31 August 2013

Nanoha Ichiban Kuji in Akihabara 2

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The second wave of Banpresto's Ichiban Kuji Premium Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 2nd A's started selling in end of August. The first wave was released in January, and they got sold out real fast.

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Ichiban Kujis are lottery of some sort which has various kinds of merchandise available for purchase via a lottery draw. Each are available in finite numbers, and usually there is a sheet indicating what has been sold / drawn and what hasn't.

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Large posters of the girls in beachwear were up nearby. Smaller posters were available as prize items.

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As witht the first wave, the prize items for the 2nd wave feature characters of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie 2nd A's, but more specifically in the later half of the movie, where the main characters have transformed their Barrier Jackets to more powerful forms. Yagami Hayato also makes an appearance this time, whereas she didn't in the first wave of Kuji.

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Pictures from twitter users start to flood out, with a few showing off how much they have bought. This one from Ninja (にんじゃ, twitter username @NinjaExpress) bought 240,000 Yen worth of merchandise... (http://twitpic.com/db4fwm)

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And here's a pile of the merchandise from the same user. I started to realise that this looks rather familiar, and indeed this is the same person who bought 192,000 Yen worth of Nanoha Kuji back in January, but there were a lot more boxes shown back then. :o

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But if you think that is crazy, this one looks even crazier. Above is 320,000 Yen worth of Nanoha goods in cartons as tweeted from user @zukari_nm7. Those are not all his, but supposedly shared out among 10+ others as he later tweeted to clarify the amount.

The Nanoha series sure stand strong, with its merchandise still sells like hot cakes. You want one and you're in Japan? As with the first wave, they're all gone by noon on the first day, so you'd better act fast or else!

Kuji prize items pictures from crack-in

Images and info from アキバBlog and 虹神速報.
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30 August 2013

Volks Dollfie Dream Hatsune Miku announced

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There has been a lot of rumours surrounding this for a long time, but it's real and here it is: Volks has officially announced Dollfie Dream Hatsune Miku.

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Miku in her default costume as seen in Magical Mirai event
Image from Volk's 40th anniversary twitter account

The approximately 60cm tall Dollfie Dream (aka DD) is revealed in the Magical Mirai 2013 event, which is a one-day "art festival" featuring concerts, gallery, and goods / exhibitor booths. Volks is known to be one of the exhibitors for the event, and many speculated whether it would be a figure, a garage kit, or even a doll. Turns out it really is a doll (though there are tale-tell signs from even before the event).

The doll's design is supervised by iXima, who is known for designing Miku's appearance for PS Vita cover.

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Miku in Senbonzakura (千本桜) costume, which is based on the song of the same name.
Image from Volk's 40th anniversary twitter account

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A closer look of the face from the pamphlet.
Image from twitter user えびきんぐ

Pre-orders will be available from 28th September 2013 to 1st December 2013. Release date is going to be somewhere in Autumn 2014. The price will be at 62,000 Yen (65,100 Yen with 5% sales tax) without shipping.

There are several custom and personalised versions of Miku from various enthusiasts. I personally like Yui's version pretty well, which uses a standard but painted DDH-06 head as seen below:

Original blog post here. You can also have a look at his Snow Miku 2012 and 2013 version, which are also very popular among Dollfie Dream collectors.

I don't listen much to Miku's songs, but I am fond of her character design. Now the big question is: Do I want her? Gotta say I am tempted, but there is time for me to decide. I am still waiting on someone to actually make a custom DD WRS for me, which I mentioned way back in Spring last year. Two tailors stood me up already, and I'm hoping one that a friend of mine knows can take up the task. Maybe once my dream for WRS is fulfilled, I can look into the DD Miku pre-order. One thing at a time... Hopefully...

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29 August 2013

Battleship Girls Game: Kantai Collection

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Within the recent months, and especially with last month, there has been an increasing popularity with anthropomorphic versions of Japanese WWII warships. The source of the popularity? A social web browser game from DMM called Kantai Collection (艦隊これくしょん, meaning "Fleet Collection"), which is simply known as Kan Colle or Kancolle (艦これ).

Kancolle is one of those freemium social games where you build / collect warships anthropomorphised as girls, customise their weapons/equipments, and send them out to battle or expeditions. Much of the process, especially the battles, are automated, which makes it ideal for one to run the game in the background while you do other stuff, and come back to check on it now and then.

As for girls, there are already quite a few favourites out there among the fans:

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Destroyer Shimakaze. This was one of a kind, using a special steam engine to achieve high speed. There was a plan to produce more ships of such class, but was never realised due to a lack of industrial capacity.

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And this is Shimakaze in Kancolle.

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Shimakaze is so popular that Max Factory revealed a figma action figure is now in development during WonFes Summer 2013.

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Japanese battleship Kongou, the lead ship of her class. She was designed by a British naval engineer, and was one of the last Japanese warships to be built outside Japan.

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And here's Kongo in Kancolle. Due to her historical background, she throws in a bit of English here and there in her lines.

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Each girl has normal appearance as well a "damaged" one. Here is Kangou looking "damaged", with parts of her cloth torn off, with the guns smouldering on her back.

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Of course the famous Yamato made it through as well, which was one of the biggest battleship ever made.

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And not surprisingly it's one of the best ships in the game.

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Overall, Kancolle is more of a management game, where you build and customise your fleet of girls and enjoy the artworks and voiceworks. It's one of those social games where it's for burning time

For those who are interested, someone posted a video introducing it with a brief history and gameplay information:


As DMM restricts overseas users from accessing its service, one would require VPN or a proxy IP address in order to register and start the game.

For more general information you can read it up on Kotaku.

I started playing very recently, after having to queue for daily lottery to get into the server (as servers are now very full due to increasingly popularity). Each ship, or girls, have their voices and say various lines depending on the actions done or the situation they are in, and some of the stats and dialogs reflect on their performance in WWII, therefore those who know about their real ship counterparts may understand some of the internal jokes. There is a lot of waiting involved, especially for repairs if you just came out of a nasty battle, but you can just leave it in the background while you do other stuff. You can actually lose the ships you own for good if their HP get depleted to 0, which can be quite a heavy blow if they are high level ships that you've been training with for a long time, so retreat when necessary is always a good choice.

With the game mainly featuring warships from Imperial Japanese Navy (at least for the moment), Kancolle is a kind of game that is unlikely to be available or localised in other places. Who knows? Maybe ships from other navies will also be introduced?

Game website:
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27 August 2013

figma Racing Miku 2013 preview

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After a long wait, this year's rendition of Racing Miku now has a figma action figure for pre-order!

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Miku holding a sign with the number 4 on it, which is the car number for the Goodsmile racing team.

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As a race queen she comes with a parasol.

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A back view with the parasol closed.

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Miku reaching out. This pose and expression is based on an illustration.

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And finally the original artwork itself. The illustration is drawn by saitom, and costume is designed by Shimazaki Mari, who is known as the main character designer for Bayonetta video game. You can see a few more of saitom's drawings here.

figma Racing Miku 2013 can be purchased as part of a personal sponser course set, which also come with other items such as rubber straps and parasols etc depending on the prices. The price ranges from 7000 Yen to a breathtaking amount of 50000 Yen. The figma is scheduled to be released in January 2014, though other goodies may come earlier.

Available for pre-order on Goodsmile Racing. Deadline is 11th September at 23:59 (JST / GMT+9). Other Racing Miku related merchandise can be found there too.

This year's Racing Miku design resembles that of 2011 (review here), while the latter has more of a mature look. I actually skipped last year's Racing Miku, which looks a bit too young and mischievous to me. ^^; I personally like 2013's version, so I'll be looking forward to get her!

Picture from:
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26 August 2013

Yoshiyuki Tomino visits Hong Kong

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Yoshiyuki Tomino, who was well known as the directing Mobile Suit Gundam anime and creating the Gundam franchise, came to Hong Kong
last week as he personally visited the 1/3 scale Gundam and Char's Zaku in Times Square!

According to Unwired.hk, Tomino said he is moved how Gundam is still popular after 30 years, with support from old and new generations of fans. He attened an autograph session, and also participated in an interview with the Hong Kong media.

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Here is the translated interview (I hope I got most of the details right!):

1. The Gundam in Hong Kong is of 1/3 scale (6m tall). Is this more suiting than to your original settings of 18m?
Tomino (abbreviated as "T" in questions below):
Yes. The Gundam was to be piloted in the first place, therefore it's big enough for the robot to be 6m tall. However, as the Gundam would have to fight in space as well, it had to be upsized.

2. Why is the Gundam designed to be manned and piloted?
One would feel uneasy in space, therefore mobile suits are designed to look like human. Getting to see the head of a MS in space is like seeing your friend.

(It looks like Tomino means how one can get lonely in space, so having MS in the form of humans will give a sense of familiarity)

3. Amuro's quote "humans always repeat the same mistake" is a catchphrase in Hong Kong's Internet community. Do you agree with this quote?
It can't be helped, but I still think this statement still stands true, and is also inevitable.

(The said quote is seen in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. The image is still being used as a meme in local forums)

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4. There are a various scenes in the anime where they would seem scientifically plausible. Why
It wasn't meant to be scientific. To me it's a surreal anime, and not scientific. Of course with Japan's technology, building a Gundam is possible, but it won't necessarily be comfortable to sit in, so it's still surreal, haha!

5. The ending in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is considered one of the saddest in the series, with a majority of characters killed in combat, as well as leaving the protagonist Kamille in an unhappy conclusion. Will you consider rewriting the ending?
A lot of children do watch the anime, therefore it would make sense to put in more aspects of positiveness and hope. But in reality people die in wars, therefore the characters should face and accept that fate. As for the ending, I think that there are still some untied ends and space for further intepretations, therefore I have no intentions of rewriting it.

(Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam was remastered and recompiled into a movie trilogy, which did have a slightly different ending though. At least there is more of a happy ending for Kamille)

6. Gunpla (Gundam models) are always very popular. What do you think of them?
I take a liking of them since the very first Gunpla came out. I have to admit that I haven't built Gunpla for nearly 10 years, as I have no space left to put them!

7. 3D animations are becoming more and more popular. Will Gundam be released as a 3D anime as well?
Actually I don't really understand 3D animations, and I don't get them.

(That reminds me of how Tomino is not interested in making live action for Gundam, saying "something like a live action movie wouldn’t last in those days since it would be restricted a lot by a sign of the times and fads")

8. Anything you would like to say for young people in Hong Kong who would take up animation as career?
Anime is surreal, but there are things that you can take away and learn from them. Making animations is a fun process, and it's the way how I can still understand how young people think. I wish them the best of luck!

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Aside from the autograph with fans, Tomino also signed on the 6m Gundam itself! Wish I'd get to see it soon as the exhibition is coming to an end!

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11 August 2013

ACGHK 2013 Part 4

As with previous years, there are always a lot Gundam models (aka Gunpla) on display for a model competition. The name of the competition changed for a few times, just like the ACGHK convention itself, but I think it's now set to Gunpla Builders World Cup for consistency, as well as making it a worldwide event as competitions are held in other countries too, with each regional winner bring in for a final round at the end of the year.

It's been a bit busy for me recently, so I had difficulty trying to get in the event and take pictures of the models. I couldn't take as many pictures as I have wanted, but nevertheless here is the final post for this year's ACGHK coverage!

MG 1/100 Nu Gundam

Attack on titan Zaku

Suiting up Duel, Iron Man style

Deathscythe Hell fell to the Wing Zero

An all-blue version of Gundam AGE-2 Artimes

O Gundam with Gundam AGE-1's Zefuld Launchers and binders of O Raiser

Celestial Being (Cherudim Gundam and Arios Gundam from 2nd season, as well as 00Q and Raphael from the movie)

Unicorn Gundam in Destroy Mode with blue psycoframe

Astray Red Frame with a huge gattling gun

Hi-Nu Gundam

Duel Gundam Assault Shrould with a fallen Base Jabber in the background

Neue Ziel and Zaku vs GP03

Unicorn Gundam with head display stand

Repainted Arios Gundam

A Gundam hybrid of Wing, Deathscythe, Shenlong

A heavily modded Quebeley

Char Aznable's Gouf Custom?

Zaku tank

Good ol' Char's Z'gok

A strange looking one, but the label says "Kestrel II", which is based on that from the photonovel Advance of Zeta: The Traitor to Destiny

This God Gundam has a lot of sponsors!

White Ogre's Zaku II from MS IGLOO 2

A Zaku theme phone? That's a rather unusual entry

A beefed up Meteor system. It even comes with lighting effect

This butterfly is made out of Gunpla parts?!

Crossbone Gundam

The 3 forms of Gundam AGE-1 have assimilated other Gunpla parts and become rather unusual looking trio

Another Nu Gundam

A custom paint Delta Plus with a massive bazooka

RG 1/144 Zeta Gundam with a custom built ZII behind it.

MG 1/100 Sinanju Stein

Gundam Exia with a bit of pseudo armour purging as seen in Unicorn Gundam and Nu Gundam Ver.Ka

V2 Assault Buster Gundam with nice cosmic background effects

Extreme Gundam Tachyon Phase. That's a nice mod for the outer frame

A dark looking Blue Frame Astray 2nd L Revise

A Gafran (from Gundam AGE) as a knight! Now that is quite creative

Duel Gundam purging its Assault Shroud armour parts.

A mean looking Gundam Epyon

MG 1/100 Tallgeese II, a web shop limited item

MG 1/100 Kampfer with Neo Zeon "Sleeves" decoration

Destiny Gundam taking down Impulse Gundam.

A custom Gyan with 2 beam swords and a split shield on each arm

A Zaku holding its pilot

A Zaku Mariner diving with a Jesta behind it

A Gouf Custom with Neo Zeon "Sleeves" decorations

Ground Type GM with GM Sniper (Ground Type)

This big bad boy seems to be a huge hybridisation of many, many SD Gundam parts. So big that it's even taller than some of the MG 1/100 Gunplas!

Two different kinds of modded Tallgeese in a duel. Accidently took pictures of the judges in the background too ^^;
Pretty sure that the man on the left with the obscured face is Katsumi Kawaguchi, a well known Bandai employee who makes Gunpla models and makes tutorials of them too.

A GM Quel equipped with Hazel booster unit and a Marasai.

More MS from Advance of Zeta: The Flag of Titans

Wing Gundam getting ready for space launch!

Diorama of a Core Fighter

I think this is the winner of this year's competition for Hong Kong region. It's hard to described what it is, but there are stone statues looking up to 2 MS at the very top. All (if not most) are from Gundam AGE.

The two MS at the top

The work was inspected and discussed for a long time among the judges, and was later taken down for a photoraph with the modeller. Mr Kawaguchi even signed on the winner's work as well!

There were actually more models out there, but as the interior section was closed off for the afternoon on the last day, I couldn't get in to see them. I do wish I had more time available to myself orz.

There are rumours that there are not enough good entries for this year's competition, which is also commented similarly by some of my friends' impression who I went with this year. Do you think so too? While I have not seen as many works that made me want to say "wow" this year, there were still a lot of models that I could not get to see, so I possibly did not get to see the bigger image.

This concludes the ACGHK 2013 coverage. This one came a bit late, but I hope you enjoyed the photos!

Gunpla Builders World Cup 2013 Hong Kong
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