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.
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!
REVIEW STATEMENT: 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.