mō ichido, shōjo. (70s, 80s & 90s shōjo manga retrospective)

Takemiya Keiko - Jisen fukusei gengashū

  • Collection of reproductions
  • Cherish Gallery Deluxe Edition / B4 / unbound, hard case / 32 leaves + one poster
  • Hakusensha / 1978
Jisen fukusei gengashu

This is one of only three "Cherish Gallery Deluxe Editions" published by Hakusensha in the late 70s. "Cherish Gallery" was a popular series of shojo manga reproductions put out by the publisher all through the 80s, featuring art by prominent Hakusensha artists such as Miuchi Suzue (Glass Mask), Hikawa Kyoko (From Far Away), Wada Shinji (Sukeban deka) and many more. What set the series apart from other, more regular manga artbooks was the large format (a Japanese B4 is almost twice the size of A4) and the fact that they were unbound—what you got in a Cherish Gallery were sheets of high-quality paper printed only on one side, ready to be framed.

Another selling point was that the manga artists chose which of their pieces they wanted reproduced, instead of an editor making the decision. While the regular editions of Cherish Gallery included 12 sheets of art, the Deluxe Edition included a whole 32 sheets, half of them in color and the other half in black and white, as well as one B3 color poster. The Deluxe Edition was discontinued after Takemiya, Hagio Moto, and Yamagishi Ryoko put out one each, probably because they were relatively expensive and thus hard to sell to the target audience of girls and young women.

Jisen fukusei gengashu

So how amazing is this? It's pretty amazing! The quality of the black and white reproductions is crisp, with the black of the Indian ink coming out clearly, while the color reproductions seem to contain much more detail of color than I usually see. For example, the color spread from Pharaoh no haka you see in the second image above is also included in another Takemiya artbook I happen to own, and comparing the two, I have to say there's just so much more color in the reproduction: the skin tone of the character could pass for Middle Eastern or Mediterranean rather than lily white, because the coloring is apparently too subtle to be captured in regular printing press, and the blue/green/yellow of the hair and background are so much more rich and complex.

I also compared some of the reproductions to the ebook edition, and that confirmed my suspicions about the color pages in the ebook release: they are far, far too yellow, and generally over-saturated to the point that they become gaudy. That doesn't mean I don't think the ebook edition is great! I think it's fantastic that so many of Takemiya's work which would otherwise be out of print is available easily, and I love that they included color pages which would otherwise be lost in the mists of time. I just need to keep this in mind when I read the ebooks. By contrast, though, the deluxe edition of Hensōkyoku/Variations seems to have gotten the colors almost spot-on, just slightly more faded than the reproductions and not quite as crisp. I'm even more happy now with that gorgeous edition than I was before!

Jisen fukusei gengashu

For the 32 leaves, Takemiya chose 8 pieces from Kaze to ki no uta (2 color, 6 black and white), 3 from Pharaoh no haka (all color), 5 from Hensōkyoku (all color), and the rest from short stories or other projects she has worked on, such as a puppet theater staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream. On the back of the poster, Takemiya has left a comment on every piece included in the collection. My favorite comment is about Aslan, Serge's father from Kaze to ki no uta, in which she says that she was attempting to portray not a person who didn't have a dark side, but a person who consciously chose not to show this side. The comments are all short, but contain nice little insights like that.

This is an amazing collection all around. If you like Takemiya's relatively early art (this was published only two years into Kaze to ki's serialization), this is the one artbook that you must own. Absolutely recommended!