Pretty Girls: Kenichi Sonoda

August 27th, 2010 by | Tags: , , ,

Kenichi Sonoda: Wiki, imdb, a pretty good summary of his career, and an impossibly ancient shrine
Books: Gunsmith Cats, Gunsmith Cats: Burst
Why? The thing about cheesecake is that there’s exactly two types. There’s the trite, ugly, boring, unattractive, and lame stuff–your Ed Beneses, Zenescopers, and the like. They take a by the numbers approach to sexiness that actually saps any sexiness from the image. Two Boobs + Two Butt Cheeks+ Flimsy Thong Plus Arched Back = Any Given Issue of Birds of Prey. The other kind, the stuff that comes from your Frank Chos, Adam Hughes, Amanda Conners, and Adam Warrens, has a certain care and spontaneity that the other stuff doesn’t. The difference is that the latter group actually cares about what they’re doing. That care led to them really pushing and getting good at what they do.

I’d put Kenichi Sonoda in the latter group. He has his quirks/fetishes/interests (they are guns, cars, girls, and girls who wear pantyhose, in that order), he has his downsides (the occasional flagrant panty shot, prizing sexiness over sensibility, Minnie May), and he is absolutely technically proficient, but what raises him above artists like Benes is that he’s clearly put a tremendous amount of thought into what he’s doing. His style is probably exactly what you think of when someone says anime or manga (big eyes, small mouth, big boobs, small waists), but he’s not as generic as he might seem at first glance. He’s got a great grasp of body language (ks-sleepy.jpg, look at her slump!), he can actually work facial expressions (look at that saleslady in ks-asteal.jpg and tell me you can’t see the “cha-ching!” in her face), and the women wear actual, if occasional impractical, clothes (Rally in ks-copkilla.jpg, for example). He’s not just an artist drawing empty T&A. He’s making an effort to make his characters real. He’s drawing typical cute stuff, but with just a little more talent and care than you’d expect.

An aside: Gunsmith Cats is really, really good stuff, but Minnie May, and what she represents, makes me real uncomfortable. Without her, it’s a rocking manga about girls, guns, and fast cards. With her, well… you’re gonna get some funny looks if you read this funnybook in public. (no pedo)

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8 comments to “Pretty Girls: Kenichi Sonoda”

  1. Why is Rebbecca Chambers and Billy Coen in the center?

  2. @Nik: He drew a picture of them that I liked? Why shouldn’t they be there?

  3. Just curious, kinda stood out when its surrounded by Gunsmith Cats.

  4. The T&A goes for all comics, though I doubt America would tolerate a mainstream genre like hentai. I was reading a cosplayer’s blog on how when she dressed as a traditional mainstream super heroine she could barely walk, let alone fight anything. I agree that artists like Kenichi Sonoda and Adam Hughes make them more than blow up dolls.

  5. The ending to Burst fills me with RAAAAAAAGGGE!!!!

    Love the art, though. He does car chases like nobody else/

  6. Haha, awesome, Gunsmith Cats! You gave a great summary of Sonoda’s talents, and the amount of work he does to keep guns and cars both technically and visually realistic is insane. Minnie Maye doesn’t really bother me as a character, but there are indeed some truly unfortunate scenes in Gunsmith Cats that make me really think about the person I’m talking to before I recommend it to him/her.

    My biggest complain about Sonada may be his ability to plot for the endgame. I’ve never seen a story whimper and fade out as badly as Burst, and it may be because he plans to continue it some day, but it still struck me as intensely unsatisfying.

  7. Oh, that shrine makes me wax nostalgic for the old days of the internet, looking for anime and manga fan sites. That shrine hasn’t updated for over 10 years! top news is a dreamcast game coming out! It just makes me wonder whatever happened to the people who ran it.

    I digress, great article as always.

  8. Wow as you already said, so realistic details, especially the guns.

    I am unsatisfied with the ending as well, but on the other side a great cliffhanger to continue some time…