Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kemono Friends


Kemono Friends is a show that is underrated in the US, but has exploded in popularity in Japan. Many people dropped the show after the first episode because of what they considered to be bad 3DCG and poor voice acting, but I did not notice these things at all (maybe watching so many Touhou MMD videos has caused me to automatically filter out various technical deficiencies to focus mainly on the actual story and characters).

At みみどしま, Kastel seems to think that the Kemono Friends phenomenon is due to the story having a "lack of content" — that is to say there is not a lot of overt exposition so the story becomes kind of open-source, resulting in the formation of a community that generated a lot of fan-wank which catapulted the show to popularity.

I'm not sure if I buy this theory, since I liked the show immediately, and did not look to see what was happening in the fandom until rather late. I'd like to think that the popularity was due to the simple and genuine nature of the show as described at ANIME NOW! and the message of kindness and acceptance described at METAculture GURASHII.

In fact, the story reminds me a lot of Planetarian, except the naive Kaban-chan starts out with the kindness that only develops over time in the hardened and jaded Kuzuya. I only hope that Kemono Friends will not end on the melancholy note that Planetarian concluded with.

Currently, there is a set of prize figures from FuRyu available for the show that I really want, but they are rather difficult to come by.


With the prices of these Chobirume Petit figures ranging from US$60 to over US$100 for a complete set, I'll probably wait until the July re-release to buy the figures.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

NekoPara


NekoPara (ネコぱら) is a visual novel series developed by NEKO Works and published by Sekai Project. The character designer is Sayori (さより), who also produced a bit of Touhou related artwork in the past.

The franchise only appeared on my radar because of the petit figures that were announced at the Sekai booth during AX2016. I pre-ordered the set and finally received it earlier this week.

The figures stand on cat-shaped stands, and are comparable in size to Nendoroid Petits.


Vanilla and Chocola

Shigure and Azuki

Cinnamon and Milk

Coconut and Maple

Along with the order, I received a signed NekoPara shikishi, and a Steam code for NekoPara Vol. 1.



I'm not sure when I'll get around to playing the game, but I did go ahead and back the Kickstarter for the NekoPara OVA.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

±0

Just saw the first episode of the Saki live action adaptation, and thought it was okay. The production value is decent, and the actresses are all cute, but the mahjong is literally watching real-life mahjong.

Which is to say that the actresses' motions are unable to achieve the fluidity and sureness that is possible with animation. However, when Saki actually manifests her mahjong powers, the special effects are pretty good.

Another problem is that the way the actresses announce their winning hands is often stilted, and not as practiced and natural as that of the voice actresses in the anime.

I think that the selection for the music used during the scenes where the girls play mahjong should have been different. A piece with slower, more measured tempo would have probably worked better with the pace of the scenes.

Kiyosumi High School

Kazekoshi Girls' High School

Tsuruga Academy

Ryuumonbuchi High School

So far the story remains largely similar to the anime. Kyoutarou was written out of the live action version, but I guess that's only expected, since no real human could be allowed to be the sole male member of this Saki cast without suffering some sort of cosmic retribution.


As far as petit style figures from Saki go, the only ones I own (and am aware of) came with the limited special edition Saki Portable PSP Game.



The figures are on the tall side, and even though Yuuki looks to be somewhat shorter than Saki and Nodoka, the difference is not as noticeable as in the original artwork.


We should expect to see Saki and Nodoka in these meido-fuku in episode 3 of the live action series.


I'll close with a demotivational poster that speaks to how fair and equitable the universe is.



Monday, November 21, 2016

DCon 2016

Over the weekend, I attended DesignerCon 2016 in Pasadena at the same venue used by PMX the week before. Both cons were established at roughly the same time (PMX, 2004 vs DCon, 2005), but there was a huge difference in attendance numbers.


It was a rainy day, so from the outside the event did not look very crowded, but it was a very different story inside.




DCon used the ballroom and three exhibit halls, whereas I think that PMX probably used only the ballroom.


There was a good turnout to give the event a lively atmosphere, but it was not crowded to the point where movement and photography became difficult. The con was also still small enough where you could spend some time to talk to vendors and artists without feeling too rushed.

Hip Hop Trooper at the DJ booth

The original reason I wanted to to attend DCon was because Junko Mizuno was going to be there. I was a fan of her work when it first came out in the U.S., but hadn't been keeping up with what she was doing of late.


An announcer on the PA informed us that Junko would be at the Poposition Press booth for signings.


I purchased a standalone blad page from her new TRIAD pop-up book, and got her to sign my copy of Pure Trance.

DCon is akin to a giant artist's alley, but the one thing that I noticed (compared to the AX Artist's Alley) was that these artists were more than happy if people took pictures of their creations. I found this particularly ironic since most of the DCon artists presented original work, whereas the AX artists typically make unauthorized derivative works based on the IP of other people.



One of the artists who I spent some time talking with was GMONIK who has started to move from paintings into more 3D work.

Trojan City



This booth was interesting as well, but nobody was around at the time.


Some cool toys that I found included World War Robot Rothchild Bertie Mk1s

Desert Rat

Dirty Deeds

Candidates for 2.5" gaming from Blizzard...


There was a huge display of Mechatro WeGo... In 1/35...







As well as some fantastic 1/12 DIY WeGo





Tyree Dillihay, director on the Bob's Burgers TV show mugging for the camera.


Rancor costume used at last years SDCC at the Adam Savage booth.


I really enjoyed DCon. I did not even know about the event prior to seeing their advertisement banners on the lamp posts outside the convention center during PMX the week before, but I think that this is an event that I will attend fairly regularly in the future.