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Artbook Review: Yamashita Shunya’s Wild Flower

Last month we were delighted to bring the announcement of Wild Flower, the second artbook collection of Yamashita Shunya’s illustration works (following Sweet Dreams, released almost three years ago). It arrived on store shelves today, and we managed to track down a copy before it disappeared and bring you this look inside. Needless to say, this is something Shunya fans aren’t going to want to miss:

Yamashita Shunya 2nd artbook announced

Online shop Getchu updated this evening with a product listing for an item that’s sure to turn a lot of heads: Yamashita Shunya’s newly announced second artbook, WILD FLOWER. This is the first visual collection of his work following the release of Sweet Dreams almost three years ago, and Getchu’s listing provides some tantalizing details: the book is the first print publication ever credited to figure maker Kotobukiya, with production from publisher Shinkigensha (know otherwise for their role playing sourcebooks and other geeky material). It’s scheduled for release on June 10th at 2,900 yen retail, A4 size, 128 pages and includes over 100 illustrations ranging from original work to figure designs and card game illustrations. Several sample images are presented, which are duplicated below:

Artbook Review: Gurren Lagann Yoko Portraits

When I first heard that this book was coming out I assumed it would be just another gimmick to bilk Yoko fans out of a bit more cash, consisting of little more than recycled Megami and Newtype posters padded with screenshots from the show. This is Gainax we’re talking about, after all – the company that never sells something once when they can sell it twice (or a dozen times). Imagine my surprise upon paging through it that the volume in fact contains an astonishing amount of new material created exclusively for this book – and much of it really nice work. After rubbing my eyes to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating the Gainax of two decades ago I immediately decided the volume had to be procured, so here, a mere three months late, is our look at Yoko’s portrait collection:

DLsite.com opens Books division

Originally launched several years ago as a download shop for amateur doujin works, DLsite has been steadily expanding the scope of its offerings through the opening of professional PC game shops, a shop for female-oriented material, an all-ages shop, an English language shop, and as of today (April 15th, 2008) an e-book shop.

DLsite Books replaces the now-defunct DLsite Cosplay, which had received increasingly fewer submissions over the past year; those who had purchased cosplay items can still access them via the book shop’s calendar history (where they are still for sale as well), though it seems future cosplay items will not be accepted for consignment at present.

DLsite Books launched today with an initial lineup of 30 erotic manga volumes and novels from various publishers, and is planning to update with new titles daily – exciting news for foreign fans with otherwise limited ability to obtain these volumes, or for anyone looking for items that are otherwise out of print. The initial run of 30 titles contains a pretty wide range of offerings, including one that we reviewed here [WARNING: MANIAC ERO]; time will tell whether the focus will remain on older titles, but here’s hoping to see a mix of old and new as we monitor future daily updates (and bring you the best of the bunch).

The books are being sold in PDF format and have downloadable preview segments online. Prices are roughly equivalent to the analog versions.

In related news, today’s DLsite update changed the visual look of the site interface. Our download tutorial is still accurate however, should you be interested in procuring any of these fine wares.

Hobby News: Samurai Spirits Iroha comes to Queen’s Gate (updated)

Online bookshop Mangaoh posted a listing last night for a rather surprising item: Queen’s Gate – On wo Kaesu Mono Iroha, (“Iroha – She Who Repays a Debt”). This is the same Iroha featured in the Samurai Spirits – Tenkaichi Kenkyakuden SNK fighting game, and Queen’s Gate is the recently begun crossover franchise to Queen’s Blade that brings characters from other settings into the Lost Worlds combat book system (Moetan‘s Nijihara Ink and the original Niθ-designed Mon wo Hiraku Mono Arisu were the first two entries). I wasn’t expecting to see a bona fide fighting game character emerge in the series, but given her popularity Iroha certainly makes sense as a selection – I wonder if this means we’ll finally get a castoffable Iroha kit from Megahouse (probably not). According to the Mangaoh entry she’s scheduled to make her queenish debut on April 18th, at the standard QB price of 1,500 yen (64 full color pages, hardbound). Queen’s Gate Iroha cover image below:

Goods News: Genshiken to be novelized

Thanks to SDS for the heads up on this: according to the recently updated Genshiken anime site, the tale of otaku life and love in a college “modern visual culture” club is set to receive novel treatment. Writing duty for the book’s original story has been passed to Iida Kazutoshi, director of independent game maker Artdink whose past work includes Doshin the Giant and Aquanaut’s Holiday. I’m not sure how this qualifies him to pen a Genshiken novel, but perhaps designing quirky niche games grants one mystical powers… the book is entitled Hainyuu Ranjin no Yabou ~Return of the OTAKU~ and is scheduled for release from Kodansha on January 23rd at 940 yen; the first part of the name translates roughly as “the ambition/treachery of the Dutch pilgrims”, which makes absolutely no sense to me at this point but will hopefully be clarified in due time. Shimoku Kio seems to have given the project his blessing, so I’ll probably pick the book up to see what all the fuss is about… (no more)

Book News: Queen’s Blade Yumil, Bitoshi Gaiden vol. 2 Koudai Oujo no Sho up for preorder

A bit late to the scoop on this one, but it’s worth noting that as of last Friday preorders are now open for the Queen’s Blade bishoujo fighting book game volume for Yumil, delayed for well over a year (her figure was released before she was), and the second Bitoshi Gaiden volume, Koudai Oujo no Sho. The latter features the adventures of Menace, including an F.S-illustrated novel and accompanied drama CD (Menace is voiced by Gotou Yuuko). Both are scheduled for release on February 15th, and both are currently available at Amazon.co.jp, among other retail locations [Yumil | Bitoshi Gaiden vol. 2]. (no more)

Artbook Review: UNO! ~ Uno Makoto Artworks

Former god of futanari doujinshi, current god of anime character design Uno Makoto presents his first compiled volume of illustrations in the newly released UNO! artbook. When the news first came to us at the beginning of November I was overjoyed at the prospect of getting a book that would include not only his past material but also work on the currently airing Dragonaut series; with its pretense to comprehensiveness I was hoping that this would be a volume similar in scope to other artbooks we’ve recently reviewed here, but after looking it over I’m sorry to report decidedly mixed results:

[ERO] Artbook Review: Velvet Skin ~ INO Art Works

When word first came down that a compilation of INO‘s work was in the pipeline I was ecstatic. The reclusive artist who has gone without a website update for over four years was finally reaching out to his fans! As the book’s content was gradually revealed it became clear that it would be an epic tome indeed; just what is in store in this treasure trove that contains much of the master eroge artist’s life work? Read on to find out:

[ERO] Goods News: INO artbook Velvet Skin now on sale

A quick note that INO Art Works: Velvet Skin went on sale on the 17th as planned, and is in stock and shipping now from wherever fine artbooks are sold (HD has an Amazon affiliate but that’s neither here nor there). I won’t be receiving my copy until the 30th, though I plan to get a review up as soon as possible once it does come in; in the mean time our creator spotlight on the artist is here. An official Core Magazine preview of the book is now online as well, thanks to H-Gurl for spotting it! (no more)

Goods News: Horibe Hiderou second artbook “COLORS” release details confirmed

Plans have been in the works for several months to produce a second artbook compilation of the works of Horibe Hiderou (Wikipedia), the promising illustrator and character designer who died a tragic death of heart failure last year at age 36. Word is in today from Mangaoh that the details of the volume have been confirmed: the book known as COLORS is being produced by Jive Publishing, scheduled for release in late December at 2,604 yen (tax included), at size A4 (total page number unknown). The volume will contain illustration material not included in Yours (his first artbook), drawn from the various PC and console games he worked on including Interlude, Elf’s [ERO] Shuusaku and Kisaku, as well as his unfinished work on unpublished games and several memorial illustrations and newly colored images. I’m glad to see that such a talented illustrator is being honored in this way after his death… the book is currently available for order internationally via the Mangaoh link above. (no more)

Goods News: Uno Makoto artbook illustration compilation “UNO!” to be released on November 30th

My hands are shaking as I type this, trying to restrain the complex yet primal web of emotions surging forth at the news that anime character design god Uno Makoto has produced a compiled volume of his illustrations set for release from Shueisha on November 30th. Dubbed “UNO!” the book (ISBN 13: 978-4-08-782160-4) will retail at 2,800 yen and feature illustration work from recent anime he has designed, including Dragonaut, Witchblade, and Uchuu no Stellvia. The page count and format are still unknown, but Mangaoh has a preorder page up and Amazon should soon as well. Thanks to cortana for the orgasm-inducing promotional image below! Update: it seems Shueisha has an official page up to promote the book, according to which it will be A4 size and contain an A3-size original poster as well as a complete collection of his Newtype column art. Tanoshimi da wa~

Game Book News: Queen’s Gate official site open

The official site for Queen’s Blade spinoff series Queen’s Gate is now open! Based on the Lost Worlds series of combat game books from Flying Buffalo Press, Queen’s Gate serves as the portal between the Queen’s Blade series and the creative works of other brands joining in partnership to release other characters in the Lost Worlds format. The first two installments are Mon wo Hiraku Mono Arisu, designed by Niθ of Nitro+, and the POP-illustrated Magical Girl Pastel Ink, heroine of the Moetan anime and English otaku phrase book series. Both combat artbooks are scheduled for release on November 30th at 1,500 yen each, and like their Queen’s Blade counterparts will be hardcover and full color. We’ll be keeping an eye out for further news on this series – could Maritan be next? (no more)

Manga News: third volume of Queen’s Blade anthology comics announced

The December ’07 issue of Hobby Japan magazine had an advertisement for a third anthology volume of manga based on the characters from the Queen’s Blade series of combat artbooks. It’s set for release on November 24th, which is at this point all we know about the book (other than that the cover will be penned by [ERO] Jibril and Nanael character designer Kuuchuu Yousai); past volumes of the anthology have included work from artists such as F.S, Rebis, and Kokuryuugan, and as such are basically officially sanctioned borderline ecchi doujin compilations. We’ll be keeping an eye out for a list of contributors coming online in the next few weeks. Cover image from the advertisement below:

Goods News: Queen’s Blade 8th round Merona, Claudette combat artbooks go on sale; most [ERO] yet?

Both Akiba Blog and Moeyo! Akibajin Blog are reporting on today’s sale of Merona and Claudette, the two latest entries in the Queen’s Blade combat artbook series, and as usual they just barely skirt the border of all-ages material. As we reported back in August F.S. and Hisayuki Hirokazu reprise their design roles here, with F.S.’s Merona especially eye-catching as a shape shifting ooze creature who takes the form of the other Queen’s Blade protagonists. This release snuck up on me, but I’ll try to get reviews up as soon as I can grab copies for myself… (no more)

Protoculture News: “moe” propaganda book goes on sale

Akiba Blog yesterday reported the release of Moyuru Kami no Kuni!, a 270-page moe-clad manifesto from Ikaros Publishing (not to be confused with Icarus Publishing) of what appears to be softcore Japanese nationalist propaganda. Art is from miko legend Tanaka Shoutarou, with text by Suzuki Doitsu, author of Gundam and the Second World War, among others; the book’s content includes such themes as “the reason Japan hasn’t been invaded until now is the presence of the JSDF and the US military”, “there are other righteous wars that should be fought beyond wars of self-protection”, “in order to be accepted as a trusted, normal member of the international community, we must amend the constitution”, “rational countries such as Japan should possess nuclear weapons”, “are there any other countries beyond China, North Korea and South Korea who object to devotional shrine visits honoring our war dead?”, and “sexy miko in lingerie”. If this book becomes a best-seller, one of the above themes in particular seems to stand out as why… (no more)

Goods News: Queen’s Gate Mon wo Hiraku Mono Arisu, Mahou Shoujo Nijihara Ink up for preorder

Amiami has preorder pages up for the two inaugural entries in the Queen’s Gate series of combat game artbooks, based on Hobby Japan’s Queen’s Blade series (which in turn is based on Flying Buffalo’s Lost Worlds combat books). Queen’s Gate is a spinoff series of Queen’s Blade that features the work of famous artists and brands brought into the Lost Worlds game system and artbook format. First scooped at HD back in July, the two characters now up for preorder are the Nitro+ / Niθ-designed Mon wo Hiraku Mono Arisu and the Pop-illustrated Mahou Shoujo Nijihara Ink, heroine of the otaku English phrasebook and anime series Moetan. The pair of hard cover, full color 64-page combat artbooks are scheduled for release on November 30th at 1,500 yen each; we’ll keep an eye out for preorder availability on sites that ship internationally. (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: Katorea (Cattleya) announced as next in the Megahouse Excellent Model CORE Queen’s Blade PVC lineup

Nanashi over at 2chan’s Mokeiura board posted what has to be a scan from November’s issue of Hobby Japan magazine (on sale tomorrow), providing positive photo identification of a prototype for a Megahouse Excellent Model CORE Katorea (Cattleya) PVC figure from Queen’s Blade. We’ll check out the details in the magazine tomorrow, but here at HD HQ the celebration begins tonight – for the fan of improbably busted figures that I am this is something akin to the Holy Grail. Thanks to MK for the tipoff! Picture below:

Figure News: Megahouse Excellent Model CORE Queen’s Blade Airi and Nix up for preorder

First announced at Wonder Festival Summer 2007, today’s noon Amiami update brought the listing of Megahouse‘s Excellent Model CORE Queen’s Blade Airi and Nix PVC figures up for preorder. Both are set to retail in December at 5,250 yen and (presumably) the same 1/8 scale and extreme castoffability as their predecessors. We’ll keep you updated as more comes to light on this pair, they’re looking really nice… :3 Update: Preorders have closed at Amiami for both Nix and Airi. According to hobby shop Digitamin’s store blog the two are being produced in relatively small lots compared to other recent Megahouse QB figures, so preorders are advised ASAP for those looking to pick them up. (no more)

Manga News: Queen’s Blade stories to begin serialization in Comp Ace, Dengeki Black Maoh

In a habitual browsing of the the official Queen’s Blade site this morning I noticed that they’d updated back on September 10th with the news that the Queen’s Blade franchise will be extending beyond game books, figures, pillows and anthology comics to the world of serialized manga. The first of two manga will be running in Kadokawa Shoten’s monthly Comp Ace beginning with its October 26th issue, and will be penned by Minasaki Iku of doujin circle Doropanda Tours; while lacking in a personal website it seems that the bulk of Minasaki’s published work consists of My HiME parody doujin, an appropriate topic given that his QB manga is scheduled to focus on Hisayuki-designed character Elina and her search for her sister. The second of the two Queen’s Blade manga will begin serialization in new Media Works magazine Dengeki Black Maoh, the first issue of which is on sale tomorrow, September 19th. It will be penned by doujin veteran Astroguy II, be entitled “Queen’s Blade Struggle”, and comprise a variety of side story episodes featuring the various QB heroines. We’ll keep an eye on these projects as they unfold… (no more)

Goods News: POP art collection #2 SUPER LOLLIPOP on sale tomorrow

Fans of all things Moetan and generally cute take note: POP, master of the hyper-saccharin, almost unbearably adorable illustrations that have come to define their own special brand of “moe”, is at it again. Blegh, I feel like I’m writing ad copy… Anyway, he’s got a new artbook out which you can buy at Amazon if you’d like to support HD, or at Mangaoh, and probably elsewhere as well. It’s 152 pages, hard cover, contains a compilation of his color illustration work from between 2005 and 2007, and retails for 2,940 yen. A kyonyuu fan can like cute things too, right? (no more)

Goods News: Moetan Nijihara Ink hug pillow up for preorder

The listing has been up for a few days now, but I was just reminded of it this morning by the Dakimakura Integrated Research Institute: character goods shop Chara-Ani has posted a preorder listing for a Nijihara Ink hug pillow based on the heroine of the Moetan English phrasebooks and anime. The pillow features an original illustration by POP, is double-sided with dimensions 140 x 50 cm, and retails at 10,500 yen (pillowcase only); the Chara-Ani preorder is open through September 17th. It was originally produced by Cosmode as part of their Comiket 72 goods set, and as such it seems unlikely to be made available at any shops selling internationally; a proxy service will probably be your best bet if you’re looking to purchase. Picture below:

Figure News: Goodsmile presents Moetan’s Pastel Ink

GA Graphic has the honor of the first scoop from yesterday’s inaugural Hobby Complex garage kit convention in Kobe, at which Goodsmile unveiled a prototype of a new Pastel Ink PVC figure from the POP-designed Moetan English phrasebook and anime. According to GA’s coverage she’s scheduled for a January ’08 release, so we’ll be watching for further details to appear on Goodsmile’s official site soon. We’ll also be bringing you further coverage of yesterday’s Hobby Complex and Yokohama Dash 2 as fallout from the events makes its way online. Update: GA Graphic continues their coverage of Hobby Complex here. (no more)

Figure News: Goodsmile’s Nendoroid Re Mii, Max Factory’s POLO System Wendy and Emiya Kiritsugu / Zero up for preorder soon, Kotobukiya’s apron + sukumizu Sasara already there

Goodsmile just posted listings on their official site for their upcoming Nendoroid Re Mii from Zoids Genesis, as well as Max Factory’s [ERO] Polo System Wendy from Gun x Sword and Emiya Kiritsugu / Zero from Fate / Zero, which can only mean that preorders will be coming online around the internet very shortly. All three are due for release in January of 2008. In other news, Kotobukiya followed yesterday’s preorder blitz with a couple more entries today, including this maid apron / school swimsuit Kusugawa Sasara from To Heart 2 XRATED, set to go on sale in December. The winter listings are filling out fast! (no more)

[ERO] Artbook Review: Sano Toshihide Illustrations

Those who’ve been reading HD for awhile can probably guess that this review won’t be exactly unbiased. If Sano Toshihide were romantically available I would gleefully bear his offspring, but given that fate has kept us apart he’s still one of the artists I most admire in the field of Japanese 2D erotica (or out of it, for that matter). Assuming therefore that the book’s content is unimpeachable, we’re left to ask only about its presentation…. Read on for the juicy details:

Figure News: Kotobukiya’s Shiina, Silfa, Nijihara and Pastel Inks, Koakuma Louise, and “theater version” Rei up for preorder

Kotobukiya made a splash yesterday evening with the preorder listings of a whole gang of new figures, including Shining Wind’s Shiina Kanon, To Heart 2 Another Days’ Silfa, Moetan’s Nijihara Ink and Pastel Ink (TV color version reissues), Zero no Tsukaima’s Louise (koakuma ver.), and Evangelion’s Rei (plug suit ver.). They’re all due to street in December and sort of blur together in my mind in a big lump, though the Rei does stand out (perhaps due to viewing under the influence). My brain tells me that the road to Eva goods collection is paved with financial death, but my itchy preorder finger is hovering over the button… ;_; (no more)

Figure News: Max Factory’s Ino, Solid Theater’s Makimoto Misae up at Goodsmile

Goodsmile updated their product listing page today with two new offerings: the first from Max Factory is the Guilty Gear XX Ino PVC they revealed to be in production at Wonder Festival, based on the iconic Mitsumasa Yoshizawa resin kit from a few years back. She clocks in at 1/7 scale, 26.5 cm tall and a rather pricey 7,200 yen, and is set to hit shelves in December of this year. The second offering is from Solid Theater – the Makimoto Misae PVC we surmised to be in production at the beginning of the month, and was also confirmed at Wonder Festival. She’s coming to us in November via Toda Satoshi (Yume no Kagutsuchino Koukoku) and the Jingai Makyou novel Fantastique of Nine, with a retail price of 4,980 yen and standing 21 cm tall (non-scale). A couple of very nice items, if I do say so myself… this winter is going to hurt. ;_; We can look for preorders as early as this evening. (no more)

Protoculture News: encyclopedia of “yandere” heroines goes on sale

We first reported on the yandere boom back in May with information on the second doujin event devoted exclusively to these most bipolar of heroines. Word is in today from Akiba Blog that they’ve reached enough critical mass to receive their own installment in the “taizen” series of heroine encyclopedias (previous entries include Tsundere Taizen, Maid-san Taizen, and Imouto Game Taizen), with Yandere Taizen now on store shelves. Given the current airing of the School Days anime this couldn’t be a timelier release, and the book naturally features Sekai and Kotonoha along with Shuffle!‘s Kaede, Sakura from Fate / stay night, and other less prominent homicidal heroines. Given the inherently destructive nature of the yandere personality I’m curious to see the extent to which this particular meme will spread… will we get the yandere equivalent of Tsuyokiss, a game where your goal is to survive the jealous love of a bloodthirsty gang of bishoujo? (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: Griffon presents Ikkitousen’s Kanu, Hakufu, Ryofu, Gentoku, and Queen’s Blade Nanael completed figures, now in preorder

Griffon announced a veritable blitz of releases over the weekend, with preorders going up for Yamamoto Masahiro sculpted October release China Dress Kanu Unchou and [ERO] Ryofu Housen PVCs, a Sugiyama Satoshi sculpted October release Ryuubi Gentoku PVC, a late September release Akiyama Akio sculpted [ERO] nekkid Sonsaku Hakufu cold cast, and the extravagant Hiroman sculpted Queen’s Blade Nanael PVC / resin / cold cast hybrid due out in October. I’d pick up the Hakufu if she were in PVC, but as is the Kanu is the only one I’m mildly interested in (and maybe the Ryofu if they fix her face). Announce these things earlier and you might sell more, Griffon! (no more)

Goods News: Queen’s Blade new characters unveiled, Nanael dakimakura + drama CD up for preorder

Hobby Stock beat the official Queen’s Blade site to the scoop today, presenting preorders for a pair of new October-release QB books: Claudette, the oldest sister in the family of Hisayuki Hirokazu (Wikipedia) designed characters also containing Reina and Erina, and Merona, an F.S designed ooze creature who looks like a bunny girl but the official character page emphatically states isn’t. In other news, the official site updated today with word that Nanael is to grace the cover of an [ERO] hug pillow, notable for its ability to be customized like a kisekae doll to your choice of costume (front side only) which they will custom print for you based on your specifications (you don’t change actual clothing on the pillow). Preorders for the 120 x 50 cm, 15,000 yen pillow are now open and shipping is expected in December; a proxy service will likely have to be deployed for those desirous of the item as it’s only available to be shipped inside Japan. Pictures below: