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.

English Doujinshi: Witches of the Sphinx Volume 4

This is the shortest volume of the series yet, with 60 pages instead of the 90-100 pages previous volumes had. This volume lacks a short story from Takaaki Suzuki, which is sorely missed. The absence of his leisurely prose heightens the volume’s action-packed feel; this one is all about explosions, unending enemy waves, and dramatic last stands. There are a few pages devoted to Mami and Charlotte’s relationship concerns, though. It’s good to see the side characters get some focus. Not to mention bad ass cameos from Major Miles, the Patton Girls, and the magnificent bastard Patton himself.

It doesn’t quite top the 3rd volume, my current favorite. This one falls in the awkward position of building up to the awesome, “F-yeah!” climax, while not actually being the awesome, “F-yeah!” climax. Still, it’s a must-have addition to the Strike Witches-verse.

The only real bad part of volume comes on the last page. Coming Next: “Vol. 5, the last episode: Know what you want.” Aww! Well, it’s been a great run with these characters. Nogami has given them so much life. With the Strike Witches movie coming out, and the franchise going strong, who knows what’s next? “Africa Witches: The Animated Series?”…I can always dream. Well, on to the 5th volume, and whatever great thing comes after.

 

Buy on MangaPal

List of Nogami Takeshi’s Bilingual Doujinshi

Witches of the Sphinx 4 to be sold online soon.

…and my fanboying over Strike Witches continues. With the dust of Winter Comiket settling, I got an email back from MangaPal:

Dear customer,

Thank you for your inquiry.
Witches of the Sphinx Vol 4 (with English Subtitiles) (by Firstspear) will be available from this or next Friday at MANGA PAL online store.
Sorry for keeping you wait so long.
Thank you very much.
Should you have any question, please feel free to contact us.

Your sincerely,
MANGA PAL

Yay! The wait felt awfully long, after Volume 3’s cliffhanger ending. This installment promises plenty of the hot-blooded, cigar-chomping grit the TV anime lacked. There are some preview pages on Melonbooks; it looks like  my reader response questionnaire wasn’t the only one asking for more of the Patton girls and Major Miles.  America! Bad-ass sword drawing! Heck yeah! And all in glorious imperial English. I’ll post a review as soon as I have a copy in my hands.

Importing Nogami Takeshi’s bilingual doujinshi

Updated 2012 Jan 15: I emailed Nogami Takeshi asking if he could restock some books on MangaPal, and he actually wrote back and did! How nice.

I decided to make this collection of links to Nogami Takeshi’s bilingual Strike Witches doujinshi, to make importing them less confusing. Here’s a list of all books with a full English translation, and links to their item pages on MangaPal and Amazon.co.jp. Ordered by in-series chronology, they are:

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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.