Cloud + Sephiroth Static Arts Figures

The latest from Square Enix come in the form of 2 static arts figures from the "Final Fantasy" series. The Cloud and Sephiroth PVC figures are each retailed at $149.99 and will be released April 30, 2009. So if you've got your eyes set on these, you'll want to preorder them now. Ah, Sephiroth...my goal still remains with the Masterpiece Arts Figure. But these Static Arts figures are pretty sweet nevertheless.

Also coming soon are Play Arts figures of the duo as seen at the Coliseum at Kingdom Hearts.


Thanksgiving 2008

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! If you haven't done so already, go ahead and nab yourself your very own LBP Turkey Head for that special SackBoy or SackGirl (available free on the Playstation Store. And as a bonus treat, Chimera have invaded LBP and can be claimed for just $1.99.

So...happy gaming with a sprinkle of anime goodness to all!! And to end, thanks to all my readers, I appreciate the fact that you value my otaku ramblings and keep coming back. Arigato!


Nendoroid Figure Phenomenon

The upward trend of nendoroid figures doesn't seem to be at risk of declining any time soon. The frequency of these adorable chibi-like figures quietly entered the scene and has now become a phenomenon that has seeped over countless of titles. These tiny 14cm figures come with interchangable faces, arms and legs. They would please any pinky:st fan in a heart beat.

The first few ones I laid eyes on were from the Vocaloid series, more specifically Hatsune Miku, and later Kaito, Rin and Len. Now we've got nendoroid figures of anime series including Death Note (Misa, L, Light, Ryuk), Ghost in the Shell Tachikomas, Lucky Star (Miyuki, Tsukasa), Haruhi Suzumiya, Kemeko Deluxe (Kameko, Emuemu), and Shuffle! Memories. Upcoming figures include Fate/Stay night, Idolm@ster, Magical Marine Pixel, Gurren Lagann, and one that I'm looking very forward to Nozomu Itoshiki from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei! Look for Nozomu at the end of March 2009. Good Smile Company is quickly becoming one of my favorite figure maker/distributor. Nendoroid.org has a catalog of all released Nendoroid figures.


Hideo Kojima Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Video game guru Hideo Kojima receives an accolade truly deserving at this year's MTV Video Game Awards. Jade Raymond, producer of "Assassin's Creed" honor Kojima with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his Metal Gear Solid series. While Lifetime Awards are usually handed out to retirees, Kojima states that "...even though I received this award, let me state that I will not retire." Well said, Koji! I, as well as all your avid fans I'm sure, was relieved to hear that straight from you. Congratulations! Hopefully the wait for your next game won't be long. [Source: PS3 Fanboy]


Altair vs The Prince

After infiltrating MGS 4 via a costume bonus for our Old Snakou, Altair -- the most "fashion-forward" assassin in the video game industry, has a new mission and will now infiltrate the new "Prince of Persia" game for the PS3 and Xbox 360 due out December 2nd. The Altair playable character will be available to all players on only one condition: you must register on the official Ubisoft website to nab yourself some Altair in your Prince of Persia. The prince from "Sands of Time" will also be available to customers who preorder the game at Gamestop. So you're mission is clear -- go and infiltrate!!!


Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals

Sent in by my sporadic contributor yet very frequent and devoted reader, Reza, PETA (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has posted their Thanksgiving-themed parody of a Nintendo cooking game we know as "Cooking Mama." In "The Unauthorized PETA Edition of Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals," you test your cooking skills to see if you're meaner than mama. It's quite entertaining (and timely, considering that Turkey day is a week away) especially if you're already a fan of the "Cooking Mama" franchise.

In a response to PETA's recently released flash game, Majesco Entertainment states in their press release -- in defense and on behalf of Mama -- that there are more than 25 vegetarian-friendly recipes available in Mama's latest game - "Cooking Mama World Kitchen, out this week for the Nintendo Wii. Way to represent Majeso! [Source: Kotaku]


X JAPAN Yoshiki's Apology to Paris + Japan

Now it's no big secret that X JAPAN has recently served up another huge upset. Due to my distraught and frustration, I had been reluctant to write about it, but this note from Yoshiki's blog has changed my mind. Just in case you're not caught up with all the details, let me summarize it for you. X JAPAN is the reigning champion of rock and the first and biggest upset was the news of their break-up. Time passes and they get back together for a spectacular 3-night reunion tour. Fans all over renewed their love for X JAPAN, only to find out that all future tour plans would be cancelled due to an injury on Yoshiki's part (just as a side note: if my tone sounds bitter at all, I assure you it's not...well, excluding some parts). So anyways, excitingly enough, they announce a new tour schedule. And now to bring you to the present time, they have since canclled all tour plans for the rest of the year.

Now, Yoshiki writes:

Je vous présente toutes mes excuses. Je suis vraiment désolé....Je ne sais pas comment décrire mes sentiments envers nos fans, vous qui vous êtiez réjouis à l'idée de voir les concerts de X Japan à Paris et au japon. Même si la decision n'était pas la mienne… J'en prends pleine responsabilité…Et je ne le prends pas à la légère.

J'en ai encore le coeur serré. Je ne supporte pas la douleur d'àvoir brisé le coeur de nos très très cher fans, vous qui m'avez tant soutenus toutes ces années.

J'avais vraiment hâte de faire ces concerts mais notre companie de production a beaucoup de problèmes à resoudre avant que nous puissions recommencer notre tournée.

J'étais prêt à partir en tournée dans n'importe quelles conditions. Si nous avions pu être là, nous vous aurions offer le meilleur spectacle.

Parfois je déteste tout…Je déteste la vie…Je me déteste aussi…Haissez moi…. Haissez moi encore…Mais je vous aime toujours.

Je me demande parfois si j'aurais du rouvrir cette porte qui s'appelle "X Japan". Mais en meme temps, je ne sais pas non plus comment la fermer.

Avec Amour,
Okay, okay, I realize that you may not know french (not to mention my french is by no means polished), but in a nutshell, Yoshiki deeply apologizes for the turn of events. Though he knows we were looking forward to the upcoming concerts in Paris and Japan, and though the cancellation was beyond his control, Yoshiki still takes full responsibility. He writes to his loyal fans over all these years, that there were just too many problems with their production company to solve. He goes on to say that he was ready to offer the best performance ever. Sometimes he hates everything, he hates life, he hates himself, but Yoshiki states that he still loves all of X JAPAN's fans.

In reality, speaking for myself as a hardcore X JAPAN fan, along with a few friends of mine that share the same boat, my loyalty still remains and I can only be optimistic that one day (soon, hopefully), X JAPAN will give the performance of a lifetime in the U.S.


Range Murata "Chris Miyazawa" PVC Figures

We've got two more figures to add to the Murata Range PSE Collection (Products 002). Both at 8,000 yen and due out this December, these 1/7 scale PVC Chris Miyazawa figures come in a regular version (left) and a limited edition version (right).


Mirror's Edge

"Mirror's Edge" for the PS3 is interesting to say the least -- in it's attempt at a new game experience. However, it may throw off some users with it's trial and error design. Faith is a runner, who are basically underground couriers that deliver sensitive and confidential information from client to client. The actual story revolves around Faith and her attempts to clear her sister's name, a cop who has been framed for murder.

You literally run, leap, and hurdle across roof tops and through buildings in this first-person game. The visuals are absolutely striking. Scenarios differ a bit with some taking several attempts to complete. Again, it's trial and error, but once you get a feel for it and are able to get the combos and tricky moves somewhat down, it should prove for a nice gaming experience. The combat aspect is not very polished - you can disarm sometimes, but like I said, it's an interesting game.


Anime in the U.S. days after Japan

Things are brewing in the anime industry that's got this girl pretty ecstatic. In a similar goal as Bandai to bring anime and manga to the U.S. as fast as possible after it is aired in Japan, Viz has dramatically accelerated its release schedule for both its "Naruto Shippuden" anime and manga releases. Anime episodes will begin streaming in the U.S. on the official Naruto.com website within days of its original broadcast in Japan. On the manga front, it will be a couple of months after Japan's volume's release until it reaches the states.

Twenty-four of the uncut, subtitled "Naruto Shippuden" anime will be made available on Naruto.com in the first 2 weeks of January -- kicking off on January 2nd, with 8 episodes, and another 8 added each Friday, until the catch-up is complete. Beginning on January 15th and every Thursday thereafter, a new episode will be added, only days after its broadcast in Japan. [Source: ICv2]

Viz has just promoted itself as a major leader in the anime industry. Could this be the start of a wonderful growing trend? My wishful thinking for the past 20 years is finally on the verge of becoming reality.
P.S. On an unrelated note: Happy Birthday, PS3!!! It's been one hell of a 2 years, lots of ups and way too many downs than I would have liked. Here's to another great year with hopefully no more exclusives going down the drain.


Black Friday Video Game List

Considering that Black Friday is just around the corner, I started scouting websites for any deals that were worth my time (or rather that I had any chance of getting). Cheap Ass Gamer has assembled a list of all video-game related deals. This year's post-Thanksgiving Day of shopping has quite a bit of variety. PS3 Fanboy has pulled out the PS3-related deals and these can be found below. There are plenty of other deals, especially some interesting ones for the PC, so be sure to check out the entire list. [Source: PS3 Fanboy]

Best Buy
  • Get Ratchet & Clank Future and Casino Royale (Blu-ray) free with any PS3
  • Guitar Hero III Special Edition Bundle w/2 wireless guitars and Slash faceplate - $79.98
  • NBA 09 - $37.99
  • Soulcalibur IV - $37.99
Circuit City & K-Mart & Sears
  • Guitar Hero III Special Edition Bundle w/1 guitar - $54.99
Radio Shack
  • DualShock 3 controller - $29.99
  • Brother In Arms: Hell's Highway - $20.00
  • Burnout Paradise - $20.00
  • Call of Duty: World At War - $49.00
  • Dead Space - $30.00
  • Guitar Hero: World Tour - $49.00
  • Mercenaries 2 - $39.00
  • Midnight Club: Los Angeles - $49.00
  • NBA 2K9 - $39.00
  • NCAA Football '09 - $39.00
  • NFL Head Coach '09 - $10
  • NBA Live '09 - $30
  • NASCAR '09 - $30
  • Madden NFL '09 - $30
  • NCAA Football '09 - $30


Square Enix's Teaser Counts Down to Bahamut

I just have to say...Square Enix, you've got me intrigued. Though we'll have to wait till the countdown ends, this wickedly awesome artwork of the dragon we all know too well is simply spectacular -- you have to see it for yourself. Could it be the sequel or remake of the popular Super Nintendo/Famicom game "Bahamut Lagoon?" "Blood of Bahamut" was trademarked a little while ago. And the all too familiar music has got me feeling genuinely nostalgic. But I'll have to contain my excitement until I find out what console(s) we're talking about. Come on Square Enix, show some love to Sony. [Source: Kotaku]

Update (11/17/2008): Okay, well I knew it was too good to be true, but here's the trailer to a new Japanese RPG for the DS. The trailer looks nice, but going with the artwork alone, it would've been great to do something more like bringing it to the PS3 and show off its gorgeous visuals and gameplay. Oh well...


Valkyria Chronicles Anime Announced

The anime TV series adaptation of Sega’s "Valkyria Chronicles" (Senjo no Valkyria -Gallian Chronicles-) has just been announced. The PlayStation 3 tactical war simulation game deals with the efforts of soldiers in the fictional 1930s European nation of Gallia to repel an invasion from invading countries. The TV anime will be produced by A-1 Pictures (Kuroshitsuji). [Source: ANN]


Oldboy Remake

Apparently, Director Steven Spielberg and Will Smith have been brainstorming about a possible collaboration to remake Chan-wook Park's ingenious 2003 film "Oldboy." The film was adapted from Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's manga published here by Dark Horse Comics. Okay, I just don't understand it. First of all, the movie isn't that old - by no means does its age warrant a remake. Secondly, as I try to contain my frustration, "Oldboy" was amazing, perfect, innovative, and incredible. Why, oh why, should we even be having this discussion? I don't get it.

All this talk about live action remakes is infuriating. Ghost in the Shell? Evangelion? Akira? Ninja Scroll? Need I bring up Speed Racer?? Arghh! And speaking of Akira and Ninja Scroll, Leonardo DiCaprio is in the ranks to produce these live actions. Sorry, perhaps I'm just being too narrow-minded, but if you're the big fan of anime as you say you are, wouldn't you be on "our" side? You're taking titles that has lend itself as the root and origin of anime and compromising its grandeur stature. You're saying there are die hard loyal fans that would support this, but here's one die hard fan that isn't jumping with glee. In fact, I wouldn't be this enraged if I didn't already have the highest respect, admiration, and devotion for these titles.


Resistance 2

When it comes to sequels of already awesome games, I get a bit nervous. You don't want the integrity of the title to be compromised whatsoever, so execution is a big deal. I was optimistic, however, as I anxiously unwrapped "Resistance 2" Collector's Edition. And to put it simply -- Resistance 2 is all you could ever want in a sequel. It's bigger, better, fast-paced and totally expanded down to the tiniest detail. It's a lot more of everything...a whole lot!

Nathan Hale is back and the Chimera are still unrelenting. Starting off with the single-player campaign, you can immediately see the glory of R2, excellent graphics, huge battles and an interactive environment that goes beyond expectations. If anything, it's the wide range of bosses/enemies, in regards to variation and ability, and the rich expansive environment that represents the amplitude of the game. Sure the actual campaign story is less than stellar (this is about the only negative thing I have to say about R2), but the experience makes up for it. The campaign is challenging and a good length - definitely makes you work for victory. And the slew of weapons available is an added bonus.

But as was true with "Resistance: Fall of Man," the real champion of R2 is it's online gameplay via the Cooperative and Competitive modes. In cooperative mode, up to eight players team up together to completel a series of objectives. It's hard to describe the experience but it is truly fast-pased, high-action, adrenaline pumping, and engaging. Just like the varying skills and abilities of bosses, the objectives can vary from moderate to ultra challenging calling for sound teamwork. R2 is truly amazing and the scale of the game is too grand to summarize in one entry. If you never got into "Resistance: Fall of Man," R2 begs you to reconsider.


Rock Band 2 DLC Tracks

After a tiring, no good day, it's always nice to come home and find a slew of packages waiting for you. Thankfully that was the case yesterday. First was the original "Vampire Knight" volume 8 manga, followed by my "Resistance 2" collector's edition PS3 game. Yay! And just as I was going to pop in the game, I checked my email to find my Rock Band 2 code for 20 free DLC tracks.

Check out the track list below. You probably won't need 3 guesses to figure out which song I jumped at playing first. X JAPAN's "I.V."
  • The 88 - “Sons and Daughters”
  • Authority Zero - “No Regrets”
  • Between the Buried and Me - “Prequel To The Sequel”
  • The Cab - “Bounce”
  • The Chevelles - “Get It On”
  • The Cocktail Slippers - “Give It To Me”
  • Dealership - “Database Corrupted”
  • Endeverafter - “I Wanna Be Your Man”
  • The Ghost Hounds - “Ashes To Fire”
  • Hollywood Undead - “Young”
  • Kutless - “The Feeling”
  • The Len Price 3 “If I Ain’t Got You”
  • Lesley Roy - “I’m Gone, I’m Going”
  • Opiate for the Masses - “Burn You Down”
  • Semi-Precious Weapons - “Magnetic Baby”
  • Shaimus - “Like a Fool”
  • Thenewno2 - “Crazy Tuesday”
  • Tickle Me Pink - “The Time Is Wrong”
  • Underoath - “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”
  • X Japan - “I.V.”
Rock Band 2 comes back for an encore and solidifies my love for RB. The little tweaks here and there make the experience very fluid. It's great to complete tour mode with a band of one and the addition of special challenges adds even more opportunities for gameplay. The capability of transferring most of your Rock Band tracks to Rock Band 2 is most convenient. But what impresses me the most is the revamp of the RockBand.com community. With the ability to take pictures of your band and even create custom merchandise is an added treat. Rock On!!!


GSC Golden Darkness PVC Figure

There has been a some nice figures of "To LOVE-Ru's" Golden Darkness, but none like this one. This assassin never looked more sinister and that may have something to do with that incredible golden hair. The tippy-toe pose truly induces motion in the figure, not to mention the ultra-fine detailing and flowing hair. As stated in the description, her right arm can be replaced with a dangerous blade to better suits her assassin's nature. Check out more of GSC's pics here.

Good Smile Company's Golden Darkness (Konjiki no Yami) 1/8 scale PVC figure is retailed at 6,500 yen and is due out March 2009. Did I mention I'm in love with that gorgeous hair?


EVA Entry Plug with Rei Ayanami Figure

The first pictures I saw of this piece was in May of this year and with its actual release date just around the corner, I thought I should give a heads up to those wanting to preorder. Measuring at 50cm or about 20 inches in length, this Evangelion Entry Plug Die Cast will also include a PVC figure of Rei Ayanami seated in the inner chamber of the plug. The chamber itself is illuminated by blue LEDs. The piece is very intricately detailed - noticeable hatch opening, great paint job, and the ability the close and open the chamber. The entry plug + figure is retailed at a little over 8,000 yen. Now the next thing to do while I wait for her arrival is to find a perfect spot in my room.


2D Complex Movement

All otaku alike know very well or are at least aware of what we refer to as "2D complex." While always stuck in the virtual world, one fellow wants to take it a step further. The world over has come to recognize Japanese otaku Taichi Takashita because of his genuine desire to marry Mikuru Asahina of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya." He has filed a Human Rights petition that reads:
We don't have interest in the 3D world. If possible, I want to become the husband of a 2D character. Does not look like this matter can be solved with today's science and technology, so at least make it legal to marry a 2D character. If this law is passed, then I want to marry Asahina Mikuru.
Hmm, fulfilling the otaku dream? Makes me wonder, if I had to choose one, who I would choose. Gendo...Kaname...this may take some more thought actually. Nevertheless, while it would be interesting if this law was passed, the implications that come to mind are overwhelming. Would the law allow several people to marry the same character? What about copyright infringement? And tax returns? While this petition is serious and sure, it affects millions of otaku and hikkikomori, I can't fathom it. It's an interesting thought though. [Source: Too many to list, so I'll pick one - DannyChoo]


Crawling out the Blackhole of Exhaustion

As some of you may know or have come to realize, I've been out of town on business, almost immediately after Anime USA (con coverage still coming soon, I promise). It's been hectic even after I came back from the conference and with a new promotion, my schedule has been consumed.

But slowly and surely, I intend to write my heart out. Thanks to everyone for sticking and bearing with me. I've done some back-logging, as I started many entries in my hotel room but never completed them. My progress has been lagging, but I'm almost there.

I've been overwhelmed and exhausted from 16-hour days and no room to finally take a break. It's obvious that I'm in need of the only medicine that can remedy this ailment -- anime, manga, and some quality time on my gaming chair. So look out for more reviews and goodness. *cue Misato fan-service preview closing*