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 amazon.co.jp 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.
REVIEW STATEMENT: 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 amazon.co.jp but do not expect her to stick around.
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.
REVIEW STATEMENT: 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.
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.
REVIEW STATEMENT: 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)
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.
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!
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.
REVIEW STATEMENT: 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.