Thursday, September 30, 2010

1/7 Saber Triumphant Excalibur by Good Smile Company

After being delayed for two month, yesterday I got 1/7 Saber Triumphant Excalibur by Good Smile Company.

The sculpt is by Tokunaga Hironuki, that also did Max Factory's Hoshii Miki and Kotobukiya's Kurusugawa Serika, and did a great job with the dynamic jump in mid-air.

The only point attached to the base is that small metallic piece, I hope it will be able to support the weight of the entire figure in the long run....

Back view.

This Saber is a companion figure of the previously released Saber Lily by Good Smile Company and the upcoming Saber Alter, since they share the same slightly unusual scale and dynamic poses. In terms of details, I think this one is superior than Saber Lily.

Face close up. It ended a bit different than the prototype, but is still pretty good looking.

It also includes a second Excalibur with Invisible Air.

The sword was done in translucent plastic to give the effect of "invisible".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Valkyria Chronicles Development Artworks

The other book that I purchased at beNippon was Valkyria Chronicles Development Artworks, a massive 400 page artbook released last January.

The gorgeous cover illustration, featuring most of the Squad 7 members, covers all the dust jacket. The full picture can be found here.

The amount of data included is incredible. Every minimum detail is heavily explained with tons of visual data in an almost obsessive fashion... last time I saw such love in a videogame artbook was in Xenogears Perfect Works.

The book is divided in several sections: story, characters, weapons, military affairs & natural history, geography, illustrations, pre-production material and interviews.

Story explains the game plot chapter by chapter. Includes a map for each mission and the two plot related DLC are also briefly included.

In the characters section, every main character include a few pages of character bios with pictures and settings.

After the character data, there's a section of design works, with rough sketches and the great artwork of RAITA.

Some characters includes pictures from earlier pre-production stages, like Alicia...

...or Selveria, that was originally short haired.

At a point in the inital pre-production stages, Alicia was a loli.

Sadly, the non-plot related characters are included only with a brief sentence for each.

The weapons section includes an entry for each type of tank and machines. Some details are really amazing, like how to read the tank license plates info, that in the case of the Edelweiss is somewhat different because it was custom made.

Military affairs section consist mostly in entries for the weapons and uniforms. In the picture, early Imperial soldiers designs, heavily influenced in Nausicaä, carrying some weapons that were later re-used for Valkyria Chronicles 2.

Geography includes settings for the locations.

The comparatively short illustration section includes all the artwork used in advertisements and magazines.

And the last part of the book explains the initial pre-production stage of the game, when was called Gallian Panzers.

Character designs from the time: Welkin, Alicia (called Alma at that point) and a kind looking Captain Varrot.

Initially, the discriminated race was the "beast people" instead of the Darcsen. In the right part of the picture, a shockingly young Rosie and Faldio.

Overall, this artbook is really a must have for any Valkyria Chornicles fan.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fate/complete material II - Character material.

Two weeks ago, I received a package from beNippon, but because of my new job and Valkyria Chronicles 2, until now I didn't had time to do a review... anyways, the first one is Fate/complete material II - Character material., published by Enterbrain a couple of months ago.

Fate/complete material was supposed to be the ultimate information source for Fate/stay night universe, divided in 3 volumes: art & CG, character art & locations, and settings & encyclopedia.

The first volume, Art material. was released in 2008 and was a disappointment because was only a printed version of the gallery mode from the original game, without Réalta Nua, Zero nor Hollow Ataraxia.

The second volume is this, Character material. and is also exclusively focused in the main game and not the spin-off, but this time there are several unpublished rough sketches and some of the comments by Takeuchi and Nasu are new information.

The first part includes a brief summary of each character with a collection of several character cuts:

Medousa instead of Medusa, Altria instead of Arturia... I wonder why they don't hire someone who actually knows English to do the romanizations.

Each character also includes comments by both Takeuchi and Nasu, adding some insight to the character and for some of them there is actually new information. For example, Rider mark in the forehead is a snake.

The second part introduces every weapon with a short description:

Kanshou and Bakuya and the "over edge" mode.

The most interesting part for me is the rough sketches gallery. Some of those already appeared in Fate/side material:

Saber initial settings.

Rin initial settings. With the hair in front of the ears and that uniform, she's like Azaka.

More Rin.

Rider original setting was a short haired girl. The design was later re-used for Ayako.

Unused setting for Kotomine's wife, that looks like Caren Ortensia (is her mother, after all).

Unused event graphics.

Some of the unused event graphics were later included in Réalta Nua, like the duel between Saber and Assassin, while others are forever lost, like an H scene with the maids in the scrapped Illya route.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Valkyria Chronicles 2

A few days ago, I purchased Valkyria Chronicles 2 for PSP. It was supposed to be released in September 3rd in all Europe, but for some reason it was delayed until the 10th here in Spain...

Right now I'm in episode 7 (July), and I'm really enjoying it.

The characters are not as much likable as the ones of the first game, mostly because are too young and light hearted, and the new anime-ish designs by Mori Mitsue doesn't work as good with RAITA's original character designs (except for some characters, like Aliasse and Juliana, that are very RAITA-ish):

In-game design of Aliasse and RAITA's Aliasse are pretty much the same.

Juliana. I hope she is playable later in game...

Visually is obviously not as attractive as the PS3 game, and the maps are subdivided in small sections that doesn't give the feel of a "real" battlefield, but the new soldier classes and the character micromanagement was vastly improved.

In a related note, when I was waiting for the release day of Valkyria Chronicles 2, I did a Gallian Light Tank B paper craft that is available in the Japanese web page:

The design was made by Chokipeta Kobo, that seems to be a pretty big name in paper-craft circles.

The turret is movable.

I forgot to put something to compare the scale... is about 16 cm long, 8 cm wide and 8 cm height (without antenna)

And in a semi-related note, a recently open teaser site shows a hint to the next Valkyria Chronicles game. It seems that the action will take place in the year 1935, the same year of the original one, and in a recent entry in the Valkyria official blog two new characters were revealed:

The blond is the elder sister of Homer (from VC1). She have a dominatrix personality, and the fat guy addresses to her as "Queen".