Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Random geeky toy photos 5/some of the only things I've ever gotten from eBay

A few 下敷(pencil boards):

First: Belldandy.

Second: Skuld.
(only one side)

And finally, some UFO catcher dolls...

Click pictures for enlarged versions...if you dare.

It's probably a good thing that I don't have easy access to anime toys memorabilia anymore.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

I've been a little less geeky than usual...

Somewhere in the mid 1990s, I became interested in Japanese animation and comic books -- anime and manga. I became a fan during the last of the VHS age, and the introduction of the DVD age. Back then, getting anime in its original language, subtitled, was far more expensive -- one or two episodes per tape, for $30-$40. Even dubbed anime was around $20-$30 for a couple of episodes.

I was still a fan when I went to Japan, and for a while I went crazy with buying of anime "memorabilia" (read: crap). However, time and overexposure led me to cut back after a while. A new job with a cut in pay also helped out...

One of the things I did as an anime fan was to write "fan fiction". (The few times I tried creating my own characters, my stories fell firmly in the 90% area of Sturgeon's Law1.) (Come to think of it, I'm not really sure if the rest of my fanfiction output made it out of that 90%...)

Anyway, the bulk of my fan-fiction output is (not very well) hidden on this website somewhere...a few one-shot stories, a songfic, and the first few parts of what would've been an amateur epic. I posted them on an e-mail mailing list called the FFML, where they were fairly well received. However, for a number of reasons, it took me longer and longer to post new stories and new parts of the one story...mirroring the slow decrease of posts on the mailing list. A flood of new fanfics were all of a sudden being posted to Fanfiction.net, and us old-timers on the FFML kind of looked down on most of those. However, since all of the newer fans went there first, coupled with some unfortunate circumstances -- service outages, a need to find new server space (twice in quick succession), etc. -- and a bunch of the old stalwarts giving up on fanfic for some reason or another, led to the FFML becoming pretty much moribund.

As for me personally, I slowed down for several reasons...including a massive continuity mistake in the first chapter, and throwing out my originally planned ending as unworkable...without a new one in mind. Even though I hadn't written anything new in my "epic" in a couple years, I finally broke down and started posting chapters to Fanfiction.net, taking the opportunity to revise a few things as I went. I was surprised to see a few reviews pop up, including one that said the reader had been following the story for a long time, and wondering if I'd ever finish it.

I thought about it, I really did...sometimes I still think about it. But last year, Yumi Touma (voice actress in the anime that I use for fanfiction) wrote something of a fan-fic of her own, a novel which was published by Kodansha in Japan, and Dark Horse in America.Her basic premise has some interesting parallels to mine, although she takes it in a completely different direction. Yikes.

So, my "epic" is in limbo at the moment, awaiting the day when I come up with a new ending, while being as original as possible. I DO want to get back to writing, but I'm not sure when it'll happen. I should post more to Fanfiction.net, a few reviews (either positive or negative) might spur some action on my part...

1 "90% of everything is crud."

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Laws of Anime

Nothing much today, just a link to the Laws of Anime, a list some people put together long ago...yet they still apply, most of them.

Some samples:

#3 - Law of Sonic Amplification, First Law of Anime Acoustics

In space, loud sounds, like explosions, are even louder because there is no air to get in the way.

#11 - Law of Inherent Combustibility

Everything explodes. Everything.

First Corollary -

Anything that explodes bulges first.

Second Corollary -

Large cities are the most explosive substances known to human science. Tokyo in particular seems to be the most unstable of these cities, sometimes referred to as "The Matchstick City".

#17 - Law of Transient Romantic Unreliability

Minmei is a bimbo.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Have you ever done this...?

Sometimes, I forget that I own something -- a book, a CD, something -- and I buy a second one by mistake. I haven't done this often, and usually when I have done it, it's something that's of minimal cost. Once I bought the same album from the iTunes Music store America and Japan ("Blue Planet," by Donna Lewis -- certainly worth buying once). (Now that I think about it, the copy I got from the Japanese iTunes store was free, from the Japanese Coca-Cola MyCokeRewards site.)

But, once, I spent a bit more.

These are two copies of the same movie, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? I bought the first one, on the left, when I was living in Kagoshima. I first bought it because I was (and am!) a fan of Macross/Robotech, and this movie will most likely never have a legitimate U.S. release due to a combination of factors (Harmony Gold being difficult to work with, limited demand for older anime movies, etc.). It's labeled "Perfect Edition", but the video is kind of choppy and skippy...

Anyway, when I was leaving Japan for the states after the end of the JET Programme job, I unloaded a lot of DVDs and CDs and other stuff that I had purchased (and I had purchased a lot. JET paid almost too well). I thought I had sold this one back too, due to the video quality being not the best.

Fast forward a few years...Now I'm working in Tottori, and I have a car, and easy access to electronics/toy/CD/DVD shops (actually just one. All in one store. DeoDeo...). Fortunately for me, I have a much more limited budget, and far more awareness of how limited it is.

When I saw that they had re-mastered DYRL, I decided to pick up a copy. (It took me about six months to convince myself to buy it, actually.) The newer edition had perfect video and sound, but didn't have the trailers and other extras that the earlier edition had. Still, I figured that I had already given up the other DVD, so what the heck.

Fast forward again, to about June of this year. I'm back in the states, and going through boxes of stuff in my parents' basement that I had sent home back in 2004...and I come upon the earlier copy of DYRL.


Normally I wouldn't have reacted so extremely, but that first DVD was ¥7800, and the second was ¥6800. What with the fluctuation of the exchange rate, that's about $68-$70 a piece.

Well, at least it's a good movie...

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Live-action Macross would WORK, dammit!

Okay, so it's a pachinko commercial. But still, the special effects look pretty good. I'd love to see a live-action Macross show/movie someday.

Oddly, I'm less enthusiastic about a live-action Robotech.

(What's the difference? That question has started many an anime geek flame war...)

Back in 2007, WB announced plans to produce a Robotech movie, produced by and starring Tobey Maguire. Not much has been heard about that lately, though.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Things I do when I'm bored

(click for big robot go now!)

Yes, I own too many of these.

These three are the Yamato versions of the Valkyrie toy, as opposed to the Takatoku/Bandai version below. They are, from left to right, the 2008 1/60 scale version, the 2003 1/48 version, and the 2001 1/60 version. Yamato Toys made them better looking and more detailed with each iteration, but the Takatoku version still has them all beat for ease of transformation.

I'd say that these were more for display than for actual toy use...

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Monday, August 31, 2009

An attempt at mental re-alignment

Before I left Japan, one of my friends (Hi, Jonny!) lamented with me the fact that it was unfortunate that my last memories of Japan would be my last experiences in Japan...

The previous sentence makes sense. Really.

Anyway, I figure that in order to dispel some of that aura, I should try to recall some of the more entertaining moments of the past eight or so years.

At Kamiichiki Junior High School, the smaller of the two junior highs I regularly visited in Kagoshima, I usually sat next to the math teacher in the staff room. Now he was a Gundam otaku; his desk was covered with various Gundam figurines and toys, as was the shelving unit behind him.

Now, when I started teaching there, I was unsure how to talk to anyone, due to both my limited Japanese language ability, and lack of cultural references. But I was a fan of anime -- a shared interest.

So, one day, I arrived and set up THIS on my desk:

Everyone in the staff room at that time laughed, and most gave me various "thumbs-up" signals. When the Math teacher came back from class, he stared at my desk, dumbfounded.

After a few moments of concentration, he correctly identified the TV series (Chou Jikuu Yousai Macross), the type of mecha it was (Valkyrie), and even the pilot (Ichijou Hikaru).

We got along famously after that.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Do not doubt the power of dedicated fans

The opening animation to 1984's Daicon IV, one of the bigger Japanese science fiction conventions.

This animation was made by a group of (at that time) amateurs. See how many different sci-fi franchises get skewered.

(If you're thinking that this looks really good for amateurs, well not long after this they became GAINAX, the company responsible for Evangelion and FLCL and other famous anime...)


Sunday, December 02, 2007

How much is TOO much?

...and this is just a sampling of my collection. Scary.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You are now entering the Uncanny Valley...

...from the WRONG DIRECTION.

Seriously, I don't know what makes this guy (I'm pretty sure it's a guy) put on a full-body stocking, a (woman's) anime costume, and a mask, but more power to him.

It's the mask that's the creepy part, though. Here's an example:

It's not as apparent in a still picture, but imagine hanging around with this person, face to face with an immobile mask for a face, making the head look just a little too large for the body...

Apparently this is a semi-widespread offshoot of anime cosplay. Still creeps me out, though.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

ROBOTECH may be headed for Hollywood

Oh dear god no. ROBOTECH may become a Hollywood movie. With Tobey Maguire, of all people, as Hikaru Rick.

This assumes, of course, that they'll be doing the "Macross Saga" part of ROBOTECH. I can't see how they'd mash the entire series into one movie. Heck, it's difficult imagining them making all of Macross into one movie!

Robotech played fast and loose with the original story of Super Dimension Fortress Macross; it's frightening to contemplate how a Hollywood version will mangle it even more. On the bright side, maybe they'll pick an English-speaking actress who can actually SING for Lynn Minmei this time. (Mari Iijima, the Japanese Voice Actress, is too old to reprise the role.)

The article mentions that the fate of the world is in the hands of two young pilots. I wonder which two they're referring to? (Rick, Roy, Max, Ben, Miriya...)

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