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Back from Comiket 73, day 1 (updated)

Just walked in the door from the first day of Comic Market 73, and before I collapse I’d like to thank everyone who showed for the meet-up afterwards! Akihabara proved to be surprisingly accomodating thanks to the artful assistance of EvoSpace, and though there were a few rough edges I think things went quite well. Lessons learned will be applied for future gatherings (should they occur, and I hope they will). I wish everyone the best of luck on subsequent days of the event, and hope to see some of you on the third day if you feel like stopping by. I’ll try to put up a bit more on day 1 tomorrow, but full HD coverage of Comiket this time around will likely come after things are all wrapped up. Update: and it’s off to day 3, on zero hours of sleep! I wonder how long this adrenaline will last…(no more)

HD Comiket 73 meetup is on! Details inside.

***December 28th bump*** It’s better late than never to wrangle this sort of thing, so what the heck: if you’re reading this and you’re going to be at the Tokyo Big Sight on Saturday, December 29th, why not stop by the coin lockers near the Big Sight entrance at 3:00 PM? The plan at this point is simply to meet up, exchange a round of introductions, and figure out what to do next (if anything); I’m not going to put in reservations anywhere as I have no clue how many people will show, and I know many of us (myself included) might not want to drop 3,000 yen on food when there’s doujin to be had instead. If you’d like to meet a few fellow Comiketting gaijin though this could be a good chance, and if you’re up for something afterwards I’m sure some of us will be too. Meeting spot details below:

Figure News: pre-Comiket figure roundup (updated)

Will come back and brush this up in the evening, but for now here’s the bare details: Update: no time to brush up due to frenzied Comiket preparations this evening, so I’ll just note that Amiami has confirmed the castoff of Orchid Seed’s Tsuzuki Shiori from Witchblade, and that Wafuudou Ganguten’s Gurren Lagann Yoko and Manyuu Chibusa PVCs are now up for preorder. Updates will be a bit thin over the next few days as Comiket is in full swing, but expect a full debriefing (one that does not involve undergarment removal) shortly thereafter!

[ERO] Game News: Light pleads mea culpa over Dies irae flaws

With production first announced in August of ’06, Light’s long-delayed “gakuen romance battle opera ADV” Dies irae finally hit store shelves on December 21st. In the past week the game has been met with a storm of criticism, much of which is reflected in reviews on its Erogamescape page; while there are many who rated the game in the 70th percentile based on its independent merits, an equal number have declared it a “land mine” and a “betrayal of expectations” (two possible tags in the EGS system). The chief complaints appear to be threefold: first, art used in promotional material and magazine articles was either altered or omitted entirely from the game’s final release; second, characters expected to be possible romantic targets were not; and third, prior to release the game’s writing credit was given to a single popular author, but the ending credit roll revealed a team of six additional writers on staff. More below:

WHF Ariake 17: the best of the rest (garage kits galore)

We wrap up our coverage of World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 today with a look at all the other great stuff that didn’t make it into the earlier posts. Contains a run down of garage kits in the following categories: Anime / Manga, Game, Group, Misc., and Ero (18+). I believe most of the miscellaneous kits are originals, but there are probably a few anime and game ones that I wasn’t able to source; if you can correct me on any of these it would be much appreciated. On to the gallery!

Figure News: year-end release explosion

A whole lot of figures scheduled to come out in December ’07 were teetering on the brink of January, but look like they’re barely going to squeak in under the wire – a veritable torrent of items is coming our way in the week between Christmas and New Years that promises to make this a holiday season to remember for my threadbare wallet to curse for all eternity. Read on for a selected list:

Goods News: Genshiken to be novelized

Thanks to SDS for the heads up on this: according to the recently updated Genshiken anime site, the tale of otaku life and love in a college “modern visual culture” club is set to receive novel treatment. Writing duty for the book’s original story has been passed to Iida Kazutoshi, director of independent game maker Artdink whose past work includes Doshin the Giant and Aquanaut’s Holiday. I’m not sure how this qualifies him to pen a Genshiken novel, but perhaps designing quirky niche games grants one mystical powers… the book is entitled Hainyuu Ranjin no Yabou ~Return of the OTAKU~ and is scheduled for release from Kodansha on January 23rd at 940 yen; the first part of the name translates roughly as “the ambition/treachery of the Dutch pilgrims”, which makes absolutely no sense to me at this point but will hopefully be clarified in due time. Shimoku Kio seems to have given the project his blessing, so I’ll probably pick the book up to see what all the fuss is about… (no more)

[ERO] Game News: erogereview.com goes live!

Several months in the making, Japanese eroge review site Eroge Review (can’t beat the naming sense) is now online! The brain child of Nargrakhan and Ayyo, the site has been established to house English language reviews of Japanese language bishoujo games (primarily adult titles), the only site I’m aware of devoted exclusively to such noble pursuits. There is currently a single review up (the rather underwhelming Kissing!! under the mistletoe), but as the former proprietor of Elizar.com is on board for the project we can likely expect several dozen archival reviews to appear on the site in short order. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but I wish Narg and Ayyo all the best in this endeavor and hope to see a lot more great reviews over the coming year. (no more)

Goods News: Doujin Work Tsuyuri, Sora dakimakura coming from Machi Chara

Word is in from Comptiq, Dengeki, and the official Machi Chara website tonight that two of the heroines of anime and manga Doujin Work are headed for hug pillowization! Tsururi and Sora both feature double sided original illustrations at 150 x 50 cm and 10,500 yen retail (case only), and are set for release on February 29th. As with other Machi Chara (Matching World) items these will be available internationally via Hobby Search and other retailers within the next few days. Images below:

Figure News: Griffon’s gothic lolita Haruhi, Yamato’s Doubutsu Nee-chan Inu Anne-Rose unveiled

Two pieces of news on the PVC front this evening: first is word from Griffon that their gothic lolita Haruhi kit from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu is scheduled for release in PVC. She’s 1/7 scale with a retail price of 7,500 yen, and currently without a release date specified; currently only Griffon has her available for preorder on their site but presumably other retailers will carry her as well. Sculpt from Yamamoto Masahiro. Next, word is in from Yamato that the alternate color version of Aruma we’ve seen lurking around for a month or so is dubbed Anne-Rose, and will see release in April of next year at 7.140 yen and 30 cm tall (1/6 scale?). Sculpt is from Tandem Twin, and preorders are expected shortly. (no more)

Figure News: limited edition black uniform version of Alter’s Kanu coming from Hobby Channel, etc.

Some bits of figure news coming over the desk from yesterday evening: first is news that Hobby Japan’s online arm Hobby Channel will be offering a 700-piece limited edition run of a black school uniform variant of Alter’s Kanu Unchou PVC from Ikkitousen. She’s set for release in April at specs similar to her regular edition counterpart (1/8 scale, 21.5 cm tall, 7,140 yen) and preorders open at the Hobby Japan online shop on January 7th. See below for more news:

WHF Ariake 17: industry fallout and spoils of war

Our World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 coverage continues with a look at what the official industry presence had to offer at the event, as well as what I took away from it personally. Includes what may be an HD exclusive look at the original resin cast of Orchid Seed’s Tsuzuki Shiori, with hopes that it bodes well for the PVC! Needless to say, this post is not safe for work.

Happy Holidays from Heisei Democracy!

Happy Holidays from Heisei Democracy! ***This message brought to you by the Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture, Ohno Kanako Appreciation Division***

WHF Ariake 17: Hatsune Miku, Gurren Lagann, Lucky Star

In addition to recently popular standards of the garage kit repertoire (Nanoha, Touhou, Rozen Maiden), World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 saw the emergence of some new titles that are currently taking hold of the fan imagination in Japan. Chief among these at the event were virtual idol Vocaloid Hatsune Miku, the cast of Gurren Lagann, and Lucky Star, all of which saw a sharp rise in representation since the last figure event covered by HD. Check out the many offerings below for a look at the cutting edge of what’s heating up the winter ’07 garage kit world!

Book News: Queen’s Blade Yumil, Bitoshi Gaiden vol. 2 Koudai Oujo no Sho up for preorder

A bit late to the scoop on this one, but it’s worth noting that as of last Friday preorders are now open for the Queen’s Blade bishoujo fighting book game volume for Yumil, delayed for well over a year (her figure was released before she was), and the second Bitoshi Gaiden volume, Koudai Oujo no Sho. The latter features the adventures of Menace, including an F.S-illustrated novel and accompanied drama CD (Menace is voiced by Gotou Yuuko). Both are scheduled for release on February 15th, and both are currently available at Amazon.co.jp, among other retail locations [Yumil | Bitoshi Gaiden vol. 2]. (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: preorders open at Toranoana for Keumaya’s Violet and Axia

Those interested in procuring the latest work from [ERO] doujin figure circle Keumaya are urged to act quickly with their proxy of choice, as preorders are now open at Toranoana for both Axia (“A” ver.) and Violet (purple ver.). Further information on the figures can be found here and here, and a list of proxy services can be found in the lower left corner of the main HD page. Good luck to anyone going for these, as they’re likely to be quite popular… (no more)

Site News: alternate IRC server, update plans, etc.

It seems irc.pyoko.org is being DDOSed right now, but those keen to chat in the HD channel can find us live at #naisho on clover.arity.net. Looking ahead to the coming week there are a lot of competing update priorities, the first of which is to squeeze out a WHF report; that’s on schedule for this evening. A December eroge news roundup is in the works, as are several figure reviews; I’d like to get in a few Comiket-related posts as well leading up to the event this weekend, and want to get a copy book finished to sell… not sure when it’s all going to happen, but might as well aim high. If you’ll be at Comiket watch this space for information on a possible meet-up after the event on Saturday! (no more)

WHF Ariake 17 at a glance

I just made it back from World Hobby Festival Ariake 17! It’s going to take a little while to get all of the pictures sorted and processed and to suitably gather thoughts for a cogent event report, but for now here’s a sample of what went down at the Big Sight today:

Figure News: off to WHF

World Hobby Festival Ariake 17 takes place today, and I’m doing some last minute list checking before heading out the door to document the event. A few items of interest: REFLECT (Mitsumasa Yoshizawa) has a new original Yamashita Shunya-based kit coming out, Polygonia is putting out a Gurren Lagann Yoko (nice paired with Grimrock‘s Darry), and Kaoru of Klondike (Studio Saru Bunshitsu) has a great new original kit up for release; Vispo had some trouble with his Asuka and it sounds like she won’t make it out until Wonder Festival in February, but hopefully he’ll bring a display model. There are bound to be plenty of surprises in store, so check back in about 12 hours for first impressions and the eventual review! In the mean time, why not take a look at our coverage of WHF Ariake 16? (no more)

December 21st 2007 figure news roundup (updated)

A whole lot of action on the figure front to sum up today, including a continuation of Cerberus Project’s collaboration with Wafuudou Ganguten, a faux trap figure from Toy’sworks that’s almost Bridgetlicious, a bunny Haruhi + guitar prize figure, a review of the Haruhi itasha model first seen back at the Miyazawa Model exhibition, a step-by-step tour through a Nakoruru castoff, a couple of new angles on Alter’s Kanu, and a Keumaya update. Check it out! Update: Keumaya’s new items up at Toranoana, Revoltech Fraeulein Asuka and Play Stationery Rin up for preorder!

Figure News: Hobby Japan February ’08 preview

The February ’08 edition of Hobby Japan magazine has leaked four days before its scheduled publication! 2chan’s mokeura board brings the goods, and we bring them to you – a representative sample of the new goodness to come in the next couple of months, and updates of some items we’ve been watching. Warning: this post is not for the faint of heart or those offended by epic-class broad backsides. Or shota. =_=;;

[ERO] Figure Review: Yamato’s Dynamite Keikaku #001 Kanu Unchou from Ikkitousen

A figure we’ve been anticipating here at HD for almost a year, Yamato’s Dynamite Keikaku Kanu Unchou has finally arrived. Pairing the peerless sculpting skill of Cobra-Kai’s Toushirou with Shiozaki Yuuji’s erotic designs from an evocative scene of the Ikkitousen manga, will the first installment in Yamato’s new and ambitious Dynamite lineup provide production quality to match the design talent assembled? Read on for the thunderous conclusion to what feels at this point like an epic quest through time and space…

Figure News: Kotobukiya’s Artwork of Yamashita Shunya Niniane preorder up, etc. (updated)

While checking Play Asia‘s listings today to update our figure release schedule I came across a puzzling item: a cold cast figure described as “The Art of Shunya Yamashita Fine Art Bust Cold Cast Statue: Niniane“. It’s a roughly 1/8 scale cold cast bust (15 cm tall, 18 with sword) retailing at 9,710 yen on the PA site, with release scheduled for next April; I’m not sure if this is a limited edition item, a non-Japan release, or even whether it’s legitimate at all, but I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of it beyond the Play Asia site so a mystery she shall remain for now. It’s supposedly from Kotobukiya, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for news from that quarter… other newly updated items can be found below. Update: see below for the evening’s figure take, and a first look at Daiki Kougyou’s Shiranui Mai castoff:

[ERO] Figure News: Art Storm’s Nakoruru – castoffable if broken

Moeyo! Akibajin Blog has a review online today of Art Storm’s Samurai Spirits Nakoruru PVC, in which he sacrifices the structural integrity the kit to find out what lies beneath. The kit is obviously not meant to be cast off, as the broken shards in this picture clearly show; she has to be physically torn apart at the waist and the clothing has to be pried away from the binding glue beneath. The prize for all this violence? The chest part is “lightly shaded”, according to Moeyo’s testimony (no visual evidence thanks to the censorship). This isn’t a procedure that seems at all recommendable unless you’re confident in your reconstructive surgery skills or have a spare copy of the kit, but it answers the question posed last month when we found out her release was delayed. If you’re interested in picking up the kit and would like to support HD, you can find her in stock at Play Asia. (no more)

Figure News: galge figure preorder roundup

A few figures have been announced for preorder over the past couple of days that will likely only appeal to the fans of their respective bishoujo game franchises, but in aggregate are probably worth cataloging here: first up is the just-mentioned Noumi Kudoryafuka (Kudryavka) from Toy’sworks and all-ages galge Little Busters!; she’s due out in April at 1/8 scale (18 cm tall) with a sculpt from Akeji (Amiami search). Next is Kuze Kiriha, from Wave and August’s Fortune Arterial. She’s coming out in May at 1/8 scale (19.5 cm tall) and 5,775 yen retail, with a sculpt from Toukaimura Haraya (Amiami search). Finally, Resinya has a page online for their “portrait collection” series of 1/6 scale busts. The current lineup consists of heroines from Da Capo and Da Capo 2, with Asakura Otome, Asakura Yume and Shirakawa Nanaka coming in late February, and Asakura Nemu and Shirakawa Kotori coming in March, all at 5,800 yen (preorders coming soon). (no more)

[ERO] Game News: 18+ version of Key’s Little Busters announced

This one came out of left field, via Moon Phase diary: a promotional image for Toy’sworks’ recently preorder-open Noumi Kudoryafuka (Kudryavka) figure mentions almost in passing that Little Busters! is scheduled to receive release in a new adult version. At present there is no information beyond this image, but this sounds like weighty news indeed for the Key fans… we’ll keep half an eye on this story should anything else of interest appear. (no more)

Figure News: Alter’s May lineup preorder commences, includes Jigoku Shoujo’s Enma Ai and Megachu!’s Jordh

Alter unveiled two new PVC items on their official site today, both set for release in May of 2008. First up is Enma Ai from Jigoku Shoujo, coming in at 1/8 scale (10 cm tall) and 5,040 yen retail. Sculpt is from Asano Yuuji. Second is Jordh, from Frontwing’s eroge Megachu!; her sculpt is based on an original illustration from Kuuchuu Yousai, and clocks in at 1/8 scale (13 cm tall), with sculpting duty courtesy of Kouzuki Hajime. As of posting preorders are already up at Moe Soul / Happinet, and should be up elsewhere soon. [Enma Ai gallery] [Jordh gallery] (no more)

Figure Review: Wave’s Takaya Noriko from Gunbuster (Top wo Nerae!)

Back when this figure was announced I was taken in by the cute simplicity of the interpretation of Noriko’s design, and put in a preorder on a whim. While I’m not the most hardcore Gunbuster fan I have fond memories of the show as a Gainax classic, and the fact that Noriko figures are still regularly being released after almost 20 years stands as a testament to its enduring legacy. Not all Norikos are created equal, though, so let’s take a look at what Wave’s recent attempt has to offer:

Anime News: Zero no Tsukaima season 3 confirmed

It’s been widely rumored for the past month or so that Zero no Tsukaima would see a third season, and proof comes in today via Moon Phase in the form of the cover of the 13th 0nT novel. No details have yet been divulged regarding when the series will air or what content it will cover, though the hope among fans is that it rights some of the wrongs inflicted by what turned out to be a less than well-received second season. We’ll be keeping an eye on this for further details; the official 0nT anime site is here. (no more)

[ERO] Figure News: Gigapulse unveils Morisaki Miku figure from Discovery’s Hitozuma Sentai Aisaiger

This figure has been listed on Gigapulse’s site for awhile now (it was originally scheduled for release in “fall 2007”), and when their new [ERO] Kazama Mana line was announced last month some of us gave up hope on this one altogether. It seems such doubts were premature, as today Gigapulse put up color samples of their [ERO] paizuri-themed Morisaki Miku PVC figure from Discovery’s 2005 eroge Hitozuma Sentai Aisaiger (Erogamescape). She clocks in at 1/8 scale and comes in three alternate color versions, with head sculpts slightly different for each; she’s scheduled to retail in May of 2008 at 5,775 yen and the sculpt is “fully detailed”. Pictures below: