Saturday, December 31, 2011

Carnival Phantasm 2nd Season

With over a month of delay since I received it, here's Carnival Phantasm 2nd Season review.

Carnival Phantasm 2nd Season, the limited edition book CP Dokuhon and Toranoana exclusive clear book featuring Saber Alter and long haired Arcueid.

Like the first season, a large amount of it is directly based on Takenashi's TAKE MOON, but several pieces of it are original contents.

Saber Alter's pose based on this figure

Saber Extra short cameo. Her "it's not see-through, I'm showing it" line is priceless.

Like the previous season, both Blu-ray and dvd discs are included, no subtitles and the special audio commentary this time is made by Tiger Dojo Taiga and Bloomers Illya.
There's also a Special section that includes a playthrough of "Illya's Castle" minigame from Fate/hollow ataraxia with the characters audio commentaries.

CP Dokuhon (reading book), includes the script of the audio track "Teach me Ciel-sensei" from the previous season, a character settings section, a section of special illustrations (like the eyecatch scenes), an early storyboard with contents that never went to production and a couple of short manga by Kengou Yagumo and Keikenchi.

Character settings for Arcueid and Saber

Eyecatches from the first episode

Storyboard with Saber Lily versus Princess Arcueid in the unused opening

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Young Ace December '11

Aggh... the pending reviews keep piling up, and as more time passes since I received the goods the less interest I have in doing the reviews, and thus they keep piling over and over... Anyways, I'll try to continue with them, even if it's months late...

I decided to review Young Ace December '11 issue first because we are still in December (altough the magazine was released in late November...).

As I said when I received the previous issue, the extra included in this one is an original Fate/Zero clock drawn by Takeuchi featuring Saber, Irisviel and Illya, all wearing Iri's dress.
As expected is a rather cheap clock, but the illustration is gorgeous.

There's only two of the series included that I'm interested in. One of them is Fate/Zero by Shinjiro:

Loli Rin arguing with Kotomine.

And the other is Shin Seiki Evangelion by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki:

Rei "betraying" Gendou.

In the manga version this is the second Rei and not the 3rd, but even with that it seems that the end will be similar to the movie. And because Sadamoto's pace, this will be the last chapter for months...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

IDOLM@STER Blu-ray & Gravure For You! Vol.1

And this is the last part of the coverage of THE iDOLM@STER 2 for PS3, covering the first volume of the Blu-ray and also the first volume of Gravure For You!

The vol. 1 of the Blu-ray includes only the first two episodes, a pretty usual thing in Japanese releases. I don't have any complain about the quality of the image or the sound, both are pretty high.

Like is usual in Japanese Blu-ray releases, the extras are very few. The "Special" section includes creditless opening and ending (of both episodes) and the extended episode preview from the website.
"Sound" section includes the normal track and an extra audio commentary track by Nakamura Eriko (Haruka), Kugiyama Rie (Iori), Shimoda Asami (Ami-Mami) and Nigo Mayako (Yayoi). Their commentaries are pretty random, and with little to no relation with what is happening on the screen at that moment.
No subtitles available.

There's also a bonus cd included in the package called Perfect Idol 01, that contains four tracks: "I'm So Free!" (sung by Miki, Azusa and Takane), "Relations -Jazz Rearrange Mix-" (Miki), "Tonari ni... -Jazz Rearrange Mix-" (Azusa) and "Kimi wa Melody -Jazz Rearrange Mix-" (Takane). Jazz tones in iM@S songs doesn't work too well, and the only new song "I'm So Free!" is clearly the best song in the cd, but not really that great.

Gravure For You! is a PS3 game that is includes in the limited version of the Blu-ray. Well, "game" is not really accurate, since the only thing you can do is to take pictures of the girls. You control the camera and you can give commands to the girls about how to pose. The photos can be easily exported in JPEG format.
In this first volume there's only one costume available, the "beauty swimsuit", but it seems that from volume 2 onwards there are two costumes available.

Some random photos:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

IDOLM@STER 2 Ryuuguu Komachi extra episodes

After clearing the game for the first time (with Takane), I finished the four Ryuuguu Komachi extra mini episodes, perhaps one of the biggest additions in this PS3 port.

You play as the Producer from the same timeline of your regular gameplay, after Ryuuguu Komachi loses the nomination to the Idol Academy awards against Touma but before your unit goes to the finals.
Seeing that the RK members lost all the motivation, Ritsuko asks the Producer to help as a "support Producer" taking care of one of the girls instead of her.
With you as a new support, RK participates in the Idol Ultimate tournament (was the main event in IDOLM@STER SP) with a new set of clothes and a new song: "Nanairo Button".

Each extra episode consist in three weeks, each one facing a rival in a festival, and before and after the battle you do some automatic communication sessions that develops the story. Ryuuguu Komachi level ups and gains memory appeals automatically, so you don't have to do anything besides try to aim for a perfect communication and win the festivals.

Each of the four girls have an unique story. Only 6 communications seems rather short, but the main game doesn't include many more than that so in comparison the lenght of about one hour is rather acceptable.

Iori was humiliated as the trio leader with their defeat against Touma, and gets more angry once meets with him, who's also participating in the IU as a member of Jupiter at the same time is participating against your unit in the IA awards.

Adding insult to injury, Touma doesn't even remember her and on the contrary remembers the Producer.

After a series of tsun tsun episodes, Iori gets pretty dere dere with the Producer before the final match against Jupiter.

So at the end RK wins and all is laughs and happiness with you...

Well, at least until you tumble onto her and you get called a mega pervert.

Azusa is leaving to one side her search for her fated one for a while and instead focuses in her role in the RK unit as the more mature one. She progressively relies more and more into to you as the Producer, until you say that her true Producer is Ritsuko. She gets depressed until you says that is not necessary to meet only one fated person, that all RK members and their fans are "fated persons" to Azusa.

After winning against Jupiter, she rejects Hokuto, who was flirting with her.

In the party after winning the IU, all members of RK cunningly leave Azusa alone with the Producer, and she bashfully ask what he will do if she finds her only one fated person...

Out of the four Ryuuguu Komachi members, Ami is my least favorite one, so the summary and photos will be scarse. She acts very childish (even more than usual) and seemingly without any worry, but all was a facade to hide she was really nervous fearing another lose in the finals. You promise her that if RK win, you will fulfill a wish. Ami gets pretty excited about it and wins the finals.

The wish she asks at the end is to have 100 more wishes...

If you select Ritsuko, she gets pretty astonished since she thinks the members with troubles are the other 3 girls and not her, but she accepts the offer. She works as a producer "as it says on the book", and because of that is somewhat strict with the girls. Producer says that every producer have his or her own way to do the things, and a confident Ritsuko overworks even more her unit, so at the end you need to restrain her and sugest that she should communicate more with her unit.

Ritsuko is quite happy with you teachings, and says that if is not by the Producer, her unit would not stand a chance in the finals.

RK wins the finals, and all the members call Ritsuko to do the encore together, since she is also a member of Ryuuguu Komachi. Since the game can't do 4 persons performances, they also call Mami and together do "Smoky Thrill" as a quintet.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I received the PS3 version of THE iDOLM@STER 2 a few days ago, after a long retention in customs. The odd thing is that when I ordered IM@S2 for Xbox it was also held in customs for almost a month...

The contents are:
  • Box to contain the all the 9 Blu-ray
  • Short novel Kotori Working by Takahashi Tatsuya (scenario writer of the original To Heart)
  • "I-Gra!!" magazine
  • Blu-ray vol. 1 (episodes 1 and 2) with the cd "Perfect Idol 01"
  • IM@S2 game soundtrack (includes all the BGM)
  • IM@S2 game
  • Gravure for You! vol. 1
  • Film strip
  • Postcards with the photos from the ending of episode 2

I'll enter in detail of the game, Gravure for You! and the blu-ray in future posts, so for now I'll only cover the rest.

Kotori Working explains Kotori's daily life in the office. Includes a few pages drawn by Minazuki Tooru (character designer of the original To Heart)

I-Gra!! is a mock idol magazine, much like the ViDaVo! magazine that came with iDOLM@STER Dearly Stars. Includes a photo session, interviews and a few manga pages.

The idols covered in this issue are Haruka and Iori.

And the film strip that I got have this scene of Kotori on the phone (and one ribbon of Haruka).