Naoshi, the sand artist I recently met at Takumi Alley, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a picture book called Tako Knows! Follow the short but endearing life of Tako, a tako (the Japanese word for “octopus”), through 88 pages of colorful illustrations designed to bring joy and humor to readers of all ages.
Naoshi writes that after learning that some species of octopi’s lives can be as short as two years, she was “struck by their strength to live out their lives in earnest” and thus was inspired to write a picture book about a tako living its life to the fullest. I love the vibrant colors and whimsical themes in Naoshi’s art, and Tako Knows definitely excemplifies that. Plus, it’s all the more amazing when you realize all of the art is created from colored sand!
While the Kickstarter was already fully funded within a four hours of launching, there is still plenty of incentive to back, including a stretch goal where all backers will receive two postcards with their other rewards!
The picture book itself is $20, but there are a plethora of add-ons to choose from, including an art print of “The Great Tako Wave” inspired by “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” a sticker sheet, washi tape, and even a sand art DIY kit.
To learn more about the various tiers available to backers, check out the official Kickstarter page. The campaign runs through June 14, so hopefully we will see even more exciting stretch goals in the future!
Author Tom Lintern has a unique way of approaching his Kickstarter campaigns: instead of looking to fund an entire book in one go, he’s been publishing his sci-fi fantasy epic Girrion Book 1: The Chrysalis and the Stone graphic novel issue by issue. Last year, I covered Girrion‘s issue 4 and 5 Kickstarter. Now, Tom is up to issue 7, and it’s fully funded with 5 days to go!
Girrion tells the story of Jarra, a factory worker who dreams of bigger things. When his city is attacked, he’s thrust in the middle of a war… which is probably not the best way to get out of your boring day job! If you like sweeping sci-fi adventures, check out the first 12 pages of Girrion issue 1 over at the official website!
If you’re interested in contributing to the Kickstarter but are worried about how you’ll catch up to issue 7, never fear! For $14, you can grab PDFs of all 7 issues, or $58 for printed versions (the print bundle also includes PDFs, pencil work PDFs for issues 4-7, and a desktop wallpaper). Or, if you’d like to show your support and just get a taste of what Girrion has to offer, you can get a PDF of the first issue for only $2! For more backer reward options, be sure to check out the Kickstarter page.
Since Tom has extensive experience publishing Girrion with the help of Kickstarter, you can rest easy knowing rewards will be delivered promptly and professionally. At the time of this post, there are only 5 days left to back the Kickstarter, so don’t delay!
I always love hearing about new visual novel fundraising projects, especially when they’re otome or BL games. That’s why, when the folks behind the psychological otome game Silent Voices asked if I could write a post about their Kickstarter, I was happy to oblige!
If there’s one thing I’ll never get enough of, it’s Alice in Wonderland, so when I heard there was a new otome game on Kickstarter inspired by Lewis Carroll’s classic book, I just had to check it out! On top of that, A Very Important Date is a romance visual novel that takes place in a café, which is another tick on the “things Anne absolutely loves” list!
I had a look at the demo, which contains the prologue and three chapters each for two different character routes. The premise immediately struck me as something of a mix between OZMAFIA!! and Alice in the Country of Heart, so if you’re a fan of either of those games, definitely check it out! While the characters generally fall into certain common archetypes (the strict stoic guy, cool suave guy, pervy guy, etc.), the designs are fun and evoke Alice in Wonderland in subtle ways. Stretch goals for the campaign include additional girl x girl and boy x boy romance options, which would be great to see!
I recommend trying the demo for PC, Mac, and Linux first, and then heading over to the Kickstarter page for details on all the reward tiers. The game is also currently on Steam Greenlight and could use some upvotes! The Kickstarter is looking to raise $11,000 by January 5th, so be sure to get your pledge in before then if you’re interested.
It’s always exciting to see a new BL game in the works, and Sentimental Trickster is no different. This ages 18+ visual novel has already hit its initial funding goal on Kickstarter and is successfully Greenlit, but with additional support could reach some exciting stretch goals such as more CGs, sprites, and facial animations, or even a new dateable character!
Sentimental Trickster follows protagonist Haru as he sets off to start a new life at arts college and comes in contact with a plethora of hunky men (some more friendly than others!). There’s a demo of the first hour or so of the game available for Windows, Mac, and Linux on the Kickstarter page, which I highly recommend checking out. The game so far has been made entirely by a single person, and it’s extremely impressive, to say the least!
At the time of this post, the Kickstarter has 7 days left until it ends, which means there’s still plenty of time to get in on some of the exclusive extras such as a playable Kickstarter-exclusive “thank you” from the characters themselves. Since the game has already been fully funded, there’s no fear of the disappointment that comes with backing a campaign with an uncertain outcome. I look forward to seeing the completed version of Sentimental Trickster in March 2017!
I don’t often cover Kickstarters that are already funded, but sci-fi comic Girrionis more than worth highlighting. For just $10, you can help support the continued production of this indie comic project and get PDFs of issues 1-5 in the process!
Girrion is a sci-fi fantasy epic told from the point of view of factory worker Jarra, whose mundane life is turned upside-down when his city is attacked by a dark force. Author Tom Lintern was kind enough to give me a peek at issues 1-3, and I was immediately struck by the gorgeous art! It is clear Tom’s influences include manga as well as western comics, and I was surprised to get a real Nausicaä vibe from the world presented in the pages of Girrion. Somehow, despite being full of machinery and grime, everything comes across as extremely organic. Head over to Girrion website for a 12 page preview of issue one to see what I mean!
The current Kickstarter is to fund the production of issues 4 and 5 of Girrion, but its easy to catch up by purchasing the first three volumes in the Kickstarter or through the online storefront. But if you want access to some exciting bonuses such as pencil versions, signed issues, and more, be sure to back the Kickstarter before it ends on May 26th!
After two and a half years, webcomic Hotblood!has finally come to a conclusion, and creator Toril Orlesky has launched a Kickstarter to celebrate! If successful, the Kickstarter will fund an omnibus release of all four chapters of the comic, including new a new prequel and epilogue. As of this post, it has already reached its $24,000 goal, but if you’re a fan of Hotblood!, centaurs, the wild west, or just great comics in general, you’ll want to get in now to grab some of the awesome Kickstarter-exclusive rewards!
Toril’s comic about centaurs in American the Old West takes inspiration from a variety of sources, including est em’s centaur manga, which happens to be the subject of my upcoming paper in New Voices in Japanese Studies. It goes without saying that I was immediately smitten with Hotblood!, and I’m honored to have been able to chat with Toril a little more in depth about est em and the centaur aspects of Hotblood!
A: I’d love to hear more about your inspirations for Hotblood!. What initially drew you to centaurs? Why did you include centaurs in your story and not other mythical characters?
T: I’ve loved horses since elementary school, so I think that’s a big part of it, haha! I still remember my neighbor showing me how to draw a horse in third grade– that was the first time I wanted to learn how to draw anything. I’ve also always been into Greek mythology, I saw Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron in theaters when it was released, Black Beauty was one of my favorite books growing up… when I started planning Hotblood! I was very into shows like Suits and Hannibal… that is to say, morally ambiguous stories with crime and homoerotic relationships that ultimately failed to deliver on the homoeroticism. I was particularly affected and annoyed by BBC’s Sherlock. At the risk of over-educating anyone, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing, James Moriarty has a right-hand man: the veteran sniper Sebastian Moran. He appears in only one story– The Empty House– but I became fascinated by the character. I started drawing him as I imagined he would be if he was written into contemporary London and, yes, shipping him with Moriarty. Other members of the Sherlock fandom had similar ideas, and to make a long story short I lost interest, but I still wanted to explore the boss-subordinate/romantic relationship dynamic between two morally ambiguous criminals. That’s where my protagonists, Asa and Rook come from, although Asa is nowhere near as clever as Moriarty.
As for the centaurs… I wanted to write historical fiction, not fantasy! I wasn’t interested at all in developing a system of magic or changing the rules of the world beyond the immediate infrastructure and social adjustments needed to accommodate a race of quadrupeds. I chose centaurs over werewolves, satyrs, dragons, or anything else because horses and Westerns go hand-in-hoof, as it were.
A: You mention in your FAQ that est em’s Hatarake, Kentaurosu! and equus were influential to Hotblood. Aside from the obvious fact that they also feature centaurs, what was appealing to you about these works?
T: I love est em’s style of storytelling– it’s slice of life, but more importantly: the vignettes in her books are about character relationships above anything else. Sometimes an entire chapter is just one conversation, and I really respect how much emotion she’s able to convey about her characters in a short amount of time!Of course, I also admire her technical skill and her use of negative space.
A: est em and a number of other recent manga artists (for example Kei Murayama’s A Centaur’s Life, Okayado’s Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls) have written stories featuring centaurs in everyday and/or otherwise historically accurate settings. Hotblood! is very similar in this regard. Why do you think the juxtaposition of mythical centaurs in otherwise normal situations is so appealing?
T: The same reason stories like Spirited Away, Teen Wolf, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and so on are wildly popular… people like fantasy, but it’s far more relatable when the fantasy elements are juxtaposed with a familiar setting. It’s one thing to read a myth about centaurs from ancient Greece, but quite another to read about how one might commute to work in present-day Tokyo! Centaurs are especially fun because they’re truly strange– it’s not just a matter of avoiding humans on a full moon, they’ve got to deal with being literally half-horse every day. You can’t hide that! The mundane details of how they would function in society– standing desks? Farriers? Can they fit in a subway car? Is it appropriate to ask a centaur for a ride?– that’s what interests me.
A: Do you plan to write further stories about centaurs after Hotblood!, or are you looking to move on to different types of projects?
T: Initially I was determined to leave centaurs behind after Hotblood!, but these days I’m open to the possibility that I might draw some short stories set in the same universe, either with the existing cast or brand new characters. I won’t make any promises, though– I’ve got a a queue of fan comics and other projects to take on first!
Well, I will always be ready for more centaurs! Thanks again to Toril for chatting with me and offering so many interesting insights into Hotblood!. You can read Hotblood! in its entirety for free online, but if you’d like to get a physical copy of the omnibus or the exclusive companion art book containing character material, world building, and more, be sure to back the Kickstarter before it concludes on May 15th!
Disclosure: I am a Hotblood! Kickstarter backer. I mean, homoerotic centaurs… How could I not?!