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Irregularly Scheduled Programming

I have TWO…count ‘em, TWO essays written about figures. One is an Ame-Comi girl, and one is a recent Orchid Seed release. The problem? My wife lost our camera, and she’s currently in Fairbanks for grad school. But she’s actually got two cameras from friends up there, so she’s going to send me one. Things will then get back to normal. Any votes as to which one you good people would rather see first? Your choices are: busty superheroine or busty succubus. Vote in the comments!

Bootleggery

Last year I discovered a horrible and ugly truth about figure-collecting: some people bootleg them. I know; I had the same reaction. Bootleg? I have a bootleg copy of The Last Airbender on DVD, you say (if you’re Abed from Community). There are known bootlegs of popular video games and even the hardware they allegedly run on! But figures? Who would bootleg a piece of PVC plastic? Apparently, it happens, and it’s something I’m now ever-vigilant against. You might say hyper-vigilant, since I’ve stopped using eBay entirely to purchase figures and I tend to shy away from Amazon now. What happened, you might ask? What figure scarred me so deeply that I’ve lost my trust in the internet? View full article »

Lovely, lovely girl.

My very first review on this website (just scroll down) was for Yamato’s beautiful Velvet figure. Velvet, as I wrote before, is from a beloved Atlus action/RPG called “Odin Sphere.” It’s a fantastic game, but unfortunately doesn’t play well on its native hardware—the Playstation 2. The very first boss fight is fraught with framerate issues, and things just get worse from there. Happily, the game is now a PS2 Classic that you can download on the PSN (on your PS3) and this version seems to fix the framerate, making the game actually playable. The defining feature of Odin Sphere is probably its at-times overwhelming complexity, but the most visible feature is its gorgeous 2D animation. This is Vanillaware at its finest. These are the people behind Princess Crown, GrimGrimoire, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, and the upcoming PS3 Dragon Crown. Vanillaware is the best at what it does.

Gwendolyn, here, is the youngest daughter of King Odin but, like her elder sister Griselda, is a soldier on the battlefield. Gwendolyn is plagued by self-doubt and is always seeking approval from her father. In this quest, she kills a freaking dragon and goes after the witch Velvet for deactivating an ancient artifact prized by Odin. Odin reveals that Velvet is his illegitimate daughter and he is forced to send her away to be executed. I won’t reveal all that happens, but she DOES save Velvet, which has unexpected consequences. View full article »

The camera recognizes her face, which is always a little weird, but her face really is wonderful.

I know I say this every time, but Kokoro is one of my favorite figures, no joke. Like a lot of my “favorites,” Kokoro taught me a few things and was my “first” in a number of respects. For those unfamiliar with her character, Kokoro is originally from Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360), a perfectly average entry in the long-running fighting series. I’ve played almost all of them, and my favorites are Dimensions (3DS) and Dead or Alive 5 (PS3 & 360). I played the latter at E3 this year, and it’s gotten a significant and much-needed visual facelift. The physics are also better—take that to mean what you will. Kokoro is 17 years old during the events of DoA4 and uses a unique Bājíquán fighting style. She wants to be a geisha and a martial artist. Around the same time as DoA4, she starred in DoAX2—that appearance is what this figure is based on. By the way, DoAX2 is a terrible game and you should not play it, but the original—Dead or Alive Extreme Volleyball—is fantastic. It’s unfortunately not backwards-compatible on the Xbox 360, so you’ll need an old Xbox Classic to play it. Totally worth it, though. And let’s not forget Dead or Alive Paradise, which is basically DoAX2 on PSP: it is also awful, but it adds a cute new character, Rio (who is guest-starring from a Tecmo gambling property). View full article »

The subjects of our discussion today.

Ah, from such humble beginnings. Kotobukiya’s now-well-regarded Marvel/DC Bishoujo (“pretty girl”) line, which is based on the concept art of Shunya Yamashita, originated with a few Marvel offerings: Black Widow, Rogue, Phoenix, and Scarlett Witch (I never bought that last one). I can’t remember now why I was interested in these girls, because I don’t read Marvel comics and I’m not particularly fond of any of these characters. I did have the local comic shop call me when Black Widow and Rogue came in, but I basically bought Phoenix on an absolute whim—never a good idea—though she turned out pretty nicely. Over the years, these three 1/8th-scale girls have receded to the back of my figure shelf (the dresser) because every other figure I have outclasses them, especially the newer 1/7th-scale Bishoujo girls. So I’m not going to say I dislike these three, I just don’t like them as much as I used to. Ultimately, it’s a problem of comparison: they keep excellent company, so they end up looking a little worse for it. View full article »

The next year will be filled with expensive things that I want to buy. The recently announced 3DS XL, for one. $200 in August. Of course, the next Nintendo console is the Wii U, and while it has no release date or price, we’re all betting $300 or $350 in November. Also, my wife is going to Fairbanks to get her PhD in the fall. While she will be on sabbatical (and thus getting half pay) AND teaching in Fairbanks to make some money, we’re gonna have to pull in the reigns on spending. So some of that gaming stuff might have to wait until birthday or Christmas. Luckily, my birthday is in November. But of course there are figures I want, too. Don’t know if I’ll be able to get them all, but a girl can dream. View full article »

This is about as Safe for Work as it’s gonna get, kids.

This is absolutely one of my favorite figures (my standard reprieve). Getting her, however, proved challenging, but she was a “first” in several respects that enabled me to move forward as a figure collector. Like so many of my non-bishoujo purchases, I was locked in by this review of Eleanor on that old standby, Tentacle Armada. It was love at first sight, but a few problems instantly presented themselves: Eleanor is completely topless. That bikini top isn’t castoffable; it’s just an accessory in her hand. She’s also extremely well-endowed—unrealistically well-endowed? Probably, although the internet never ceases to amaze me. The topless aspect certainly didn’t bother me, but I figured my wife might take issue with it. The other challenge was that Eleanor didn’t have an American distributor, so my options were limited to the internet. I had successfully purchased Tamaki from Amazon on sale, and had considered online again for Kobobukiya’s “Venus on the Beach” Kasumi, who I found in town by luck alone, and then with Yamato’s wonderful Velvet from Odin Sphere, who I ordered through a local comic shop because Velvet DID get an American distributor. Eleanor, however, would be harder to come by. View full article »

She's got more curves than...uh...(insert Daytona reference here).

Tamaki here is from a Japanese visual novel series called To Heart 2, which involves an all-girls school and, from what I can only assume, lots of sexualized shenanigans. The series has since expanded into an anime, a manga, and probably other things that I haven’t really cared to keep up with. Tamaki, despite having a supporting role in the series, is one of the most popular figures to sculpt. I knew that, eventually, I’d end up with a Tamaki figure, and I’m happy it was this one—which I got for a freaking song on Amazon. I had been eying Tamaki’s “Temptation” figure, but it was more expensive and I really didn’t like the stupid chain around her waist (which could easily be cut off, I realize). Then I saw this “PANIC!” statue—which seems to be a moment-to-moment sequel to the Temptation figure—and I had to have it. A conflagration of features caused forced my hand: the expression, the dynamic pose, the hips, the waist, the bust. Tamaki is a study in curves, which I appreciate. View full article »

Well, it was either this or Tamaki Kousaka, who I will eventually get to, I SWEAR. But Wonder Woman is shiny and new, and I got her right before my ridiculous hosptialization, so she’s fresh in my (injured, swollen) mind. You’ll recall that these figures are conceptualized by Shunya Yamashita, and in Catwoman’s case, I liked the concept art better than the final figure. It’s the opposite here, and to a larger degree. While this is not the final concept art, it is pretty darn close to what ended up plastered onto her box:

Cardboard Cutout

I don't like anything about this concept art.

I mean, look at her. Her hips are wider than her shoulders, she has no waist, her left leg appears to be longer than her right leg, and she’s…flat. This is just a bad drawing of Wonder Woman. Whoever the actual sculptor was on this thing, I have to give big props for vastly improving the design. While the basic form pose is the same, everything…everything about the final sculpture is infinately better than the initial or final concept art…Thank Cthulhu. Now, we all know Wonder Woman, right? She just got a costume change (and an enormous retcon), in fact, designed by Jim Lee. View full article »

I’ve been gone awhile! What’s been going on? Long story short, I was in the hospital for eight days getting a brain abscess cleaned out. Then I came home and got to laze around for about a week. I’m still on heavy medications but I’m back at work and I’m taking pictures of my girls again. So I’m not dead! Yay! But while I’m getting the next post ready, I was wondering if you readers could help me with something. First, observe the horror:

The blotches! They burn!

Injured by repetitious cast-offing, Kokoro now has horrible black scars.

This is Kotobukiya’s excellent “Venus on the Beach” Kokoro, in posterior view. Please not the black splotches on her thigh, shoulders, and neck. These come from removing (or putting on) her alternate costume, which is something I don’t do anymore for this reason specifically: it ruins her paint job! My question for all you readers is this: is there a way to paint over or clean off the offending splotches? I imagine it would be extremely difficult to get an exact match for her skin tone paint (especially since it darkens or lightens along the body). I can’t see this stuff from the front, of course, but it annoys me to know it’s there. Am I screwed, or is there a way to fix this? Thanks in advance for any help you all can offer (if any)! And I promise to get a full figure review up within the week! It’s either going to be the new Bishoujo Wonder Woman or Tamaki Kousaka.

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