Sunday, April 29, 2012

1/7 Tohsaka Rin -Unlimited Blade Works- by Good Smile Company

Another of the figures that I kept unopened until now is 1/7 Tohsaka Rin -Unlimited Blade Works- by Good Smile Company, released in June 2011.

Is part of the same series of 1/7 scaled figures by GSC (Saber, Saber Lily and Saber Alter), and the sculptor of this one is Yokota Takeshi (the usual romanization in the net is Yokota Ken even in Japanese websites, but Yokota Takeshi is as appears in the box and in the English page of Good Smile Company). The pose is based in the movie poster of Unlimited Blade Works:

Since the illustration is made by Yamanaka Kotetsu and not by Takeuchi Takashi, Rin's design is a bit different, with longer and lighter colored hair. Only because of that I can't say this is my favorite scaled Rin figure, and for me that spot is still kept by the first GSC figure of Rin.

And so, the figure have a very light brown hair. For me, Tohsaka's hair color is black (or deepest brown at most), not chestnut brown... but the definition of hair colors in anime characters is somewhat vague (Ciel's blue hair is described as black in-game, and pre-red haired Aoko is also described black haired when is clearly despicted as a brunette).

Side view. The paint finish in the clothes is very glossy, perhaps too much because she seems is wearing vinyl clothing (specially the stockings). I read that the second batch, that was released in late November, fixed that and the sweater had a mate finish.

 It comes with four interchangeable hands. The default ones are a right one holding the pendant and an empty left hand.

The alternate ones are a right hand holding the Azoth dagger and a left one holding magic jewels.

Rear view. The 3 swords included are not attached to the base and can be removed. Is a nice touch that all 3 have different shapes and longitudes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

1/8 Saber Lily by Gift

I keep piling unopened big scale figures. Yesterday I received a new one and still have six more that I need to review... so let's begin the figures reviews with one I received over 9 months ago: 1/8 Saber Lily by Gift.

Like the previously released Sakura and regular Saber, this figure is also sculpted by Toda Satoshi, that have a particular sculpting style of doing very detailed bodies and somewhat realistic faces that doesn't give an "anime feel".

This time there's no alternate heads sculpted by another artist, but is not really needed since this face is pretty good despite not being faithful to Saber original design. The face, and specially the eyes paintjob is much better than previous works by Toda, like his previous normal version Saber.

Side view. Since the carvings are more abundant in Lily's armor than in regular and Alter's ones, Toda sculpt abilities shines at his best here.

Rear view.

The base is mirrored, so the also very detailed underwear can be easily seen as well.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mahou Tsukai no Yoru - Chapter 1 SPOILERS

Still playing Mahoyo in my free time, just reached the 3rd chapter. Since I'm reading it slower than I expected, it actually will take me a while to complete...
Usually I'm not that slow reading visual novels in Japanese, but until now there's a complete absense of action parts, just slice of life and over accurate descriptions. In English I can read faster in the non key scenes, but I can't do the same in Japanese, and for now I'm finding extremely tedious to read more than one scene in one go...

Anyways, I was asked by a couple of persons who don't speak Japanese to do an outline of each chapter, and since is more practical to do a brief description of each chapter instead of trying to summarize the whole game, I'll try to do that.

First of all, my Japanese is nowhere near perfect, so take my word with a grain of salt. Second, don't expect this to be quick (I need to be in the mood to read the game AND to write in this blog). And lastly, there's the possibility of dropping the whole idea and do only a summary of the whole game instead.

And before starting, in the game once you finish each chapter you unlock aditional chapters in the Archive mode, labeled as X.5 and taking place between the chapters. For now I'm only reading the main chapters first, and I'll do the extra ones once I finish the game. Also, if I find some glaring omission that is needed in further chapters, I'll edit that post to add that new info.


The game starts  with a flashback 8 years ago, and is narrated in a weird 3rd person / 1st person perspective. A young girl (her name is erased in the texts) is asked by her father to turn on the key of the car to warm it in one chilly morning, but inside the engine were hidding a cat and two kittens.

Once the engine started the cats were killed, and the saddened girl carried one of the kittens (the one that was not killed instantly) to her grandfather's place. He was a magus, so she asked him to revive the dead kitten. The magus was unable to do it, but in that moment another she was born by mistake, a she that became the little girl shadow and that was the first day they met.

After that, there's the opening scene that was included in the demo. Aozaki Aoko, after working all night is going to sleep, until is interrupted by a persistent call from her school, urging her to go there for an urgent matter despite that day was the foundation day holiday.

The person who called her was the teacher Yamashiro, in order to guide around the campus a new transfer student Shizuki Soujuurou. The reason to choose her is not only because she is the student council president, but because he thinks Aoko is the perfect person to teach Soujuurou, a rather oddball person that came from a very rural location and is still adjusting to living in the city. 
Aoko is not a girl that hides her feelings, and is quite harsh whith the teacher and by extension with Soujuurou, that ruined her holiday day.

Aoko is not happy, but earnestly shows Soujuurou around. Because he was living deep in the mountains without even electricity, is pretty naive towards how the modern world works. He's also very sincere but tactless and does a commentary about the harsh way Aoko glares, angering her even more.
After several hours, Soujuurou asks permisson to leave, since he's late for his part-job, and while is saying good-bye to Aoko, he is trying to leave the school jumping out of the window (in a second floor). After Aoko stops him and shows the exit, she wonders if he will be ok...

The next scene also appears in the demo. After returning home, checked how her experiment that was working all night failed and changed clothes, she fall asleep in the sofa. Once awake she have a talk with Kuonji Alice, the other person living with her in the large mansion. They talk about Aoko's experiment that went wrong and recalled how she ended using the whole day showing the campus to Soujuurou, until they bring the delicate matter of Aoko in the need to choice to live as a magus or as a normal girl. Aoko says that in a week she will decide and needs Alice to get the preparations ready. 

The conversation ends with the  rather puzzling matter of Alice seeing a giant cat delivering meal, and when Aoko tries to order two meals by phone, Alice responds that she doesn't need it because the cat already gave her one.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mahou Tsukai no Yoru received!

Okay, only a brief entry to say that today I received Mahou Tsukai no Yoru (after paying an extra fee in customs).

I only played a couple of hours, until Aoko finish her first meeting with Soujuurou. Since is not voiced I need to check for the kanji and words I don't know how to read, slowing my reading pace quite a lot.
For now my opinion is the same as when I played the demo; the story seems a bit dull and kinda slow paced, but the music and specially the production values are excellent. Also I didn't like Koyama designs that much (at least not in a major TYPE-MOON product), but after seeing Aoko's expresions for a bit is slowly growing on me...

The contents. The limited booklet contains spoilers, so I'm not opening it until I finish the game.

I'll do an proper review of both the game and the limited booklet once I'm over with the game, in one or two weeks from now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fate/Zero Volume 3 Limited Edition

I was expecting to do an entry about Mahou Tsukai no Yoru, but since it's been a week since it was sent by EMS and still I didn't received, most likely is hold on customs and it will take at least another week ;_;

Well, instead I'll review Fate/Zero Volume 3 Limited Edition that I received last week along with iM@S 6.

The limited edition of Fate/Zero 3 includes an alternate cover drawn by Takeuchi Takashi and a figure based in the image.

Like the previous figure of Saber included in the Young Ace, this one is also made by Kaiyodo and sculpted by Enoki Tomohide. The face, the most important part for me in any given figure, is not as good as the previous one but still better than the usual Enoki sculpts.

Side view. The shirt have a subtle color gradient to give the effect of translucency, and in this angle her panties are showing. Too bad the head looks hideous.

Back. They opted to paint white the Invisible Air covered Excalibur. If using clear plastic was too expensive, at least the color should be silver....

A set of 6 postcards are also included, 3 drawn by Takeuchi and 3 drawn by Shinjiro.

The manga itself covers up to the scene when Caster shows himself to Saber, and also includes as flashbacks how Caster and Berserker were summoned.

I said that the uncut scenes in the Blu-ray edition of Fate/Zero were not as gore as I expected, and in that aspect the manga is rather graphic.

Ryuunosuke tunning the "human instrument" an scene from the novels that doesn't appear in the anime.

There are several scenes not included in the anime that appears in the manga version, like the meeting of Ryuunosuke with his sister, and some other scenes are way, way more explicit. Not only the gore show of Caster and Ryuunosuke, but also scenes like Sakura being raped by thousands of worms are shown without little to no constraint.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

IDOLM@STER Blu-ray & Gravure For You! Vol. 6

Lately all the packages I'm receiving are held in customs, so besides paying taxes for it I'm receiving them pretty late (over a month after the release date), but unexpectedly this time I received a shipment in the usual timeframe (a bit over two weeks) and without paying extra in customs. It contained the 6th Blu-ray of iDOLM@STER and Gravure For You! Vol. 6 for PS3.

The episodes included are 15, 16 and 17 and as usual the "Special" section includes creditless 2nd opening ("CHANGE!!"), creditless endings and the extended episode preview from the website.
The extra audio commentary track features Hirata Hiromi (Makoto), Nakamura Eriko (Haruka), Imai Asami (Chihaya) and Numakura Manami (Hibiki).

Ending postcards.

As a bonus includes a drama cd, Producer no Kyuujitsu (Producer's holiday), narrating the events after the All Stars Live Concert of the episode 13. Producer is very tired due to overwork and is obliged by the President to take a free day so Kotori and the President does Producer's work for a day. Also as an extra is included Model Sheet Collection Volume 3, a 84 pages long booklet that contains settings for episodes 12 to 16.

Gravure For You!
Vol. 6 settings are the live studio using "My Dear Vampire" costume and a black version of "Angel Swimsuit" in the beach. Like in the volume 5, there's an extra option in "Extras" section and you can choose "Normal Mode", that removes the fangs and the pendant to "My Dear Vampire"

As usual random pictures:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Type-Moon Ace 7

Released in mid December and received almost 3 months ago, this is the review of Type-Moon Ace Volume 7.

The cover and a good part of it is focused in Mahou Tsukai no Yoru, including a demo cd of the game and a phone strap of Aoko as extras.

The Aozaki Aoko (Mahoyo version) phone strap. Is very small and a bit on the ugly side if you look at it closely.

Over 20 pages are focused in Mahou Tsukai no Yoru, that will be released (at last!) in a couple of days. The demo cd contains a few non correlative chapters. I played it and besides the excelent use of the kinetic effects and the neat soundtrack, I was largely unimpressed by the contents... Well, I have the game pre-ordered and shipped by EMS, so if customs doesn't screw me again I'll be playing the full game in a few days and I hope it doesn't turns into a complete let down.

A few pages are also covering Carnival Phantasm (the last volume was released shortly after the release of this magazine). In the picture, a short interview to the voice actors of the Neco-Arcs.

A bunch of interviews related to Fate/Zero, that last week began to air the second season. In the photo, the first part of the interview to Takeuchi Takashi (original character designer) and Sudou Tomonori and Ikariya Atsushi (character designers for the anime).

Interview to Koyama Rikiya (voice actor of Kiritsugu) and Oohara Sayaka (voice of Irisviel).

Four pages covering Fate/EXTRA CCC, an alternate (and supposedly darker) take of the first Fate/Extra. In the picture, a mysterious version of Sakura that seems to have a major role and a still unnamed pink-haired girl with horns and tail. The relase date is a very vague "Spring 2012".

A Fate/Apocrypha chapter written by Higashide Yuuichirou starring the loli Assassin (Jack the Ripper) and her Master Rikudo Reika. I don't like the idea of Fate/Apocrypha at all (is a rejected project for a reason), so I hope it doesn't turn into something bigger than an sporadic chapter in each T-M Ace...

And the rest is the manga section. As usual it includes special chapters of the regular series plus one-shots chapters of diverse origin. Some of the most interesting are:

All Around TYPE-MOON by Bsuke. An accidental meeting between both Sabers.

Melty Blood special chapter by Kirishima Takeru. Satsuki got the short stick yet again and dosen't appears in the covers of Melty Blood X that have only 2 volumes and featured Sion and Riesbyfe.

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya by Hiroyama Hiroshi. This special chapter is focused on Mimi, excited by the series of events she lately saw... By the way, Prisma Illya will have both a 3rd manga series and an anime version!

Fate/Extra extra chapter by Robina. The main character turns into a girl, but Saber is more than happy with this turn of events.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Fate/Zero Blu-ray Disc Box I

After a long delay in customs (over a month), finally received Fate/Zero Blu-ray Disc Box I

I pre-ordered it several months ago in, but when the payment day arrived none of my credit cards was accepted. At the end I bought it at AmiAmi, but since I bought it before the release date I didn't received the pre-order bonus (a set of posters) ;_;

The contents are the discs, sorted in two digipaks, and the booklet Fate/Zero Animation Material I.

Inside the digipaks, each disc features a serigraphy of a Servant. The discs above are the blu-rays (3 episodes each except the first disc that contains only the first -longer than usual- episode), and below are the Fate/Zero Drama Cd I and the Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack I cd discs.

Fate/Zero Drama Cd I is a 37 minutes long drama cd that narrates the events 9 years before before the anime starts, how Kiritsugu and Irisviel meet and fell in love. Is really a good piece of information that fleshes a lot both characters.

Fate/Zero Original Soundtrack I cd disc includes the excelent BGM for Fate/Zero. the disc is 24 tracks long (47 minutes) composed by Kajiura Yuki, who also did the OST for the Kara no Kyoukai movies.

Fate/Zero Animation Material I is a bunch of interviews to the main staff. The first one includes the main persons for the scenario: Urobuchi Gen (author), Aoki Ei (director) and Kondo Hikaru (producer), and after that features interviews to the people responsibles for episodes direction, key art, backgrounds, photography, music...

Random page. Key animation section interview to Sudou Tomonori and Ikariya Atsushi (character designers and key animation directors) and Shimizu Keita and Motegi Takayuki (key animation directors).

Another random page in the photography section explaining each step in production (right) and the use of 3DCG elements (left). The illustrated pages in the booklet are very scarse.

Last page includes a message from Takeuchi with a picture of Waver, Kariya, Kayneth and Ryuunosuke.

The blu-ray themselves are great, with nice sound and picture quality. There are several new scenes included, some of the dialogues were lenghtened (mostly the scenes between Kotomine and Gilgamesh) and scenes that had subpar quality were redrawn (most noticeable in the kings meeting of episode 11). Some random new scenes:

New scene in episode 3, Iri and Saber arriving to Japan and followed by a bunch of homunculus maids in the airport.

A talk between Saber and Irisviel in the castle added in episode 9.

Ryuunosuke and Caster "deeds" were censored with shadows in the TV version, but in the BD are visible. Those gore scenes are not as shocking as I expected...

Sola-Ui talking to Lancer in a roof, scene added in episode 13

The extras included are creditless opening and ending, previews and commercials in disc 1, commercials for the blu-ray box in disc 2 and the special episodes Onegai! Einzbern Soudanshitsu (Please! Einzbern Consultation Room) included in discs 3, 4 and 5.
Those 3 special episodes are about 10 minutes long Q&A sections that serves as the Tiger Dojo corner of Fate/Zero. The host are Irisviel (the "Instructor") and "Student 0", that is a young Taiga (in Tiger Dojo Taiga was the Instructor and Bloomers Illya was Student nº 1).
All the discs have both Japanese and English subtitles, but for some reason those 3 special episodes have only Japanese subtitles available.

The first special episode is used to intoduce Iri and Zecchan (Student Zero-chan) and explain the basics of Holy Grail War system.

The second special is used mostly to explain the magic world and a bit about Masters and Servants.

The 3rd special is focused in the special rules applied to Assassin class (only one of the Hassan i Sabbah can be an Assassin) and the Noble Phantasm of this time Assassin (gives multiple bodies to his multiple personalities). Zayed, one of the multiple personalities of Assassin that was killed in episode 2, appears as a guest.