Friday, March 30, 2012

IDOLM@STER Blu-ray & Gravure For You! Vol. 5

Received just a while ago, this is the review of the 5th Blu-ray of iDOLM@STER and Gravure For You! Vol. 5 for PS3.
The episodes included are 12, 13 and 14 and again the "Special" section includes creditless endings and the extended episode previews from the website.
The extra audio commentary track features Hara Yumi (Takane) Asakura Azumi (Yukiho), Hasegawa Akiko (Miki) and Wakabayashi Naomi (Ritsuko).

This time the extras included are the usual ending postcards, the I-Gra!! magazine, the bonus cd Perfect Idol 03 and the booklet Key Art Collection Volume 2.

Ending postcards. Episode 13 was the mid-run episode and only had one picture.

Perfect Idol 03, contains as usual four tracks: "Kimi no mama de" (sung by Haruka, Yukiho and Ritsuko), "Otome yo Taishi o Idake!! -NEO ACOUSTIC Rearrange Mix-" (Haruka), "Kosmos, Cosmos -NEO ACOUSTIC Rearrange Mix-" (Yukiho) and "Massugu -NEO ACOUSTIC Rearrange Mix-" (Ritsuko).

Key Art Collection Volume 2 is a selection of genga illustrations from episodes 7 to 13.

Shocked Haruka from episode 9

Miki's smile in episode 13

Gravure For You!
Vol. 5 setting this time is a female room using "Good Sleep Pajama" and the white version of "School Swimsuit". In "Extras" section you can choose "Nekomimi Mode", that adds white cat ears and tail to the swimsuit

Random photos:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Street Fighter x Tekken

A brief post to list my latest PS3 acquisitions: Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the limited edition of Street Fighter x Tekken.

I'm not going to do a lenghty rant about how the recent Capcom fighting games are nowhere as good as they used to be as I did in a previous post, but to summarize after playing the regular Marvel vs. Capcom 3 I adamantly refused to buy those games and was my brother who finally bought them (Marvel vs. Capcom 3 back in December and Street Fighter x Tekken last weekend).

After playing both games for a few hours against my brother, my opinion remains unchanged; I don't like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 at all and Street Fighter x Tekken is marginally tolerable at best. At least is interesting to see the "new" characters Hugo, Poison and Rolento in 3D renditions (I don't care about Tekken franchise since Tekken Dark Resurrection, that I have for the PSP).

The limited edition included this piggy bank shaped in form of a (fictional) SFxT arcade cabinet

The only interesting extra is a mini-mini comic booklet drawn by Udon Comics. Is nice to see Ingrid, a forgotten character that I really like, as the mastermind behind the Pandora Box...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Groundwork of Evangelion 2.0 Parts 1 & 2

Released in last year's May and last year's October, Groundwork of Evangelion 2.0 parts 1 and 2 are a selection of key animation drawings (genga) for the movie Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.

Unlike the Groundwork book for the first movie that was released in a single volume, the second movie is divided in two books. Part 1 is 328 pages long and includes (as the title suggests) the first half of the movie (up to the scene of Asuka trying to make dinner) and part 2 is 384 pages long and covers the second part of the movie.

Like previous Groundwork books by Gainax, the first few pages are in color and includes promotional pictures plus the genga versions of it.

Fanservice Mari that was the cover of the last issue of Continue magazine

This part also includes some full colored key animations.

The rest are a selection of key animations. Some of them are rather lenghty sequences while other are just a few eye-catching scenes. Some random pages:

Rei at the school

Naked Asuka without censorship!

Mari in the Eva-02

Kaworu final scene with the Evangelion Mark.06

Plugsuit Rei and Asuka before the battle with Sahaquiel

Eva-00 running sequence

Eva-01 extracting Zeruel's core

Eva-01 final form

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1/10 Kisaragi Chihaya & Ganaha Hibiki by Wave

And the last figure review (for now, since I have 6 more figures to review) is a double one, covering 1/10 Kisaragi Chihaya and 1/10 Ganaha Hibiki by Wave, released in November and January respectively under the Beach Queens figure line.

Chihaya sculpt is by Clumsy Zero, who also sculpted Beach Queen Azusa.
Unlike the rest of the Beach Queens THE iDOLM@STER characters, Chihaya uses the swimsuit from the second game. Is not a big deal in Chihaya because she hardly changed from the first game to the second (even keeping the same bust size despite aging one year), but it can be a bit of a problem if Wave keeps releasing iM@S characters (the already released Miki, Azusa and Haruka have all their iM@S 1 designs, and most of the characters that are left are quite different in their iM@S 2 appearance...)

It includes two faces, one smiling and one ashamed. This is the smiling one.

And this is the ashamed. Note that both arms can be moved a little.

Side view featuring all the glamour of Miss 72.

Back shot.

Hibiki is sculpted by Abira, who also did Takane figure and Haruka.
Unlike Chihaya that have the problem that is using her newest design, Hibiki (like Takane) uses the same swimsuit in both iDOLM@STER SP and iDOLM@STER 2, so she can represent either continuity.

As usual, it also includes two heads, a winking one...

...and a normal one.

Side view. The only complain that I have is that is too pale! Being Okinawan, Hibiki is the only iM@S girl that is tanned and is not reflected in the figure.

Back view.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nendoroid Petit Fate/stay night Extension Set by Good Smile Company

Keeping with the figure reviews, next is Nendoroid Petit Fate/stay night Extension Set by Good Smile Company, released in October.

Is the extension to the previously released Nendoroid Petit Fate/stay night set, adding some missing characters: Archer, Saber Alter, Lancer, Caster and Berserker.

Berserker is really huge (about the size of a normal nendoroid) with articulated joints in thumbs wrists, arms neck and legs. It includes an alternate right hand holding his massive axe-sword.

Archer and Lancer. Archer have extra parts to display him either with a bow (first picture) or with his swords (picture above).

Saber Alter and Caster. Saber Alter includes an extra piece of hair with the visor, and Caster includes a hood to cover her head.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

1/6 Miura Azusa -Moment of Fate- by Good Smile Company

And now let's resume the figure reviews, starting with one I purchased back in July, 1/6 Miura Azusa -Moment of Fate- by Good Smile Company.

Released back in 2007, is still the best iDOLM@STER figure so far.
It was in my wishlist for a while but I never decided to buy it because of the abusive price (it was originally 9,800 yen, but now you can't find it for less than 20,000), but I finally bought it before the airing of the anime to avoid a price increment due to the raise of popularity.

Sculpted by Unikurage, this figure was sold only via the now defunct Idolmaster Official Goods Shop as part of the Birthday Commemoration goods.
The sculpt is flawless and the coloring is perfect. Is not only the best iM@S figure, but is among the best figures I've seen.

Even her dog Toratan is sculpted nicely.

Front side. The bouquet is quite heavy and uses an extra support in form of a plastic rod (not pictured because is rather ugly).

Back side. The wedding dress is stylish and fits perfectly Azusa.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fate/side side materiale complete

To complete yesterday's review of Fate/complete material IV Extra material, this entry is the review for the extra artbook also included, Fate/side side materiale complete.

As I said in the previous entry, this book compiles the previous 3 side side materiale books with an extra one only for this edition.

The side side materiale books (nicknamed "Are Hon" or "That Book") were the exclusive bonus if you preordered the Fate games directly from TYPE-MOON's webpage. Fate/side side materiale was the extra of Fate/stay night, Fate/side side materiale 2 was the extra of Fate/hollow ataraxia and Fate/side side materiale 3 was the extra of Fate/stay night [Réalta nua].
As can be seen in the picture above, the format of this book is considerably larger than the original releases.

The contents of those books is rather random, mostly congratulation messages from the staff members and guest artist making pictures to commemorate the release of the game. There's also a lot of stuff that is hardly categorizable and doesn't fit anywhere else, so it ends in those books as well.

Random photo of Fate/side side materiale 1, draft for the opening movie.

Random photo of Fate/side side materiale 2, the message from Takeuchi, and early designs of Caren and Kaleido Ruby.

Random photo of Fate/side side materiale 3

By the way, those 3 books were very limited and are now collector items expensive and hard to find (specially the first book) but are available to download in pdf format at TYPE-MOON webpage.

And now the new contents:

Random Takeuchi's drafts from diverse sources: his webpage, covers from the spin-off games...

Magical girl Saegusa Yukika

Guest illustrations. Caster Lily by Koyama Hirokazu and Rin by Takayama Kisai

I particulary like this drawing by Morii Shizuki homaging this legendary Chun-li picture by Bengus/CRMK