Happy Holidays from Third Impact (2011 Edition)

MERRI KURISUMASU!!  Hope your holiday is filled with lasting, fuzzy warm memories. Whether it's spending time with your family and friends, curling up with a good manga, catching up on some anime, snagging those video game trophies, finding that perfect spot for your newest figures/statues and posters, or reading that latest comic book issue...or hopefully a sweet combination of all of the above...we wish you the best and thank you very much for your readership!

Happy Holidays from your friends at Third Impact!


My Neighbor Totoro Musical Ferris Wheel

It's hard not to be smitten by the world of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's films with their fanciful (and downright cute!) characters, and the beautiful melodies of composer Joe Hisaishi. As a collector of Ghibli music boxes, I always love to keep an eye on what new creative piece is out there. While I am still short a "Porco Rosso" and wondering if "Nausicaä" will ever get an anniversary edition release or something, "My Neighbor Totoro" is never in short supply and rarely fails to impress.

Take for example the 2011 "My Neighbor Totoro" musical ferris wheel. Standing at 10" tall, you can watch Mei, Chu-Totoro, Shu-Totoro and the sootballs (and a hearty stock of acorns and corn) take a ride on the magical forest tree. And, of course, no forest party is complete without our wondorous ride conductor Totoro and an appearance by the Cat Bus!

Instead of having a a classic wind-up arm, the wheel is controlled by an ON/OFF switch powered by 3 AA batteries (sorry, batteries not included) and plays the "Tonari no Totoro" theme. I do wish that one day Ghibli switches up the song in their "Totoro" pieces (perhaps with "The Wind Forest") as the theme is ALWAYS used.

It's not easy to quickly get your hands on Ghibli music boxes and they are certainly not cheap (trust me, I know), but searching auction sites like eBay and Japanese specialty sites like JBOX are always good places to start. But in the case of this featured ferris wheel and rare items, check out Love Ghibli, an online store dedicated only to the finest Ghibli items.


Happy Recipe! - Binantachi no Hirusagari

It was on a sweltering June day this year when my air conditioner at home broke down and I was forced to wait for the "I'll be there sometime between 10AM and 3PM" repairman to rectify the problem. In an attempt to distract myself from the appalling temperature, I decided to do a little web surfing.

Well, consider my attention averted when I paid a visit to the respective blogs of Daisuke Watanabe and Yukihiro "Takki" Takiguchi (two of my favorite Japanese actors that I embarrassedly gush over whenever I see them) and found they both posted this little gem pictured left. Them dining along with Ren Yagami, Yasuhisa Furuhara and Hisanori Sato?! Yes, attention temporarily averted but the combined hotness didn't help with the heat. "How I wish I could have a place at that table!" I thought. After all I am a huge "Takumi-kun Series" and "Tenimyu" fan and appreciate ikemen in general, so whatever could they be doing altogether and what could they be discussing?

The answer has come this November with the release of "Happy Recipe! - Binantachi no Hirusagari". This variety DVD features our five gentlemen enjoying a casual afternoon at a chic flat in the city, while each takes a turn cooking a specialty dish for their group dinner. Off the bat the musical theme for the show is a sweet melody that almost feels like it would be in a romantic shojo-genre TV series. You could almost imagine the guys being dressed up in waiter uniforms running a restaurant, and each of them with a distinct personality (the always smiling goofball, the pragmatic boss, the cute kid, etc). But no, the guys are just being themselves, albeit in a clever marketing fluff geared toward us fans willing to pay.

The special opens up with each of our stars walking separate streets to our location, appearing to have just come from the market with their ingredients in bag. Seems it was a hot month in Japan as it was for me, if the sweat dripping off a rushing Daisuke is any indication.

Ren is our first star to arrive and expects to find our "Licensed to Cook" Takki already there (Takiguchi-san in 2008 passed his exams to be recognized as a chef; nice fallback career if I do say so myself). Unfortunately he quickly discovers he is alone and instead decides to investigate the place. "Sugoi kirei jan..." he voices aloud, impressed by the diggs with its shiny white kitchen. Soon he discovers a pad and markers on the dining room table. With nothing else to do, he spruces up the table with a nearby vase of daisies and then starts doodling a portrait to occupy himself until there is a knock at the door. "Dai-chan!" he exclaims (how cute are his random assumptions?) and gets up to greet another one of our hosts, but is surprised to find it is instead Yasuhisa.

Ever the gentlemen, Ren offers to pour water and decides to make use of the wine glasses in the cupboard. Way to make it classy, my good man. Takki and Hisanori arrive next and are, too, surprised to see Yasuhisa there. Did the film crew not inform the boys of his appearance? It is important to note that Yasu was a previous "Engine Sentai Go-onger" lead and not in the same series & specials as the rest of the boys, so with all the "nice to meet you" greetings it appears this is their first time interacting. (If anyone out there wants to correct me, feel free to kindly do so.)

But where is Daisuke? According to Ren he is about 30-minutes away. 30 minutes?! Meanwhile, pan over to a miserable Daisuke muttering "chotto...chotto..." and having to take a breather. Sheesh, camera guy, you could have called the poor man a taxi and saved him from this grueling march in the heat! Eventually, as the guys chill out at the table in their nice cool digs and giving a toast with their wine glasses full of ice cold water, there is a loud set of bangs at the door. All heads turn to the ruckus, when Takki declares, "No, ignore it." The boys give a look which can only be described with an emoticon: 0_0. Just a wee bit sadistic are we Takki? The knocking continues, and they clearly know whom it must be, but no one budges. Finally, in one of the very funny moments on the DVD, Daisuke storms in, shouting a very loud and perturbed, "OI!" Everyone points out he is late as they observe his heated appearance (look at those arms glisten... someone get him a towel!). They redo the toast with Daisuke and he apologies for being late. We take a quick poll as to who is ready to cook and everyone raises hands but Takki quickly picks on Daisuke who is wearing a sleeveless shirt so the armpit hair is not very attractive and he bashfully covers it up.

The cooking segments are very entertaining. Takki is up first in the kitchen and being the licensed chef that he is, everyone is all impressed with his kitchen skills. By far Takki's preparation and presentation is the most fanciful with a mouthwatering shrimp and mussels dish, and I can imagine how good he would be running a restaurant as he gets all hands on deck with a task for each of our hosts.

Next it is Daisuke's turn to cook and whip up a meat and green onion dish and also a special desert (at which point did I hear Takki demand, "Make something decent!"?). Time to get out the tofu maker (??) and gets to work. However, the whole gang doesn't seem done [jokingly] punishing him for his lateness. While everyone was happily put to work for Takki, the gang has decided to play on their PSP handhelds at the table. Whenever Daisuke tries to chat or inquire from the kitchen, he is quickly cut off with a blunt "Urusai!" Eventually the gang let's up and takes interest in his preparation (not before my man fires back with his own "Shhhhh!!" when they speak).

Yasuhisa, who I must give my Best Dressed award for pulling off that cute polka dot bow tie with his black ensemble, makes a delicious curry with his special ingredient: apples. But one of the disappointments of the special occurs here as Yasuhisa makes a sudden and apologetic departure. I guess that does get him out of having to sample the spread. Haha!

Ren makes salad, but not just any salad. Out comes the drawing pad to excitedly introduce the Happy Colorful Salad! And you can't make a Happy Colorful Salad without first changing into a chef costume. Well you can, but it's just not as much fun. Commence applause! His Iron Chef look was totally worth it in the end. Had he only taken a bite out of the yellow pepper...

Can't have a nice meal without a tasty beverage to wash it all down, so Hisanori takes his turn in the kitchen to create his Fruit Tonic Juice. It is a combination of sliced kiwi, oranges and bananas tossed into a blender with ice. This quick smoothie is then topped off with a generous helping of carbonated water. As good as that sounds I have to admit the final product didn't appear as appetizing. Maybe if he put a colorful slice of fruit on the glass it would take my mind off of the beige color. Yep... beige...

Charming and amusing downtime cuts between cooking segments held my interest, including a very random and "spazzy duel" between Hisanori and the boys with the flowers from the table vase. The credits conclude with thoughts from the boys on the evening which, as this reviewer sees it, was a great time.

My heart can't help but do a thumpty-thump at the DVD cover alone. These actors are very talented, but they're currently not acting and I am not blind, so let's face facts that this really is delicious fluff for fans and we all can let out our inner fangirl without shame. I'm smitten by the handsome head shots (especially Daisuke's <3) and it definitely is one of the reasons I picked this selection up in the first place. That's good marketing for ya. Upon tearing off the cellophane and opening up the case, you will see that the cover has a reverse side showing the scene of our gang toasting to their happy event. And it's pink. Hey, this is "Happy Recipe!"

There are audio issues in spots. When the camera is focused on the preparation of the meals and away from the dining table, it can be difficult to tell who is speaking, especially when everyone is talking at once. But if you are familiar with TV talk shows in Japan, colorful and handy Japanese subtitles appear for parts of the dialogue with appropriate name tags.

If any of the dishes catch your fancy, the DVD comes with a bonus feature of how to make each of them yourself. These recipes are written all in Japanese, and there are no English subtitles for the main feature either, so if your Japanese-language skills are poor, you may have difficulty following along in both areas. As for myself, I am still learning, and this gives me a good excuse to watch it over again as a teaching test. ^^

Nevertheless, the interaction of the guys is still a lot of fun. You can't help but wish to be friends with them as you are taken in by their joking, happy smiles and kitchen skills (though in the case of some I got a tad nervous over their chopping ability... thankfully none of my crushes were hurt during the making of this program). The Daily DVD Rankings at CD Japan for November 5th had "Happy Recipe" peaked at #5, and they sold out of their original stock during pre-order time. If you are hungry for a little fun, tasty dishes and ikemen, pick up your copy today.

So, who's hungry for seconds?


Nobuo Uematsu + EARTHBOUND to perform at MAGFest X

I am super stoked to announce that the all powerful master of music Nobuo Uematsu and his new band EARTHBOUND PAPAS will be attending as guests and performing at MAGFest X!!! This is HUGE news and as a long supporter and attendee of MAGFest, I couldn't be happier!

Best known for creating the sound tracks for almost all of the Final Fantasy series, Uematsu created his new band, EARTHBOUND PAPAS, after his former group (The Black Mages) disbanded. Several former members of The Black Mages join EARTHBOUND PAPAS. Together, they are:

  • Nobuo Uematsu: Keyboards (Composer for most of the Final Fantasy Series)
  • Michio Okamiya: Guitar (Performer/arranger on several Square Enix soundtracks, and former Black Mages member)
  • Yoshitaka Hirota: Bass (Shadow Hearts trilogy composer)
  • Tsutomu Narita: Keyboards and Guitar (Composer for UnchainBlades ReXX)
  • Arata Hanyuda: Drums (Performer on the More Friends, and Final Fantasy III (DS) albums, and former Black Mages member)

Since we overgrew our regular location, the 10th MAGFest, celebrating music and gaming, will take place at its new location at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center, January 5-8, 2012!

If you haven't already, be sure to register NOW!


Assassin's Creed Movie Update

Let's keep the love for Assassin's Creed going today.  From the look of things, the Assassin's Creed Movie is a done deal.  Sony has already registered 16 domains for such a picture, all registered on Oct 20th, the day before Variety's story reporting that Sony Pictures is closing in on a deal to develop a film franchise based on the AC game.

"Through the division, Ubisoft wants to maintain more creative control over the development of its games for other platforms rather than broker traditional one-off licensing deals with studios, something that proved key during the bidding process with Sony."

The project will be overseen by Ubisoft Motion Pictures, so we can be sure (and hopeful) that they'll be scrutinous with the adaptation. [Source: Kotaku]

Soul Calibur V...Meet Ezio Auditore

There's still more time until Soul Calibur V is in our grasp. But joining the guest list is Ezio Auditore! Straight from Assassin's Creed and his birthplace, Firenze, Ezio will appear in Soul Calibur V equipped with his wrist blades, sword and dagger.

Check out the trailer, and a special thumbs up with the adaptation of select AC-authentic idiosyncrasies, such as the distorted video and of course the emblematic "A." Project Soul is really making it hard to wait for SC:V!

Other confirmed characters include: Siegfried, Mitsurugi, Patroklos, Pyrrha, Nightmare, Leixia (daughter of Xianghua), Raphael, Dampierre, Astaroth, Viola, Hilde, Maxi, Tira, Voldo, Ivy, Natsu (Taki's student), and Z.W.E.I.


Kotobukiya's Yoshimitsu 1/6 Scale Statue

Attention Tekken Fans! Attention Yoshimitsu Fans! Attention Kick-assery Fans!

Kotobukiya spins whips a 1/6 cold cast statue of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 character, Yoshimitsu.  Sculpted by Takayuki Takeya, Yoshimitsu, joines the Fine Art Statue series with this impressively detailed statue, only matched with its equally impressive base.  While Yoshimitsu is looking vicious here, I can't help but cast my eye over that incredible base.

Yoshi will run you a whopping 45,000 yen (just under $600) and is due out May 2012. 

For those interested, Hobby Search is currently taking pre-orders at a discount price.  Be sure to check out all their pics for all its glory.

Hatsune Miku Live Party 2011 One-Night Only Screening

To commemorate the November 16th release of "Hatsune Miku Live Party 2011" on Blu-ray/DVD/Live CD, distributor Live Viewing Japan will be screening the live in theaters worldwide.  The set includes both 39's LIVE IN TOKYO (that took place on March 9th) and 39's LIVE IN SAPPORO (that took place on August 16-17th).

Three locations in Japan will screen the Live Party on Nov 15th.  Other screening locations include Thailand, Brazil, Singapore, France, England, and the US!  That's 9 US cities on November 10th to be precise:
  1. Baltimore, MD
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Chicago, IL
  4. Houston, TX
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. New York, NY
  7. Orange County, CA
  8. San Francisco, CA
  9. Seattle, WA
Check out the full list for specific theater information on the official Live Party Event site.  [Source: Live Viewing]


Guild Wars 2 Art Trailers

It's no secret that I've got a thing for Guild Wars.  Make that, a rather BIG thing for everything Guild Wars.  Sure I play other MMOs, but to this day, Guild Wars remains to be my top ultimate favorite MMO.  Take your titles like World of Warcraft and keep them, it's Guild Wars for me all the way.  And one of the major reasons for this is Guild Wars' undeniable stunning art. 

Horia Dociu, concept and storyboard artist for GW2, directed several trailers (shown below) showing off the art of GW2, including the works of Kekai Kotaki, Daniel Dociu, Richard Anderson and Jaime Jones.   And it goes without saying, that these are absolutely gorgeous! [Source: Kotaku]

Guild Wars 2 Real-Time Intro from Horia Dociu on Vimeo.
Guild Wars 2 Animated Trailer from Horia Dociu on Vimeo.
Guild Wars 2 In-Game Cinematic from Horia Dociu on Vimeo.
Guild Wars 2 Manifesto from Horia Dociu on Vimeo.

DIR EN GREY's UROBOROS Album Remastered

Dir en Grey announces the upcoming release of a remastered version of UROBOROS, titled "UROBOROS [Remastered & Expanded]!" The remastered album will include 14 tracks with some lovely trimmings.   The album also brings about the return of sound engineer Tue Madsen, who worked on Diru's latest album, DUM SPIRO SPERO.  UROBOROS [Remastered & Expanded] will be released on January 11, 2012.

The album includes:
- The long version of "SA BIR" that, until now, was only heard live before.
- The exclusive version of "BUGABOO" that was previously only available on the limited first press analog release.
-  "DOZING GREEN" and "GLASS SKIN" with Japanese lyrics, and 'HYDRA -666-' the coupling track on single "DOZING GREEN." 

Track Listing
10. HYDRA -666-


1/1 Scale Fist of the North Star Kenshiro Statue

"It belongs in a museum!!"

Because this is exactly what your collection is missing, the good folks of Comic Zenon (Tokuma Shoten's Monthly magazine) brings forth the creation of a life-sized figure of Fist of the North Star manga lead Kenshiro.

Kenshiro stands at 185 cm tall (about 73 inches tall) and did I mention that he happens to be inlaid with 500,000 Swarovski crystals! The crystals alone are worth 10 million yen (about $130,000). Figure maker Kaiyodo produced the life-size figure under the supervision of Fist of the North Star's very own creator, Tetsuo Hara.

Comic Zenon will offer the fully decked Kenshiro figure in a charity auction on their online store. For those with sparkly determination and a sparkling wallet to match can join in the auction which starts in mid-November. Minature version of the figure will also be sold at their online store.

The 1/1 scale statue was officially unveiled at Tokyo's Ginza Hakuhikan store with the opening of the Comic Zenon Online store. The first 77 people who bought the December issue of Comic Zenon there were given a photo-op with the statue and received a 7-inch Kenshiro figure. Starting today, "Swarovski Kenshiro" will be on display at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

Check out Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan site for more close-ups of the statue. [Source Mantan Web via ANN]


L'Arc~en~Ciel 20th Anniversary Concert in Theaters

How many times have you folks that love Japanese musicians but do not live in Japan complained that you can’t go to your favorite band's concerts because, well, you don’t live in Japan?! L’Arc~en~Ciel knows they have fans that love them worldwide and they won’t let a little detail like distance keep them from returning that love.

The band, in cooperation with Live Viewing Japan, Inc. will be releasing their "20th L’Anniversary LIVE" concert in movie theaters. This two-hour special that took place on May 28th and 29th will be running for one night only in several cities around the world, including Tokyo, Singpore, Paris, Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, and many more. U.S. screenings will take place on November 29th.

Click here to find out if your city is screening the event and to purchase tickets.

This will be the third entry Third Impact has posted about Hyde, Ken, Yukihiro and Tetsuya this month. We may just have to rename this month L'Arctober.

[Editor's Note: If you've never seen Larku live, this is definitely a treat. But let me just say that I completely agree with Sam...with all the love Third Impact has been giving Larku this month, L'ARCTOBER it is!!!]

All Hallow's Eve 2011

It's that time of year again. When the rest of the world cosplay along with us. Presenting my 2011 pumpkin! Not sure what I was going for this year, but this zombie-inspired pumpkin was another one I had fun making.

Be sure to check out my past pumpkins from 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. I think last year's Kratos-inspired pumpkin is still one of my personal favorites.

What about you? Doing any pumpkin carving? Dressing up for Halloween? Marathoning anime? Cuddling up to a good video game?

Let us all "take the black" as "Winter is nigh" and it seems that some of us will be dealing with white walkers on this halloween.

Happy Halloween from all of us at Third Impact...stay safe!


Junjo Mistake Anime Adaptation

Excuse any typos as I tremble while attempting to type this out.

The December issue of Ciel Tres Tres magazine will be announcing tomorrow, the anime adaptation of Shungiku Nakamura's Junjo Romantica manga spinoff Junjo Mistake!!!! Yes, you heard me.....Junjo Mistake in anime form!!!!

Junjo Mistake takes place ten years before the main Junjo Romantica storyline. It follows Ryuichiro Isaka (senior managing director of Marukawa Publishing, and Haruhiko's childhood friend in the main Romantica storyline), and his assistant Kaoru Asahina. In "Mistake," Isaka aspires to be a novelist, despite his keen abilities on the business realm. Asahina finds himself working for the Isaka family, and becomes something more to Isaka.

Say it with me....A-SA-HI-NA!!!!

(now to re-read for any typos...) [Source: Otakomu]


Third Impact Spotlight: Newest Guest Contributor

Great things are brewing here at Third Impact. Recently, we announced the addition of our newest contributor, Sam. She has transitioned here quite nicely, and I'm enjoying every post to date. We'll also be announcing more goodies in the near future, but shhhhh......it's a secret. In the meantime, you may have noticed another voice in Third Impact as of late. And it makes me very ecstatic and proud to announce our latest acquisition in the form of a brand spanking new guest contributor.

Please join me in welcoming Ayu (Anthy incarnate!), another avid Third Impact fan, fellow otaku, and bestie! You'll see Ayu pop in and out of Third Impact and offer her thoughts on the latest in all things Japanese. Wrapping up her Asian studies both in U.S. and our mecca, Japan, you'll no doubt be seeing her short stories and novella published in the future. We at Third Impact feel privileged to snag her first!

When asked to briefly describe herself, here's what she had to say:
"Some say her blood type is coffee. Some say her fingerprints are a ●,■,▲, X and R1 button. Some say she really did graduate from Ohtori Academy. Some say she is majored in Asian Studies in college just so she could get a discount, 4-month trip to Japan to attend a D concert. When she talks about old-school anime, old-school shows become popular new shows.

Her love for Devil May Cry is so great, the devil actually cried. She once wanted to work for Newtype Magazine, but decided contributing to Dead Sea Scrolls 606: Third Impact was a far better place to express her undying love of Japanese pop culture. She isn’t famous at all, but other people want her autograph. She may just be an abnormal twenty-something, but she is… one of the most interesting otaku in the National Capital area.

My fandom may not always get what it wants, but I hope to provide your fandom with a little of what it wants. Third Impact… stay informed my friends."
Check out Ayu's informative posts to date...and more to come!
- L'Arc~en~Ciel's X X X Single
- The Return of Sailor Moon


Togainu no Chi PVC Figures by Kotobukiya

Oh mommy... Clear me some shelf space.

Pre-order start dates are a dangerous time for my bank account and the craftsmen over at Kotobukiya know just how to hook me. As of October 20th you can place your orders for the dangerous and drool worthy men of Nitro+CHiRAL's "Togainu no Chi" in 1/8 scale. The highly detailed Uiro Yamada illustrated figures will run you around 7000 yen a piece and can be purchased at sites such as CD Japan and Hobby Search.

The knife wielding Akira is set to release in all his scarred and bandaged (and pants dropping!) glory on March 31, 2012.

The violent man in black Shiki with his piercing red eyes and katana will be trailing not too far behind on April 30, 2012.

Add them to your collection before they add your dog tags to theirs!


The Darkness Gets New Writer in 2012

Berkeley, CA – 20 October 2011 -- Top Cow Productions is proud to announce the addition of acclaimed writer David Hine (THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN, Batman) to the stable of talented stewards of the Top Cow Universe. Beginning in March 2012, Hine brings his considerable experience to torturing one of comics’ favorite bad boys, Jackie Estacado. David joins Detective Comics creative partner, Jeremy Haun (ARTIFACTS, PILOT SEASON: THE BEAUTY) as the ongoing team on THE DARKNESS beginning with issue #101.
“From issue # 101, I'll be the regular writer on THE DARKNESS, one of the best and longest-running independent books out there. I'll be teamed with Jeremy Haun, one of the most talented artists I've worked with. And I'm dreading it!” said Hine. “To write a character like Jackie Estacado you have to go into some very dark and ugly places on a daily basis. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it...”
“I couldn’t have been more excited when I found out we were able to get David on THE DARKNESS long term. He is one of those writers that perfectly balances story with character. He understands the inner workings of his characters and really knows how to tap into their darkness, if you’ll forgive the pun,” explained Hine’s collaborator, Jeremy Haun. “I’ve wanted to have an extended run on a series for years now, THE DARKNESS is the perfect place for me to do that. David and I are working hard to build a story that is true to the property, but at the same time, really kicks up the horror elements of the book.”
Hine takes over the writing duties from the long time writer Phil Hester (Green Hornet, Wonder Woman), who has written the series since 2007, when the series relaunched following the events of FIRST BORN and the release of THE DARKNESS video game. Hine has previously written the titular character of Jackie Estacado in 2010’s limited series THE DARKNESS: FOUR HORSEMEN, which garnered rave reviews. With Hester concluding his run on the series with the landmark issue #100 and The Darkness II slated for release in February, the time was perfect for a fresh voice to embrace THE DARKNESS. The team of Hine and Haun will pick up the story of Jackie Estacado after the events of ARTIFACTS #13, which Top Cow promises will alter the status quo of the Top Cow Universe irrevocably. Joining the already announced teams of Tim Seeley (HACK/SLASH) and Diego Bernard (The Man With No Name) on WITCHBLADE and Ron Marz (MAGDALENA, VOODOO) and Stjepan Sejic (WITCHBLADE) on the ARTIFACTS ongoing series, the two will help guide one of Top Cow’s flagship franchises into a new era perfect for longtime, lapsed, and new readers alike.

THE DARKNESS #101, a 32-page full-color comic book for $3.99, will be on sale in stores and digital platforms, including THE DARKNESS app, in March of 2012. THE DARKNESS #94 (APR110499) will be on sale October 26 for $3.99.


Akira Live Action Greenlit

After what has seemed like an endless loop of rumors (with names like Leonardo DiCaprio to Keanu Reeves being placed in the mix) and a massive developmental nightmare (with re-budgeting, for example), Warner Bros. has officially given its live-action remake of Katsuhiro Otomo's anime cult hit "Akira" the greenlight. Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown, House of Wax) will helm the newly-budgeted $90 million movie about biker Tetsuo Shima, and his incredible psychic powers and the biker gang member Shotaro Kaneda, who tries to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira. According to Variety, shooting will begin in late February/early March 2012. Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) seems to be the front runner for the lead role as Kaneda.

Twitch reports that Gary Oldman has been offered the role of Colonel; while Helena Bonham-Carter has been offered Lady Miyako. This, at the very least, has me intrigued simply because you just happen to have two of my all-time personal favorite actor/actress!

With a smaller budget, and the mere fact that I hate seeing my beloved anime titles in the hands of Hollywood, I don't know if this movie could be a hit. There's a reason why specific titles, such as Akira, have taken the mediums of manga and anime. There are things that only anime can do. Can a live action movie adapation capture the violence, the gritty, the supernatural, gruesome nature of Akira and leave us in complete awe of all the epicness? I am clinging on to the fact that Otomo will exec produce Akira. But does doing an awesome job, mean that instead of making a movie that closely resembles the anime we all love, it will instead be a recreation -- another way of telling the story...


Devil May Cry HD Collection Confirmed

It's official, it's official...it's official!

CAPCOM has officially announced that it will release the Devil May Cry HD Collection for both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

The DMC HD Collection brings the first three original DMC titles -- Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2, and Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition -- together in one high def package for the first time. The collection will be available early 2012 in Europe and North America (February 7, 2012) for $39.99.

Dante, my darling....I think THIS is what they call a "heart-warming family reunion."


L'arc-en-Ciel x Pinky:st Collaboration

What to do about my love affair of Pinky:st figures? Sure they are adorable, and possibilities are endless with their ability to swap accessories, hair, and clothing. Then you have the special collaborations every now and then. My favorite ones from my collection include: the crew from Sky Crawlers, Tokikake, Henrietta's Gunslinger Girl, and of course the Range Murata series. Now, it looks like it's time to add L'arc-en-Ciel into the mix.

BabySue does it again with an adorable collaboration set. The set includes figures of all the band members in one package, each coming with their own base containing the names on it. From the looks of it, several accessories are included with the pack, including 4 different wristbands, a bass for Tetsuya, a guitar for Ken, drumsticks for Yukihiro, and a mic for Hyde (along with an additional arm to hold said mic).

Retailed at 6,500 yen, no street date has been set for its release yet. A special guitar pic featuring Ken in pinky:st form is also available in Japanese music stores (for 105 yen).


Grave of the Fireflies Live Action

Released back in 2005, Nippon TV produced a live-action version of the acclaimed 1988 animated feature, Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka) directed by Studio Ghibli's Isao Takahata, and based on a book by Akiyuki Nosaka. The heart-rendering story was recreated as a live action movie for TV to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Hotaru no Haka remains to be a profound and powerful movie, even in comparison to non-war movies. To quickly recap, the story takes place toward the end of World War II in Japan, and follows a young boy, Seita, and his younger sister Setsuko who end up on their own struggling to survive.

If you've seen the anime, or read the book, then you already know what kind of state you'll be left as you watch the movie. Beautiful and tragic, this might be why I'm so late in finally watching the live action movie. What's most obvious from the live action is that it closely follows its original source. The casting for the movie is spot on. We definitely get more context behind Hisako Sawano, Seita's aunt, character and her back-story. But I'll have to admit, even knowing that, it still didn't stop me from yelling curse words at the screen.

As I said, the live action closely follows the book, so there are various differences if you compare it to the anime. I wouldn't say one is better than the other. Rather, I see it as another take of the source. The anime starts the movie with an already dead Seita as he flashbacks to tell his story. The storytelling in the anime is unprecedented, leaving viewers in tears with a simple shake of Setsuko's fruit drop can. In the live action, we follow Seita and Setsuko as the events are occuring. We get a larger focus on other characters including the aunt and their cousin, as well as other individuals they meet. Beautifully paced, and nicely done in all categories.

Hotaru no Haka, in all forms, is a definite must-see. So grab that can of fruit drops, and some kleenex and engulf yourself in this incredible story once more.


L'Arc~en~Ciel's X X X Single

Give me an EFFIN Blow-Pop NAUUUU!

At long last, I got my hands on a copy of this single, released earlier last week. In looking at the cover, I'm instantly reminded of a certain picture Hyde had out with VAMPS... you know the one I mean.... lying in plush darkness, cherries strewn about the place, one held enticingly between his lips while he gazes sexily straight at you. Yeah, that pic. Well, the cover of X X X is almost the same, sans cherries but plus the other members of L'Arc~en~Ciel. They are all dressed in black and they are laying on top of each other. As always, Hyde is stunning. Tetsu is looking amazingly cute this time around (he could almost be a guest member of Dong Bang Shin Ki, lol). Ken is well.... Ken... and I had to play "Find Yukihiro". Didn't recognize him with the short brown hair looking extremely hot O_O

So delving straight into the title song.... It is hard to describe what genre it is. It's neither straight pop nor is it straight rock. It isn't pop rock either. It's something I think is uniquely Larku. The strings providing a deep background, the strumming of acoustic guitars, and the boys playing their hearts out. The song has a wonderfully seductive beat. If someone has a "Music to Make-Out By" playlist anyway, this automatically needs to be on there. I haven't really analyzed the lyrics yet but they are sexy.. suggestive anyway.... risque factor to be assessed later. Hyde is belting out the words, punctuated by some throaty groans and soft, airy moans, once again accompanied by the orchestra and Ken's guitar. The melody is simple but addictive. At first, you may be wondering just who you're listening to, but the song quickly grows on you and you realize it was just Larku all along. Needless to say, the karaoke is epic.

The B-side of the single is an updated version of "I'm So Happy" from the 1996 single "Kaze ni Kienaide". This is an acoustic version. Just some electric piano work, Yuki working the drums very lightly and Hyde singing. Unfortuantely, there is only one way to accurately review this song it is VERY RATED R. So here it goes.... the new version of I'm So Happy is a lot like having sex.  <_< I'm serious. It starts off slow and entreating, all foreplay like. Teasing and tempting but promising you something very good at the end. It goes on like that for a while.... very innocent and very nice. It's a slow start, slowly building as the song goes on. Then Hyde's voice starts fluctuating between just singing and becoming more intense. The lyrics start being delivered in a more sensual tone. By the time the instrumental solo roles around... and forgive me for saying it... Hyde is totally inside you... beautiful falsetto, groans, lofty sighs, beautiful melodious tones to your ears. Then after the solo, you honestly start wondering if Hyde is actually doing something naughty while singing. His voice is totally breathy, his normal even singing broken and full of emotion. Then just when you thought the end was coming, he gets all soft on you for a moment. Then after that, he just starts... screaming out? I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU in this amazing climax "I'M SO HAPPY WITH LOVE", his voice even rising a bit each time he says it until he just releases all his pent up emotions.... =O.O=. Was it good Hyde? And then afterwards, he snuggles with you while finishing out the song in this kinda cute voice, a little breathy sounding; definitely a good afterglow. It's all very intimate since Hyde's vocals are so prominent, even if they are slightly washed out by a grainy vocal layer. Shoulda just let the man sing without being fancy. (I guess that extra layer was some form of protection??? Take that to mean anything you want LOL.)

The karaoke of this song sounds like something that should be playing in Starbucks or at some cafe. It's warm and cozy. Makes you wanna drink hot coco and lounge around with a loved one or a good book or your pet.

Overall, if you couldn't tell, I actually like this single. X X X is damn addictive if you aren't careful. While I'm not so keen on "I'm So Happy," thinking of the vocal version in the fashion I described it above, it's not so bad. This single makes you happy karaoke tracks exist because you will want both of them. I think the single sounds a lot like L'Arc~en~Ciel, and I know some people (and even die hard fans) may disagree with me. Larku has been able to stay active for over 20 years because their music varies. Sometimes, you get something different and that is exactly what this is. I personally think X X X sounds like a song Dong Bang Shin Ki/Tohoshinki could have sung, but seeing as how they are now fragmented due to legal troubles back in Korea, I gladly accept this as a fine substitute. ^___^ The bottom line is, it may not sound like Larku, but no one else but Larku could pull off a single like this. I give it a 4.3 out of 5 (or a 8.7 / 10).

I still feel like a noob when it comes to Japanese PVs. Just what the hell are the artists/directors/producers thinking sometimes?! LOL. This IS NOT one of those moments. If you remember the PV for "Drink it Down", then get that image in your mind, except making it white instead of black; toss in a few more random chicks, make the Larku members look like the modern version of the Beatles, toss in a bit of "DEVIL SIDE" by VAMPS and add some white feathers from "Black Swan" and there is your PV!!!! Confused? Don't be!!!

No, the PV takes place in this crowded hall with good natural lighting. The sun is out. The girls are drinking, dancing and having a good time. The boys are grouped kinda closed together in clothes that unfortunately remind you of the Beatles (yes... they do. I'm sorry. There's no getting around it.) Tetsu is so damn cute and hot it's insane. He's strumming on a giant pink bass (YES. PINK. Breast Cancer Awareness month ne? LOL). Yukihiro is playing the drums... I forgot what type they are; it's not a set, just two individual drums. Snare drums? I'm not sure. Ken... looks as aloof playing his guitar while surrounded by beautiful women as ever. And Hyde is decked out in white with his hair completely in braids with white cords weaved in. AND THAT IS WHERE I GOT LOST. I was expecting something dark given the cover the single alas, I got something white. Did I mention the girls were supplied with Blow Pops. Yes. Pun intended. Yes. I literally mean they were erotically licking Blow Pops. Green Apple and Watermelon flavors <---- (yes, I have a thing for Blow Pops). Anyway, the PV matches the song perfectly. The song sounds like its orgy music. The PV is pretty much your high school prom revisited but with better dancing and Larku providing the tunes. There really isn't much else to be said other than the girls rubbing all over each other having fun, Hyde looking sexy, Tetsu looking sexy, Yuki looking SURPRISINGLY sexy and Ken just doesn't care!!! XD Plus Blow Pops. Hyde should have eaten one! Oh... and there is a moment where they switch out of the party and place the boys with their normal instrumental in an all white background. Hyde must have come from a YFC concert. SWAYING TIME. Hyde can sway better than Gackt. THERE I SAID IT. Needless to say, with the catchy melody and Hyde going side to side like that, don't be surprised if while watching, you too begin to sway. It's natural. Just go with it. Hyde will be happy for you. Near the end of the PV, the girls have tired themselves out. They are sprawled all over the place. They start waking up... creating a writhing mass, to find out they've all been branded with X X X (in various spot on their body). The final seen is a close up of Hyde's eye. He's wearing a beautiful, sparkly grey-blue contact and what is that?! Low and Behold a beautifully branded X X X right on the white of his eye. SOMEONE GET ME THAT CONTACT AND A BLOW POP.

Verdict. I STILL don't understand Japanese PVs but at least there is no real story involved here. Go to a prom, get Larku to sing for you, eat candy, drink champagne, rub up on your fellow party-goers while also getting some flirtatious looks and maybe a little skin time with the boys, then pass out and wake up to find you've been branded (mostlikely by Hyde). Not a bad party. You'll forgive Hyde for reverting back to his 2005 look with the braids and all. It's not so bad. You'll also be okay with the fact the PV just DOES NOT MATCH THE COVER OF THE SINGLE. Which was a tad disappointing. I would have liked to see the boys splayed out on each other in the PV...just like I wanted Gackt and Jon to honestly kiss each other in "END OF THE DAY".... but again, I digress. I would have liked there to be some black involved instead of the white scheme. Makes it hard to relate this PV to "Drink it Down" without the black... but it still does remind you of that PV sans the vampires.

Final thoughts:
In the end, the PV and the single is different yet familiar feeling. Give it a try. If anything, you'll just end up humming the song while swaying when you least expect it. Overall, the whole package gets a 8 out of 10 for me. The draw backs would be a lack of black in the PV and the slightly raw and unrefined rendition of "I'm So Happy". The title song, however, as I've said before, is too addictive. Even if you don't like it, I swear you'll end up listening to it over and over and over again. It's just that type of song. Hell, it already has 10 plays on my ZUNE count. I'm definitely getting me a hardcopy of this one. So very different from "I Love Rock n' Roll" but so very awesome.

The web wasn't so keen on this single nor the PV but, as a die-hard fan and as an objective reviewer, believe me people who complained, it could have been A LOT WORSE. Hyde could have just gone straight Lady Gaga on you. THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE LIKED. So shut up and enjoy!

Looks like the age old battle between Hyde & Gackt has been reignited in explosive fashion. Who will win the battle of the play count???


Pick up your regular or limited edition at CD Japan.


The Return of Sailor Moon

Fighting evil by moonlight. Winning love by daylight. Kodansha USA, by her, has done right. She is the one named Sailor Moon.

Appearing in a collected volume in English once again is the one, the only Sailor Moon. After a long, long and undeserved absence from bookshelves across the U.S., the pretty soldier in a sailor suit has been revived by the good people at Kodansha USA. Does anyone even remember the last time you could buy Sailor Moon at Borders? Well, if you do remember, you’ll be happy to hear that a lot has changed, but a lot has reminded the same.

The most notable change of all is the new cover and the new title “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.” This title carried over from the original Japanese re-release, updated to reflect the title of the television series airing at the time. All the re-release versions will have new covers drawn by Takeuchi Naoko. Sadly, if you read Sailor Moon like you watched the anime, this will make it hard to distinguish one “season” from another. However, the cover art is high quality and Takeuchi-sensei’s style hasn’t changed much since she last drew her famed heroine. Opening the book, you'll be greeted by another new, full color image drawn especially for the re-release. Then there is the colored first few panels of the manga and a newly printed, colorized version of the splash-page. All this on nice glossy paper. After that, I suggest you grab a snack, curl up in a comfy chair and prepare for a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Just for those who don't know, Sailor Moon is the story of an ordinary middle-school girl named Tsukino Usagi who, like me, loves video games but hates studying (especially math). She is granted the power to become a guardian of love and justice by Luna, a talking cat with a crescent moon-shaped symbol on her forehead. With this power, she is able transform into Sailor Moon and not-so-gracefully combat evil. She is eventually joined by three other fellow guardians with powers over ice, fire and thunder. In addition, there is always the handsome and mysterious Tuxedo Mask to help the girls out when in a bind.

This first volume follows the birth of the sailor senshi and starts to unravel the mystery behind the legendary Silver Crystal, the missing Moon Princess, and the dark motives of the Dark Moon Kingdom headed by the villainous Queen Beryl. Now for the question you've all been waiting to have answered: how does this new release compare to the original U.S. release put out by TokyoPop way back in the day? The answer is, Kodansha righted the wrongs and triumphed over mistranslations!

  • You are now able to read the story in the original Japanese right-to-left format; no more backwards pictures.
  • You don't have to put up with the "dub" names. The characters all adhere to their original Japanese names, even if you still must read them first name then surname (instead of surname first).
  • This release is translated closer to the original Japanese text. Also, this volume gives you an extra story -- nothing new, just the first chapter from the U.S. original volume 2.
  • Whoever invented translation glossary/notes for the back of the book...THANK YOU. Sailor Moon has one to increase your knowledge about Japanese culture and to provide reasoning behind why the translators chose the words that appeared in the text.
  • As a bonus, this release is printed in a larger format than the old TokyoPop release; easier on the eyes! It makes you appreciate the retouched art all the more.

With all this praise for Kodansha USA, is there something they messed up? Actually, there is. It isn't their fault, but I consider it a major flaw of the re-release -- no liner notes in the sidebar. That's how the Japanese re-release was designed. Sadly, this means no reprinting of Takeuchi-sensei's funny stories, worries and other random stuff. But don't fret, the absence of the sidebar does not interfere with the manga; all the pictures just come out to the edge of the page now. You can't even tell where the liner notes were supposed to be unless you have an old release next to you. My only other fault with the re-release is the use of "bun-head" as the translation for odango. I honestly think this is where DiC got it right and the term "meatball head" should have been used. I realize that is not an accurate translation, but it sounds better than "bun-head" and it gives Mamo-chan that mocking tone he's supposed to have.

Another tiny irksome thing for me at least, is the use of "Pretty Guardian" instead of "Pretty Soldier." While it was nice to link it to the television series, I think if you were going to do an accurate re-release of the series, the original title should have been used. There has always been an unspoken distinction between the manga/anime, stage musicals and television show; now, that distinction has been blurred. Besides, the word in the title is Senshi and that translates as 'soldier' or 'warrior.' It feels like the series has been dumbed down if you take out reference to the girls actually doing serious, sometimes life threatening battle...but that's just my personal translation tiff as a student of Japanese language ^_~ Finally, as much as I like the new covers, I'm sad that the original cover art was not used. I've seen the artbooks; Takeuchi-sensei poured her heart into those pictures. I hope with the subsequent releases, the original splash-page art will at least be colorized like in this volume. Other than that, I consider this a near-flawless victory for Kodansha USA and a major win for us American fans.

Sailor Moon was a merchandise empire, social empire that defined a generation of otaku both in America and in Japan. It was marketed all over the world and adapted to meet the needs of each host country. While some found that appalling, I find it a unique gift that few manga/anime series have been able to accomplish since. It sure did take a long time for this re-release to reach American shores; it's been out in Japan since 2003 (and was reprinted again in 2009 when I was there!) If you were a fan of the series or the shoujo genre in general, you had better go out and pick up volume one and all subsequent releases of "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon" and "Code Name: Sailor V." It has been so long since I've last seen or read Sailor Moon, I found myself once again enchanted by storyline, cheering for our heroines and falling in love all over again for Tuxedo Mask! <3 I can't wait to plow through volume two when it is released this November!

For now, go buy your copy of volume one at a bookstore near you or online from Amazon! In the name of the moon, I command you to do it!!!! XD


Dive's Lupin the 3rd PVC Figure

I love seeing old school anime and manga resurface. And this new figure from an old school title, Lupin the 3rd, is no exception.

Dive brings us a totally cute and detailed figure of Lupin driving his signature little yellow car with Jigen popping out of the sun roof, armed and ready to save the princess. The figure is retailed at 4,500 yen and is due out late December. Anyone else seeing a huge ass cliff overlooking a massive ocean as the perfect background for this figure?

Also, Blum is releasing a diecast model of the 1/43 scale Fiat 500F with Lupin standing beside it. This little gem is retailed at 7,000 yen and is due out January 2012.

Grab the Dive and Blum figure at AmiAmi. [Source: Tomopop]


Video Games Shopping List: Nov. 2011 Edition

To fellow gamers out there, Q4 of any year means one thing -- the sweet release of long-time awaited titles finally come to fruition, ready to be conquered by gaming systems all over. And if you are like me, you've placed your pre-orders months ago and have checked your lists twice or thrice. If so, then you'll no doubt have realized that November will be one hell of a month for gamers!!! Wallets will weep and villains destroyed all in the name sake of satiating gamers' appetites.

While this is by no means a list of all November release titles, here's a taste of what the month will bring, specifically, the titles that will envelope me next month.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
(Nov 1st)
Fortune hunter Nathan Drake is catapulted headlong into an adventure that takes him on a daring trek into the heart of the Arabian Desert in a search for the fabled "Atlantis of the Sands." This journey pits him and his mentor Victor Sullivan against the occult treachery of a shadowy clandestine organization and its ruthless leader. When the terrible secrets of this lost city are unearthed, Drake's quest descends into a desperate bid for survival that strains the limits of his endurance and forces him to confront his deepest fears.

What you can always expect from any Uncharted game is an extremely fun, action-packed experience with a great backstory and solid character development. I expect that Drake's Deception will not disappoint.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Nov 8th)
What to say about Call of Duty that won't already have my friends rolling their eyes at me. The third chapter of what has to be my favorite CoD title, Modern Warfare is back. The blockbuster first-person action series is set in near-future combat scenarios.

From the look of things, there don't seem to be drastic changes to elevate MW3 to a new level, but if it's not broken, why mess with it. That isn't to say that nothing's changed. Survival mode should bring awesome quick-paced fun. All multi-player maps will be available in Survival mode, with each map requiring different tactics. RELOAD with these gun-tastic first-person shooter!

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Nov 8th)
Ahhhh, Metaru Giru Sorido. November is truly a month of the return of my personal favorites. And MGS is no acception, and this HD Collection is a special treat for old MGS fans, and those poor sorry souls who have never played MGS (ahem...)

The Collection includes 3 awesome chapters in the Metal Gear franchise -- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. The Metal Gear Universe is a story that has always been a favorite of mine, and any excuse to dive into the world of Snake and uncover the layers of mysteries is a good enough excuse for me.

I've got to give out a general kudos on the recent releases of "HD Collections." The "God of War" HD Collection and "ICO/Shadow of Collossus" HD Collection releases are truly gems, and I look foward to the "Silent Hill" HD Collection as well. It is great to be able to stroll through memory lane and play favorite games again. So if the quality of these releases remain spectacular, I decree, "keep them coming!!"

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Nov 11th)
The Empire of Tamriel is on the edge. The High King of Skyrim has been murdered. Alliances form as claims to the throne are made. In the midst of this conflict, a far more dangerous, ancient evil is awakened. Dragons, long lost to the passages of the Elder Scrolls, have returned to Tamriel. The future of Skyrim, even the Empire itself, hangs in the balance as they wait for the prophesized Dragonborn to come; a hero born with the power of The Voice, and the only one who can stand amongst the dragons.

It feels like its been ages since The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion first came out, six years to be exact!! Just the RPG I need now...

Assassin's Creed Revelations (Nov 15th)
Ezio, Ezio, Ezio....EZIO MI AMORE!! Ezio's final adventure is almost here. Revelations presents the most immersive experience available in the series to date and the culmination of Ezio's adventure. In Assassin’s Creed Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altaïr, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path – one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region.

In addition to Ezio’s award-winning story, the acclaimed online multiplayer experience from Assassin's Creed Brotherhood returns, refined and expanded, with more modes, more maps and more characters that allow players to test their assassin skills against others from around the world. The latest chapter in the Assassin’s Creed saga also includes revolutionary gameplay, allowing players to manipulate the construct of Desmond’s memories and the Animus to decipher the mysteries of his past and gain insight into the future.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Nov 15th)
Ultimate MvC3 is an updated stand-alone version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Gameplay is similar to its predecessor, with a few changes here and there. These include adjustments on the aerial exchange feature, hyper combo gauge, x-factor duration, button mashing addition, and attack and speed boost alterations. Core mechanics remain the same as well, but carry a few aesthetic changes such as a new character and stage select screen and a few other tweaks.

The update also brings forth 12 new characters bringing the total of characters up to 42. Joining the Marvel ranks are: Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova, and Rocket Raccoon. On the Capcom side, Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis T-Type, Phoenix Wright, Strider Hiryu, and Vergil join the crew.

Tekken Hybrid (Nov 22nd)
Bring on the fighting games! Wish we could throw in some Soul Calibur V into the mix, but I'll take what I can for now. Tekken Hybrid brings a trio of Tekken goodies. Looking forward to seeing Tekken Blood Vengeance 3D again, the full-length feature film on blu-ray. For those who haven't seen it yet, Tekken fans will appreciate seeing favorite characters. The movie follows Xiaoyu Ling who is tasked by the G Corporation to infiltrate an international school in Kyoto and gather intel on the mysterious student, Shin Kamiya. Dive again as the neverending struggle continues with the Mishima Zaibatsu, Jin Kazama, Kazuya Mashina, and the infamour Heihachi Mishima! Cool graphics, the hilarious shower scene, and basically any scene with Lee, LMAO!

Tekken Hybrid rounds up with two games now playable on the PS3 -- Tekken Tag Tournament HD (an HD remake of the classic PS2 game) and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue (a sampler of the arcade game).

So what say you? Will you be locked up in a gaming hole next month? What other titles will you be picking up? Happy Gaming fellow gamers!!


hide Fashion Doll Pre-Order Open!

I'm a girl, so I'm supposed to be hard wired to like dolls, right? You're darn right I am if that doll is modeled after one of my favorite J-ROCK icons of all-time!

Doll company Groove will add hide (the dearly departed X Japan guitarist, solo artist and front man to past bands Zilch and Spread Beaver) to their Taeyang collection on January 31, 2012. The legendary musician's look is designed after his promotional video with Spread Beaver, "ROCKET DIVE". Wearing a faithfully reproduced Parker zipper detail track suit with hoodie (yes, stamped with the hide logo!), the 13" doll features the iconic rocker's pink hair and includes stand and removable yellow tinted sunglasses.

Pre-ordering at the price of $183.00 is now open to all you Speed Freaks at CD Japan and will run until November 7th while supplies last. Adios!


Granimator x d'Errico

Have an iPad? Love Camilla d'Errico? Well then Camilla has got a great treat for you. Camilla's Art Pack for the Granimator app, developed by ustwo, is now available on iTunes!

Using the Granimator app, users can now create their own original wallpaper design using components from Helmetgirls, which only recently was announced would become a graphic novel with Joshua Dysart called Helmetgirls: Origins in 2012. The Wallpaper Creator app, featuring 40 free download packs, is available to download on the iPad.

To help celebrate the launch of the new Granimator feature, Camilla is hosting another contest!

How To Enter:
1) Download the Granimator app and upload the Camilla d'Errico art pack.
2) Create your own original wallpaper design using the Helmetgirls characters, symbols, and words.
3) Email your original designs to info@camilladerrico.com using the in-app sharing featuring from Granimator, from now until the end of October. Contestants can submit as many entries as they would like.

Grand Prize:
One winner will have their winning wallpaper entry printed onto a special canvas and signed by Camilla d'Errico! Plus, five lucky runner-ups will be featured on the Facebook page and sent a copy of Tanpopo Vol. 1!!


Otsukimi - Moon Viewing

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASW) and the Textile Museum held an exclusive nighttime opening of the museum to celebrate the ancient custom of admiring the Harvest Moon -- Otsukimi.

Third Impact was there to enjoy in relaxing frivolities, yummy obento, and sweek sake. The second year since its inception, the Otsukimi Festival is definitely worth checking out. The beautiful setting of the Textile Museum garden provided the perfect grounds for picnicing with Obento available for purchase, sake tasting (provided by Hakutsuru Sake) and with Koto music throughout the night by the Washington Toho Koto Society.

The atmosphere was relaxing to say the least. Japanese children's games including Origami make it a nice event for all ages. Other events included Bon Odori, Yukata dressing, and Mochitsuki (rice pounding). The highlight of the event would definitely have to be the traditional Japanese tea ceremony demonstration, provided by the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Washington DC Association. The experience was very moving.

Tagging with the Japanese tea ceremony demo along with all the other Otsukimi activities, inspired some great haiku writings from my group. It was a night to remember and I highly recommend it if you are able to check it out next year. The crowd size was just right, and if you are looking for a unique experience and a good time, look no further!


Sideshow's Gambit Legendary Scale Bust

Dayuuummmmmmmmm!!!!! *drool*

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way.  I know I should hang to the side on this one and let my newest contributor, Sam, take the reins on this...BUT, I have lost voluntary control of my hands and need someone else to bask in this hotness!

The Cajun that needs no introduction, X-Men's Gambit will be joining the ranks of Sideshow Collectibles' Legendary Scale Bust Series.  And boy is it anything but quiet.  I'm struggling not to break my keyboard right now! So forgive me if I start to ramble.  This sexy piece of....ahem....Gambit will cost you $224.99 for either the exclusive edition that has a beautiful Gambit nameplate, and is limited to 200 pieces, as well as the regular edition.  Each bust is individually painted and finished, each with its own unique quality and detail!  Gambit is due out early next year.

Sideshow's Exclusive Gambit Nameplate
Now I'm sorry to say that the exclusive edition is now sold out, but if you hurry, you can still grab the regular edition here.

That card-wielding, heart-throbbing, master thief never looked so H-O-T!


Ordermade Bandai's GUN-PRI

Okay people, it doesn't take a Gunpla aficionado such as myself to notice the beauty that is Gunpla. Nevermind if you've never touched the stuff. You don't need to partake in the goods to recognize how totally b****ing Gunpla boxes look. I'm an avid Gunpla builder with perfect decal-ing placement skills (LOL!!), and finding places to show-off the latest Gunpla build can be tough, but what can be even tougher is how to display those massive beautiful boxes they were housed in.

Well for those living in Japan (*stares with contempt and jealousy* one day...one day), Bandai has created a solution. Introducing the Gunpla Print Service, "GUN-PRI." Seriously, this is freaking great! The GUN-PRI service lets you select from over 100 MG packages, and order said design to be printed on a plethora of items. Create T-shirts, bath towels, and wallscrolls of your favorite gunpla design and logos. In a world where anything was possible, this is where I'd be screaming, "I would like to order 100 t-shirts!"

Not including shipping and handling, t-shirts will run you about 4,000 yen and the towels and wallscrolls are just under 3,000 yen. Orders will take approximately one month to fulfil. Go forth and build that awesome shirt at http://p-bandai.jp/ordermade/! Hell, even if you can't, do like me and check out the beautiful designs and salivate.

[Source: Gunjap.net]


New Junjo Romantica DVD-BOX Collections

It appears that Shungiku Nakamura's "Junjo Romantica" will continue to be my most expensive yaoi addiction to date. As if I didn't shell out enough money on the two U.S. box sets, all of the original twelve Japanese limited edition DVDs and Egoist & Terrorist fan-special discs of the smash hit anime, now there's this:

The "Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi" Official Website on September 23rd that season's one and two of "Junjo Romantica" will be released in DVD-BOX collections in Japan early next year. Each box set will retail at 13,650 yen and feature twelve Director's Cut episodes of the anime on 3-discs in addition to creditless openings/endings, bonus footage, a special 20-page full-color booklet and original illustrated box.

"Junjo Romantica" DVD-BOX will be available Junary 27, 2012
"Junjo Romantica 2" DVD-BOX will be available February 24, 2012

Do I really need to buy the series again? Probably not. Will I be buying it again because I'm a crazy fan who needs the original illustrated box? .......... Do I really need to answer that?


New "An Assassin" Trailer

My October movie watch list is quite long and near the top of said list is Director Go Ohara’s “An Assassin”. The action film noir premiering in Japan on October 8th is led by one of my favorite Japanese actors, the talented Ryoma Baba (star of such films as “Crazy-izm” and “Takumi-kun: Pure”) in addition to Sayuri Iwata (“Lupin no Kiganjo”) and Yuki Kubota (“Local Boys!”).

Story summary translation from Official Website :

Ryo Hanaki (Ryoma Baba) was raised to be a professional assassin. During one mission though, things go horribly wrong after an attractive high school girl named Rio (Sayuri Iwata) accidentally gets in the way. Hanaki has always spent days as a heartless assassin, but his life starts to change after he helps Rio. By a twist of fate, Rio, who was a complete unknown, suddenly becomes a target overnight. A single mistake from his decision to save Rio has seemingly decided the destiny of the masses...

The promotional theme "Heroine" by Sindy can be purchased at CD Japan.

Catch the new 90-sec trailer below or visit the movie’s Official YouTube Channel page for this and previous entries.


Ai no Kusabi OVA Gets 2012 Release Date!

Anyone who has followed the ups and downs of AIC Studio and director Katsuhito Akiyama's remake of "Ai no Kusabi" knows how much of a rollercoaster it has been. Previously adapted into a two-episode anime in 1992 and 1994, a new relaunch of the popular yaoi novel by Rieko Yoshihara was announced back in 2009 with a new voice cast and updated character design by Naoyuki Onda. The graphic and tragic love story between different members of a class-based society (gang slum-dweller turned voyeristic "pet" Riki the Dark, and his owner Iason Mink, the genetically engineered elite revered by his fellow "Blondies" and the world of Amoi's ruling Artificial Intellegience: Jupiter) was set to unfold over thirteen episodes. Sadly, despite two appetizing trailer releases, financial reasons caused the project to be postponed and then eventually dropped in 2010.

But on September 23rd @Kusabi_Official on Twitter announced their Official Website is having a special reopening celebration. The News section neglects to share any details as to why, but surely it could only mean one thing! While several sections are still being revamped, head over to the Information section and happily discover that January 18, 2012 heralds the release of Volume One! Subsequent volumes are set to release each following month.

Three versions for the first volume, "Ai no Kusabi ~petere Kanju~", will be available (first editions will sport a specially designed jacket by Naoyuki Onda):

Regular Editon
Regular Edition Blu-ray
Limited Edition Blu-ray (includes special booklet, script, creditless opening & ending, promotional videos and pet ring with leather string)

Yes, you heard right... you can have your very own pet ring. (Umm... No need to share the details as to what you'll be doing with yours.)


Resistance 3 Review

Ooooooweeeeeee, it feels great to pick up that Bullseye and Marksman and whoop me some Chimeran ass after all this time!!! My trigger finger is happy.

Resistance 3 is finally out, and takes it home with a well-balanced game, an awesome arsenal available at your finger tips, and a variety of bad guys. As Nathan Hale, you spent your life battling the Chimera invasion, and battling your own spreading infection. And after setting aflame the Chimeran towers, his fellow colleague Joseph Capelli is forced to kill Nathan with his infection completely spread (gotta love those yellow glowing eyes!).

Things pick up where Nathan Hale leaves Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2, as we play the recently dishonorably discharged Joseph Capelli. The world was left in disarray, yet humanity clung on. And after 4 years of what seems like a never-ending struggle as humanity attempts to rebuild, it would seem all of Nathan's efforts didn't exactly eradicate the damn pests. They're back and now there seems to be a huge portal piercing the skies with an imminent threat of what baddies will be coming through from the other end.

Now Joe doesn't have that same "save-the-world/hero/cool" kind of attitude as one might expect from a shooter game. He has a wife and kid that he doesn't want to leave. But the characters he meets, coupled with a stellar array of environments, make for an awesome campaign. The first half of the story seemed to flow and pace very nicely, though as the game progressed there were a few moments when that flow was somewhat broken and disjointed. I am one chapter away from beating the game, but can strongly state that the campaign story and gameplay was action-packed and loads of fun.

Enemies varied to the point where choosing the right strategy and the right weapons were the key to success. You are drawn to the game -- with enemies just popping out of nowhere, when there is scarcely any light available, when you notice the eerie soundtrack or even when things go too quiet, and when you realize you are down to your last mag. The environment alone was stunning to just stare at. You'll easily be drawn into playing the game with no breaks.

Co-op gameplay also proves itself worthy. While I was sad to see the lack of class-based co-op from Resistance 2, co-op in general doesn't suffer. You get the experience you are looking for. And if you've got the gear, the fun doesn't stop there. Be sure to whip out your Playstation Move gun and your 3D specs and stop that invasion!


Good Smile Company's Makise Kurisu PVC Figure

Tis the season, I suppose, when my figure/statue buy-list grows to ridiculous proportions. And after gazing my eyes over this little beauty, it comes to no surprise that it joined the ranks of "ze list."

As a huge Makise fan (my latest cosplay venture included the premiere of my Makise cosplay at Otakon this year), I must say Good Smile Company has made one hell of a beautiful figure. And it's great to see steins;gate getting more recognition and love. And not just your average love, but the release of stellar, top-quality figures. I still find myself staring at one of my favorite figures in my room (the gorgeous Kotobukiya figure of Makise).

This breathtaking 1/8 scale PVC figure of Future Gadget Laboratory's Lab Member No. 004, Kurisu Makise is now available for pre-order with a retail price of 6,800 yen and a release date of March 2012.

Check out more pics at Good Smile Company. Come hither, Makise!