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Figure News: Goodsmile’s Nendoroid line gets an official site

Goodsmile’s Nendoroid line of super-deformed action figures now has an official site! This one came out of left field… The content thus far seems to be merely a summary of the Nendoroid lineup to date, though the site does hint at a new line of Petit Nendoroid figures to be unveiled in the near future (perhaps at Wonder Festival?). I’m not sure how they can get much more petit than they already are, but if nothing else this shows that Goodsmile is strong and growing (or that they’re trying to push sales of some of the less exciting items in the Nendoroid line, or both). We’ll keep an eye on the levitating Saber as this develops. (no more)

Editor’s Desk: Saturday in Akiba

I went down to Akihabara again this weekend, this time in pursuit of the guidebook for Wonder Festival 2007 Summer. Some pictures were taken along the way, presented below along with amusing anecdotes which you might like to read! Including: Nami SOS being molested by tentacles, Ruuuuuuuuuuu!, a creative use for Bust Emperors, Evangelion coffee, some very nice cosplay, and why you should never, ever carry a knife on you while you’re in Japan.

Bishoujo Goods News: Doki Doki Majo Shinpan Akai Maho breast mousepad, hug pillow to be released

While Nintendo is famously recalcitrant when it comes to adult content on their consoles, apparently they have no qualms when it comes to suspicious goods based off Doki Doki Majo Shinpan, the (in)famous “witch touching game” recently released for the DS. This was made apparent a few weeks ago with the announcement from Toys Planning of a breast mousepad adorned by Dokimajo heroine Akai Maho (Moeyo scoop here), and today the Dakimakura Integrated Research Institute brings word that Exhaust will be releasing an Akai Maho hug pillow on October 4th (with advance sales at the Tokyo Game Show in late September). One wonders whether this is a Nintendo double standard, or a step toward catering to a more “mature” audience… (no more)

Comiket 72 Goods Roundup, Part I

A survey of some of the random items up for grabs at August’s upcoming Comic Market 72, including a fleet of hug pillows, a brace of doujin figures, a pair of plushes, a sausage, and a folding fan. Mero~n!

HDTV Episode 04: Sunday in Akihabara

Shipon returns today with episode four of HDTV, for a look at just what happens in Akihabara on a fine Sunday morning in spring after the streets are blocked off and throngs of shoppers are allowed to freely mingle with maids, policemen, salesclerks, street musicians, panhandlers, and cosplayers of every description.

Figure News: Code Geass resin kit green lighted for Wonder Festival, Bandai figure monopoly cracks

Hatsumi of sculpting circle 83℃ posted on his blog a few weeks ago to the effect that his C.C. resin kit had been given the OK for sale at Wonder Festival 2007 Summer. This is significant not only because it’s looking like a really nice kit, but also because it indicates a shift in Bandai policy toward figures based on its intellectual property. More below:

Sendai Toranoana Opening

Joining the already popular Animate, Melon Books, Gamers & Volks, Toranoana have opened a Sendai store. Yesterday was the big day – alas I was indisposed on a island buffeted by a typhoon (note : car ferries are not fun in heavy seas), but when the weather cleared this morning I went in to check it out.

Anime News (?): Code Geass chichikurabe

Via Moeyo: Japanese blog Nijigen Kuukan (二次元空間) has posted a thorough treatise on the bust sizes of virtually the entire female cast of Code Geass. After analyzing screen shots of from as many official sources as possible they come up with the following order: Millay > Marianne > Inoue > Karen > Cornelia > Viletta > Cecil > Chiba > Rakshata > Euphemia > Shirley > C.C. > Sayoko > Nina > Nanalie > Kaguya. I was sure that Cornelia would come out on top, but this is incontrovertible evidence otherwise… Millay has risen in my esteem considerably. In other random Geass ponderings, I finally made it through ep. 23 on the plane back from AX. Does anyone think they’ll be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion in the two remaining episodes? And why did I think for the longest time that a full second season was coming? (no more) Edit: Geass character designer Kimura Takahiro (Wikipedia) presented his own take on comparative bust sizes of a selection of the cast in the June issue of Animage, as shown here. The Nijigen Kuukan post displays these characters first, with the remaining unmentioned characters below. The Nijigen Kuukan list is a hybrid integration of both groups.

Site News: HD at AX, part deux

As was discussed in the earlier AX post, we’re trying to scrape a little shindig together to put faces to the various e-names floating around the otaku blogosphere, forums, and elsewhere upon the internets at this year’s Anime Expo. Lacking any better ideas, here’s the plan:

Anime News: Otomo Katsuhiro / Nissin Cup Noodle collaboration “Freedom Project” OVA sees English language release

I doubt anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the series of commercials that began airing last year as part of the Otomo Katsuhiro designed, Morita Shuhei directed Freedom Project OVA; for those unaware, though, or for those of us who thought the project began and ended with the commercials, it’s welcome news that the first episode of what is slated to be a six part series went on sale yesterday (June 26th) in hybrid DVD / HD-DVD format. For more info on the series, official Japanese and English pages are available, as well as the blog of Vong yonghow, the single non-Japanese staffer on the project at Sunrise’s studios in Tokyo. Kudos to him for prompting a further investigation! (no more)

Anime News: Moetan anime screenshots, voice actor interviews online

From the incredibly ancient and already scooped to death news division: last Friday Famitsu posted a bunch of screenshots and a cast interview from this summer’s upcoming Moetan anime. While it’s a bit sad when you can tell from the sample screens that no particular attention has been paid to anything but the characters, I doubt anyone watching this (myself included) will be doing so for the panoramic backdrops or pulse pounding THREE-DEE ACTION. For those repulsed by Famitsu’s horribly artifacted jpgs Galge.com presents a prettier alternative with much the same content. You know it’s a moe sign when the three lead seiyuu respond to a question regarding the English they’ve learned recently with “apple”, “this is a pen”, and “Happy!” respectively… For the uninitiated, Moetan is a series of otaku-oriented English phrasebooks combining POP designs with quirkily translated references to anime and manga in a format that has proven to be both memetic and moetic. I hope rq will resurrect his random Moetan phrase script in commemoration of the anime, perhaps as a Wordpress plugin… (no more)

Site News: HD represents at AX 2007

HEISEI DEMOCRACY WORLD TOUR 2007 LIVE AT ANIME EXPO aka. posting from inside a J-List cargo tub (details inside)

Bishoujo Goods News: NHK ni Youkoso Nakahara Misaki hug pillow coming from Cospa

2D goods maker Cospa has put up a preorder page for a hug pillow featuring Nakahara Misaki, the heroine of Takimoto Tatsuhiro / Ooiwa Kenji’s dark hikikomori comedy NHK ni Youkoso! (Welcome to the NHK!). Illustration duty has fallen to the anime staff, who seem to have taken some liberties with her design that are not entirely unwelcome… she should be available from the usual suspects soon, and is set to ship in mid-August at 9,450 yen (tax included, pillowcase only). Full picture below:

Site News: DADADADADA

Heisei Democracy mascot character Demo-tan has been Lucky-Starjacked, courtesy of the Flash and Photoshop-fu of CMWilly over at Clockwork Machina! I’m pretty sure most of us are familiar with this visual meme by now, but for the curious here is a link that explains all. Lucky Demo wallpaper available below:

Event News: Comiket 72 circle notifications coming online

Via Tana‘s blog: doujin watchers everywhere take note! As of yesterday (June 3rd) circles who applied to participate in Comic Market 72 are being notified of the acceptance (or rejection) of their applications. Other doujin artists should be updating their sites with pertinent information soon, so anticipatory list-making can begin! Only 74 days until the event opens, but we’re not counting… yet. (no more)

Bishoujo Game News: mainstream bishoujo gamesplosiontacular

Holy crap. You sleep for six hours and your tiny universe changes… I’ll just reel off the list of updates here that you’re likely to see covered in much greater depth elsewhere: a playable trial version of Key’s (non-ero) Little Busters is now available for download, Leaf’s [ERO] To Heart 2 Another Days site is now officially open, the official site for the cinematic adaptation of Nasu Kinoko‘s (non-ero) Kara no Kyoukai has been updated with a promotional video (Internet Explorer necessary to view), the School Days TV anime site is now officially open, and a splash page is up for 0verflow’s next [ERO] release, TearMail. Highbrow visual novel aesthetes everywhere must be swirling their brandy snifters furiously right about now… (no more)

Magazine Review: Otaku USA, volume 1

I was sitting in the office today when my boss walked up and dropped a copy of this publication onto my desk. “They’re saying this is going to be the next Newtype”, he said. “Bigger than Newtype, maybe.” I flipped it open… and within thirty seconds knew I had to write this review. Note: the actual review starts roughly where the pictures end.

Event News: Minmay meets Fire Bomber live on August 18th

Via Moon Phase and Livedoor Anime News: If you’re not busy standing in line for the third day of Comiket 72, those in Tokyo on August 18th will have the opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Macross franchise at a concert featuring the talent of Iijima Mari (Minmay), Fukuyama Yoshiki (Basara’s singing voice and guitar from Macross 7), and Chie Kajiura (Mylene‘s singing voice). It’s being held at the Nippon Seinen-kan Dai Hall, with tickets priced at 6,500 yen (“present” included); as a Macross fan I just might have to look into this. (no more)

Anime News: Doujin Work official site updated

The official Doujin Work anime website was updated on Monday to something more closely resembling a Doujin Work anime website, including story information and character profiles. Why am I so excited about this? In its manga incarnation it’s part of the tradition shared by NHK, Genshiken, and Comic Party, most closely resembling the latter in terms of its fantasy caricature of the doujin scene, only far more humorously deviant. With this coming in July followed by season 2 of Genshiken in the fall, the latter half of 2007 is looking to be fine time for fans of anime about fans of anime. :3 (no more)

Site News: HD forums back online

While not integrated into the front page yet, the forums are indeed back up and running. Why will they stay up this time when the past several attempts have failed, and why should you join? I can’t think of a single reason for either, but we’ll be giving it the old college try once again and maybe this time they’ll learn to float on their own. All semi-sane anime, manga, figure, and eroge fans of good will and sound English are welcome aboard! 日本人の方も大歓迎です!掲示板のソフトが英語ばっかりだけど…(汗) (no more)

Site News: new poll online – Moe is?

In the neverending quest for a definition of the elusive moe this month’s poll goes for the minimalist approach: I’ve brainstormed ten words that I think may in some way be reflective of its meaning, and it’s your mission (should you choose to accept it) to pick the one you feel most closely encapsulates your relationship with the concept. If you’d like to discuss your choice, or if the word you would choose isn’t on the list, why not post it to comments? Results of the previous poll below:

Figure News: Goodsmile opens “overseas” page

Fans of Goodsmile, Max Factory and other manufacturers whose products appear on the Goodsmile website (notably not Alter) now have an official resource for obtaining information on the distribution of said products in their native locality: as of yesterday the Goodsmile overseas page is open for business. Official Goodsmile distributors are listed for the USA, Europe, and several Asian countries, as well as limited corporate information and a company history (all in English); interesting reading for those keen on getting a glimpse into the inner workings (or at least reading some advertising copy) from what has over the past six years become a behemoth in the anime toy and hobby industry. (no more)

[ERO] Game News: bishoujo games online, eroge get interactive

While various forms of adult play have been happening online since the murky beginnings of the internet, Japan’s eroge industry is only beginning to awaken to the possibilities of interactive media. Today we take a look at two examples of the first tentative steps into the online eroge arena that have come to light recently: Bishoujo Game Online Partners and Ero-Cha.

Doujin News: Yaminabe Party 2, yandere only doujin event scheduled for November

Dubbed Yaminabe Party, the first ever yandere only doujin sales convention occured on March 21st of this year. It apparently met with success, as the official site has already announced the second iteration of the event which will occur on November 11th, 2007 in Asakusa, Tokyo. More interesting than the event itself is the premise behind it, as those of us watching the moe scene have been wondering for awhile what would follow tsundere boom. The answer increasingly appears to be, in part at least, yandere:

For those not hip to the latest moetic jargon (as I wasn’t until a few weeks ago), yandere is like tsundere only instead of alternating between lovey-dovey and callous, the heroine switches between intense affection and INSANE HOMICIDAL RAGE. This can be directed toward the protagonist (should he spurn her) and/or her rivals (should they get in the way); examples include Katsura Kotonoha from School Days and Fuyou Kaede from Shuffle!.

If the stars align correctly (probably meaning another event in the same building that I’d be attending anyway) I may stop by Yaminabe Party 2 this fall… I do hope they check cleavers at the door. (no more)

Doujin News: Comic Market 72 event catalog available for preorder, sale dates set

Online book shop Mangaoh has put up a preorder listing for the Comiket 72 event catalogs. The book version will go on sale July 21st, with the CD-ROM following a week later on the 28th; the event itself takes place August 17th, 18th, and 19th. Cover illustration duty will be handled by Amemiya Yuki and Ichihara Yukino of circle Yukimachiya.

It’s never too early for the Comiket hype to begin! HD will be there as usual, and we’re thinking of organizing some sort of shindig following the first day of the event to make merry and gird our loins for two more days of battle in the trenches – more info on this “HD meet” as it develops, but feel free to mark your calendars now if you’ll be in Tokyo in mid-August. (no more)

Protoculture News: Toranoana empire expands to Sendai

Sendai is already pretty well-equipped for otaku needs as the biggest city in Tohoku, the northern-most area of Honshu (Japan’s largest island). Joining the existing Gamers, Volks, Melon Books & Animate will soon be a Toranoana on Clis Road in the city center – a pretty decent-sized one too, by the looks of it. The Japanese blogosphere has already begun to latch onto the news and on 2ch the response is good. Photos after the jump.

Figure News: Legit Bubba Haruhi kit finally ships

Bubba made a blog post yesterday (thanks rq) to the effect that his Bunny Haruhi garage kit, the object of much fanboy zeal last fall, has finally shipped to those who mailordered it from the few Dengeki publications in which it was then available. Meanwhile various other, less official dealers have been selling the kit for nearly half a year now… I wish something could be done about this where we (the artists, IP holders, and fans) all win, but until Kadokawa realizes there’s money to be made we’re likely to be stuck in this crappy no-win situation. [07/05/19 13:16 – edited for unnecessarily incendiary tone] (no more)

HDTV Episode 03: the wonder of Moe Soundrops

Shipon represents today with the third installment of HDTV, in which he acquires some of the most curious items to come out of Japan’s moe boom: audio gashapon “soundrops”, prerecorded audio clips of moe stereotypes, anime characters, and other things in handy portable form, ready to be unleashed at a moment’s notice. I’m not sure whether these are a force for good or purest evil, but form your own opinion – view on:

Figure News: Alter breaks away from the Goodsmile / Max Factory collective

According to a post today on the official Goodsmile info page, as of this month (May 2007) release information on new Alter products will no longer be appearing on the Goodsmile website. Their recently announced Shinku PVC, due out in August, is noted as the last figure scheduled to be introduced on the site; release announcements for all subsequent figures will be handled by Alter exclusively (though Goodsmile will continue to handle inquiries regarding earlier announced and previously released figures until the end of September).

Whether this has any direct relation to the GA Graphics fumble from earlier in the day is unclear; I’d guess there’s some connection, though probably just one of crossed wires as control of the company’s press releases and marketing strategy changes hands. I wish Alter all the best as they sail into the uncharted waters of independent operation, and hope the transition goes smoothly for all concerned. (no more)

HDTV Episode 02: the Comic1 experience

In between hunting down doujinshi and documenting the avian wildlife of the Tokyo subway system Shipon unleashed his camera fu at the first ever Comic1 last Monday, April 30th. He brings us a rare look inside the halls of doujindom tonight in our second installment of HDTV: a man, a camera, and the burning spirit it takes to spend a day blurring out faces.