Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Real Phantasm Adeleide

It's funny how a holiday brings both relief (in that you can break your routine and do whatever you want to do), and headaches (in that your schedule can get completely thrown off while you're doing whatever you wanted to do).

Since I had Memorial Day off from work, I spent it sleeping in, catching up with some cartoons I've been following, eating barbecue, and most importantly, watching a movie I really enjoy. Namely, 1997's Men in Black. The third film in the series was released during the weekend leading up to the holiday, but considering that I extremely disliked the second (as did a lot of people, apparently), I couldn't find myself particularly pumped up to go and see the third. However, the release did plant the idea to go back and watch the first again on my day off, so I guess that's something.

For this week's swag, I have three items that I've been looking forward to obtaining for quite awhile. A Figma of "White Moon Princess Phantasmoon", the comical, tongue-in-cheek magical girl alter ego of my favorite character in anything ever, Tsukihime's main heroine, Arcueid Brunestud (AKA Arc); an HG 1/144 scale kit of the mass production robot RGE-G1100 Adele from Gundam AGE; and a Real Grade (RG) RX-178 Gundam Mk-II (AEUG-type) from Zeta Gundam.

Figma and HG kits are nothing new to me, but RG is the most recent creation of the boys at maker Bandai's think tank. It effectively takes Master Grade (MG), the most long-standing "premium" class of Gundam plastic model kits (Gunpla), which only exists at the 1/100 scale (and is thus a fair bit more expensive than the norm), and shrinks them down to the 1/144 scale of the vast majority of their other kits, allowing them to be posed and placed in dioramas alongside their HG and FG (First Grade) brethren. It also means that semi-cheapskates such as myself can get all the detail and posability of MG without having to shell out upwards of $60. Since RG is a relatively new line, the selection of robots available is very small, and I was waiting for just the right one to get started with. Although the original RX-78-2 Gundam (which I also like) is available, it was the Mk-II that finally got me to plonk down the funds to purchase. As you can probably tell, I'm very much looking forward to putting it together, though I'm going to place it at the bottom of my model to-do list for the time being, so I can relish the moment I take those parts out of the box after I've finished putting together the other three kits I have waiting to be built.

Until next time, a Marble Phantasm... Right to your heart!

Sadly, a Figma of Arc in her normal attire doesn't exist at the moment. I'm hoping they sell enough of Phantasmoon to justify doing it...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lunar Fantasy 0 Arc

April (and most of May up to this point) were busy as all hell for me. Between work, exercise, my studies, and trying to squeeze in time for gaming, I just plain haven't had it in me to write up any posts. Oh well...

I finished playing through Climax U.C., which I mentioned in an earlier post. It wound up being every bit as much fun as I'd heard, despite the fact that CPU-controlled characters cheat very, VERY blatantly. Somehow, I managed to unlock everything in the game 100%, something I'm not particularly known for doing. I guess that's the best testament I can give as to how much I really got into playing it (or how easy it is to do so, either way).

Aside from that, I've also been pretty wrapped up in playing The King of Fighters XIII. Although I'm not all that great at versus fighting games, they've been something I've enjoyed ever since I was little and they first got really popular. This particular entry in SNK's long-running series took me a little aback at first, as practically every character on the roster had had significant parts of their movelists cut or changed since XI, the last entry I had played (I skipped XII due to various accounts both from strangers and people I knew that it was a rushed project with very few redeeming qualities). Still, I've played and gotten used to (for the most part) a lot of the changes, and found myself having great fun (despite my inability to even score a single win against any of my friends online. The chagrin of it all...)

A few weeks ago, I went to an electronics store with a friend (he was looking for a new keyboard), when I noticed that they also sold games at heavy discounts. My curiosity piqued, I went to see what they had, and found three titles of interest, all for the PSP, and all under $30 - my kind of pricing. Remakes of the very first Final Fantasy game (which I played both on a friend's NES back in my teens, and again on the Game Boy Advance some time later) and Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (itself a Remake of Lunar: Silver Star Story, neither of which I had a chance to play before now) were what I picked out, along with a game I'd never heard of, named for and based upon the legendary Jeanne D'arc. I scoped it out based both upon the fact that I love historical fiction, no matter how wildly it may deviate from reality (because it's more fun that way), and because it happens to be a tactical role playing game, one of my favorite genres.

Also pictured is my 1/144-scale HG 0 Gundam (Actual Combat Deployment-type), which I bought about a month ago, but hadn't gotten around to building until two days ago. As a fan of the original Gundam's design, I was very much interested in a kit of this machine which was designed in its likeness as an homage. It's a very basic kit with sparse accessories compared to many of its contemporaries, but I enjoyed building it all the same. My only major gripes with it are that the ball joints used on the neck section are very, very loose, to the point where using clear nail polish (a known solution for this kind of problem) only made them slightly less fiddly; as well as the fact that while there are foil stickers included to decorate the eye area (my less than stellar fine motor control means that I have a very hard time with precise painting) as per the norm, there weren't any included for the two cameras on the head (one just above the red and white head crest, and the other on the back of the same section). I was more than a little surprised, as usually those kinds of things are always provided for. Maybe it was just an oversight that slipped by production until it was too late...

Anyway, that's enough rambling out of me for one night. Until next time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Magical Miko Hands

This week has been pretty tiring thus far, due to various things at work. Hopefully it'll slow down over the next two days so I'm not too exhausted when the weekend comes.

I finished Capcom's Irregular Hunter X (AKA Mega Man Maverick Hunter X) recently. The game was a very huge enjoyment for me and brought back a ton of nostalgia from when I played the original Rockman X as a child (when I couldn't get very far in it) and again as a teenager (when I finally managed to clear it, along with its various sequels). Despite being a remake, the dev team decided to throw the old pros a few loops here and there, mostly by changing the locations of certain power ups. I was surprised, but I rolled with the punches, and now I'm quite glad that they took the trouble to do something like that without making thinks too much harder. I also greatly enjoyed the Vava (Vile) Mode, in which the player assumes the role of a recurring boss with a unique array of weapons and feel a bit sad that nobody ever decided to take that mode's gameplay and design a whole game around it. I'm certain it'd be a blast to play.

It's been awhile since I talked about toys, hasn't it? Partly because I haven't been writing posts much lately, and partly because I haven't really been buying toys all that often. Here we have some stuff I bought with a bit of my tax return check for this year:

  • Tomoe Mami is my favorite character from last year's Magical Girl Madoka Magica, here rendered as a figure in Maxfactory's always superb Figma line.
  • Hakurei Reimu is the main character of the Touhou Project games, and the playable character I use most when (feebly attempting to) play said games. This figure of her comes from Liquid Stone, and is part of their Mameshiki line, which as far as I know, consists only of Touhou Project characters rendered in adorable super deformed glory.
  • The last item is a set of specially made high-detail hand parts for my 1/144-scale "remastered" Buster Gundam plastic model kit. As my favorite of the five Gundam units from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, I couldn't pass up the chance to give my kit just a little bit more detail, even if I'm not confident enough to go around painting it like other modelers do.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Knightly Record 2012

After poking around in the game a bunch, I finally finished The White Knight's Tale: Awakening of Light and Dark (AKA White Knight Chronicles II). All told, it's very easy to see that the game was built from the dried-out husk of an MMO and repurposed as a single-player Role-Playing Game (with multiplayer online missions). The story was kind of bland and forgettable, though it did have some well-executed twists that I enjoyed. All told, I feel the game's true strengths lie in its gameplay, character customization, and free quests. I'll probably get play around in the postgame for a week or two before moving on to Climax U.C. (Which I've played a bit of and enjoyed despite the lock-on system being a bit wonky at times).

I've had a couple of plastic model kits lying around unbuilt, and this past weekend I finally got around to building one while watching Yuu Yuu Hakusho with a friend (A Super Deformed version of my favorite Gundam, the Force Impulse, pictured below with my High-Grade Nobel Gundam).

Yep. Another Gundam game. This time around, it's Mobile Suit Gundam: Battlefield Record 0081, which I've been wanting to play ever since it was announced, but only now have had the financial stability to be able to afford importing. This one features some customization of the player's Mobile Suits, up to and including being able to change some of the weaponry they carry. I'm looking forward to playing through both the Federation "Phantom Sweep" and Zeon "Invisible Knights" storylines, though I'll of course be starting with the former when I actually get around to playing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fantastic Phantom Climax

I finished Fantastic Children last night and the "Another Marrone" scenario of Phantom Brave Portable earlier today. The former was a pretty good show. Nothing too spectacular and filled with a few too many flashbacks for my liking (flashbacking can be a useful tool in telling a story, but sometimes you've just gotta lay off and show something right from the beginning). Though I do have to admit that I found it satisfying that the reincarnation of the lead girl's love interest didn't turn out to be the lead guy, or even anybody featured as a major character in the series at all. It felt like a nice change of pace from the norm without trying too hard to be different for the sake of being different.

As for the latter, I enjoyed Phantom Brave tremendously. While I do tend to get attached to characters in stories that I'm watching, reading, playing out, etc. a little more easily than others, this game in particular had a cast of characters that I grew particularly fond of. The principal lead Marrone (Marona in the English version) is simply such so much of a kind, thoughtful, endearing little girl that I think it'd be hard for most people to not grow attached to her and want to see her succeed. This goes double for the bonus scenario's eponymous alternate dimension version of the character, who has been thoroughly broken emotionally, and yet under it all, you can still catch glimmers of the wonderful person at her core. The endings for both the normal game and the extra scenario had me emotionally invested enough to shed a tear or two of joy.

And now, on to today's swag.

Various Gundam video games, especially ones for the PS2, tend to be not so great. This title, Mobile Suit Gundam: Climax U.C., is one I've heard many fans speak highly of, and so I decided to procure a copy for myself to check it out. I'm particularly looking forward to playing the game's "Progressive Mode", in which the player takes control of a succession of somewhat customizable characters taking part in battles throughout the Universal Century timeline. Of course, I'll be doing my first run aligning with the Earth Federation and AEUG factions.

Friday, March 16, 2012


So yeah, I pretty much abandoned this blog for awhile, mostly because I found myself writing waaaaaaaaaay the fudge too much and it took an hour minimum for each post. Gonna try not to do that anymore.

And now for something that will probably make up the bulk of my posts for the foreseeable future, the swag report.

So while watching Eureka Seven a few months ago, I was checking out the trailers, and was intrigued by this show called Flag. Just got the boxset in today:

Surprisingly, the second volume is apparently the only one that is difficult to find, as very few of my usual go-to places (Amazon, Rightstuf, etc.) had it, while they did have the other three. Luckily I found the whole set on ebay for a decent price. Looking forward to watching it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Magic Radio: SRW Original Generation Sidestory

I get a lot of requests for MP3 download links to the music that I post to my Youtube account. Generally speaking, the stuff I upload there is strictly video game BGMs taken from imported soundtrack CDs that I've bought, then processed through Audacity to improve the volume and add an extra track loop or two, since I like having this stuff last long enough for me to enjoy it, and the tracks on the CDs will usually only include 1-2 loops in order to save disc space.

Anyway, I've decided to give in and upload an archived version of a game soundtrack, and provide it for those to wish to hear it. I'll probably continue to do this in the future, but I'll only provide a download link after I've finished uploading all the tracks to my aforementioned Youtube account (that way, people have incentive to tune in, after all). In addition, should I ever receive a cease and/or desist order from the government or the fine folks who make this music, or whatnot, I will comply without hesitation.

That said, here's the first of many EST (Extended Sound Track)s that I'll leave up here for the public, the music from the PS2 game Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation Gaiden.

Since OG Gaiden reuses almost all of the soundtrack from its predecessor, Original Generations, there's only 15 tracks here. Naturally, the OGs EST will come at a later date.

- Azure out.