Tamaki Kousaka from To Heart 2 (Kaitendoh Black Lingerie Version) (NSFW)

Kaitendoh Tamaki Kousaka Review

This post has boobs. And nakedness. And other stuff. Turn back now before the lily-white purity of your everlasting soul is forever tainted. By the breastageses.
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Random Thoughts III

This figure of a disheveled maid in a state of profound distress (and undress) has gone up for preorder recently, and I’m contemplating putting an order in for her. The problem is that she’s currently only available from Native’s website, and that means I’d have to go through a deputy service. In my experience, the markup for doing so is usually around 50%, so at 8000 yen, I’m looking at a final price of around $120. That’s a lot of scratch to drop on a 1/7 scale figure. On the other hand, money comes and goes and comes again but opportunities to get a figure like this are ephemeral indeed.

That said, if I do order her, I’m going to feel rather foolish if she gets a domestic release like Kotone Osaka (NSFW link).

Everyone’s seen pictures of Shoujo M already but in case anybody missed her, more pictures are up on AkihaHobby and Moeyo. Needless to say, both links are NSFW.

A bunch of reviews of Good Smile Company’s 1/4 scale Nanoha went up recently and I really like that figure, and since I like Fate better (with respect to character design, as I haven’t seen the anime), I was looking forward to seeing Nanoha’s counterpart. This image was the first picture I saw of GSC’s 1/4 scale Fate, and something didn’t look quite right with her. I once saw pictures of a strange form of cosplay, where people not only dressed up as anime characters but put on masks so that their faces looked like anime faces. There’s a Japanese term for this practice but I don’t recall what it is. Anyway, that’s what this Fate figure sort of reminded me of; she looks like a female bodybuilder wearing an anime cosplay mask. Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t really there but my enthusiasm for this figure has dampened.

For someone who spends so much money on anime-related merchandise, I don’t actually watch a great deal of anime. The last series that I viewed in full was Beck, which curiously could lay claim to having both the best half-season and the worst half-season of any anime series I’ve watched, and the only show I’ve followed this year is Sora Kake Girl. I started watching Ga-rei Zero the other day and it’s a fun show so far. The first two episodes were rife with dramatic combat and the wanton spilling of blood and the third and fourth episodes spin the show’s direction into a much more lighthearted study of how the two main characters grew up together. I’m guessing that the show wasn’t super popular, judging by the lack of merchandising. More the shame, that.

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Meiya Mitsurugi from Muv-Luv Unlimited (Good Smile Company Version)

Meiya Mitsurugi Review

Two weeks left in the month and I have little indication that my June preorders are actually going to ship in June, so it’s back to the backlog again. This time we’ll look at Meiya Mitsurugi, a character I know nothing about from Muv-Luv Alternative, a series I know nothing about. Wikipedia – the indisputably definitive source of information for all things in this galaxy – tells me that Muv-Luv is linked to the better-known game and anime Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. How one takes a series from a standard contemporary Japanese school-based love comedy to a science fiction drama starring young girls in impossibly tight combat suits battling against alien hordes is beyond me.
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Sacred 2 Impressions

I’ve been enjoying Sacred 2 on the Xbox 360 for the last couple of weeks. It’s a fast-paced, hack and slash game in the mode of Diablo and Phantasy Star Online. There are six character classes to choose from, and as I prefer to play as balanced, hybrid types, I picked a seraphim to start.

One of the coolest and least intuitive aspects of Sacred 2 is the character progression. Statistical progression is separated into three groups: attributes, skills, and combat arts. Attributes are things like strength, dexterity, and vitality, and aren’t any different than what you have encountered in numerous other RPGs. Skills are passive modifiers that enhance your character’s combat ability – for example, Concentration reduces the cooldown time on your special abilities (among other things). Combat arts are your character’s specific special attacks, spells, and buffs.

This progression system gives a wide latitude to the player with regard to how his or her character is developed. I’m currently playing as a dual-wielding, melee character, but if I wanted to play as a spell-flinging caster seraphim, I could have done that, and if I wanted to be a gat-blasting angel, I could have done that as well. For that matter, I could combine all of those into one sword-swinging, spell-flinging, gat-packing character. It’s up to the player whether he or she wants to roll with a character who is very proficient in a narrow combat speciality or a character who is very versatile but is somewhat weaker due to a lack of specialization.

Unfortunately, this system is very poorly explained in the manual and game, and it’s likely that new players are going to screw up their first character before figuring out how everything works. Admittedly, Sacred 2 isn’t unique in this respect, as I restarted my characters in both Diablo II and Phantasy Star Online several times before I felt comfortable with the stat systems in those games, and the game is forgiving enough that even a suboptimal character can do okay, at least at the lower intermediate difficulty level.

The controls are very comfortable on the console, which is surprising given the game’s PC origins. Combat arts are mapped to the face buttons, and the shoulder triggers are used in conjuction with the buttons to give the player access to twelve combat arts in total. The left bumper picks up all items within a short radius of the player. One aspect where the controller doesn’t work so well is for targetable abilities; you have to move a cursor on the screen to where you want the ability to be used, which is rather awkward, particularly when you’re being pelted by a dozen monsters.

Thus far I really like the game, and I’d encourage fans of hack and slash games to give it a try. The world is huge and beautiful, the action moves quickly, and it’s a lot of fun planning out your character.

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Metatron from Demonbane (Volks Version) (NSFW)

Volks Metatron Review

Having acquired Alter’s Metatron and liking it very much, I look for more. I find that Volks has made another Metatron figure, and after it passes the eyeball approval test I quickly point my web browser to Shopping Mall Japan. As I log myself in, an unwelcome voice speaks in my mind …
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Salma from Soul of the Ultimate Nation

E2046 ORI Salma Review

Yet another figure from E2046’s ORI lineup, Salma’s character design hails from a Korean MMORPG called Soul of the Ultimate Nation. It seems that SUN has achieved some traction in Asia but it’s virtually unknown in the United States, and given the dominating position of World of Warcraft in the American market, I doubt that a localization will achieve much success.

But here, we’re more concerned with the game’s character designs. As is typical with E2046’s figures, Salma is sculpted in a solid 1/6 scale and comes with a plain oval black base.
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Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion (Creator’s Labo Version)

Yamato Rei Ayanami Review

Back to the backlog! This week has been filled with Kanu reviews and here we have another popular subject for figure manufacturers, Rei Ayanami, perhaps the superstar of the figure world. Rei’s legacy is as enduring and persisent as Brett Favre, and with at least two more figures up for preorder on Hobby Search as of the time of this writing, she is not going to go away anytime soon. This particular figure, set in 1/7 scale from Yamato, is inspired from a Shunya Yamashita drawing, and it’s been out for a while. I think I got this particular figure around a year ago, and a resin kit version has been around for even longer than that.
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Kanu Uncho from Ikki Tousen (Daiki Kougyo Black Miko Version)

Daiki Kougyo Miko Kanu Uncho Review

And the final entry in this week’s Kanu Uncho love affair is here, and nobody can claim that the best wasn’t saved for last. I hesitated to buy this figure simply because of the astronomical price but hey, money is replaceable but sold out is sold out, right? Rather than endure the inevitable mental flagellation that I’d inflict upon my cheapskate self if I let this opportunity slide by, I threw common sense to the wind and picked her up, and now that she’s here all I can really say is daaaayum.
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Kanu Uncho from Ikki Tousen (Griffon Blue Dragon Sword Version)

Griffon Kanu Uncho Review

The Kanu Uncho love parade continues on. This was one of Griffon’s first figures I think, and I believe it was the first of their many Kanu offerings. Again, Griffon claims that she is in 1/6 scale and again they’re wrong, as she’s smaller than that. I forget exactly when I acquired this particular Kanu, but I’ve had her for several years now.
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Kanu Uncho from Ikki Tousen (Yamato SIF EX Version)

Yamato Kanu Uncho Review

The first computer I ever used was an Apple II+ clone. By today’s standards, it is prehistoric in performance, with a 1 MHz clock speed and 48 KB of system memory. The particular computer I had featured two full-height 5.25″ disk drives which emitted a particularly loud series of clicks when in operation (I found the noise peculiarly soothing). Its built-in BASIC interpreter was amusing, and I spent many hours playing games like The Bard’s Tale and Wasteland, but otherwise it wasn’t a very useful computer. Certainly it gave me no idea of what computers would allow people to do twenty years later. However, I loved that ancient machine. You remember first things fondly, and sentimentality always cloaks their limitations, deficiencies, and flaws.

Like my old computer, I think this Kanu Uncho figure is great, not because it’s a beautiful figure (it’s definitely not), but because it’s the first one I owned.
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