It’s been a long time coming and we appreciate the patience you’ve all had for the past two years. We’ve resolved our issues with the production of the Starless artbook and we can finally tell you what happened and what’s going on in this short Q&A.
Why did you announce pre-orders all the way back in 2020?
Because at the time, J18 thought it had a pretty simple task: get the files for an artbook that already existed in Japan, translate it, print an English version, and sell it.
Simple, right? And why not get some pre-orders going for it so we’d know there was a clear interest in the product? Only… then it turned out J18 couldn’t actually get the existing artbook files, because there were several additional people whose permission was required, which added lots of complexity to the production. Having a global pandemic didn’t help the situation at all. So everything suddenly ground to a screeching halt.
Why didn’t you cancel the pre-orders then?
Because making an artbook is one of the more trivial things to do as a layout designer. You get assets, arrange them in a pleasing way, and make a plan for the printing. J18 figured it would just get the assets it needed, arrange them nicely, and move ahead with the project. It wouldn’t be necessary to cancel the project because we’d be able to easily make our own artbook. Only… it turned out some of the assets from the original artbook also required that same permission that J18 couldn’t get. The assets that J18 could get were very old, designed to be displayed on monitors over a decade old, and were not suited to be printed in a high-resolution artbook. Unfortunately, J18 simply didn’t have the option to get any newer files.
So J18 had to figure out how to create an artbook with all the content that people wanted with the materials that were suitable for printing. This required additional research, layout, and communication with the game developers to acquire information and interviews.
Do you love the art of Seishoujo and want more? We have Closed GAME shipping from JAST USA now!
Why did you go so long without any updates?
Because J18 wasn’t sure how long any individual step of this process would take. If something went wrong at any point in the redevelopment of the artbook, it could have added weeks or months to production time. Additionally, J18 continued to produce amazing hentai doujinshi and tankoubon format manga during this period, limiting the amount of time we could spend on the Starless artbook.
Rather than risk an update followed by cancellation, J18 chose to push ahead with production and wait until production was finished to issue any further updates.
So production is done?
J18 publishing has finished the translation, design, and layout of The Art of Starless, the book design has been approved by the Japanese license-holder, and The Art of Starless has been printed, along with several J18 doujinshi and tankoubon. Now, the books will be sent to J18’s American warehouse, and all current preorders will be fulfilled once they arrive.
How long will this take?
COVID-19 has complicated international shipping, so we do not know for sure. Barring any major incident affecting our means of shipping, J18 expects to begin fulfilling preorders by July at the earliest possible date.
If shipping remains congested due to COVID-19, pre-order fulfillment could be delayed until August. Unfortunately, the shipping process is out of J18’s hands.
The Art of Starless Preview
Being a big fan of Seishoujo’s works, I was happy to be part of the creation of this artbook. To me, Starless is the culmination of everything Seishoujo has done before, and even after all these years, I think it’s one of the best hentai games out there. The game itself is art, and so this artbook needed to not only be worthy of the game, but of the artist and the devoted fans of Starless as well. At the same time, we needed to balance our desires of what we wanted this book to be with the reality of the materials we had on hand to create it. The result of our efforts is an artbook created in the style of a Victorian photo album, showcasing the best moments of each scene alongside a selection of dialogue from the event. Expanded with additional commentary from the artist, The Art of Starless is meant to be a 120-page “memory album” of your stay at the Mamiya Manor. Take a look at some pages from the book:
Note: The Artbook is NOT censored.
We appreciate your patience and support throughout the production process of The Art of Starless and are looking forward to you all getting your hands on the finished product. We are proud of what we’ve created, and hope you are all looking forward to enjoying this fantastic artbook!