Yamamoto Nori‘s illustration combines anime-style characters with traditional Japanese motifs. Swirling clouds of cherry blossoms, and girls in kimono with long dark hair mix alongside school uniforms in surreal and dream-like works. Enjoy.
Cotton candy boas, silk stockings, and pink satin bows are hallmarks of Olivia De Berardinis’ deliciously sweet pinups. Sheer fabrics play against naked skin in a visual striptease. It’s pure cheesecake: beautiful girl in the girliest of lingerie. Enjoy.
Olivia De Berardinis is a master (or should I say mistress?) of the classic retro pinup. And one of her favorite models is the Queen of Pinups, Bettie Page. Olivia captures Page in moods ranging from smiling to seductive, teasing and playful, full of the personality and charisma that made her an icon.
Modern Antenna creates amazing contemporary kimono designs. Their simple and bold graphic prints are incredibly versatile, and can be styled in fashions ranging from chic to cute. J-pop group SCANDAL rocked these Brit-punk inspired co-ordinates for their album SCANDAL SHOW.
Itchiku Kubota is an artist recognised for his unique contributions to the art of kimono. A master of traditional decorative techniques, he attempted to recreate the lost tradition of tsujigahana. After decades of experimentation Kubota eventually merged modern innovations with ancient tradition to create his own unique decorative technique. Kubota’s planned masterpiece was a series of eighty kimono called the Symphony of Light, in which vast panoramas, flowed between kimono. While Kubota was unable to finish this work before his death, his son and daughter continue their father’s work today.
Emma Mount‘s portraits of Blythe and Pullip dolls, walk the line between cute and scary. With bobble heads and big eyes, these dolls are definitely a matter of love or hate. Although plenty of enthusiasts have come to love their exaggerated proportions and quirky expressions.
A large part of these dolls’ appeal is their almost infinite customizability. Creator go to extraordinary lengths; re-rooting the hair, re-painting the lips, replacing the eyechips, repainting the skin, and sand-matting or spray finish matting the faces. The result are dolls that are truly unique, and serve as a form of self-expression for their owners. In this way Emma Mount’s works are not only a portrait of the dolls themselves, but a reflection of their creators.
I was blown away when I recently watched the Daicon IV Opening Animation. Somehow I’d manage to miss this crucial piece of otaku history.
The Daicon III and IV animations were amateur works done for the 1981 and 1983 Nihon SF Taikai conventions. This group of amateur animators would go on to form Gainax, and the Daicon animations show the genesis of imagery that would be repeated in projects like Evangelion and FLCL.
As an animation it’s a testament to the beauty and visual power of traditional cel animation. There’s something timeless about these videos, and incredibly after almost thirty years they can still compete with some of the best animation being produced today. Unfortunately these works have never been officially released, and never will be, so watch it now.