Anime Angels: Original Character Artbook (アニメ 天使 ・イラスト 集)
Edited by: Bruce Hahne
Edition size: 50 signed & numbered hardcovers / 100 unsigned hardcovers / 850 softcovers
ISBN: 978-0-9839098-1-1 (hardcover) / 978-0-9839098-0-4 (softcover)
Layout by: Finni Chang
MSRP: $100.00 / $55.00 / $35.00
Pagecount: 104
Printed by: Signature Book Printing
Publisher: Maron Media LLC
Trim Size: 8.5" x 11"


RATING: Recommended

Review and Pictures by Me!

What's this? A new format for reviews?? Say it ain't so!

Yes, readers of this bleak and spartan site. It was "that time". I could either continue with the old, uninspired, and cookie-cutterish format or try something a bit afield of normal. I was never entirely happy with the old layout, but the right side of my brain is at least twice as small as my left, which means I don't have a creative bone in my body. Hence the dry formatting.

However, Anime Angels is a celebration of right-brainers, bursting with full-color illustrations from anime enthusiasts around the world. To that end, I will attempt to perform the mental gymnastics required to give this review the spark the book certainly deserves.

(Please note that Parka Blogs has also reviewed Anime Angels, which can be found HERE.)

 



Cover, Title Page, and Forward

Anime Angels (AA) showcases 68 extremely talented artists from 22 planet-spanning countries, including Romania, France, The Philippines, New Zealand, and, appropriately enough, Japan. AA also features pieces from more local homesteads, such as California, Colorado, Canada, and Maryland (see complete list of contributors below). A total of 94 illustrations are present, with all save one in eye-popping full process color. The majority are full bleed and there are two spanning spreads.

The hardcover is Smyth sewn with a standard image-on-boards technique. The interior pages are 80# gloss laminate, which is a somewhat thin paper stock, but still thick enough to not allow bleedthrough. A dustjacket was not commissioned. The softcover enjoyed a 2-pass run, with the first having a Smyth sewn binding and the second being glued. The first softcover edition uses 12-point C1S (coated 1 side), with the second 10-point C1S. Both softcovers have gloss laminate for their covers.

AA was first solicited through Kickstarter by its project creator, Bruce Hahne. Its initial goal was to raise $7,000, but a total of $8,027 was pledged by a multitude of backers. Both a signed & numbered hardcover, trade hardcover, and softcover were produced. In addition, six 5"x7" postcards, six 8"x10" prints, and three 11"x17" prints were also offered at varying funding levels, the highest being the "Archangel" tier at $100.

The Kickstarter campaign ended on March 19, 2012 and the book was published a few months thereafter. As of this review, both hardcover and softcover editions can still be purchased via the AA website, along with the postcards and prints. However, Bruce is planning to sell the remaining copies at upcoming conventions.

 

 

Pages 4 Thru 21

 

Pages 22 Thru 57

The level of dedication to the anime artform is amazing. The vast majority of inclusions look like they were produced by Japanese professionals, not simple fans of the medium. I suspect that, after this showcase of such blatant and runaway talent, some of these folks have received wonderfully unexpected emails and/or phone calls.

Bruce Hahne himself provided me and another online reviewer with background information on AA. Rather than paraphrase, I'll let Bruce speak for himself:

The story behind the artbook is that I wanted to do something to help a lot of talented anime artists to get their art seen in a physical book, so I started recruiting artists at Fanimecon 2011 (San Jose, California) and the project grew from there. We added a large number of international artists when Shi Yuan Kuang of the Mugeno artbook project invited his artists to participate in Anime Angels. After the art judges gave their opinions on the submissions, we ended up with 68 artists and nearly 100 artworks.

The cover is by Shilin Huang (ashen-ray.com), and the exterior and interior design and layout is by Finni Chang (finni.fourthewin.org). I did an offset print run of 1,000 books, so this is sort of a "boutique" artbook project.

The "Editor's Story" video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1YARY6O8C8 is a 3-minute compressed summary of the life of the project up to the point of the Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. As the video mentions, I did pay the artists up front for their contributions, which I believe is something not often done for collaborative artbooks like this.

So far the feedback from participating artists and the Kickstarter campaign supporters has been quite positive, so it's been fun to ship out the books and hear people's comments.

The special bundles available at www.AnimeAngelsBook.com are:

I can ship any of these bundles internationally. The softcover is also available on Amazon for U.S. shipping, though it doesn't ship with any bonus items.

It's been a fun, though occasionally very time-consuming, project to work on!

Bruce Hahne
Editor and artist cat-herder, Anime Angels project

Pages 58 Thru 67

Some additional information from Bruce:

Contributor's List

This information is primarily taken from the Artist Index appearing at the back of AA. The illustration citations appear on each respective page of the book.


Pages 68 & 69.

 


Pages 70 & 71.

 


Pages 72 & 73.

 


Pages 74 & 75.

 


Pages 76 & 77.

 


Pages 78 & 79.

 


Pages 80 & 81.

 


Pages 82 & 83.

 


Pages 84 & 85.

A-yuu: New Taipei City, Taiwan
Page 35, Inbetween

Ali, Javeria: Islamabad, Pakistan
Page 54, Whispering Hope

Ameiga Art: Littleton, Colorado
Page 17, Alchemic Cyber Angel

Aristizabal, Jennifer: ile-de-france, France
Page 63, Uniwinged

Bayou: Bandung, Indonesia
Pages 44 · 62, Chasing Angel · Angel's Nest

Brett, Ashleigh: Sacramento, California
Page 56, Guardian Angelfish

Bustos, Lucas: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pages 88-89, The True Angel

Cai, Erica: Wellington, New Zealand
Pages 9 · 73, Lonely Angels · Searching

Chang, Finni: San Diego, California
Page 69, Watchful Guardian

chasikrat: San Diego, California
Pages 34 & 39, Reflection · Night

Chen, Wesley: Las Vegas, Nevada
Page 59, Clipped Wings

Chong, Vania: Edmonton, Canada
Page 78 · 81, Of the Lands · Of the Skies

Cruz, Aileen: Pinole, California
Pages 26 · 72, Snow's Descent · Two Faced

deMesa, Cheryl Dulatre: American Canyon, California
Page 37, The Two Seasons

Dobbin, Claire Catherine: Paisley, Scotland
Page 45, Keeping a Promise

Filimon, Dan Adrian: Bucharest, Romania
Page 65, Temptation

Fong, Grace: Los Angeles, California
Page 46, Head to Heart

Golyshkina, Yana: Burnaby, Canada
Pages 19 · 50, Lost in the Night · Red Sky

Gallagher, Fred: Saline, Michigan
Page 11, Flying with Wings that Don't Work

Herst, Brittany: Thornton, Colorado
Page 14, Feathers

Hitsukuya: Mississauga, Canada
Pages 4 · 5 · 74 · 90 · 91, Piece of Heaven · Earth · Reach · Hell · Purgatory

Hunt, Laura: Tamworth, UK
Page 98, Mushroom Forest

Huang, Shilin: Richmond Hill, Canada
Cover, Angel in Green

Huynh, Christelle: Sevran, France
Pages 8 · 20 · 49, Lovely Tian Shi · Swan Princess · Beyond the Clouds

Ian, Dominic: Zamboanga City, Philippines
Page 82, Berserker

Karis, Umar Harris (qrullgx13): Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
Page 28, Ice of the Heavens

Kata: Oakland, California
Page 6, Star Way

Kim, Sekyoung: Ellicott City, Maryland
Page 77, Battle of Judgement

Kloss, Anita: Ostrowite, Poland
Page 33 · 93, Iris · Star Keeper

kompeiito: Saratoga, California
Page 21, Asobanai?

Kuang, Miao Yun: Brooklyn, New York
Page 42, Morning Ruffles

Ladre: Dallas, Texas
Page 79, Silver War Angel

Law, Claudia: San Jose, California
Pages 23 · 70, Teatime Angel · Bravado

Law, Vann: Melbourne, Australia
Page 36, Her Advent

Lee, Laine: San Jose California
Page 68, Destiny

Legaspi, Emille: Pagadian City, Philippines
Page 22, Circus Muse

Liersch, Kim: Wuppertal, Germany
Page 52, Monochrome

Lin, Bing: San Diego, California
Page 55, Daydreams in Spring

Liu, Cynthia: Toronto, Canada
Page 60, Mamorigami

Liu, Jennifer: Sunnyvale, California
Page 48, Birth of the Opposer

Lopez, Rosheine: Cavite, Philippines
Page 57, Birth of Nephilim

Low, Soon Yie: Wellington, New Zealand
Pages 35 · 53, Inbetween · Sacrosanct

Lowah: Mission Viejo, California
Pages 27 · 76, Joining of Spirits · Battle of Judgement

Lua, Fiona Amara: Quezon, Philippines
Page 64, New Friends

Luicien, Annabelle: North Shore New Zealand
Page 38, Angel's Lullaby

Mae de Leon, Kristine: Winnipeg, Canada
Page 75, Requiem for a Dream

McCoy, Jessica: San Jose, California
Pages 10 · 71, For Only Two · Cry Out

Migliaccio, Lujan: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Page 61, Prodigy

Nguyen, Bic Nhung Thi: Perth, Australia
Pages 35 · 67 · 84, Inbetween · Eternal Flame · Archangel

Nguyen, Julie: San Jose California
Page 15, Lady Luck

Nobu, Hazel: unknown, California
Pages 7 · 66, Dalia · Aden

Ogawa, Azusa: Tokyo, Japan
Pages 30 · 47, Flying Angel over City · Steampunk Angel

Paek, Soojin: Pomona, California
Page 58, Relieve

Paramastri, Vyori: Bandung, Indonesia
Page 92, Lighting the Stars

Pena, Melissa: Cupertino, California
Page 12 · 83, All Bunnies Go to Heaven · Fallen

Pisonero, Ines: Madrid, Spain
Page 87, Angels Fight

Sintunava, Pruch: Bangkok, Thailand
Pages 18 · 43, Painting for the Sky · Fishing Above the Cloud

Trautner, Marie: Berlin, Germany
Pages 29 · 31, Waiting for the Stars · Where the Angels Live

Twitch: Cupertino, California
Page 16 · 51, In the Orange Sky · World's End

Valentine, Alexia: Fairfield, California
Page 13, Protect Our World

Ventura, Christine: Tustin, California
Page 32, Cyber Angel

Vera, Rodrigo Gerardo Martinez: Maracaibo, Venezuela
Pages 24 · 25, Dawn Angel · Night Angel

Vong, Alfreda: Taipa, Macau
Page 86 · 96, Battle Angel · Guardian

Vong, Didia: St. Neots, United Kingdom
Page 85, Deceiver

Wade, Isha: San Diego, California
Page 41, The Apprentice

Wahab, Renny: Jakarta, Indonesia
Page 80, Guardian Angel

WIREKO: Svendborg, Denmark
Pages 94 · 95, Day · Night

Yun, Jessica: Fremont, California
Page 97, Waterside Contemplation


Pages 86 & 87.

 


Pages 88 & 89.

 


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Pages 100 & 101.

 


Pages 102 & 103.

 

Preorder Dedication Page

 

BONUS SECTION!
An Exclusive Interview With Bruce Hahne

While discussing the possibility of reviewing AA for Awful Books, I asked Bruce if he would answer a few questions related to its history and production along with the future of Maron Media. And this is what he had to say....

AWFUL BOOKS (AB): When you conceptualized a book devoted to showcasing fan-produced anime art, why were angelic images selected as the publication's main theme?

BRUCE HAHNE (BH): It was a combination of reasons. I knew that I wanted to have a clear unifying theme and not simply create a book of "random anime-style original character artwork". Within both the anime fan artist community and the broader anime fan community, winged and angel-like characters have been popular for decades, so I felt that going with "anime angels" would appeal both to the artist community as well as to anime fans. I also wanted a theme that could offer a source of inspiration to the participating artists. It seems clear from the final product that we definitely got this as a result -- we've got a broad diversity of angels in a wide variety of settings and situations. Once I chose the angel theme, the alliterative title was then a bonus, plus it's a title that makes it clear to the potential buyer exactly what type of art is in the book.

Secondarily, I suspect that the theme was also influenced by the fact that one of the earliest anime shows I saw was Dirty Pair... the duo whose code name, of course, is "Lovely Angels".

AB: In what way(s) at Fanimecon 2011 did you solicit Anime Angels (AA)? Did you receive any assistance from convention organizers, either directly or indirectly?

BH: My starter conversations with potential artist participants at Fanimecon 2011 Artist Alley used the old-fashioned "shoe leather" approach. I literally walked the entire Artist Alley exhibit floor and tried to speak with every artist who was selling character art prints, and whose art quality appeared to be good enough that I'd be happy to have them contribute a piece for possible publication. Fanimecon 2011 had 318 booths in its Artist Alley, and many of these were shared tables with two artists at the booth, so it took me all 4 days of the convention to make it from table #1 to table #318. The conversations were sometimes productive, sometimes challenging. Some artists were very eager to talk and excited to be asked to participate, others were more difficult to engage. By Saturday afternoon, many artists have paid commissions to draw and are in what I call "heads-down" mode -- they're sketching and don't have much time to talk unless you're making a purchase. As I mentioned in one of the Kickstarter videos, one of the artists refused to even take my business card, much less my call-for-artists sheet, telling me that any artbook project with 50 or more artists "always fails". That particular conversation was in hindsight fairly helpful -- it probably strengthened my resolve to publish the book, so that I could prove her wrong. :-)

I didn't receive any assistance from Fanimecon as part of this process -- although Fanimecon was the location where the Anime Angels project began its initial discussion with artists, the project has no official connection to the convention. In fact, when I was back a year later in 2012 with printed books ready to sell, it would turn out that Fanimecon rules were fairly hostile to a multi-artist project like this one (more on this later).

AB: After Fanimecon, what sort of traction did AA gain within the artist community?

BH: Talking to people at the Artist Alley was just the starting point. Everybody staffing an artist booth at a convention is too overworked and sleep-deprived during the convention to do anything other than run the booth, and by the time the convention is over, the probability was quite low of somebody independently digging out my little call-for-artists half-sheet when they got home and signing up on my web form. So, I had to do extended follow-ups with people, via email if I had their email address, or via DeviantArt's internal messaging system if I didn't, to invite people to participate. As I worked through the DeviantArt contact work, I'd discover other anime artists with portfolios online and I'd drop them a note as well. The initial sign-up process was painfully slow, since artists are busy people and don't necessarily want to be one of the first 10 people to sign up for an unproven hypothetical artbook project coordinated by somebody they've never heard of who isn't even an artist. The big break happened in September 2011 when Shi Yuan Kuang of the Mugeno artbook project (see http://keiichi93.deviantart.com/art/Anime-Style-Art-Book-Mugeno-127365567) agreed to email his participating artists and invite them to participate in Anime Angels. That brought in a flood of new sign-ups, and is the primary source of non-US artists in the book. At that point, between the work that I had done to recruit U.S. artists, and the heavy sign-ups of international artists, the project had enough artists signed up that it started to snowball. Artists started to tell their friends, and then their friends would email me asking if they could to sign up. The experience really taught me the lesson of having what I call an "army of minions" - a group of people you can email to ask them to do something, where your credibility is strong enough that people are likely to take action.

AB: When it became apparent to curious parties that you were serious about the project and would be initiating a Kickstarter campaign to gather funding, how did fandom react?

BH: This was my first Kickstarter campaign, so I had no idea how it would play out. In theory I could have done the project without first launching it on Kickstarter, but I wanted to do a pre-sales campaign to gauge interest. At the time of the Kickstarter launch in January 2012, I had close to 100 artists who said they were planning to submit artwork for consideration, but I had very little idea how well an original-character artbook like this would sell. Based on the campaigns of previous anime-style artbooks, I set a target of $7,000, which was (and still is) fairly aggressive. The Anime Angels Kickstarter campaign followed the usual pattern that most projects see: after an initial takeoff, the total backer count stayed close to flat for the middle weeks of the campaign, with only a few additional people backing the project after week 1. We thankfully got an 11th-hour boost from Fred Gallagher of megatokyo.com, who committed at the last moment to do a piece for the book and then mentioned the project on both his Facebook page and Twitter feed. I got a flood of new backers that day, all thanks to Fred, and the increased backer rate then pushed Anime Angels into the "Popular this week" Kickstarter listing section for Art projects, which brought in even more backers. Again the "army of minions" theory came into play -- Fred has been drawing Megatokyo for about 10 years now, so he's got a fairly sizable fan base.

Overall I'd say that anime artbook fans really like the book once they get their hands on it and are able to take a look at the wide variety of angels and art styles. It does require a reader who isn't looking simply for images of characters from their favorite anime TV shows -- Anime Angels intentionally doesn't have those, since this is an original character artbook, not a fanart book.

AB: Did you receive more submissions than you were able to include within the book?

BH: Yes. This was always a juried project where not all submissions were guaranteed to make it into the book, and I did try to make that clear to the artists up front, while at the same time not wanting to sound harsh about it. I worked with two judges, both of whom have professional art training, to do the artwork selection process for the book. At the end of the day, most of the artists who submitted works for Anime Angels had at least one piece accepted. There were a few artists who unfortunately didn't make the cut. Sending out the follow-up emails to that particular group was the most difficult part of the project for me -- I've been on the receiving end of quite a few rejection letters myself, but this was the first time I had to write one. It was clear that every artist worked hard on their submissions, and I appreciate all of the time and care that went into every angel.

 

AB: Were you sent any illustrations that were too risqué, bizarre, or generally inappropriate for inclusion?

BH: There was one submission that both I and my judges turned down as inappropriate on the basis of content. It was somewhat misogynistic, and in general neither I nor the judges felt that it would contribute to the overall theme or quality of the book. Everything else that we turned down was simply on the basis of the quality of the art. Admittedly, "art quality" is a subjective decision, but that's why I worked with two judges who are pros at having opinions about anime art, as well as being anime fans themselves.

I did have some basic up-front guidelines for my participating artists, with two ground rules of "no guns" and "no naked people unless you talk to me first". These rules were primarily to discourage the artists from chasing two rather over-used tropes: "bad-ass girl with guns" and "unrealistically proportioned cheesecake anime girl". The goal was to create an artbook that could be displayed on-table at a U.S. anime convention and sold to a broad age range of fans. I think the contributing artists took that goal to heart as they did their work.

AB: How did you arrive at a final pagecount?

BH: I really had no idea how the page count was going to play out until we finished the judging process and I took a look at the thumbs-up / thumbs-down votes from my judges. When I originally pitched the project back at Fanimecon 2011, my call-for-artists card rather ambitiously projected "50+ anime artists, 120+ pages". I had rapidly reduced that to an estimated page count of 80 pages in late summer 2011. But once I took a look at the ratings of my judges, it started to become clear that once we added in all of the extra content including title page, introductory essay, index with artist commentary, and acknowledgments page, we'd be able to go over 100 pages, which was great. The final count ended up at 104 pages. I was driving my layout artist crazy right down to the deadline with page swaps because one of my artists almost didn't get her high-resolution artwork to me in time.

 

AB: Did the project proceed smoothly or were there major unforeseen hurdles?

BH: Ha ha -- as you might expect, a project like this for a novice editor/publisher always has unforeseen hurdles. In the earlier phases of the project, the raw time required to recruit artists and get them to sign up was something that surprised me. Even after my initial four days of Fanimecon outreach, it was a struggle to get to 30 artists signed up saying "yes, I plan to submit art". I also didn't realize the extent to which the artist community, as a general rule, loves to procrastinate. Most of the artists had several months from the time that they signed up until the artwork was due, but despite the long lead time, 72 hours before my final January 2012 deadline for artists, I only had submissions from about 15% of the artists. The majority of the contributors waited to finish their pieces until the final weekend right before the deadline, at which point I (thankfully) got flooded with submissions in my inbox. But if you had asked me four days before the deadline, I would have told you that the project was probably going to die due to not enough submitted art.

Kickstarter was also a challenge -- I had thought that it would be reasonable to estimate that each participating artist could convince an average of two friends to preorder the book, which would have meant a fairly easy 160+ preorders. But as it turned out, there's a big difference between following an artist on DeviantArt, and being willing to put down real money to preorder a book.

The printing process itself also had its own heart attack moments. The first printing of the books, nearly all 1,000 of them, had printing errors on the covers and the spines which weren't caught by the printer, so it wasn't until I had 1,000 books sitting in my garage for my inspection that I saw we had problems. So here we were with only 2 weeks before Fanimecon 2012, and I was sitting on 1,000 bad books, 0 good books. I had to work with a local short-run print shop to run another 250 copies on their (fantastic) HP Indigo digital offset printers so that I'd have some stock for Fanimecon and for the Kickstarter softcover orders. My offsite printer for the 1,000-book run was thankfully willing to take the entire shipment back at their expense and do a reprint, but that process took several more weeks.

The largest challenge to date, however, was dealing with the apparent inability, or unwillingness, of Fanimecon 2012 to deal with a multi-artist artbook such as Anime Angels. I had successfully signed up for an Artist Alley slot in January 2012, and was making preparations to offer the book -- for the first time outside of Kickstarter -- at Fanimecon in May. 48 hours before the start of the convention, I received email informing me that sale of multi-artist artbooks was banned at Fanimecon "unless all artists are present"... which of course would be impossible, since Anime Angels has 68 artists from 22 countries. This email notice arrived after I had already committed to doing my emergency 250-copy softcover print run, after I had arranged for a group thank-you dinner for all artists who were planning to be at Fanimecon, after I had the booth decorations ready to go, and so forth. I ended up needing to scale the booth back to a half-booth by splitting it with one of my artists, and I wasn't able to properly publicize or market the book in Artist Alley since there was the realistic threat of having my booth shut down. My speculative reading between the lines is that Fanimecon's senior staff is so worried about potential art theft that in 2012, they were willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater by banning all multi-artist books. The irony is that from a legal standpoint, I'm the safest project you can imagine in an Artist Alley: all of the Anime Angels artwork is original character art, with the character design and artwork copyrights owned by the contributing artists, not by a large Japanese media conglomerate. I also have a written licensing agreement with every artist, in which the artist gives me permission to publish their work in the book.

The result is that as I write this (late December 2012), Anime Angels still hasn't had the opportunity to be properly exhibited and sold at a real anime convention, where people can get their hands on a physical copy of the book before they buy it, and where I can sign their copy for them. I did have the opportunity to run an Anime Angels table at Comic-con's Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco in October 2012, however APE isn't an anime convention, it's more like a western comic book and art print show. (We were the only anime-themed book at APE.)

AB: Many Kickstarter-based publications utilize Chinese outfits for printing duties due to the reduced cost, yet you chose an American company. Why?

BH: I wanted to reduce the likelihood of sweatshop labor being used for this project, so I knew that I wanted to go with a U.S. printing firm. I had picked up a copy of Grace Fong's Fish for Thought artbook (http://kck.st/c8Afi8) at Fanimecon 2011, liked the quality of the book, and discovered that she had used Signature Books in Maryland. Some further investigation revealed that Signature is willing to work with short-run artbook publishers such as myself and do the necessary hand-holding.

Beyond just the no-sweatshop concern, I don't expect there's any way that I could have received the level of support, or the takeback-and-reprint service that I ended up needing, with an overseas print shop. I had to do a lot of email back and forth with Signature as they brought me up to speed on the deliverables that I'd need to supply to them, and as I modified my original all-softcover request to a split softcover/hardcover order.

AB: Assuming all hardcover and softcover books are sold at non-discounted prices while subtracting your expenses, will you be in the black or red?

BH: Well, that's a big "if", of course. In this day of deep-discounted online retailers, a publisher almost never gets to sell all books at non-discounted prices. A bit of investigation into Amazon's consignment policies will tell you that for every softcover copy of Anime Angels that Amazon sells at the $35 cover price, I receive only 45% of that, or $15.75. That's one reason why I do offer the book directly at its own web site, with a variety of poster and art print bundles available as well. (The site is AnimeAngelsBook.com, by the way.)

Realistically, this project is going to lose money. The Kickstarter worked out fine, and the limited-edition hardcovers have been much more popular than I expected, which is all great. However, I still have quite a few softcovers available. My best venue for offering the book to likely buyers is at anime conventions, but as we've seen from my Fanimecon 2012 story, that doesn't always play out the way that it ought to.

I should add, though, that I went into this project with my eyes open and knowing that it might not recover its costs. The goal was to produce a multi-artist original character artbook, pay all of the artists in advance, do a proper publicity campaign, and (hopefully) make money, since making money would indicate that it might be possible to do follow-on book projects and support even more artists. I hit 3 out of 4 of those goals, the amount of money lost isn't going to kill me, we got a very nice artbook out of it, we put a lot of artists in print who had never been in a book before, and once I get my act together and do the mailings there will be permanent copies in the U.S. Library of Congress, so overall it's a win. I just wouldn't recommend this sort of project as a way to make money. :-)

AB: Is there anything you would like to've added to AA for which you didn't have the time or finances?

BH: I'm actually hard pressed to come up with anything. I can't recall that I've ever looked at the finished book and said to myself, "Oh, if only I had been able to do X!" But partly, this might be because I spent the funds up front to make Anime Angels a book that I was going to be happy with. I tried to take the "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right" approach. I commissioned an original cover from a fantastic anime artist (Shilin Huang), I paid for professional interior layout and cover design since my Adobe InDesign skills are nonexistent, I went with traditional offset printing rather than print-on-demand so that I could get the higher-quality gloss paper that I needed, we paid for color-match prepress proofs to ensure we wouldn't get color distortion or muddy blacks and browns, and so on. As an artistic product, I feel that Anime Angels meets the vision that I had in mind when I set out on this journey in early 2011.

 

AB: In retrospect, would this be an endeavour you would pursue again or was once enough?

BH: For the time being, once is probably enough. I learned quite a bit from this project in a lot of different areas -- publishing, working with artists and print shops, crowdfunding, online marketing and advertising, selling via Amazon, and much more. I'd probably learn somewhat less the second time around doing a project of this scope, so there wouldn't be as many benefits.

 

 

AB: Now that you've established yourself as a professional publisher, where would you like to take Maron Media?

BH: My short-term goal is to exhibit at one or two anime conventions in 2013, with a full artist table and full permission from the convention to sell the book. That will give anime fans the opportunity to see and buy the book in its "natural environment", so to speak. Beyond 2013, we'll see what opportunities arise. I do have a nascent interest in filmmaking, and I've got quite a bit of interview footage with various Anime Angels artists that I recorded live at their art booths at Fanimecon 2012, so I'm considering editing that content, plus some supplementary footage, into a mini-documentary of the full Anime Angels project.

 

 

BRUCE'S BIO
Bruce Hahne, publisher and official artist cat-herder for the Anime Angels project, was president of Cornell Japanese Animation Society back when VHS was king and dinosaurs still roamed the earth. This project is his effort to give many talented anime artists a chance to have their work published and shared in print.

The images above were taken of the postcards and prints, with the first image being a collage of all three to demonstrate the size differences between them. Images two thru nine are of the 5x7 postcards with the last four pics being the 8x10 prints. The remaining two 8x10 and the three 11x17 prints are featured below.


Closing Thoughts

AA is a real delight. The pieces contained herein are virtually indistinguishable from anything produced by Japanese studios. Plus, the overall package reeks of professionalism, with each page numbered and cited in ways which don't detract from the illustrations. The framing pages are extremely well done along with the board images. I especially liked the little angelic wings included with the page numbers (see detail shot near the beginning of the review).

That said, I do have several gripes about the production:

Because of the above critiques and given the hardcover's relatively high price, I've assigned AA a "recommended" recommendation. However, many of the above deficiencies can be excused since this was a first outing done by a fan, for the fans, on a fan's extremely limited budget. I honestly can't imagine how Bruce managed to print as many units as he did for a paltry $8,027 (which doesn't include Kickstarter's cut minus taxes).

As mentioned near the beginning of this writeup, Anime Angels and all the postcards and prints can still be purchased through the store website...for now. If this review has you salivating for one, then I wouldn't waste much time, as Bruce will be selling much of his remaining stock at upcoming conventions. You have been warned!