For this First Shoot poll, I decided to try and stick to characters I didn’t expect my audience to know. I wanted to see how they’d vote without the bias of familiarity, so I used characters from older or more obscure properties that I enjoy, but I know aren’t as widely known or popular. Maison Ikkoku is an anime that most will probably recognize for its use in “aesthetic” or “city pop” anime videos and gifs, but it’s a pretty fun romantic anime about a bunch of characters living together in a small, aging boarding house. There’s a fair number of anime in this genre (whatever it’s called), but to my knowledge Maison Ikkoku’s the starting point for this type of series. A staple in a lot of these series is the slightly older woman who drinks and is flirtatious, usually single and a bit bitter. I always love these characters or one reason or another, and Akemi’s a great example of the archetype. I was happy to see her win the poll, even though I liked a number of the options people had to vote for, and I tried to capture her charm here in this First Shoot.
Her partner, Sakura, is the older sister of Nadeshiko in Laid-Back Camp, and I kind of like this pairing. Something about their red and purple colors works well for me, plus I like that they both come from pretty grounded and realistic anime series. They also have very different vibes, with Akemi being something like a lascivious aunt, while Sakura’s more of a stoic big sis type. Anyway, I hope y’all enjoy this debut of an undervalued character.
The winner of this First Shoot poll was Thorfinn, the protagonist of Vinland Saga. I’ve only seen a little bit of this show, but I know Thorfinn sports a number of different looks throughout the series. This one is the one I’ve seen the most, though, and is also the most attractive look of his in my opinion. His partner here is Suzu from Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, who’s actually one of the longest-standing members of the Studio. She was in one of three pics I drew in 2007 when I was first experimenting with sharing smut online, and she’s been in the 1 Club ever since. Now, sixteen years later I’ve drawn her for a second time to be paired with this Viking lad.
Also, for anyone interested, here is the Q&A video I did for Subscribers in June:
Envy’s one of two boys who won the last First Shoot poll I ran. Like Mystique from X-Men he could, in theory, look like anyone for this shoot, but that’s not what people voted for! His lottery partner was a surprising one, though. Amber O’Malley is a character from David Willis’s Walkyverse webcomics (first Shortpacked!, though the one time I drew her it was Dumbing of Age). At the time I kinda thought my niche might be drawing webcomic characters, so there’s a bunch of random characters from webcomics I was reading in, like, 2012 or so sitting in the 1 Club. I tried to take these two in an interesting direction despite being such a random pairing.
Yoko is a character I kept meaning to include in First Shoot polls, but kept forgetting about her. Before I really came up in the hentai world, she was a big figure in the community, even being the mascot for some R34 sites, iirc. I’ve never drawn any of Gurren Lagann, though, even though there’s a handful of good characters I remember from that series. For Yoko’s First Shoot she happened to get Kazuki, creating an amusing parallel between her and Yor, who got Toi in her’s.
The twelfth First Shoot rookie is Surge the Tenrec, a character from the Sonic comics. I know this character primarily though her support amongst my Subscribers, since I don’t follow Sonic media, but she seems cool and I like her look. Her random partner here is Satsuki from Ghost Stories, a girl I drew for a Halloween pic in 2021. I’m still working on improving my handling of Sonic characters, but I hope Surge looks alright enough here.
Our eleventh First Shoot winner is Lin Beifong from The Legend of Korra. Legend of Korra has a number of hot older women, but Lin’s a real standout I’m happy to have on board. I don’t know if I’ll ever draw her with Toph, but when Mito ended up as her random partner I figured I could at least tease it, since Mito’s primarily done incest content herself in the Studio.
Marking our tenth First Shoot is Fa Mulan, star of Disney’s Mulan. Mulan is a character I’ve always liked, and toyed with drawing for a long time. She’s one of several Disney “Princesses” I’ve been wanting to draw for some time, though her inclusion in this First Shoot poll was a bit of a last-minute decision. Here she is now, though, and her random lottery partner ended up being our first Fusion to appear in this series, Catrina (fusion of Catra and Selina Kyle). I ended up liking these two together quite a bit while drawing them, maybe they’ll become friends in the Studio.
Power was the third winner from this poll, tying with Rukia and Jeice. She’s become a real popular character since Chainsaw Man blew up, and I expect we’ll probably be seeing her around quite a bit. Her random partner, The Thing, was kind of a surprise, but I thought the idea of her not listening to him and insisting on calling him the Rock Devil would play well against his gruff personality.
Rukia is the second of three characters who tied in the last poll I did for this series. She’s also the first Bleach character I’ve drawn, I guess, so welcome aboard. While all of the partners for this series are random, Alice seemed like an especially random one to me, but when I was reminded of Rukia’s love of rabbits I got an idea for how to incorporate that into their interaction here.