Dakimakura Review – Black Rock Shooter (NSFW)

Black Rock Shooter Dakimakura Dakimakura Review

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you, without a brand new dakimakura review. I’ve had a couple that have been paid in full for months but I didn’t get them until just a few days ago, no thanks to Japan Post and the US Department of Homeland Security. But that’s all in the past now and brighter and happier days are ahead. Has it really been seven months since my last dakimakura cover review? Why, yes, yes it has. New year, new pillowcase, let’s kick off 2011 the right way.
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My Five Favorite Figures of 2010 & Year-End Thoughts

It’s the end of the year and in accordance with tradition, it is time for a list of my favorite figures of 2010. As with last year, this list only includes mass-produced PVC figures.
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Asuka Langley Shikinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion (Test Plugsuit Version)

Alter Asuka Langley Shikinami from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

Alter released their second Rei Ayanami figure back in 2008. Collectors waited for an Asuka counterpart but none was forthcoming. That was strange because when you have Rei, you have to have Asuka too. They need each other, like Mario and Luigi, peanut butter and jelly, Asians and rice, schoolgirls and tentacles. Time passed and Alter’s Rei faded from memory until they finally got around to making a movie version of Asuka. And yet, it doesn’t really feel like a counterpart to me. She’s stylistically dissimilar from Rei – she’s got a perch of stone and twisted metal rather than just a flat black plate to recline on, and from observing her, it’s easy to discern how Alter’s production quality has improved since Rei’s release.
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Preorder Outlook VIII

It’s been a while since the last one so it’s a good time for me to collect my thoughts on some figures that I’ve either already ordered or am thinking of ordering. 2011 is looking like an excellent year for figures, and there are a few in this post that have already shot to the top of my wishlist. The pictures here are from Hobby Search, as always my favorite place to buy figures from. I don’t have any advertising on this site and I probably never will, but if I did, I’d roll with Hobby Search. Speaking of Hobby Search, they did send me my Black Rock Shooter stickers – for free, even including EMS shipping – but I haven’t gotten around to slapping one on her butt yet; when I do, I’ll get pictures up here right away.
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Kagari from Ninja Girls

Embrace-Japan Kagari from Ninja Girls Figure Review

Back in the day, it was all too common for US anime and video game companies to westernize Japanese titles to make them more commercially viable. Mazinger Z became Tranzor Z, Space Battleship Yamato became Star Blazers, and a whole bunch of titles were rolled into Robotech. My personal favorite title change is Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, which translates to “The Eternity You Desire” but was localized as the much less poetic and much more hilarious “Rumbling Hearts.” The first time I saw the new title, I thought it referred to a wrestling anime. Thankfully, with anime becoming more acceptable, if not mainstream, title and content changes have become much less frequent. However, Del Rey Manga reminds us of history by bringing us Hosana Tanaka’s series Rappi Rangai as “Ninja Girls.” Seriously, that’s the best title they could think of? One of the “girls” isn’t even a girl so what the hell?
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The Ideas That Didn’t Work

When I started doing figure photographs, I stuck with plain-colored backgrounds: first a hideous blue curtain and then a lot of black and white. I got pretty bored of doing that so now I try to do weird stuff. However, being that I’m not a very experienced photographer, a lot of my ideas don’t turn out very well. Some of them are salvageable with some modifications or liberal Photoshopping, some of them require some re-thinking before becoming viable, and some of them are just so bad that I look back at them and wonder what in the world I was thinking in the first place. They say that there’s no teacher like failure, so this post is a tribute to the value of education.
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Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion (Creator’s Labo Version)

Yamato Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion Figure Review

For years it’s seemed like Rei Ayanami was the it-girl of the Evangelion franchise, particularly when it comes to figures, and Asuka has been a bit overshadowed in comparison. Alter never bothered following up their movie Rei figure with an Asuka, and Mari has gotten a lot of love in recent times. Yamato also did not look like they were going to follow up their own Creator’s Labo Rei figure, leading E2046 to roll out their own version as part of their ORI line. However, there’s been something of a resurgence in Asuka’s popularity – at least in figure form – as Kotobukiya and Alter announced versions of her in her test suit and Yamato finally decided to give their grown-up Rei a counterpart. It’s a good time to be an Asuka fan, though this Asuka is a bit different than the usual redheaded fireball we are accustomed to.
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Buddy from Voices from Har Megiddo

Alter Buddy from Voices from Har Megiddo Figure Review

‘Tis the season to be thankful and hopeful here in the United States, and I’ve had a lot to be thankful for in my life. Some of the things that I’m thankful for are my figures and dolls – which are the entire reason this website exists, my camera equipment that gives this site its content, gaffer’s tape – an absolutely vital aid to my photo shoots, hip hop, tentacle porn, Wikipedia, and Fate Testarossa’s thong – sadly ignored these days. The things I’m hopeful for are that Irma and Subaru get figures, that Good Smile Company doesn’t screw up Rin and Saber Alter next year, that the Lakers’s team plane explodes in mid-flight, and that this ridiculous postal embargo blows over. I was also very hopeful that Alter’s Buddy figure would turn out well, as she was one of the figures I was looking most forward to. Now that she’s here, I have another thing to be thankful for.
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WTF Shopping Mall Japan?

So I get an invoice from Shopping Mall Japan and I see that it’s for a promotional pamphlet for a video game that I purchased for 400 yen off of Yahoo Japan Auctions. Then I see the total is $84.35. For a 400 yen item. SMJ uses a conservative exchange rate of 79 yen to a dollar, so 400 yen equals $5.06, and the other fees add up to about $14. And yet I’m getting charged $84.35. What the hell?

(Edit: Never mind, the total listed on my user page displays the correct total. I’m still waiting for an explanation from SMJ as to why the two values are so disparate [or why they are different at all]. I think I’m going to be checking my invoice totals by hand from now on rather than automatically going to Paypal to pay my bills.)

(October 2012 edit: People occasionally find this post while googling for “Shopping Mall Japan.” In fairness, aside from this issue [which was quickly rectified], I haven’t had any problems with SMJ and I’d recommend them if you are looking for a reliable proxy service. They may also have since implemented an automated billing system that might prevent this sort of human error from occurring.)

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Black Rock Shooter (Animation Version)

Good Smile Company Black Rock Shooter Figure Review

Some things are just completely review-proof and there’s no real reason to spend any time critiquing them. Harry Potter books and Transformers films fall into this category, and of course, so do any of Good Smile Company’s Black Rock Shooter figures. GSC is gonna make them, people are gonna buy them, and you know what you’re going to get, so we may as well spend our time talking about other things. So let’s begin: have you noticed that not many figure review sites are updating anymore? Or have you noticed that there are a helluva lot of figure news websites these days? I’ll often look at the link feed on Tsuki-board and see the same promo pictures over and over as a half dozen or more sites post the same news. Over and over. Weird. Oh, and have you noticed that Hobby Search only has their Japanese site up? Maybe they’re planning on shutting down international sales! Wait, it’s back up? Never mind then, let’s talk about this figure instead.
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