30 June 2012
Image from Robot Watch
A number of politicians from Liberal Democratic Party are considering to develop a life-size and functional Gundam, and had held a NicoLive broadcast on this discussion on 28th June, with Fukui Harutoshi (author of Gundam UC novel) making a guest appearance.
... But just how viable is this development will be?
According to a research by SciencePortal way back in 2008, the cost for material and parts on building a robot of such size will already be 79521 million Yen, or approximately 725 million USD for the time according to pink tentacle. This only considers the mecha to be able to walk, and anything close to jumping or flying is out of the question. Building or maintenance cost is not mentioned.
Picture of 1/1 Gundam statue from my visit in Odaiba back in 2009
Realising the immpractical nature of a giant walking meccha for military or and the immaturity of technology for other applicable uses (such as civil engineering), it turns out that as Japanese media stated that the purpose of developing a Gundam that can walk is for tourism purpose, where materialisation of such dream can be the "killer content" for Japan's tourism features.
Allowing the Gundam of such size and of great weight to walk will be a big challenge, and not the least to mention the power required to move it, which is another question that is discussed.
As for financial issue, this proposed Gundam development will not be funded by tax, but by private sectors as well as from donations in order to promote a culture of fund-raising.
All in all, will this worth the money? While a walking Gundam sounds interesting, personally I am already happy with the 1/1 Gundam as an immobile statue, even if it is a temporary display (as it is right now in Odaiba for Gundam Front Tokyo project). I'm a little surprised that there are politicians that would seriously consider it. Some argue that making robots for other services such as rescue will be a money better spent. What do you think of this?
28 June 2012
For the first time ever, virtual idol Hatsune Miku is coming to Hong Kong and Taiwan for a concert performance!
The official tour title in English is Hatsune Miku Hong Kong & Taiwan First concert “MIKUPA♪”. The concerts will take place on 2nd October (public holiday) in Hong Kong and 6th October in Taiwan.
Date: 2nd October
Venue: KITEC Star Hall (http://www.kitec.com.hk/eng/index.php)
Performance Time: Afternoon show 14:00 / 15:00 ; Night show 19:00 / 20:00 (Local time)
Price: A-section (680HKD), B-section (480HKD), C-section (280HKD) ; A & B are all standing, whereas C is seated
Ticket Sale: HKTICKETING (www.hkticketing.com), sales to begin on 12th July
Date: 6th October
Venue: Taipeishow (http://www.taipeishow.com.tw/)
Performance Time: Afternoon show 13:00 / 14:00 ; Night show 18:00 / 19:00 (Local time)
Price: A-section (2900TWD), B-section (2200TWD), C-section (1500TWD) ; all standing for all sections
Ticket Sale: http://www.ticket.com.tw/, sales to begin on 12th July
Miku has performed in Japan, as well as in Singapore and in USA. While there were past concerts broadcast to cinemas before, now it's time for fans in Hong Kong and in Taiwan to see her singing on stage live in holographic form!
While fans rejoice getting to see Miku "in person", others question why one should bother watching something that is not real but a hologram fixed on a screen. This can generate quite a debate due to the unusual nature of Miku as a voice synthesiser mascot-turned virtual idol (though some may disagree with me on this particular description), but I suppose part of the fun of being in a concert is enjoying the atmosphere, which one can't have while watching her on a video screen of a computer or other devices.
So, if there will be a Miku concert taking place in or near your area, will you go? I personally am on the fence at the moment. Mostly due to that I don't listen that many her songs or know the composers of the songs, or know who I should go with should I decide to do so. Well, there's still a fair amount of time for me to think about before making the final decision. It may be interesting to see how it is like attending one of these compared to, say, L'arc~en~Ciel earlier this year!
Tags: Hong Kong
24 June 2012
Continued from my post on 1/3 scale ★Rock Cannon, more photos with my Black★Rock Shooter with her big gun here!
As before, taking photos of dolls seem no easy task. It's tougher to set up due to the size of the doll, and the amount of lighting required which I admittedly don't have enough of. However, my sister did try to use the limited light source in order to bring out shadows to portray the character in a "darker" way.
My sister wants to put more shadows to the setup in order to give the character more of a mysterious and dark mood.
A portrait shot, something I haven't done for my doll before.
Taken from my Galaxy Nexus phone, which gives off a different mood in terms of the colour.
Taking advice from Yui, I tried to put some chains on Black★Rock Shooter to go with the ★Rock Cannon. While I don't have proper black chains as seen in the original illustrations by huke yet, these trouser chains I have will do for now.
Even though she is actually lying down on these 2 pictures, she does look kind of convincing as if she's standing up posing here.
Behind the scenes while doing the portrait shot. Not the most elegant setup for sure, but I like to improvise as much as I can ^^;
No action shots are available, since the ★Rock Cannon is pretty heavy, and it takes up a lot of space if it were to be posed in an angle greatly different to the doll! Well, that's where the smaller action figures come in more handy in doing such poses as dolls aren't really suitable for it afterall ^^;
21 June 2012
Is it possible to see the popularity based on response from social media? Yes sort of. Using keywords and hashtags gathered from twitter, there is an "Anime Social Graph" from ANIMEMAP.
The graphs only take anime series that air from this spring season 2012, therefore other ongoing ones from previous seasons are not accounted for.
Second season of Fate/Zero has consistent peaks whenever it's near the airing time (or shortly the time after), and the peaks tend to increase as the series come closer to a showdown with the penultimate episode aired last weekend generating the most talk on twitter.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san has a bit of ups and downs, with a couple of episodes causing some peaks before slowly descending down.
Hyouka, on the other hand, seems to be talked much less than the two mentioned above, with the most talked during the first episode.
While these are interesting observations, they don't necessarily represent a very clear popularity of this season's anime, as only tweets with specific keywords and hashtags are collected (see here for table and data). Other common methods are by view rates as well as DVD/BD sales thereafter, but taking a look at people mentioning the anime they watch on places like twitter is an interesting one as the series airs over the season. You can see the individual graphs of each anime series by clicking on their one-letter/kana name at the top of the table.
What are you watching in this season right now? I'm only watching Fate/Zero and Nyaruko-san at the moment, but I may pick up Accel World as well later on (graph here for those who are interested).
But of course, these don't always necessarily tell you which are better anime over the others; one may like those that don't seem to stand out or talked as much as the big ones out there. It's really down to our personal tastes and preferences at the end of the day~ ^^
All images are from ANIMEMAP via Gigazine
16 June 2012
How can Black★Rock Shooter fight without her signature ★Rock Cannon? While it seems to be a bit of a wishful thinking at first, I did manage to acquire one in 1/3 scale, and blimey it is huge!
The label of the box. The cannon is made by Scheherazade-san of the Trueste circle.
The item was originally available in Wonder Festival Winter 2011 event (hence the "2011" printed on the label). While she stated that she won't ship overseas, after asking the dealer Scheherazade kindly on her blog whether there are any stock left, she reapplied for license so it can be sold in Hobby Round 7 event in April so I can ask for a friend to acquire it for me. For this I really want to thank Scheherazade-san, as well as Kurai, Ichigo, and their friends for making this possible to happen!
There are two papers that come with the box and the cannon itself. One is a rather official paper stating that this is a licensed piece of decorative accessory, while the other shows how the cannon is assembled together and cautionary notices on how to handle it.
Muzzle, or the end of the barrel. Rifling can be seen inside the barrel too.
Chipped patterns can be seen on the barrel itself.
Comparison with the figma version, which is approximately 1/12 scale.
★Rock Cannon with my Black★Rock Shooter doll of the same scale. As one can see the cannon is bigger than the girl!
Attempting to simulate the pose as seen on the first Black★Rock Shooter figure by Good Smile Company. As I still have no stand for the doll, it took me (and my sister) a long time to set this up. Not using a stand for such pose is highly unrecommended to anyone though @_@;
1/3 scale ★Rock Cannon sure is huge! The big gun is like an upscaled version of that for the figma, but details are not too shabby. However posing something in such size is not going to be easy, especially with the weight which is about the same as the doll itself (~1kg?).
More photos of Black★Rock Shooter with her ★Rock Cannon coming in the near future~ Read More!
10 June 2012
Good Smile Company (GSC) has recently shown off their 1/8 Ultimate Madoka figure in full colour, which is now available for pre-order.
Be it the long, pink flowing hair, or the transparent wings with pink tint, or that the white long dress with star dust inner lining, this figure is quite spectacular by the looks.
The figure is reportedly around 33cm tall (25cm head height), and there will be an option of equipping Madoka with the magical arrow or not. I personally like how the heavy back side of the dress also serves as the stand for the figure itself, which gets rid of any unsightly looking poles or other similar objects to "hold" the figure in place.
Ultimate Madoka, as the name suggests, is the ultimate form of Madoka in the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and this form appears in the very last episode. Since how this form appears involves a lot of plot (i.e. spoilers), I would not spoil the beans for those who haven't watched it; it's only 12 episodes long so one can give it a quick blast at it.
The figure is available for pre-order at GSC web shop for 14800 Yen (up to 5 per order and 2000 Yen shipping for areas), as well as other online stores such as Hobby Search, HLJ, and AmiAmi. The web shop offers a B3 size poster as a bonus, while other online shops offer a lower price.
Even though I am not a big fan of the character designs in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the Ultimate Madoka that appears at the end of the series does stand out among the rest of the characters. She appears very briefly in the TV anime series, but perhaps this form will make a comeback in the future movies?
I'm not getting it even though it looks like a promising figure; I am not big into the series despite it's worth a watch and that it's not the usual "magical girl" series that one would normally anticipate. I need to think very carefully about remaining spaces, which is always a problem for collectors and toy fans ^^; Well, if there is an action figure for it then I *may* consider, but we'll see.
So, who's going to go for this?
6 June 2012
After a more than a year's waiting since I got D-Arts Mega Man X, the long-anticipated D-Arts Zero Type 2 action figure with the symbollic Z-Saber is finally here!
D-Arts Zero Type 2 is released in end of May for an official retail price of 3500 Yen, or 3675 Yen with 5% Japanese sales tax included.
Zero is a character from the Mega Man X video game series (also known as Rockman X). He is seen as a deuteragonist and a second playable character in most of the game series. Despite not being the protagonist of the series he first makes his debut appearance, his popularity can be more than a match to the titular character, which is a bit like how Fate Testarossa / Fate T Harlaown has a huge fanbase as the deuteragonist of the Nanoha series, where Takamachi Nanoha is the main character... Well I put that just for an analogy, but the two do have some aspects in common such as the fact that they are both close combat-oriented and how both had troubled pasts.
Story-wise, while X is Dr Light's ultimate work, Zero is Dr Wily's counterpart of X as his final masterpiece. He is X's best friend and comrade-in-arms. While D-Arts has released a Type 1 version based on his appearance in the first Mega Man X game, this Type 2 is based the games thereafter, where he now has his symbollic Z-Saber for close combat.
Zero comes with 3 face expressions, 3 pairs of hands (closed fists, open palms, and hands for gripping the Z-Saber), a normal right arm, 3 Z-Sabers with different effect parts, and an open barrel for the Zero Buster.
Zero with Zero Buster on his right arm (also known as Z-Buster). He has several different transparent coloured "gems" on his body, such as the red ones on his Buster arm and helmets, as well as blue in the centre of his helmet.
As a contrast to X, Zero has green gems rather than red on various parts on the body, such as underneath the feet.
The 3 different expressions of Zero. Similar to X's, they all look serious.
The face part was very hard to remove at first with the helmet in the way; it took me a very long time just to get it out for the first time.
There are two barrels for the Zero-Buster: One with the red gem when Zero-Buster is not firing, and the other one with a hole so that effect parts from X or Zero Type 1 can be inserted into it to imitate the Buster firing shots.
Zero with Zero-Buster
Firing pew pew shots with X's effect parts
A normal right arm with corresponding hand parts is available for Zero; just swap out the Zero-Buster and insert the right arm in.
Now onto Zero's signature weapon: The Z-Saber. 3 Z-Sabers with different effect parts are available - a normal one, one with a rather pointy end, and one with a fluid slashing effect.
The Z-Saber can be stored at the back. Remove the effect part for one of the two normal looking Z-Sabers and insert the peg into the hole at the back near the left shoulder.
Now for some action shots: Readying to unsheath
Gatotsu, Saitou Hajime style from Rurouni Kenshin.
Falling downward stab, a recurring technique throughout the series.
Half moon slash!
Rising upward slash, another recurring technique.
Standing next to his partner X. Zero has more colours and details than X, who looks rather plain in comparison.
The two Maverick Hunters fighting side-by-side again, just like the old times.
To the best of my knowledge, there were no action figures available for Zero of the X series before this one apart from some early Bandai plastic model kits and the Type 1 version released last year (which is the Mega Man X1 game with round shoulders and no Z-Saber), which are pretty rare to find by now. A lot of the colours on the action figure are straight from the plastic itself rather from paints (hence giving Zero a bit of a "plastically look" on some areas...), and that some of the painted areas could have done a better job, especially on the Zero-Buster. The joints aren't stiff so it's very easy to pose around straight from unpackaging, though the arms seem to have difficulty holding the Z-Saber with fluid slashing effect, or the heavier charged shot effects from X, where they have a tendency to sag downwards as I was about to take the photo. On the other hand, I tend to have difficulty seeing Zero's eyes, especially with his default face. Maybe his eyes seem a little small, or that the front section of the helmet seems to cover up the face more than I have anticipated.
Apart from the painting and slight joint issues, I would say that this is recommended for fans of the game series, as there are no other ones available at the moment. At least it's great to see something finally getting materialised from the childhood memories!