kyorin's blog

1:50 PM on 04.07.2014

[1/7 Scale Review] Kousaka Kirino TRUE END Scale Figure

Hey again! This time, I'm doing a scale figure review; my first! In particular, its the Kousaka Kirino True End 1/7 scale figure by Max Factory/ASCII Media Works.

Again, this one is an exclusive and was available through or Dengekiya Online only. Now you might wonder why all of my reviews have been exclusives. (Maybe you're curious.) Just coincidence. I'm doing reviews of figures as I'm receiving them! I just happened to be shopping exclusives recently.

Max Factory is probably the best figure company in terms of sheer quality. This figure is no exception. Re-imagining a scene of episode 16, she's in the same wedding dress but on a red carpeted stairway. Kirino's base, the stairway, pushes this figure from being great to amazing. It has a "metal" rail, red carpeting that is actually a velvet-like material and is rather sizable. It accentuates the scale and magnitude of this 1/7 scale figure.

The sculpt is beautiful and subtle. Most figures that people compliment for having great sculpts are usually "busy," meaning complex in design and the company did well to recreate the details accurately. This is rather simple in form, as the dress is the main part of this figure. It's subtle. The frills, the embroidery and the folds across the dress. Intricate details like how the fabric is hugging her body are details that one might notice on first glance. Her face is well proportioned and her hair is fine, despite the original illustrator's simplistic approach to hair.

The paint perfectly compliments the sculpt with the use of pearlescent creme white for the dress and translucent frills. Her hair is toned with a nice brown gradient on her blonde hair and the bouquet has painstakingly well done floral colors in its small petals.

This a a must-have for Kirino fans -- or just wedding dress version fans. This is a fantastic figure that doesn't rely on gimmicks like interchangeable body pieces or fancy props. The sculpt, paint and packaging are all top notch.
The price tag is high but anyone willing to put in the money for this figure will not be disappointed. She is still available on many websites including but do not expect her to stick around.

Click here for more pics in larger format @ Figure.FM


4:06 PM on 02.24.2014

[Nendoroid Review] Misaka "Sisters" Nendoroid No. 361

My first anime nendoroid review! Kind of strange that my first reviews were nendoroids of real people.

Here's Misaka imouto from A Certain Scientific Railgun anime series! She's loaded out with her signature look; specialized goggles, Tokiwadai uniform and her rifle.

If you aren't familiar with this anime series, it is a spinoff series of the A Certain Magical Index series, both of which are worth a watch. I just finished the Railgun series myself and it was quite a bit of fun! Needless to say, I just had to get myself this nendoroid after watching it.

This is a rather barebones nendoroid set, with two other facial expressions, an electric effect prop, alternate skirt, alternate hair piece, a cat, rifle and various limbs. That's not a bad thing, considering that she's a side character. I'm just glad she has a nendoroid. *Flashback* Nendoroids used to come with a lot less -- looking at some of my pre-No. 100 nendoroids, they barely had any props/alternate hair or limbs.

This is a great example of how a barebones nendoroid should be. Good paint job, detailed sculpt and enough props to re-create key anime poses and moments. The paint colors are nice, with a fine gradient in the details of her hair as well as good use of paint color in the goggles to create somewhat of a "glow" effect. If there's any complaint, I feel like the default arms she comes with are rather long, making her proportions seem rather off, especially when displayed with other nendoroids. A minor gripe. Overall, a must-own for fans of Misaka!

** Not many nendoroids come with an "extra" something but this has it; special underwear! Just like in the anime, she is wearing shimapan -- details like this really set her aside from many other nendos out there.



9:42 PM on 02.03.2014

[Nendoroid Review] Mizuki Nana Nendoroid No. 322

Hello readers! I have another special nendoroid review for you; Mizuki Nana nendoroid! Just like Tamura Yukari nendo, she was also an concert exclusive that eventually was released on the Good Smile Online Shop.

Here she is in her box -- number 322. Now if you don't follow Mizuki Nana you might wonder why she's holding a hamburger. Some of her accessories and her outfit are from her music video of "Lovely Fruit." She's a waitress in a western style family restaurant in the video.

She comes with two different expressions, quite a few limbs and an assortment of accessories. Even a chicken. Well, apparently it's her mascot character named Nanet, but it seems out of place and unfitting. Maybe it's just me.

You can pose her and reenact her performance from the music video! Oh, a bit of a tangent but I really like the newer bases the nendoroids come with now. Compared to the previous types, the new ones are easy to pose with and don't break easily.

Mizuki Nana in concert mode! I've always wanted to go to her concerts because she really makes it energy filled and exciting. The crowd is into it and fans love her live singing. Nanet-san is cheering her on too!

Mizuki Nana and Tamura Yukari team up again to perform "Innocent Starter" as nendos! Just thought it would be cute to put them together.

This Mizuki Nana nendoroid was actually quite a bit of a disappointment. I liked the idea behind it as well as the expressions and accessories but for some reason the molds were badly done. A lot of misshapen nubs not fitting into the sockets or holes, and joints not coming out unless you used a wrench or something. It's a nightmare. I didn't even get to the worst part; paint blemishes that resemble dirt new out of the box. This shouldn't happen -- it's very disappointing considering this is a nendoroid of one of my favorite seiyuu. I hope Good Smile has some kind of policy for replacements or something.

Noticeable blemishes in the same areas on both faces on the left cheek. Quite a bit extreme on one arm. I tried carefully seeing if they were removable but it seemed like it was molded into the plastic or something. Would not come off. (sigh)   read

10:57 PM on 01.26.2014

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Demo Impressions

The Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII demo hit earlier this week and I got around to playing through it. Below is a video link to my playthrough.

First and foremost, this franchise has been rocky yet successful. The Final Fantasy XIII series has garnered a lot of complaints, ranging from bad story telling to bad DLC decisions. But sales are rather favorable despite the shortcomings -- perhaps due to Square's unwavering fans and/or bias love for the positives of the series such as the graphics, art designs and music.

The latest in the installment chooses to capitalize, once again, on the familiar of Final Fantasy XIII but decides to change up the fundamentals. The gameplay is quicker, more exciting and (as far as I know) only lets you play with Lightning. No help from unnecessary side characters, beyond the occasional phone calls and cinematics.

The gameplay consists of pressing the face buttons and switching between jobs when one the action meter depletes in one particular job. So Lightning has about 8 different jobs available to her, ranging from Dragoon to Black Mage. So you start as one job, say Black Mage, you attack using three different skills. Once your action meter runs out, you have to switch to one of three jobs you have set and keep attacking to cause "Stagger." Yes, that gameplay aspect is back from the other FFXIII games. The damage you deal pre-stagger is significantly less, so you want to get them into "Stagger" by repeatedly attacking -- using the enemy's elemental weakness really helps. When you notice the enemy's attack pattern, you can use the one face button that isn't an attack. The guard/counterblow button. You can significantly reduce damage or evade and counterattack with this skill.

It's a more enjoyable battle system overall but I can't help but feel like Square was too lazy to innovate. If you've played the previous Final Fantasy XIII games and Final Fantasy X-2, you will immediately understand what I mean when you play this game. The job classes feel like "Paradigm Shifts" and the different classes that Lightning has seems rather reminiscent of FFX-2. Personally, I think Square Enix has done what they do nowadays; rehash character models, rehash battle systems and repackage all of it into a "new game."

All in all, the demo itself is definitely worth playing as it shows a glimpse of what the game has in store.

Oh and one word of advice; don't watch the intro video before the title screen. I mean, you could but it's really a waste of time as you'll see the same exact cinematic when you start the game.


12:08 AM on 01.14.2014

2014 Anime Los Angeles Cosplay Highlights

Oh 2014...
Just started the year and already anime is going at full throttle. New season anime, new anime announcements and of course, anime conventions.
For the first time ever, I went to Anime Los Angeles @ Marriott near LAX. It was definitely an interesting experience; a more fandom based con with plenty strangers talking to strangers who often share the same interests and a lot of cosplayers posing for group pictures and just having fun.

Here's just a few photos to highlight my cosplay experience, as I went to mess with my camera and practice taking cosplay pictures. (Yes, I need work. And better equipment.)

Survey Corps getting some coffee between Titan invasions

Next time I will be sure to take more pictures. Hopefully I can cover more anime conventions in the year to come!   read

4:47 PM on 01.03.2014

[Nendoroid Review] Tamura Yukari Nendoroid No. 321

This time, I got myself the Nendoroid No. 321, Tamura Yukari nendoroid! You could say I recently became of fan her voice-over work, namely through the anime Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (OreShura for short). Her voice work in the show was one of the best I've heard, as she portrayed the emotions and traits of the character in the most expressive way without going overboard.
Tamura Yukari is also a singer as well as a voice actress and this nendoroid clearly reflects that. The build quality is great; everything fits as it's supposed to and there's quite a bit of extras compared to some nendoroid packages.

Her singing voice is unique and cute but the studios that have produced her songs so far haven't done her justice, as only a few songs are truly enjoyable to listen to.

Here's the box! As with any nendoroid after No. 300, the boxes are much classier and clean looking. Her current record company, Kings Records licensed her likeness for this product.

Tamura Yukari comes with a magic wand, a microphone and a neon glow stick for cheering. She comes with a rabbit doll and as usual, comes with two extra facial expressions. Interestingly, she has another torso with a happi coat and two cats that are also wearing happi coats.

This nendoroid was originally only on sale at her concert, making this nendoroid one of the more exclusive nendoroids. However, later Good Smile Company also sold this figure exclusively on their GSC Online Shop, where I ordered mine from.

This nendoroid really made me wish I had a concert stage to put her on. Perhaps I will try and make some props/settings for my later reviews.

I plan on getting extension tubes for my 30mm prime so I can get closer pictures. I wish I could have gotten closer to show you the decals on her shirt and coat, as they're really well done. I love this facial expression too -- so adorable. I did find that posing her with her other leg could be very challenging. Almost to the point where I kind of wished I had an instruction manual that came with the nendoroid, explaining how to make basic poses as shown on the box.

This Tamura Yukari nendoroid is built very well. The joints are posable without being too stiff, the paint colors are decent, although a bit flat in the clothes and her hair has too much of a gradient softness. There's a lot of colorful props and accessories that make this package worth the higher price tag.

Some might argue if it really resembles Tamura Yukari but it's a nendoroid, what do you expect. Considering the price, I recommend this nendoroid only to people who really are fans of Tamura Yukari and/or really like this nendoroid's visual aesthetics.   read

12:45 AM on 11.21.2013

[Nendoroid Review] 2013 Snow Miku: Strawberry White Kimono

Hey guys!
I have been away busy with work, life and whatever else kept me away from doing blogs but now I'm back. Straying away from my biweekly releases (as I find I don't have nearly enough time to do posts that often) I plan on doing standalone reviews, unboxings and things of that nature.
As for the pictures, I was still learning my new camera (Sony NEX-6) so it wasn't very well taken but the future posts should improve quite a bit!

So without further adieu, here's the お菓子(okashi) from Kyoto!

Yes this nendoroid comes in a packaging reminiscent of the kind of box that traditional sweets like mochi might come in, especially when you're visiting Kyoto. The box is rather large and sturdy, unlike the normal boxes nendoroids come in.

The artwork underneath the paper sleeve!

Really makes me feel like they laid out the parts like Japanese confectionery.

And here she is! Miku! The traditional parasol and the tied buns make her so adorable. The kimono has snowflake decals all over and the hair pin really rounds out her outfit. One minor gripe is that she has to hold the parasol in one angle and direction, meaning you can't position it lower or switch it to the other side.

Only if I had some sakura petals to sprinkle...

As with many traditions, partaking of rice wine is common during certain Winter/Spring holidays. Miku can't hold her liquor as evident of her cute smile that tries to hide her discomfort. I could totally imagine as she takes a sip, coughs and tears well up from her inexperience. Unfortunately, the wine cup is glued to her hand so you can't get creative with the prop.

Here is Miku, sitting back with her pet, mochi bunny. Her twin-tails also have snowflakes and have a gradient color change. But since this is a nendo, the twin-tails are very long proportionally so it was difficult to have her sit and look manageable with this hairstyle. Another part of this package I didn't mention yet is the "stand." The black and red tray stand is like the kind you would get sweets and tea served on. It's elegant and adheres to the theme; same with the toothpick (yeah that wooden plank thing on Miku's right is a toothpick).

Here's the back of her hair with the tied swirly bun. Yeah, I'm no expert in women's hairstyles so I'm not sure what to call it.

And she also comes with a normal base! Not like she needs it though. Snow Miku can stand on her own, unlike many nendoroids. Another cool part is, since she's wearing a strawberry white kimono, the inner trims of her kimono are red. That was obvious but what else?! The inside of her white hood has strawberry seed decals to go with it!

So I won't give scores, but I'll end these reviews with a concluding statement, often ranging from "I recommend it" to "pass on it."

Good Smile Company's biggest cash cow is Miku. No surprise there. So they make a new Snow Miku every year. However, this 2013 Snow Miku stands above the rest as she's the first Snow Miku to break the general mold of the previous designs. The build quality is fantastic, parts fit as they are supposed to and the sculpt is meticulously detailed. There's a lot of props, great facial expressions and even an alternative hairstyle to round out the package.

I recommend this figure to anyone who loves Miku and kimonos. If you aren't a fan of either, this won't break your preference as the design is a bit "love it or hate it." All in all, this nendoroid #303 is a great add to your collection.   read

9:13 PM on 04.21.2013

Winter Anime Final Standings 2013

Much apologies, dear readers.
I have been missing in action due to work but I am back now to restart my blog, renewed with vigor!

If perhaps you have read my previous blog post then you'll already be familiar; for newcomers, this blog series will be a biweekly ranking post talking about my opinion on the currently airing anime. This is different from before, where I ranked all of the anime I was watching (even older shows I happen to be watching) on the list but I think it'll be a bit more concise and to the point to make a ranking of the currently running shows.

Therefore, I've decided to do the final winter anime rankings. While some of the shows on the list will be shows that started in the all season, they happen to run through and end at winter, so I'll include them in the list. As for spoilers, I try very hard not to put anything revealing but I can't guarantee that so just for technicality, I'll tell you now it might have some spoilers.

** Spoiler Alert**

7. Shinsekai Yori

If someone were to ask me what was the worst anime, this would be it. Despite interesting parts and bits of the story and themes that run through the show, the anime is way too ambitious and fails to adhere all of its pieces together to complete a coherent concept, story and theme. Visually, it has the worst animation I've seen in the last five years. The characters look like they've been drawn without much care and the 3D animation is amateur at best. Probable explanation might be that A-1 Pictures was probably putting all their budget into SAO, but even then I don't find that an excuse.
The greatest flaw is that the story goes into details about the society's history but it's unnecessary detail that detracts from the actual plot. The show tries to do too much and pack needless elements. Gummy creatures that are supposedly libraries, ninjas, demons and fiends, telekinetic powers polluting the environment...and on. Because it could have been so much better as a simple story, I can't help but consider it the worst anime I've seen. The sheer disappointment is beyond expression.

Oh and did I mention that in two years time, everyone at the school becomes gay/lesbian? I find it odd how in such a short time everyone changes their sexual orientation. Well whatever. I blame the source material.

6. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT

A terrible show with an incredibly large fan base. This one's simple; there's no story. The story is about a club of people trying to make friends. Wait what? That's a premise. I sincerely hope you don't think a premise is a story. I'm sure the people who enjoy the show like the characters, their personalities and the episodic comical nature of the show. I was amused at some of the references they do cover such as "Yaranaika" but honestly, that's as far as the show goes.
I recommend watching a full-blown comedy anime instead. The most unacceptable part of this show? The "to be continued" ending. Speculation says that the animation studio is going to wait for the source material to produce at least four volumes before a third season arrives. But since the show is a complete waste of time, I'd rather have AIC Build work on some other anime -- something worth watching.

Again, the show is pointless. Especially since they're all pretty much friends. They just don't know it because they're stupid. At least some of them finally realized at the end.

5. Sasami-san@Gabaranai

For a while I thought Shaft pulled off something different and fresh. Boy was I wrong. The show starts of strong, consisting of interesting ideas about the powers of Amaterasu and how it's residing in a faceless man voiced by Otsuka Houchu. However the show clearly becomes a mess of bad directing, scripting writing and oh, how the animation starts to fall apart too. By the end, there's a mess of feces smeared everywhere.
The show never goes full serious even when the plot has turned solemn. Come on. Even the slew of talented voice actors in the show can't save bad directing and poor production. Shaft completely half-assed this and it's clearly evident.

Shaft gives you half of their world; it's made of crap.

4. Tamako Market

After an amazing show like Hyouka, I was ready to see KyoAni's anime original. The animation is fantastic; camera shakes and lens flares do a great job of livening up the shots. The characters move fluidly and the attention to detail is what makes KyoAni such a studio with a fan following. However, this show is garbage; I can clearly state that after having watched all of it. The bird is unnecessary "comic relief" and the main heroine is drier than seaweed (or laver) as a mochi brained airhead. If anything the interesting characters are Kanna, the true comic relief character. Saori is a shy girl who wants to be more openly friendly and Midori is the girl with a crush on her high school sweetheart. And lets not forget the man with the most personality; Mamedai -- Tamako's father.

I won't have any argument -- episode 9 was by far the most interesting episode with an emotionally felt story. Dai's love story, which only lasted five minutes of the episode had more soul than the rest of the season of Tamako Market. I've always jokingly said that he was the main character but honestly, he was.

3. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha

Spice and Wolf meets Dragon Quest. A lot of people made the comparison but that's just disrespecting Spice and Wolf and Dragon Quest. This show is a shallow, dull imitation of the great works. If perhaps you think the source material is better, I tell you, the source material isn't an anime. And if an anime can't stand on its own without the audience already knowing the source material, then it's simply incomplete.
The romance that drives the story, Yuusha in particular, to join the Maou and becomes her loyal manservant (basically) is completely dried by the end. And it doesn't help that Maou was missing for half the season "busy" doing something else. What an excuse.

Unless you ecstatically enjoy politics and economics, the rest of the story is hollow and uninteresting. You're better off sleeping through this one.

2. Psycho-Pass

I won't deny it. I'm a sucker for cyberpunk. It's often like a murder mystery/noire with a science fiction twist. Psycho-Pass creates an interesting setting of a society where a person's life is pretty much chosen for them based on their aptitude (think The Giver by Lois Lowry). The heroine however has the aptitude to choose her life -- and she decides to go into the Public Safety Bureau, which basically acts law enforcement. The rest of the premise is like Minority Report. Basically they can try to control future criminal activity by measuring people's tendency to commit crimes.
The animation is alright; 3D animation is great but the character designs are a personal dislike. Animation is decent and consistent throughout the season. One of the main downsides of this show is the main character: Akane. She's a boring character who does nothing to drive the plot, has a strong sense of morals that usually interferes with her detective work and lacks any amount of conviction. At least until episode 18 or so, then she turns into some robot who's great at scoping out murder scenes and deducing the criminal's next move. Oh and her morals completely disappear I guess, since she just accepts the society after finding out the truth. The show was fun but honestly, the story falls flat in the end with a loop ending, where basically at the end of the show, there's another newbie who joins the bureau and is in the exact place where she was at. So it's a "nothing happened" kind of ending.


1. Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru

Shortcomings? None here. I thoroughly enjoyed this show. The animation was great, the OST was fitting and the voice acting was superb. The story is largely a romance comedy; Kidou Eita is trying to live a high school life without love but instead, gets tangled with a number of girls he meets. The character personalities and relationship dynamics really make this show interesting and the pacing is well done.
The writing is well thought out and captivating. The use of the characters names to reflect the four seasons is also a detail I didn't notice until near the end of the season. And unlike other shows of the same nature, Kidou Eita is a likable main protagonist who actually likes girls and doesn't mind telling them. Unlike all of those other male protagonists in romance anime who has no balls.

This show was the show to watch this past winter season. I've also started reading the light novel -- it was that enjoyable for me.

Thanks for reading! I will update in a week since I haven't posted in a while. And hopefully I'll have the anime goodies unboxing video up soon too.   read

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