So Cute It Hurts 5

Is already out.

Volume 15 (the last volume) came with a color illustration card.

The text says “Thank you for your support until So Cute was completed. Do read my new series “Sekai wa Nakajima ni Koi wo Suru”. Volume 1 is scheduled come out in April.

SoCute Last Episode Book

Sho-Comi magazine’s last So Cute It Hurts!! mail-order item was the “Last episode book set”. This item was limited to 1000 sets, but I managed to win the email lottery.

The booklet includes a novel featuring Mego and Aoi’s honeymoon and a reunion with all the main characters 10 years later. Rough sketches of the last episode are included as well.

The set also came with 20 color illustrations printed on photo paper and a photo album.

Seppuku Monaka

This being December, here’s an entry related to the 47 ronin.
(The 47 ronin stormed Lord Kira’s residence to avenge their lord on Dec. 14.)

Lord Asano was ordered to commit harakiri at the residence of Lord Tamura. The Japanese sweets store “Shinshodo” now does business where the residence once stood.

Shinshodo’s most famous sweets is this “Seppuku Monaka”:

There’s so much red bean paste filling that it’s spilling out from the wafers.

This sweets have been voted the “best apology gift”, and is popular among business people who need to go apologize to their clients.

A box of 12 dry sweets is also available this season, with each sweets representing an act in the kabuki version of the story.

Kyoto Subway Collab Posters

The “Let’s ride the subway” characters appear in various collab posters as well.

Here’s a 2014 poster made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nijo Castle being registered as a World Heritage site.

Another 2014 poster was a collab with the city zoo.

A collab with Kyoto Gakuen University began in this year. Sono Uzumasa is the official character of the university and was created to celebrate the opening of the Kyoto Uzumasa campus. Sono is Moe Uzumasa’s cousin.

Sono makes bus stop announcements in the shuttle that connects the Uzumasa campus and the Kameoka campus.

Here’s another 2015 collab with Kyoto Concert Hall, the venue for the 19th Autumn Kyoto Music Festival.

And of course a collab with the Kyoto International Manga museum. The new character is Miyu Karasuma, official character of the museum. She’s a junior in college who frequents the manga museum and classmate of Misa’s older brother.

Kyoto Subway Bishojo Posters

Kyoto subway began a “Let’s ride the subway” promotion using bishojo characters in 2013. The main character is Moe Uzumasa, a 2nd-year in senior high who rides the subway to her school. Her name comes from Uzumasa Tenjigangawa station.

Saki Matsugasaki lives near Matsugasaki station. She’s a childhood friend of Moe and is a member of the track club.

Misa Ono lives near Ono station. She’s another childhood friend of Moe and plays guitar in the k-on club.

Moe’s elder sister Rei appears in “the last train will run half an hour later than usual on Fridays” poster.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

I made my first visit to Fushimi Inari shrine during my Kyoto trip. Fushimi Inari is the head shrine of the 30,000 Inari shrines in Japan. The Inari kami was enshrined in this mountain in 711 AD and is the kami of abundant harvest, thriving business, well-being of one’s family, and wish fulfillment.

A black guardian fox sits next to the first torii. This fox is holding a golden rice stalk in its mouth. The rice stalk represents abundant harvest.

Beyond the second torii is the “Roumon”, a two-story gate with a roof.

The guardian fox on the right is holding an orb in its mouth. The orb represents the inari kami’s soul. Note that the black guardian fox above has a golden orb sitting on its tail.

Guardian foxes hold keys and scrolls in addition to rice stalks and orbs. The key unlocks the powers of the inari kami. The scrolls represent the inari kami’s words and is said to represent wisdom.

The two kanji inscribed on the base mean the guardian fox was dedicated to this shrine.

The famous “thousand torii” is a tunnel of torii donated by companies, associations and individuals. Donation for the smallest torii is 175,000 yen.

One of the last guardian foxes I saw had a real rice stalk tied around its neck:

These two kanji also mean that the guardian fox was dedicated to this shrine.

Keihan x Sound! Euphonium collab

When I went to Kyoto last week, I headed for Byodoin temple the first day. The Keihan line is doing a collab with Sound! Euphonium, and I found this panel at Rokujizo station (this is the closest station to their senior high):

Uji station had these panels on display, as Kumiko and Reina lives near here:

The panels will be on display until Dec. 27.

Pandora Hearts Mural

The Pandora Hearts mural Mochizuki-sensei drew for the manuscript exhibit in Kokura is on display at animate Shibuya until Nov. 20. The mural is 2m x 3m (6.6ft x 9.8ft):

Above the mural was a “Pandora Hearts is complete” illustration of Alice and Gil:

And a “Thank you for coming” illustration of rabbit-eared Oz.