“Keiko” Debuts in Spotted Flower with Baby

Last month, another Genshiken side character analogue finally appeared in Spotted Flower: the editor’s sister, Not-Keiko. I’m not sure if her having a kid (named Mani) should come as a surprise, but I am definitely not shocked that her husband appears to be an older wealthy dude named Michiaki. 

The funny thing about Not-Keiko is that she seems to run counter to the common trends of Spotted Flower: illicit affairs, open relationships, and general promiscuity. In fact, this same bonus chapter features Not-Keiko asking Not-Sasahara about when he’ll finally settle down with Ogino-sensei (Not-Ogiue)—the latter of whom is living with Not-Sue in a very close and intimate way. Somehow, Keiko is the mellow and monogamous one. This story is an unpredictable one for sure.

In recent tweets, Kio has expressed a desire to draw porn manga, and apparently has been putting some practice in. I wonder if we’ll actually see his work come to fruition, and whether the lewder moments in Spotted Flower set the precedent for this. 

By the way, Spotted Flower Volume 6 will be out in Japan in March! I’m not sure if it’ll include Not-Keiko, but at least it’ll have a lot of Ogino drama.

Inktober 2022 Archive: My First Time!

After years of hemming and hawing, I decided to actually do Inktober this past October. The results were, well, results.

Especially with the state of Twitter being extremely abunai, I decided it’d be good to just have a gallery here.

Falling Falling Let’s Enjoy: Ogiue Maniax Status Update for September 2022

The summer of 2022 is starting to wind down, and it feels somehow different from even recent years. Maybe it’s that Japan hit a milestone with Comic Market 100 this past month. Maybe it’s the prospect of COVID-19 Omicron-centric booster shots potentially making me feel safer and more comfortable with traveling—including to Japan itself at some point. Or maybe it’s the passage of the largest climate bill in US history, as well as the announcement of a massive student loan forgiveness plan, that gives the vague sense that humanity can do something.

I hope this is a positive turning point, and that we’ll all be in a better position to do the things we love and plan for the future we want to see.

Thank you to my September 2022 Patreon subscribers, notably the following:

General:

Ko Ransom

Diogo Prado

Alex

Dsy

Naledi Ramphele

Sue Hopkins fans:

Serxeid

Hato Kenjirou fans:

Elizabeth

Yajima Mirei fans:

Machi-Kurada

Blog highlights from August:

Shattering the Old Baltimore Ceiling: Otakon 2022

A huge chunk of the blog this month has been dedicated to Otakon. You can find my thoughts on it, as well as links to interviews, here.

S-M-R-T! I mean, S-M-A-R-T: “Fist of the North Star Side Story: The Genius Amiba’s Otherworld Conqueror Legend”

An amazing premise for an isekai parody starring a second-rate villain from Fist of the North Star.

Mother of Mercilessness: Everything Everywhere All at Once

The rare portrayal of an Asian mom as action protagonist touches on so many aspects of the Asian diaspora.

Kio Shimoku

Kio Shimoku talks on Twitter about how he’s bad at doing panty shots.

And here’s a look at the Spotted Flower version of Angela Burton.

Apartment 507

An early review of Love Live! Superstar!! Season 2, focusing on the concept of the senpai.

Closing

As the seasons change and cooler weather (hopefully) arrives, I also want to think about revisiting some old projects. I keep meaning to do more Gattai Girls, but a lack of time and to some extent motivation has hampered that. I also wonder about continuing the Fujoshi FIles after many years of inactivity, but have to consider the possibility that it’s not my place to discuss how “rotten” fujoshi characters are. I’m not that BL and saw the characters with fascination, and am still wondering if I should let those closer to the fandom take over this sort of endeavor. I’m still entertaining the notion of a fan wiki, but who knows where it’ll end up.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights August 2022

There was a hodgepodge of topics this month from Kio Shimoku’s tweets.

Kio has always had a problem with the air conditioner in his work area, where 28°C (82.4°F) is too hot, but 27°C (80.6°F) is too cold. This year, though, he has an AC that can be set to a perfect 27.5°C.

Kio wishes a happy birthday to Aoki Ume, author of Hidamari Sketch. (Seeing two of my favorite authors interact makes me happy).

At an Oedo Choraliers concert.

Kio reminisces about the Zukkoke Sannin-gumi, a juvenile novel series. Because Kio turns 48 this year, he read the sequel series Zukkoke Chuunen Sannin-gumi (when the child heroes from the original are now middle-aged) and thought it was the best. He thanks the author, Nasu Masamoto.

Someone mentions buying all of the Zukkoke Chuunen Sannin-gumi, to which Kio replies, “Amazing.”

Kio is two volumes away from finishing Zukkoke Chuunen Sannin-gumi and loving it. A fan of the soccer team Sanfrecce Hiroshima replies that the Hiroshima-born author actually had a collaboration with that time, and that a lot of the matches during that period ended up being very zukkoke (unusual, foolish).

Mourning the death of Kobayashi Kiyoshi, the original voice of Jigen Daisuke in Lupin III, who played him up until last year.

Kio promoting some new digital chapters of Spotted Flower, specifically starring Not-Angela! A fan replies with an emoji for panties, and Kio finishes the statement with “Please”—another reference to Genshiken and Spotted Flower.

Mourning another apparent death. This time, it’s illustrator Suzuki Masahisa, who passed away back in June.

Kio bought a new printer with a scanner function, and has moved his old massive scanner capable of handling A3-sized (manuscript) paper off his desk. He mostly works digitally now so it’s not always practical, but that old one comes in handy with things like scanning in paper drawings to use as extra materials for manga volumes.

Having more room on his desk means being able to use a dual-monitor setup, so he can look at references while drawing. He does this most often with women’s clothing.

A fan expresses how much they love “An-san” (Not-Angela), to which Kio replies that all three extra digital chapters this month revolve around her.

Promoting the third of the extra Spotted Flower chapters.

b, the huge Kimura Jin fan, asks Kio if he wants to promote a special campaign that lets you read the first two volumes of Hashikko Ensemble until August 31, and Kio does just that.

Kio has gotten around to gathering the film recordings and books he needs to put into manga what he couldn’t before. When asked what he’s drawing and if it can be shared on Twitter, Kio replies that it might be possible but it’s better to play it safe.

Kio talks about how exciting it would be go to the live talk event for Hirakata Ikorusun, author of Special, and ask about what happens in the final volume. (Hirakata debuted in Rakuen, the magazine Spotted Flower runs in).

Kio admonishes himself for still not being good at drawing panty shots after 28 years as a manga artist, and also for still putting in panty shots after 28 years.

Apparently, it’s not exactly for “work” (or is it?).

“Angela” Arrives in Spotted Flower and Is Powerful Indeed

I made a mistake when it comes to Spotted Flower.

In a story where the characters are like older, alternate-universe doppelgangers of the cast of Genshiken, not everything fits together perfectly. Characters look a little different in ways that can’t always be explained by changes in age, size, or fashion. So I long figured that the blonde living with Ogino-sensei (Not-Ogiue) was actually an amalgam of Ohno’s two American friends, Sue Hopkins and Angela Burton. After all, this character may have had much of Sue’s demeanor, but her figure and proportions were a lot more like the buxom Angela’s. Turns out, however, that there is a Not-Angela, and she’s more powerful than I could’ve imagined.

Not-Angela’s big change is that she’s somehow gone from being all-in on “boys’ love” to being obsessed with “girls’ love,” as she calls it). According to Not-Sue, she likes any story where you can see the sense of love showing, though the fact that Not-Angela has her stuff adorned with yuri buttons makes it seem like that’s not the whole story.

The Genshiken Angela was implied to be very sexually experienced compared with most, if not all of the other characters—not surprising, given most were socially awkward dorks. Spotted Flower is a different beast, as it’s a story where sex and promiscuity are present in spades. Yet, even here, the aura Not-Angela gives off is still a level above the others, even if not much is actually shown. That said, a very exposed Not-Angela both gets a gratuitous shower scene and also tries to have a threesome with Not-Sue and Not-Ogiue the first night she’s there, so it might just be a matter of time.

Her relationships with the cast seem more or less similar to her Genshiken counterpart’s, including having a thing for Not-Madarame and a long friendship with Not-Ohno. Curiously, Not-Sue seems to have even more of a love-hate relationship with Not-Angela, though no real hints have been given as to what could have changed, or if it’s tied to the fact that both original versions had a thing for Madarame in Genshiken. It’s not a complete about-face from what their Genshiken versions had, but it just seems much more aggressive. Also, she seems to dislike Not-Sasahara, claiming that he’s the type to ask for a threesome, which cuts a little deep with a tinge of irony, given recent developments.

Not-Angela’s last appearance involves her flying back to the US, but not before teasing Not-Madarame by mentioning the striped panties she’s wearing—a personal weakness of his, and one that his wife, Not-Kasukabe, is all too aware of. This suggests that Not-Angela found out about this detail at some point and is taking advantage of it, but given the adultery that Not-Madarame engaged in not long ago when his wife just had their daughter, it feels tinged with a kind of uncomfortableness only Spotted Flower can bring.

I wonder if we’ll end up seeing a meeting between Not-Angela and Not-Kohsaka at some point. They’re probably the most eager to get in people’s pants out of everyone, though I don’t see anything happening between the two. 

I Asked Kio Shimoku About Star Wars

The cover to Star Wars: Tribute to Star Wars. A blank border surrounds a drawing of Darth Vader with stormtroopers behind him. The title logo is in front as a gold plate with the corners beveled and the Star Wars logo cut out. The art is by Yasuhiko Yoshikazu.
(Cover by Yasuhiko Yoshikazu)

I purchased the artbook Star Wars: Tribute to Star Wars for one reason: Among the many manga artists who contributed their talents to this collection is Kio Shimoku, author of Genshiken. I expected some nice art (of course), but the real shocker comes from his comments.

Some years ago, I suddenly thought I'd like to retell Star Wars, and I created 350 pages of thumbnails of Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace just for me. So, I'm pretty attached to those characters. (I especially like the duo of Nute Gunray and Rune Haako.) I've wanted to do Star Wars: Episode 2 Attack of the Clones and beyond for a long time, but...I'm busy, so I keep having to put it off. Someday I'll do it, though (just for me, of course)!

As seen above, Kio states that he once drew 350 pages of thumbnails for a Star Wars doujinshi…and that he’s a fan of Nute Gunray and Rune Haako. If you’re not that into Star Wars, you might be asking, “WHO???” And if you are a fan, you might be asking, “WHY???”

Nute Gunray is the viceroy of the Trade Federation, and Rune Haako is his right-hand man. In other words, they’re the bad guys at the beginning of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. So that answers the “who,” but as for the “why,” I actually had to ask the man himself on Twitter. Here’s his response: 

He even followed up by finding his original thumbnail with the characters and confirming something I suspected: The doujinshi he’s referring to is a genderswap doujinshi, titled Sister Wars. Kio had previously talked about it in his interview with VTuber Luis Cammy.

I don’t own the doujinshi—though I wish I did. That being said, there may be a few copies floating around on auction sites and such. I haven’t yet tried to get my hands on it, but maybe I should make the attempt…

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights May 2022

Kio Shimoku provides a few more insights into the Hashikko Ensemble creative process this month.

Kio realizes that Menturm and Mentholatum are different products.

Kio posts a Hashikko Ensemble drawing used for a Monthly Afternoon cover. A fan mentions that they originally thought Himawari would become part of the core cast, to which Kio apologizes but in a way that makes him sound like an elderly man.

Kio clarifies that Hanyama would be Second Tenor, and was supposed to join as a tone-deaf member, but it never happened. (In the manga, it’s mentioned that Hanyama isn’t tone deaf, but rather is the son of a monk and therefore used to singing Buddhist chants, where the notes are slightly off from Western music.)

The drawing with Hanyama should be the last of the color illustrations, though Kio thinks there might be one more.

It took too many chapters to get Kousei into the Chorus Appreciation Society, which resulted in Shinji becoming the Second Tenor of the group. While that wasn’t the original plan, Shinji’s use as a tsukkomi character came in handy quite a bit.

Right when Kio starts to relax, a new manuscript is due. (It’s likely a new chapter of Spotted Flower.)

A drawing of Kozue feeling something in the stomach, with Kio saying that he thought stomach warmer season was over, but it looks like he still needs it.

A rough from the new chapter of Spotted Flower.

Kio suddenly needed to handle a bunch of administrative work, which exhausted his mental capacity to keep working on manga. 

Lately, Kio has been revising his roughs into line art for color images rather than using the pen tool to do so. For some reason, the latter approach isn’t quite hitting the mark for him, even though that’s how Kio does B&W art.

It looks like Kio got drunk while watching a DVD of the “Hajimete no Africa” specials from the variety show How do you like Wednesday?

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights April 2022

Kio’s tweets this month feature lots of his preliminary sketches for Hashikko Ensemble! It’s worth a look if you want to see how the characters began.

All the drawings used for the cover of Hashikko Ensemble, Volume 8!

Kio comments on the passing of Fujiko Fujio (A), remembering a Ninja Hattori-kun story he loved where Hattori moved next door and turned the house into a ninja mansion.

The pet tortoise at an active time.

Kio recommends that B the Jin fan go see Oedo Coraliers, a chorus/gee club Kio previously worked with.

The artist Shigisawa Kaya is feeling conflicted about waiting for things to calm down but that never being the case. Kio comments that he’s finally gotten around to checking things off his bucket list, but it’s after 28 years as a manga artist.

Kio has always felt that preparing salads is a pain even though it’s good to eat more vegetables, but then realizes that he basically makes salads for his tortoise every day.

Kio went to the library for the first time in a long while. The drawing of Kozue talks about the feeling of getting an author’s new work, only to realize that it’s already five volumes long and also finished. He then recalls borrowing tons of books from the library as a kid and reading through all of them before going back for more, but looking back wonders how in the world he managed to make the time to do that.

Kio comments that it’s the season for haramaki (stomach bands), and jokingly states that this year’s Fanta vintage is good.

A drawing for Afternoon that didn’t end up in any of the collected volumes of Hashikko Ensemble.

Kio began sharing some preliminary character design drawings for Hashikko Ensemble. Akira is described as having a contrast between his timid personality and his newly acquired bass voice. 

Jin’s initial background had him singing since he was five years old, and that he can even sing soprano. 

Kousei the baritone was always intended to have a heavy backstory. 

Shion was a more serious character, though had the quality of being made to learn piano by her mother, as well as having poor grades.

It’s interesting that some of the character designs changed significantly. Also, a few of these drawings were actually used in the teaser for Kio’s “new manga” back before the series began.

The student work uniforms.

Mimi-sensei, mostly unchanged. A capable person despite how she might appear, though lacking in experience.

Probably the biggest departure of all: A male character named Koizumi Yuusuke who would eventually morph into Akira’s neighbor and childhood friend, Himari. Described as an idiot who thinks he’s smart.

Kio mentions that people might ask “That’s it?!” when seeing how few planning drawings he does, but that’s just how he works. He mentions that he did have to design all the students in Class 1-5 afterwards, and that’s where Kanon, Kozue, and Shinji came from.

Kio elaborates on the point above that he tries to get a solid idea of how the characters will be in the roughs, and by the time he’s inking, he more or less knows how they’ll be. Someone asks if this was the same process he used for Genshiken characters, and he says yes. Kio also says that he feels the drawings feel the best in that rough stage and he wants to keep that feel, but that the designs inevitably change over the course of serialization.

An even earlier Shion sketch. Apparently “not owning a smartphone” was in there from the start.

A Chinese-speaking individual thanks Kio for all his work, to which Kio thanks them. Also, the person is clearly an Ogiue fan, and therefore a superior human being.

The rough versions of those early Hashikko Ensemble designs. Kio is asked how he came up with the names for Akira and Jin, to which he replies, “Intuition.”

To come up with various students and teachers, Kio gathered image references online and then started doing sketches based on them.

More sketches to better solidify the designs.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights March 2022

This month was the release of the 8th and final volume o f Hashikko Ensemble!

Kio saw the anime film Goodbye, Don Glees! and enjoyed it. He’s particularly fond of the last scene, which he likens to a large mosaic.

The man can’t find his copic markers, but eventually does.

Kio made his first trip to Akihabara, but took a different route this time. The last visit, he went to Melon Books, ZIN, K Books, etc. This time, it was Yodobashi, Volks, Yellow Submarine.

When asked if his interests are going from books to 3-dimensional things, Kio says that his interest in ero is growing weaker, while his desire to build gunpla is growing stronger.

Another reply shows Kio that the old Genshiken capsule figures still exist, to which he expresses surprise. He’s also amazed at how the swimsuit figures of Saki and Ohno managed to happen. The original replier says he likes this Ohno figure, but likes the bouncing boobs Ohno bust that came with an issue of Monthly Afternoon.

(Ogiue Manaix note: I have this one too, but I never managed to get the Ogiue counterpart because it was Japanese mail-order only…)

Countdown to the release of Hashikko Ensemble, Volume 8—the finale!

Kio mentions that the Hashikko Ensemble characters feel like they could keep going. (I agree.)

Kio was exhausted, so he ended up just drinking beer and falling asleep.

Kio’s pet tortoise isn’t going to have the garden space it used to, so Kio is trying to set up a habitat for it on his balcony. 

The Kimura Jin super fan known as “b” talks about how pure and innocent Jin looks, and asks Kio if Jin is saying “ni” (two) in the countdown image above. Kio gives an affirmative.

A close-up of the back cover from Volume 8.

I had to ask if there’d be any limited store exclusives for Volume 8. Kio answered “no,” which helps me a lot because it determines how I order the book.


Kio thanks b for giving him courage.

Technically not Kio tweets, but manga artist Shigisawa Kaya drew some Hashikko Ensemble fanart! In the first image, they mention loving Kozue’s fat fingers.

More drinking.

Artist Ikuhana Niro mentions wanting to get a new back and shoulders sometimes, and Kio agrees with the sentiment.

The artificial rendition of “Kanade” by Sukima Switch, as performed by the main characters of Hashikko Ensemble, goes away April 25th, 2022! Make sure to listen.

Kio wonders who the heck “Nagayama Koharu-chan” is. (Note: It’s actually a weird troll account by the author of Chainsaw Man where he pretends to be a third grader into Chainsaw Man).

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights February 2022

This month was pretty light when it came to Kio Shimoku tweeting.

Kio stumbles on a new technique while doing art for the final volume of Hashikko Ensemble.

B the Hashikko superfan asks if it’s due the cover, and Kio says it’s for the back cover because the front is going to be crowded.

B also mentions going to a choir concert thanks to Hashikko Ensemble, to which Kio expresses excitement that there was such an event.

Kio and Ikuhana Niro swap stories about buying alcohol on Ikuhana’s birthday.

Gathering the components for the release of Hashikko Ensemble Volume 8.

He slacked off on working out for three months, but got back into it recently. The post-workout aches from being away for so long are pretty bad.

Kio is about to private his Hashikko Ensemble YouTube video soon! Listen while you still can!

Another Five Star Stories model kit.

The pet tortoise returns! Kio apologizes for only having lettuce.

Next month is after the release of the latest chapter of Spotted Flower, and when the final volume of Hashikko Ensemble goes on sale. I expect a lot more tweets in March.