Sunday, April 25, 2010

C.Jin's MG Wishlist

Like I said, I've made my own Master Grade wishlist, which is basically a list of Mobile Suits that would really like to get Master Grade models made for them. And who knows, some of these might possibly get the MG treatment in the near future. Considering how popular some of them are, its definitely not impossible. I recently saw a dream come true with the Wing Gundam getting a MG, so hope is still gleaming.

Also, I want to know some of your own wishlists, so share them if you'd like!

1. Gundam Heavyarms Customs

It's a fan favorite, everybody wants it and Bandai knows it. What's taking so long Bandai? This beauty of a Gundam debuted in the Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz OVA, and has been praised for its dark appearance and overkill arsenal of weapons. The 1/100 no grade was good for its time, but its aged badly and really in need of a Master Grade. Possibility of a future release? Slim but existent. 

2. Wing Gundam Zero

And speaking of Gundam Wing, where is the Master Grade for the original Wing Zero design? Sure, the Endless Waltz Wing Zero was impressive but this design deserves some justice too! It's predecessor got the MG treatment quite recently, maybe the Zero will follow shortly? Speaking of which, here's what I believe is a modified work built from the MG Wing Gundam (according to Ngee Khiong)

Excuse my fangasm but that looks bloody incredible. It's just as a Master Grade should look like. Use this mod and get working Bandai!

3. Gundam X/Divider

Gundam X, the anime and the Gundam, is so underrated. I've always liked this design, and I really think they should treat this main Gundam with a little more respect. The Gundam X Divider always holds a place in my heart because the 1/144 model of it was my very first Gundam model. The moment I add the MG to my collection, I'm just going to feel so complete. And you may have noticed that I included both versions of the GX; well that's because I think parts for both versions can be included in one big kit. It may cost a little extra, but its definitely worth it.

4. Akatsuki Gundam

Look how fucking shiny it is! That's the 1/144 scale model you're seeing up there by the way. The main appeal of this Gundam is its gold plating, and who wouldn't a shining Master Grade of the Akatsuki? It's such a must in my book.

5. Tallgeese

Gundam Wing had some great designs, too bad they never got to making any Master Grades for them (Wing Gundam got one JUST now). The closest we have to a view of a MG Tallgeese is a work from, image posted above. Looks amazing, doesn't it? I've always respected the Tallgeese and I love its white, simple design. The day Tallgeese gets MG treatment, I'm throwing a party. I swear.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

MG Wishlist MS Survey

There is an ongoing survey on bandai's main website where fans vote for the Mobile Suit they most want to be given the Master Grade treatment. As reported by ngeekhiong, there has been a recent update in the Dengeki Hobby magazine. The top 5 are now as follows:

1) Gundam 00 Raiser
2) Gundam Double X
3) V2 Gundam
4) Turn X
5) The O

Voting is apparently still going on until April 30th, and you can vote here: The winner gets a chance to get MG treatment! Awesome.

Personally, I have a lot Gundam I wish to see get the Master Grade treatment, but I wanna post that list separately. But yeah, I could care less about the 00 Raiser, but the Double X and Turn X are definitely interesting choices for MG's. The Wing Gundam just got MG treatment so that dream came true. I'm about to make my own list, this should be fun.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Black Rock Shooter: Black Blade Ver. PVC Figure

I've had a recent fascination with anime figures as of late, ever since I was introduced to Vocaloid. I never bothered with figures before since I've always been a Gunpla guy, but they are seriously starting to interest me now. The problem with figures, though, is that they are always limited in supply and usually quite expensive when compared to Gunpla.

But besides all that, I really like this Black Rock Shooter original design that's been really popular recently. They're even planning an anime in the upcoming months. This particular figure caught my eye, with great quality as expected of GSC.

The price range is between $70-90 in the stores I've checked and is slated for a June 30, 2010 release. Gotta watch out for that date...


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ecchi CG Set - Hatsune Miku Collection

Here is your one-stop source for a gallery of everyone's favorite vocaloid: Hatsune Miku. These images originally belonged to a number of posts that I have combined into one for convenience. This collection was meant for simple fan service, but it has become quite popular. It sure gets people to stumble upon Shinkan Crossing! For you Hatsune Miku lovers, be sure to check out the rest of Shinkan Crossing!


Hatsune Miku 1/8 PVC from Good Smile Company

Yeah, I definitely have a new obsession with Hatsune Miku. Play the damn Project Diva game and it'll happen to you too, bastard. Anyway, I've been looking around for figures and I came across one that came out about two years ago. It's totally out of production now, but they're floating around auction sites for absurd prices.

It's the 1/8 PVC Figure from Good Smile Company. Out of all the figures of Hatsune Miku I've seen, this one definitely looks the best. I really want to get my hands on one of these (I've never bought a figure before), but I definitely can't afford the $100-$200 price tags it has on ebay. I'll find it somehow. Here are some photos.

Miku's appearance is captured perfectly in this figure, I definitely don't want to settle for anything less. Photos are courtesy of the Good Smile Company website.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA [Review]

I've been hearing a lot about a Japan-only PSP game recently, and apparently its one of the most sought-after import games in recent years. This game turned out to be a rhythm game called Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA. Hatsune Miku is a virtual idol originally from the Vocaloid software. If you don't know what Vocaloid is, look it up. She is basically a character with her own unique synthesized voice and appearance, and she got her own game this time around. It looked interesting, so I got to playing quite a bit of it.

Project DIVA is basically a rhythm game, with original songs sung by Hatsune Miku and some impressive music videos to go along with them. It's unlike DDR in that the notes can appear anywhere on the screen, and come in from any direction. I'm a total virtuoso at DDR, but it came to a surprise to me when I had trouble playing the easy songs. The main mode of play is Freeplay, which is basically where you play the songs. You unlock more songs as you play and get a decent grade on each song. The gameplay is actually really fun and doesn't get stale like DDR because of the free-form way the steps move in and the great music videos playing in the background.

The feature that appealed to me the most was the custom song editor, which allows you to get any mp3 from your computer and make steps for it. The editor is pretty complicated to use at first, but you'll definitely get the hang of it. The customization doesn't just end with BPM and the steps, however. You get to make your own music video, and you have hundreds of options to choose from. You can select the stage, the camera panning, what Miku does, etc. It's almost overwhelming, but the possibilities are limitless.

The features don't end there. You can customize your virtual idol with items you unlock as you play the game. Hatsune Miku is not the only idol; you can unlock more later on. You can change their costume and colors, and each idol has a distinct synthetic singing voice. This is definitely some very desirable unlockable content, as you can basically customize your own singer. On that note, graphics are very well done. Hatsune Miku is cute as a button and animated very well as she dances around. She is probably the main reason why so many gamers are raving over this game.

Last but not least is a little bonus feature, Miku's Room. Choosing this feature takes you to a room, the theme of which you can change into anything you want. You can place all kinds of furniture and dolls that you unlock through regular play, and you basically just watch your idol lounge around. You can take pictures and save them to your memory stick, and that's about it. It's not a very useful feature, but it's there nonetheless.

As great as the game is, there are some minor issues rendering it imperfect. The main problem most people have complained about is lag. When the graphics on the screen overload during a song, the frame-rate will actually drop. This may throw your timing off and make it difficult to detect exactly when the beats are. While it is quite a bother, it is very rare and doesn't make anything unplayable. Another issue is the unfair scoring system. There are short portions of the songs called Chance Time, where you get bonus points for stringing combos. The thing about this is that the bonus points rise as you further your combo, so if you mess up one or two steps near the end of the Chance Time, you can not get a Great rating because there is no possible way you are recovering those points.

The scoring is difficult, but certainly not a reason to quit. The lag is also quite neglectable, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Despite some minor flaws, a lot of the original songs are quite catchy, and the synthetic voices of Hatsune Miku and other virtual idols are shockingly impressive. The custom song feature is deep and rewarding, and allows for so many creative possibilities. Overall, Project DIVA is tons of fun and probably one of the best games on the PSP thus far. The game is in Japanese, but there is not much to read and there is a patch out that translates most of what you need to know so there are no problems there. I highly recommend an import or download, you won't regret it.

[C.Jin's Overall Score: 8/10]


Sunday, April 11, 2010

FLCL: Furi Kuri

I just finished watching FLCL for the first time (yeah I know I'm late). Let me just say...holy crap. That was the craziest and most confusing anime I've ever seen in my entire life, and I loved every minute of it. It's so brilliantly untraditional that you can't help but appreciate just how crazy it is. You don't learn what much of the story is actually about until the very end of the anime, though it isn't much of a wait since the entire show is only 6 episodes long. To put it as simply as I can, the story follows a boy named Naota, who one day runs into (literally) a girl named Haruko. As soon as they meet, Haruko smashes her guitar into Naota's head. After that incident, strange stuff from human sized robots to giant mechanical hands start coming out of his head.

There's never a normal scene in FLCL; the characters are constantly flying around in an uber-slapstick fashion and scenes whip from here to there in the most nonsensical manner. This is why the story is so damn confusing; it doesn't really follow traditional story telling methods and just does whatever it wants during the episode's duration. What I particularly loved were the pop culture references (which I was nerd enough to understand), with references to South Park (yeah, I couldn't believe my eyes) and GUNDAM. Yeah, I loved the Gundam reference. There's an insane portion of the first episode where the anime suddenly turns into a manga, and scene whip from one panel to the other. During that portion, they make the reference. The un-animated manga pages are below.

Also rampant throughout FLCL are sexual jokes and puns, which might fly over a lot of people's heads if they aren't particularly dirty minded (or juvenile). The anime is basically a coming of age story for main character Naota, who happens to be only 12 years old. That is a bit young for so crude introductions to sexuality, but its all in the humor of the show. Besides all the fuss of story and comedy, the action scenes are quite impressive. The animation is top-notch, so the over-the-top fight sequences are incredibly epic. Accompanying the action is some great music from Japanese band The Pillows, who's music is played all throughout the anime. It really fits everything that goes on, and FLCL would not be the same without it. 

You learn bits and parts of the story as you watch, and you won't even fully understand after watching it a couple times. Don't sit there and listen to me telling you what it is, you really just have to watch it for yourself. It would be crazy to think you haven't already seen it years ago (like me), so go right now. Its all on youtube.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Top 5 Gundam Antagonists

This list is dedicated to the top 5 antagonists in Gundam (both UC and Alternate universe). Antagonists are an intregral part of the Gundam series, as all whiny teenaged protagonists need someone to push them to their limits. I measured the quality of the villain not by how sinister or powerful they were, but by the deeper dimensions of their character. Were the reasons for their actions justified? How effective were they as villains and as characters? These are some of the questions that needed answering. Note that these are my opinions, so if you disagree just share some of your thoughts in the comments below!

*warning: major spoilers*

5.  Master Asia

Shuuji Kurosu. Master Asia. Undefeated of the East. He goes by many names, but one thing's for sure: he earns his place here through pure badassery. This is a man who can destroy mobile suits with his bare hands for god's sake. He's also a former champion of the Gundam Fight, and a master of the style that protagonist Domon uses to defeat his enemies throughout the series. Master Asia really sets himself apart from the rest of the villains on this list with his over-the-top fervor and martial arts ass-kicking. He is responsible for a lot of the terror that occurs throughout G Gundam, but he redeems himself near the end when he realizes the error in his thinking. For his explosive style and unwavering sense of honor, I give Master Asia a well-deserved spot among Gundam greats.

4. Haman Karn

Haman Karn was an entry on my Top 5 Gundam Girls list, so I figure I'll just repeat what I wrote. Haman is a major villain in two Gundam storylines, and one of the only female villains at that. She is a cold and ruthless leader who uses manipulation and charisma to get her way. Her natural ability is so great that she was able to rally and lead the entire Axis community at the tender age of sixteen. Clearly, this is a woman who knows how to get what she wants. She's also a powerful Newtype, and a formidable pilot who once bested Char in battle. 

She comes across as an incredibly shrewd and merciless woman, but side-stories based on her past reveal that she is actually the product of suffering and abuse at the hands of the Federation. Tragedy is what pushed her beyond redemption, and it's only at the end of her run that we learn of her regret. I really liked the development she underwent as a character, and considering the impact she left on the U.C. timeline, it's impossible not to remember her as one of the most significant villains in Gundam.

3. Treize Khushrenada

Treize Khushrenada is a very multifaceted character. He says he's a lover of war, but he also states on multiple occasions that he abhors causing unnecessary harm. He idealizes chivalry and is a connoisseur in the finer things, but he's simultaneously a manipulative and aggressive military leader. It's this strange contradictory nature that makes him one of the more intriguing villains in Gundam, and it's also the reason I chose him over main antagonist Milliardo Peacecraft, who's basically just a Char clone.

His ideals cause him to clash with Gundam pilot Chang Wufei, who shares a similar admiration for battle. Their rivalry is a highlight of both their characters, and their final battle is a powerful and defining moment for Treize. Ever a man of indomitable conviction, he allows Wufei to land a fatal blow on him because he refuses to cause anyone else harm. It's an almost incomprehensible act, but that's what makes Treize Khushrenada so interesting. He's the horse-riding, tea-sipping gentleman warrior, and one of the best antagonists Gundam has to offer.

2. Anavel Gato

Anavel Gato, nicknamed the "Nightmare of Solomon", is one of the most fearsome soldiers in Zeon history. He fights to uphold Zeon's ideals, and is so unrelenting in his pursuits that his power of will alone makes opponents shake in their normal suits. He's also a peerless mobile suit pilot, and his abilities are no better demonstrated than when he wreaks havoc with the stolen Gundam Physalis. He wipes out an entire Federation fleet with the Gundam's atomic bazooka, and whips protagonist Kou Uraki around with just a beam saber and head vulcans. With or without a mobile weapon, he was a force to be reckoned with.

His final moments were particularly memorable for me. The way he fought to the bitter end with that burning fearlessness in his eyes, and the way he chose to go out on his own terms made me develop a deep sense of respect for his character. There weren't many redeeming qualities to him, but he made such a fantastic pure villain that I couldn't help but place him near the top of this list. He did his job as a bad guy after all.

1. Ribbons Almark

Ribbons was a mastermind and as macho as men come...

...nah I'm just fucking with you. Can you imagine though? I'd rip my tongue out and feed it to a cat before seriously doing this. Anyway, continue down for the REAL greatest antagonist of all time...

1.  Char Aznable

Probably saw this one coming didn't you? Let's just be honest here though; there wasn't going to anyone else taking the number one spot. Char Aznable is an iconic Gundam antagonist, and probably one of the greatest characters to come out of the Gundam franchise. He made the mask badass, before assholes like...
...these guys...

...tried to step on the wannabe band-wagon. Char Aznable was famously known as the Red Comet during the One Year War because of his fearsome abilities in battle (destroyed five Federation battleships in blinding speed) and his preference for red mobile suits. He is a brilliant ace pilot and a charismatic leader who has the ability to rally entire colonies of people to his cause in an almost effortless manner. While he is portrayed as a villain throughout most his appearances, he never truly seems to be without his sense of humanity. He cares for his fellow Spacenoid's plight, and its his anger towards their mistreatment that often pits him against the heroes. 

He has a profound respect for his soldiers, and he's shown to carry the guilt of not being able to save his comrades when he loses them into battle. Despite all the admiration he receives as a hero of Zeon, he remains humble and deflects praise when he feels he doesn't deserve it. Based on individual characteristics alone there's plenty to be said about Char, but ultimately, it's his intense rivalry with protagonist Amuro Ray that cements his place as a significant part of the U.C. timeline. Their battles constantly force them to strive for higher ceilings, and it's likely that if this legendary rivalry had never occurred, Amuro would not have become half the pilot, newtype, or man that he was at the peak of his abilities.

Sip sip, bitches

After the original series, Char continues to involve himself in war affairs. He mentors Kamille Bidan as a member of AEUG, and he leads the Second Neo Zeon movement in a final effort to have his ideals realized. Though his actions lead to his mysterious disapperance as a result of the 'Axis Shock', his lingering spirit continues to influence the U.C. universe in the form of Zeon remnants and actual clones. And really, if anything is a testament to Char's lasting impact, it's the countless number of 'Char clones' that have appeared since his departure. It seems we just can't handle a reality without him anchoring the villain role somehow, which is fine, because he brings it three times faster than anyone else. He's Char Aznable, the greatest Gundam antagonist of all time.

Check out my other Gundam Top 5 lists~


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Ecchi CG Set - Judith

Featuring: Judith from Tales of Vesperia. Definitely one of my favorite character designs ever; there's something about that outfit and blue hair. Just play the game and you'll learn to appreciate it :) Anyway, enjoy the gallery~