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Wonder Festival news, February 20-21

More news from the pre-Wonder Festival prep room this evening, coming in from all sides as vendors make their last few bids to build hype prior to the event on Sunday. Griffon and R-Line both represent with color versions of the resin kits they’ll be selling, while Kaiyodo chimes in with a Revoltech teaser and Yamato lays down their display item list. Cospa redefines the meaning of the “Polo” shirt, Daiki coughs up a riskier version of their Kenshi-san PVC – and Inoue Takuya draws Al Ajif? … yeah, I didn’t know that was possible either. Read on for details:

Wonder Festival 2008 Winter garage kit preview

In which the good, the better, and the best of the garage kit world are on display in various stages of completion at sculptor sites around the ‘net as they exert a last heroic effort to put the finishing touches on items going up for sale this Sunday at Wonder Festival 2008 Winter. This list isn’t totally comprehensive, but should serve as a nice appetizer for things to come…

Doujin Event News: Futaket 4 confirmed for this spring

According to the official site for futanari-themed doujin convention Futaket the date and location for the fourth iteration of the event have been confirmed: Futaket 4 will take place on May 4th, 2008, at the Tokyo Toritsu Sangyou Boueki Center Hamamatsu-cho building. This building is operated by the same management that instituted a reactionary anti-doujin policy last October, so it’s encouraging to see that an arrangement has been reached that will allow the event to go forward. The future of ABC (the event that sparked the furor last fall) is still in question, and given the lingering climate of unease surrounding erotic doujinshi I don’t think this announcement from Futaket can be taken for granted either, but it’s definitely positive news after a solid year of doujin bashing. We’ll be tracking further details on Futaket 4 as they emerge. (no more)

Event Report: Comic Market 73, days 2-3

In which is documented a day and night of preparation, followed by a day of circle participation at Comiket 73. Caution: this post should not be read by minors, those desirous of continued employment, offended by bad art, or with any sense of taste whatsoever. If you find the details of this post to be stultifying and the content drab and awful, congratulations – you’re perfectly normal.

Event Report: Comic Market 73, day 1

In which a day in the life of a Comiket attendee is chronicled, including rain, shine, trains, lines (lots of those), loot, and a little bit of cosplay to boot. Also contains commentary on a few of the salient aspects of this event that set it apart from those prior, as well as an appreciation of the folks who gathered to party afterwards. If Comiket is war, I’d say this day’s battle was won!

C73 day 3 survived, report coming soon (and happy New Year!)

Congrats to everyone who made it through the day yesterday, and a happy 2008 to all! I’m slowly recovering from the zombified state incurred by 10 hours of sleep in the past 72, but once I’m back on my feet here and can put some things in order it’ll be time to start cooking up some serious reportage. Thanks to all who stopped by to say hi at the table yesterday (risking life and limb to get there no doubt), and may the force be with all of us in subsequent doujin-related endeavors. :3 (no more)

Back from Comiket 73, day 1 (updated)

Just walked in the door from the first day of Comic Market 73, and before I collapse I’d like to thank everyone who showed for the meet-up afterwards! Akihabara proved to be surprisingly accomodating thanks to the artful assistance of EvoSpace, and though there were a few rough edges I think things went quite well. Lessons learned will be applied for future gatherings (should they occur, and I hope they will). I wish everyone the best of luck on subsequent days of the event, and hope to see some of you on the third day if you feel like stopping by. I’ll try to put up a bit more on day 1 tomorrow, but full HD coverage of Comiket this time around will likely come after things are all wrapped up. Update: and it’s off to day 3, on zero hours of sleep! I wonder how long this adrenaline will last…(no more)

HD Comiket 73 meetup is on! Details inside.

***December 28th bump*** It’s better late than never to wrangle this sort of thing, so what the heck: if you’re reading this and you’re going to be at the Tokyo Big Sight on Saturday, December 29th, why not stop by the coin lockers near the Big Sight entrance at 3:00 PM? The plan at this point is simply to meet up, exchange a round of introductions, and figure out what to do next (if anything); I’m not going to put in reservations anywhere as I have no clue how many people will show, and I know many of us (myself included) might not want to drop 3,000 yen on food when there’s doujin to be had instead. If you’d like to meet a few fellow Comiketting gaijin though this could be a good chance, and if you’re up for something afterwards I’m sure some of us will be too. Meeting spot details below:

WHF Ariake 17: the best of the rest (garage kits galore)

We wrap up our coverage of World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 today with a look at all the other great stuff that didn’t make it into the earlier posts. Contains a run down of garage kits in the following categories: Anime / Manga, Game, Group, Misc., and Ero (18+). I believe most of the miscellaneous kits are originals, but there are probably a few anime and game ones that I wasn’t able to source; if you can correct me on any of these it would be much appreciated. On to the gallery!

WHF Ariake 17: industry fallout and spoils of war

Our World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 coverage continues with a look at what the official industry presence had to offer at the event, as well as what I took away from it personally. Includes what may be an HD exclusive look at the original resin cast of Orchid Seed’s Tsuzuki Shiori, with hopes that it bodes well for the PVC! Needless to say, this post is not safe for work.

WHF Ariake 17: Hatsune Miku, Gurren Lagann, Lucky Star

In addition to recently popular standards of the garage kit repertoire (Nanoha, Touhou, Rozen Maiden), World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 saw the emergence of some new titles that are currently taking hold of the fan imagination in Japan. Chief among these at the event were virtual idol Vocaloid Hatsune Miku, the cast of Gurren Lagann, and Lucky Star, all of which saw a sharp rise in representation since the last figure event covered by HD. Check out the many offerings below for a look at the cutting edge of what’s heating up the winter ’07 garage kit world!

WHF Ariake 17 at a glance

I just made it back from World Hobby Festival Ariake 17! It’s going to take a little while to get all of the pictures sorted and processed and to suitably gather thoughts for a cogent event report, but for now here’s a sample of what went down at the Big Sight today:

Figure News: off to WHF

World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 takes place today, and I’m doing some last minute list checking before heading out the door to document the event. A few items of interest: REFLECT (Mitsumasa Yoshizawa) has a new original Yamashita Shunya-based kit coming out, Polygonia is putting out a Gurren Lagann Yoko (nice paired with Grimrock‘s Darry), and Kaoru of Klondike (Studio Saru Bunshitsu) has a great new original kit up for release; Vispo had some trouble with his Asuka and it sounds like she won’t make it out until Wonder Festival in February, but hopefully he’ll bring a display model. There are bound to be plenty of surprises in store, so check back in about 12 hours for first impressions and the eventual review! In the mean time, why not take a look at our coverage of WHF Ariake 16? (no more)

Event News: World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 circle list online

Word came in from the World Hobby Festival website over the weekend that the circle list is now online for the upcoming WHF Ariake 17 (list by space, list by kana, hall map). For those unfamiliar with WHF it’s essentially a miniature version of Wonder Festival: an event where garage kit dealers gather to hawk their wares and PVC makers display some of their hot upcoming items. WHF Ariake 17 will take place on Sunday, December 23rd, from 11:00 – 17:30 in East Hall #1 of the Tokyo Big Sight. Despite being just a week before Comiket (argh) I’m going to try to make it down for the day and whip up some sort of event report; if you missed the last one you can check out our look at WHF Ariake 16. More geekdom below:

Event News: Comiket 73 catalog details unveiled

Checking the official Comiket website for a piece I’m working on today I noticed that the catalog page had been updated with images of the two event catalogs (paper and CD-ROM versions) for Comiket 73! Their sales dates were confirmed awhile back at Mangaoh (December 8th for paper, 15th for CD) but the cover art is new. This winter’s iteration is handled by artist Pepushi (ペプシ, likely romanized as Pepsi) of circle Pepu. I’m not a huge fan of her style, but the aura it exudes is suitably wintry; I just hope it doesn’t actually snow like it did at C67. Stay tuned for further HD Comiket coverage in the coming days, though I may be a bit scarce until the 12th as that’s the deadline for offset printing… Catalog cover images below:

Figure News: Yamashita Shunya meets Fraeulein Revoltech

Kaiyodo is holding a Revoltech Expo this Saturday, December 1st, from 11:00 – 19:00 o’clock in Akihabara’s Tokyo Anime Center. Admission is free, and the official Revoltech Blog has been hyping all the new Revoltech swag on they’ll have on display leading up to the event. Today they tipped their hand on one particularly delicious item, Fraeulein Revoltech vol. 04 Heppoko Onna Senshi Pokko (pictured on the lower right). Despite only having access to her rear at this point the design looks terribly familiar, and confirmation comes in the word that it is from the inimitable Yamashita Shunya. I’m not a tremendous fan of the recent boom in bishoujo action figures, but I’m definitely curious to see what this one is all about… we can expect further news come the event on Saturday. Update: Eggfoo notes in comments that the girl pictured is in fact the cover girl from Yamashita Shunya’s Sweet Dreams artbook. No wonder she looked so familiar… (no more)

Figure News: Persona 3 FES Metis, Ma ga Ochiru Yoru Sherisu coming in PVC from Orchid Seed

Further coverage of yesterday’s Hobby Complex 02 is in today from GA Graphic, which reports on two new PVC kits coming from Orchid Seed: the first is Metis, the FES-exclusive Persona 3 character, with a sculpt from Ishinaga Sakurako (Google cache). The second is Sherisu, the protagonist of eroge and eroanime Ma ga Ochiru Yoru. This is a PVC version of an [ERO] resin kit that came out at Wonder Festival 2007 Summer under the auspices of Kill Time Communication, with a sculpt from Tako Tomoyuki. Price and release information are yet forthcoming, but we’ll be keeping an eye on both as production advances. Castoff Sherisu shots below:

Figure News: Hobby Complex 02 Tokyo reports

The second iteration of garage kit and toy convention Hobby Complex occurred today, this one the first to be held in Tokyo (occupying one of the west halls of the Tokyo Big Sight). Preliminary event reports are up at GA Graphic (Lucky Star feature), Akiba Hobby, and Moeyo! Akibajin Blog. As primarily a garage kit event there wasn’t much in the way of PVC on display, though a few makers did show up (Goodsmile offering an event-limited Gargantuan Neco Arc CHAOS vinyl figure); the reports are worth checking out regardless for a look at what a bunch of the bigger kit circles are up to these days, as well as a fine vessel that both Moeyo and Akiba Hobby seem to feel sums up the event nicely. (no more)

Figure News: Dengeki 15th Anniversary figure fallout

Publishing company Mediaworks (parent of the Dengeki magazine lines) is holding a festival to mark the brand’s 15th anniversary this weekend at Makuhari Messe in Tokyo, and several figure makers were there to hawk their wares and unveil a few new items in the process. Word is still coming in from the event hall floor, but what we know at present is shown below:

Site News: HD does Comic Creation 19 – twice!

Comic Creation 19 is tomorrow, and HD will be there – in not one but two circles. I’ll be hanging out at space A02a, circle スタジオHD (with nothing to sell, still working away at the book for Comiket). Shipon will be there as well, and he’s really gone the whole nine yards: he’s the one-man circle Taiyaki Instrumentality Project, and will be holding court to peddle his wares at space C09b. He’ll have a couple of CDs of music that he’s produced on sale, samples of which are available at his circle site – check ’em out! If you’re in the area tomorrow (it’s at the Plaza PiO in Oota-ku, Tokyo) and have some free time, why not stop by and say hi? A few additional details below:

Figure News: Miyazawa Model Exhibition 2007 Fall news roundup

After looking through the Miyazawa Model Exhibition posts at Akiba Hobby and Moeyo a bit more thoroughly I’ve made a list of items with new and updated information that was presented at the event (along with a few redundancies from our previous coverage). The list can be found below, and will be updated as more detailed information is posted to the various blogs; if there’s something I’ve missed please let me know!

Figure News: Zounds! Miyazawa Model Exhibition 2007 Fall FIGSPLOSION

This crept up on me with no warning at all: today was the fall 2007 incarnation of the Miyazawa Model Exhibition, apparently, and Akiba Hobby and Moeyo! Akibajin Blog were both out in force to cover the event. Nearly all of the major PVC makers were there, many with new or newly-painted items on display; it’ll take a little while to figure out what’s what, but from the coverage online thus far I’m personally most excited at the sight of Figma Kanu Unchou, Alter’s Kanu PVC, an alternate color Daiki Mai, WAP’s Garnet in PVC, this Rei (new from Wave?), a third C-Works Bible Black (Shiraki Rika?) figure, and a whole lot more… be sure to check out both reviews for all the action! We’ll pull together what solid information we can as it’s forthcoming. (no more)

Figure News: official Wonder Festival page updated for 2008 Winter

It’s never too soon to start the hype for the year’s biggest biannual figure and garage kit expo, and Kaiyodo kicks things off in their typically sparse style with a minor update to their official Wonder Festival page. We get a first glimpse of the new Wonda and Reset designs that will grace the event catalog on February 24th, as well as some interesting attendance statistics: they expect 43,000 people to come to the event this winter (up from 36,500 two years ago), and will be occupying five of the six East halls of the Tokyo Big Sight. As the event approaches the next official update we can expect will be over at Kaiyodo.net, so we’ll keep an eye open early in the new year for that. If you’re looking for some time to kill in the interim why not check out our coverage of Wonder Fesival 2007 Summer? (no more)

Editor’s Desk: chronicling the erosion of 2D free speech

Whether you’re a fan of loli or kyonyuu, futanari or shota, twins or tentacles, figures, anime, manga, or doujinshi, increased public scrutiny in Japan is affecting the nature of your hobby – right now. What follows is a reckoning of events that while superficially disconnected combine to show the changing face of otaku media, a landscape less colorful and varied in its delights and perversions than it once was, and one that may never be the quite same again.

Event News: Comic Market 73 circle application results are in

While the hype for Comiket 73 officially began a week ago when Frontier Works announced they’d be hosting Hatsune Miku goods in their industry booth, the real pay dirt hit over the weekend with the release of doujin circle selection results for the event. For those planning on attending (or subsequently obtaining the fallout via other means), now is the time to start checking your favorite circles’ websites and sketching out your preliminary map routes! We’ll continue to provide regular updates as the winter convention season roars into full swing, though if things are a bit sparse around here for the next several weeks it’s because I seem to have made it into the event as a circle myself… more on that as it develops. For more information on Comiket (and doujin acquisition in particular) I recommend checking out the excellent and super awesome incomplete Heisei Democracy How to Comiket guide, linked below:

Weekend Event Roundup: Dream Party Osaka, Clayz Matsuri, Queen’s Coliseum II, Sukima Festival

In this post we hit the highlights of several events that went down over the November 3-4 weekend: Dream Party Osaka, the Kansai version of Dream Party Tokyo; Clayz Moe~ro Matsuri, the yearly expo of Clayz figures and work by associated sculptors (blog); Queen’s Coliseum II, the first [ERO] doujin event to take place at the Taitou building in Asakusa following the dropping of the censorship banhammer; and Sukima Festival, a collection of niche themed doujin events that just happened to also include Hatsune Miku and Gurren Lagann.

Protoculture News: latest word on the doujin crackdown

The Yomiuri Online today reports that the Metropolitan Boueki Kaikan Taitou building in Asakusa, the site of several dozen small doujin events each year, has closed its doors to adult doujinshi – perhaps for good. The Yomiuri article cites investigation of the content sold at Abnormal Carnival as the reason prompting the closure (declaring it “judged as an unfit use of public space”), but apparently it’s not just ABC that is affected: Queen’s Coliseum II has been contacted, and we can assume that other near-term events have as well. This development has the potential to put a serious dampener on the niche doujin scene that had depended on the facility for space, and while other privately owned locations are no doubt available for rent it is unclear in what form such events will survive. I’ve sold there as a circle myself on two occasions and been there as an attendee many more, and I’m going to miss the place… we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this situation as it develops. Update: further details below:

Goods News: more from Dream Party

Moeyo! Akibajin Blog has posted a rundown of the action at yesterday’s Dream Party, and there are some tantalizing bits indeed. We see here what may be an entirely new figure brand dubbed “First Class”, which will launch with three figures: one from Yuria Hyaku-shiki, and two from Hitoyume. Given the [ERO] sources odds are good that they’ll be at least partially castoff. We also get the aforementioned taste of Resinya’s lineup, a first look at the Ikkitousen hug pillows coming from Machi Chara, and a glimpse of Solid Theater’s offerings from Yotsunoha and ef. Ahh, I want this poster… (no more)

Event News: Dream Party Tokyo 2007 Fall preview

The fall edition of Tokyo’s premiere bishoujo game expo is happening tomorrow, and while I won’t be able to make it this time around here are a few things that will be going on there: Nitro+ is holding a Nitro Royale tournament (preview from Akiba Blog); record label 5pb. is holding an hour-long concert featuring Momoi Haruko among others; Candy Soft will be unveiling details regarding their upcoming Tsuyokiss sequel; Sakakibara Yui will be doing a stage event to promote Kogado’s upcoming yuri-themed Solfege PC bishoujo game, in which she plays the heroine; and on the figure side, Goodsmile and Toys Planning will be there, hopefully with some new items on display. We’ll be keeping tabs on news from the event as it’s forthcoming. (no more)

Event News: Genshiken-only doujin convention official site online

While working on our fall anime post earlier today I looked up the Genshiken-only doujin event we scooped here back in August, only to find that its official site is now online! Dubbed The First ‘Genshiken and Kujibiki Unbalance were interesting’ Conference (“Gen-An Kaigi” for short), the event will take place on May 5th, 2008 at the Taitou building of the Tokyo Industry Trade Center in Asakusa. As the name suggests both Genshiken and Kujian books are welcome for submission, with circle participation limited to 60 circles and direct sales only (no consignment). This sounds like a small number compared to the 30,000+ circles at Comiket, but on the other hand the prospect of 60 new Genshiken / Kujian books is a superb one indeed. :3 We’ll be keeping track of this as the event approaches. As an aside, the very fetching top page illustration for the event is by Kabaya Kousuke. (no more)