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Monthly Archives: February 2011

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Review: 1/8 Kousaka Kirino

Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino-020

Ah Kousaka Kirino…if you’ve been following Hobby Hovel for a long time, then you might have seen some parts of my tumultuous relationship with this mischievous little scamp. When I first learned of the premise of Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, or Oreimo for short), I could not help but to roll my eyes: “A closet imouto otaku that also happens to be a fashion model, an honor student, a track athlete, and a feisty tsundere younger sister character at the same time? Really?” But when I saw the first promo photos of this figure of her by Kotobukiya months ago, I could not help but to put away at least some of my prejudice, because I’ can’t help but to love bright-coloured, energetic figures like this.

When the TV anime began to air, I quickly warmed up to Kirino as a character. As contrived as the story’s premise may feel, Kirino’s underlying struggle to seek out others who share her socially stigmatized hobby is something that really resonated with me. Collecting figures and watching anime make me happy, but they are the sort of hobbies that are easily misunderstood and dismissed. At the time Oreimo was airing, I had just begun to attend meetings of my campus anime club, and thus I understood Kirino’s difficulty in throwing the hidden side of her life in front of a bunch of complete strangers. And when she finally finds success, I found myself genuinely happy for her.

But as the series progressed onwards, Kirino quickly became a serious test to my patience and tolerance. Her bratty antics were borderline unbearable, especially considering the extent to which her brother Kyousuke goes to help her. The author and director seem completely conscious of Kirino’s uncanny ability to induce rage, and they seemed to be using it to manipulate the audience. As my mouth foamed with frustration and anger, the side characters (such as Kuroneko and Manami) began to seem better than they actually are. I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems that this rage-manipulation tactic worked in the end, because by the end of the last broadcast episode, I was earnestly happy to see the announcement for the second season.

Oh Kirino, can I truly say that I hate you? No matter how great the side character may be, you are still the festering heart of the series! Yet why do I look forward to the sequel, and why am I sitting here, writing a review of a plastic figure made in your image? Why couldn’t I cancel the pre-order months ago when your shrieking voice was banging against my tattered nerves like a battering ram? I may never truly understand the method behind my madness, but I do know that I don’t regret not cancelling this figure. The Kotobukiya Kousaka Kirino is not perfect, and I am especially disappointed with one of its flaws, but in the end, she’s still a figure I’d recommend to most Oreimo fan out there. Read more »

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Review: Souryuu Asuka Langley (Fruits Punch ver.)

Well, the clouds are in the sky and I’m stuck with a flu miserably inside…Sounds like the perfect time to write a review! Just have to add it to the pile of figures sitting around waiting for photos… *sigh*

I think I try to be a well rounded collector. I’ve bought every type of figure from hand-painted resin garage kits to vinyl figures. There are, however, still a few types of figures that I still didn’t own at any of and prize figures would be one of those few.

Because of my general lack of space, I tend to steer clear of prize figures because of their relatively low quality, but as I said, I like to try a little of everything, so lets see what 20 bucks can buy these days, shall we?

Testing

“STRAWBERRIES!!! Haha yea I went kinda crazy this time…”

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Figure Highlights: WonFes 2011 Winter!

Chag: Yippie ki-yay, it’s that time of year again – the time when figure makers blow their plastic load all over the Makuhari Messe convention centre! Like a crowd of hobos outside the windows of a buffet restaurant, figures fans all over the world have been gazing and salivating at the plastic treasures on display. The crush of new figures is too much for two geeks to handle by themselves, but here’s our reactions to a bunch of figures that has, for one reason or another, caught our attention!

(Photo credits belong to Hobby Stock, Tomopop, アキバHOBBY)

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Review: Figma Metis

figma Metis-035

When I think anime/manga geeks (like myself), I often associate them with JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Disgea. But despite my fascination with them “big-eyed cartoons”, I’m actually not a huge fan of the JRPG genre. Persona 3 & 4 differed from other JRPGs in the amount of control the player has over the progression of the story. Sure, there is a main plot that you have no choice but to follow, but a considerable bulk of the game centers on its social sim element – that is, building relationships with people about the school and town. Here the player is given the freedom to interact (or ignore) characters of his choosing, which goes a long way in enriching the role-playing element of a role-playing game. Because of these choices, I felt much more involved in the game’s plot than, say, when I was playing a Final Fantasy game.

Sadly, the turn based, menu-scrolling combat of Persona 3 soon became a chore to me. It’s not a painful chore by any stretch of the imagination, but it was an obstacle between the game’s story and I. Given my distaste for dungeon crawling, you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that “The Answer” (the segment of Persona 3: FES in which Metis appears) is almost exclusively a dungeon-crawling affair. I played for about an hour or so, and decided to put it down. Without my beloved social sim element, no amount of robo-girls could make me grind through the game.

My distaste for grinding didn’t stop me from ordering the Figma Metis, though. Initially an assailant on the SEES dormitory, Metis is soon after revealed as Aegis’ sister and joins the dorm-dwellers in their quest in finding a way to escape the temporal loop the gang is trapped in. I’m not sure what happens afterwards, but judging from the opening animation of “The Answer”, some drama eventually unfolds between the robots and the rest of the group. I should really read up on the plot of “The Answer”, but in all honesty, I don’t need to learn about the story context to indulge in my robo-girl fetish, and the Figma Metis simply spoils me rotten. Read more »