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Otaku Metaculture: Otaku no Video

Taking a step back in time today to take a look at what is arguably the grandfather of all otaku metaculture. Join us for the grandiose and yet ultimately very personal tale of otaku in the 1980s and beyond.

Otaku Metaculture: NHK ni Youkoso

Welcome back, Heisei Democratizers!

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing support (seriously, if you’re reading this right now, that’s support). However the site evolves, I will do my best not to disappoint you.

This brings us to the first in a new (hopefully) ongoing series, properly titled On the Creation of a Comprehesive Index of Otaku Metaculture. Which is to say, my attempt at creating a (more or less) complete list of anime, manga, and video games which happen to be centered on characters who are themselves afficionados of anime, manga, and video games. For our first installment, we will be featuring a retrospective for a franchise that is very near and dear to HD (hint: the site is named after it).

Figure Review: Daiki Kougyou’s Seyada Tara

When word first broke over a year ago at Wonder Festival 2007 Summer that Vispo’s Seyada Tara kit would be seeing a PVC incarnation from Daiki Kougyou, shock and awe was a phrase that handily described my mental state. While she doesn’t fit the normal spectrum of what I’d look for in a 2D girl, her phenomenal retro-futuristic design combined with the epic sculpt and sheer colossal presence of the figure compelled me to plunk down the large portion of paycheck required to fund her acquisition. All the pieces are in place for a truly historic figure, but does Daiki live up to the task? Read on!

Artbook Review: Yamashita Shunya’s Wild Flower

Last month we were delighted to bring the announcement of Wild Flower, the second artbook collection of Yamashita Shunya’s illustration works (following Sweet Dreams, released almost three years ago). It arrived on store shelves today, and we managed to track down a copy before it disappeared and bring you this look inside. Needless to say, this is something Shunya fans aren’t going to want to miss:

Figure Review: Shuraki vol. 5 – Rizfis (Rize) Luttiva Mente

The first round of the explosively popular Shuraki multimedia figure series concludes with the appearance of Rize, Italian Shuraki and member of the mysterious White Raven organization. Armed with a massive halberd and clad in a diaphanous blue gown, her design is surely a match for any of her predecessors – but how does she compare in figure form? Read on for the final installment in our Shuraki review series (until the second batch is announced):

Magazine Review: Megami vol. 98 (July 2008)

With yesterday’s release of the July ’08 issue of Megami Magazine things are officially heating up in the countdown to issue 100! The sticker price was raised to reflect the presence of additional extras, and unlike last issue there are no Nanoha filler posters to be found – just pure original poster goodness, and a lot of nice ones at that. Read on for a look at one of the best Megami issues to appear in recent months:

Figure Review: Shuraki vol. 4 – Nida (Needa) Schuetlich

Volume four in the wildly popular series of Shuraki multimedia figures is in some respects a return to more familiar territory, as design duty for Nida was entrusted to the ubiquitous Yamashita Shunya. His designs have been adapted in figure form by just about every major PVC manufacturer in the past few years, but as the first Yamashita offering from Goodsmile there was curiosity regarding how the maker would handle the adaptation compared to those with longer track records. As we’ve come to expect with this series the result is very favorable indeed:

Eromanga Toshokan vol. 011: B-Chiku

Our Eromanga Toshokan review series returns with a look at the latest offering from veteran mangaka DISTANCE, who according to his Mangaoh product search has been in the business for at least ten years now. As I’ve seen his books come out over the years I’ve typically picked them up, thumbed through them with serious consideration, and ultimately put them back down unpurchased; this is the first to make it into my collection, for reasons I hope will become clear below. Note: this is a hardcore [ERO] book. If you’re under 18 or not interested in hardcore content this post is not for you.

Figure Review: Shuraki vol. 3 – Char (Shall) Rhousemann

Our Shuraki figure review series continues in this third installment featuring French-themed villainess Char Rhousemann. The Shuraki frenzy that consumed figure fans through much of 2007 had cooled somewhat by the time she came out in January of this year, but with Needa recently released and Rize coming at the end of the month it’s high time to get back into the thick of things. Check out our Mishiro Akatsuki and Riu Meifeng reviews first (if you haven’t already, or need a refresher on what the Shuraki series is), and then continue the saga with our look at the contents of Char’s multimedia package:

Figure Review: Food Girls Strawberry-chan

What are girls made of? If you said “sugar and spice and everything nice”, you wouldn’t be far off. If you said “food”, you’d be closer still. If you said “polyvinyl chloride, paint, artificial strawberry fragrance, and carcinogens”, you’d be talking about Cafe Reo’s Strawberry-chan, the first figure to be released based on designs from Okama’s Food Girls artbook and the first I’m aware of to use scent as a gimmick. Who could pass up a figure with such curious credentials? Certainly not me, resulting in the review you’re about to see:

Figure Review: UArt’s Cerberus Project Kanu Unchou

This French Doll (Cerberus Project) Kanu figure has a long history, starting life as a resin kit before moving last year to mail order limited PVC release and finally to full distribution in this alternate black and white color scheme. Like the Pearl Black Ryomou before her this kit is a glimpse back in time at French Doll’s craft before he fully matured as a sculptor, but nonetheless has so many charm points that I couldn’t pass her up – not to mention being the only castoffable entry in the Cerberus Ikkitousen lineup thus far. Read on for a look at how UArt managed with their latest PVC conversion:

Event Report: WHF Ariake 18

We conclude our coverage of last week’s World Hobby Festival Ariake 18 Final with an overall “meta” look at the event. If you’ve been wondering exactly what WHF is or why it was canceled after nearly a decade of successful operation, this is the post for you:

WHF Ariake 18: PVC maker galleries

Wrapping up the meat of our pictorial coverage of WHF Ariake 18, we take a look at the coming PVC and resin releases of professional makers present at the event. Includes uncensored looks at Yamato’s Animal Girl Bonnie and Daiki Kougyou’s Sugimoto Anna, a gallery of Musashiya’s castoff Ikkitousen cold casts, and Kurushima’s “swimsuit” Kanu resin, among others:

WHF Ariake 18: garage kits galore

We wrap up our coverage of the garage kit side of WHF Ariake 18 with a final sweep through the day’s photo shoot, catching dozens of great figures that didn’t quite fit in anywhere else. A lot of sculptors worked really hard to make this final event one to remember, and all their hard work paid off:

WHF Ariake 18: To Heart 2, Fate, Nanoha

With the early ’08 release of the To Heart 2: Another Days expansion new life was breathed into the venerable Leaf bishoujo game franchise, resulting in a significant garage kit presence at WHF Ariake 18 which we document here. Nanoha StrikerS continues into 2008 with the strong showing it had last year, and while reduced in number there were still a few Fate/stay night kits of note that were worth taking a look at:

WHF Ariake 18: Lucky Star, Gurren Lagann, Vocaloid

The fervor surrounding Lucky Star, Gurren Lagann, and the Vocaloid virtual idol character Hatsune Miku (and now Kagamine Rin and Len) has continued strong since the summer of last year, and WHF Ariake 18 saw a fresh crop of kits emerge based on these popular franchises. We’ve got a round up of many of them below (and a few older ones as well), for your perusing pleasure:

WHF Ariake 18: Osiris’s Persona 3 Aegis

Osiris of sculpting circle Heavy Gauge is one of the most skilled hands working in the PVC figure arena today (Holstein Hanako-san, Guernsey), and it’s unsurprising that his personal garage kit work is equally remarkable. Along with his Heavy Gauge colleague Kana he participated at WHF Ariake 18 yesterday under the circle name “3D Megane”, where the painted prototype of his Persona 3 Aegis (Aigis) kit was on display. The results of an ensuing photographic frenzy can be found below:

WHF Ariake 18: ero garage kits

We continue our coverage of WHF Ariake 18 with a look at the [ERO] garage kits present at the event. If something you were expecting to see here is not, odds are we’ve covered it in past event coverage; I’ve tried to generally avoid redundancies, though they do creep in on occasion. I should note that this particular batch contains more extreme content than usual, so those of weak stomach and those not of legal age to view explicit content should look elsewhere. I repeat: those not legally able to view sexually explicit material should not browse past this point. If you’re an adult with an open mind, by all means proceed!

WHF Ariake 18: Cobra-Kai’s Saber

Sculptor Toushirou of circle Cobra-Kai is known for his epic large-scale works, usually featuring characters with voluptuous builds and his trademark heavy-lidded eyes. When I first saw the rough draft of his resin rendition of Fate/stay night‘s Saber at last Wonder Festival I momentarily didn’t recognize it as his work; she seems so far afield from what he normally sculpts. But now that the kit is complete it’s apparent that it’s none other than his genius hand at operation, and this is a kit that made one of the biggest impressions at yesterday’s WHF Ariake 18. See below for a full castoff [ERO] gallery:

WHF Ariake 18: Yoko vs. Yoko

What happens when two of the bishoujo sculpting masters of Japan decide to tackle the same subject with their own unique interpretations? We found out yesterday at WHF Ariake 18, where I was treated to my first look at the completed renditions of two new Gurren Lagann Yoko “space look” resin kits by two veteran hands of the craft. See below for gallery reviews of both:

WHF Ariake 18 at a glance

I just walked in the door from World Hobby Festival Ariake 18 Final and am now in the midst of processing images for our site coverage of the event. First up is a preliminary overview of some of the exceptional items on display at the Big Sight today, which will be followed shortly by a roundup of news from PVC makers who were there (lagging slightly behind the Tokyo-based blogs due to the four-hour trek home after the event ^^;;). Stay tuned!

Figure Review: New Line’s Kousaka Tamaki (private ver.)

I had never purchased a New Line figure before this one was announced (in the past they were primarily known for expensive cold casts whose looks never quite fit my budget), but when the fishnet version of their “private” Kousaka Tamaki was announced my willpower crumbled and I placed the preorder. Preview shots hinted at a figure that positively exuded erotic pheromones, and it was with high hopes that I embarked upon this review following the figure’s release last month. While ultimately the finished product isn’t quite as impressive as the prototype shots I’m still quite happy with the end result, explored in detail below:

Artbook Review: Gurren Lagann Yoko Portraits

When I first heard that this book was coming out I assumed it would be just another gimmick to bilk Yoko fans out of a bit more cash, consisting of little more than recycled Megami and Newtype posters padded with screenshots from the show. This is Gainax we’re talking about, after all – the company that never sells something once when they can sell it twice (or a dozen times). Imagine my surprise upon paging through it that the volume in fact contains an astonishing amount of new material created exclusively for this book – and much of it really nice work. After rubbing my eyes to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating the Gainax of two decades ago I immediately decided the volume had to be procured, so here, a mere three months late, is our look at Yoko’s portrait collection:

Magazine Review: Megami vol. 97 (June 2008)

The June ’08 edition of Megami Magazine was released today, and we’re here with the scoop of its contents! With poster entries from most of the bishoujo anime of the season along with several looks ahead at what we can expect in the summer it’s a pretty well-rounded issue, and though soft in a couple of parts (too much tiny Nanoha) there are a few standout offerings that make the purchase worth it in the end. Moon Phase scoops the news of a new Higurashi OVA and talks about yuri love in Koihime Musou revealed in this issue, but we’re here for the posters:

Figure Review: Alpha Omega Queen’s Blade Shizuka

When we first saw her in prototype at Wonder Festival last summer and later learned of her castoff potential, a preorder was mandated by some sort of federal law. With two of the top figure makers in the business collaborating on the project and a price that shouts rude epithets at the rising cost of oil (not to mention her demonic good looks), who could possibly resist Shizuka’s allure? Not me, which is why I am making this post:

Goods Review: Ikkitousen Limited Treasure Box

When we first reported on this item back in November I was a bit skeptical as to how it would turn out; it seemed like a bunch of expensive knick-knacks worth less than the sum of its parts, little more than an attempt to sucker Ikkitousen fans like myself into parting with our hard-earned cash without providing much in return. After having the chance to peruse my copy in person my opinion has not changed, but as both a sucker and an Ikkitousen fan I have to say I’m happy with the result, and would appreciate being pandered to in a similar fashion by other shows in the future (Sekirei, I’m looking at you). Read on for a textbook primer on how to be swindled in style:

Magazine Review: Dengeki Moeoh June 2008

Dengeki Moeoh. More than a magazine, Moeoh is a bimonthly artistic encyclopedia of moe that features original full color spreads from some of the highest profile artists in Japan’s 2D industry, coupled with articles, serial manga, and great extras that are themselves worth the price of admission. If it’s not perfectly clear from this introduction what follows is less of a review and more of a fanboyish evangelistic rant about what is truly one of the greatest products to originate from the modern Moe Industrial Complex – and the June 2008 issue (released yesterday, April 26th) is no exception. Spring is in the air, and that means short skirts and long stockings, and the perfect season for an exploration of that most ineffable of moetic qualities, the zettai ryouiki zone…

Figure Review: Movic’s Musubi (race queen ver.)

When Movic’s race queen Musubi was first announced at last summer’s Wonder Festival I was pretty excited, coming off the successful release of their first Musubi PVC a few months before. With a strong affection for her character and the obvious castoff potential exhibited by that unpainted prototype, expectations went a bit wild… The following eight months became an exercise in coming down to earth, but I wasn’t prepared for quite the extent of the inept production that awaited. Read on for a look at how a decent kit didn’t quite meet its potential:

PS. Thanks to SbebiWan for pointing out that there was nothing in this excerpt. ^^;;

Eromanga Toshokan vol. 010: Daisuki Dayo

Another volume of the Eromanga Toshokan is at hand, this time showcasing the superlative work of veteran doujin artist and eromangaka Youshuu Ohepe. I actually promised to review this the day before it came out, and while I may have forgotten about the promise in the interim the book is good enough that it came over and shook its sweaty shorts at me until I picked it up again for review. Note: this is a hardcore [ERO] book. If you’re under 18 or not interested in hardcore content this post is not for you. If you’re an adult with a taste for immaculately rendered thighs of thunder, by all means read on!

Eromanga Toshokan vol. 009: Nyuuseihin

The Eromanga Toshokan returns after a long hiatus to bring a look at the most recent volume from veteran eromanga and doujin author Shijima Yukio. Long time fans of the very generously endowed female persuasion have likely come across his work in the past, especially back in the early days when his was one of the sites that could be depended on for the occasional delicious update; while his site has remained largely stagnant in recent years he still produces regular eromanga chapters and the occasional doujinshi, and so it is with pleasure that we delve into this, his most recent offering. Note: this is a hardcore [ERO] book. If you’re under 18 or not interested in hardcore content this post is not for you. If this condition does not apply to you, by all means read on!