From an exhibition of illustrations to venue exclusive goods and presents, Shodensha Publishing and Animate made sure to have numerous things in store for on BLUE fans as it celebrates its 9th Anniversary this 2020.
What is on BLUE?
First published in December 2010, on BLUE is a Boys’ Love (BL) anthology magazine published every two months. on BLUE has brought various titles close to our hearts like Hyaku to Manji by Sakura Sawa, PERFECT FIT by Thanat, and One Room Angel by Harada, to name a few. These titles are so popular they have made to the Kono BL ga Yabai! rankings for two years in a row. Now on its 9th year, we are again indulged with an amazing line-up of surprises and futekiya jumped at the chance to check it.
Onto the Exhibition
To celebrate on BLUE‘s 9th anniversary, an exhibition of reproduction manuscripts is being held at the bustling commercial and entertainment district of Ikebukuro—at one of its largest anime and manga haven, Animate Ikebukuro Flagship Store. As you make your way up to the 3rd floor, you’ll easily spot the event space on the left side with on BLUE‘s lit up signage welcoming everyone.
Dive into on BLUE‘s world
As you step inside, an island of goods and stacks of manga lay await in the center while a long array of framed illustrations and manuscripts hung against the blue walls.
A life-size standee of Manji and Momoki from Sakura Sawa’s Hyaku to Manji is nicely positioned across the entrance with on BLUE‘s 9th anniversary event poster placed on the upper left to fully complete a picture-perfect commemorative spot, quite an ideal selfie space for fans. Close to the standee is a spot where manga covers of Yonnin no Nibiiro 3 and At 25:00, in Akasaka 2 are neatly placed with autographs and cute illustrations by akabeko-sensei and Natsuno Hiroko-sensei who visited the exhibit!
Illustrations and Manuscript Reproductions
Arranged against the blue-colored walls are some colored illustrations and reproductions of original manuscripts from various on BLUE titles. We made sure to take our sweet time in savoring these beautiful pieces and reminisce the stories attached to each scene.
Carefully curated are specially selected mix of colored illustrations and manuscript reproductions. From the left to right: Zoku Pornographer Playback by Maki Marukido, Ani no Koto ga Wakarimasen! by Akira Asahira, Ookami he no Yomeiri by Hana Inui, Zetsubou ni Nake by Ryo Shinou, Bloom Brothers by Takako Shimura, Hyaku to Manji by Sakura Sawa, NIGHT TRAP by Yuto Yanagi, Fukujuu to Amagami by Bibi Shikimi, Ikigami to Donor by Hiko Yamanaka, Derail by Kyoko Aiba, Mofuku no Hanayome by Iroha Megu, Tourou no Ori by Psyche Delico, Lonely Playground by Dayoo, Shouwaru Boukun Kishu to Nagasaresenba by Nomoto Narita, One Room Angel by Harada, and My Little Inferno by Nemui Asada
Affection, love, lust, and other myriad scenes of emotions drawn in black and white. Fom the left to right: Harukaze no Étranger by Kana Kii, Sneaky Red by Thanat, You’re My Sex Star by Tamekou, Kanashi by Mataaki Kureno, Shinjuku Lucky Hole by Haruko Kumota, Ryu no Otto Boukoku no Kami by Ake Susaki, Usotsuki Akuma by Sumako Kari, Androgynous by Akira Asahira, Ryou Katakoi no Susume by Yuiji Aniya, Rec Me by Hashikura Jil, Oasobi wa Soko Made by Miecohouse Matsumoto, Ten Ten Shiro Shiro by Nojiko Hayakawa, How to Kill a Heart by Kashio, Kappa Red no Akuma by Haruyuki, Sweet Seventeen Caste by Hippou Chouryoukan, Yokosu Inu, Mekuru Yoru by Aiko Nobara, Konosenaka ni Tsume wo Tatete by Rou Nishimoto, and Ashita Niji ga Denakutemo by Noriko Kihara
Another thing to check are two small tables on one of the corners of the event space. The first one has the first volumes of STAYGOLD by Hideyoshico, Yonin no Nibiiro by akabeko and At 25:00, in Akasaka by Natsuno Hiroko. The other one has introductory booklets strewn on top of it that serve as samples when a manga is first released. Everyone is welcome to pick up and browse these, just make sure to put it back properly.
Venue exclusive goods
One of the exciting parts of the fair are the venue exclusive goods: 16-page booklets, trading mini shikishi collection, trading stand acrylic keyholders, and SNS trading cards. The content of the 16-page booklet varies per artist, inside could be a compilation of illustrations, SNS comics, story settings, reprints of past papers and other things. There are 11 titles to choose from so do take your time in browsing the display. The other three goods are all blind items, so it’s a test of luck for all the fans out there.
Aside from venue exclusive goods, you can also buy previously released goods, sometimes at a discounted price! Check the shelf next to the tray of goods and you might find something interesting.
Two carts of treasures
If you missed these goods released in previous events, now’s the chance to grab them!
New Goods on Display
Still having second thoughts on which to buy?
Then this wonderful corner is probably the push you need. Arranged here are a collection of print signed mini shikishi and a close-up of the trading stand acrylic keyholder showing off their animal ears. Clipped to the side of the shelf are SNS trading cards as well.
on BLUE manga
Go around and browse through piles of manga waiting to be discovered. Both previous and new releases are available at the fair, some with Animate giveaways attached at the back. You can also find the original Japanese manga of on BLUE titles released in English on futekiya!
Augmented Reality (AR)
Ready your phones and look for QR codes installed at the venue to discover animated on BLUE couples, tap them and see them cutely whirl on top of the code. A total of 6 AR will be available between the first and second half of the exhibition so make sure to enjoy them.
on BLUE exhibition AR schedule:
2/22(Sat)-2/29(Sat): akabeko, Sawa Sakura, Dayoo
3/1(Sun)-3/8(Sun): Thanat, Tamekou, Hideyoshico
The excitement does not end after successfully deciding on the goods and manga you want to purchase, on BLUE has also prepared special presents you can get after paying for your goods!
For every ¥1,000 worth of venue exclusive goods you purchase, you get the chance to receive one random reproduction manuscript card—designs printed are none other than the special fair cards drawn by Kanna Kii, Sakura Sawa, Tamekou, Hiroko Natsuno and Harada which are all displayed at the exhibit.
Lastly, if you purchase on BLUE comics at any Animate Store in Japan from February 25 to March 24, you will receive 1 fair point. Collect 2 fair points and you get a 4-page leaflet, specially drawn for the event! This time, you get to choose between two versions: A version includes works by akabeko, Kanna Kii, Sakura Sawa and Hideyoshico while B version has Tamekou, Hiroko Natsuno, Harada and Maki Marukido.
Talk and Autograph Signing Events*
On top of the exhibition and goods mentioned above, on BLUE will be holding two special anniversary events in Tokyo. The first one is a talk show with Maki Marukido on March 6, 2020 at Animate Shinjuku. The second one is an autograph signing with Hiroko Natsuno to commemorate the release of the second volume of At 25:00, Akasaka on March 8, 2020 at Animate Shibuya.
(Notice: As a precautionary measure against COVID-19, both events have been postponed until further notice.)
We are indeed spoiled with such great treats from on BLUE. So, if you’re in Tokyo between February 22 to March 8, 2020, perhaps a quick trip down Animate Ikebukuro is something to add in your itinerary.
on BLUE titles are available in English on futekiya. The first chapters of these titles are available to read for free. Subscribers have access to the entire volume and more!
on BLUE 9th Anniversary Exhibition
|Dates:||February 22 until March 8, 2020|
|Venue:||Animate Ikebukuro Flagship Store (Access Map)|
|Official Website:||https://www.animate-onlineshop.jp/contents/fair_event/detail.php?id=103474 (in Japanese only)|
If you are interested in other BL manga events in Tokyo, be sure to read our articles on Suzumaru Minta-sensei in Korea, Harada Solo Exhibition, “To Asia with (Boys) Love: BL Media and the Transfiguration of Gender and Sexuality” Public Lecture at The University of Tokyo, Animate Girls Festival 2019, TAKATO YAMAMOTO EXHIBITION -NOSFERATU, Yoneda Kou’s Op: The Colourless Days of Yoake Itaru Book Fair@Shosen, AnimeJapan 2018, Kizu Natsuki at Manga10, Ten Count at the Kinokuniya Shinjuku Main Store, Remnant and Pendulum Fair at Kinokuniya, and GUSH’s 15th Anniversary Exhibition.
About futekiya: BL manga subscription
In 2018, futekiya began as a Boys’ Love manga news and culture website operated by FANTASISTA, INC., a CG/VR production studio based in Tokyo, Japan. futekiya transformed into a budding global distributor of officially licensed BL manga in 2019.
futekiya launched as an online subscription service for officially licensed BL manga on July 8, 2019. Determined to connect fans around the world with English-translated BL legally and conveniently, futekiya empowers readers to support creators and the manga industry.
Readers who subscribe to futekiya and pay a flat monthly fee of $6.99 will have access to our expanding library of English-language manga. To subscribe, please go to read.futekiya.com and create an account. More information is in our guide.