November 28, 2006

Completed Komugi figures

ge_komugi.jpgFormer readers of mugimugi.com (not linked because it has since been stolen by squatters) probably know Komugi has inspired many beautiful and high quality figures. Unfortunately, they were usually far beyond the reach of the average fan, as they were either garage kits or ultrarare 8-in-the-world WonderFes exclusives. As a Momoi fan, it's almost shameful to admit that the only Komugi figures I own are gashapons and a 1/8th sukumizu figure that Yuujin included with one of the special edition DVDs.

Finally, a company has released the first set of mass produced Komugi figures (that I know of) to be purchased individually. The only downside: that company is Griffon Enterprises, yes the same guys who made that spreadeagled naked Mii-tan figure. So of course, instead of Magical Nurse Witch Komugi and Magical Maid Koyori we get Nude Witch Komugi and Hadake Apron Koyori instead. :(

Guess these won't be things you can proudly display on your shelf when you have young siblings at home.

Due to those reasons as well as the hefty price tag, I can't say for sure I will order this, but I am happy that at least someone has at last decided to try selling completed Komugi figures. Here's hoping the trend continues...more Komugi figures please!

Posted by Paranda at 12:28 PM | Comments (5)

November 28, 2006

Haruko Update preorders are open

harukoupdate.jpgFor some reason, I didn't get an automated newsmail notification about this from CDJapan. But, luckily I was reminded to check up on this manually yesterday after cortana sent me a trailer/music video of what I assume is the bonus content on the limited edition version of Saigo no Rock that was released two weeks ago. (I still don't have my package yet. In addition to waiting for Yume no Baton, KOTOKO's album release got delayed, which in turn delayed my entire Momoi order until even later than previously thought).

Be warned, it will contain Momoi in a maid outfit rocking out with a broom as if it were a guitar. Potential cuteness overload. Take deep breaths first before watching. From what I've seen, it looks like the DVD is definitely going to be paying service to the Akiba/2ch folk (the trailers portrays them favorably in a Densha Otoko-esque fashion: devoted, slightly kooky friends whose internet postings give her the courage to stand up to the school bullies). Takayama Saki has also decidedly won me over on the casting choice once and for all, after seeing the expression she has when she opens her cardigan to reveal AI on her t-shirt underneath. That's just excellent.

Haruko Update will be released January 26th and will be available in two versions:
regular edition for 5800 yen, and a special edition for 7800 yen.

The premium price on the special edition is due to some very worthwhile extras that will be included: A special edition clear case, a bonus 30 minute CD containing a "100 methods of fun" radio skit, accompanied by the CD jacket specially illustrated by Watanabe Akio (a.k.a Poyoyon Rock), and a 16 page pamphlet with commentary and backstage stuff.

Posted by Paranda at 11:09 AM | Comments (2)

November 28, 2006

I am going to whine about midterms

There are two periods of stress for a student associated with Thanksgiving. The week before Thanksgiving, when all the midterms pile together. And the week after Thanksgiving, when the graded midterms are returned. Results are mixed. Monday started out good. I inexplicably aced my second Econ and a programming exam. Even though the new job had eaten away at my free time, things seemed to be under control and I was looking at getting away this semester with pretty good grades.

This was of course balanced out today after I found out I bombed on my second financial systems midterm with the proud score of 60.5, completing fucking up my previous B+/A- average in that class with no chance of recovery to A status. In retrospect, I really should have contacted the professor to let him know I wasn't ready to take the test that week. Maybe I could have gotten an extra day to prepare. I'm now shooting for a middle B if I'm lucky.

Although they were sufficient for economics classes, apparently my bullshitting skills can't cut it when it comes to the world of hard finance. Unlike the econ exam, where I was only stuck on a few questions while confident on the rest, I really didn't know my shit for this test and I didn't dare risk drawing stupid joke doodle/answers since each point was so precious. Instead I opted to go for the "obscure with semi-jargon and bad handwriting until it looks sort of correct" approach for when I had no fucking clue about the answers. Maybe I should have tried drawing after all, it worked surprisingly well for my first econ midterm - I got full credit for that question. Hmmmm it must say something about those two subjects.

Posted by Paranda at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

What do you do when Tsukihime gets translated the same month as second round midterms?

Juggle with priorities until you crack under the pressure, that's what. On top of studying, also working 22 hours part time vs. 8 hours before has kind of left me with...well no time.

Brief notes since I don't plan on writing anything with substance this week:

I will make a large collective Momoi update when my CDs actually arrive in December (I opted to ship both releases together). Downloaded a lossless version while I wait. Saigo no Rock is pretty good as expected, but the c/w song is a bit disappointing.

Meanwhile I am canning my Lovedol summaries because it's too time consuming. WinD has just released episode 3, proving they are probably going to sub the whole thing and on a good schedule too so I don't have to strain myself.

Looking beyond the wonderful ED, Otome wa Boku ni Koi Shiteru is more fun than I could have expected. I am no longer ashamed about endorsing this show.

Happiness meanwhile is kind of boring and even Jun's flirty manpower isn't really saving it, but not enough to drop.

Negima!? is all right so far. This is surprising because I couldn't even read one chapter of the manga without getting angry at how bad it was.

I still need to finish NHK and start Death Note :(

After completing the Ciel arc (which was my first because Ciel was my favorite from the anime), I learned Ciel has painted arms and not hardcore crusade tattoos of holy war. Actually she can't get a tattoo even if she wanted to.

Now back to studying for FIS. Next week will be feel-good slack-off week.

Posted by Paranda at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)

November 5, 2006

Wii at Nintendo World

Pictures from yesterday's visit to Nintendo World. Initial impressions are okay, although not as good as they used to be. There were a lot of forced controller gimmicks such as where waving the controller actually made things harder (Rampage), some that made the game more interesting (Excite Truck), and others that we couldn't judge properly because there were 1000 people in the line and the attendant as well as everyone else got really anal if you tried to take more time to get used to the controller (Zelda).

Nintendo World
Nintendo World
Nintendo World
We got in at 11 so the line was still relatively short. By the time we left at 5 there were four separate lines stretching a block, full of crazy people in the cold.

Nintendo World
Nintendo World
Nintendo World
Nintendo World
Nintendo World

Posted by Paranda at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2006

Lovedol episode 5

Even after looping the OP/ED themes non-stop since they came out, I found I still couldn't resist watching it all for episode 5. What tremendous power. Also, Sakaki is very cute in this episode.

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Judging by the background song, this episode looks like it will be centered around the cat-like Miu. Things kick off when Tomohiro announces that Sayuki, one of the talents he used to manage, has given the idols an opportunity to appear in an advertisement for lotion. They all feel this is a good way to gain exposure and head for the filming location, which is a beach.

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Why a beach of all places? I think it is now pretty obvious where this episode is headed.

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The idols change into swimsuits to shoot the commercial and show off a bit until Ruri steals everyone's attention with a sukumizu. Ruri is definitely the smart one.

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The group first watches Sayuki do some solo parts. After the shoot, Tomohiro has a little chat with her and congratulates her on her work. Like every older talent who has appeared in the show so far, during the conversation Sayuki hints an affection for her old manager. Perhaps Tomohiro's grin is one of satisfaction? Alas we know better. When asked by Saiyuki if he has forgotten anything "extra" to say to her, despite all the eye-batting, the deep stare of lust, the anticipation in her breathing, this stupid ass blurts out "Oh yeah, I forgot to say thanks for inviting my idols." Behold the face of a man who has just missed the blatant advances of one of Japan's top models. Saiyuki storms off in disappointment, leaving Tomohiro clueless about what just happened.

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Meanwhile, the idols are facing problems of their own. Sakaki doesn't perform well at all under the stare of the camera and crew and trips up under the pressure. It seems she is very uncomfortable with the whole situation.

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On the other side of the spectrum, the exciteable Miu, though very good at dancing, gets a little too caught up in the moment. The other girls find it impossible to keep up with Miu, who deviates from the choreographed steps and jumps into her own passionate routine. Things go so wrong that the director cancels the shoot and orders them off.

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Tomohiro apologizes but says because they weren't able to coordinate themselves, they will not be able to appear in the commercial after all. Saiyuki will have to shoot the commercial alone.

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The idols watch in sadness as the shoot progresses without them. After things wrap up, Saiyuki, probably feeling guilty about taking her anger for Tomohiro's ignorance out on the talent, requests for one last take with them.

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The director concedes, and orders her hyperthermia-afflicted assistant to help them get their choreography right. They have one hour to prepare. Highly appreciative of Saiyuki and the director's grace, everyone is determined to do things right this time. Miu notices that Sakaki is acting very awkwardly (but cutely IMO) and confronts her.

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Sakaki reveals that although she doesn't have a big problem with singing, she is very shy in front of people when it comes to dancing, especially in a swimsuit. It's something she simply can't do in front of others (hmm then how did she do that in episode 3?). However, Ruri tells her she feels a little shy too, but it's important for everyone to dance together as a single unit, and no matter how embarrased she might be, everyone is supporting her. After receiving some tips on dealing with stage performance, eventually she says she thinks she can overcome this shyness, but there's one more problem. Miu's steps are too difficult for her.

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Miu realizes what Sakaki is getting at, plus after seeing what everyone said to Sakaki about group unity, she realizes it was wrong for her to leave her team so far behind while dancing. She apologizes for her actions and promises this time she'll make sure to stay at the pace of the group. The team is able to agree on working together as one functioning unit. Lurking in the back, Tomohiro is satisfied to see they have learned this important lesson and thanks Saiyuki for helping again. For the second time, Saiyuki hints that she would like to hear something else, and for the second time, Tomohiro fails..

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Having learned the importance of unity, everyone works hard for their final opportunity. It turns out to be a success.

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As they celebrate the last shot of the day and prepare to go home, Saiyuki tries one last time to get Tomohiro to say a certain something. Tomohiro seems to FINALLY catch on that she's fishing for a certain statement out of him, but before he can say anything, he enjoys a faceful of dirt courtesy of Saiyuki's current manager, his older sister. As Saiyuki is herded away, she wonders to herself sadly why he couldn't just call her cute. Oh Tomohiro how many hearts must you break?

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A few days later, the girls receive a copy of the advertisement they all worked so hard on. In a deliciously funny twist, after seeing all the effort they put into doing the commercial, they find that after the editing process, they only appear for about two seconds at the end, in the far background behind a bottle. It's a rough world in showbusiness.

Posted by Paranda at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2006

Again ranks 29 on Oricon weekly chart

yui03.jpgYui-nyan's two singles released last week have both made the top 50 in Oricon singles charts. "Again" reached number 29, and "Magical Generation" reached 36. That's pretty impressive. Actually, that's ridiculously impressive for someone who has never released any singles on a major label before. I don't think even Momoi ever got that high. UNDER17's most popular single is probably "Love Slave" which reached a high of 55 (although Love Slave did manage to stay on the charts 6 times, which shows for something).

Then again, the OP singles of the same anime are also on that chart. We've all seen from Haruhi that otaku do indeed have enough sway in Japan to influence charts heavily like these. Then again, Haruhi is one thing, this is......Otoboku? Happiness? Honestly, aren't these niche shows or does Japan currently have a massive fever for cute crossdressers like Mizuho and Jun?

Whichever way, by her own merits, by association with her more famous peers (Aice5), or by riding her way up with a successful anime series, Yui is going to be a seiyuu superstar at this rate, and once she makes it, I have confidence she'll be able to maintain her position. Yui seems to have a well honed ability for cuteness, and plenty of experience to promote herself very well without a manager breathing down her neck.

While many seiyuu are indistinguishable from pull-string voice box dolls puppetted by their agencies, Yui is more similar to Momoi in that she has a specific vision for herself, and she's doing everything in her power to take control of where her career path is now going. Since childhood she had her sights set on being a self-made singer, and that kind of drive is showing itself through her work. Although signed under Hobirecords, she basically produces every aspect of her product: writing her own lyrics, choreographing her music videos, managing her fashion for photo shoots, and arranging much of her own advertising and networking.

She also fields difficult questions very well from what I've seen. In a recent interview, the subject of her "loli" roles in the past was brought up, a rather embarassing topic. She managed to laugh it off, focusing more on the skill aspect than the context or content of the voice. She talked about how she had to work consistently in the high ranges to perform them well and now rejects them because she would rather explore more ranges, but invited those still interested in these specific characters to visit her site where all of her work, questionable or not, was proudly displayed.

She acknowledged that Yes there are adult roles that can make her look bad, but effectively disowned the roles by reducing their significance to all but a resume bullet point, writing them off as professional jobs without disowning those fans who discovered her through them. She provided no ammo for which a critic could use to attack. Yui understood very well that a scandal is only a scandal if you treat it like one, and by being so frank with her history, she gave off the attitude of a moe-friendly progressive thinker. How's that for PR sense?

For the record, despite writing this piece of praise, I am still strongly of the opinion that Momoi > Yui.

Posted by Paranda at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 1, 2006

One week until Saigo no Rock release

Quick reminder for everyone: November 8, Saigo no Rock, the OP to Haruko Update will be out. You can hear a sample of it on the radio program I mentioned ealier.
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With the OP/ED and DVDs being released within 3 months from now, Momoi is making the rounds on the magazines and news again, proving to everyone that she can still somehow look cute in seifuku at age 28. This month, she is featured in the November issue of PAM! and has an interview in "HM3 Special."

You can read PAM! free (and hi-res) online at http://www.avexmovie.jp/pam/comic.php?vol=078.
There are preview screenshots of the DVD inside!

As for HM3, I am back at school now so I have access to a scanner again. I may scan the HM3 pages too when my monthly magazine package comes (I finally broke down and subscribed to Megami and HM3 in September ;_;. No "Seiyuu Grandprix" unfortunately, I heard she was in that last month too)

Posted by Paranda at 8:11 PM | Comments (2)

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