The score of a lifetime…

•March 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

And no, I’m not talking about Jewel Staite or Kristen Bell. I’m talking about another new acquisition and a first for me: a one-of-a-kind custom figure…

I’ve read Toyfare in the past and been aware of this as a past-time for many figure collectors. The act of bashing figures, mixing-and-matching, and even sculpting entirely new parts to create a unique and one-of-a-kind figure is something I greatly admire, but would never have time to do myself…

Enter:

Jin Saotome had a figure on E-bay that I knew I couldn’t do without… Especially after finishing the game the day before!

That’s right! Bioshock 2‘s BIG SISTER!!!

I have to say, this is one of the COOLEST customs I have EVER seen… The glowing portholes, the artistic blood splatters… I can practically hear her high-pitched scream just looking at this thing…

I know most of my figures revolve around anime, (with the clear exception of Halo), but I just could not resist this… And I have the added pleasure of knowing I own the only one in existence! I definitely and without reservation recommend Jin’s work. He does mostly GI Joe and superhero-related stuff, but I will definitely be keeping my eye out for any more figures like this in the future!

Advertisements

Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Episode 1: Day of the Unicorn

•March 1, 2010 • 4 Comments

Wow…

I have been waiting for this since 1989. Yes, I was into anime back then, renting Char’s Counterattack on VHS in raw Japanese from a martial arts supply store in south Sacramento…

We finally have a worthy successor to Char’s Counterattack…

I’ve often lamented that we have not seen a continuation of the Universal Century storyline outside of Victory and F-91. F-91 was OK, and I haven’t seen more than an episode or two of Victory, (although what I saw was nothing to write home about)…

But this…

RX-0 Gundam "Destroy Mode"

After Char’s Counterattack, Sunrise decided to revisit some classical settings in the UC time-line, and we got a lot of great UC stories as a result. The OAV series’ Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and Gundam 0083: Stardust Memories are two great examples… But I always wondered how the survivors of the last Neo-Zeon war fared after Char and Amuro were no more…

Now I know…

First of all, if you are in any way a fan of UC Gundam, (I can’t be the only old-timer out there), then this is a MUST-SEE. It’s that good…

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t actually give you a review of the story itself… Well, I’ll give you my opinions, but I’m going to be as spoiler-free as humanly possible. You really have to see this for yourself…

The new protagonist (Banagher Links) is excellent. He is obviously a NewType from the outset. He is, however, much less whiny and bitchy than either Camille or even Amuro. He seems to be more serious-minded, with a clear sense of purpose. As with all great UC stories, he has issues with his parents.

Banagher and an admirer...

The main heroine for this series is clearly going to be this young lady:

Audrey Burne (Hepburn?)

The story revolves around the chance meeting that brings these two together and trying to stop a war. It really is a great story with enough similarities to other UC stories to feel familiar, while still keeping it’s own sense of originality. What I’ve always liked about the Universal Century as opposed to the alternate universe stories is it’s sense of realism and believability. This is definitely continuing on in that vein… The story is very well paced, and the political situation is not unlike the end of 0083/the beginning of Zeta Gundam. The Feds are working over-time to hunt down and obliterate any Neo-Zeon remnants, while a non-military “royal family” might be preparing to shift the balance of power…

The animation is top-notch. It’s at least as good as Gundam 00, with a lot of CG thrown in for colonies, environments and mobile suits…

Shot by lots of "funnels" at once... Ouch...

I give this title a 10/10…

Apparently, classes in the future will include lessons in vertigo...

I recommend seeing this as soon as humanly possible, or sooner if you’re a fan of Gundam…

If you’re really lazy, you can mosey out and get your own copy on March 12th. I guess the Blu-Ray is also going to have English dialogue available… (But the regular DVD won’t?!? Not that I care, I just don’t get it)…

I now officially need to get a PS3, so I can watch this in Blu-Ray…

Review: 1/6th scale Asuka Langley Shikinami from Evangelion 2.0

•February 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I just got my second package from Mandarake today, Kotobukiya’s 1/6th scale Asuka Langley Shikinami from Evangelion 2.0. This figure is sculpted by Tsukuru Shirahige. This serves for me as a companion piece to the figure I acquired last year of Rei Ayanami from Evangelion 1.0, sculpted by the same. I also look forward to his sculpt of Mari Illustrious this May.

This review actually serves as two, because Ayanami has much of the same qualities as Asuka does.

First of all, the sculpts on these figures are amazing. Though the poses could be considered slightly risque, nonetheless they are true to the characters they represent. Asuka’s pose is open and playful, while Rei’s is more closed and vulnerable. I have the both of them posed with their respective Eva Units from the SOC Tamashii Spec line, and they look great together.

The proportions are excellent and very anime accurate. The paint detailing is perfect, with no blemishes or over-spray anywhere. An interesting thing with Asuka is the shading effects where the different parts of the plugsuit meet. Another interesting effect on both figures is that the hair is composed of a semi-translucent material, slightly frosted with paint that functions as highlight… It’s fantastic. They both come on stone-looking busts of their Eva Units that serve as a base for the figure. Much like my UpLark review, I cannot heap enough praise on these figures.
Sorry again for the stock pics, but until I get (or borrow) a digital camera, that’s what I’m stuck with… I will update with new photos when I can…

The obsessive progression continues…

•February 20, 2010 • 2 Comments

…or is that progressive obsession? Regardless…

I remember back in the 80’s when I first got into anime figure collecting. They weren’t “toys”, they were “figures” or better yet, “collectible figures”. Then I started collecting models, and I automatically had an out.

Well, due to the constraints of adulthood and purported responsibilities, I have no time for the building, painting, (and now wiring) that many of today’s models require. I decided to go back to figure collecting, especially since so many of today’s anime action figures look like models anyway with their detailing and anime-accuracy, (which in the 80’s was almost non-existent). My figure collection is still growing, and I’m still loving every minute of it; but I’m afraid I just crossed a line, one that I wasn’t sure I would ever be prepared to cross…

I love some of my favorite characters (especially from Evangelion) so much that I had been toying with the idea of picking up a figure or two in Medicom’s Real Action Hero (RAH) line. The only problem is that these aren’t just “figures”, they can accurately be described as “dolls”…

My revulsion of that word is complete and total. “Sally Talks-A-Lot” is a doll. “Baby Alive” is a doll. (One which I’m ashamed to admit I actually owned when I was about four years old). “Barbie” is of course a doll… Ick… That’s not to say I’m demeaning them in any way, it’s just that, well, “dolls” are for GIRLS…

My terror of being labeled as the 39-year-old guy that plays with dolls is almost paralyzing… I keep having flash backs to that stupid line in Live Free or Die Hard where Bruce Willis admonishes Justin Long for “playing with dolls” because of his figure collection…

Anyway, the line is crossed and it’s too late to turn back… I just found a new Rei Ayanami (bandaged version) on E-bay for an obscenely low price… ($52.80 with shipping)!!! These things usually go for $150+… With a deal like that, I couldn’t be happier to now be a 39-year-old guy who “plays with dolls”…

Review: Uplark’s Rei Ayanami with Entry Plug interior…

•February 16, 2010 • 1 Comment

I just got this baby from HLJ today along with these two beauties from Mandarake

Incidentally, HobbyLink Japan and Mandarake are now my official go-to places for anime figures. I love the fact that Mandarake carries older “used” items that are exceptionally hard to find. That’s the only way I was able to get my hands on the 400% Synch Ratio Unit-01

Anyway, on to the review…

Before seeing and ordering this item, I had not seen or heard of the company UpLark. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I will definitely be purchasing products from this company in the future… The sculpt is amazing. I would guesstimate the scale at around 1/12 or 1/15, but regardless, the sculpting and details are perfect… For such a small figure of Rei, I wasn’t expecting this much detail. Also the actual entry plug interior is large and detailed. I love the fact that this can be posed at an incline like it’s depicted in the show. Perfect details, paint application, and perfect sculpting… I can’t think of a single thing that could make this figure better. I would give it a 10/10, and highly recommend any Evangelion or Ayanami fan pick this up right away…

(Sorry for the stock pics, but my wife has our camera down in Honolulu and it’s the best I can do)…

I… CAN’T… WAIT!!!

•February 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This figure is going to change my life… I already have the Tamashii Spec XS-03, XS-04, XS-08, and XS-09

But now…

You wouldn’t believe the flaming hoops I had to jump through to find this thing…

This one’s on the way as well:

YES!!! A new UC Gundam story!!! Finally!!!

•February 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s about time we see a new Universal Century Gundam story! Maybe this will make the wait for Evangelion 3.0 a little more manageable…