult artworks on the website; that setting can be modified in the first tab we discussed (User Info).] While logged in to Pixiv, the location of your stacc! feed is http://www.pixiv.net/stacc/.

Pixiv Widget

Finally, we come to the “blog parts” tab, which Japanglish for the Pixiv flash widget that you can embed on your blog or website. There’s different viewing options, like displaying your personal artworks or your bookmarked images, which you choose from and then copy/paste the code that shows up in the text box below. Be aware that if your blog host doesn’t approve of flash widgets or only lets you use pre-approved flash widgets, the code won’t work for you. If you host your own website though, it won’t be a problem.

Following the blog parts tab, there is a Pixiv Premium tab, but I’m not going to go over that. I don’t have a Premium account and I don’t plan on getting one in the near future, in part due to the difficulty of signing up for one while being overseas.

That’s it for modifying your Pixiv site options. I hope that everyone can enjoy the new and improved features that are available to you. In the future, I’ll write more about browsing the newly designed Pixiv and hopefully clear up any information that has been made obsolete in my older tutorials.

Artbook Review: Tanaka Kunihiko’s “RYU-KOTSU”

3 Sep

I’ve owned a copy of 田中久仁彦画集【龍骨】 (Tanaka Kunihiko’s “RYU-KOTSU”) for quite awhile, but it’s never too late to a review a book that has remained fairly elusive while being highly deserving of recognition. I first became a fan of Tanaka’s after playing (and becoming completely infatuated with) Squaresoft’s hit Playstation RPG Xenogears. He is perhaps best known as the character designer for both Xenogears and Xenosaga, as well as the mangaka of Ruin Explorers and Ichigeku Sacchu Hoihoi-san.

RYU-KOTSU is a 12″x12″ 192 page hardcover that comes cased in a foil-printed custom fit plastic sleeve.

A number of extras come along with the book, including a couple of postcards, an advertisement leaflet and a 32 page “Memoir of RYU-KOTSU” monochrome booklet. It’s all housed in specially made cardboard packaging.

Outside of the plastic sleeve, the book’s cover features a girl in front of a prehistoric skeleton. The inside of the front and back cover are lined with a beautifully textured faux red leather.

Inside RYU-KOTSU, you’ll see a fair bit of illustrations from this little story about a girl drawing dinosaur skeletons at a museum. There are color illustrations and then a manga at the back of the book, respectively. In between them, however, is a chronicle of Tanaka’s work from oldest to newest.

Excuse me, ma’am, but there is a pteradactyl flying overhead.

The book starts with the real old stuff. The art style is quite notably different!

Is this romance? I think so.

Further in past the stuff I don’t really recognize is a true classic. Fam and Ihrie of Ruin Explorers!

You can see his more recent style beginning to develop here.

This particular illustration is quite stunning in person. His style is really crisp and refined here!

Some more nice, dynamic Ruin Explorers illustrations.

There’s also a fair bit of monochromatic manga art in the book, for Ruin Explorers as well as some older stuff.

Tanaka Kunihiko was also the character designer for the “Key the Metal Idol” series, which many of you will recognize.

I wonder why I have never watched this series…

My favorite section, just because I love Xenogears so much. All of these illustrations will be familiar to you if you’re a fan, and they’re all included in the Xenogears Perfect Works artbook as well.

Many of the original character designs that are used over and over.

It comes as no shock that the next section features Xenosaga: Episode 1 artwork.

Xenosaga character designs, with a double dose of MOMO!

More recently, Tanaka has been surfing the oh-so-popular moe wave. Aren’t these two cute?

Hoihoi-san is pretty darn moe. I recommend this manga if you’re looking for something cute and silly. You can get it in English by Infinity Studios from Amazon. There’s also little snap-together plastic kits available of Hoihoi-san and Combat-san that you’ll see around the hobby shops. They’re relatively inexpensive for figures because you put them together yourself!

Following these pages are some more chibi/moe type paintings by Tanaka, but they’re in a style that I’m not particularly a fan of because they’re excessively simplistic. An example of these works is in his year 2000 calendar. They’re cute, but far from demonstrating his artistic abilities!

Near the end of the book is the manga I mentioned about the girl in the museum who is checking out dinosaur skeletons. There’s also lots of progress sketches for this manga in the “Memory of RYU-KOTSU” booklet.

The 32 page bonus booklet contains lots of sketches and linework for illustrations in RYU-KOTSU. There’s some absolutely EXQUISITE drawings in this book, so it is wonderful to see them included.

Various phases of one of the first illustrations in RYU-KOTSU.

I don’t know the origin of this particular image, but it was impressive enough for me to include it in the review!

I really liked seeing the original inked images for this manga. There’s something wonderful about being able to see those ink lines.

This leaflet appears to be advertising “RYU-KOTSU Benikohaku”, a small hardcover publication that my friend Anonymous Scanner has blessed us by scanning! You can see his post and download the scans here at his website.

The other side of the leaflet has Hoihoi-san and some other various characters. This is an ad for some ASCII Media Works / Dengeki Maoh publication.

RYU-KOTSU been out of print for awhile, so you can only get it from third party sellers on Amazon.jp. It’s generally very expensive to buy in new condition from Japan, so in this particular instance I recommend buying it from AnimeBooks.  You’d be hard pressed to find the same deal at any Japanese shop, as the book is apparently quite a bit more popular there.

Related Links:
Official RYU-KOTSU page on Fumishobo.co.jp
Day visions – Kunihiko Tanaka’s Blog
NETONEVISIONS – Kunihiko Tanaka’s Official Website

Late Summer Odds ‘n Ends

30 Aug

I apologize for the length of time between my entries, however I’d like to keep this blog free of filler and stick with stuff that readers will actually find interesting. There’s actually a mish-mash of random things I’d like to discuss, and since none of them currently warrant an entire blog entry, I’ll be mentioning them all here in one collective post.

Pixiv News

A lot has happened with Pixiv as of late; enough that I won’t really cover it all. The most notable is their site re-design, which some people have noticed makes my Pixiv guide posts regrettably obsolete. I will eventually go back and re-write some guides for the new Pixiv, but it’s not high on my current list of priorities as I am busy and it’s just a hobby. On the artbook scene, Pixiv Nenkan 2010 has been released and you can see a preview of it (along with a nice review) over at Pireze. While it isn’t news, there’s also a Pixiv magazine that comes out quarterly, aptly named “Quarterly Pixiv”. You can order volume 1 and volume 2 from Amazon JP, respectively.

Also notable is the fact that Pixiv will be in charge of the next OTACOOL book, which will feature worldwide illustrators. This is an amazing opportunity for artists around the world to become internationally published, but the timeframe during which you can submit artwork is incredibly narrow. For someone like me who spends over a month on a really serious piece of artwork, it might be too much pressure. I imagine will see a lot of the same artists we see in Pixiv nenkan and a bunch of the more popular deviantArt folk who actually know how to sign up at Pixiv in the book. For details, visit Pixiv’s OTACOOL4 Illustration Contest page.

Comiket 78

Many of you are aware that Comic Market 78 happened this month, and lots ‘o lovely new publications were released. Comiket is the best time of year for browsing moe.imouto because of the immense dedication of dovac and his site administrators when it comes to acquiring and scanning new doujinshi. (There are even donations set aside for Comiket scanning in particular.) They put an ungodly amount of time and money into the site and I can’t thank them enough for everything they do to share those acquisitions. You should definitely take the time to browse the pools and see if any of your C78 wishlist items have been scanned. Of course it doesn’t beat owning the original book, but it’s the next best thing if you just can’t win the bid on the newest Tinkle doujinshi. (The incredibly gorgeous Stellato Giada, which has also been reviewed over at Hunting the Elusive.)

As of this moment I’ve ordered a small handful of goods from c78, but I haven’t found everything I’m looking for just yet. Among my purchases are RabbitNet Chronicles, Ame Nochi Yuki’s  “Colorful Sweets” K-On! fanbook, “Hurry Up! 2” by Rei’s Room and of course Riv’s new book “Paint or Die”. I’d still like to get QP_Chick Colors #3 and the newest Dmyotic. I have a pipe dream to own the full c78 Tinkle set, but that one is probably outside of my price range. It’s a given that I want all Carnelian doujinshi, but I’m also pretty picky about which ones I buy; I lean towards full color and full page illustrations if possible, with exceptions made here and there. Since Carnelian’s stuff is also very expensive, I want to get the most bang for my buck.

Stamps

Yes, I’m still collecting them. Since my initial posts regarding my stamp collecting obsession, I’ve added a few notable sets. My favorite of which is a set of zenin Vampire Knight greeting card stamps and a Rurouni Kenshin stamp that I’ve literally been looking for for something like 10 years. There’s also this incredibly tiny set of Magic Knight Rayearth clear acrylic stamps and a wooden Lina Inverse one that I purchased from a good friend.

For more photos of my stamps, you can just shimmy over to my Flickr album. :)

… and other Miscellaneous Geekery

I hope to visit Little Tokyo in L.A. again next month and then I’ll post a bit about my adventures here. Unfortunately, L.A. is pretty darn ugly and so I never take many pictures when I go there. (On the other hand, San Francisco is fairly pleasing to the eye and so I wrote a lengthy entry about it after going there.) Store managers also tend to have explosive hissy fits at you if you take photographs in their shops, which often leaves me limited to photos of storefronts and parking garages. Anyways, I’ll be sure to enjoy some good ramen and weigh down my backpack with more artbook purchases from Kinokuniya. In addition to L.A. I’ll be visiting Anaheim to meet up with my WoW guild mates for dinner outside of Blizzcon. I think I might have to do some Yelp!ing to find out if Anaheim has any secret hidden Japanese gems. (I wonder if my guildies like sushi restaurants…) Also, because I can, DISNEYLAND!

Doujinshi Review: Touhou Pocket War Evolution Illustration Book

20 Jun

東方ポケット戦争EVO IllustrationBook (Touhou Poketto Sensou EVO Illustration Book) is essentially a small (22 pages) full color artbook release for the doujin game created by 未完童話 (Mikan Douwa). The book features character profile illustrations by the game’s 3 illustrators; Riv (who is my primary reason for this purchase), Ninsei and Maetaku.

Both the front and back cover are rather cute and colorful. You can see the CG’ed version of the front cover here on Riv’s Pixiv!

The artwork styles on the back cover differ enough that I suspect it was a joint effort between the artists. I believe they are done by Ninsei (top), Maetaku (middle) and Riv (bottom), respectively.

The first page is simply a textless version of the cover, so I didn’t bother to photograph it. The next 20 pages are character illustrations. Pic spam inc!

There is a clear difference between the characters who are illustrated by different artists. It’s obvious to me which ones are not by Riv, but due to the lack of an art gallery on behalf of Ninsei, it’s difficult for me to tell the difference between him (her?) and Maetaku. I suspect, however, that Ninsei’s works are the ones with the soft-edge style of coloring and Maetaku’s have the hard-edge coloring (not counting the ones by Riv, of course.)

Page 22 has no illustrations, so again, I didn’t photograph it. However, it gives artist information and links to their websites, which I’ve provided in the intial paragraph via links for each artist’s name.

I purchased this book without knowing much about its contents or the fact that it contained work by artists other than Riv, but I don’t really regret it. Riv is one of my favorite artists right now, so I’ll take any of her work I can get! (Still, I’m hoping to get my hands on more publications similar to Yumeiro Mangekyou or Hanakotoba.)

I’d like to apologize for the vagueness of this review, as my Touhou knowledge is minimal and I had a very difficult time finding information on the artists other than Riv. Regardless, I wanted to take some snapshots of this book in case anyone was wondering what’s inside and if it’s worth their dollars to pick up a copy. As far as I’m concerned, any way for someone to get a sneak peek at a hard to find doujin is worth taking the time to share.

I got my copy of this book from doujin_store on eBay. His prices are rather steep, but I guarantee the quality of his service and products are absolutely out of this world. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy from him than to import via deputy services, so it’s always good to compare prices when you buy. (Also take note that the pricing of his doujin is based heavily on popularity and rarity. When one copy of a doujinshi sells and he has multiple copies, he will list the next copy at a higher price than the last one. It is usually a $10 markup.) Nonetheless, I can’t recommend him enough!

Other Stuff:

Touhou Pocket War Evolution on Toranoana

Official Demo Movie @ YouTube

%d bloggers like this: