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Magazine Review: Megami vol. 90

When we reviewed Comp Heroines vol. 6 a few days ago I came away with the hope that Megami would field a more solid offering this month by comparison, and boy did they pull through. This is the magazine’s 90th issue, and it’s a great example of why it’s had such staying power through the years against rivals such as Dengeki Animaga and now Comp H’s; the latter is going to have to get its act together if it wants to be more than a Kadokawa / Kyoani shill and really compete against Megami on its good months, like this one. The usual batch of pictures below:

[ERO] Figure News: Yamato’s Cerberus Project sculpted, Yamashita Shunya designed guitar girl Arisa PVC confirmed as castoffable

Moeyo! Akibajin Blog has a sample review up today of the Creator’s Labo CL #014 Arisa PVC figure from Yamato that we’ve been following since the end of July, and it brings good tidings: her top has been crafted as a clean castoff. Leave it to Moeyo to be a tease with the censored shots as usual, but this confirmation hopefully means they’ll be paying attention to the appropriate details beneath her shirt. In other Arisa news, Yamato has a page up on their official site detailing her production with some nice Yamashita-illustrated details and close up shots of the kit. This release just keeps looking better and better… :3 You can support HD by preordering her at Play Asia or J-List. (no more)

Figure News: Kaiyodo’s Revoltech Danboo (Danboard) action figure from Yotsubato! up for preorder

On the heels of the Revoltech Yotsuba release two days ago, Amiami brought word yesterday that Kaiyodo’s Revoltech Danboo action figure (romanized as “Danboard” on the official packaging) is now up for preorder! It’s scheduled for release on December 1st at 2,205 yen retail, and comes complete with battery powered light-up eyes and an exchangeable Miura-chan head. If you haven’t read the manga you’ll have no idea what this is, but rest assured that DANBOARD can compete in terms of awe inspiring power with any other robot in Revoltech’s lineup thus far. I’m somewhat tempted by this, if only as a surrogate for my own desires to dress up in cardboard boxes and clomp about town… (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: Chara-Ani Suzumiya Akane (Akane Matsuri ver.) PVC from Akane Maniax up for preorder

Yesterday evening character goods shop Chara-Ani posted a listing for a rather risque Akane PVC figure from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien spinoff game/OVA Akane Maniax. This “Akane Matsuri” figure will street in late January of ’08, at 1/7 scale (23 cm tall) and a whopping 8,190 yen retail. Sculpting duty is from Ishizuka Gen of Mottara Kezuru. While I’m a fan of Akane Maniax (mostly of Gouda, to be honest), Akane’s matsuri design is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen in anime and I wish they’d have used the resources for this kit in a less Mardi Gras design. Still, those desirous of such an item can look for her preorder to appear elsewhere shortly. (no more)

[ERO] Figure Review: Konami’s Yoko PVC from Gurren Lagann

Hype for Gurren Lagann was high back in May when this Yoko figure was announced, and given my enthusiasm for the show I made the rather foolhardy decision to preorder her sight unseen. Luckily when the first images of the kit emerged my decision seemed vindicated, and it was just icing on the cake to learn earlier this week that her top was castoffable. Yoko’s popularity and the castoff gimmick notwithstanding, now that the show is over how does Konami’s craftsmanship hold up to scrutiny? Not too badly at all, in my estimation – but not particularly amazingly either.

Figure News: Evangelion’s Katsuragi Misato coming in PVC from Kotobukiya

Great news today for the legions of Misato fans out there (and for those of us sick and tired of endless parades of Rei and Asuka): Kotobukiya has announced on their official blog that a PVC of Misato is currently in production! No details regarding price or release date are yet forthcoming, but given that they’re only showing us an unpainted resin prototype we may end up seeing her street around the time the next Eva movie hits theaters. (no more)

Protoculture News: high school student attacks classmate with knife; the third Nice Boat?

Via Moon Phase: Yahoo! News is reporting that at 7:50 am this morning a 15 year old student at a private high school in Kagawa Prefecture attacked a classmate with a 16.5 cm wide-bladed knife in the course of a fight between the two boys. Both were lightly injured in the fight, with the police stating that the blow sustained by the knife victim was likely dealt by the blunt edge of the blade. The knife wielder is being held by the prefectural police as an assault suspect. Moon Phase speculates that this is yet another copycat crime, the third in a recent spate of assaults with bladed weapons that have been tied by the media to School Days and Higurashi; we’ll be watching for more details in this particular case as they emerge. (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: Atelier Sai’s Silfietta PVC from Meishoku no Reiki up for preorder (redux)

Amiami made a rare morning update today to post a preorder for Atelier Sai‘s [ERO] Silfietta PVC figure from Eushully’s Meishoku no Reiki eroge. She went up for preorder on Atelier Sai’s official site almost two weeks ago, but Amiami’s listing marks the beginning of her general availability via the broader array of online shops; as reported earlier her top is castoffable, and she’ll be retailing at 1/6 scale (25 cm tall) and 8,400 yen come December. Amiami matched the official Atelier Sai preorder discount of 20%, so here’s hoping other online shops will as well… (no more)

New Site Poll: do you intend to watch the final episode of School Days?

The final episode of the School Days TV anime was shown on satellite/cable channel AT-X last night, and by all accounts it surpassed even the most extreme predictions for how the show would end. Viewers are commenting that the pull from TV following the recent murder seems justified in the light of its grotesque and emotionally disturbing content, and many are surprised the episode was even considered for terrestrial broadcast in the first place. Moon Phase considers it an instant legend, and the general opinion is that it marks a milestone in Japanese animation, for good or for ill. The question then is: will you watch it (or have you already)? The screen shots and episode synopsis are enough for me, personally… (no more)

Protoculture News: Patrick Macias on “Akihabara’s Awful Truths”

Japan subculture guru Patrick Macias published an article in the Thursday, September 27th issue of the Japan Times newspaper dubbed Akihabara’s Awful Truths in which he discusses the increased commodification of the otaku experience in the district. He cites a trend toward commercial gentrification following the Densha Otoko boom, spurred on by increased traffic flow from the newly opened Tsukuba Express line, the opening of the Yodobashi Akiba megastore, and NTT’s increased corporate presence all as factors working to drive otaku from their dark corners and replace them with yuppies, tourists, and maids. We’ve covered various aspects of this phenomenon over the past few years, but Macias’s article is a great read that summarizes many of them. Highly recommended. (no more)

Site News: WordPress 2.3 upgrade

We’ve just upgraded HD to version 2.3 of the Wordpress blogging software, and as a result some site features are temporarily down (site search and polls the most visible of these). We’re working to get everything compatible with the new version, but in the meantime if you spot something amiss please let us know! Edit: I’ll bump this as an FYI until most parts of the site are fixed. Should be soon…

Figure Review: Kaiyodo’s Yotsuba Revoltech action figure from Yotsubato!

Yotsuba is the vivacious, green-haired heroine of Azuma Kiyohiko’s Yotsubato! manga (dubbed Yotsuba&! in its English edition). With very few exceptions the author has refused to condone derivative products based on his designs, until now; his production team has formed a very deliberate aesthetic around the franchise, and they no doubt wanted to be sure any figure version would stay true to that vision. They seem to believe Kaiyodo is the company that can deliver with a standard of quality in their Revoltech action figure line to match, and with Enoki Tomohide on sculpting duty there was little doubt this would be a solid item. But is Yotsuba: THE ACTION FIGURE fun? You damn well better believe it. :D

Magazine Review: Comp Heroines vol. 6

Volume six of the bimonthly Comptiq supplementary bishoujo poster magazine is here! Once again it’s heavy on the Lucky Star (not surprising coming from a Kadokawa publication); there’s also plenty of poster material from other (mostly summer) shows, and a couple of nice extras.

Protoculture News: Ayanami Rei on the cover of Rolling Stone

A bit late on this one, but as I was browsing at Melon Books after taking care of visa business in Takasaki today I noticed that they had the September 2007 issue of Rolling Stone magazine (Japan edition) on their magazine rack. It was plain to see why; along with an Al Gore interview (“ROCK MEETS ECO”) the new Evangelion movie was featured prominently in the issue. Rei with the world floating above her hand was probably meant to evoke the synthesis of the ecological theme with that of the Eva movie, but intentionally or not I’d say it serves the far more effective purpose of symbolizing the global hegemony Gainax is plotting to achieve via the Eva franchise (and Rei in particular). A full image of the magazine cover is below:

Figure News: odds and ends

Yamato’s recently released Kunugi Ayano PVC from Pia Carrot he Youkoso G.O. is [ERO] castoffable, [ERO] Daiki Kougyou’s Shokunyuu 2 Sanae‘s pliant bosoms are incredibly malleable, a rather underwhelming Subaru PVC from Nanoha StrikerS is now up for preorder from Movic, a red jacket + tan lines Tecmo shop limited version of Orchid Seed’s Super Black Jack Rio PVC is up for preorder, new pictures are up at Amiami for Daiki Kougyou’s Kenshi-san PVC, Hobby Channel scoops their Hobby Japan limited edition Jingai Makyou Didii PVC complete with [ERO] shots. (no more)

Figure News: Goodsmile presents Comic Gum Figure Collection Sonsaku Hakufu (Cerberus Project black china dress ver.) PVC from Ikkitousen

This Cerberus Project sculpted Sonsaku Hakufu PVC figure was originally released earlier this year in a limited edition available for mail order via Comic Gum (the magazine in which the Ikkitousen manga is serialized). Word today from Goodsmile reveals that she’s to see a general release as well, this time in a black dress version; she’s 1/7 scale (28 cm tall with weapon equipped) and scheduled to retail in December at a price of 7,800 yen. I’m not incredibly interested in this Hakufu, but the fact that we’re seeing her in wide release gives me hope that the other two figures in this summer’s Comic Gum limited edition set will also see wide PVC release in some form – the Ryomou and Kanu look really nice. (no more)

Anime News: School Days ep. 12 to “air” in private screening

I miss all the interesting news when I go to bed at 8:00 PM… Moon Phase Diary reports (presumably Zepy‘s source as well) that Overflow has announced plans to hold a theatrical screening of episode 12 of School Days at some point this week. How to cut down on the hordes of rabid fans who would thirst to be in attendance? Make the ticket for entry an unopened copy of the game, that’s how. While this is incredibly lame (mostly due to the income-based, undemocratic nature of the selection process, and the fact that it shafts fans who have already bought and played it) I can sympathize with Overflow to a certain extent on this one; it’s an elegant solution from their perspective. Create a naturally limiting sanction on attendance and make a few extra bucks to fund the production of the Nishieda designed TearMail? What cash-strapped maker could refuse… Edit 2: according to Moon Phase Diary this may be much ado about nothing, as it has been confirmed the episode is scheduled to air on satellite channel ATX tomorrow night. Looks like this thing is going to blow over more quickly than aniticipated. (no more)

Figure News: Tony designed, T’s system sculpted E2 cover girl figure up for limited preorder

Bishoujo multimedia magazine E2 released its November issue yesterday, and Moeyo! Akibajin Blog reports that it contains information on acquiring a limited edition T’s System sculpted PVC figure based on an E2 cover illustration by Taka Tony. An unpainted version of the “bloomers girl” figure was on display at Gamers yesterday, which Moeyo also scoops; apparently the only way to obtain her is via mail order from this particular issue of E2 (for 4,800 yen + 500 yen shipping). This one looks so nice it’s a damn shame we won’t see her in wider release… (no more)

Figure News: Yamato’s Tandem Twin original Doubutsu Nee-chan Inu Aruma PVC official site online

Today Yamato put up an official site for the Tandem Twin sculpted Doubutsu Nee-chan Inu Aruma PVC figure, a re-sculpt of the earliest resin kit in his Doubutsu Nee-chan series (for comparison shots of the new and old versions scroll down here). The figure is scheduled for release in December at 7,140 yen retail, at 30 cm tall (1/6 scale?) with display base, whip, and visor included. She looks like a possible candidate for castoffability, but without hard evidence in this regard we’ll be classifying her as non-ero for now. With her posted at Yamato preorders shouldn’t be too far behind… I wonder if they’ll be able to put this out along with Kanu and Rei in December, and if so, what a lot of our wallets will look like in the new year. (no more)

Figure News: Hobby Japan November ’07 news roundup (contains ero)

Megahouse Holstein Hanako-san castoff confirmed, Alpha Omega C.C. and Karen in color, Queen’s Blade Nix and Airi castoff configurations revealed, Queen’s Blade Reina action figure and cell phone game announced along with first interior shots of the newest QB character books, Gurren Lagann Yoko coming in resin from Wave, ero-ero Hobby Japan limited Jingai Makyou Didii figure mail order begins. Pictures below:

Figure News: Yamato’s Yamashita Sunya designed, Yoshizawa Mitsumasa sculpted Ayanami Rei PVC from Evangelion up for preorder

First scooped by HD at Wonder Festival this summer, Yamato‘s Creator’s Labo #015 Rei Ayanami PVC figure went up for preorder this evening at Amiami and should be up shortly elsewhere as well. This rather liberal interpretation of Evangelion‘s Ayanami design was penned by Yamashita Shunya and rendered in resin by Yoshizawa Mitsumasa (original kit here), with Yamato’s PVC version scheduled to street this December at 26 cm tall (1/6 scale?) and 7,140 yen retail. Rei purists may shy away, but given the countless other appealing aspects of this kit I’m guessing it’ll be quite a popular item. (no more)

Figure News: Goodsmile’s Nendoroid Al Ajif from Demonbane up for preorder soon, Shuraki vols. 4 and 5 delayed

Goodsmile has just put an official product page up for their Nendoroid Al Ajif, heroine of Nitro+’s Demonbane franchise. She’s scheduled for release in January of ’08 at 3,500 yen, with a variety of exchangeable parts and at typical 10 cm Nendoroid height; hobby shops around the internet should have her up for preorder soon. In other Goodsmile happenings, the official Shuraki page was updated with the news that volumes four and five of the multimedia figure / drama CD series will be be introduced for preorder in November and December respectively, with street dates in April and May of next year. This is roughly three months later than their originally scheduled releases. (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: Zenon presents Ikkitousen’s Ryomou Shimei in soft vinyl

Hobby shop Be-J has a listing up today for an ero-ero Ikkitousen soft vinyl Ryomou Shimei figure, scheduled for release from maker Zenon in November at 1/6 scale (29 cm tall) and 5,040 yen retail. The single sample image leaves many questions unanswered, and this is the first I’ve heard of the maker in question, so until we see more in the way of visual evidence I’m thinking this is a dangerous preorder proposition despite the reasonable price for the figure’s size. With offerings for My Otome and now Ikkitousen I wonder if we’re seeing the beginning of a soft vinyl bishoujo figure boom… (no more)

[ERO] Game News: Honki Jiru’s Bokura no Ikinari Dousei Keikaku site launched, bears no resemblance to Evangelion whatsoever

The twelve years since the original airing of Evangelion coincide with the period of eroge’s rise to prominence as a game genre in Japan, and several times over that span the venerable anime franchise has been drawn upon as a source of inspiration by the seamier side of PC gaming (perhaps most notably in Season of the Sakura / Sakura no Kisetsu). Thus it is refreshing to finally see the genre maturing to the point where anime references can be cast aside, and games brought forward on the merits of their own unique, original stories and designs. Maker Honki Jiru’s newest title Bokura no Ikinari Dousei Keikaku is a shining example of this progress, with a cast of original characters and a story not at all reminiscent of Shinji moving in with Misato. Seriously. Just because he’s moving to work in a “research lab” it doesn’t mean his estranged father is going to be there too, right? Right? Release of this entirely original and non-derivative game is expected on December 7th. (no more)

Figure Review: Sega Prize Haruhi + adult Mikuru Kitakou HR figure set from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu

I’m not much of a prize figure collector, but I am a fan of Mikuru’s adult incarnation, and this is the only figure to date that’s even thought of giving her any love in that regard. At the price point I figured I could go without lunch for a few days to make up for it, so here we are: a nice little diorama courtesy of Sega Prize. It’s just a pity that Mikuru’s face sculpt is so unsightly…

[ERO] Figure News: Katorea (Cattleya) announced as next in the Megahouse Excellent Model CORE Queen’s Blade PVC lineup

Nanashi over at 2chan’s Mokeiura board posted what has to be a scan from November’s issue of Hobby Japan magazine (on sale tomorrow), providing positive photo identification of a prototype for a Megahouse Excellent Model CORE Katorea (Cattleya) PVC figure from Queen’s Blade. We’ll check out the details in the magazine tomorrow, but here at HD HQ the celebration begins tonight – for the fan of improbably busted figures that I am this is something akin to the Holy Grail. Thanks to MK for the tipoff! Picture below:

Protoculture News: nice boat redux, or time to invest in gun anime stocks

Canned Dogs is reporting and Moon Phase corroborates that a fifteen year old boy in Nagano has been arrested and charged with attempted murder for attacking his father with an axe (the father is still alive as of this writing). Moon Phase speculates that this is a copycat crime in the mold of the one that prompted the replacement of School Days episode 12 with a nice boat, and it’s hard to see it as anything else; given what has now become a string of such incidents it seems there is nothing we can do but throw up our hands and resign ourselves to the violence in anime for the indeterminate future being dealt solely by implements not easily obtained by the average Japanese junior high student. Like guns, or giant robots. Or boats.

[ERO] Figure News: Konami’s Gurren Lagann Yoko PVC is cast off (?!)

When we first reported the production of this figure back in May I took a gamble and preordered her on the spot, without a single picture of the kit in evidence. Pictures were soon forthcoming, which happily justified the gamble with the glimpse of a solid sculpt and paint job. It was icing on the cake this morning to see over at Akibajin Blog that her upper half is apparently castoffable, an incredibly surprising move considering that a) Gurren Lagann is a kid’s show and b) Gainax has never allowed castoff PVCs to be made of Evangelion characters, which of any Gainax show seems ripe for such exploitation. Given this development it’ll be interesting to see how she does at retail come her September 27th release… (no more)

Figure News: trio of Orchid Seed PVCs delayed

Figure maker Orchid Seed has delayed the release of three of their PVC figures originally scheduled to go on sale in September to some point in October: Ignis the White, [ERO] Chichinoe+2 Young Hip Cover Gal, and [ERO] Seihouin Erika. Given that this runs into the production schedule of a couple of their other kits I’m guessing we can expect delays in those as well. (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: Griffon’s Shokatsuryou Koumei PVC from Ikkitousen up for preorder

Yesterday evening Amiami updated with a preorder listing for an ero-ero Shokatsuryou Koumei PVC figure from Ikkitousen, scheduled for release from Griffon in November at 1/7 scale and 8,190 yen retail. According to Amiami’s [ERO] sample images her top is castoffable, though there’s not much beneath; the kit looks decent except for the face sculpt, which is why I neglected to mention her listing until now. In related news Amiami updated their listing for Griffon’s upcoming Ryuubi Gentoku PVC with color images as well, presenting a rather underwhelming sight for 8,925 yen retail… If we see her in the bargain bin come October I hope that teaches Griffon to pick their PVC battles more wisely. (no more)