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Takami Akai Work Books

A simple line drawing of Milenya, a mouse and a frog running around in the rain. Source: 2000 赤井孝美オシゴトブック

Last updated: 2024-04-06
Original sources: 『赤井孝美オシゴトブック』 for 1999, 2000 and 2002

Starting in 1999, Ninelives would come to conventions to distribute a series of limited run doujin acting as a year in review for all announced projects that Takami Akai had overseen.

These would come to be called the "Takami Akai Work Books", continuing to run even shortly after Ninelives was dissolved as a separate entity from Gainax.

Shared here is a subset of scans featuring Princess Maker media, from the 1999, 2000, and 2002 work books.


1999

The 1999 work book specifies the month in which Princess Maker Q was released, and the month when Princess Maker 4 had started development; July 1999.

There is a unique illustration of one of the rejected ("NG") princess designs in the Princess Maker Q section, predating Karen. Her bowl cut, rings and rags do make her look like a slightly more refined take on the main character of Akai's short lived manga "ヒメ HIME", published in Kodansha's Monthly Afternoon.

Some UI concepts are shared of Princess Maker 4. Most of these sketches and illustrations follow the modern Tokyo setting proposed for the game, with the exception of a UI sketch illustrating a confident Karen dueling with a skeleton warrior.


2000

Ninelives mascot Milenya makes her first work book appearance in the 2000 volume, and seemingly last to date.

Far more Princess Maker 4 sketches and digitally colored art are shown off here. An early version of Karen on a swing over Tokyo has her with a crown that never appears in subsequent art.

Eagle-eyed fans might notice that much of the art here was used in the screenshots shared with Korean video game media.

Ninelives and its first iteration "Akai Incorporated" are credited as putting this volume together, rather than any individuals.


2002

By 2002, Ninelives is no longer mentioned in the books, and Takami Akai has been back at Gainax for nearly two years. Karen from Princess Maker 4 still makes appearances, along with the new princess Yucie from Petit Princess Yucie.

To my knowledge, most of the Yucie art in here was never printed in any other source, barring the Cube art that's strikingly identical to the Cube from the Ninelives Character Book

Some of the finalized Akai art previously appeared as promotional, limited run phone cards.

Six new Princess Maker 4 images and their corresponding sketches are exclusive to this book, not counting the Karen shown in the title page above. All of these feature Karen in new, modern clothing, focusing on what appear to be vacation events.

Keiko Mizumori (水守 恵子) is credited in the final page as an editor, with Akai making a brief appearance in cartoon form. As mentioned earlier, Ninelives is nowhere to be seen. Only Akai's doujin group "Stilletto" (ステイレット) and Akai himself receive publishing credits.