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Author: Chag

Chag’s Otakon 2012 Adventure

It’s been over a year since my last convention experience at Anime North. Since then I got a job, moved out, and am feeling pretty different from the me a year ago who was slogging through his summer courses. I’ve worked quite a few weeks of overtime covering for the vacations of various co-workers and thought it was about time that I should get on this not-go-to-work action. But this time, the days off won’t be spent playing video games and jerking off — nay, it’s time to step up the game. I’ve had the idea for a few months: it involves plane tickets, a hotel room, a weirdo I know from the internet, and around thirty thousand other weirdoes that I don’t know — that’s right, it’s time for Otakon with Hamstercorp.

I gotta admit: as the end of July drew closer, I had a feeling that this event was going to be my last con. I didn’t dread the trip, as I looked forward to meeting Hamstercorp again, but I saw the con as potential closure of sorts. As I mentioned in the Anime North post, I was getting the feeling that I was getting too old for conventions, that the appeal of these events are drifting further away from myself. I saw Otakon as a last huzzah — going out with a bang at the second largest anime convention in North America, seeing it out and thus leaving no regrets. However, things didn’t quite turn out that way. What do I mean by that? Keep reading! Read more »

Otakon, prepare for disaster.

Alright bumbos, as those of you following me on the Twatters know, I’ll be attending Otakon in Baltimore from July 26-29, which is a week from now! I know there’s around 70-80 unfortunate souls subscribed to Hobby Hovel’s RSS feed, and I’m betting at least a few of you are also attending the second largest anime convention in North America. Since conventions are all about diving head-first into a sea of like-minded freaks and weirdos, I propose this question: does anyone want to meet up sometime over the weekend, possibly over lunch/dinner/anything?

Remember Otakon-goers: only you can prevent me from looking like a total loser on my own blog with whom nobody wants to hang out with. My very self-esteem hangs in the balance! Order Reply today!

One of these days I’ll realize that posting my own mug all over my creepy toy website is a bad idea. Then I’d wish I were sensible like Hamstercorp here.

Now, I know your common sense is warning you about meeting strangers from the internet, but as Hamstercorp (who will be my guide in this weekend of swirling madness) would attest, I am not a bear or a shark dressed up in a human suit, so you are relatively safe from the possibility of being mauled and/or cannibalized. So asides from emotional trauma that time cannot erase, what do you have you to lose?

Anyway, the business of meeting up aside, I’m pretty pumped about Otakon. Not only is this my first major anime convention aside from Anime North, it’s also my first time traveling solo! In any case, I’m sure this trip will yield some fun stories one way or the other. Either I’ll have a fun time, or you’ll have a fun time reading about some form of psychological scarring that I’ll detail in the inevitable blog post. Yep, even if you can’t make it COUGHAshlotteMietteExileheroCOUGH, you’ll hear all about it! Unless you don’t hear from me ever again, in which case Hamstercorp has probably sold my vital organs on the black market, and you’ll have learned to know better than to meet up with strangers on the internet…erm, I mean, hope to see you there! ;D

Review: 1/7 Soryu Asuka Langley (Plug Suit Style ver.)

Alright people, in case you don’t already know, I fuckin’ love Neon Genesis Evangelion, so much so that I don’t even know where to begin. After I first watched the VCR rips off of a friend’s collection of 13 burned CDs back in high school, I spent a couple of months lurking around on Evangleion forums and imageboards looking for answers. The series is a undoubtedly flawed, especially from a storytelling point of view, yet there’s just something so compelling about it that I willingly dug through the most obscure and bullshit retconned information in order to piece together some semblance of coherence into the plot. Of course, all of that religious symbolism and convoluted sci-fi clusterfuck is simply fluff, as what makes Evangelion an enduring classic are the characters and the beautiful ways they crash into each other.

My favourite of the cast is Soryu Asuka Langley. Her relationship with Shinji encapsulates the Hedgehog’s dilemma — the rifts between individuals  in which the pains of intimacy and isolation swirl about.  Through the course of the series, their relationship ebbs and flows. From jealousy and rivalry sprouted the seed of cooperation, trust and perhaps even attraction, yet their unfortunate circumstances ultimately drives both of them into the lowest points of their young lives. I understand why people like Rei, and I’ve always preferred her in the looks department, but to me, Asuka is a lot more integral to Evangelion‘s story, and thus she’ll always be #1.

By the way, I really don’t care for Asuka in Rebuild 2.0 — due to the reduced screen time, her character development was taken to the back shed by an axe murderer and reduced to a pile of misaligned chunks. I hated how the gradual revelation of her inner psyche was replaced by shoehorned scenes and plot developments like her retarded hand puppet and her rivalry against Rei for Shinji’s attention. Both of these could have worked if she was given more time to develop, but when she’s in a three-way deathmatch against two other female protagonists, it just came off as flat and ineffective in the eyes of this Asuka fanboy.

I had wanted a figure of Asuka for a very long time, but even though the character has received a lot of figures, there really hasn’t been a PVC scaled figure that I really liked. They’re either hilariously out-of-character, ridiculously overpriced, and/or of underwhelming quality. I thought the Rebuild films would usher in a new wave of Asuka figures, but much to my irritation, most of the attention has been diverted to the shiny new test plug suit. Both Alter and Max Factory decided to go down that route, leaving me with a serious case of figure blue balls.

When I first saw the Plug Suit Style version of Asuka from Kotobukiya, I was a little disappointed. I really liked the Plug Suit Style Rei, which does a very good job at capturing the character’s distant air. On the other hand, the sight of Asuka smiling sweetly on the ground seems a lot less fitting. Asuka does have a mischievous side, sure, but it’s melancholic and determined sides of her personality that makes her special to me. As I was hurting for money at the time, I skipped on the pre-order.

Fast-forward to a year later: Hamstercorp decided to buy something off Timelords, and since he was going to visit my place in May, he asked me if I wanted anything to combine shipping. A quick scroll through their inventory revealed a “second-hand” Plug Suit Style Asuka for ¥3,000 and I thought to myself “meh, why not?” It was a textbook impulse buy, and I have to admit that I did not have as much anticipation for her arrival as most other purchases. Does this mean I regret getting her? Read on! Read more »

Review: 1/7 Selvaria Bles (Swimsuit ver.)

Let me tell you about my favourite video game. Once upon a time there was a game called Valkyria Chronicles, a strategic RPG from Sega that featured a unique mix of turn-based and real-time action, an appealing storybook aesthetic, an amazing WWII-meets-medieval art design, and a riveting story that took me on a variety of missions, from small skirmishes, to fighting in the trenches, to avoiding night-time patrols, to fending off some of the most oversized pieces of war machinery you’ll ever see. Part of me want sequels to the game, yet another part of me is grateful for that fact that none exist — I mean, imagine if the franchise ended up on the PSP! Gee, what a nightmare that would be!

My favourite character is definitely Selvaria, one of the antagonists of the story. In many ways she is akin to the Ayanami Rei from Evangelion — they both have blue hair, red eyes and pale skin. In fact, Selvaria was supposed to have virtually the same haircut as Rei before it was decided that she had to have long hair to show off the hair physics in some of the scenes. The similarity between these characters extend even down to their personalities, as they are both “empty vessel” characters who are devoted to an exploitative figure because they are the only people they have. For Rei it was Gendo, and for Selvaria it was Maximillian, the power-hungry Imperial prince with way too many toys at his disposal.

The art design in Valkyria Chronicles is outstanding, and like the rest of the main characters, Selvaria has a really cool outfit — a sleek black military outfit that brings out her womanly curves and her no-nonsense sensibility simultaneously. Alter has made a figure with her in that outfit, and sadly I missed the boat for it. Luckily for me, Alter decided to take another stab at the character, I wasn’t about to pass it up.

I know quite a few people who have been excited about this figure, and I’m sure they have their own explanations on why Selvaria appeals to them, but to me, the reason is that she’s maximum woman. Virtually all of the feminine characteristics have been cranked up to 11, and while this might have been a disaster, character designer Raita has the know-how to make it work, and by extension, Alter was also able make such an exaggerated image so appealing. Read more »

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