Dakimakura Review – Rie Kawai from Lovers (NSFW)

Rie Kawai from Lovers Dakimakura Review

These days, it’s not difficult to find information regarding dakimakura covers. However, even with all the resources that are available online, sometimes it’s hard to find a full picture of a particular pillowcase. Such was the case with this one; I found an image of one side but didn’t know what was on the other side. As I’d seen a doujinshi depicting this character wearing this costume during a middle stage of pregnancy, I was hesitant to pick this one up since I didn’t want to drop ten thousand yen just to receive an unpleasant surprise, but then I was like screw it; I like Rie Kawai’s character design and I figured the reverse side wouldn’t be that bad. Plus she’s decked out in bondage stuff. I figured it’d still be worth it, even if I only liked one side.

Rie Kawai from Lovers Dakimakura Review

Rie Kawai is one of the main characters of the well-known ero game Lovers. Developed by Jellyfish with art by Minashika Taki, its fame stems from its animated H scenes as well as Rie’s longevity; the game was originally released back in 2003 but the artist has released numerous doujinshi and artbooks featuring Rie and several other characters. The game has also been released on PSP, curiously, though it’s a UMD-PG game rather than an actual PSP release. Some additional artwork of Rie can be seen over on Danbooru.

Rie Kawai from Lovers Dakimakura Review

This particular dakimakura cover was sold at Comiket 79 last December by Minashika Taki’s circle Makino Jimusho. I don’t remember ever seeing this pillowcase for sale at Doujin-dou, Toranoana, or any similar websites, so I’m guessing it was sold only at the convention. It depicts Rie dressed up in some fetching bondage wear, including a collar, cuffs, and panties with a convenient cutout. The lace and the ribbon on her panties are a nice touch.

Rie Kawai from Lovers Dakimakura Review

Here’s the reverse side, where she is happily not pregnant. Her placid, inquisitive expression has been replaced by something more wanton.

Rie Kawai from Lovers Dakimakura Review

Here’s her backside. Her anus is unfortunately hidden from view. Or it has mysteriously vanished. That’s sorta odd since her genitals are obviously present. Her backside also looks a bit saggy; Rie’s often drawn as being plumper than the typical anime girl so a little more curvature to her bottom would’ve been nice.

The fishnet pattern on her stockings is very two-dimensional, and I could swear that there’s a method in Photoshop to map images or patterns over curves and contours. I’m no artist though so I wouldn’t know.

Rie Kawai from Lovers Dakimakura Review

I like her expression on this side a lot, as it matches what she’s wearing and gives the image a more urgent and erotic feel. I also like how the images provide a front and rear view of the character. Some pillowcases have a front view of a character on one side and another front view with the character wearing a different outfit on the reverse, and some even put a different character on the reverse side. I like this front and rear view arrangement the best.

I haven’t found a product page for this pillowcase so I don’t know what it’s made of, but it has the same stretchy feel that most of the pillowcases I’ve bought recently have. It appears to be shorter than my other dakimakura covers; I’ve misplaced my tape measure but I’d guess this pillowcase is 150 centimeters long.

Rie Kawai is a character I’ve seen online for a long time, and back when I became first interested in dakimakura covers, I had thought about picking up one of hers. I’ve liked her character design since I first saw the GIFs from the game so I’m glad to finally own a pillowcase with her picture.

Rie Kawai from Lovers Dakimakura Review
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46 Responses to Dakimakura Review – Rie Kawai from Lovers (NSFW)

  1. Shashin says:

    Heh, good to see that the backside wasn’t a letdown and/or decked out in crazy shit. Shame about the hidden anus, but I really liked the backside, even with the strange bit of sag you pointed out. It’s really kinda strange; the left cheek looks a bit plumper than the flatter right. I really do like the positioning of the garter, though. And the facial expression is nice, too. Had the reverse side been the sample image, I would have certainly picked up this cover for myself.

    Interesting to note that you picked up this cover around the same time I mentioned Sisters; I’m usually too lazy to note artists names, so I didn’t make the connection between between this cover and Jellyfish (who did Sisters, too.) Not sure if it’s the same artist, but I’d assume so.

    Really like this cover, though. If I ever enter another buying period, I think I’ll add it to the list of covers I eventually want to pick up. I’ve been really good the last few weeks, with the Twins being the only acquisition. I’m still waiting on my Illust Guerrilla Nymph, though; it was supposed to release in February and I haven’t seen any updates on their site or anything. But with the long period of time they went without releasing covers, it wouldn’t surprise me if they took longer every now and then. Still, I hope everything’s okay there.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, I was pretty relieved by that; I’d hate to think that I dropped that much money on something that I’m really not into, as far as art goes.

      I remember thinking that was an odd coincidence; I thought you may have been familiar with Lovers already, since it’s been a long time since it’s been released and the GIFs turn up every now and then. Kinda like Sogna’s Viper series. Unfortunately Lovers never got an anime adaptation, as far as I can remember.

      I’ve seen one or two pillowcases that I’m kinda tempted to order. I like the two Infinite Stratos ones that Evening Call is doing; I may get one, I’m not sure I’d get both, but I really don’t know which one I like better. I still plan to watch a few episodes just to see what this Charlotte character is like, since everyone seems to like her (whereas nobody seems to like any of the other characters, except maybe the German girl and Chifuyu). HOP is also doing another one featuring Nakaba Reimei’s character dressed up as a pizza girl. I’ve already got one pillowcase of her (uhh, Hinata Harigaya the romaji converter says, but I’m not sure if that’s coming out accurately or not) and to be honest her breasts are larger than I would like, but she’s a pizza girl! How often do you see a picture of an anime girl ready to sell pizza?

      • Shashin says:

        Same here, even though I don’t really have a problem dropping $200-300 for a dakimakura, it’s a real bitch when I take the chance with one I can’t see entirely and I end up disappointed. I’m glad it worked out for you.

        I’ll have to look up the gifs; chances are I’ve seen them, but they just aren’t striking up any memories. My memory tends to be pretty good, but I take a very non-caring attitude with my hentai, I guess. Or even anime in general. I can’t even remember the names of main characters from anime I like from time to time; remembering other series that I have limited exposure to is given less space in the mind, I guess.

        After watching Index, I’ve been in a bit of an anime mode the last few days. So I’ve been browsing the charts for the last few seasons to check out some shows that I haven’t watched. There are a couple this season that I’m slightly interested in, but unless it’s a sequel to a series I really liked, I try to be as far behind as possible so I can splurge and watch it all in two long sessions, or something. There’s probably 4-5 shows that I’ll download and give a try, but so far I’ve only watched Eden of the East and the two movies. Remember really liking the series when it first aired, though I was disappointed to find that the conclusion would come in the movies. So I watched the whole thing again; was a bit disappointed with the movies, but it was still an enjoyable show.

        Not often at all. I do agree with you on the breasts, though. Definitely too big for my tastes, but it is a cool cover.

        • Tier says:

          I’ve caught up with some anime watching as well. I finished up Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou, which I enjoyed very much, even though I still have no clue what it was exactly about. I also watched the Nanoha movie, which I’d call a disappointment; the action is solid and the characters are appealing (and most importantly, I didn’t learn to dislike any of them, unlike what happened with me and Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls), but the makers have no clue how to tell a story. They do know how to sell merchandise though, and I’m sure that was the greater priority. I’m not sure what I want to watch next; I’m thinking something serious, like Macross Frontier or maybe Mnemosyne. I’m also gonna watch a few episodes of Infinite Stratos to see this Charles with my own eyes.

          • Shashin says:

            I might have to check out Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou; recommendations are always nice and a quick check of the Wiki page makes it seem interesting.

            Speaking of Nanoha and merchandising… I’m seriously contemplating picking up a certain pair of boxers. Not sure if multiple sizes are available, but they seriously make me giggle every time I see them on a store’s page.

            I decided to watch Chaos;Head as I’ve heard the visual novel is amazing, and since Steins;Gate has just started airing. I tried playing the visual novel, and really liked the atmosphere, but the game would crash without fail before the first five minutes of the game had concluded. So I didn’t really get a whole lot of play out of it.

            Can’t say I know how to feel about the anime, though. I don’t dislike the heroines, and it has some cool things going for it… but the story telling seems like a random mess. I feel like they were just trying to cram way too much into a 13 episode series, and the characterization is rather poor.

            Despite each heroine getting a full episode or so exclusively dedicated to them, I feel as if things are rushed and we don’t really get to know them. It’s especially bad that each girl has a short scene explaining why they’re fucked in the head, but it just comes out of no where and seemed really random.

            That and the main character is so freaking whiny. I don’t think I’ve ever had a character annoy me so much; Emiya Shirou included. Still, he had some novelty to him in that it was a bit fun to see a character so socially inept and in his own delusional 2D world.

            It’s a shame I didn’t get to play the visual novel first; I’m one that believes they’re almost always better than their anime counterparts. But with the mess that I feel the Chaos;Head anime is, I doubt I could stomach working my way through the visual novel.

        • Tier says:

          That’s the one. Seeing the colored versions of both pillowcases, I think I like the Charlotte one a bit more. If I get one, that’ll probably be the one I roll with.

          • Wrathkal says:

            Yeah, I finally saw the full version of the Charlotte one.

            Compared to this, it’s a hell lot better (and not just because it’s ero)
            http://www.geocities.jp/konekonoashiato/

          • Tier says:

            Yeah, I’m thinking really hard about picking up the Charlotte one now. I think preorders have opened up on their website. I may wait till it shows up on White Canvas or Doujindou, though.

            Hmm … that’s actually fortuitous that you linked that; a commenter here was looking around for a non-ero Charlotte pillowcase. Thanks for linking that one.

  2. Razor Ramon AKA Hard Gay says:

    Damn. What’s with the backside? The ass does not match the girl D: although it isn’t bad it’s just a little disturbing. It may have something to deal with the strap near that area that’s forcing the fat into that one area >.> Although that expression is really nice compared to the front side’s face. Everything else about that dakimakura is really good, just that one gripe. By the way, she’s in the middle stage of pregnancy on the first side? Really? How can you even tell from just looking at her?

    Dakimakura’s are a pain with the sample images or limited images. You don’t actually get to see the quality unless you buy it which brings up my question: Is this worth it? http://img.toranoana.jp/popup_img18/04/0010/23/19/040010231904-1p.jpg I’m a bit reluctant because of the back side’s hand it seems weirdly drawn and the fact that It’s four fingers. However, If I do get it, I’ll just pretend the pinky is tucked under. Now, would any of you guys buy this dakimakura? I want some of Saeko from High School of the Dead, but this is the only one I can find.

    • Shashin says:

      It’s entirely up to you how much you like the artwork; I’m a lot more forgiving than Tier when it comes to minor mistakes as I don’t tend to notice them. You’re right on that one though: now that you brought it to my attention, it really does look like she’s four-fingered. As for if I would purchase it, I seriously considered it, however the high price for the material turned me off. I liked the art well enough, and really wanted a Saeko cover too, but I always strive for 2-way tricot if at all possible, and I believe that’s only available in SK or Suede (don’t remember which.)

      I think I’ve seen maybe three Saeko covers total; the other two are linked here:

      http://cakemoon.blog74.fc2.com/blog-entry-18.html
      http://www.moejinja.com/view.php?tid=135&cid=2

      Unfortunately, neither are available on YHJ (the ones listed for the second entry appear to be fakes with their low price and 150 x 50 size.) They may still be available on sites such as D-Stage, though. I honestly couldn’t say as I’ve been doing my best to steer clear of browsing sites on a regular basis as I can’t afford it (and I definitely would have purchased the first link by now, if not the second too.)

    • Tier says:

      Nah, she’s not pregnant on either side, but there’s a doujinshi that Makino Jimusho made that shows her in a pregnant state while wearing that bondage outfit. I was hoping she wouldn’t be pregnant on the reverse side of this pillowcase, since I didn’t know what it looked like before I paid for it.

      Yeah, more definition in her ass would be nice. The artist draws curvy, full-figured girls but for some reason he drew her pretty flat here.

      If anyone asked me if a dakimakura cover is worth it, I’d frankly say no; you’re paying around $150 or more for a pillowcase. For me, though, I like the novelty of collecting them and seeing the illustrations in such a huge size. I view them as part of a hobby rather than being household goods. Given the price and the popular perception of them, I think dakimakura are the sort of things where you know right away whether you really want them or not.

      My first impression was that she has a fat index finger rather than a missing pinky, so I think she looks okay from an anatomical perspective. As Shashin points out, there are a couple of other options for Saeko as well, though the Cakemoon one seems to not be up for preorder just yet.

      • Razor Ramon AKA Hard Gay says:

        Thank you both for your replies! Dakimakuras seem a bit iffy with me. I’m tight on money and im choosing between a dakimakura, 2 figures of the same type, or some random stuff. >.> By the way, out of all 3 dakimakuras of Saeko shown, which one would you guys prefer?

        • Shashin says:

          No worries at all, dakimakura covers have quickly become an area I’m more than comfortable with, and I more than enjoy talking with others on the matter.

          They are a bit hard to get into, though. As Tier said, once you have one it can quickly lead the door to another one or hundred… They certainly do have a bit of an inflated price, but that does seem to be the case with a lot of Japanese hobby goods. Still, if you’re on the fence, you’d probably be better off with the two figures.

          Personally, it would be between the two I linked. I have a few Cakemoon covers, and they’re all wonderful. I really like the two positions she’s in and the facial expressions. The other has a lot going for it too, and I’m definitely partial to a cover that has a backside shot. I do like the illustration on the cover you linked, especially the two facial expressions, but material of the cover is often one of the biggest buying factors for me, unless I absolutely love the illustration. The colors of the other two are also a bit more unique, which I like.

        • Tier says:

          I think I like the Cakemoon one best. The Moe Jinja one is nice but doesn’t seem to capture Saeko’s personality. At least, I’ve heard Saeko is a confident, mature sadist rather than someone who gets embarrassed easily.

          • Razor Ramon AKA Hard Gay says:

            One quick question I forgot to mention, how do you guys know where to find dakimakuras of specific characters? I’m interested in looking up some for bleach characters if there are any. I’ve seen that dakimakura blog posted a bit back, d-stage, doujin-dou,white canvas. Are there any other sources or do you guys just use those? Thank you!

          • Shashin says:

            Yahoo Japan is without a doubt the best source for dakimakura covers, with Mandarake probably a close second, though their product selection is fairly random. The dakimakura blog is great for looking up covers of a certain character, to see if there are any you like, then finding one by circle or however. Haven’t used White Canvas myself, but D-Stage/Doujindou have a large selection of covers that have yet to be released, and are usually preorders; they tend to carry a wide selection, but don’t carry some of the smaller/more explicit circles.

            How you go about finding a particular character/series is googling the character/series, getting the Japanese name, and entering it into your preferred site (I’d really suggest Yahoo Auctions) along with 抱き枕. If there’s currently any listed, you should get a few hits; this can be done on D-Stage, Mandarake, Doujindou, and even the dakimakura blog (though you can drop 抱き枕 and just use the character name here.)

          • Razor Ramon AKA Hard Gay says:

            hahaha I just noticed something on that cakemoon dakimakura. If you look closely on the left hand of the right side of the image, you’d see that the 3rd finger does not connect with the 3rd socket. It seems that there’s an extra finger or it was misplaced. That hand is bothersome D: and makes it look weird although you’d have to look closely to notice it. From a first view, it looks fine.

          • Tier says:

            Hmm, yeah, it does look a bit strange. An unfortunate thing, that.

  3. Ashlotte says:

    If only Hentai Anime was animated as good as her scene was… T_T

    Shame they didn’t put a chain on her cuffs and connect it to her collar…The pose seems to be perfect for it?!? Spreader bar for the ankles on the backside would have been welcome too…bah.

    • Tier says:

      I’d like chains on the picture, too. Maybe a leash. And a ballgag. Maybe a mask, too. This all reminds me that I have to build some accessories for my big-ass doll.

  4. Tian says:

    There is indeed a way to map a texture onto an image with Photoshop. I believe the tool is called “Displace” and you need a grayscale image to act as a height map for the texture to be displaced.

    The image of the back side bothers me. It’s like someone cut off her legs below the butt, and replaced them with legs from a skinnier girl. Either that or the poor girl’s stuffed into lingerie many sizes too small, and she’s going to lose blood flow to those limbs.

    • Tier says:

      Yeah, the artist’s anatomy can be shaky; he also sometimes draws really large heads and sometimes compresses torsos so that it doesn’t look like a character has a stomach. I still like his art, though.

  5. Tier says:

    >> Shashin
    It’s a really fun show, though the plotline is absolutely ludicrous. In fact, you could make a decent argument that there is no plot at all. The lead guy is likable though, which is a nice change from all the simpering wimps that populate way too many anime. The female characters are also appealing. I enjoyed it a lot, and I think it’s a show I wouldn’t mind watching again (which would be odd for me, because I seldom re-watch anime).

    Haha, I know exactly what you are talking about. Those shorts are awesome. I know that anime has a strong tradition of doujin goods, but I kinda wonder what the makers of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha think when they see their characters printed on a pair of underwear.

    Yeah, I heard the Chaos;head anime is terrible. I reviewed Orchid Seed’s Seira Orgel a while back and I don’t think anyone said a single good thing about the television show. That’s a pity, since some of the female character designs are pretty cute, but it’s also not much of a surprise, given how much bad anime there is.

    • Shashin says:

      Although I do prefer shows that have a main story that goes through the series, I’m willing to try things that don’t (and most shows these days don’t follow a larger story anyway) so I’ll definitely take your recommendation and give it a try. Glad to know the characters are decent. Not sure what I’ll watch next, but this will be in the running for sure.

      Hell, I know there has probably been some anime characters gracing underwear; we even have that in America (I personally have a pair of Spongebob boxers, I think), but the facial expression and hand positioning on these boxers is just too damn good. I’m so very tempted to pick up a pair, even if they don’t fit.

      Heh, I actually remember reading that review now that you mentioned it. For whatever reason it just didn’t click and I didn’t make the connection. I remember I almost posted on the review because of the cool lighting, but I knew nothing about the character and the star pasties protecting her modesty kept me from having anything dirty to say. Yeah, the best thing the show had going for it were the female character designs. But seriously, the anime was a steaming pile of crap that I have no idea why I continued watching all the way through.

      • Tier says:

        It kinda has a story. Sort of. It starts out as a typical school show where the lead guy has to deal with a bunch of girls. Then it becomes something else.

        I’m looking for something to watch now and I don’t have a lot of ideas. I watched the first episode of X-Men and it wasn’t that great. The characters were familiar but I don’t remember there being this much angst and emo in the comic books. I heard Steins;gate is kinda talky and I don’t feel like watching a slow-paced pretentious anime right now. I should probably wrap up watching Seikon no Qwaser since the sequel is supposed to be airing. I kinda want to give Freezing another chance but the first episode was so dumb that I can’t imagine it getting much better. I did recently find my Gunsmith Cats and Burn Up Scramble DVDs so maybe I’ll just watch those instead. I might also just watch more hentai. I watched Shoujo Senki Brain Jacker recently and it was as awesome as I hoped.

        • Shashin says:

          I’ll definitely check it out soon, then. Was switching to some gaming over the weekend until I decide what I want to watch next.

          Just started my first hour or two with the PSP version of Lunar, and I’m fairly disappointed so far. I loved the game on PS, because while the story wasn’t anything special, it was a fairly cool RPG with great boss fights. Biggest improvement so far is that the sprites are no longer squashed, but actually appear to be human now. Worst thing, and the source of my disappointment, is that the random battles are an absolute cakewalk and healing items are aplenty. I remember on the PS version I actually died in the first dungeon once or twice because I was careless or caught a battle immediately after I finished one. There’s absolutely no challenge in the random battles on the PSP version.

          There’s a handful of shows I’m interested in this season, but at best I’m going to wait until most of the episodes have aired, or at worst, until DVDs are out for the more fan servicey shows. But I’m sure there’s plenty of shows I still need to watch from the least 5-6 seasons. I’m not even halfway through Qwaser, but I’ve lost exactly which episode I’m on. Same with Sora no Otoshimono. And I have a couple other series downloaded that I haven’t even cracked open yet. None of them are really catching my eye, though. I might just end up watching GTO again, or something.

          Heh, I was just skipping through it today.

          • Tier says:

            Man, it’s been nearly twenty years since I played Lunar. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I played it on the Sega CD and I was really impressed by it but I think if I played that version again, I’m not sure if I’d feel the same way. Part of that is because the high-tech shine is long gone but it’s mostly due to Working Designs’s translation, which was funny the first time around but got annoying in Eternal Blue and I’m pretty sure it’d piss me off now. And that sort of random fighting is also pretty annoying; I don’t mind having to circle-walk to get into fights to grind experience points but I hate wasting time fighting weak enemies. One of the reasons I stopped playing Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne is because I was tired of fighting low-level monsters in the town zones.

          • Shashin says:

            Yeah, I was thinking about the game, and how crazy it is that it has been out over 20 years now. Despite the crappy translation and obvious graphical inferiority, I’d say it has held up fairly well as far as RPG mechanics go. Except for the lack of challenge in the PSP version…

            Before I picked up the PSP version, I actually dusted off my PSone (or maybe I used the PS2) and tried to play it on my 46″ tv. I didn’t make it very far, as it did not scale well on the screen at all.

            Heh, my reason for quitting Nocturne is every pettier. I was digging the fighting system and all (even though some aspects had been done better in the more recent SMT games before I got to play Nocturne.) But I just couldn’t stand the overmap representation; watching the little gender peg move was a bit insulting to me, for some reason.

            So, I’ve finally signed up for a new Twitter account; I’ve never really liked the service, but I had an account probably 2-3 years ago just to say I had one… it quickly became dusty. Still not fond of it, but I wanted to follow IG_Naka for updates, and I figure an account would be helpful if I ever get around to making my dakimakura website. It was fairly funny though, I did a search for dakimakura, and the first account I found was following you.

  6. Tier says:

    I’m still meaning to go back and play Nocturne one of these days. I haven’t ever beaten any of the Shin Megami Tensei games (I’m told that Persona doesn’t really belong to that line) and I’ve still got Digital Devil Saga here, too. I like playing quirky, offbeat RPGs and the SMT games seem to be the very definition of that.

    Haha, I thought that was you. I looked up your profile and saw you were following Illust Guerrilla, and I know only one person who’s into their pillowcases enough to seek them out and follow them. It’s kinda funny; on this website, I talk mostly about figures and pillowcases. On Twitter, most of the people I talk to are into dolls. There’s not actually much convergence between the groups so it’s like taking up completely different hobbies, even though they basically derive from the same sources.

  7. Shashin says:

    Yeah, I’d like to go back and play it someday, but there’s just too many games in my backlog as it is. And I’m constantly looking for something new to watch/play, so I often forget the old games I have. I used to pick up a ton of used PS2 games when they were on sale; half of which I haven’t even touched yet. My greatest offense is probably the copy of Dragon Quest VIII I picked up a week after release for $10 new (due to a misprint and the wonders of price matching), which I’m pretty sure it still sealed. Maybe I opened it up for the Final Fantasy demo, but I definitely haven’t played the main game.

    I wanted to pick up the Digital Devil Saga games, but I didn’t want to when they were new for whatever reason, as as they only saw a limited run, they were quite expensive for the longest time. I guess if we were to talk the SMT series, I’ve play Persona 3/4 (but they don’t count), Devil Survivor (a really enjoyable DS game, but fairly easy), and Strange Journey (another DS game.) I couldn’t really get into Strange Journey, as I’ve never really been into the old school dungeon exploration genre (similar to Raidy), but the battles mechanics were pretty similar to the other games.

    Heh, yeah. I actually signed up for Twitter almost explicitly to follow them. I was browsing their website as I was wondering what the deal with the Nymph cover (which was supposed to release in February was), and I Google translated a lot of comments on their main page that basically were like “we want our money back” “I don’t trust this circle anymore” and so on. At least, that’s what the translation led to, I could be entirely wrong, but it wouldn’t surprise me given there have been few updates and it’s two months late. I basically wanted to sign up so I could say that I appreciate their work and maybe that I trust that they’re doing the best they can with the current situation. But I wasn’t sure if I should try to Google Translate it and leave them horribly confused with bad Japanese, or leave the comment in English with probably the same reaction. Either way, I don’t want to offend them, so I’ve held off thus far.

    It’s pretty crazy how big dakimakura covers have become on your site; looking at your first set of reviews, you have maybe 4-10 comments a piece, and then it just suddenly jumped up to 50ish. I know I spam them a lot, but it’s still a fairly impressive increase over a relatively short period of time.

    I personally can appreciate all aspects of the hobby, even if I only choose to focus on one or two. I’m not sure I’ll even buy a doll myself, as it would be hard to justify missing out on 2 (expensive) – 5 covers, but I still really like a lot of the photos I see around, your fetish laced ones especially.

    I was actually browsing through Mandarake to get a fairly big doujinshi order ready sometime in the new future, as I feel I’ve moved a bit too far from it… and for the cost of 1-2 dakimakura covers (which I no longer consider much >_>) I could probably get close to 100. Unfortunately, Mandarake posted on their webpage recently that they’ll no longer take Paypal for adult goods; I hope it’s just to deter Paypal similar to Hobby Search, but if they just made the switch it’s a bit unlikely. I would actually prefer paying with credit card, as my company tends to give me a rate very close to the actual going rate, but I swear I’ve had a problem with them double charging me. I guess I’ll just completely pay down my credit card, and then make an order while trying not to put anything else on it; it would make it quite a bit easier to see if I’m just fucking crazy, or there’s really something to it.

    • Tier says:

      I still have a few sealed games as well. I think my copy of Metal Arms on the Xbox is still sealed, and I think I own a copy of Advent Rising, which would still be sealed. I justify this by saying I collect video games, which is true; I’m still building up my collection of obscure RPGs.

      That does not sound promising at all on the part of Illust Guerrilla. I hope they are able to get their products out; I buy a ton of stuff based off of trust and I haven’t yet had a bad experience with a Japanese doujin circle, so I sorta take for granted that if it gets listed on a website, it’s going to get made.

      I think most of those comments on my dakimakura cover reviews are from you and me XD I’ve definitely been surprised that there’s a level of interest in them, though, and I notice that it’s often different people than the people who write notes on my figure reviews.

      Yeah, I like to think I’m into a little bit of everything (except nendoroids, obviously). I’m going to review a few action figures soon; I’ve gotten a couple of Figmas recently and I have this Nanoha actsta lying on my desk waiting to be photographed. I’m not really sure how much I want to diversify this site but hey, this is very much a personal website rather than a commercial one so I don’t think it’ll be too jarring if I branch out some.

      I didn’t notice Mandarake updated their front page, but that would explain why I ordered something from their Umeda store a few weeks ago and they asked me to pay by credit card instead. I did order some explicit doujinshi from the Nakano store at around the same time and they accepted Paypal, so I’m guessing it’s not a rigid policy. Incidentally, the Nakano store has really great customer service; they sent me an incorrect item and I asked if I could exchange it, and they reimbursed me for the return shipping and sent my new item via EMS. I think they must’ve lost like $60 or so just to get me my doll boots and they were very cordial and accommodating through the whole process.

      • Shashin says:

        I wouldn’t consider myself a video game collector, I guess. Though I do like the idea of picking up some old school items if ever given the chance; I’d love to have a Saturn, more Dreamcast games, and even a couple Neo Geo cartridges if I could ever get a deal… I usually only pick up a game if I have an interest in it; the interest could be small, but if it has something going for it I’ll pick it up (could be supporting a developer, cool purchase bonuses, actually wanting to play it… and so on.)

        Eh, I wasn’t worried. I remember they had a massive gap between some of their covers last year, and you and I were starting to wonder what the deal was; and they out of no where they added like 3 new items. Granted they were set to ship in February, so it doesn’t apply as much, I could understand the Earthquake having an effect on communication since then. I just got an email from their mailing list this morning, and it appears things are back on schedule, I think. The newsletter keeps mentioning something about an ISP and a couple of their tweets have too, so I have no idea what’s going on there.

        Generally speaking though, I have a tremendous amount of trust for any legit doujin circle with a decent amount of work out. If most of them offered to ship directly, as crazy as this sounds, I’d likely have more trust in them than I would J-List or another similar service. Being a smaller entity, they’d probably realize that screwing someone over or being untimely could hurt their business (even if it’s a lousy foreigner) and there’s absolutely no chance of the goods being fake.

        Yeah, I didn’t want to boast too much in my initial comment. :P But there has been a somewhat steady increase in the number of new users coming to post on the dakimakura covers, and it seems that once they post on one, they usually seem to stick around and comment on newer ones or maybe even branch off into figure reviews.

        I don’t really like the look of Nendoroids, but I have to admit that the whole blind box thing (not just exclusive to them, I think) is very appealing to me. I really like collecting things, and the random chance of getting something is always fun. It’s the main reason I was ever into trading cards; there was seriously nothing more thrilling than opening up a pack and seeing what you got, especially if you got something good. Other than that, at this point I’m keeping an eye on everything else, but I think the only things I’ll be buying are doujinshi and dakimakura covers for awhile. I’m actually regretting my AmiAmi order combination a bit; on a whim I combined the last Yosuga no Sora BD with my Dizzy preorder… don’t really want the expensive disk anymore, but I really want Dizzy which is sold out just about everywhere else…

        That’s good then, and I can also see the situation. I imagine Nakano is one of their bigger stores, and probably the only one with a good English speaker. I have no idea, but I’d guess their English product updates and the like come from there. Other stores would probably adhere to the rules strictly, while they might be a bit more lax. I agree with you though, I’ve dealt with them quite a bit over the last year, and every single transaction has been more than pleasant.

        The only strange service instance was when they used to have something along the lines of “If you’re ever searching for anything that’s sold out/whatever, please send us a line!” I replied asking about two sold out dakimakura covers that were listed only on their Japanese page, and they basically said that as they’re a second hand business, they really can’t do anything about it. It threw me off a bit, but is completely understandable; I imagine even with the rare doujinshi, they’d probably get it in more often than a specific dakimakura cover, or would be able to order some of them at best. Still, it was a bit strange considering they posted it on their webpage that they’d be more than happy to look out for products. Other than that, every experience with them has been an absolute pleasure.

        • Tier says:

          I really enjoy collecting games, even if I have no intention of playing them. I’m still thinking about picking up Xenosaga III to complete my collection of that series. I’ve heard it’s also a pretty good game in its own right but I can’t stomach the first game and I heard the second game isn’t great either, so I doubt I’d ever get to it. I also have Xenogears lying somewhere around here, which I paid way too much money for a used copy.

          Ah well, that’s good, then. Hopefully they just got knocked off-schedule. I’m sure they’ve got day jobs or something that probably take priority in life.

          Yeah, that’s the reason I really liked collecting cards. I think it’s also a reason why I played games like Diablo and Everquest and World of Warcraft; you never knew what sort of loot you were going to get off of a dead mob. Of course, I hear a lot of the loot in Warcraft is token-based so I guess my sentiment must be in the minority.

          I haven’t yet asked Mandarake to look for something but that is indeed a curious response. I haven’t yet asked them to look for anything in particular since as it is, their stock is already full of stuff I want to buy and I’m trying to save a little bit of money here.

  8. Shashin says:

    Yeah, I enjoy buying new games, and seem to accumulate them, but I just don’t think I’d call myself a collector. I still haven’t played Xenosaga myself; remember playing a bit of it in a game store and thought it was pretty cool, but they limited play to 5 minutes per person, didn’t have a memory card, and reset the console every night… so all I saw of the game was the basic tutorial-ish stuff. Not exactly the most exciting bit of game to be seeing.

    Yep, hopefully it will ship out soon. Will request SMJ to ship that cover and my Twins cover at the same time for double the goodness. Now that you mention them having another job, I really wonder how much money these circles makes; I know people like Tony and such are probably able to live entirely off their works, but I guess the average dakimakura artist doesn’t have that luxury… although with the prices of some of these covers, some might. I just don’t imagine they sell enough of them to live, but I could be wrong.

    I have many fond memories of the Diablo games, and I’m partial to just about any game with a random drop feature implemented. That’s definitely one change I didn’t really care for in WoW; sure, the tokens make more sense in a large raid when you may not have a particular class along (though it still happened with certain tokens), but it takes a good deal of fun out of it, as well. I’m probably with you in the minority, though – I bet most view it as a favorable change.

    Speaking of Mandarake, I just put in two doujinshi orders; one with Nakano and one with Sawara. Nakano always has an amazing selection, but Sawara was kind of a random pick I guess. I was just going through some of my bookmarks and I had a lot of doujinshi bookmarked from their store that I never picked up. Basically organized my Chrome bookmarks into folders for the different stores (Fukuoka too, as that’s another store I order from frequently) and then hid the sold out items and went through the 20-40 pages (at 100 per page) for Nakano/Sawara. Ended up with 51 for Sawara and 31 for Nakano; both clocking in at around the same pre shipping price -most of the Nakano items were in the 600-1500 range.

    Didn’t really have any specific titles I wanted to pick out this time, other than an Ishikei release I didn’t have already. Just a bunch of doujinshi from different circles/series I like, and then whatever else that had a cool cover I came across while browsing.

    • Tier says:

      I vaguely recall reading somewhere that doujinshi publishers tend not to make much money off their stuff; the cost of creating their stuff and attending Comiket and other conventions chopped their profits down considerably. I’m sure dakimakura cover makers are in a similar situation since their sales volume will certainly be far smaller.

      That’s going to be quite a haul from both stores. I’ve been flipping through Mandarake looking for any old figures that I might want and I’ve come across a few doujinshi I want to buy. I’m going to wait until I can find a bunch that I want though, so I can save on shipping by not having to place multiple orders.

      • Shashin says:

        Yeah, that’s true; I could definitely see it with doujinshi and I haven’t even the slightest idea of how many dakimakura covers that an illustrator will sell directly (and I’m sure it varies wildly by circle popularity.)

        I was celebrating earlier today when my shipping bill for Nakano came in at 2400 yen; I thought that was amazingly cheap for EMS and thought that maybe I had been buying figures for so long that I forgot how expensive they were to ship. Then I got the Sawara bill and it was 10400 yen. At first I thought I had passed the shipping threshold that we had previously discussed (I think), where smaller packages will be relatively cheap, but then once you add a heavy box to the matter, things spike up a lot before evening out again. Then I double checked, and Nakano decided to switch to DHL because the EMS bill would have clocked in at 7400. They said to email if I still want to do EMS, but I’m thinking it’s already going to be close to $700ish for the two orders combined, so I’m wondering if I should give DHL a chance and how long it would take.

        So not really on topic to your second point there, but it can be a bit. If you’re just bookmarking stuff over time, there’s a great risk that stuff will sell out before you get a chance to pick it up; I know I’ve experienced with both dakimakura covers and doujinshi on Mandarake. And more on topic, it may actually be cheaper to find the EMS sweet spot in small batches of orders. Definitely over 5000 yen to avoid the shipping surcharge, but maybe 10-20 doujinshi so they can fit it all into one of their envelopes instead of the bulky box.

        • Tier says:

          I don’t use DHL to have my stuff shipped often but I do have a funny story about them. I ordered something from Amazon JP about a month ago and to my surprise they shipped it via DHL instead of Fedex International. I got my tracking number and saw one update say that my stuff had arrived at Reagan National, so I was happy that I’d get my stuff soon. Then the next update indicated there was a delivery problem and that I should contact them. Complicating things slightly was the fact that they don’t actually give you a contact method on the tracking page. I found their phone number and called up one of their CSRs, and the guy explained the driver couldn’t find my address, which was hilarious, since I live in an easily-accessible upper-middle-class DC suburb. I (somewhat condescendingly) asked the CSR if this driver had access to Google Maps, since it could give him very precise and easy-to-understand steps to get to my address. The CSR said that he did not and asked me to give him directions that he could relay to the driver. Appalled, I obliged him, starting with getting on I-95, which I assumed he could find, being that that road only runs down the entire east coast of the United States. When I got home from work a few hours after talking with the DHL guy, I found my package already delivered, so I’m guessing the driver was just lazy as hell and didn’t want to deliver my stuff until the afternoon.

          Yeah, I might be better off making smaller orders. I once ordered eleven doujinshi and the shipping bill came out to 4,700 yen though, so it appears EMS is going to be expensive either way.

          • Shashin says:

            Heh, hopefully I won’t have a similar experience. I just moved to the southern side of Las Vegas, which is a nice area but is still pretty low on infrastructure and amenities; everything was being built in 2007, but the recession hit Vegas hard and now there’s shit loads of abandoned office buildings and such. Still a very nice area, but some of the roads are still fairly underdeveloped and the last time I checked Google Street View, my house was still being built with the images they had. So hopefully they’ll be quick and not retarded.

            I just got the two shipping notices now. In the end I couldn’t justify paying an extra $60 just for the guarantee that I’ll have both of my orders sometime next week. The bigger order is coming through EMS, so hopefully I’ll get it around Wednesday or something, which will be more than enough to hold me off for a few days. Just hope that it’s not held up in customs for an extra long period of time; even to this day whenever I order doujinshi/dakimakura/eroge, I always have a bit of wariness when I see it’s in customs.

            Ouch,that sucks. It really is the matter of finding the sweet spot, I guess – which is really hard to tell without knowing what they’ll be shipping in and how much each of your items weighs. Guess it’s just a lot of luck. I think EMS prices have increased a bit in the last few months, but I can’t say for sure.

  9. Tier says:

    I’m sure oil prices haven’t helped international shipping expenses. Books always seem to be expensive to ship, which I’m sure isn’t surprising. It doesn’t seem like doujinshi should weigh much but I moved a bunch of old game magazines out of my closet this weekend and they were heavy as hell.

    A friend of mine used to live around Vegas and he mentioned that the area was having a tough time as far as jobs go. He recently moved away when he got a new job and I don’t think he was too unhappy to leave Vegas behind.

    Thanks for the heads up on the pillowcase, by the way. I’m holding off on it now since there’s a few other pillowcases I’m thinking about picking up but I appreciate the notice.

  10. Shashin says:

    Doujinshi alone aren’t that heavy but when you’re moving 20-100 of them, I guess I can see it adding up. Same magazines; I actually made a gross error of packing all of my magazines into 3 differently sized boxes. All were heavy, but it was the large packing box that really wouldn’t budge. I just said fuck it in the end and used the dolly for it.

    I’m still young and my family is here, so it will probably be a few years at least before I leave. That and I may as well go to school here; ranked worst in the nation but it’s cheap and I haven’t exactly decided what I’ll be doing yet anyway. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life here though. The town really sucks, offers absolutely nothing for its residents, and 120 degree summers are not pleasant.

    Heh, wasn’t sure if you would see that. I’m still grossly uninformed when it comes to Twitter, I had tried sending a direct message first but couldn’t. I didn’t even realize the cover was SK when I sent the message to you, but looking back it’s still a relatively good deal. Obviously I know you like Illust Guerrilla to an extent, but I also thought you were a Sheryl Nome fan too, so I felt obligated to inform. Hopefully it will be there for you later if you decide to buy it.

    On one hand, I really hate how dakimakura updates on Mandarake don’t really happen too often, but when they do it always come in a sexy bunch. Some of the better deals were already sold out by the time I checked for the day, including the C.C. cover I paid 20000 yen for. I did manage to snag the あんこ工房 Mikuru cover, which should be a good buy, even if it ends up being SK over 2WT (didn’t see it listed.) I’ve seen it listed a few times on YHJ, and it’s always ridiculously expensive; currently listed for 50000 yen buyout, so I couldn’t resist. And didn’t dare take the chance of waiting and picking it up later.

    So, I started watching Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou earlier today… and finished it. >_> I thought the first episode was done really well, and it just kinda sucked me in. Thanks for the recommendation. The series was fun throughout… the last few episodes were a bit strange, but it was still fairly awesome. I don’t think there was a female character I disliked aesthetically, and I liked all of the main female characters (favorites would probably be Korone, Fujiko, and the student council president.) Was a pleasant watch, and for some reason it really reminds me of Big Bang Age, so I’m going to start playing that again.

    • Tier says:

      My friend suggested Vegas was strictly a tourist town and not a great place to live. He didn’t mind the sun and warmth though, since he comes from around Chicago. I’m pretty comfortable in Virginia and i haven’t ever really thought about moving even though the traffic blows, it’s expensive as hell to live around here, and the weather is either too cold during the winter or too hot the rest of the year. I have a pretty conservative lifestyle, I don’t really like big disruptive changes all that much.

      Haha, I watched Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou over a couple of days, which is pretty fast for me. I don’t quite understand what happened at the end but I still enjoyed it a lot. I’m looking forward to Junko’s figure, whenever Tokyo Hunter gets it in stock.

  11. Shashin says:

    Honestly, I’m not even sure if I’d really recommend it as a tourist destination for most people. It’s great if you want to gamble and catch a show or two, but there’s really not much past that. Best part is probably the cheap and amazing variety of food. I think that’s one thing I probably take for granted; I’m sure if I moved to another relatively large city they’d have a decent amount of ethnic variety, but I doubt I could say the same if I moved to a smaller area.

    If given the time and availability, I really do like to watch a series in as few sitting as possible… if I really like it anyway. I enjoyed the episodes of Sora no Otoshimono I watched, but for whatever reason I could only watch an episode or two at a time.

    Hmm, DHL might seriously be a contender for future Mandarake orders, depending how it plays out from here. The tracking number showed that it shipped about a day later than my EMS package. It arrived in LA about 11 PM last night, and apparently cleared customs/departed LA at 1:30 this morning. If I somehow manage to get my package today, I’ll be impressed.

    • Tier says:

      That’s one thing I miss about living in a city. Heck, that’s something I miss about living in a college town. Admittedly, I guess you can find most sorts of food in northern Virginia, you just have to drive half an hour to get it. Back when I was in school, there was this cheap Chinese takeout place about a 90 second walk from my front door and an awesome fried chicken shack maybe a 160 second walk away. I really do miss that.

      • Shashin says:

        Pretty much. There’s a great little place half a block away from my campus that has a Korean, Mediterranean, and sandwich place all in a small area. As well as a few fast food options about as close. Overall, Vegas doesn’t have any absolutely outstanding cuisine, but we have a bit of everything and there are some gems. Plus the mass of hotel buffets are ridiculously cheap and make it easy to gorge yourself on fast food quality food or better (some buffets are really terrible, while others are actually of quality.)

        DHL actually delivered my package yesterday. I’m thinking that I’ll try to order my doujinshi from Nakano in the future. My other order is still sitting in customs now, and as whenever ordering doujinshi, I’m a little worried.

        • Tier says:

          Ah, that’s good, at least DHL can get stuff right once in a while. I’m probably going to be ordering some stuff from Mandarake soon and all things considered, I’d still rather roll with standard EMS; I’ve always gotten good service from the USPS, even though I whine about them every now and then.

          I hope you get your stuff okay, and I’m guessing they’re just being slow about it or something. Nobody wants to go out like Handley, that’s for sure.

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