“Bloom into You Illustration Works” Review

“Bloom into You Illustration Works” Review

Bloom Into You Illustration WorksThere’s only one word to describe Nakatani-san’s new picture book, “Bloom into You Illustration Works.” GORGEOUS. It’s a full-sized 81/2 by 11 paperback with 128 pages on heavy, archival, semi-gloss paper, packed with very high density, full-page color panels by her. Unusually for a paperback it’s Smythe bound! The stitching is only about one centimeter apart. It comes in a plastic sleeve-box that is transparent to exhibit the beautiful, specially created cover art.

All the good stuff from”Bloom into You” is included, so literally all the color pictures of Yuu and Touko appear, along with all of the black and white illustrations on the title page of the 45 chapters. Many other characters also appear, including most of those in her “Eclair” work. The real bonus is the many portraits of Yuu and Touko that are NOT in BiY. Also, she includes a sequence of 12 panels showing the stages of creation for the cover illustration. Her rough drafts are so good they don’t need much adjusting, and as I suspected she uses many hues of grey to get that great variety of shading in her work. The sequence begins with a very high density photo of her workspace.

Text has been limited to a couple of lines for each picture and it’s all in Japanese, but that’s no problem for us BiY otaku. We know the whole story, so you can easily fit all these beautiful images into the context. For example, I was always disappointed that we didn’t get to see the girls exiting the train after their ride from the aquarium in volume 5, but a two-page panel showing Yuu pulling Touko out of her seat on the empty train in prep for disembarking is included in this picture book. Both girls wear the same clothing that appears nowhere else. Great stuff.

You can order it directly from kadokawa.co.jp. I paid $20, which is a big bargain. It would be at least $40, and probably $50, if printed in the US. Miss Nakatani-sama must be very proud of this top-of-the-line book. “Bloom into You Illustration Works,” that contains so much of her magnificent art work.


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41 Responses to ““Bloom into You Illustration Works” Review”

  1. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Thanks for the submission, WMC. 😄

    • WMC says:

      Isn’t that cover beautiful? I’m very glad you could include it. I have carefully avoided learning how to do that. Now probably Lady Nakatani and her crew will see it. Her book “Illustration Works” deserves to be a best seller.

    • WMC says:

      reply not accepted!

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        I’m not sure why, but for some reason, WP held your comments for review. It may be because of how I created the post so that you’d get credit. 😅

    • WMC says:

      If you right click the above picture you’ll get a full-sized version. All of Lady Nakatani’s craft shows in this one image. She’s the best I’ve ever seen with hands. And look closely at that sublime shading from a light source that’s beneath the two girls. Finally, the variation of line width on the out line lines is exquisite.

      • AstroNerdBoy says:

        The artwork is nice.

      • WMC says:

        LEFT CLICK, not right click, damnit, to get a nice big version of that cover picture.

      • WMC says:

        LEFT CLICK, damnit, on that panel above.

        • WMC says:

          After left-clicking the cover picture above of Yuu and Touko running on stars, to get the full screen version, you can steer the little white circle with the plus sign anywhere and left click it. You will then get a magnified, plus-sized view: a nice close exposure in which you can see details of Nakatani’s work, and where all my fulsome ranting comes from.

  2. WMC says:

    Isn’t that cover beautiful? I’m very glad you could include it. I have carefully avoided learning how to do that. Now probably Lady Nakatani and her team will see it. Her “Illustration Works” deserves to be a best seller.

  3. WMC says:

    I have hundreds of manga volumes, but BiY is the only title for which I bought two copies, one to archive and one to read. Often I stumble, and that’s really the right word, across what I call Nakatani specials: those details that are sometimes plot driven and sometimes not. I have two favorites. The first occurs on that famous top panel on page 164 of volume 3 in which Touko sits on the floor of the field store house with her back to shelves full of things. Yuu straddles her thighs with her knees on the floor. Foreheads touching, Touko is about to introduce Yuu to tongue kissing. OK, very interesting for us hetero males, but after you have calmed down a little, look just behind the top of Touko’s pony tail on the shelf there. That very small semicircle is the tip of Yuu’s left forefinger!

    The champion Nakatani detail is the tiny drop of water not quite falling from the cleansing faucet at the cemetery where Touko visits her sister’s grave on page 17 in volume 5. This happens in the lower right panel, which contains no people, and is very easy to miss. In fact, I missed it about 30 times before I stumbled on it.

  4. WMC says:

    Nakatani-sama’s “Bloom into You” is ending with volume 8, and as usual it’s great. She includes one of her favorite tricks, that of having a character look directly at the reader. On page 154 [Yes, I number the pages with the inside surface of the front cover as page 0], she has Touko with the back of her right hand over her mouth while Yuu undresses her. Mouths contribute greatly to expression, so the artifice of covering it forces the reader to look at the eyes. After about five readings, I could tear my gaze way from Touko’s beautiful chest and look at her eyes. Wow, gorgeous Touko’s staring right at me, in the body of Yuu, as I’m taking off her pajama top. And Touko’s helping with her left hand! Her expression radiates heat. I highly recommend this non-prurient panel. Nakatani-san often puts the reader in the body of one of her characters, which puts you right in the action.

    Stars flood several panels. They’re also mixed with those love blooms. In the only panel in the entire manga in which Yuu leaks tears, on page 25 in vol. 8 when Yuu says, “I love you” and Touko responds happily and positively, they cover the entire top half. Even from outside the student council building the viewer can see some of them escaping to the sky. More of the author’s incredible attention to detail.

  5. WMC says:

    Finally in BiY, on the end page, right before the “Afterword Manga” in vol. 8 in Nakatani-sama displays all of her great repertoire on a simple, inanimate subject. On an otherwise empty page she has drawn the two girls’ house keys, undoubtedly for Touko’s apartment, each one with a charm attached from the aquarium in volume 5. The sea ray is on Yuu’s key and the dolphin on Touko’s. See the carefully drawn slip ring on Touko’s key. It’s got the tight wire loops and the small second ring EXACTLY right, which nobody else would have bothered with. Note also that the lateral edges and shaft on Touko’s key are very slightly shorter. That’s not a mistake; it’s that great foreshortening of hers. Her line width variation is displayed to the best effect on the dolphin’s tail. The subtle shading on the key bodies finishes the last of this magnificent work, “Bloom into Yuu” by Nio Nakatani. This last page only appears in volume 8 and nowhere else, so to see it you must possess it.

    Off satellite radio a couple more love songs from the war years: “I’ll Be Seeing You,” Bing Crosby 1944 and “Sentimental Journey,” Doris Day 1945. They had genius lyricists back then.

  6. WMC says:

    Hah. Some visitors! I hope Lady Nakatani-sama gets my heartfelt gifts.

  7. WMC says:

    I’ve finally found a good use for the homonyms “you” and “Yuu.” The last two lines of the song “I’LL Be Seeing You,” with apologizes to the memory of Irving Kahal, are: I”ll be looking at the moon, but I”ll be seeing YUU.”

    Published in 1938, Bing Crosby’s version reached number 1 ranking in 1944.

  8. WMC says:

    Found what I think is the ultimate yuri love song, “Martha” sung by Bea Wain from 1938!

  9. WMC says:

    As with Lady Nakatani-sama I embrace both majors, Yuu and Touko, as real girls. Here is my take on them, beginning in volume 1 on page 3, which contains the best panel I’ve ever seen. It’s just Yuu supine on her bed listening to music with earphones and reading manga. All of the author’s great technique jumps off the screen — exquisite line-width variation, multi-hued shading, perfect foreshortening and including a subtle, hidden-in-plane-sight item, as usual. This is Yuu’s hoody, which has scoonched up about two inches in the second panel. This page was originally a full color work, which you can see in “Bloom into You Illustration Works.” I think this panel is drawn 98% free hand . I don’t see any unrealistically laser-straight edges anywhere.

    Cute, pretty Yuu is the lead character, and she’s disappointed because she’s never felt the thrill of love. She’s just entered high school with a couple of her friends, Koyomi and Akari, from middle school. After a month she still can’t decide which club to join, and this tells us one of her prime traits. She vacillates chronically over every decision because she comes up with myriad scenarios every time and can’t decide between them. But goes full throttle when she does decide. Cool, in its original sense of being imperturbable under pressure, describes Yuu perfectly. Eg, on the softball team in middle school she never cried whether they won or lost, and the other girls could depend on her to be cool when they were losing composure. She can empathize with anybody, which is very unusual in a teenager, and she reacts kindly to them. Consequently the words cool and kind characterize her. On the other hand, she has a rude shark that surfaces routinely when she thinks the person deserves it. She’s short, about 5 feet zero with long legs and is very athletic. Fortuitously, her homeroom teacher is the student council advisor, and he recruits her to try it. On her first trip the the “stuco” building she meets a second-year who introduces herself as Touko.

  10. WMC says:

    Touko is the alpha female at their school. She’s friends with everyone, athletic, gets top grades and is very good looking. This girl defines the classic Japanese beauty: tall, great body, big blue-grey eyes and long, silky raven-black hair. Very determined, she goes all chips in when she wants something. Unfortunately, she has a dark secret; her real self is a frightened little girl as she was when her older sister, whom she idolized, died seven years ago in car traffic. She has created a smooth, smart exterior but is obsessed with “becoming” her dead sister. She hates herself but thinks she doesn’t have any other path, and is addicted to the adulation of the student body for her fake persona. As the best politician at school she’s a very slick operator, but falls hotly in love with Yuu even though she had never before had anyone “make her heart pound.” This changes things; now she often blushes deeply and gets badly flustered around Yuu, who is the only one who can comfort her when she reaches out for someone’s touch. Even Touko’s best friend, Sayaka the beautiful blonde, doesn’t quite get it. In a great sequence, beginning on page 73 of volume 1, Touko uses the pedestrian train crossing to kiss Yuu for the first time as the train goes through, blocking evryone’s view who’s stuck on the other side. Pretty slick. Yuu tolerates this but doesn’t reciprocate Touko’s feelings. In fact, she sometimes becomes rude and sarcastic in response to these overt love moves. All of which shows one of the most interesting things about these two. They’re not one-dimensional. They’re often paradoxical and contradictory — kind and cool but rude Yuu and smooth and determined but flustered Touko. A neat feature is that the author develops these traits in a very consistant fashion.

    Ultimately, as the title of this work suggests, love very gradually blooms in Yuu’s heart, with Yuu denying it all the way. In the riverbed, which is a great location for it, when she finally tells Touko that she loves her, Touko hesitates because she’s terrified of love that’s aimed at her. Yuu percieves this as rejection though Touko didn’t mean it that way. This occurs at the end of volume 6. Stalemate for all of Volume 7. The reader will love the first chapter of volume 8 when Touko finally gets up the couarage to meet Yuu in the student council building. She chooses this time in the evening with no one around. Touko commits completely and tells Yuu that she really loves her.

    I”m a fully hetero adult male with hunter genes, but I love this yuri masterpiece, “Bloom into You.” Boy or girl, man or woman you will too.

  11. WMC says:

    Good. I’m not the only one with a BiY obsession. The forums and blogs contain hundreds of adoring comments. Hoping for anything more by Lady Nakatani-same.

  12. WMC says:

    I try to use personal suffixes correctly, but uselessly if I can’t spell them. “Lady Nakatani-same” should be “Lady Nakatani-SAMA.” My hybrid use of the English honorific “Lady” is conscious. It means roughly the equivalent of “Sir,” but female.

    • WMC says:

      I found what I think is Nakatani’s last color panel for BiY. It’s at yagakimi.fandom.com/wiki/Nio_Nakatani. Scroll down through the shown panels to the fifth from the bottom and there you will see the two girls at the sea shore with the setting sun behind them. The girls are probably 21 and 22 years old. Yuu is looking directly at the reader with an expression that goes right to your soul. And to my heart.

  13. WMC says:

    Note the Nakatani special detail at the base of the third finger of both left hands. I love how
    she does this.

  14. WMC says:

    Sayaka not my kind of girl. Lady Nakatani portrays her as grumpy and especially bitchy.

  15. WMC says:

    Yuu and Touko are both adorable, but Yuu especially will remain forever in my heart. Sincerely, William McCue Carhart (WMC)

  16. WMC says:

    I forgot my ANB address! I think it’s “wandkcarhart@cox.net”

  17. WMC says:

    I’d love to have my old scarlet logo back.

  18. WMC says:

    I’ve just started reading BiY again for the nth time. It’s still fantastc.

  19. WMC says:

    I just started reading BiY again! It’s still fantastic.

  20. WMC says:

    Thanks. It’s not age. I’ve always been absent-minded, but it usually comes to me after a wait, sometimes a long wait without consciousness!

  21. WMC says:

    Finally got the anime for BiY. Good stuff. As a perfectionist I must shine a light on a coupla things. The gable end of the Student Council building retains its constantly changing appearance. Must keep the carpenters busy. Yuu’s voice isn’t low and comforting. They couldn’t find a performer with an alto? But the aquarium is super. Contains things like animation of all the sea creatures! The story is so close to the manga it’s very satisfying.

  22. WMC says:

    I watch the anime of BiY with Japanese spoken language and English subtitles. A benefit is that you can learn the pronunciation of names. Eg, “Touko” is pronounced TOE-kuh. Very difficult to get used to.

  23. WMC says:

    Found another Nakatani special. On the inside of the front cover of volume 2 appears an excellent top-down view of the student council room. After 100 readings I just today discovered the two pieces of chalk on the chalk tray of the blackboard! Great stuff.

    Eagerly awaiting “God Bless the Mistaken.” Comes out at my local B&N on Dec. 12

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