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Author: Chag

Review: MG Hi-Nu Gundam

Master Grade Hi-Nu Gundam-18

Suprise — a Gundam review! Bet you weren’t expect that, huh?  It’s a little depressing to realize that it’s been a year and a half since I’ve done one of these. But unlike the hiatus I took in figure collecting, there’s a bit more to why the plamo section of Hobby Hovel has been neglected for so long.

In short, I’m a little burnt out on Gundam. From its conception, the Gundam franchise has been somewhat of a glorified toy commercial. Director Tomino Yoshiyuki broke the conventions of the late 1970s with the original Mobile Suit Gundam, but after 30 years, Gundam has become a convention if of itself, along a long list of tropes that are continually recycled to this day.

For me, the straw that broke the camel’s back was episode 5 of Gundam Unicorn, which continues to sideline quality storytelling in favour of echoing as many tropes as possible. There’s even a Lalah clone, right down to her physical appearance. The OVA has started to feel like a snotty little rich kid living big on his grandfather’s fortune — everything about it seems to be a thin slice of something great long ago. Once again, I find my expectations butting heads with reality.

I like Gundam, and the adventures of the White Base and its crew will stay with me forever (not to mention the exploits of Bernie, Shiro, and hell, even Domon). Yet for the sake of the franchise, there is a desperate need for innovation and risk-taking. I’d much rather have oddballs like Turn-A Gundam and G Gundam as opposed to the same story of about the space colony boy stumbling into the cockpit of cutting-edge military hardware.

By now you’re probably asking “if you’re so worn out on Gundam, why’d you buy another kit?” Well, I didn’t — this bad boy is actually a freebie from HobbyLink Japan for a little article I wrote for them (which will be up on in a few days). Whatever feelings I may have towards the Gundam franchise, building models is as fun as it has always been, especially when it’s one of the big daddies of early universal century mobile suits. Read more »

Review: 1/6 Aegis (ART WORKS ver.)

As some of you might know, I have something called the “one figure rule”. Since there are so many characters and series that I like, I’ve always thought that it’d be a waste to have multiple figures of a single character. So far Saber and Miku have skirted around the rule due to the drastically different appearances and costumes of each version I own, but I had thought that after getting the figma Aegis I would be done with the character.

To be honest, I have felt some tinges of regret over selling Alter’s first Aegis figure to make room for the figma. Though the figma is a is a lot closer to the character sprites in the game, it just feels a little…insubstantial.

Since I reviewed the figma, Aegis has been the subject of many more figures — so much so that fans of Persona 3 and 4 have been frustrated. While some of the Persona 4 girls have finally started to get some love, there hasn’t been a single figure of any of the human Persona 3 girls in the last three years, while no less than eight  figures of Aegis have been announced. But though I completely understand how frustrating this might be diehard fans, there’s a reason why Aegis has been such a favourite.

Simply put, Aegis is a smoking hot bucket of bolts (and I don’t mean her Ortega Mode), and Alter’s second take on the character, dubbed “ART WORKS ver.” after the name of Soejima Shigenori’s  artbook from which the source illustration came from, demonstrates this point brilliantly by taking my “one figure rule” and throwing it into a pit of fire. Read more »

“Review”: 1/8 Rizfis Luttiva Mente

The figure is far from relevant today, the post is hardly a proper review, and there won’t even be any neat photos — hell, it’s not going to be much of anything. If anything, what you’re reading now is a filler post that you might see more of in the future. This time, I’m going to talk about Good Smile Company’s Rizfis Luttiva Mente (Rize), released back in 2008 as a part of the Shuraki series.

Shuraki was a collaboration between Red Entertainment and GSC, probably inspired by Hobby Japan and MegaHouse’s Queen’s Blade series, which also had an emphasis on the violence against female clothing. Each Shuraki figure came with an alternate “battle-damaged” outfit, a illustration book introducing the character and her backstory, and a drama CD starring some solid voice talent.

There has also been five Shuraki light novel books and 1 volume of manga released, according to MFC. I don’t know exactly how well the franchise did, but given there hasn’t been another Shuraki figure in over four years, I assume it didn’t take off as well as GSC and Red Entertainment turned out, despite the talent recruited for it.

Back then I had only started to get into the figure collecting hobby, so I was nowhere as picky as I am now. My eyes sparked as Danny Choo’s blog showed me all manners of plastic boobs and butts, and everywhere I looked, there were things I wanted to throw my PayPal money at. The fact that I don’t know anything about the character didn’t matter — all it took were some pretty looks and a cheap price to move my hand. Such was the reasoning that gave birth to much frustration. Read more »

Review: 1/10 Beach Queens Saber Extra

Saber, Saber, Saber — even eight years after she was introduced to the world, the figure-collecting community is still driven by a never-ending hunger for anything with a big blonde hair bun. I would know, since this is the sixth Saber figure I’ve reviewed here on Hobby Hovel. However, this is not quite the guilt-burdened King of the Britons that we all know, but rather a curious look-alike from the PSP game Fate/Extra.

I didn’t like Fate/Extra — in fact, I think it has the worst combat system of any video game I’ve ever played. It’s literally rock-paper-scissors, and one’s success in fighting monsters boils down to memorizing the order in which the opposing monster will throw their selection of the three attacks. It’s completely dull, unintuitive, and should you take a break from the game like I did, have fun re-memorizing all of the patterns, because going in blind will get you thrown back to a distant save point.

It’s a shame, really, because Fate/Extra has a great cast of characters. With servants like Robin Hood, Sir Francis Drake (who apparently has a pair of great tits), and Vlad the Impaler, The backstories of the servants alone were  almost compelling enough to keep me going…almost.

As for Saber in Fate/Extra, she’s is in no ways related to the Saber in Fate/Stay Night, despite what her appearance might suggest. Her identity is the Roman Emperor Nero, thus there is no reason for her to look almost identical to vanilla Saber, and the game can be fairly accused of tastelessly mooching off of the original game’s imagery.

But appearances aside, Saber Extra comfortably sets herself apart. Confident, arrogant, frivolous and hot-tempered, this red Saber’s personality seems to have taken a page from Gilgamesh. Yet even though she sometimes looks down upon her Master, she has a great sense of loyalty and would lash back at those who would insult her Master.

Since I never finished the game, I don’t actually know Saber Extra’s character all that well. Looking back, this figure was a blatant impulse buy. Wave’s Beach Queens have been around for quite a while, and even though Ashlotte has warned me of what is to be expected out of their 1/10 scale figures, I thought I would give it a try anyway.

…I should have listened to him. Read more »

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