Surfing the Sea

Since 1995

The Shugo Chara Fan-Art Bonanza! (2008) — May 29, 2016

The Shugo Chara Fan-Art Bonanza! (2008)

It’s not a double exhibition, nor is it a triple exhibition, but it’s a quadruple exhibition – the first of its kind on this blog!

Following on from last week’s exhibition on Tokyo Mew Mew/Mew Mew Power and in keeping with the Japanese animation theme, today we’re looking at Shugo Chara. (Warning: This post will go into quite a lot of detail about the show, and so spoilers will be ahead, especially if you haven’t read the manga or seen the anime.)

What is Shugo Chara? It’s the story of Amu Hinamori, a 12-year-old girl who may look cool and chatty on the outside, but is in fact shy and unwilling to open up to other people on the inside. She wishes to become more open-hearted and sociable, and her wish is granted… although not quite in the way she expects it. The day after making her wish, she finds three coloured eggs at her home, and each of them hatch into three “Shugo Charas” or ‘guardian characters’ (which is the literal translation of the series’ name) which represent a part of her inner selves: Ran the red cheerleader representing Amu’s ‘sporty’ side, Miki the blue artist representing Amu’s artistic side, and Su the green chef representing Amu’s ‘foodie’ side. Later on, a fourth Shugo Chara, Dia the yellow pop singer, hatches, although at first she seems to have been imbued with some dangerous dark energy…

So now that you’ve got a basic gist of the show’s storyline, let’s go ahead and look at each of the four fan-artworks I made!

Amu, Tadase & Rima

Here’s the main human characters of the series – Amu, Tadase and Rima. Tadase is a boy who is around the same age as Amu, and initially acts as her first love interest (a cat-boy, Ikuto, later becomes the second and true love interest for Amu). He likes to think he’s royalty by dressing up as a prince – complete with golden crown – and his Shugo Chara, Kiseki, takes the form of a tiny king, representing his desire to rule across the world. Rima is a girl who is also around Amu’s age, but she lacks in athletic strength and is still picked up by her parents after school because of a kidnapping incident. Her Shugo Chara, Kusukusu, takes the form of a clown and represents her wish of making others laugh at her jokes.

Ran, Miki, Su & Dia

Ran, Miki, Su and Dia are Amu’s Shugo Charas. (I wonder why she gets four and everybody else only gets one?) Dia is drawn in her ‘true’ form here, but before she had a much different, darker look, which I like to call her ‘bad version’. She became like this after Amu expressed a strong dislike in all the changes that were happening around her, and the resulting dark energy drained people of their good intentions. Amu soon regretted this, however, and when her confidence finally broke through, Dia turned into her ‘good’ form and they both transformed together for the better.

Bad Dia
True Dia
Amulet Heart, Amulet Spade, Amulet Clover & Amulet Diamond

Whenever Amu needs the help of her Shugo Charas, she undergoes what’s called a ‘Character Transformation’ by literally unlocking her heart and allowing her to carry out tasks which would otherwise be out of her league when in her ‘normal’ form. In transforming, she gains an outfit which is stylized like those her Shugo Charas wear, and gains abilities appropriate to what they represent. Amulet Heart (red) is the transformation using Ran’s energy, making her more athletic and speedy. Amulet Spade (blue) is the transformation using Miki’s energy, increasing her artistic talents such as drawing and making music. Amulet Clover (green) is the transformation using Su’s energy, making her better at cooking and cleaning, and also a little too ‘girly’. Amulet Diamond (yellow) is the transformation using (true) Dia’s energy, but she does not seem to do anything in this form other than sparkle brightly and smile happily, much to the other Shugo Charas’ disappointment.

Amu’s Amulets
Amulet Angel & Amulet Devil

OK… so this one needs a little bit of explanation. Eru and Iru are two Shugo Charas resembling an angel and devil respectively who belong to the school singing idol, Utau. Her band ‘Black Diamond’ used dark music imbued with bad energy to suck the good intentions out of other people, turning them into rebellious sorts. Eru represents her good side, while Iru represents her meanness. While Dia was in Utau’s possession (as X or ‘Bad’ Dia), Eru and Iru temporarily turned up in Amu’s possession, seemingly feeling ignored by their true master. They would cause her to transform into Amulet Angel (using Eru’s energy) or Amulet Devil (using Iru’s energy), which simply serve as ‘joke’ transformations that gain no real powers and often embarrass Amu and her friends. (Although Amulet Devil can play the electric guitar with great force!) Eru and Iru eventually returned to Utau after Dia turned into her ‘good’ form with Amu gaining her confidence.

Amulet Angel
Amulet Devil

So that’s the whole world of Shugo Chara via pictures! But I’m not done with the anime themes just yet…

Tokyo Mew Mew: The Girls (2008) — May 22, 2016

Tokyo Mew Mew: The Girls (2008)


Not long after moving back to England from Colombia, my sister Melissa began to become interested in Japanese culture, especially anime and manga, after seeing our cousin being into it. As such, she became what pop-culturists would call an “otaku” – somebody, especially a girl, who is obsessed with all things weird and wonderful that Japan makes.

Melissa started to regularly watch anime series online, and one of them was Tokyo Mew Mew, or Mew Mew Power as it’s known outside of Japan. It’s the adventures of five teenage girls who are infused with the DNA of endangered animals to help save the world from the evil Deep Blue and his alien minions. (No, not the little yellow guys from Despicable Me…) When trouble is imminent, Ichigo (or Zoey in the English version) and her friends Lettuce (Bridget), Mint (Corina), Zakuro (Renee) and Pudding (Kikki) transform into the magical Mew Mews – a team of cat-girls turned superheroes.

Naturally, the colours of each of the Mew Mew girls inspired me to draw this fan-art of them. Ichigo/Zoey is obviously first up as she is the leader of the Mew Mews (or as they’re actually called, Tokyo Mew Mew, hence the name of the series). I didn’t draw the Mew Mews in any particular order, though it may be to do with their order of appearance when a transformation sequence plays in the show – in my experience of seeing (or rather, just passively looking over Melissa’s shoulder) the anime, Ichigo/Zoey always seemed to appear first, then Mint/Corina, Lettuce/Bridget, Zakuro/Renee and finally Pudding/Kikki. (Maybe Pudding/Kikki comes last because she’s the youngest Mew Mew?) However, funnily enough, Lettuce/Bridget and Mint/Corina are swapped around from the show’s order.

For a little easier identification, here’s all the Mew Mews and what colour they are:

  • Ichigo/Zoey – pink
  • Lettuce/Bridget – green
  • Mint/Corina – blue
  • Zakuro/Renee – purple
  • Pudding/Kikki – yellow

Ever since then, I’ve been repeatedly inspired by Japanese animes, most notably Hetalia: Axis Powers and Pokémon (although I’d been into Pokémon way before I discovered Tokyo Mew Mew). And that influence didn’t stop at Tokyo Mew Mew, as you’ll see next week…

December Goes Wild: Promotional Posters (2008) — May 15, 2016

December Goes Wild: Promotional Posters (2008)

Yes, I said ‘posters’, not ‘poster’, because I made two versions of the same poster for the same film – which means it’s time for another double exhibition!

So why am I talking about a film here? Because that’s what December Goes Wild was meant to be. December Goes Wild is the second film of the Los Niños Meses 2008 season (it was mostly comprised of films, unlike the previous series), and the star of the show is obviously December. After drinking a can of the infamous in-universe energy drink, Jungle Wild, he goes on not-quite-a-rampage around the city of Santa Marta (not the one in Colombia, but simply an in-universe city which just so happens to have the same name), and his antics shock some citizens while making others laugh. It’ll take a lot of snapping-out from the other Months to help him regain his senses.

As previously mentioned, I designed two posters for the film, keeping the same basic layout but changing some of the characters, while still keeping December as the centrepiece.

December Goes Wild Poster (Version 1)

The first version of the poster uses bold black felt-tip pen for the outlines and coloured pencils for the colours, giving them that quintessentially Surfing the Sea cartoon style (at least for 2008, anyway). There’s a few Adventure People and Pokémon to be found here – Latias and Latios from the third generation of Pokémon act as the impromptu ‘villains’ for the film, and Lotad from the same generation appears in the ‘crowd’ to the right of December. The Adventure People shown are Puggyera, Elvin (not related to Elvine, though they share very much the same design), Swantacus (who acted as the sort-of mascot for The Adventure People at this time, rather like Pikachu with Pokémon) and Dogaleo (who also acted as a mascot).

December Goes Wild Poster (Version 2)

The second version of the poster instead uses pencil for the outlines and felt-tip pens for the colours, in a sort of total opposite to the first. (Pencils would later become my prime drawing tool!) Most of the characters from the first edition of the poster are still here, but Elvin seems to have disappeared. Puggyera, Lotad and Dogaleo are now in a cheering pose, and Latias and Latios have magically grown legs! (Or they could be like planes in that they tuck in their legs while flying and take them out when on the ground, like how planes tuck in their front wheels on take-off and take it back out when landing.) Latios also looks somewhat even angrier than he did on the first version of the poster…

While I did design a cover for the book adaptation of the film (I might scan it in and upload it onto both this blog and my website later), I never got around to writing the actual story – my sister Melissa seemed to have put on her own version of the story and changed it into something veering straight off my path for it. Sometimes she likes to use my creations for her own purposes (although she always credits me…)

The Misspelled Months (2008) — May 8, 2016

The Misspelled Months (2008)


One day, I had a thought: what if I intentionally misspelled all the names of the Months? And to match their new names, they couldn’t be the same as the ‘normal’ Months, but completely different characters altogether.

So that’s when I created the Misspelled Months. They’re just like the Months, except… misspelled. With each month name, I had to change one, two or even three or more letters so to distinguish them from their ‘correctly-spelled’ counterparts, and also change their overall designs and personalities.


Misspelling of January. Reads like ‘Jane Rey’ if you’re Spanish (like me), though I think the Spanish equivalent of Jane would be Juana (like Juan for John). His shirt colours are a reversal of the ‘normal’ January’s – yellow, pink and green instead of green, pink and yellow, and he’s been given metallic blue ‘wings’.


Misspelling of February – and many people get stumped on this one in real life, because of that pesky silent ‘R’ in the middle, leading to them writing ‘Febuary’. (February really is the misfit out of all the months of the year… people always spell its name wrong, it changes its length from 28 to 29 days every four years, and I’ve always wondered what do people who were born on February 29th do in non-leap years for their birthday?) Like Janerey, his shirt colours are the reverse of the ‘normal’ February’s – red and black instead of black and red, and he’s been given silver ‘wings’ like Janerey’s.


Misspelling of March. This was one misspelled month I actually got from somewhere else – I once saw it on an episode of The Simpsons (I think it was a Halloween episode). Her costume is one shade down the rainbow from the ‘normal’ March’s – blue instead of green, the ‘traditional’ leprechaun colour for St. Patrick’s Day.


Misspelling of April – April with frills! (I guess I was feeling clever then!)


Misspelling of May – it’s Maye with an ‘E’, like Anne in Anne of Green Gables: “Anne with an ‘E'” (because people were always misspelling it as ‘Ann’ without an ‘E’). Although the name ‘May’ is sometimes spelled ‘Mae’, like Mae West.


Misspelling of June in English, but this is actually how it’s spelled in German. His glasses are sunglasses, unlike the ‘normal’ June’s, which have clear lenses.


Humorous use of the name ‘Julie’ (a shortening of ‘Julia’) as a misspelling for July. No-one says “Julie” for “July”, do they? He (yes, it’s a he, even though Julie is a female name) is basically a tiny version of the ‘normal’ July with a psychic ball-on-a-tail.


Misspelling of August, mixing the word ‘awe’ in, referring to the flame at the tip of her tail, which can awe and frighten many people. Her shirt loses the final yellow stripe that the ‘normal’ August’s shirt has.


A sort-of Anglicization of the Italian spelling for September, ‘settembre’. He is an even tinier version of the ‘normal’ September, with a fly-swat-on-a-tail.


Misspelling of October in English, although it’s the correct form in German. He also has a psychic ball-on-a-tail like Julie’s, and his cloak is an elongated version of the ‘normal’ October’s shirt.


Not really a misspelling of November, but I simply added an extra letter so it would look like a misspelling. He wears a brown cap like the ‘normal’ November and also has a psychic ball-on-a-tail like Oktober and Julie’s.


Misspelling of December in English, but it’s the correct form in German. He looks almost exactly like the ‘normal’ December (2008 incarnation) outfit-wise, the only difference being the red being closer to pink on Dezember than the ‘true’ red of the ‘normal’ December’s.

Hopefully you might have learnt a new language reading through all these misspelled month names! (It may not really be a misspelling depending on your native language.)

The Adventure People: Battle Revolution – Promotional Poster (2008) — May 1, 2016

The Adventure People: Battle Revolution – Promotional Poster (2008)


Just like I promised last week (which was still April, today is the first of May!), here’s what Elvine, Leonina and Spaniela, the starters for the Ruby & Amber series of The Adventure People, will eventually evolve into! (I already touched upon their first evolutions.)

This is a promotional poster I designed for the fighting video game, The Adventure People: Battle Revolution. Remember how I said The Adventure People was inspired by Pokémon? Well, The Adventure People: Battle Revolution was inspired by Pokémon: Battle Revolution, which was out around the same time I drew this poster (and which received… less than enthusiastic reviews from the gaming press, unlike its predecessors, Stadium 2 and Stadium, which are almost universally loved).


The layout of the poster takes direct inspiration from the box art of PBR, with the two legendaries of the current ‘generation’ at the top above the logo, and the final evolved forms of the three starters below. At the time of drawing this poster, Diamond & Pearl (the fourth generation) was the current iteration of the Pokémon series. On the same note, Ruby & Amber was the then-current iteration of the Adventure People series (it’s always so awkward when a series name begins with ‘The’).

I’ve already mentioned the names of the starters (Elvine, Leonina and Spaniela) and their evolutions, but not the legendaries, who are shown at the top. Iciglow (on the left) is obviously an Ice type, while Decemberlinos (on the right) is a Dragon type (which means Decemberlinos is weak to Iciglow’s attacks, as Ice is devastating to Dragons). Iciglow is meant to represent the fragility of ice against Decemberlinos’ strength of dragons, which is somewhat ironic in retrospective.

Decemberlinos bears a very strong resemblance (at least in the head) to December of The Months. I often based the titular Adventure People on other Surfing the Sea characters, especially the Months, so maybe it was some sort of mega crossover with all the other Surfing the Sea series. Even today, I still do this – for the most recent iterations of The Adventure People, Amethyst & Garnet and Opal & Quartz, I based some of the ‘creatures’ on Canadian provinces and provincial capitals, reflecting my undying love of Canada. So you have Brolumbia for British Columbia, Albrash for Alberta, Saskatcheigon for Saskatchewan, and so on.

The poster doesn’t exactly look as polished as the PBR box art, but that’s because it’s meant to be just a poster and not the final box art for the actual game. I just wanted to see what it would look like if I replaced the Pokémon with the Adventure People. (And I probably thought of the Adventure People in 3D battle environments like the Pokémon, too.)

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