Monday, May 27, 2013

New Arrival(s)

When you read 2 chapters of Sketchbook after a long time, you start wondering if there is a new volume appearing this year, don’t you? I did wonder and so headed straight to cdjapan website. Lo and Behold, a limited edition of Vol9 (very much like Vol8) was up for pre-order. I ordered that along with this ‘Perfect Workbook’:

Perfect Workbook

It has been around for years and reached me ~2 weeks ago. This workbook has ‘exclusive’ collection of sketches of all characters from both manga and anime. It also has ‘interviews’ of the mangaka, seiyuu(s), editor(s), …, basically a hell lot of writing on each page. I could only enjoy the sketches and it felt like the SuzuKaze combo were joking about something every once in a while. It also seemed like they were the ones who interviewed Totan Kobako! It made me want to learn Japanese so badly that I ordered Nokia Lumia 620 because then I could use the Bing Translator app to read the book like this:

Real-time Translation

Sadly, that app doesn’t support Japanese to English (yet)! Anyway, back to Sketchbook. The latest volume showed up in my mailbox on this Thu:

Volume 9

Here we see both the ‘Art’ teachers (along with their pets) on the front cover. I had hoped only Kasugano-sensei would be there. Well, to be honest, I was hoping the President would be there! Anyway, there will be a next time (I hope). Then, I flipped the package and saw the back of the bundled mini Art book:

Mini Art Book

After ripping off the plastic cover, here’s the front cover of that:

The Art Club

Serene! This mini-book has at least one coloured poster for each character (obviously, Sora has the most). However, one might have seen these posters floating around on various Sketchbook-dedicated sites so not much is new here from that perspective. BUT holding these in your hand and ‘feeling’ the colours of the Art Club is an exhilarating experience for sure. I almost forgot to breathe, which happened while I was browsing through the Workbook too. One would guess, I’d have learnt my lesson!

I was able to understand a few strips: Ooba comes in the art room with very long hair and ‘asks’ Kokage & Sora what to do about them. Sora shows her to wrap her hair around the face and tie a knot below the chin (something like this)! Then, all of them do that and Kasugano-sensei gets the shock of her life. I think in this volume at least 2 events (I mean those that span the whole chapter) happen in the art club: one where they play some sort of a game where others guess what one has drawn and another where they have a night-out (like in anime’s 6th episode). There are many pages devoted to Sora hanging out with Takane & Kei. Hilarious scenes there! There’s also summer festival to look forward to with some of them in Yukata. Mention of Asaka’s strength crops up again and both Negishi & President have to acknowledge her! That strip is more jaw-dropping than hilarious. Smile

So that’s more or less a review of the latest volume and looking forward to the translations, whenever Musashi Quality picks it up. Ending this post with the slight diversion above:

Tiled Front of NL620

Update: It seems the regular edition of Vol9 has Kasugano-sensei and President on the front cover (along with P-chan & Mike)!

Monday, May 13, 2013


It is safe to assume you might have heard phrases like ‘I’ve never experienced anything like this before’ or ‘I won’t do anything like this ever again’* a hell lot of times before landing on this page. But how many of you mortals can claim to have heard/read both the phrases stuck together in a single sentence and that also in a(n) eye-popping, upgrading to jaw-dropping, leading to ground-breaking, yet calmly beautiful context? Here’s one that I can show share!

Before you get the urge to smash something and get your hands on it, let me help you calm down.

Olympus PEN E-P5 being shared...

Hope that calmed you down and you learned in the process that someone holding such a great product can be so calm & composed. That also teaches me to be patient and wait for it to be available preferably with the 14-42mm kit lens (and still less than $1K incl. tax) before I end up losing my sleep. Also, this video reminds me of Munawwar Rana’s  one-liner: “I don’t talk while reciting sher(s) because my sher(s) do all the talking”. You get the gist of what I wanted to write, I hope!

I also learned a new acronym: SNSs. Well, I couldn’t figure it out completely (‘Social’ was certainly there) so had to Bing it and it stands for ‘Social Networking Services.  For those ignorant people who gasp at that word, Yes, I use Bing for my normal, everyday queries. In fact, let me rephrase that to say I prefer Bing over Google for such queries, which basically means I’m sticking to Google whenever terms in Physics are involved!

Some more ranting: While Google let’s you see a ‘google doodle’ once in a while, Bing lets you see interesting ‘real-life’ photos & videos daily along with links to multiple aspect of the said media. On the financial front, I’ve been able to watch movies without paying from my own pocket by cashing Bing’s reward points on Amazon. Well, that most probably won’t last long but as long as it does, I’ll be able to watch a few more movies for ‘free’. So that’s all my interest in these so called and ridiculously hyped ‘search wars’.

Did you hear MS’s going to release a Surface Pro 2 later this year? Less than a year after I bought a Surface Pro! What the hell? It’s like getting E-PL1 all over again! I’ve been drooling over  E-PL5 for some time and now have to drool over SP2 too…

Anyway, never-before-or-ever-again, will you see me providing an end-of-the-post-link for a


*These sample sentences have nothing to do with my newfound marital status.