Range Murata CDB Figure

If you know me at all, then you know my passion for Range Murata's work. Pictures of the newest RM figure first appeared back in October 2007. I have yet to find any concrete or new information regarding this figure based on the third cover of CDB, so if anyone has any knowledge (like how to get my hands on one), please share. I've heard rumors that this figure, coming out May 1, 2008, will not come prepainted :( and will retail at around 7000 yen. Maybe it was once available through AmiAmi or I am just missing it, but I can't locate it there. If you've seen the original artwork for this particular figure before, you can immediately tell the perfect rendering and detail that has been put in this product.

UPDATE 05/06/2008:
Distributors are now taking pre-orders!! Expect this baby on July 31st.


Makoto Konno Pinky:st Figure

Makoto Konno, Pinky Street style, from The Girl Who Leapt through Time," is finally released and arrived at my doorstep this afternoon. As described in my earlier posts, 2 version of the Tokikake figure have been release, one donning Makoto with her red bicycle and the second showcasing Makoto brandishing a baseball bat. A Chara-Ani exclusive, each figure is retailed at about 1,500 yen.

Though if you do not live in Japan and/or did not preorder your figure ahead of time, be prepared to pay about 5 times more than that, if you're lucky to find one.

Just staring at this figure make me want to watch it again (...won't you join me Gendo? :P and maybe we can add a little "Kikujiro" in the mix?) It's time for some karaoke!


Akihabara Map ver1.10

An interactive map of Akihabara, eden for all otaku, has been created by the guys from Akihabara Channel, and in english no less! For anyone who knows a little about Akihabara, a map is essential for finding all the goodies the city has to offer. And most, if not all, are in japanese. AkibaCh's Akihabara Map ver1.10 lets you browse stores by categories. These categories include books, consumer games, PC games, visual/audio, hobby/figures, doujin, idol, cosplay, retro, trading cards, arcades, recreation, and transportation.

As the site warns, Akiba is constantly changing and growing, so you won't be able to find every single venue currently available. But nevertheless, this map is impressive. No doubt we will see its features continue to expand. Check out the map for yourself at http://akiba-ch.com/map.



From the guy who brought us the "Shin Megami Tensei series," Kouji Okada takes us on an adventure through seven mysterious realms breaching the lines between the human world and the netherworld. "Folklore" features two main characters with dual stories that are closely connected. Ellen, 22 years old, searches for answers and finds herself in the town of Doolin when she receives a letter from her supposedly dead mother. Keats, a 27-year old journalist for an occult magazine, receives a phone call from an unknown female asking for help. Ellen and Keats first encounter at Doolin sets forth their magical adventure with discovered special powers and odd encounters.

Story, story, story -- the most important aspect that either makes or breaks the game. For "Folklore," it definitely made it. The game has the perfect formula that equivalences to one heck of a game: a melodic
piano-filled soundtrack, a crew of great cast members, a unique interconnected storyline, crisp animation, interesting gameplay giving for a long lasting appeal, and innovative fighting mechanics.

Ask anyone who has picked up "Folklore" of their thoughts and no doubt you will hear praises and cheers of satisfaction. "Folklore" is outstanding -- finally a game that lives up to aims of innovation.



Tokyo Majin Vol. 1

The streets of Tokyo have become littered with waves of mysterious deaths involving zombie-like occurrences. And with it stands the last line of defense -- an odd group of high school students consisting of the slacker, the president of the student council, the transfer student, the archer, and the wrestler, each with their own powers.

The series starts with rather disjointed scenes and after the first episode, the basic plotlines of the series begin to merge. However, the story and script continues to be rigid and inconsistent. The only thing pulling for it is the nice undertones of the soundtrack, depicting appropriate ambience of horror and suspense. While this series is not too different from other supernatural stories, there may not be enough to keep you watching. Mediocre plot, average character development, less than average dub quality, and little staying power, "Tokyo Majin" stands as an average series better worth renting than buying. Nevertheless, at 12 episodes, it can be a nice treat for the casual viewer.


Gurren Lagann on Anime Network

The Anime Network, the cable on demand service available in the U.S., is bringing Gainax's "Gurren Lagann" via streaming video online. The best part is, it's in its original japanese language and english subtitles are provided!

"Gurren Lagann" takes place in a sort of apocalyptic future where humans have been forced to live underground in subterranean civilizations as "diggers," unable to gain contact with the surface. Two orphans named Simon and Kamina, with aims at breaking through the surface, make a startling discover when they do just that -- a world where beast-men attack humans using giant mecha called Gunmen. "Gurren Lagann" has a nice blend of action, drama, mecha, and comedy making it another big hit for Gainax.

Watch it at www.theanimenetwork.com/aod.


Castle Crashers Figures

Yes, the game isn't even out yet, but after catching a glimpse of these four figures a few months ago, they immediately caught my interest. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that The Behemoth is actually selling these cute and adorable figures on their online store. All four figurines, coming in blue, red, orange, and green, are fully poseable and comes with 4 weapons, a base, and a display case. If you're looking to buy the entire set (who wouldn't?), you're just in luck. Buy 3 knights, and the fourth is free. Whether or not you've intended to play this game, these bold knights are sure to appeal to all gamers and collectors the same. Only one question remains...where to put them?


Anime: Drawing a Revolution

If you didn't watch the Starz premiere of "Anime: Drawing of a Revolution" last night, here's what you missed. An hour-long documentary, "Anime: Drawing a Revolution" looks at anime in America and its impact on live-action movies.

Anime in America has definitely made long strides since its first inception via Astro Boy and Speed Racer. However, it is by no means understood by all Americans. The power of anime still alludes many, but be that as it may, that status can be quite advantageous. Regardless, this documentary takes an Anime 101 approach and as a whole, is borderline average to above average. It covers the basic elements and essentials of anime culture, but in the views that don't really encapsulate the culture. Nevertheless, it does paint some sort of picture to those not fully versed in the scene, whether they be perfectly accurate or not.


MPD-Psycho Vol. 1-3

Deemed too shocking to release, Eiji Otsuka's "MPD-Psycho" finally finds a distributor willing to bring anime fans what they want. Dark Horse Manga presents the manga, uncut and uncensored in all of its controversial and unflinchingly grotesque glory.

In Volume One, police detective Kobayashi Yousuke's life is changed forever after a serial killer notices something "special" about him. That same killer mutilates Kobayashi's wife and kick-starts a "multiple personality battle" within Kobayashi that pushes him into a complex tempest of interconnected deviants and evil forces. Shock wave after shock wave of disturbing events follow as we go deeper and deeper into the mystery of Kobayashi.

"MPD-Psycho" is sure to take you on a dark winding journey into complete madness. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. If you so dare, be prepared for a story not like any other. This is a masterpiece!

Volumes 1 through 3 are available now. Volume 4 is due out February 27, 2008.


Vampire Hunter D Manga Vol. 1

If you've ever indulged yourself in the saga of Hideyuki Kikuchi's "Vampire Hunter D," whether a little taste or an entire soak, then you know all too well the story of Doris Lang...first seen in the original novel, then adapted in anime, and now serving as volume 1 of the new manga series.

Adaptation, to no surprise, was done well and gives new readers a quick course into the world of D and provides a bit of nostalgia for old veterans. It may be redundant to provide a synopsis of the story, but since I'm here, why not? Doris Lang, a shall we say, voluptuous seventeen year old girl has been bit by Count Magnus Lee, the "resident nobility." With final doom waiting for Doris just around the corner, she seeks the aid of a vampire hunter. Enter D. I'll leave the rest for you to fill.

It should prove interesting the see how the rest of the manga series will go, especially how future adaptations of Kikuchi's stories not already published in another form other than the original novel will go. But we can only wait till volume 2 comes out in May 2008.


New York Anime Festival 2007 Recap

This was without a doubt a birthday weekend to remember as thousands of anime fans from coast to coast flocked to the big apple for this year's New York Anime Festival (NYAF).

As a special treat Kobun Shizuno presented the premiere trailer viewing of his latest work "Cross Climb," which is literally a cross between genres. Combining shonen and shoujo characteristics, it looks like "Cross Climb" dabs in a little bit of everything. Only time will tell if this risky blend is the perfect mixture. Check out the trailer below.

There was a lot of everything this year and I guess too much of a good thing had to end some time. Check back later for full coverage...


Alive Vol. 2

"Alive: The Final Evolution" Volume 2 gets it right with flying colors. Story and character development are set at a perfect pace and reveal and hide enough to make you keep asking for more.

With the end of a week filled with strings of mass suicides, things are getting even more interesting as Taisuke looks for his friends that have gone missing. Heading north, Taisuke makes several encounters giving way to more answers and even more questions. More "comrades" make an appearance, and the story's main themes become more solid.

Even just after 2 volumes, there is no doubt that "Alive" would make an awesome anime, and a popular one at that. If you haven't picked up Kawashima's "Alive" yet, now is the perfect time to catch up.


Yahoo! Japan and eBay Team Up

I'm trembling with utter joy and surprise as I type this. Every anime fan has at least one been blocked from getting that special item available only in Japan. We've developed different tactics to overcome this restraint -- from hoping your favorite importer(s) will get a hold of the item to paying extra money using a proxy service. But for Americans and the Japanese, this stops now. Yahoo! Japan and eBay have announced that the two companies would link up their services in 2008. This in turn will allow American bidders easier access to Japanese auctions, and vice versa.

Starting in March next year, Japanese consumers will be able to directly bid on international eBay items within Yahoo Auction Japan. And sometime in the middle of ‘08, similarly, a site will be set up that will allow Americans to bid and buy Yahoo Japan auction items through the eBay site. Thus eBay will be your one and only proxy service for Yahoo! Japan.

Today the two companies have already launched the website Sekaimon (”gateway to the world”) that translates international eBay auctions into Japanese in order to help Japanese speakers deal with payment and shipping. [Source: Moetron.com]


Yahtzee's Take on Assassin's Creed

Yahtzee is back with another review...this time taking on Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed." If you've played the game, I promise you, you will not stop laughing. Yahtzee hits every point perfectly and comes to the same conclusion. Though "Assassin's Creed" may not be totally spectacular, it doesn't suck. Minus the bugs scattered throughout the game, which by the way Ubisoft has no idea why, AC brings something new to the table and provides enough for you to continue playing it to the end.


Misato PVC FIgure

Kotobukiya releases an impressive figure of our very own NERV Operations Director Misato Katsuragi from the famed series "Neon Genesis Evangelion." This 1/6 scale PVC statue is very inquisitive with meticulous detailing. This is definitely Misato at her best making this statue extremely difficult to resist. Measuring about 7.5 inches tall, this statue will be released February 2008.

Just like "Ghost in the Shell's" Motoko Kusanagi (via Alter), after several years we finally have an extremely high quality figure of Misato Katsuragi worthy of the series. The series may be long done now, but it's about time we had a figure that matches the awesomeness that is EVA.


Vampire Hunter D Vol. 9

D, the mysterious vampire hunter, is back in his best adventure yet. The talents of Hideyuki Kikuchi most certainly knows no end. In Volume 9, "The Rose Princess," Kikuchi delivers an amazing and intricate story combining every element that makes his novels such a success, in a perfect balance that is beyond any explanation. "The Rose Princess" has easily become my favorite volume from the "Vampire Hunter D" series and can be taken as a standalone story or as part of a series.

Exploring the themes of life and death and immortality, Kikuchi asks: When you make a pact with the Devil, what happens when the Devil wants out?

In Sakuri, a young woman is about to be sacrificed to the vampiric Noblewoman princess who reigns over the village. But before the princess can drain the life from the woman, a young man tries to slay the vampire. He fails and manages to escape, but in doing so incurs the wrath of the entire town. The citizens of Sakuri have entered into a pact with the Undead princess and her monstrous bodyguards -- the Four Knights of the Diane Rose. With the ritual offering disrupted, the vampire's armored bodyguards vow to murder the villagers one by one until the would-be hero is captured.

When D learns of the villagers' bargain, he know he faces several almost impossible challenges -- can he rid the town of the parasitic demons that plague it? What is Sakuri's inhabitants dont' want to be rescued? And can he uncover the secret that even the vampire Noble is afraid to reveal?

Volume 10 "Dark Nocturne" is scheduled for release April 2008. In the meantime, Volume 1 of the new "Vampire Hunter D" manga is now available (my review coming soon).


NYAF Surprise

The New York Anime Festival is just around the corner and with it comes a celebration of classic and cutting-edge anime, manga, and Japanese culture, taking place December 7-9 in the heart of New York City via the Jacob Javits Conference Center. NYAF has developed an impressive list of premieres, screenings, exhibitors, musical guests including Unicorn Table, and guests of honor featuring Kobun Shizuno (co-Director of "Evangelion: You are [not] alone 1.0")!!

I've been working hard to figure out how to fit NYAF into my schedule, hoping to set-up my travels for work to coincide with this awesome event. Only just last week did I admit defeat with a workload that seems unrelenting and continuously growing. Nevertheless, Friday afternoon brought me a great surprise. For those who don't know, I'm turning 25 on December 8th and as fate would play it, my sister, looking for a birthday present, just happened to come across this event. Little did she know that I had been eyeing this very same event for months now. So there you have it -- a great gift indeed and quite a surprise for that matter. See you all at NYAF 2007!

For more detailed information on this huge festival, check out www.nyanimefestival.com.