All Media Hobby Ero (18+) Site

Heisei Democracy has moved!

We’re back, and we’ve moved! Check us out a short hop away, back at our old stomping grounds of http://www.heiseidemocracy.net/ . The dot com site will remain as an archive, but dot net’s where it’s at – update your bookmarks accordingly, and see you soon!

HD Goes to AX, Shingo Still MIA

Breaking radio silence inform any and all that may be interested that at least one representative from HD will be present at this year’s AX. If there’s any interest in staging a mini-meetup, leave a comment and we can work something out.

Haruhi Season 2 – For Real – Confirmed – Proof – This Is Not A Drill

After countless false starts and years of crushed dreams, we now have confirmation that the second season of Haruhi is in fact quite real, and that a new, never before seen episode has aired tonight.

Will the new series live up to its predecessor? Will it be enough to make up for the interminable, soul-crushing years of desperate waiting?

At the risk of judging prematurely, and having not seen any portion of the episode myself, I feel comfortable answering with a definitive categorical “YES”.

Shame For Sale!!

In a shameless return to HD for the first time since my last post (a year and a hemisphere ago) I invite all to peruse my eBay listings, wherein I have put up a chunk of my precious doujinshi collection for sale.

Why?

My GF is not as understanding as Danny Choo’s wife is about Japanese nerd stuff, and unlike Kasukabe in Genshiken, she is not prepared to allow my otakudom to extend to dirty comic books and the like. Figures of girls – yes, computer games with girls – okay, doujin with naughty bits in them – not appropriate.

“Creators Cafe” Set to Open in Akihabara

For all the amateur and professional manga creators of the world who are being held back by poor working environments, the Akihabara Seisakujo is here to solve all your problems. Billing itself as a “Creators Cafe”, Seisakujo offers studio desks and various art equipment, including high-quality scanners and PCs equipped with Photoshop, for a modest hourly charge (starting at 500 yen).

Everything Old Is New Again, 2009 is 1989

With apologies to TV’s Patrick Macias.

Remakes, relaunches, renewals, reimaginings, whatever you call them, making old things new is all the rage these days. On some level, it clearly smacks of laziness and a dearth of fresh ideas, but like it or not there’s big money to be made in recycling things that would otherwise be lost and forgotten. For now at least. And while it’s not nearly as widespread as it is in, say, the North American movie industry, this phenomenon is slowly but surely making its presence felt in the otaku realm as well.

The Color of Toei

Taking a step back from the unsurprisingly controversial sentiment of the previous article, here’s something everyone can enjoy!

That’s a lie, but it is something that I doubt anyone will feel very strongly about (famous last words) although I am hoping that someone with a bit more expertise on the subject will be kind enough to chime in. Also, taking an unexpected foray into the realm of the 3D today, but bear with me. At least this one has pictures.

On The International Brotherhood of Otaku

Shokotan recently blogged in praise of a group of American cosplayers, saying that “Americans are really great at making weapons and stuff” and wondering “How can they carry all that stuff around??”. The cosplayers in question have certainly put their hours in, and the results are impressive (although it’d be nice if there were some pictures from a better angle) but what’s more interesting is the statement that follows. “I want to know more about the otaku of the world!” she exclaims “The Internet makes it easy to keep up with the latest productions in real time, so the number of otaku across the world is increasing rapidly”

Now, say what you will about Shokotan. Shingo doesn’t care for her, but I’d call myself a fan. Nonetheless, she raises a very interesting point, which happens to be something I think about quite frequently. In short, how is it that otaku in This Country and otaku in the Other Country can have so much in common, and work toward so many common goals, and yet still have so little contact with each other?

New Vocaloid Character Information: Megurine Luka

The latest information regarding the third vocaloid character has been released today. The new character is named “Megurine Luka” (I am working very hard not to call her “Luka Migraine”) and features the voice of Asakawa Yuu, probably best known for her role as Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh. I can’t expect her to become anything resembling the cultural phenomenon that is Hatsune Miku, but I must confess, I absolutely love this design:

Otaku Metaculture: Otaku no Video

Taking a step back in time today to take a look at what is arguably the grandfather of all otaku metaculture. Join us for the grandiose and yet ultimately very personal tale of otaku in the 1980s and beyond.

Kotobukiya Kannagi Series Vol. 3: Dog Girl Tsugumi

Hobby Channel has a preview up of the latest in Kotobukiya’s Kannagi series. Due out in April of 2009, this one is “Dog Girl” Tsugumi. There’s nothing wrong with the figure itself, although personally I am not the biggest Tsugumi fan, but it’s a bit irritating that Kotobukiya is bringing out these “theme” versions of […]

Real Life Origins of Kannagi’s Meido Kissa

I’ve been going back and forth on the issue of whether or not Kannagi, with its otaku-heavy supporting cast and frequent allusions to visual culture, can constitute proper otaku metaculture or not. Although it never becomes the focus of the series, it’s done with such reverence and genuine expertise that it’s difficult to ignore.

Regardless, there is a sequence in episode 6 that cannot go without comment. In it, the Kannagi gang visit a local meido kissa, which is very obviously modeled on my all-time favorite Akiba meido kissa, the Cafe Mai:Lish. The Kannagi animation team have really done a bang up job in this episode of recreating the Mai:Lish perfectly in 2D, down to the slightest detail. Have a look at some side-by-side comparisons.

2009: The Untranslatables

Thinking about the problems facing the transplantation of manga kissa to the new world, I got to thinking about the vast number of otaku cultural elements that are wildly successful in the Other Country, and simply do not exist anywhere else. Even in the relatively short time that I have been interested in anime and manga, the official releases seen in North America have seen an exponential increase in both quantity and quality. Things that it seemed would never get an official release even two or three years ago are now considered perfectly normal. It’s now possible to find genuine gachapon in all sorts of places, genuine manga anthologies are showing up in otherwise normal locations, and translated light novels are coming out almost every month.

However, at the risk of sounding ungrateful, we need to remember that an otaku’s work is never done. For all the progress that has been made, it is important to remember how much further we have to go. Certain things are still not suitable for release in gaijin-land, and no matter how badly we may want them, they probably never will be. I promise that I won’t make a habit of doing posts that are nothing but enumerated lists, since I think that pretty much every other blog on the tubes has got that style covered, but since it is the beginning of the year I would ask you to grant me this one indulgence. Without much further ado, I would like to present a list of ten things that will NEVER be officially released in English for a North American market. I would invite all those reading to please prove me wrong.

Akemashite Omedetou!

I couldn’t resist…

Happy New Year from everyone here at Heisei Democracy!

Oretachi Ni Tsubasa Wa Nai Countdown Begins

The official Navel site has started a countdown (or rather, a count-up) for the release of their new PC game, Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai ~Under the Innocent Sky

I haven’t heard much buzz about this, but I may just be out of the loop. It does look promising, but I’ve always been a sucker for a girl with feathers on her back. Does anyone have more information than I do?

Podcast Plug: Gainax Invasion

No news or wall-of-text column right now, just a quick plug for a podcast I appeared in, over on wildarmsheero’s inimitable Mistakes of Youth site.

GO HAVE A LISTEN

Topics discussed include, but are not limited to, the time that Antony and I assaulted Gainax headquarters twice in one day. I’ll give that story a proper writeup someday, but in the meantime, here is some oral history of otaku insanity for you.

Tokyo Teleport Station: On the Viability of Manga Cafes in North America

Me again, returning to my roots with a fresh TTS post! The rest can be found here, for those of you playing along at home. It’s true, I have actually written for HD before, back in the cretaceous period. This is how I’ve managed to sneak into Shingo’s web site without him being around.

Speaking of not being Shingo, I want to make it clear up front that unlike some people I could mention, I am not in Japan. I have been, in the past, and will be in the future, but for the moment I remain in exile. Previously in Boston, I just very recently migrated west and found myself in San Francisco. As much as I loved being in Boston (Cambridge, anyway, and if you’re in the area please do show some love to the Tokyo Kid) I absolutely love being in San Francisco. The food is good, the weather is actually quite pleasant (which is to say NOT shoving sunshine and triple-digit temperatures in my face all the time) and the “Japan Town” is nothing short of glorious.

Otaku Metaculture: NHK ni Youkoso

Welcome back, Heisei Democratizers!

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing support (seriously, if you’re reading this right now, that’s support). However the site evolves, I will do my best not to disappoint you.

This brings us to the first in a new (hopefully) ongoing series, properly titled On the Creation of a Comprehesive Index of Otaku Metaculture. Which is to say, my attempt at creating a (more or less) complete list of anime, manga, and video games which happen to be centered on characters who are themselves afficionados of anime, manga, and video games. For our first installment, we will be featuring a retrospective for a franchise that is very near and dear to HD (hint: the site is named after it).

State of the Democracy

Happy new year, all!

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that there hasn’t been much in the way of new content recently (understatement alert). A quick disclaimer: I am not Shingo. I have never been Shingo, and no matter how hard I try, I will never be Shingo.

Queen’s Gate Shiranui Mai combat artbook announced

The Queen’s Gate lineup was augmented yesterday with the announcement both on the series’ official site as well as online shop listings of the coming release of a Shiranui Mai combat artbook! The buxom heroine of the King of Fighters / Fatal Fury game series will be illustrated by Izumi Mahiru, doujin artist and eroge character designer of titles including Light’s R.U.R.U.R. The book will be in the standard Queen’s Blade format (64 pages, hardcover, full color) and is scheduled for release on October 31st. Cover image below:

Gift’s Saber, Saber Lion Nendoroid, Shunya’s Nasuka preorders open

A trio of Goodsmile-distributed figures from disparate makers were “unsealed” for preorder last night at midnight, and listings have since gone up at several shops around the internet. The first is the long-awaited Fate/stay night Saber from rookie Solid Theater splinter brand Gift. Sculpted with baroque intricacy by Toda Satoshi of Yume no Kagutsuchino Koukoku, the first lot release of the figure also comes with a limited edition exchangeable face part sculpted by Kuramoto Ikuma of Millimeter Modeling. The figure is scheduled for release in December at 1/8 scale (18 cm tall) and 7,800 yen retail.

The second newly available figure is this Saber Lion Nendoroid, from the Capcom PSP game Fate/tiger colosseum (sic). The sculpt is from Akemichi, and the figure is scheduled to retail in December at typical Nendoroid spec (10 cm tall, three exchangeable face parts and a variety of foods/weapons to feed the hungry Saber). Retail price is 3,000 yen.

Last but not least, preorders are now open for Lilics’ / Art Storm’s Yamashita Shunya Character Series Vol. 2, Nasuka. She’s also scheduled for December release, clocking in at 1/6 scale and 24 cm tall with a sculpt from PVC newcomer (?) Yamazaki Shigeru. Like Kanaru before her the series continues in a decidedly posterior-centric vein, and also like Kanaru she’s scheduled to retail at 7,800 yen.

Figure images below:

Gigapulse announces Figu@Mate lineup

Ero figure maker Gigapulse updated their official site last night with the news of two new figures (plus variations) currently in production, based on characters from Escu:de‘s 2006 eroge Figu@Mate. The first is the game’s main heroine Endoh Ifrina, who will be coming in five variations of two main sculpts, with release scheduled for December for each. Sculpting duty is from Hormone-Man and the figures are listed as 1/1 scale (consistent with the gimmick of the game’s pint-sized heroines), clocking in at around 12 cm tall. Retail price is 4,988 yen for all but the regular version of the second sculpt, which will retail at 3,780 yen.

The second character to be portrayed in Giga’s Figu@Mate lineup is Kanai Julialous, a 1/7 bust of whom is currently in planning with a sculpt also from Hormone-man. Further details on this release will be made available at the end of August. The currently available photos can be found below:

Daiki Kougyou does Kanu Unchou, Vol. 13-style

Daiki Kougyou updated their official site today with a listing for a new figure of Ikkitousen’s Kanu Unchou, based on the cover illustration of the manga’s 13th volume. The sculpt is from Hagii Shunji (Studio Saru Bunshitsu), and the figure is scheduled to retail in December at 1/6 scale (28 cm tall) and 16,591 yen. The kit is castoffable, coming with both a removable robe (carried in the hand) and skirt, as well as a replaceable un-bandaged chest part. Preorders were open at Daiki’s site but have since been temporarily retracted; international preorder listings are expected to appear shortly. Full gallery below:

Anime version Musubi preorder open

Figure maker Movic presented a preorder listing over the weekend for their latest incarnation of Musubi, heroine of manga and anime Sekirei. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to their first Musubi it took me a bit to determine conclusively that this wasn’t a reissue, but it’s definitely a new sculpt credited to Saitou Heel. She’s scheduled for release in October at 1/7 scale (height unspecified) and 6,300 yen retail, and if precedent holds she’s likely to be castoffable. Currently available images below:

Iinari! Aibure-shon gets the figure treatment

Figure distributor Milestone updated their site yesterday with the first official images online of a Shizukuishi figure from the all-ages public urination (omorashi) fetish manga Iinari! Aibure-shon. Beyond the images details on the figure are scant; we know that what’s depicted is a Milestone limited pink edition, and the regular version will have her in her standard dark blue costume. Information such as the maker, sculptor, price, and release date are still unknown, but based on the other Milestone-limited items available it seems likely to be the work of either First Class or Aoshima. The Milestone post indicates that further information will be made available next week, but for now the images are reproduced below:

Haruhi-chan, Churuya-san anime series announced

Moon Phase Diary updates with the news this evening that according to the October ’08 issue of Shounen Ace (on sale August 25th), two new short-episode anime series are being produced simultaneously for broadcast on the YouTube Kadokawa Channel: “Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuuutsu” (based on the Haruhi spinoff manga by the same name) and “Nyoro~n Churuya-san” (based on the popular doujin 4-panel comic by Eretto). The Moon Phase author speculates that these may be a stopgap measure to placate ravenous hordes of Haruhi fans hungry for solid news of a sequel to the original TV series, but I for one welcome our chibi webcast overlords. I hope they give them voices… We’ll keep an eye out for further news on this over the coming weeks. (no more)

Daiki Kougyou launches hug pillow line

The official site of (heretofore exclusively) figure maker Daiki Kougyou was updated today with a listing for an item that breaks new ground for the company: a Kanu Unchou dakimakura cover from Ikkitousen Great Guardians. The case is scheduled to retail in November at 10,500 yen (case only), is sized 160 x 50 cm and features two original illustrations from animator Miyazawa Tsutomu, printed on suede fabric. According to the listing the case is available exclusively via Daiki’s online shop, so international customers may have to use a proxy. Pillow images below:

Tech Arts omnibus teaser

The various Tech Arts eroge brands got together yesterday and posted an enormous (4721 x 6057 pixel) teaser image including in-progress content from several of their upcoming games. The image is chaotic and not very easy to parse, but from what can be gleaned it seems that there are at least four new games in development from the various brands: a new Mochizuki Nozomu-designed game from MBS Truth (or possibly an OLE spinoff), a new Gunner-L designed game (side-scrolling shooter included) from an OLE, a new Sano Toshihide-designed game from G.J?, and what appears to be a 3D remake of Ane to Boin from Tech Arts 3D. The teaser image is reproduced below:

Volks’ Masou Shizuka, Nanbu Kaguya prototypes unveiled

Those following the saga of the Alice Soft x Volks figure collaboration project over the past several months were rewarded late last night with the posting over at GA Graphic of the first official look at the prototype for the fan-selected #1 popular Rance series character, Masou Shizuka. Preorders for the PVC figure are expected to open on Monday, August 25th, exclusive to Volks’ online shop and brick and mortar locations, so a proxy buy will be necessary for international fans. Release is scheduled for “this winter”, and she retails at 7,140 yen and 1/6 scale (23 cm tall) with a sculpt from Kamio Rintarou (A-Brand).

Also new from Volks is word that the amply-chested Nanbu Kaguya, heroine of Mugen no Frontier: Super Robot Wars OG Saga, is to receive the figure treatment. She’s also scheduled for a winter release, at 7,875 yen and 1/7 scale (28 cm tall), with a sculpt from Chorosuke (A-Brand). Release is once again exclusive to Volks online and terrestrial shops, with preorders opening on August 25th. This combined with her abundant appearance at Comiket 74 mark a meteoric rise to popularity for a character who hit the market just last May, and we can expect to see more from her in the coming months.

Images ganked from GA Graphic below: