English Doujinshi: My Little Sweetheart

“My Little Sweetheart” is an artbook of sexy My Little Pony fanart, being sold to benefit a children’s charity. Ah, what a blessed era this is.

All the book’s profits go to K.I.D.S., “Kids in Distressing Situations.” They provide vital items like clothes and toys to the children who need it must, suffering from problems like poverty, domestic abuse, and disaster survival. Their website states that “With overhead costs consistently at 2.5%, K.I.D.S. is one of America’s most efficient charities and has earned Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars.”

Compared to other fandoms, bronies have been especially prolific in their charity. There’s been charity projects like the fan music album, “Smile!” (with another album, “Seeds of Kindness”, coming). Plus, their record breaking donations to the Humble Bundle as the “Brony Bundle.” I guess all those Friendship Lessons really do have an effect.

So, your warm fuzzy feelings are secured. Now, on to the cheesecake! Normal people needn’t worry; it’s all humanized, so  there’s no confusing questions about your sexuality. Some of the art is rather amateur, being a highly collaborative project with 28 artists. But overall, it’s impressively high-quality. There’s the well-known artists like Slugbox and John Joseco, but also lots of artists who I can’t believe I’d never heard of it. emlan stands out with a beautiful, painterly style that goes far beyond just being sexy. And X-Arielle‘s sultry picture of the Mayor is just damn hot. A full artist list can be found here.

For the hardcore pony fans, the book has a wide range of background characters. Even Carrot Top and Allie Way are represented…along with Fleur de Lis, of course. The book has 53 total pages, and comes in a “bigger than average doujinshi” trim size of 11 x 8.5. It makes a great addition to your bookshelf, or your locked cabinet of darkest secrets. So, do you want to help children in need? And do you want to get turned on by cartoons? If you answer “yes” to either of these question, head on over to get your copy today. Society will thank you, eventually.

It’s Not About The Lolicon Guy

It’s funny how, in any space, if you start speaking up and defending lolicon you get known as “the lolicon guy.”

True, I’m pro-lolicon. I think simply looking at a picture should never be a crime, no matter what the picture is. I don’t even fit the ad hominem profile, though. The underaged make up, like 2% of my masturbatory experience. That’s probably a lot less than any normal bro fapping on the Chive. I guess you could call me lolicon, in the same way eating a latke makes someone Jewish. My real preferences, though, are something more like this (NSFW, and for those not clicking, a summary: huge breasts, huge thighs, everywhere) If all the world’s lolicon art suddenly disappeared, my life wouldn’t be any worse. Heck, it might even be a bit better.

But it’s the principle of the matter. And freedom of the human imagination is a principle, I think, worth fighting for.

English Doujinshi: Fragments, by Aiwa (Umineko no Naku Koro Ni)

Finally, one of the first books from doujinPress. This new site makes it easier for fans around the world to sell original doujinshi, both by selling second-hand and handling print runs for artists.

So, my first question with this book was: How good’s their printing? With the book in hand, it looks pretty nice. It’s a proper off-set book, with a thick glossy (and beautiful) color cover. It also came with a neat postcard of Ange (for pre-orders only):

The b/w interior printing compares well to mass-market manga; it’s even better than some of Tokyopop’s lower quality.

The content is just as impressive. I’ve been following Aiwa’s art for a while, on her Pixiv and deviantArt pages. It’s incredibly cute, but also with a good eye for composition. She could be a professional manga artist with the stuff here. The story is broken up into three short vignettes: Shannon’s day off with Yasu, Battler and Beatrice’s memories, and a young Eva struggling against gender discrimination. The cover might seem all cute, but it’s a mix of light and dark, more bittersweet than just sweet. With their shortness, they can’t draw the reader in as much as they could. But they’re still some interesting takes on the characters; I especially liked Yasu’s story.

The book’s only other imperfection is the English. Aiwa’s native language is Spanish, so the English this book is entirely written in can feel slightly awkward. It’s not that it’s written poorly, mind you…just not as well as it could be. Over all, it’s a great book. If you’re a fan of Umineko, you should definitely get it.

Aiwa has also uploaded an earlier Umineko doujinshi, “One Winged Eagle,” on her new Tumblr account. It’s also quite good, and more gag-oriented than “Fragments.”

I’ll be following DoujinPress in the future. I think it could do a lot for encouraging doujin culture outside Japan. Plus it has a focus on yuri doujinshi, which works for me. There are two things about the site, though, that give me pause:

1. The cut of profits that the artist gets in sales seems rather small. Although this is balanced by the artist not worrying about costs, since DoujinPress handles all the printing, stocking, shipping, etc. It might still be better for the artist than other options.
2. They refuse to accept any doujinshi containing rape, or which “extraordinarily sexually objectify women or men.” So they’re not a conduit of completely free expression; all those ahegao-packed ero doujinshi will have to find somewhere else.

So doujinPress is no final solution for original doujinshi, but it’s an interesting step forward.

I also got two English Madoka Magica doujinshi in the same order: “Soul Wishes” by Kenneos and “Erinnerungen Ferne” by Hinagi. I won’t be reading or reviewing them yet, though…I don’t watch fansubs, so I’m still waiting for Aniplex USA to release it on BD here (woot). They look pretty good, too, though.

English Doujinshi: Keiko Kato North Africa Military Photos 1943, by Nogami Takeshi (Strike Witches)

Like Nogami Takeshi’s other doujinshi, this one is bilingual, with a complete English translation alongside the Japanese text. Unlike the others though, it’s not being sold online. He kept it an event-only book, sold only at Comiket for one day…to preserve the intimacy or specialness of the experience, I guess. Luckily, I managed to get it via deputy service. Very expensive deputy service, orz…but it was worth it!

The book is wonderfully printed, with textured covers and metallic embossing on the title. Since it’s written as an actual book in the show’s continuity, this helps the “authentic historical item” feel. It’s a collection of photographs and writings by Keiko Kato, who worked as a journalist before returning to service on the North African front. The photographs are candid and realistic, showing witches and servicemen in their daily routine. And, of course, glamor shots of famous aces for promotional/propaganda use.

The paragraph-long captions are full of detail, technical and logistical, from the Second Neuroi War. If you love Strike Witches for the historical references, this is the book for you. Its details flesh out the characters, too, like Charlotte‘s last name (“Leuder”), and that Marseille finds it cute when Raisa drools in her sleep.

Some large-size previews can be found at Nogami’s blog. It seems to be sold out at most second-hand doujinshi shops, but you might be able to find it on Japanese auction sites.