Review: Gothic & Lolita Bible – American Version

Published February 5, 2012 by kurolace
American / English Version

The 5 English language Gothic & Lolita Bible issues

Back in 2008 & 2009, TokyoPop published 5 English / American Gothic & Lolita Bible issues. The “mook” (magazine + book) was a quarterly publication, and based on the Japanese original. Each issue was full color and featured tons of pictures of Lolita fashions, new releases from Japanese designers, DIY projects, patterns and more. Sadly TokyoPop only published 5 issues before apparently abandoning the project. For a long time I had hoped that it would be picked up again, but then Tokyo Pop closed its North American publishing office. So I doubt that anymore of these Gothic & Lolita magazines will be published, and if they were, it would be done by a different company.

Here’s a run down of what’s in each issue:

Volume 1 (Feb 2008) – The cover of this issue is the same image that was used on the very first issue of the Japanese Gothic & Lolita magazine. The artists name is Mitsukazu Mihara, and has  done a number of cover illustrations in Japan. A few of the features in the issue are:

  • street fashion (Japan)
  • photo features (“Mana (Moi Dix Mois) Moi-Meme-Moitie – Demigod,” “Snow White (AYA)”, “The King, the Prince, and the Frog Princess,”  “The Other Me Inside Myself (Jui of Vidoll and Aki of SID)”, and “Angel Stripped Bare by Her Devil (Novala Takemoto)”),
  • introduction to most of the major Japanese designers including: h.NAOTO, Black Peace Now, A+LIDEL, Putumayo, MA & MAM, Union Jack, Excentrique, Atelier Boz, Atelier~Pierrot, Na+H, Miho Matsuda, elements, Kikirara Shoten, Baby Doll, Stigmata by Sexy Dynamite London, Algonquins, Baby the Stars Shine Bright, Mary Magdalene, Angelic Pretty, Victorian Maiden, Innocent World, metamorphose temps de fille, Visible, Fairy Wish, Shot gun Wedding, and Chocochip Cookie.
  • interview with musician Nana Kitade
  • interview with an American designer (Vivien Hoffpauir of Violet Candy)
  • patterns and instructions to make a wolf hat & gloves, a bunny ear cape, cat ear headgear, Alice head bow, and Alice tote bag.

There are a few other articles, and at the very back of the magazine there is a short manga called “Till Dawn” by Asumiko Nakamura.

Volume 2 (Summer 2008) – “The Flower Issue.” This issue featured the usual sections of new releases from Japanese designers and Japanese street fashion. There’s also:

  • Reader Spotlight (Ashlee Foster)
  • Various flower special articles including the meaning of flowers and how to make ribbon roses
  • Shop review for NEKO (Brazilian company)
  • Photo features: Mana: Melody of the Rose, Hakuei (Penicillin): The price of Roses, A Gift from the Winds: Fairies in the Forest of Flowers, The Other Me Inside Myself (BAN)
  • Interview with designers Megan Maude (of Megan Maude) and Victoria Michel (La Dauphine)
  • Event Photos from New York Anime Festival, Winter Chocolate Festival (Portland), Tea Time in Texas, and Pacific Media Expo 2007
  • Reader photos
  • Patterns: flowered skirt with musical print, puffed-sleeve blouse with balloon collar, and a polka-dot skirt

There are several other articles as well, and another manga at the back: “Perfect World.”

Volume 3 (Autumn 2008) – This third issue includes “Halloween hair, makeup, recipes, books, quizzes, and more.” Once again there are photo features, street photos, new designs from Japanese designers, as well as:

  • “Je Desire” – a collection of products from various websites.
  • Patterns: ruffle blouse, knickerboxers, 3-tier ruffle one-piece, georgette blouse, bat mini hat, double-ruffle lace headdress, and wrapped rose corsage
  • Designer Spotlight: Samantha Rei of Blasphemina’s Closet
  • Interview with Mana
  • Event Snaps: Gothic & Lolita Bible Launch Party (LA), Michael Grecco Photoshoot, Sakuracon Lolita Fashion Show, New York Comic Convention, Greeting Spring in Stockholm, and Grand Calena Getaway
  • Interview with BLOOD
  • Asumiko Nakamura’s manga “Looks Like a Teaspoon Part I”

Volume 4 (Winter 2009)– This issue includes all the regular stuff, plus:

Cover of the Winter 2009 issue (Vol 4)

  • Interview with Arika Takarano of ALI PROJECT
  • Interview with designer Lynleigh Sato of Sweet Rococo (American brand)
  • Hair styling guide
  • Event Snaps: Summer Darkness (Netherlands), G&LB V2 Release, Anime Expo, Kakkoicon, and G&LB V3 Release
  • “Tips & Tricks for Tall and Curvy Girls”
  • Patterns: flower brooch, flower mittens, round headdress, bear-head belt, odekare chocolate-chan knit muffler, angel rose skirt, knit ribbon headband, fur mini cape, fur muff, ribbon corsage, and knit plush skully
  • “Looks like a Teaspoon Part II”

Volume 5 (Spring 2009) – “The Wedding Issue”  This fifth issue features plenty of articles on, you guessed it, weddings. Included:

  • patterns/tutorials for making rose comb, rose brooch, gloves with corsage, angelic princess hat, veil headdress, leg warmers, bunny cell phone case, candy-style purse, candy tote bag, candy polka dot pouch, and feathered fascinators
  • Interview with musician Kaya
  • Event Snaps: Rococo Rendezvous (LA), Dances of Vice (NYC), Wonder Party (Brisbane), and Texas Holiday

The fifth issue doesn’t give any indications of it being the last one and even asks for reader submissions and all that stuff. So obviously the decision to cancel the project must have come after the publication of this last issue.

I seem to recall reading some critism of the English G&LB issues, along the lines of “not being like the Japanese ones.” Since I haven’t actually had the chance to look through a Japanese G&LB, I’m not exactly sure what that critism was about exactly… BUT I’m willing to guess that it might have been that the English version was too “dumbed down.” Of course, one should take into consideration that while the Japanese G&LB magazine has a wide, established reader base, the English version did not – therefore part of the purpose of the magazine was to introduce people to Gothic & Lolita style.

Overall, if you have a chance to get a hold of these English G&LB issues, I would recommend doing so. If only for the patterns, tutorials, and lists of  Western designers.

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