Amazing One piece Woodcut prints

18 years after it first appeared in comic form, creator Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece is more popular than ever. But while fans might be happy to see the Straw Hat Pirates keep sailing forever, the manga’s current editor says that not only has Oda mapped out how the story will end, but also that he thinks he knows about how many more volumes the manga has to go before its finale.

However all good things must come to an end, but instead of crawling in a corner and bawling your eyes out you can find comfort in knowing that its current editor Taku Sugita has announced that the series is now 70% till completion..which means that there will be another 60 estimated volumes!

You also still have the time to look around for some interesting collectibles, that are worth showing your grandkids….when they sit on your lap while you tell them Luffy’s adventures in front of the (digital) fire place.

Well let us help you…Tokyo based company HKDS has started accepting pre-orders for their latest and last piece out of their 5 (one)piece woodcut art products.

Woodblock artist Yamaguchi Nori Kaz Mr. workshop

After Sabo, Ace. Luffy and Trafalgar Law, they’ve now released Roronoa Zoro, the fierce swordsman. This absolutely beautiful piece of art depicts Zoro with trademark fearless smile, just before he starts to chop up some enemies.


It is printed on Ishi-shu rice paper, which is handmade and registered as cultural heritage by even carries a “tradition”stamp as issued by the ministry  of Economy, Trade and Industry as a testimony to its traditional craftsmanship. Each print carries its own serial number (each print is limited to 200)

Hand Luk-ki

As of now the other 4 wood prints are still available, but upon our request we were told that one (not identified) print has only two copies left and the other ones are bound to sell out soon too, now folks can buy the whole collection in one time.

We guess the one that’s almost sold out is of course Luffy.


But we could be wrong, Ace’s sinister look was the biggest hit under the ladies here at the office…I tried this look (I’m a bit of a cosplayer) but the missus wasn’t impressed, it made me however father of the week with my sons (the father of the year badge is impossible to obtain).

Port Gas · D · Ace

Sabo is one freaky looking dude, but he’s one my favorite characters in this show.




And last Trafalgar Law who surely is going to give your grand kids bad dreams with his finger beckoning to you to have a fight or he’ll haunt the rugrats in their dreams..

Trafalgar Law


Body: about 225 × 295mm
frame: about 348 × 424mm  thickness of about 38mm
weight: 1,350g


price: 18,900 yen (tax included)

In the meantime while you’re telling your stories, why don’t you have a cup of hot cocoa with the little ones, drinking out your own one piece cups? (3,240 yen )



Serge Roso

pics by HKDS






Adorable cat-eared Sailor Moon Luna Leather Collection to protect your valuables

We’ve seen a number of special releases this year in honour of the girls from the popular Sailor Moon anime series. Now it’s time to pay some attention to Luna, one of the star felines from the cast, with this line of adorable cat-eared leather cases.

The four-piece collection is made from Japanese leather which has been embossed with planetary symbols from the Sailor Senshi. Complete with cat ears and featuring gold-coloured metallic parts in the shape of Luna’s crescent moon motif, it appears as if the black cat has shape-shifted into the collection to bring a bit of magic to our everyday!

▼ The Luna Leather Wallet retails for 21,600 yen (US$176), with a zipper coin compartment to protect coins and also space for 12 cards hidden inside the folds.

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▼ The flip-style Luna Leather Meishi Case (11,880 yen) features six pockets to tuck away meishi (business cards).







▼ Keep your keys safe in the four-ring Luna Leather Key Case for 8,100 yen.







▼ And you can take the guardian cat on public transport with the Luna Leather Commuter Pass Case for 7,560 yen.


Pre-orders can currently be made on the Premium Bandai website, with deliveries scheduled for January 2016. Now that we’ve seen Luna’s leather goods, we hope there’ll be a lighter-shaded version dedicated to her male friend, Artemis, the white cat, or even a pink series for their little kitten Diana, in the not-too distant future!

Source: Nijimen
Top image: Premium Bandai

Dead or Alive volleyball video game not coming to U.S. or Europe…booby lovers sigh in despair.

The backstory for the Dead or Alive Xtreme video games almost sounds like a parody. No matter how many attack reversals, tag-team combos, or multi-tiered arenas publisher Koei Tecmo crams into the long-running Dead or Alive fighting series, the first thing gamers everywhere associate with it is the massive chests of its female characters.

“In that case, why not ditch all the fighting elements and shift even more focus to the bouncing breasts?” seems to have been the logic behind making Dead or Alive Xtreme Volleyball, the 2003 title that jettisoned male players from the playable cast and plunked the series’ female martial artists on the sand for a mix of sports, mini-games, and bikini dress-up.

But if that all sounds like a joke, the development team team has been laughing all the way to the bank. After strong sales of the original spinoff, Dead or Alive Xtreme got a full-fledged sequel in 2006 and a scaled-down portable version, Dead or Alive Paradise, in 2010.

Koei Tecmo is set to go back to this soft, supple well again with Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, a multi-platform release for both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. While the game isn’t quite finished yet, Koei Tecmo has been releasing a steady stream of updates showing off the game’s visuals and gameplay.

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DA 2

▼ The hula hoop simulator proves Dead or Alive Xtreme isn’t a one-trick pony by throwing gamers a curve and focusing on the butt (!) instead of the boobs.

DA 1

Fans in Japan are eagerly anticipating the game’s February 25 release date, when the summery graphics should make the fantasies it’s offering doubly appealing. Gamers in the U.S. and Europe, though, will be left out in the cold, according to this statement made by the developers in response to a Facebook query about Dead or Alive Xtreme 3:

We do not bring DOAX3 to the west and won’t have any plan change in the future. Thank you for asking.”

“Do you know many issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female in video game industry? We do not want to talk those things here. But certainly we have gone through in last year or two to come to our decision. Thank you.”

The “issues” being referred to are no doubt increased sensitivity in the west regarding how female characters are portrayed in works of fiction, video games included. So while all three prior Dead or Alive Xtreme games were released in North America and Europe, it looks like the third numbered installment is staying exclusive to Japan.

But while Koei Tecmo’s decision of where to release the game is being affected by overseas attitudes, those sensibilities don’t seem to have influenced what content is actually being put into the game itself. The Japanese version of Dead or Alive 3 (which is now the only version) seems to be operating under the nonchalant acceptance in Japanese society that, yeah, most guys enjoy looking at slim, busty women in bikinis.

▼ It’s also still full-steam ahead on the Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Facebook page, accessible from anywhere in the world.


In any case, Koei Tecmo’s decision not to publish Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in western territories isn’t going to prevent anyone who really wants to lay the game from doing so. Japanese PlayStation 4 software is compatible with consoles sold in North America and Europe, and it’s not like the game’s deep gameplay or rich story require strong proficiency in the Japanese language.

Granted, specially importing the game means western fans will have to pay a few extra bucks, just a few mainly 10% commision and shipping, but with the low yen that really shouldn’t be an issue. Given how very specific Dead or Alive Xtreme’s niche is, price-based demand for the game is far, far less elastic than its stars’ chests.

Related: Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Facebook page

20th anniversary Sailor Moon watch makes all of our dreams come true

Sailor Moon fans, are you looking for the perfect item to commemorate the series’ 20th anniversary? This beautiful watch might be just that—but you’d better hurry because stocks are limited!

For most of us, having grown up with Sailor Moon, knowing that the series has reached its 20th anniversary is making us feel old. Still, that hasn’t stopped us from drooling over the screen as we long for this gorgeous commemorative watch.


In collaboration with the brand WIRED f, 5,000 of these watches will be available for order, and even includes a message from Usagi’s Japanese voice actress, Kotono Mitsuishi!

▼”To those of you who, as a little girl, wanted to grow up to be a Sailor Scout: Close your eyes and remember. That warmth pulsing through you is from your very own silver crystal, born within your heart! Now, let’s transform together with the crystal star watch! Moon crystal power, make up!!”


The watch face is designed to look like the crystal star compact, with the addition of stylish pink Roman numerals and a crescent moon on the end of the second hand. The back is engraved with the 20th anniversary logo and includes the edition number as well.


The band comes in your choice of pink gold metal or a white weather-proof leather, and arrives to you in its own original box.


Preorders have just started today(!), and will be delivered towards the end of February. We can reserve yours here (sorry, Japanese only!) for 39,800 yen (US$325) plus tax. But remember, there are only 5,000 available, so don’t delay if you want one!

Source: Nijimen

New cookbook turns the uni-tasker takoyaki maker into a versatile multi-tasker

We thought takoyaki pans were just for making fried octopus balls. Teach us your ways, recipe book!

イワタニ カセットグリルたこ焼器 炎たこ 20穴 【レシピ・竹串5本付き】 CB-TK-A
Takoyaki pans come in all forms and shapes, this particular one needs a propane gas tank so you can use it outside too.

イワタニ たこ焼プレート CB-P-T
A traditional takoyaki plate to use on your gas stove of portable burner.

an electric takoyaki maker, the most commonly used in Japanese households.

Takoyaki, chunks of octopus covered in batter, are one of the many wonderful treats Japan has to offer. They’re sold in grocery stores and you can always count on stalls serving up fresh ones at Japanese festivals. Besides being filled with octopus, takoyaki are almost always cooked in a special griddle with half-spherical molds that evenly heat the dough. The home versions of these grills seemed to be destined to only make takoyaki, but it turns out the little octopus balls aren’t the only thing that can be cooked in them. There are plenty of other spherical foods that you can create with a takoyaki maker and a brilliant new recipe book is showing us dozens of new ways to utilize the uniquely shaped pan.

takoyaki 1

Titled Takoyakiki Waiwai Recipe (“Takoyaki Pan Fun Recipes”), this unique cookbook features over 62 recipes that exclusively use a takoyaki pan. Just looking at the assortment of ideas on the front cover already has convinced us that we need to try all of them!

▼ Spanish-style al ajillo / “in garlic”

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▼ Adorable grilled rice balls

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The extensive cookbook features recipes including comfort food like yaki onigiri (grilled rice balls), okonomiyaki, mochi, and miniature versions of Western food like French toast, corn dogs, and omelets. You’ll find all your usual cravings inside, from salty to sweet to savory and everything in between.

▼ The takoyaki pan is the perfect size for different bento treats!

takoyaki 3

The cookbook can be bought at any bookstore in Japan or you can find it online for 680 yen (US $5.50). With recipes like these at your disposal, you could be opening up your own “round-shaped food” restaurant sometime in the near future.

Takoyaki pans are available here


Source, images: @Press
[ Read in Japanese ]

The king of quirky gadgets; Thanko

Thanko, Japan’s self-proclaimed “rare things shop, has been serving us a steady supply of very useful, a little useful, hardly useful and useless gadgets, and we at JWS have come to love this company for all its quirkiness and originality.

Since most of these products are only available in Japan and therefore a service like JWS is required makes it all the more lovable to us tiny, very tiny bonus receiving worker bees here at JWS.

Well let us show what we’re going on about:

 The Upside-down “Desk” To Use While You Snooze


Now all you need is an intravenous drip, catheter and bed pan…

On 7 February, the year was 2013, a new day of sloth dawned with the issue of Thanko’s new upside-down laptop desk, aptly named Aomuke Gorone Desk (“Napping Face Up Desk”) for 7,980 yen (US$86).

Improving on the desktop of previous model Gorone Desk, this one can be used in comfort upside-down, lying on your back.

Inside the desktop are two fans which help to cool down your poor flipped-out laptop, which otherwise would be overheating from the shock.

Don’t worry, your baby is kept cool and held firmly in place with a sturdy band and hooks. You can even fix other things into it that you might want to look at upside down, like magazines or… um, kittens, anyone? And there’s more! It can even be used right-side up.

 Electrothermal heated gloves for winter outdoor activities

Electrothermal heated gloves to eliminate the chill of hands during outdoor activities on cold winter days.

They are powered by a 9V battery and get warm quickly in about 30 seconds. There is an On/Off button so that you can turn it off when not needed and save power. Admit it, this is pure genius!

Great for when you want to ride your motorbike in winter or for fishing or climbing the Himalayas but don’t forget to carry some extra batteries!


  • Price: 3,980 yen
  • Size: 290x140x40mm / glove
  • Weight: 80g / glove
  • Battery life: 1.5 hours


Camera stand with 3 quiet wheels to enable you to take smooth moving images

a camera stand with 3 quiet wheels. It enables you to take smooth moving images like a movie. You can perform several moves like moving straight, curve and rotation, and they can be done at high speed.

It’s compatible with compact cameras, single-lens reflex cameras, and video cameras. The screw hole for attaching a tripod stand is used to mount the stand.

Price: ¥6,980 –

Shoulder bag with pop-up tablet holder

Thanko - Shoulder bag with pop-up tablet holder -

When you are on a busy train or when you are holding an umbrella, this shoulder bag comes into play. It allows hands-free use of your tablet.

Only one drawback about it might be that you get some extra attention from people around you…but this could work to your advantage….normally the girl in wouldn’t even glance at the man in his hideous silver color coat…but watch her expression, next up they’ll be exchanging phone numbers and who knows…..their vows.

  • Price: ¥4,980

Painless comfortable earphones for lying down

When you wear earphones while you lie down and relax, don’t your earphones bother you? They tend to make your ears ache as time passes.

With Thanko‘s new earphones, you won’t feel any pain in your ears for a long time. They’re smaller than regular earphones so that the whole earbud fits perfectly in your ear without any of it sticking out, which is the main reason why we get those pesky earaches.

Thanko – Smartphone Microscope to magnify 100X high-quality images

Your smartphone will turn into a digital microscope with Thanko‘s new Smartphone Microscope.

It is very easy to use. What you have to do is just attach the Smartphone Microscope with the accompanying clip onto any smartphone or iPhone and then you can view a magnified image of an object through the smartphone’s screen. It can zoom from 60X up to 100X.

Price: 2,980 yen

USB-Powered Heated Office Gloves

While they’ll surely find fans anywhere on the planet (beyond certain latitudes and/or elevations, that is), heated office gloves are particularly welcome here in Japan. Even in large corporate buildings, central heating is at best a 50/50 likelihood, and virtually nonexistent in smaller companies. This is also the norm in most homes – it’s just how they roll over here. As such, convenient hand warmers that plug into one’s desk/laptop or a USB battery pack can go a long way toward comfortable winter office work – or wherever you’d want to use them, really.

Extra Desktop Arms to Hold Your Stuff

The clear, clean workspace is a keyboard pounder’s dream – one that usually seems completely hopeless. But if one could get one’s mobile gadgetry off the desktop and open up space for referencing handwritten notes or documents, or fiddling around with cameras and what not, or just making room for one’s sandwich as one works through yet another lunch, etc., etc., one would be pleased.

For the 24hour social media addict

The utility of this thing is basically limited only to our imagination: quickly referencing calendars or other productivity apps, pulling up a YouTube video, checking Twitter, on and on. For those who’ve managed to dial in the tablet-as-second-monitor setup, this is pretty hard to beat. The arm rack can be mounted on any desk or hard surface (bed frames, kitchen/coffee tables, etc.), and the arms are fully articulable in basically all degrees of freedom.

All but the largest phablets will fit in the smartphone clamp, and the tablet rack can accommodate almost any-size device in landscape orientation. Additionally, and particularly thoughtful, two rigid, L-shaped attachments that more effectively place the device in one’s field of view are included.

While it’s not quite there yet, what would really take these arms into super-useful level would be integrated USB/Lightning/Mini- & Micro-USB cables for charging and syncing and stuff – maybe we’ll see that in version 2!

Price: ¥3,480 (~$29)

Wearable or Mountable Action Cam Gimbal

No one who’s spent a few hours on YouTube has been spared the visual seizure salad of super-shaky action cam shots – almost by definition, getting action shots is a shaky-can’t-be-helped scenario. Sure, clever editors can tone down the vibrations and herky-jerkiness in post, but why not cut down on that from the jump? …you know, so to speak (demo video below).

Enter Thanko’s electronically controlled, self-balancing 3-axis gimbal designed specifically for action camming (definitely fits the GoPro/FauxPro boxy form factor best). The device has multiple tripod mount points a number of different configurations, making in wholly compatible with almost any existing action cam accessories – including mono-pods, selfie sticks, etc. It also twists and turns into 4 different stabilization configurations, making it widely flexible in attaching to whatever to shoot whatever.

The gimbal’s built-in battery pack (rechargeable batteries included) provides a good 3-4 hours of stable shooting, but in locked mode it can also serve as a external battery pack for the action cam. A dedicated hard case and range of attachment accessories and cables and such are also included.

Last we list some products without description, because Thanko has so many products, it would take me at least 200 paragraphs and that would cut too much in my time, time I need to play around with some of the products  from Thanko we acquired to test their quality. (reviews will follow).

Usb powered hot glue gun
cat hand-shaped selfie stick


Enter a captionHands-free Shushuku-gasa (shrinkable umbrella)

Check out their website for more gadgets:

Thanko (Japanese)

Amazon Thanko

To finish this piece I would like to introduce one more product;

Two Screws + Two Cameras = Two Shots (at the same time!)

We’re in an industry where carrying around multiple cameras or a single camera with unattached accessories or a camera and a smartphone is de rigueur – it must be done. So, we know all too well the endless annoyance of putting down one device and lifting up another – all the while hoping our subject remains compliant and/or stationary. Well, no more!

A Japanese camera gadget maker has an answer for our media-world problems, and it’s fantastically simple: Etsumi’s new accessory bracket attaches to your main camera’s tripod mount, extending to the left and forward, and the other end of the bracket provides either another tripod mount or a hotshoe connector. Boom! Attach whatever you like!

Whether it’s an action cam, a dot sight for shooting rapidly moving subjects, or – and this one really appeals to us – a photo-centric smartphone case with a tripod mount (because more and more we find ourselves longing to simultaneously shoot high-res with a main camera, then lower-res with a smartphone for immediate social media shares).

The brackets are selling for ¥4,600 (~$38) for the dual tripod mount version and ¥5,300 (~$43) for the hotshoe connector version. They weigh about 63g (tripod mount) and 93g (hotshoe mount), respectively, and are both 100 x 90mm square and about 5mm thick.

Pics by Akihabara news and Thanko


thanko (1)

Thanko, Japan’s premiere producer of bizarre products, is back with the “Chin Rest Arm.” Be the talk of the office with this must-have, not-at-all-insane accessory!

Do you spend your days at the office looking like this poor sap? If so, you may be missing something in your life. But it’s not hope, dreams, an exciting career, or even a family that loves you! No, what you need is….

thanko (1)

…the “Chin Rest Arm!”

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That’s right, the Chin Rest Arm. This multipurpose, posable, movable, slightly sexy plastic hand will help keep your head up when times are tough. Literally!

You can also use it in place of a neck pillow when you’re trying to escape the slow march into death by catching a few winks at work.

▼ You too can have this contented, empty smile!

thanko (3)

Thanks to its soft, cushioned exterior, the Chin Rest Arm is the perfect, comfy companion—it’s like a body pillow…for your face!


With the clever application of the arm’s grip, you could probably attach it to your belt and have a helping hand wherever you go!

▼ The Chin Rest Arm will never leave your high-fives hanging!


And for a mere 4,980 yen (about US$40), who could say no to this amazing device? We fully expect to fill our office with outstretched Chin Rest Arms just looking to be helpful by the end of December! Who knows what Mr. Sato will use his for…

Source/images: Thanko


Cosplay in your sleep with this giant anime-style “pigtails pillow”【Pics & Video】

Well winter is coming and some have you are preparing yourselves to hibernate…well we at JWS are here to let you sleep till spring…in perfect comfort!

The creative team at Bibi Lab have been at it again. The inventive brand dedicated to bringing weird and wonderful items out into the world have delighted us with life-sized human-shaped pillows, mosquito net jumpsuits and even sailor-style schoolgirl uniforms for men.

Now there’s another item we’ll be adding to our growing collection of Bibi Lab products: the giant anime-style pigtails pillow.

Previously, Bibi Lab brought out a giant, brown-coloured pigtail—or twintail as they’re known here—pillow in homage to the hairstyle that’s so popular in Japan. With its straight up-and-down design, though, the hug-pillow looked more like a pair of tanned arms than a mane of dark hair. With that experience behind them, they’ve decided to perfect the pigtail look with a cute, wavy style, complete with face-covering bangs. Anyone who walks in on you now will know you’re dressed up as a style of hair.


The larger-than-life hairstyle is super soft and shiny and once you’re in, you can hug, hold and hide inside your ‘hair’, allowing for a number of cute poses. Bibi Lab outlines ten specific positions to try, in three exceeding levels of difficulty which correspond to how much you’ll be giggling as you do them.

The beginner’s level starts out with the “Three River Side Snuggle“. Lie in the middle, cosy up to one side and you’ve got three ‘rivers’ of warmth.


Fold the two pigtails on top of each other, straddle them and you’ve got the “Three River Vertical Snuggle“.


The term, Nihon Hyakkei refers to the 100 famous views of Japan. This is the “Yumemi Hyakkei, because the only thing you’ll be seeing in this position is 100 yume, or dreams.


Moving on to the intermediate level, we have the “Wrap-Around Computer Table“, perfect for reading or laptop use.


Criss-cross the pigtails inside each other and you have “The Monolith”, which comes in handy when you want to watch TV.


An additional twist gives you the perfect headrest for a good sob. This one’s appropriately called “Tied Up in Knots Because of Your First Love”.


And for some extra head support, there’s the “Head-Holding Hard Hug“.


And now for advanced use, you can try the “Tsubame Gaeshi“, or “Return of the Swallow“, which is both a sword technique that can slash off the topknot of a samurai warrior and a judo throw that will land you on the floor. Either way, you’ll be covering your face in fear.


And for the lovebirds who want to watch each other’s backs, there’s the “Meeting Heads” position, which is handy for keeping an eye out for enemy approaches in the lounge room.


And when people give you a time-out in the corner for all your crazy antics, you can do it in comfort with ”The Wall Stand“.


Available from online retailer Rakuten Ichiba for 10,800 yen (US$90.34), the pillow itself is 150 centimtres (4.9 feet) long and filled with two different materials; soft cotton for the pigtails and microbeads for the headrest area.


It includes two covers; a blue spandex one for the hot summer months and a black velveteen cover for the colder winter months so you can wear your pigtails any time of the year!


To see just how soft and fluffy the pillow is, take a look at the video below.

And, as with all hair, remember to keep away from open flames!


Bibi Lab, don’t ever stop creating. We can’t wait to see what other wacky items you’ve got lined up for us in the future!

Source and Images: Bibi Lab

“Cute little sister” sleeved blanket helps wearer achieve new level of awesome/awkward

Do normal blankets not keep you warm enough on cold winter nights? How about one with an huggable anime girl stitched into it?

We’ve seen Japanese Twitter user Mika Mikami before with their delightful invention that lets you go on a date and share a drink with the anime girl of your dreams. But now they’ve created something that lets you go one step further. What will you want to do with your date once the drink is finished? Why, go home and snuggle of course!

Here’s the tweet from last month that provided the inspiration:

▼ “I want to make a wearable blanket that lets you hug an imouto.


As a quick explanatory note for the uninitiated, imouto is the Japanese word for “little sister.” The adorable, doting little sister who loves her older brother more than anyone (and sometimes loves them a little too much…) is a common trope in Japan. Whether imouto should be interpreted to literally mean “little sister,” or just a cute girl in general, we leave that up to you.

Fast forward to today and Mika Mikami made their imouto blanket dream come true. Here are the pictures of the final product they created, complete with an extremely satisfied model to wear it: (Click pictures to enlarge.)

▼ “I did it! I made it!”

If you remember a few years back, the hit gift that everyone had to have around the holiday season was a Snuggie, a blanket with sleeves. That’s pretty much exactly what this is, but with a custom design that, depending on who you are, is either incredibly cute or incredibly creepy. Either way though, you have to admit that the creativity and craftsmanship here is top-notch.

Here’s what Japanese netizens had to say about this imaginative invention:

“I want two. No, wait, three!”
“You’re a genius.”
“Wait, how is this better than a daimakura?(blanket)
“Isn’t this kind of meaningless unless you have a mirror?”
“lol that is disturbing.”

Whether you think the imouto blanket is gross or great, it is at least a hilarious idea.

And if you are at work then don’t scroll down to see the NSFW blanket, love to hate it, hate to love it..but I kinda love it.

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Press as hard as you like, these mechanical pencils just refuse to break


I have a tiny, slightly embarrassing confession to make. I positively loathe mechanical pencils. In fact, they scare me a little bit.

No, this isn’t some peculiar of act of Luddism on my part, nor was a member of my family ever murdered by a deranged graphic designer. Rather, it’s because every single time–every single time–I use a mechanical pencil, its lead breaks on me within seconds of being touched to the page. And that, dear reader, always gives me a tiny but not insignificant fright. I have enough terror in my life as it is – I don’t need my writing implements keeping me on edge too.

Thankfully, the Japanese arm of stationery company Zebra knows my pain, and has designed a mechanical pencil whose leads simply cannot be broken, no matter how hard you scribble.

According to the videos released  by Zebra, you can press so hard with this  range of mechanical pencils, or shaapen as they’re known in Japan, that it’s possible to tear the paper you’re writing on before the lead breaks and startles delicate snowflakes such as myself. True, most pencil leads break because the writer is pressing too hard to begin with, but thanks to special “guard” sections located within these shaapens’ nibs, writers and doodlers alike can be as heavy-handed as they please without fear of the lead suddenly snapping beneath them.

▼ Sciencey diagrams!


Check out the promo video to see for yourselves just how durable these things are:

A second video shows how the lead is partially retracted to prevent breakage:

There are, of course, similarly sturdy mechanical pencils already on the market, but often they retail for a great deal more than your typical high schooler or shaapen-phobic web-based writer would care to pay. Zebra’s  mechanical pencils, however, come in six different colours and cost just 450 yen (US$3.80) plus tax – an amount even the most frugal student wouldn’t be adverse to paying.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.57.24 AM

Thank you, Zebra. No longer shall I be afraid to embrace technology and allow machine and pencil to be as one in my home or corner of the office.

 Amazon JP.

Professional manga artist creates stunning pop-up style artwork with just pencil & paper

One of the artists for popular light novel and manga series Gosick posted these amazing popup-style drawings on Twitter recently, where they were immediately shared hundreds of times by impressed otaku. Using just pencil, paper, and an open book they’ve been able to bring the characters into the 3D world with clever techniques. 

Gosick is a historical drama/mystery light novel by Kazuki Sakuraba which ran between 2003 and 2011 and also had a manga and an anime adaptation. Hinata Takeda is responsible for the gorgeous cover illustrations of the original light novels, while Amano Sakuya illustrated the manga version.

To promote the complete set of the manga, Sakuya has made these beautiful 3D-style pencil drawings of characters from the series. They’re drawn in such a way that when propped up by a book they appear three-dimensional.

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▼ Careful shading and cutting of the edge of the paper are techniques that enhance the 3D effect.


▼ The perspective work here is extremely clever.


▼ The open book serves as the floor and wall in this design.


▼ It’s like they’re stepping out of the 2D world and into the 3D!


These images were retweeted almost 2,000 times and have inspired other artists to create similar works that have also been floating around the Twittersphere. If you find any other impressive ones why not let us know in the comments section below.

Source & images: Twitter/@amanosakuya

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