Growing up, Apart and Together

My first printed doujinshi during my Ouran Host Club fandom years of my favorite pairing: Hikaru and Haruhi. I was working on it in my early college years, during breaks and after school and work. I learned so much about analog inking, screen tone, preparing files for printing and working with local printer.

I ended up printing too many so it took a while to sell. I’m finally down to a few copies (2019). Once I’ve sold all the copies, I will upload the books online.

BEGIN: Growing up, Apart and Together I
June 2007
Ouran Host Club | Hikaru x Haruhi, Kaoru, et al
Comedy, Romance, Rated-G
B5 | 40P
SaddleStich | Matte Cover

Sample page (text excluded)

TRY: Growing up, Apart and Together II
May 2008
Ouran Host Club | Hikaru x Haruhi, Kaoru, et al
Comedy, Romance, Rated-G
B5 | 60P
PerfectBind | Matte Cover

TRY is a direct continuation to BEGIN. Also features guest artists Kanae, Mayuchan, Youkaiyume.

Sample page (text excluded)

Low Stock!

Volume 1 + 2 Bundle

$15 USD

Reviews

Reviews from some of the people who bought the doujinshi where I got some inspiration from while working on the second book. This is just from people who took the time to write more in-depth review 😀

Letter 1

I received the package yesterday, and I have to say that it was worth every penny. ^_^ I was pleasantly surprised by all the little extras you added to my order – the giveaway, the little Butterfly image, and so forth – and very much appreciate your generosity.

I absolutely adored the doujinshi itself. Your artwork is fantastic, all simplicity and sweeping gestures and easy lines. It’s beautiful, and I enjoyed everything from expressions to backgrounds to details. One thing I especially liked were Hikaru’s earrings; I had the lovely (and slightly ecchi) thought of Haruhi playing with them – using her tongue. XD Perhaps when they’re a little further into the relationship, and Haruhi would actually consider doing that. :X

I also loved the front cover image, and got the impression that the paint (and its effect) showed the softness of the two characters’ relationship. The blue outlining their eyes really drew me into the picture, perhaps because I think of blue as the sky – so they see each other as one another’s sky.

Last but not least, I love the story. Haruhi’s stunning awareness into the difference between all her friends, particularly Hikaru, plays so well off of his own ineptitude (sorry, Hika-chan! ^^;;;) Yet he’s gentle with her, as if she could be broken – or break him! They make a good couple, and I like seeing Hikaru force himself to grow up. It’s got great pacing, taking their friendship and slowly encouraging it to move into a romance. I’m really enjoying myself, as you can tell. ^_^

If/When you ever decide to continue Growing Up, I would gladly purchase the rest of the series. It’s well worth it for such a professional piece of artwork. Thank you again!

Yours truly,
Kristin

Letter 2

Let me start by saying that this doujinshi is presented in such an excellent, professional manner. The outside cover is so sleek, and the printed quality of the lineart inside is so high! And it was such a great choice to choose a type of binding that lets the reader bend the pages without damaging the book. That’s a great plus for a reader like me.

The story itself was a joy to read through. You’ve captured the characters personalities so well. Of course, Hikaru was flawless. His inner monologues and ever-cute blush moments reflected his soft side while you still managed to portray his silly side. And I cannot forget the vulnerable side that hates to part with his brother. You characterized him SO well that I was forgetting that I was reading a fan-manga. There really aren’t that many people that can pull that off, so you score big points with the story and characters. Kaoru’s inclusion was so sweet and really showed his maturity. I was very glad to read his part. The story itself was executed so well~ You shine in the storytelling department. <3

Your art is so charming and well done. It was so infused with the Ouran spirit, but with the added flair of your awesome style. Probably my most favorite part of your art is how detailed the expressions are. I was amazed (and jealous!) at how you easily drew hard-to-capture emotions. They were so well done that my sister caught me unknowingly imitating each character’s expression as I passed them on each page. I only do that with manga and novels I really love… Both the inking and toning were very well done. Though, what really caught my eye was the paneling and bubble placement. Again, it was so professional! Every little scene and piece of dialogue moved so smoothly. (After noticing how well everything was placed, I went on a “study this doujin’s panels!” session. It really helped me learn quite a few things. I bet no one else did that~!)

Honestly, it’s hard for me to say much about the art because it really appealed to me and I simply liked it so much. And it’s difficult for me to describe something I really like… Let me just say that I loved goggling at it randomly for long periods of time.

There were two scenes that I really liked. One was the part when the twin servants tied up Hikaru and left him outside Haruhi’s door. The comedy there… XD It just made me laugh. It was very Ouran-esque. The second one was the final scene with Haruhi, particularly the parts where she asked if Hikaru was going to kiss her hand and ESPECIALLY the part where Hikaru grinned. It was just…too cute… I really couldn’t help walking around with a grin after that. It put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Whenever I buy a manga, the first thing I do is flip to the back and see if there are any sketches, notes, or other miscellaneous extras. When I found that yours had four pages of extras, I was really tickled. <3 I feel that including sketches gave the doujinshi a more “complete” feel, like “Ah, what a great read! Oh wait, there’s more~!” I’d like to thank you so much for including those pages. I would love to see even more pages of extras in part two.

I’m so happy that I got a taste of your comic art. I would purchase another doujin or original manga from you in a heartbeat. Thank you so much for creating it! I’m really looking forward to part two~ Good luck with everything and again, thank you so much for sharing such a cute, Hikaru-blushing Ouran fan-comic! You’ve just snagged another die-hard gem2niki fan~

Gladyfaith

Letter 3

I’m glad you inform you that I have received my doujinshi. =] I thought it was very good and enjoyed it a lot. I’m looking forward to another! I was also very excited to find a free give away and I’d like to thank you very much for it. X3 Again, thank you for the doujinshi, I loooved it!

Sarah

Letter 4

It was really funny, I like how Hikaru would go ‘OOC Haruhi!’ that made me laugh for a while lol and I liked the part when Hikaru was waiting in front of Haruhi’s house that was cute~ hmmm….I also liked how deep it was, you know about the twins situation and how Haruhi is to them, how she’s more than just a ‘toy’. It all just seemed like something I would expect in the manga XD T^T but Hatori has yet to do it. lol I was expecting more, but it says ‘to be continued…’ so I’m hoping there’s going to be a part two >w> and of course the art is awesome~ XD I like it when Hikaru blushes lol

Stephanie

Letter 5

-Yay for HikaxHaru! XD It is really something that lacks in the newest chapters so I am happy to be able to read a bit of HikaxHaru cute moments!

-It is great that you could keep everyone in character. Haruhi is as blunt as always and even if Hikaru isn’t his mischevious character, I can easily picture him like that in the manga : confused and shy about his own feelings. Kaoru is thinking about growing apart as a necessity like he did before chapter 53 and even tricks Hikaru to separate him from him, it sounds so much like Kaoru ^^. You haven’t really developped the other host club members but there is nothing shocking in whatever they do.

– Like you, I like HikaxHaru because it brings out a shy Hikaru. Seems like you worked quite a bit on Hikaru’s expressions, because they are gorgeous : grinning Hikaru, Sd Hikaru and especially blushing Hikaru, confused Hikaru, Hikaru with a longing expression. I really like the expressions he has. I shipped HikaxHaru since chapter 3 in the manga, when he bited the cookie from Haruhi’s mouth. At that time I saw him like a mischevious person which was confident on his look. I waited for such a character to truely care for her and be confused because of these unusual feelings (even though it might be cliché <_<).. In the manga he has indeed acknowledged he was in love with her but in your doujinshi he thinks deeply of his relationship with Haruhi, which is what I like , something I waited for in the manga ^^

-I really like the part where he is musing about his relationship with Haruhi, what she means to him, noticing that he doesn’t consider her a toy anymore but an important person. I found this part really touching T_T and the best part of this doujinshi.

-Hikaru has hugged Haruhi quite a few times, nee? ^^ It is true that in the manga he “likes to touch her” but when I see your drawings, it seems more to me that he hugs her because she is really important to him, to acknowledge that she is by his sides (or am I imagining things? @_@) In the manga, it seems more casual to me….well it is just what I feel about it <_<. In the HikaxHaru fanfic I read, there were quite a few times where Hikaru hugged Haruhi like she was the most precious thing in the world and I have always wanted to see it ^^. They may not be lovers (at least yet) but in your doujinshi I could feel some feelings (am I making sense? @_@)

-I think you’re doing well in the funny parts, with the dialog and the drawings associated to them.

-Honey’s drawing was a bit weird on one page (but I don’t really care anyway). There are some contrast in the drawings : Hikaru, Haruhi and Kyouya (I was surprised that you drew Kyouya this well) were better drawn than the others. But you draw them well, makes me wonder if you bought the Ouran sketch book…..

-Yay for a half naked Hikaru! ^^ (I know it isn’t important but I LIKE it! I shouldn’t be so superficial :$)

-Hikaru is well dressed too. I have always thought he would look good with several ear piercings ^^.

-This chapter is a good start, though I wonder if you have some plot in the following chapters (I didn’t read the others yet) :/ Because I can’t really guess where the story is going <_<. Or could it be that you will make Hikaru slowly aknowledge his feelings by spending time with Haruhi, and then once Kaoru returns Hikaru will be finished with his growing up and will be together with Haruhi? Hmmmmm……might work…. I have always thought that the most difficult thing in a fanfic was to have a well written plot and a nice ending. There is so much fics where the author doesn’t know what to do once the main characters are together….

Anyway this fic isn’t a disappointment at all as I enjoyed reading it as I would enjoy reading a good HikaxHaru fic, but with pics! It is indeed a bit expensive (1 chapter for 15$) , but I guess it can’t be helped since you’re drawing everything with your own hands, which must be quite time consumming. Anyway, I hope you will continue this doujinshi :)!

Maboroshi

Letter 6

I just got it today and it is beautiful! The packaging is just wonderful and really professional looking. I appreciate all the added bonuses you included. (Prints + Business Card).

The story is incredibly heartwarming!!! It was a delight to see the other hosts and the way they acted was very much in character. It really really made me miss watching the anime. I still follow the manga though and may I say, you mimic the genre and Hatori Bisco’s style fairly well.

From the soft toning and pensive expressions to the speech bubbles and how you can distinguish Kyouya as the speaker (XD), it is evident that this doujinshi is prepared and handcrafted with loving attention by a dedicated fan.

As a non-HikaHaru shipper, I am especially pleased to see that the story is believable and stays true to the characters’ nature. The very idea that you chose to leave off the story where it ended signals to me that you are careful not to rush things and provide your readers with a faulty story.

Laurianne

Letter 7

As I had said earlier this day, I recieved your doujinshi and was very anxious to read them. Well, later today I got around to it, and I would let to give you my feedback.

Let me just say this, you have always been one of my favorite artists, and these doujinshi that I recieved just make me love you so much more. I think you are extremely talented, and should be very, very proud of your accomplishments!

First, I’ll talk about the actual artwork: you have never cease to amaze me and the doujins are extremely high quality work. The lines are very clear and neat, making the overall doujin appear clean cut and easy to read. Your characters look very similar to the anime/manga, however have your own style, which shows your talent (and also makes the doujin more fun to read!!). I mean, I think adding the three peircings to Hikaru was a very, very nice touch (just an example). They looked very smexy on him. :3 I’m not an expert on screentones or anything, but I don’t think you went overboard, they added to the panels nicely. Um.. this will sound weird, but I thought the pages were very soft o_o; Well… they were fun to feel! XD I was also pleased that I could read the parts that were in japanese – I’m learning in school, and I felt so proud being able to translate the sounds (pfft, self-accomplishment 8D).

Now, for the story part: love, love, love, LOVED it! I am one of the biggest HikaruxHaruhi fans our there, and you have pleased me to no end (biiiiiggest fan). Book 2, TRY, made me squeel. Like, honest to god squeeling. I’ve never done that before (well, except maybe episode 16 in the OHSHC anime… and a couple other HikaHaru things.). It was just so darn cute! And it’s scarily amazing how accuratley you kept the characters.. well, in character! Everything that happened I imagine in the actual manga. Even though there was no kiss scene (which all HikaHaru fans would have died for), you were right that it would have been too soon – out of place, if you will – with the pace that the doujin was going at. Hikaru is just starting to grow up and Haruhi is still as clueless as ever, so sudden kissing probably would have been majorly OOC and awkward (though we all want it. :3). Though, if the doujin were to continue… ya know… it could happen eventually… lol, I’m just kidding, I’m sure these doujins take us so much time and effort (and it really shows). I think you did a phenominal job, and I applaud you, bow to you, hug you for creating this story/doujin.

Extras: This was me: Oh. My. GOD! After peeling away the plastic on TRY, I opened the doujin to find a small print. My first thought: A;LFKJ IT’S BEAUTIFUL. Which, of course, it was. It was so adorably cute and unexpected that I melted. Then a flash of silver caught my eye. And what do I see? A signature. I stared at it for a couple of seconds, not really realizing what I was looking at. Then what happened? OH MY GOD. IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS??! SHE SIGNED IT. SHE SIGNED IT. SHE REALLY SIGNED IT! You may not think it’s a bit deal, but since your sort of my idol and it was an unexpected gift, I really treasure it. (My jaw literally dropped to the floor, by the way.) So, there I was, on my bed, staring at the gorgeous print, and that very nice signature (the added mini doodle is a nice touch as well. :’D). I was in pure bliss – that was so incredibly nice and generous of you. Also, the extras you added at the end of the doujins were enjoyable. I really loved looking at your sketches of Haruhi and Hikaru, and I especially loved the collection of HikaHaru drawings by other artists – All of those artists are my idlols too.

So, overall, you just made my life. Not my day, my life, woman!
Be extremely proud, you bring joy to fangirls everywhere! <3

Also, at the end of TRY you said that the HikaruxHaruhi story would continue in The Notebook Kiss, which I have read the manga-ized form online, and plan on reading the fanfiction later. I was just wondering if that was still the plan (to have more HikaHaru) – and if you were going to make a hard copy of the work (I love KyoyaxKoaru too..). Don’t feel pressured to that you have to do anything, this is a mere fan’s curiosity.

In general, thank you. I am more than pleased and satisfied – much more. You have gone way beyond what was expected (and that was high to begin with!), and have earned me as an eternal fan/friend/acquaintance/whatever. I am just so ecstatic that I get a hard copy of your work, since it’s like a treasure. Haha. Look at me and my rambling. Well, thank you to the ends of the earth? I think that about sums it up.

With friendly love,
Allie

Letter 8

I’m going to apologize again for taking so long, but I wanted to actually give you some thoughtful comments rather than “OMG rite moer!”, and that required time. I actually don’t have much right now, but I’m stealing some because I really enjoyed this doujinshi and I wanted to speak my mind on it.

One of the things that I loved about Begin, and that has carried over into Try, is the lovely, and lovingly done, artwork. I’m no artist, so I can only speak from the perspective of someone who simply enjoys art, but there’s always a sense of enjoyment I get from simply looking at the images carefully rendered. The lines are smooth and swooping; they’re firm but not too sharp, keeping the natural softness of the characters. The shading and innuendos of color are wonderfully done, giving real depth and personality to two-dimensions. All the little effects, from the rain and storm to the dialogue’s imagery for ‘CRASH’ or ‘I’m glad I met you, Haruhi’, were perfect in their subtlety.

The other thing that I, as a fellow writer, always appreciate is the story itself. A well-drawn poorly-scripted doujinshi could be a simple collection of pretty pictures without contextual meaning. I was able to enjoy this story to the fullest, really feeling the emotional turmoil of Hikaru as he tries to understand what he really wants from himself and Haruhi. In fact, I really liked that you didn’t really switch to Haruhi’s perspective too often since it’s really Hikaru that’s the focus of the story. I was also appreciative of the reality that they are only beginning to fall in love; there wasn’t the immediate, unrealistic expectation that they’d be passionately kissing within twenty pages of doujinshi. That tension really adds to my longing for them to find each other. The only thing I could want would be a continuation of Hikaru and Haruhi’s relationship and seeing how you developed it.

Among the little things I liked was the short explanation by Hikaru and Haruhi. Breaking the fourth wall is always a plus, and their interactions were rather cute, so I liked it. The cover was beautifully colored, and I liked the effect of the bars behind them, as if Hikaru’s finally put the gate between Them and Us behind him. The double-couple drawing at the end with both sets all dressed up in stars and glasses was awesome. I just liked the “model” feeling, as if they were being asked to pose for a very chic magazine. Both Hikaru and Kyouya had such complex expressions that I really want to just… do something naughty to them. 🙂 Interesting that the twins were facing the same direction, though.

I wanted to also comment on the guest drawings at the end. Youkai Yume’s made me laugh so hard; I just wasn’t expecting it, and the sheer absurdity kept me giggling for a long time. Mayumi’s artwork was astounding. The reflection of the sky in their hair, the unfinished lines and watercolored tones, and the sheer expressiveness of words unsaid were absolutely gorgeous. I loved it. And the last Hika-Haru pic by Kanae was so cute. He just has this look on his face like, ‘Oh man, I really wanna be that butterfly and touch her’. (Should I be praising other artists in front of the main one? Sorry if I broke decorum. :X)

Thanks again for such a lovely piece of artwork, and I really do hope you decide to continue the series. You have a very dedicated reader on this side of the computer.

Yours truly,
Kristin