I’ve been trying to make sense my Otaku lifestyle which decides my consumption behaviour (and ultimately my financial well being). There must be a reason why I derive a satisfaction from my hobby – especially the act of “collecting”. And then I realised that the motivations are no different from that of an art collector.
My latest girl figurine – OS Idol Win-Chan
You collect stuff for two reasons – to satisfy your aesthetic desires (the need to be surrounded by beautiful things, which pleases the eyes and the mind), or for speculative reasons (which is a rather vulgar behaviour in the eyes of Purists) – and they’re not mutually exclusive.
For the past month, I’ve been adding more art pieces to my collection. I’ve started out as a Robo-kei (ロボ系) Ota (an Otaku who’s into robots and mecha) when I was a small boy. Sci-fi served as my staple diet for mental stimulus. And then I became more inured with the Tokusatsu-genre of Ota-culture. It was only in recent months that I’d started dipping my toes into the girl figurines scene. And I gotta admit that a great part of it was influenced by Densha Otoko [電車男] and then there’s also the company that keep. I befriended an Ota who works for Kinokuniya bookstore. At first I thought he was into tokusatsu (he likes Kamen Rider) but he turned out to be a Moé-kei (萌系) conspiracist.
Being a seasoned hobbyist, I know I cannot collect ‘em all – and a discerning hobbyist will not want to. A master of the craft have to distinguish between the true art and the commercial crap that bandwangoneers are putting out on the shelf. In my case, I only pick up stuff based on designs by my favourite artists.
I love the girls designed by Yoshizaki Mine (吉崎観音). It’s in the eyes and the expressions – they’ve got this youthful innocence with their wide, Bambi-eyed look; they’re nymphs who appear ignorant of their sexual attractiveness. That’s Moé.
I became aware of Yoshizaki Mine’s bishōjo character designs by the way of Keroro Gunso which came by the way of Densha Otoko. I loved his Power-suit Natsumi. (I think chicks in power armour are cute. In fact, there’s an ero-game based on power-armoured nymphs: Iron Maiden. However I’m not into these Iron Maidens as they’ve got illegal breast sizes.)
OS Idol Win-Chan 2
Win-Chan is a mascot character designed by Yoshizaki Mine for the Windows operating system that appeared in the computer magazine TECH Win (テックウィン). “OS Idol Win-Chan 2″ is the second of the figurine series sculpted Eyewater. His first version of Win-Chan was a flat backed design that came with a magnet – and you could mount Win-Chan on flat metal surfaces.
Yoshizaki Mine’s art books and OS Idol Win-Chan merchandise
I began collecting Win-Chan’s merchandise after getting my hands on Yoshizaki Mine’s art books during this summer’s trip to Tokyo. Check out Danny Choo’s entry for a varied perspective of Win-Chan 2.
And it appears that there are other expressions of Win-chan that will be made into figures. There’s the colourful bikini one sculpted by Fuyune (冬音) (produced by Organic) and also the ’soul baring’ one sculpted by Aoi from Night-Blue (no news of mass production yet). [scooped from Heisei Democracy]
And Win-chan joins my growing collection of Yoshizaki Mine-inspired figurines.
Yoshizaki Mine inspired figurines
Other than Win-chan, other character designs are also making their jump from 2-D to 3-D reality, such as Moda Bianca (ヒメクリ イメージガール・モーダ・ビアンカ) from the Comic HimeKuri (コミックヒメクリ) manga anthology:
Moda Bianca (Christmas colour repaint version)
Besides that, his character designs for the Hot Gimmick Axes-Jong mahjong computer game will also be made into trading figures (Yoshizaki Mine Hot Gimmick Ultimate Collection /吉崎観音 ホットギミック アルティメットコレクション).
Money no enough….
OKAMA is another pseudonymous illustrator that I like, no thanks to Densha Otoko. He’s behind the character designs for the meta-narrative “Getsumen To Heiki Mina” (月面兎兵器ミーナ) for the Densha Otoko drama.
After getting the post cards for the upcoming late-night anime, I’ve gone on to pick up the manga series “CLOTH ROAD – manga dankoubon“, illustrated by OKAMA.
CLOTH ROAD – art
His art work is gorgeous.
I managed to pick up his art books during this year’s Tokyo trip too.
OKAMA artbooks collection
I haven’t got any figurines based on OKAMA’s designs. How I wish the local retailers would bring in the Sega Prize figurines of Tsukishiro Mina.
And finally, there’s the mysterious POP from the doujin circle “Electromagnetic Wave“. I got to know of him after seeing the figurine of the mascot character Nerd-tan which POP designed for the popular Otaku culture news site Akiba Blog. I like the Memory Stick for bunny ears design for that mascot. It’s rather denpa (電波) like Digiko from DiGiCharat. [Note: I categorically state that I do not have any inkling towards pedophilia even though POP's style has Lolicon designs]
Nerd-tan was the first official girl figurine that started the girl figurines habit. And like any other dangerous habits, you move towards the purer and more potent stuff to get your fixes. Some weeks ago, I bought the high quality trading figure set of Moetan from Kotobukiya’s One Coin Grande Figure Collection series, based on the mascot from “The Moetan Wordbook” (Moeru Eitango ~Moetan~/萌える英単語 ～もえたん～). Moetan is a mysterious magical girl that transforms from scarlet-haired Ink Nijihara to lavender-haired Pastel Ink.
The Moetan Wordbook ~Moetan~
And the line up of the figure in the series:
Swimsuit Ink and Muni-san
Maid Ink and Pen-kun
Pastel Ink and Ah-kun
Besides the trading figures, I also found the moetan gashapon trading figures. And I figured that my collection won’t be complete without them.
moetan gashapon trading figures
What I found most interesting about this set are the cue-cards shaped base with the English sentences:
“Peeling away the clothes doesn’t always reveal what’s inside.”
“Pastel Ink is here! Prepare your heart to be disciplined!”
“A young witch may lose her powers if she falls in love.”
I’m intrigued by the Engrish/Japlish featured in the guidebook to learning English. In anticipation of the Early Christmas 20% members’ discount at Kinokuniya, I placed an order for the moetan books.
My lunatic friends, let’s take a peek inside the latest book in the series. Peeling away the dust jacket doesn’t always reveal what’s inside:
【もえたん3～Return of the Little Witch～】
It’s a revolution in English studying!
Excellent and Eccentric Adventure in English
The main draw of the (mis)guide book is the beautiful illustrations. That’s the reason why I got the books anyway.
The other incidental attraction is the comedy of errors:
You can come inside me.
What was that, Megatron?
Looking at you, I’ve begun to think that I’m not such a nerd after all!
And also, how can I miss out on the art books and magazines featuring POP?
Recently, Toy’s Works released a trading figure set based on his manga work “lunchbox” （らんちっくす）serialised in “Dengeki Tei-oh“（電撃帝王). I saw the figurines at Latendo but hesitated from buying because they’re expensive. Besides, from the pictures – the figures are not as iconic as moetan.
Loveny’s Art Book Demo
Some of the new manga titles that I’ve picked up along the way as I spiral downwards into moé madness, seeking my stylised, fetishism of the female species. In another 10 years, I’ll take after him.
Magikano – Magical Girlfriend
From the above, you know why I dig this series. And Magikano has been adapted into an animated series. And the others: