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Monthly Archives: December 2010

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Review: Real Grade RX-78-2 Gundam

Ah, the RX-78-2 Gundam, the progenitor of the sprawling mass that is the Gundam franchise. Like it or not, the parade colour scheme of the main character’s mobile suit in virtually every single entry into the Gundam franchise traces back to it. While the original design is certainly not very fancy (especially by today’s standards), its lofty status in the hearts of fans has kept it popular through the decades. Of course, with popularly comes merchandise, and the original Gundam has certainly seen its share of it. After 30 years of gunpla, there are RX-78-2 kits in every grade and every size. Even if you don’t want the trouble of building it yourself, the original Gundam can be found in each and every gundam action figure line Bandai has worked on.

“How do they do it? How are they able to keep selling the same design over and over again,” you may ask. Asides from the fanaticism of the fans, I must credit Bandai with its continued dedication to innovate and improve upon their trusty workhorse, and the culmination of these efforts is the subject of this review – the Real Grade RX-78-2 Gundam. Armed with the tagline “Excitement Embodied”, this new grade makes a bold promise to gunpla fans – and boy does it deliver. Not only does it look great, but it is an absolute joy to build as well.

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Figure Highlights: (Organizational) Disaster

Chag: We were going to have a proper introduction this time around, but Ash and I are an organizational disaster(as usual). So instead of the usual BS, I’ll speak on both of us in wish you all a super-duper holidays! See Ash, that wasn’t so hard! I’m going to make  you write the intro next time if it’s the last thing I do, mark my words!

Hope you enjoy the goofy post header, because it cracks me up every time I glance at it. Oh Mr. Choo, you are a dashing devil.

Source of header images: 1, 2, 3, 4

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Review: 1/8 Hong Meiling

Ques Q Hong Meiling-014

In many ways, the Touhou Project phenomenon is similar to the success of Vocaloid and Minecraft. In each of these cases, the users are given a blank slate of sorts. Vocaloid is just a dense piece of voice-synthesizing software, Minecraft throws players into a sandbox world with no objectives whatsoever, and Touhou presents players with a large cast of characters with virtually no background beyond their name, their title, and few meager lines of dialogue if they are lucky. But when players take up on the challenge of inscribing their creative energies onto these seemingly blank slates, things quickly got out of hand. Countless songs, illustrations and animated PVs merged from the Vocaloid camp. Mind-boggling feats of virtual construction (like the model of the earth and a 1:1 scale Starship Enterprise) began to surface in the Minecraft community. And similarly, when Touhou creator ZUN gave his audience a bunch of crudely drawn girls wearing funky costumes in a compelling game with his own homebrewed music, the situation quickly snowballed. Today, you’ll find image sites like danbooru absolutely chock-full of Touhou-related fanart, a vast discography of Touhou music remixes, a slew of doujinshi games, novels, videos of all sorts, etc, etc. In essence, the fans have taken the modest foundation provided by ZUN and strapped it to a rocket, propelling the franchise into astonishing heights.

On the chopping block this week is Ques Q’s 1/8th scale Hong Meiling, a character that began as one of ZUN unflattering scrawls. Of course, one quick glance though danbooru would reveal many of the creative liberalities taken on the original design by the legions of fan artists. This particular figure is based off of an illustration by Iwamoto James, and like all Touhou-related merchandise, it’s only sold through limited venues. But honestly, considering that this figure was purchased through Amiami, does ZUN still have any claim left to his policy of exclusivity for Touhou-related merch? Just a thought.

But back onto the character: Hong Meiling the gatekeeper to the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Lovingly dubbed as “China” by fans, she is a youkai proficient in martial arts. For reasons unknown to me, my friend Ningyo holds a borderline psychotic obsession with this character. I think it’s his life’s mission to scour the earth for all things related to the Chinese redhead. Being the devious bastard that I am, when he ordered the figure through me, I took advantage of my position as the middleman and hijacked the figure for this review. But Ningyo my man, I gotta say: this figure of your one true waifu is probably going to fall short of the lofty heights she resides in your heart.

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Figure Highlights: Window Shopping

Chag: So Ash, do you ever find yourself suddenly wanting to get a certain figure after writing one of these rants?

Ashlotte: Not really…Honestly writing these has saved me money if anything else as bantering with you has talked me out of quite a few things. Why, having second thoughts about something?

Chag: Oh yeah, we did tear apart quite a few figure in the last few months. But at the same time, there have been plenty of great figures. Writing these things forces you to look at the promo pictures with greater scrutiny. And whereas I would normally dismiss a figure due to the character, I find myself being swayed by the charms of a figure that I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if I’m either absolutely loaded or completely indiscriminate with money. But alas, enough about that, and let’s get to another round of window shopping!

Source of header images: 1, 2, 3, 4

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