Thursday, February 22, 2007

Haul of the Day - 21 Feb 2007

Picked these up today at Bricksworld and TFH after work. And this is like the first time in probably one year plus that I left the office when the sky is still bright. Yes, quite sad actually.
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Star Wars Lego Clone Troopers battle pack 7655 and e-HOBBY Japan exclusive black version (The Hybrid Stlye)T.H.S.-02 Convoy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Video - nobodyknows+

Was searching in youtube hoping to find the music video for Naruto's new anime opening, but found these music videos from the same group nobodyknows+ instead:

Ultraman in love ??

Kungfu Hustle ?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Naruto: Shippuden begins

Naruto fans will rejoice as the filler episodes come to a closure and the anime picks up the pace with the manga.
The next chapter of the adventures of Naruto continues in the Shippuuden, or Hurricane Chronicles. Time-skip: It is 2 plus years after the failed attempt to retrieve Sasuke from Orochimaru. Everyone has grown up, and some like Naruto has undergone training during this period of time. For more information, refer to this link.

With the start of a new series, the show kicks off with new opening and closing themes. As with most of the Naruto themes, they are great.

Opening theme, Hero's Come Back by nobodyknows.

They have a "loud" and fast rap theme to kick off this series, but somehow it just does not connect with the animation, especially the pencil-like sequence. The animation is great, though not as fast pace. The first 20 and last 10 seconds are great though.

Closing theme, Shooting Star by Home Made.

The closing theme, usually a slower song, is awesome.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Video - Swindlers and You

Checkout this cool animated music video from an indy band called Atomic Swindlers. The catchy song is called Float (my electric stargirl).

The owl is the coolest ! hahaha.

It has a Aeon Flux feel, set in a Samurai Jack environment.
The animation is done by Joel Trussell. Checkout his site. This guy is great !

Next up, is a video from the anime Initial D. This is the ending/closing theme to the Second Stage (or second season or series). The group responsible for this sweet song is a JROCK group called Galla. They also did the ending/closing theme for the First Stage. The song is called Kimi Ga Iru.

I could only find the TV edit version of the song.
I actually only heard this song in the Stage Three movie (if I remember correctly). It was played as a background music near the end, and it blended very well with the anime, as each of the characters moved on with their own paths. It left a deep impression on me, that I started to look high and low for this song.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Toy Review - Machine Robo Mugenbine Candy Toys

Saw this set at a Japanese toy site, and was intriged by the articulation, and of course, the gattai (combine) aspect. The usual MRM toys sold at department stores are made of better plastics, and packaging, but lacks the articulation that are built into these candy toys.

The same goes for the other Bandai's Sentai series. I am not sure how Bandai can pack the articulations into these candy toys, but not include them into the other higher end toys.

This gattai set comes with 5 figures, with a robot figure (Mugenroid) acting as the central body for the rest to attach to. This is the basic concept since the Machine Robo Rescue series.

Besides the Mugenroid, the rest of the figures have 2 modes, a Dragon mode and a Weapon mode. From the packaging, this seems to be some sort of Legends of 4 Dragons series.
(Note: After Machine Robo Rescue series, I have not been actively catching up with the later Machine Robo series. As such, I have not much information with regards to the later series.)

This set comes with the following figures:
01. MugenFlameDragon
02. MugenThunderDragon
03. MugenEarthDragon
04. MugenWaterDRagon
05. MugenRoid
- the usual Earth Element themes.

The box contains the toy, catalog, a separate instruction sheet for combining the figures, sticker sheet, a candy and as usual, the actual instructions for assembly and stickers is located inside the box. Nowadays, the toy comes almost pre-assembled, which is a good thing. I am lazy to have to remove the parts from the sprues and assemble them. Even putting the stickers is a chore. haha.
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The toys come moulded in their basic colours, and there are some basic colours (eg, eyes) however little, added. The rest of the colours are complemented by the stickers. The toys in Dragon mode.
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The toys in their Weapon mode. They have to be taken apart to form the alternate mode, and not transformed.
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The weapons can use used by the Mugenroid, or the other higher end MRM figures.

The toys in the gattai mode. Again, the toys are taken apart and reassembled. The instructions are given in a separate sheet included. Some parts form the sword and shield.
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The combined mode.
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Articulations can be found at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle. Though they are just basic articulations, they enable they figure to spot cool action poses. Each figure costs S$6.00, totally at S$30.00 per set. Given the playability of the figure, it is worth the S$30.00.

The other aspect of this toy is that Bandai made it in scale with the higher end series, so you can combined with them as well. Also the concept of building blocks from Bandai is great for instilling imgaination and creativity. Kudos to them.

Toy Review - Final Fantasy III Trading Arts Mini

I have never been good with luck. Usually when I play with blind boxes or those gapshapon machines, I will end up getting those figures that prayed I will not get. Just me or it happens to everyone ? I guess it is really random or blind luck.
This time round, I managed to get something which I hoped to get.
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The lady at CC was correct. These mini figures had top notch quality. The paint application is ok, there is a flat coat over the figure, which does not make it look like cheap or knock off figures. The sculpting is nice. I have no knowledge about these characters, but I believe they should be a good representation of the game equivalent.

Now the question is whether to get the whole set ? Not really, as the other figures, besides the winged brown armour figure, I have no liking for the rest. Maybe I will try my luck again.

Haul of the Day - 10 Feb 2007

After another session with the financial planner today, I headed down to the local Comics Connection branch at Northpoint to see if anything new has come in.
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Bought the latest candy toys from Bandai's Machine Robo Mugenbine series and a Square Enix Toys Final Fantasy III Trading Arts figures. Got the whole set of MRM (you have to anyways), but only bought a random box of FFIII to try out the quality. The lady at CC asked if I want to take a set, and mentions that the quality is tops. See first lah.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Comics - The Hero Initiative's "Ultimate 100"

...a very special fundraiser coming from The Hero Initative. More than 80 artists were asked to participate by drawing a custom sketch on the blank cover of a specially produced "Ultimate Spider-Man #100," with 100 total custom covers created.
Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Hero Initiative's efforts to "provide a financial safety net for yesterdays creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life and an avenue back into paying work."

Coolness. A gallery of most of the 100 covers can be found here.

My favourite of the lot if I had to pick 5:
1. Alan Davis
2. Jimmy Cheung
3. Joe Quesada
4. Michael Golden
5. Todd McFarlane

Comics - Batman, The Tick and Comic Artists

As I devote more of my disposable income towards toys, I have almost given up on collecting comics. At one time, I was buying toys and comics (including Hong Kong comics, translated manga - yeah, it's a crazy time), and the toll was too much. So I decide to cut back (note, not give up) on the comics. I still like the art in comics, so I buy very selectively, only if a certain artist is doing certain mainstream characters.

I keep myself informed by visiting sites like Comics Continuum and NEWSarama. They are pretty informative sites.

DC Comics had just released some preview of their comics arriving in Feb 2007, and Batman #663 caught my attention, because it is drawn by John Van Fleet.
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I like JVF's style, and he mixes a lot of black and 1-3 colour tones to bring out the mood, and this complements well with his Batman stuff, which usually is set in a dark mood.

Coming back to Batman #663, it seems that he is using a different style/approach, going for a more realistic or illustrative direction, and less of a comic book feel. It's a nice change, and it is good to see him doing some comic work.

This brings me to another comic book which I saw solicited. It's The Tick's 20th Anniversary Special Edition. Honestly speaking, I do not know much about The Tick, besides being popular in the 90s, having its own animated and live-action TV series and an unsuccessful toy line. Anyway, the only thing I was interested in this issue is the cover artist.
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It is painted by none other than Simon Bisley, the versatile artist from UK. His work is the catalyst that started my foray into the comics arena. His painted and line work is absolutely gorgeous. His style has evolved throughout the years - from his early days drawing for Fleetway's ABC Warriors, Judge Dread, painted Slaine, to DC's Lobo, Batman, dozens of comics covers, and collaborations with his friend Kevin Eastman, including Melting Pot and TMNT (yes, them turtles in half shell). His best works were with writers Keith Giffen and Alan Grant. These guys are hilarious. Check out the DC's Lobo, and you know what I mean.

The sad thing is these artists use the comic medium as a spring board, to propel them into the spotlight, and then move on to more commerical work, like music covers, commerical illustrations, game designs, and so on. Artists like Dave Mckean (Sandman, Batman: Arkham Asylum), Kent Williams (Meltdown, Blood Ties, The Fountain). Maybe the amount of money in comics is not fantastic to sustain a reasonable standard of living. Some also could have move on to achieve their personal goals (eg Dave Mckean making a movie Mirror Mask out of his work with Neil Gaiman). So I guess seeing them them making an appearance on and off is good enough, and hopefully they have not totally abandon this industry.

Original articles on the above can be found here:
The Tick's 20th Anniversary Special Edition
Batman #663

Haul of the Day - 03 Feb 2007 Part 2

Saw this at Bricksworld Marina Square branch during lunch, with my colleague shopping for LEGO for her kids.
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And later in the day.
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This is a series called Creator, and you sort of get pieces that allows you to create x different models.

The one I got just arrived in Jan 2007, and it is the Mini Construction. You can construct a digger, forklift or truck with an open trailer. The digger was too cute to pass on.

Next up, Cool Cars ? Maybe.

Haul of the Day - 03 Feb 2007

After meeting a Finanical Planner this morning to talk about retirement plans, investments and a free cuppa, I took a walk around the shops in Northpoint Shopping Centre, and went to Comics Connection to see if the latest comic book had arrived. No such luck, but I managed to buy one Naruto and Bleach character figures.
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The Oreo waffer sticks are a snack. A bit sweet, but nice nonetheless.

The Naruto is a 2-figure pack, with a main character and an animal which they can summon, after signing a contract with them. The figure that I wanted was Kakashi, and his pack of cool dogs, but they did not have it. So I bought the next most wanted figure, which is the Third Hokage and Monkey King Enma.

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The Bleach is a also a 2-figure swing set, meaning you can attach this to your bags, handphones, clothings, and what not. I am not sure if these are blind boxes, or if the figures are displayed on the top. I just randomly choose one, and got exactly what was displayed at the top. I do not know their names, as I am not familiar with Bleach, but I got the white hair boy and the lady with the big knockers.
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