Friday, May 11, 2012


This announcement has been coming for a long time. When I returned from Japan back in September of 2009 I lost half the will to keep with the blog, and that will was getting weaker and weaker until about a year ago, when I totally lost all of it.

I didn’t want to say it, and pretty much forced myself to keep with the blog, mostly as a token of gratitude to my followers, the people that I know in person and reads this blog from time to time and the people that keeps writting constructive comments... I’ve been trying to keep up to date this blog for quite a few months, lately I tried to increase the number of posts each month and even tried new things like doing the Mahou Tsukai no Yoru summary in "real time" but with no luck and forcing myself to do it just makes me loath it all the more.

Recently I got diagnosed a nervous breakdown. Now I'm reconsidering the priorities in my life and this blog is not in the top. I want to have one less pressure on my shoulders for now, one less stress so I can try and get myself back together once more.

So Soth's Blog is going on indefinite hiatus. I may return in a couple of months, a couple of years or perhaps I move to another chapter in my life and drop this blog for good, I don't know.

So as a goodbye I'm going to post all the stuff I received months ago and was unable to do a proper review:

1/6 Saber Extra by Clayz (sculpted by Miyagawa Takeshi), 1/6 Caster Extra by Phat (sculpted by iTANDi), 1/8 Minase Iori Ryugu Komachi Ver. by Wave (sculpted by Abira) and 1/6 Ayanami Rei Cross Ver. by Amie Grand (sculpted by Suzu)

Valkyria Chronicles 3 Extra Edition for PSP (not played),  Valkyria Chronicles 3 Complete Artworks (not opened to avoid spoilers), and the limited Black Label edition OVAs in Blu-ray (not even unwrapped).

Fate/complete material V Hollow material and Carnival Phantasm Official Guidebook

 THE iDOLM@STER Character Master, THE iDOLM@STER Platinum Album, THE iDOLM@STER DS Delicious Album, Marugoto iDOLM@STER For You! and THE iDOLM@STER Twins Precious Album Guidebook

Doujinshi from circles Nurumaya, King Revolver and Kurusugawa Pikumin Tei

TYPE-MOON manga: Shingetsutan Tsukihime volumes 7 to 10, Fate/stay night volume 17, All Around Type-Moon manga, the paperback version of Kara no Kyoukai Mirai Fukuin chapter and several postcards that are Tora no Ana store exclusives.

Well, it's all for now. I hope to see you guys as soon as utterly possible,


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

1/8 Saber & Tohsaka Rin Summer Ver. by Alter

Released last year's July 1/8 Saber & Tohsaka Rin Summer Ver. by Alter are the oldest figures in my "to review" list. Now I still have 4 unopened figures (for now), but at least those are releases of this year...

Both are sculpted by Numakura Toshiaki, who also did an Ayanami figure also by Alter and Alter's Aozaki Touko alternate head, and is inspired by a Takeuchi Takashi illustration used for the C79 goods. Both figures are rather plain, and probably that is why costs only 4,800 yen each instead of  about 7,000 yen, that in the past few years became the usual price for 1/8 figures.

The illustration theme was "Summer Holiday", so it displays Saber in a very light and casual summer wear.

 Close up of the rather pleasant face.

 Side view. The figure itself is pretty simple, without intricated details or an over-exagerated pose.

Back view. I like Saber better with Saber Lily's hairstyle (or completely down) than her usual bun.

Rin is also wearing a simple summer clothing, and being red does a pretty good combination with Saber's white.

 Face close up.

 Side view. Is not really appreciable in the pictures, but she's wearing shorts and not a mini skirt.

 Back view.

Each one includes a postcard with a Takeuchi illustration with Saber and Rin doing the same pose of the figures (the original one was different).

Monday, May 7, 2012

30th Barcelona International Comic Fair

From the 3th of this month to the 6th, it was held the 30th International Comic Fair in Barcelona, that with about 100,000 visitors each year is the largest comic convention in Spain and one of the biggest worlwide.

I used to go every year until 2004, and since then I never went again until now because of two main reasons. The first one is because several years ago this convention splitted to form the Barcelona Manga Fair, that is also pretty big (65,000 visitors per year) and is only focused in manga, anime and videogames, and I rather prefer to go to a manga only convention that a general one. The second reason is that it turned in a huge marketplace with overpriced stuff that you can order via internet all the year round, and usually the guest artists are not really worth the trip for me.

So at the end I only go to Spanish conventions only if they have a guest artist that I'm fan of: last time I went to a Barcelona Manga Fair was in 2006 when the guest artists included Nakajima Atsuko (character designer for the anime versions of Ranma 1/2 and Taiho Shichauzo), Monkey Punch (veteran manga artist mostly know for Lupin III) and Katsura Masakazu (Video Girl Ai, I''s, Zetman...), and this time I went because of Nagai Go, a very prolific author with over 100 main franchises and countless minor works, but is probably best known for creating Cutie Honey, Devilman, and Mazinger Z. 

Mazinger Z was specially covered in this convention because is it's 40th anniversary. It was the series that made me interested in "Japanese cartoons", and after all those years is still one of my favorite old school series despite not being a fan of the mecha genre. So yeah, I went only to see Nagai and a few original drawings of him that were displayed.

This is the closest I was able to aproach to Nagai in the first day.

Nagai's originals

Yumi Sayaka was my first 2D love...

Since by extension the convention main theme this year was "Robots and Comics", a few Tezuka's originals of Astroboy were on display as well.

Nagai only signed to 160 persons (80 in one day and another 80 the following day) that were selected by lucky draw among the people who purchased Mazinger Z related merchandise, so in order to participate for the last session I purchased:

The complete Blu-ray collection of the Spanish edition of Shin Mazinger Shougeki! Z Hen and the volume one of the original manga.

Shin Mazinger was a reboot of the series that was aired in 2009, and mixed elements from different Mazinger continuities (Great Mazinger, Z Mazinger, Mazinkaiser...) and references to other works by Nagai (mostly Violence Jack). I didn't like Shin Mazinger that much when was airing (I dropped it after episode 5) because it was mixing from way too many sources, but now that I have it I'll give it a chance, I guess.

Anyways, I was one of the winners!

The illustration was printed specially for the event and he was only signing that. He also wrote the name of each person in romaji, but I asked him to write my name in katakana (the rest of the people said their names to the translator, the translator wrote down the name in a paper and Nagai Go copied the name from the paper). He also shaked hands with me, but I have no photo of the moment...

This is the moment he shaked hands with the guy before me.

Since I was there, I took a few photos of the exhibitions as well:

An exhibition of originals of Spider-man to commemorate it's 50th anniversary. In the picture, a John Romita Sr. cover.

DC originals covering the latest revamp "New-52" were displayed as well, like this Batman from the new series drawn by Greg Capullo.

A litography in the corner dedicated to the recently late Moebius

A display of originals of Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay

A really nice canvas by the Spanish illustrator Luis Royo

And as usual in this kind of events, a bunch of people was cosplaying. I never take pictures to cosplays, but this time I did an exception:

A couple cosplayed as Battler and Beatrice from Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mahou Tsukai no Yoru - Chapter 4 SPOILERS


After a brief flashback of the time when Aoko became the sucessor of the Aozaki's magecraft, Aoko and Alice are holding a meeting in the mansion talking about the unexpected intruder and the progress on their investigations of who he was. Alice is using her magical birds familiars to search the town, but they are pretty innefective at night, while Aoko is using Tobimaru and the student council data to gather info about the students that are loitering late at night.
Aoko says with animosity that perhaps is Alice fault for not casting correctly the magic barrier, but Alice replies that the barrier was perfect as always. Then when Aoko is pondering what kind of powerful magus can break Alice barrier, Alice says that it was not a magus, it was a guy without any trace of magic.

Aoko, when decided to follow the way of magi a few days ago, was resolute to kill any magus that interfered with her, but now her target is a normal human... Alice asks again if she will continue that path, and Aoko replies that yes, that she wouldn't turn back. So then Alice gives her an empty medecine bottle that works as the red gourd that appears in Journey to the West (a person is trapped inside once you open the lid and call his name), but the bottle can be break if the person inside resists with full force.

Then both take supper together, while Aoko explains how this morning Yamashiro asked her to help to decide Soujuurou in an extracurricular activity team, and thinking to herself how he said that "she would understand" but she have no clue of what he was talking about. Alice interrupts her thinking saying that Aoko wants to fight that person.  

Aoko overreacts saying that she doesn't have any interest nor she wants any relation with him and when Alice asks what is she babbling about, Aoko swiftly tries to change the subject. Alice finally asks if she really hates him, Aoko replies that of course, Alice asks why she hates him and Aoko finally catches the contradiction that there is no reason at all. Aoko keeps thinking about the reason for that irrational hate, and Alice leaves the room saying that it's pretty ucharacteristic for Aoko.

After supper, Aoko goes to her studio to make a plan. It must be a head to head battle even if her rival is a normal human, and decides to use a cage. She talks with Alice to finish the details of the plan. Alice suggest to trap him in a mirror world, and gives Aoko the idea of a mirror house. When alone, Alice talks with a robin if is a good idea leave Aoko alone, and decides to act as well.

At school the next day, Tobimaru gives the students reports to Aoko, saying that transfer students like Soujuurou are still not included but most likely is not him because he returns late after his job but he said that night saw an strange murder, so most probably had a bad dream at his home. Aoko says to herself that it can't be.
Once outside Aoko sees Alice in the school gate. She identified the pattern of the intruder in the magic barrier and is checking all the students. Once Soujuurou appears, he thanks Aoko for trying to find a club for him, but the swimming team, the one that Aoko "forceful suggested", rejected him because he can't swim. When is leaving, Aoko presents him an hypotetical situation: He is starving to death along with a kitten and a lion. If he had a gun at the moment, what animal he will kill? Soujuurou says that he will not kill anyone since all 3 are in the same situation.

When he leaves, Alice calls Aoko, but she replies that she also knows: Soujuurou is the witness.
In the story of the lion and the cat, the lion have more risk because it can counterattack, but since is a strong animal the use of a gun is kinda justified. The cat is the weakest target and everyone should feel bad for killing an undefenced animal. Soujuurou choose an outrageous option and opted to sacrifice himself. Killing Soujuurou, that came from the mountains and lives alone with no relatives in the city, feels like killing the cat for Aoko. She is getting angry until Alice notes the bandages Soujuurou have in the neck, and Aoko recalls how he is wearing them since the first time she saw him.
In the way home, Alice asks when she will kill him, and a smiling Aoko says that tonight, in the City of Dreams.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mahou Tsukai no Yoru - Chapter 3 SPOILERS

Chapter 3 is very short and consist of only one scene.  


Is a moonless night, Aoko recalls how a long time ago in a night like that she felt like something was following her and ran to her grandfather's place. Her grandfather said that "the red death was looking at her back", and certainly she felt a presence being closer to her each year it passes...

Aoko and Alice are in a park at night, preparing for Aoko's first battle. Alice casts a magic barrier, and Aoko activates her magic crest. She detects a figure lurking in the shadow and almost at the same moment the figure attacks her stretching its arms.  

Aoko dodges the attack and begins to cast a spell using a magic circle that was installed beforehand. The magic attack burns completely the attacker.

Aoko cautiously approach the body and sees that it doesn't have a face, is just a mannequin, but even despite that this was her first battle. Suddenly she realizes that they are not alone, because she sees a figure of a guy dressed with their school uniform.

She tries to chase him but is in vain since the guy runs away extremely quickly. Aoko doesn't know how he crossed the magic barrier, but since is a witness she must find and silence him.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mahou Tsukai no Yoru - Chapter 2 SPOILERS

Ten days have passed since Soujuurou began attending to school, and is slowly getting used to the school and to the life in the city. That day during the lunch break is dragged out of the classroom by Tsukiji Tobimaru, the vice president of the student council, to take part of the winter special cleaning group. Once in the student council room, Tobimaru reveals that he was asked to look after Soujuurou by order of the student council president Aoko. They both talk for a while, and the cynical Tobimaru is impressed by the honest personality of Soujuurou, and somewhat become friends.

In the conversation, Tobimaru explains the rumour of when Aoko entered high school her beatiful looks was secretely worshipped by fellow students, until one of them annoyed her too much so she kicked his face. Since then Aoko was labeled as a daredevil, and is not approached.  
Tobimaru says that if Soujuurou feels his heart pounding is not love but fear, but Soujuurou replies that he doesn't really understands his feelings towards Aoko. They didn't talk since their first meeting, but he sometimes feels the gaze from someone who is worried for him, and is very grateful to her for the explanations in the first day. He also says that the first time he saw Aoko he thought she was beautiful, and since she made the effort of showing her beatiful appearance he can judge her inner beauty as well. Tobimaru confuses that somewhat weird explanation as Soujuurou truly in love with Aoko.

After that Soujuurou begins to explain what happened to him yesterday at night, but the scene changes to Aoko asking for Soujuurou in his classroom. One of the classmates explains that he left with Tobimaru towards the student council room, so she dashes towards it. In the meantime Soujuurou finishes the explaination and asks Tobimaru if that is normal in the city. Tobimaru says that of course that's not normal, and he must had some sort of hallucination because of the fatigue due to overwork and the stress of living in an urban area. Sojuurou replies that he also thought it was not normal; a fight between a person using something like a flamethrower against a person holding some sort of extensive blade with the result of one student of his school killing a person in the park, but he was asking just to make sure.
After a while Aoko enters the room giving killer glares, and asks Soujuurou to quickly decide in an extracurricular activity team. He replies that he thought she would understand and it might be strong there, but leaves the room after saying that he will enter one club tomorrow. 

Once Soujuurou leaves, Tobimaru doesn't quite understand why she is so harsh towards a nice fellow such as Soujuurou, so he says that Soujuurou is in love with her. Aoko goes blank for a moment, but then react as if nothing happened. Tobimaru then asks for the reason she hates Soujuurou, and Aoko says that she doesn't understands her own feelings. Tobimaru notes that Soujuurou gave the exact same reply, angering immensely Aoko.

Soujuurou is working at one of his two part-time jobs at a pachinko parlour. One customer is using a machine that is giving a 100% hit ratio and since is in a blind spot of the security camera, the manager asks Soujuurou to check if is cheating or not. He goes to check the customer, and sees a woman slightly older than him, with red dyed hair, wearing glasses and a green dress. When they eyes meet, Soujuurou recognizes her as the same person of yesterday, feels panicked and rushes out of the pachinko parlour.

Once he makes sure nobody is following him, he sits at a train station. He ponders his situation, and relizes that his mind is very tired of the new experience of living in the city. The way of living in the city seems like magic to him, so maybe is not strange that an actual magician is hidding in the city as well...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

1/7 Tohsaka Rin -Unlimited Blade Works- by Good Smile Company

Another of the figures that I kept unopened until now is 1/7 Tohsaka Rin -Unlimited Blade Works- by Good Smile Company, released in June 2011.

Is part of the same series of 1/7 scaled figures by GSC (Saber, Saber Lily and Saber Alter), and the sculptor of this one is Yokota Takeshi (the usual romanization in the net is Yokota Ken even in Japanese websites, but Yokota Takeshi is as appears in the box and in the English page of Good Smile Company). The pose is based in the movie poster of Unlimited Blade Works:

Since the illustration is made by Yamanaka Kotetsu and not by Takeuchi Takashi, Rin's design is a bit different, with longer and lighter colored hair. Only because of that I can't say this is my favorite scaled Rin figure, and for me that spot is still kept by the first GSC figure of Rin.

And so, the figure have a very light brown hair. For me, Tohsaka's hair color is black (or deepest brown at most), not chestnut brown... but the definition of hair colors in anime characters is somewhat vague (Ciel's blue hair is described as black in-game, and pre-red haired Aoko is also described black haired when is clearly despicted as a brunette).

Side view. The paint finish in the clothes is very glossy, perhaps too much because she seems is wearing vinyl clothing (specially the stockings). I read that the second batch, that was released in late November, fixed that and the sweater had a mate finish.

 It comes with four interchangeable hands. The default ones are a right one holding the pendant and an empty left hand.

The alternate ones are a right hand holding the Azoth dagger and a left one holding magic jewels.

Rear view. The 3 swords included are not attached to the base and can be removed. Is a nice touch that all 3 have different shapes and longitudes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

1/8 Saber Lily by Gift

I keep piling unopened big scale figures. Yesterday I received a new one and still have six more that I need to review... so let's begin the figures reviews with one I received over 9 months ago: 1/8 Saber Lily by Gift.

Like the previously released Sakura and regular Saber, this figure is also sculpted by Toda Satoshi, that have a particular sculpting style of doing very detailed bodies and somewhat realistic faces that doesn't give an "anime feel".

This time there's no alternate heads sculpted by another artist, but is not really needed since this face is pretty good despite not being faithful to Saber original design. The face, and specially the eyes paintjob is much better than previous works by Toda, like his previous normal version Saber.

Side view. Since the carvings are more abundant in Lily's armor than in regular and Alter's ones, Toda sculpt abilities shines at his best here.

Rear view.

The base is mirrored, so the also very detailed underwear can be easily seen as well.