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Asatte no Houkou 7: Extras




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Hanken: Karada-san in PJs
Source: Hanken
Layers: 1
No sketches available
Oversize, 10W x 14.5H

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Added 11/8/2018
Updated 11/9/2018
This image shows the adult-girl Karada lying in bed on her back, wearing pajamas that are slightly too large for her. With the buttons on the left, they must be Oniisan Hiro’s rather than Shōko’s. Attributed to Ikuko Itou by Mandarake, it is a first-level draft of a hanken image that eventually was used on one of a matched set of telephone cards. (The other showed the child Karada in her own PJs.)



As you can see from the image of the card, the pose was worked over quite a bit before it was finalized. In this draft, Itou did not work out Karada’s left hand but left it a tangle of pencil strokes, perhaps thinking that this detail would fall outside the frame. But the image ended up being rotated to the left so that the series title could be inserted between Karada’s hand and feet, so in a later draft the hand and fingers were fully realized. Also, the cute detail in this version, where Karada holds the cuff of the too-large pajama top in her middle fingers, was eliminated later on, showing her hand fully visible.

Still, it is a striking portrait, with the ceiling-down perspective allowing Karada’s hair to spread out around her head and the complicated foreshortening of her folded legs already dead on. It is also strikingly sensual, the unbuttoned top exposing a bit of the prematurely mature woman’s cleavage. (See in the scan of the card how this is emphasized by the shadow line, suggesting an ample bust.) The first thumb gives a closer view of the head and shoulders part of this sketch.

While the series is not overtly moe, Itou (or the persons who commissioned the hanken) felt it would do no harm to suggest this popular style in an image intended to market a product. In any case, as those who have explored the other galleries devoted to this fine series, the issue of Karada’s sexually mature body generates plot complications, first minor, then significant and potentially tragic ones.

This generously oversized (10 x 14.5 inches) sketch is the largest and most complex piece of Itou-sama’s artwork that I own. And visit the second thumb to appreciate one aspect of this sketch that is not apparent from the front. This is a digital snapshot of the back of the sheet, taken in sharply raking light. Notice how puckered the surface of the paper is: this shows the extent to which Itou has reworked even this preliminary sketch, roughing in details, considering their effect, then erasing them and starting over, again and again. Karada’s head is to the right in this snapshot: see how you can pick out where the eyes are because this part has been worked on to the extent that they are physically sunken into the paper. The crucial detail of her cleavage is also sharply incised on the sheet, indicating many earlier but erased first efforts.

I have noticed this aspect of Itou’s sketching in a number of shuusei roughs and gengas that she did for this series, sometimes to the extent that the sheet no longer lies flat under the scanner. (For an example, see the second thumb of this Ep. 1 genga.) This “paper puckering,” particularly under the eyes, is clearly the result of a professional habit of this distinguished artist, a sign of her desire to challenge herself to achieve the best she can do. For collectors, it is a detail to watch for in evaluating items that do not come with as clear provenance as this one. (On checking, for instance, I found that my newly acquired Princess Tutu post-genga shuusei also has “puckered eyes.”)


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Next: Rough settei study: Adult Shōko Nogami (front)    
 

Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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