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Kagepro haul via surface mailKagepro haul via surface mailLoot

NefereNefereHace 3 meses
Hi! Welcome on my first article on MFC!

I'd like to share my joy because of a small collection I got. All stuff I bought in this batch are items I wished to get years ago but as a poor student without income I couldn't afford Japan-imported merch. But that changed with a preorder of Snow Miku Figma ITEM #689124 after participating in Miku Expo. I was sure she would be first and last item from Japan, but she proved me wrong :p The same happened with Miku concert.

The article is text and image-heavy so make sure of remaining data packets and free time before proceeding!

* Shipping *

With the current world situation, most of us are worried about shipping their goods to their own country. People here usually don't write about this part in general, but I'd like to cover it.

After I shipped my purchased items in Suruga-ya to proxy, I was surprised (in bad way) my books are heavy and I have to ship a little above 9 pounds (4,15 kg) of goods. I've chosen surface shipping and paid 5,6k JPY (including handling fee based on weight).

I kind of know how Suruga-ya is treating shipping boxes and I didn't throw money to my proxy to repackage it, so I was worried if the box didn't tear apart and my goods are lying somewhere on the world's end. Luckily, I got them in one piece.

A package was collected in March 3rd, and last seen in Japan in March 5th. I was thinking my package is waiting for a boat, as it takes ~1 month in normal circumstances (reference: www.post.japanp... ) and additional 1-2 months to ship to Poland, so I was worried why there's no update in first days of April. By the way, Q&A tracking page informs about ~3 months of waiting before a tracking will be updated.

I was surprised when I've checked tracking a week after Easter and found out it's in my country. The first update was in Warsaw (why in a capital and not in any of ports - I was sure the route was entirely via sea and we have a sea access) and week later I got the package in my hands.

* Box *

So, here's a box! Snow Miku and Hungarian Horntail are assisting me when posing to photos. The box is worn, there are holes (?) and bends everywhere, but the contents is (mostly) intact! I think my box's condition is like that because there's no filling inside and other packages were taking advantage of free space in my box.

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Here's the haul! Looks like bents on the box closely match a cardboard which was glued to the bottom. Both cardboard and goods were wrapped in plastic. Both ITEM #183130 and ITEM #283720 (media boxes) are wrapped in additional plastic, but those looks like a factory origin. A Touhou book got a bent but it didn't break pages and cover. I'm fine with that - all goods were listed as used in the shop.

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All books have Suruga-ya catalog sticker on the same left cover if looking from their spine. Both fanbooks are printed in Japanese order so they got sticker on their front cover what I find kind of lame ;/

* Touhou - How to Draw Backgrounds Book *

I knew about an existence of the book ITEM #455468 even when I wasn't into Touhou. I've followed Niy ENTRY #152909 on Tumblr where they were uploading batches of 1-hour paintings from Twitter. Most of them features Touhou characters put in various environments - forests, temples, mountains etc. I was stunned by how perfectly makes use of perspective, lighting and colors so well they look like glimpses of everyday life (though paranormal) and in only 1 hour! It was unbelievable for a procrastinator like me :/

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One day they were uploaded the work shown below as the one featured in the How-to book. It was much more detailed comparing to 1-hour drawings and used a dark line to highlight character's shapes. After years, when I discovered Touhou project properly, I've found out the work fits perfectly into "subterranean animism" theme - a title of one of Touhou games, and not only because of featured characters shared in the art and the game, but by variety of animals hidden in dark cathedral.

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Appreciate the artwork in full glory on Pixiv and Tumblr!

The book features 6 artists showing their drawing process, spiced up with tips and descriptions of eye-catching effects. Each of them got 20+ pages to cover, so big photos and lengthy descriptions are ensured!

First pages feature common digital tools features. They cover Adobe Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint and Paint Tool SAI, as they're used to make artworks in the book. The features are colors, brushes, layers, filters etc. Analog only techniques are not covered here, but Hiyoi ENTRY #99311 explains a process of making a sketch and lineart on paper and fixing the scanned work in Photoshop.

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The Japanese isn't required (much) since a lot of stuff can be figured out from pictures alone as they often show screenshots with settings visible. The book can be even used as a Japanese learning resource for illustration related vocabulary and phrases. Some texts are hard to decipher, like descriptions about raw sketches that most likely cover composition, the best idea selection and perspective hell, but some (like Kitsune ENTRY #29666) go straight to finish a very detailed sketch.

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I like to find such small details, like the list of the latest version of tools available at time or that the book is approved not only by ZUN's circle (a creator of Touhou) but Wacom, a graphic tablet company, or one artist advices to download custom Photoshop brushes from Deviantart.

Other books of a series cover drawing characters, poses ITEM #352347, with copic markers and in drawing programs (like Photoshop ITEM #356743, Sai, Fire Alpaca ITEM #286127 and Clip Studio Art ITEM #352351).

* Tokimeki Memorial Tapestry *

ITEM #212874 is most likely a bonus from Suruga-ya. It wasn't listed on a receipt, and the item is from 90s dating sim game I've never heard of. Miharu (a girl from the tapestry) is "the cute stalker" - a hidden character who can't be purposely dated, but she often "misdial" the main character or bumps into him in school halls and before dates. She's referred as "consolation prize" girl as she appears on "date-worthy" events only if you're attending them alone.

I wonder if Suruga-ya workers gave her on purpose...?

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I don't approve the use of safety pin of felt-like skirt, but I'm a fan of Chinese style hair loops and I like a Sailor Moon's aesthetic, so I keep her. She's good at covering an old 2019 calendar.

==== NOW IT'S TIME FOR KAGEPRO ===

As everyone are waiting for it, myself included.

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An attention for those not familiar to Kagerou Project franchise - though the series is targeted to teenagers and is about teenagers, the plot main points are main character deaths. If you may be triggered not only by death but all other reasons that may cause death, I advise to avoid checking the series. The article itself should be okay, since I won't dwell in plot details and I put plot details in spoilers.

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Kagerou Project is a series about Mekakushi Dan, a group of kids with special powers activated by turning their eyes red. It started with uploading few Vocaloid songs with original characters by Jin ENTRY #36743 (unrelated at first sight), but it got a popularity with the upload of Kagerou Daze song with Sidu ENTRY #41707 as an illustrator and animator. The song about two kids caught in time loop has a good storytelling with a right amount of suspense and details while being ambigious which had lured masses to follow next works of the series. Then more PVs appeared (with Wannyanpu ENTRY #43332 joined a group getting a recognition with fan-made Kagerou Daze PV), then manga drawn by Satou Mahiro, light novels and even Mekakucity Actors anime produced by no other but SHAFT (even if hardcore fans' opinion is that it's rushed and misses a lot of details).

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I've got interested in the series in mid-2012 starting from songs and manga. Then left it until I've found LN translations (2 volumes at that time) on the end of 2012. I started following then-recent Kagerou stuff on Tumblr in mid-2013 as a lot of translations are sourced there. I've finally created an account after last episode of Mekakucity Actors in July 2014. I was so into Kagepro I started translating songs and LN into my native language, drawing them, making media and magazines masterposts.

Items I bought reminds me a golden time of Kagerou Project series - it's not only official works but also fan-made as many comics and artworks flooded my Tumblr's dashboard.

I'll use photos taken by other MFC users because of restrictions regarding non-figure stuff. Also - each photo and gif is linked with a source from MFC and Tumblr if you'd like to appreciate them in more ways than by viewing in this article.

* Kagerou Project Anniversary Fanbook *

ITEM #187697 is an artbook featuring ~180 Kagepro fanart commemorating series' 2nd anniversary in August 2013. To have a work featured in the book, one have to upload it on pixiv with the contest tag in one month. Almost all of them are still there, but if you're lazy, someone already listed almost all work featured. I've chosen this book simply to remember a power of Kagepro fandom :)

First pages are focused on pieces of art selected by Kagepro creators: Jin, Sidu, Satou Mahiro and Wannyanpuu with short descriptions what they appreciate in the artwork. Some of them are really cute (like "I hear Panzermast sound here." by Sidu) but some of them may be concerning (like a sensual liking hair-biting scene View spoilerHide spoilerin the artwork featuring crying Mary and Kuroha covered in blood).

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The rest of fanart is grouped into sections based on atmosphere: days, twilight and night. Last pages are for illustrations depicting "bad ending" - nightmare (Outer Science and bits of Lost Time Memory) and "good ending" - happy dream (mostly Summer Time Record). All illustrations are attributed by work's title's, author's nickname and PixivID necessary to find all other artworks created by the same person.

I was surprised to find 4 fold up illustrations made by big names of Vocaloid scene these days - wogura (famous for "Happiness" Vocaloid song series by Utata-P), BUZZ (works with PolyphonicBranch), のん (Setsuna Trip PV maker!), and 桑原草太 (an illustrator of Amatsuki and Itou Kashitaro covers).

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Here's one by BUZZ with Kagepro girls!

* Kagerou Project Anniversary Fanbook 2 *

ITEM #264392 is similar in form as first fanbook, but released a year later. All works were submitted on Pixiv and most of them are still there.

Creators section in 2nd volume is smaller - without Wannyanpuu. This time most works (except of creator selected ones) were grouped by feelings emanated from the art: pure, pop, cool, cute, edge and happy. Most illustrations have a short comment from an author.

According to Suruga-ya catalog sticker, it was on the shop's stock for a year. When compared to other stuff I got with only 1-2 months, I feel sorry for its' unpopularity....

I'd like to feature one work: The dumb Shintaro room work.

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It was made by one of active English-speaking artists on Tumblr who didn't expect their art to be featured in the book and got the same book for free.

There's a mention of QR code on an obi, which gives an access to an form, and you get something as a bonus (a pixel art smartphone wallpaper?) after filling it. I guess it's hidden somewhere in the book.

* Mekakucity V's Limited Edition*

ITEM #183130 is an item with the highest retail price (6,500 yen) from the haul, a grail-of-grails of every Kagepro fan. It's a shame it was priced as low as 400 yen. A profanity, even.

The plastic box is thick but brittle - I wonder if it's because of aging or storage conditions, but the box got a new crack every time I open and close it. The blue storage box found inside looks cool (but simple) and perfectly fit all goods inside.

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* Blu-ray disc *

I'm not going to lie - it's actually my first Blu-ray disc I bought (I don't count few PS4 games and Zootopia movie disc I found inside my second-hand console). I was surprised by the thickness of the disc! It was backed up by a thick transparent plastic which highlights how special is the disc itself. The inner cover is an art used as a front cover for regular edition.

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It contains 14 videos made so far in Kagepro (except Jinzou Enemy and Mekakushi Code - first songs of the series) and released before either online or in collections. The one exception is Shounen Brave PV, an exclusive video for song focusing on Kuusou Forest story from Seto's perspective.

I've found 2 pamphlets about limited storage box (photos here on Facebook) to keep not only Mekakucity V's, but Live in Mekakucity and Mekakucity Records, with an application form but I guess it's too late to fill and send them...

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* Making Book *

An exclusive for the limited version. A cover features Sidu's sketches of Azami, Mary and Kenjirou 100 pages book contains materials for 11 PVs. Each song section is opened by screenshot selection, then followed by used sprites, animation keys and backgrounds. I wish it had more pages or printed in bigger format, because animation keys are so tiny you can see compression glitches and lone black pixels in them.

It was nice to find double sketches of Ayano's Theory of Happiness to create animated drawn look of animation (it's a shame they're can't be compared cause a lot of details got lost with printer capabilities).

It was quite fun to see all chibi Takane and Haruka of Yuukei Yesterday on two pages together! Next page is focused on non deformed sprites of the pair, and the last page of a section was meant for end-sequence illustrations and sketches.

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And then Outer Science - it's good to see a collection of Kuroha from "bad ending" song where he's View spoilerHide spoilerkilling other members with glee on his face and manifesting more black mist snakes. There's also a lot of Mekakushi Dan sprites, end sequence sprites and backgrounds and a lot of animation keys featuring Mary and even more Kuroha.

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And Summer Time Record - the unique thing from other songs material is a sprite with flat colors for a refrain scenes with color hints.

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I can't find animated version of it....

The last 4 pages for Shounen Brave seems lacking compared to content from other songs...

Out of all songs featured on Blu-ray disc, only Kuusou Forest, Kisaragi Attention and Toumei Answer aren't covered in the book as they're made by Wannyanpuu.

* Storyboard Book *

I find it the best addition to the set and a main reason to get it. I knew it had storyboards for many recent Kagepro movies and an interview section with Jin and Sidu about them. As a poor student, I wanted to get scans. An archive was posted on certain Chinese forum with a long instruction how to get a password to it based on (if I remember correctly) upload date of each character's song in order as they appear in one of PVs, in addition with dates of other dates, which makes to create a ~70 characters long password. I gave up after 2 years to break it.

Some of the storyboards were already published before (like Children Record & Konoha no Sekai Jijou in Kagerou Daze Official Visual Fanbook) but it's nice to 9 (nine!) storyboards in one publication. At first sight, notes are about movie composition, effects and what character's doing in one scene, but I'd like to find more information hidden there.


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Other than that, there are a selection of sketches made for PVs and lineart before using flats. Some animation keys appears here and they are much bigger and detailed than ones in making book. Some illustrations are really awesome, like 2-page clasroom sketch from Lost Time Memory or Summer Time Record refrain scene with all characters.

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The last section are interviews about PVs with Jin and Shidu - what they expected, what they planned and few stories about making process. Some of them are already translated on Tumblr, but I couldn't find for all of them. Time to improve my Japanese. There's few new information about the series, like View spoilerHide spoilerthere are two Ayanos (aside of two Shintaros) in Lost Time Memory PV which was so far one of many theories in the fandom. It was later provided the 2nd Ayano is a Shintaro's snake, giving him an ability to remember events from previous time loops/routes. And how Sidu often complains about deadlines to finish a movie. I hate deadlines too.

* Mekakucity M's Complete Box *

ITEM #283720 is a soundtrack for Mekakucity Actors - an anime and it contains not only a background tracks but also songs rearranged and covered by human vocalists. Some songs are made exclusively for the OST. I bought it for illustrations and how awesome it would look on a shelf - a big box that looks like a heavy book. I was even cheaper than Mekakucity V's - I bought it for 300 yen despite high retail price - almost as high as Mekakucity V's.

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The theme is "Fairytale [Medusa]" featured on the end of each episode which rewrites a story of Azami - a full medusa who's born with the world itself, View spoilerHide spoileris the creator of eye abilities and Mary's grandma. It was made in peculiar style resembling stained-glass artworks with storytelling reminding of books for children.

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I love illustrations of Azami on a cover. A deluxe version comes with 4 CDs and DVD. Every disc design looks special and elegant. A booklet contains lyrics for all Kagepro songs featured in the anime and illustrations from the fairytale.

A crossfade for all tracks can be found on 1st PLACE website if you're interested to check it.

* .dsd - Sidu's illustration works 2011 - 2015 *

ITEM #301900 is the most expensive in the loot (750 yen) and biggest one. As title says, the book features illustrations made by Sidu - most of them are Kagerou Project. It includes illustrations used for various goods (clear files, rubber chains, posters or magazine covers) along with illustration from PVs, LNs, even afterword pages from Kagepro manga.

Except of Kagepro, you can find Hachimaki mascots (1st Place shop), other Vocaloid songs PVs (like by Neru or Bibuko).

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There's a fan translation of an exclusive sketch comic about Yuukei quartet's school days pyralisa.tumblr... Ugh, I have to reread LN vol. 6 focused on Haruka's backstory to get know about what exactly was going on...

The book was released with a video summary of Sidu's works (link). I recommend watching it - a montage (by Sidu herself) is stunning and perfectly matches a video with electronic original music by Nhato.

=== THE END ===

I was very happy with goods I bought. It reminds me of university days when I was rewatching PVs in a loop, scrolling Tumblr for more content or translating LNs on a tablet (it still lies in a desk drawer) in long hours in a train between home and school.

As for a current state of Kagepro, there's incoming 2nd season of anime titled "Mekakucity Reload" announced in 2016 and a spin-off "Kagerou Daze No.9" set 3 years after the main story. I have yet to catch on recent stuff, like Mekakucity Talkers in form of chat logs or Mekakucity Reload album.

Thank you for reading! As you're still here, can you share the long-forgotten niche series you're fond to and it's easy to get a merch for cheap (without shipping costs)?
775 hits • 7 favoritos6 comentarios

Comentarios6

CloudberryHace 3 meses#77770774This is an amazing Kagepro haul!!!! I remembered discovering the Kageoro PV series and was so entranced that each PV has its own story that were linked together.
When Jin dropped Summer Time Record, I was sad that the Kageoro series was over but I love the song and the tone it gives off: "it's a tearful goodbye to everyone but at the same time, it gives a hopeful glance into the future. The memories we made during that one dazzling summer will never be forgotten..." This is the song I love to play this song during the end of summer because it really does feels goodbye to the summer season as we look forward to the future (to the beginning of fall semester).
Damn, I think I'll go binge watch the Kagepro PVs and anime.
What did you think about the anime? Do you think the anime did a good job telling the story of Kagepro music videos?
Yeah, the best part of the song series is to figure out what little hints are given in PVs and how songs are linked together. And watching them on and on... wow, that was great. The searching for mysteries behing all the series was so trilling and I had like to discover them all.

The least favourite song in the project is Kisaragi Attention - when I first listened to it in Osu! (or more like - I played it) - I wasn't aware of Kagerou Project or Vocaloids in general and my first impression was "what a terrible vocalist" - I hated her nasal and souless voice. I wished whoever she was, but she shoul'd try as a singer. Now I laugh at my own ignorance but still I bear only utaite/human covers of the song.

I think the anime was rushed and trying to provide as much plot as possible in 12 episodes making people confusing - just like songs :) I was aware it's Jin who made a script and he only had an experience with writing manga story and light novels, so some decisions may be forgiven. Besides - Shaft was an animation studio he was dreaming for long time. Still, the anime featured a first route which was "finished" properly with all dialogs explaining what's going on.

IMO the best part of an anime is a music and seeing all Kagepro characters moving, talking and being animated for longer time than few seconds at time :)

Simillar to you, after I get the package, I've had attempts to finish an LN translation (the one illustrated by Wannyanpuu!), so I can properly came back to translate Kagepro ones. I drop out translating in summer 2016 but I sometimes make short song translations. NunnallyLuluHace 3 meses#77816616So this might be a silly question but did it take about 3 weeks total to actually reach you? thats pretty quick! :D for surface mail.No, I'd say it was an almost entire month in March and ~3 weeks in April, so it was longer than 3 weeks :) I was expecting 8-12 weeks for a package to come but 7 weeks are good enough.
Hace 3 meses
So this might be a silly question but did it take about 3 weeks total to actually reach you? thats pretty quick! :D for surface mail.
Hace 3 meses
This is an amazing Kagepro haul!!!! I remembered discovering the Kageoro PV series and was so entranced that each PV has its own story that were linked together.

When Jin dropped Summer Time Record, I was sad that the Kageoro series was over but I love the song and the tone it gives off: "it's a tearful goodbye to everyone but at the same time, it gives a hopeful glance into the future. The memories we made during that one dazzling summer will never be forgotten..." This is the song I love to play this song during the end of summer because it really does feels goodbye to the summer season as we look forward to the future (to the beginning of fall semester).

Damn, I think I'll go binge watch the Kagepro PVs and anime.

What did you think about the anime? Do you think the anime did a good job telling the story of Kagepro music videos?
Hace 3 meses
BearcatHace 3 meses#77738778Heya :) random question, did you get hit with customs? I've never used surface mail to Poland yet, so I was wondering if the customs procedure was the same :) also which proxy did you use? And did they undervalue?
Other than that, thanks for sharing your loot :) it's awesome!

I've never got hit with customs (lucky me), and the most expensive item was a single figma from GSC shop via SAL - it was held 2 times in Warsaw and local customs office.

My only concern (for now) about shipping is to get the cheapest one with tracking, so I usually use Airmail Small Packet. This time I had to use surface mail.

I used tenso to forward my package and they allow you to put a custom declaration - you can name and undervalue items on your risk (see faq.tenso.com/a... and faq.tenso.com/a...) I never was forced to abuse the system though.
Hace 3 meses
your kagepro haul looks rad!! i haven't touched the series for ages but knowing that i bought a copy of sidu's artbook last year always reminds me how much of a big fan i am to the series. TwT

i really wanna buy the production material books and the other kagepro books but i'm juggling between other series' merch atm so they have to wait for now orz.
Hace 3 meses
Heya :) random question, did you get hit with customs? I've never used surface mail to Poland yet, so I was wondering if the customs procedure was the same :) also which proxy did you use? And did they undervalue?
Other than that, thanks for sharing your loot :) it's awesome!
Hace 3 meses