One of Japan's largest anime and manga publishers KADOKAWA (Haruhi, Lucky Star, Sword Art Online, Kancolle etc) owns a school called Kadokawa Contents Academy with a mission to teach various skills to folks who are interested in working in the creative anime, manga and games content field.
It gives me pleasure to announce that Kadokawa Contents Academy has decided to use a product that I created called Smart Doll as the subject in their anime and manga drawing classes.
Many art schools use a wooden drawing doll but KCA (Kadokawa Contents Academy) felt that the Smart Doll body better suits their needs in teaching students to draw anime and manga style.
Another reason why KCA chose Smart Doll is due to the balance of aesthetics and poseability - many other products in the same category are focused more on articulation with features such as a joint in the middle of the torso and double jointed knees and or elbows.
I designed the Smart Doll body to strike a balance between poseability and aesthetics - for example I designed the mid-body joint in a way so that it's tucked behind the bust line. While I did focus on aesthetics, I did manage to implement triple axis joints in the ankle and wrist which is not available in any other product in the same category - this for example makes it possible for Smart Doll to stand with legs apart and have the feet flat on the ground as opposed to have just the edge of the feet touching the surface - you can read more about Smart Doll body here.
KCA required a subject which could do mid air poses as one would see in a typical anime or manga scene - only Smart Doll makes this possible due to the Smart Support Socket located at the back of the torso - other products need a saddle or a 'C' stand that goes under the crotch or around the waist which interferes with the students view.
Smart Doll can also stand on its own without the aid of the Telescopic or Air Stand but should be placed on a surface which would not be periodically knocked.
Another reason why KCA chose Smart Doll is due to the overall slender design that gives the students a prefered reference to draw. Resin dolls in the same 1/3 scale category have thick necks which is a structural design feature to withstand the tension of the elastic through the neck - because the elastic goes through the whole doll and is tied up on top of the neck, without a thick trunk, the neck area could break under the strain of the elastic. Resin dolls also need thick necks because the elastic has to go through it twice unlike the arms and legs.
Other soft vinyl dolls inherited this design even though they didn't need a thick neck to withstand any pressure from the tension of the elastic. If you place a Smart Doll beside another 1/3 scale soft vinyl doll, you will notice that the difference in the thickness of the neck is quite noticeable.
Not only do Smart Dolls look great, they are also sturdy enough to be handled and easily posed by people who have no experience with dolls - like the students in class.
I nearly forgot to mention that anime and manga is not just about the girls - it's about the guys too! I will be supplying Kadokawa with Smart Doll Eiji as soon as the head and torso is refactored.
The Mirai Frame is what gives Smart Doll its poseability - I will also be supplying KCA with just the frames for their drawing classes which involve Mecha design. Folks who want one for their own mecha design (or preparing for the chance to do the Mirai Frame Challenge) can order Mirai Frame at the online Culture Japan Store.
KCA is an incredible place - I first visited their school earlier on this year to check out the facilities and give a talk. Folks who are interested in learning how to draw anime and manga style are taught by local and Japanese lecturers who are knowledgeable in the field.
The best thing is that graduates who shine are almost guaranteed to work in the industry through Kadokawa's huge publishing network.
I'm humbled that KCA have been using Mirai Suenaga in illustration and Smart Doll form in their classes as reference material and I will be providing more support to them in the future as they continue to broaden their network of schools across the globe.
This photo was taken the previous time I was at KCA where Shirahane Nao-sensei's Mirai illustration is being used as shading reference material.
On this visit to Taiwan, I've been taking Smart Doll Ebony around a lot because she's now production ready and brave enough to head outside. Ebony will be released during September 2015 - this month!
If you are interested in getting Mirai or Kizuna Smart Doll can do so now at the Culture Japan Online Store - we usually ship in 1 - 4 business days.