It takes time and effort to contact creators, correspond with them and eventually pin them down for an interview, which is why this column has languished in the sorry state it’s in. I’ve decided therefore to ditch the high production value in favor of making this an “appreciation” corner of sorts, where I gush about arbitrarily chosen artists and hope they don’t find out and get mad at me. The first target for this dubious affection is Happobi Jin, an illustrator and character designer perhaps best known for his recent series of Boin games from Crossnet Pie. What else has he done, and why should you care? I can’t answer the second question, but for the first, read on:
Happoubi Jin’s name has previously often been mis-Romanized by me as Happo Bijin, 八方美人, a term with a negative connotation for someone who tries to be everyone’s friend. I’m not sure if he took Happoubi Jin as his pen name as a pun, or if it’s an unfortunate accident of birth; regardless, I (and a lot of other people, including ANN) have been getting it wrong for awhile and for this I apologize.
In the news most recently for the March 16th release of Resort Boin, as his Erogamescape page indicates he’s been working in the game design industry since at least 1997. It wasn’t until the fall 2004 release of Crossnet Pie’s Boin that he came across my personal radar, though, and I have the feeling it was the same for many others; this coincided roughly with the release of his first volume of doujinshi entitled Hole in Love at Comic Market 67 (December 30th, 2004) and in doujin shops shortly thereafter, further bringing his work to the consciousness of fans around Japan.
2005 saw the further rise of his artistic status, as he was brought on to illustrate the covers of Core Magazine’s monthly eroge magazine Megastore (an assignment he continued through 2006), bringing his work to the eyes of magazine browsers in bookstores nationwide. His other 2005 work included the release of a lavishly appointed Boin artbook (Amazon) and a pinup poster for volume 24 of 2D Dream Magazine. He followed the C67 release of Hole in Love with a second volume of doujin entitled DVD at C68 in the summer of 2005, and a third book a year later at C70 entitled Clever Clover (the only one still currently in stock at Toranoana, alas).
2007 has brought still more good news for Happoubi Jin fans, as the March 16th release of Resort Boin brought to fruition many months of hard work in gorgeously illustrated game form. His other recent assignments have included regular cover work for eromanga serial Men’s Young, and perhaps most exciting, an artbook compilation of his work from the past several years due out from Core Magazine on April 28th (source), entitled Sweet Body:
That’s a mere two weeks and change from now, my friends.
Why do I like Happoubi Jin? I’d think his work would speak for itself (if not the ad hoc assembly of images in this post, the far more comprehensive body available through the exploration of links contained within). As an admirer of the two-dimensional female bosom I believe there are few artists who get it in the way that Happoubi does; his physics aren’t too gravity-defying nor his proportions too plastic; he knows when a body needs to be filled out with a bit of heft to compensate for other voluminous endowments. I would classify his work as erotic without being maniac, curvaceous without being cartoony, and sexy with just a tinge of the ineffable moe. Happoubi Jin is, dare I say it, the proletariat’s ero-artist – his work can be appreciated by just about any eye, from the beginner to the most jaded consumer of Japan’s 2D culture. It’s a rare quality, and one that renders him more than worthy of the creepy stalking this column provides.