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. Continue reading
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). Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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:
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.
- Little Red Riding Witch
I can’t blame you if you have absolutely no idea who Velvet is. She’s from an obscure Atlas action/RPG called Odin Sphere. The fact that it’s an Atlas games means that it’s already a niche title, but Velvet was not the primary protagonist in that game and any character your mind may dredge up in association with mentions of this title are probably Gwendolyn. Velvet is Gwendolyn’s half-sister, a witch from the fallen kingdom of Valentine. Like all the other player-characters in the game, Velvet carries Psypher jewels, which absorb enemy spirits (Phozons). Phozons act as experience but also power your magic attacks. Odin Sphere is a beautiful, excellent game that is unfortunately hampered by unfortunate, dare I say gamebreaking, faults. First and foremost, the PS2 hardware can’t actually run it the game. Every time a handful of enemies gather onscreen, the framerate drops to a crawl (especially once you start attacking). Additionally, there’s way too much inventory management and alchemy/cooking crap. Odin Sphere is all about giving you options, but there’s something to be said for simplification. I’ve heard rumors of a fixed-up port appearing on PSN, but nothing substantial has come out of that. It would be nice, though. Continue reading