After my little foray into artbooks with the Spice & Wolf artbook, my wallet’s been itching for a few more. Along comes an excuse named Horo and my wallet falls to pieces.
- 100 Masters of Bishojo Painting (絵師100人)
- Footprints (あしあと) by Kantoku (カントク)
- Footprints in the Summer (ななつのあしあと) by Naru Nanao (七尾 奈留)
- Pixiv Girls Collection 2010 (～ピクシブガールズコレクション2010)
- Dengeki Maoh May 2010 (電撃マ王 2010年 05月号)
The last books I bought with Range Murata on the cover weren’t exactly what I was expecting. They contained all kinds of artwork nearly all of it not Range Muratas and that was unexpected. This time however I was much more informed having seen this entire artbook already elsewhere I knew what I was getting into and it wasn’t Range Murata. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Range Murata art, but there are 99 other artists contained within this book all of whom are worthy of praise though not all of them are on my list of favourites. In fact there are many I’ve never heard of or who’s artwork I’ve never seen before which made the experience quite nice.
One key item that added to my experience with this book was something that shocked me immediately as I opened to the first page. The book was in English. Rather, it was in Japanese and English meaning I could actually read what was said, this was totally unexpected though it shouldn’t have been. As mentioned above, I’d already seen the entire artbook, but out of habit for all things Japanese, dismissed the “moonspeak” assuming I couldn’t read it and kept my eyes on the artwork. I kind of like that I’d done this because it was one hell of a surprise when the book arrived.
The book itself is quite high quality with rather thick strong pages and vibrant colours. I’m not sure what kind of life time I can expect out of the book but at $25 CAD I feel it was a bargain of a price, especially considering I’ve seen the same book sell as high as $42 USD.
Here are some sample pages from the book featuring the works of Jyuu Ayakura, Imperial Boy, toi8 and Kumichi Yoshizuki. Complete list of artists.
Footprints by Kantoku is much more Japanese compared to 100 Masters of Bishojo Painting, the book opens from back to front by western standards and contains no English. It’s much more the sort of book I was expecting to get. The book isn’t as high quality as 100 Masters, the edges of the pages feel much more roughly cut as well as a bit thinner but far from low quality either. The book contains only artwork by artist Kantoku however there is a single picture that was a collaboration between Kantoku and Tenmu Shinryuusai (天夢森流彩).
I’m not sure when Kantoku’s name entered my brain, but it’s never been forgotten and I’ve always kept an eye out for it. His artstyle has a good mix of cute and sexy and often has some of the most detailed plaid print on a skirt you’ll ever see in a drawing, I’m not kidding. The artbook seemed like a good starting point as it was easily accessible and didn’t contain too much ero or ecchi content making it more or less safe. The book has 144 pages filled with Kantoku’s illustrations but doesn’t contain all the pictures I wish it would. All of the pictures are wonderful of course, but some of my favourites from other books just aren’t included, so I’ll have to keep my eyes open for those. Memorial of the 5th Year (5年 Memorial), Check x Check (チェックXチェック), Let’s Check Pattern (チェックしよっ), Shadow (影) and First Collection Book are what I’ll have to keep my eye out for, and if I’m feeling a bit ero perhaps Check Ero (チェックエロ), Check Ero 2 (チェックエロ2) or perhaps some of the work he’s done in the Tachiyomi Senyou (立ち読み専用) series.
Like 100 Masters this book surprised me when I opened it up, but not for the same reasons. Unbeknownst to me when I ordered this $30 CAD item that it’s cover would be hard and it’s quality superior. The book has weight, the pages are thick and sturdy and of course the colours are vibrant. I might argue the print isn’t as high a dpi as perhaps the other 2 books, but I really didn’t look as them as closely as I did this book. The book is also larger than the rest at 30 cm (12″) tall and 22 (8.6″) wide making for an even more immersive experience. Being a hardcover book I almost feel bad just opening it, hearing the cracking of the binding and feeling the vacuum of the pages as I flip through, but what good would it be if I didn’t take a look inside?
Like Kantoku, Naru Nanao has been a favourite of mine for a number of years, though Naru quite some time longer. Her style is quite distinct and differs from Kantoku. Where Kantoku has a cute and sexy style, Naru’s style is elegant and beautiful, both however can draw a great ero picture. Naru’s drawn many characters and crossed over with artists such as Noizi Ito, but one character I’ve wished she would draw is of course Horo (ホロ), Kantoku’s done it so only Naru to complain about in this post. It would be interesting to get her first artbook Seven-coloured Ice Cream (なないろあいす) to compare as they were released 5 years apart.
Pixiv Girls Collection 2010 is pretty much on par with 100 Masters, minus the “masters” and English. The quality of the book is quite good and feels rather sturdy for being a paperback. The size of the book measures in around the same dimensions as Naru’s book but doesn’t feel quite as substantial, likely due to the paper cover. The art styles vary wildly much like 100 Masters due to the wide variety of artists, unlike 100 Masters though the artists do not get 2 pages each, some artists get a whole page, others a half. I’m not sure why this may be, but perhaps it’s due to the size of the original piece of artwork as some might be too small for a full page. Because of this it’s hard to figure out just how many artists are contained within, but it’s a lot and that’s enough.
Since I can’t read or type Japanese characters very easily (or at all) I find it very handy that Pixiv has included the user id number next to every picture so that I can look up more of their artwork. It’s very nice as each artists only gets one picture in the book but they could have a boat load on the site that just couldn’t be featured. I should also partially retract my statement above about the book lacking English, because in the preface it does have English, along with Korean, Chinese and of course Japanese. But it’s really only there that there’s any meaningful English that I’ve noticed but that’s ok, because the art speaks for itself.
I wonder, do any of the artists get any proceeds from the book sales? Or are they just happy to be in print?
This item on the list differs from the rest, it’s not an artbook as such, nor is it really a book at least no more so than a magazine is a book. This particular item has 562 pages of manga within, none of which I can read but you might start to guess why I bought it looking at the cover, it does indicate some of what might be found within. However that cover alone would not be the reason I purchased this magazine, look at the purple-ish picture of Horo on the right side that indicates that there was an additional item included with this issue, and that’s the main reason I bought this $6.50 magazine, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Dengeki Maoh has some interesting manga serialized within in addition to the manga version of Spice & Wolf as illustrated by Keito Koume. Glancing through the pages a few things caught my eye, such as Amagami – Love Goes On! (アマガミ Love goes on！), Persona4 and Battlefield Valkyria 2: Gallian Royal Military Academy (戦場のヴァルキュリア2 ガリア王立士官学校) aka Valkyria Chronicles 2. If only I could read these, I could stay a head of the ever so slow scanlators, but I can’t and don’t even know if I got much of the Japanese correct on this page, I can only hope I have.
I apologize for the poor scans below, thin paper and no patience I didn’t do them properly but you get the idea anyway. For more info you can try to parse through the moonspeak at Dengeki Maoh’s website.
Now here’s the real reason for this entire order. This mini-artbook came with the Dengeki Maoh magazine above and is the item mentioned on the cover obviously. But I couldn’t justify shipping a $6 item from Japan for anything more than the cost of the book itself and that just wasn’t possible, so I started adding things to my cart and this is all what I ended up with, it was a great excuse to dive further into otaku-dom.
This little artbook has just 15 illustrations all by Keito Koume. Funnily enough I’ve seen this book on eBay for $20 USD plus shipping, a laughable sum because the book it comes with cost $6.50 and adding in shipping I doubt would put you over the $20 they’re asking. Many of the illustrations contained within I’ve seen elsewhere in various formats but rarely with any sort of quality which was always terribly annoying, so it’s quite dandy having them in my hand for once with proper quality. Though Keito’s artwork is a bit inconsistent I think, she looks different on each page, worst of the bunch is the page where she’s naked which is probably just due to her odd expression. Overall though this little book alone was worth the $6.50 for the magazine that I can’t read so I feel cool with it.
So that’s my latest foray into the netherworld of the otaku. I’m rapidly filling that cabinet I got not so long ago with anime, anime artbooks and anime figures. Once that’s filled I don’t know what I’m going to do, I think I’ll have to move into a bigger house or kick a roommate out. Or perhaps the ‘better’ solution is to save my money and stop buying useless crap right? right?! Yeah I couldn’t convince myself of it either.
Before I go though I’d like to share a new term I learned at work this week, that term being “carpenters dream”. When this was said to me I had a blank stare, I had no idea what the person was trying to say and was forced to inquire. His response was simple, “flat as a board” and it all made sense. It felt rather applicable to the anime community despite it’s likely origins and I may try to mix it up from time to time between Deliciously Flat Chest and Carpenters Dream. Perhaps for flat chested characters I don’t like, well they’ll be Carpenters Dreams, and for flat chested or nearly flat chested characters I do like, they of course will remain delicious.