Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Trip: Osu-Kannon

I did not originally plan a visit to Nagoya on my itinerary, but since I had a 5-day rail pass I decided to put it to use and complete a pilgrimage to each of the three otaku holy sites.

Nagoya is over two hours away from Osaka by train, so it really cuts into the amount of time you can spend there if you are commuting.

There is a limited express train that cuts down on travel time, but I decided to save my limited express voucher for the return trip so that I wouldn't have to stress about finding the right connection to get back to Osaka after a day of sightseeing.

All the places I wanted to visit in Nagoya were all near subway stops, so I bought a day pass to get around town.

The city is quiet compared to Kyoto and Osaka, and a local resident I spoke to commented that many tourists only visit Nagoya as an afterthought on their way through to places like Takayama or Tsumago (where they can experience "traditional" Japan).

First stop was Nagoya Castle; originally built by the Imagawa clan, taken over by the Oda clan, and finally inherited by the Tokugawa clan.

Hommaru Palace


Spears embedded in the wall above Fumei Gate
to prevent intruders from climbing over.

The next stop was the Osu Shopping District.

Exit 2 takes you out just a short distance behind Osu-Kannon Temple.

The shopping district is just to the east of the temple, and consists of several arcades filled with shops and restaurants.

Because it was mid-week, there was not much going on at the Osu Shopping District. Foot traffic was light, and many of the stores I was interested in were closed. From what I was told, the best time to visit is on the weekend, when the whole area would be bustling with activity.

Fureai Plaza

After walking around a bit, I went to visit Atsuta Shrine to make the most of the daylight.

Nearby was a gate marking the birth place of Minamoto no Yoritomo first Kamakura shogun.

I stopped by Osu Kannon again on the way back from Atsuta Shrine.

My luck with maid photography continues.

Damn cyclist popped out of nowhere!
I didn't realize he obstructed my meido until later.

The final place I visited before returning to Osaka was the Mandarake store in Nagoya. It is near the corner where Akamon dori and Shin Tenchi dori intersect.

The store is like many of the other Mandarake stores. The aisles were narrow, and cluttered with stuff.

I picked up a couple of artbooks and some cheap petits, then made my way back to Nagoya Station to go back to Osaka.

Next time I visit Nagoya, I'm going on a weekend.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Touhou Shushuroku Bootlegs

The Touhou Shushuroku figures from Toranoana are not particularly well known, and often command a fairly high price on the resale market (particularly for the later releases). A few bootleg figures exist, but all are from the more readily available "Volume 1" set.

The bootlegs have many minor differences in appearance and engineering, which seem to suggest that they were sculpted using the originals as models. They are sold glued and assembled, whereas the original figures come disassembled (when new).

I'd classify these as shanzhai figures due to the obvious differences in the way they were manufactured.

The figure stands for the bootleg figures are all identical. A sliding peg allows a single post to be used for any figure (left). The originals all have stands that are individually matched to each figure (right).

The first comparison is of Hakurei Reimu. The bootleg (left) is not too shabby, though the paint job is obviously not as well done. Her shoes are unpainted.

Notice how there is no separation in the ponytail for bootleg Reimu.

The stick on bootleg Reimu's gohei is bent because a softer PVC is used to manufacture her.

Bootleg Marisa (left) does not come with a hat or mushroom. The paint job is so-so, and details such as the buttons of her blouse are not picked out. Her shoes and socks are both painted black.

Marisa, Marisa, Marisa!!!!!!

Bootleg Marisa has a peg built into the hem of her skirt to keep her on her stand. The original (right) has the peg on the stand, which fits into a socket in the hem of her skirt.

Bootleg Marisa does not have any apron strings. Note how the hair on the bootleg is a lot softer in definition.

Next is Princess Kaguya. Bootleg Kaguya (left) has Marisa's mushroom attached to her skirt for some reason.

Is she supposed to be displayed together with bootleg Marisa?

An odd vignette... I prefer the intended configuration of the originals.

Anyway, bootleg Kaguya has a peg built into her skirt to allow her to be attached to a base. Her shoes are also unpainted.

The differences in the patterns on Kaguya's skirt are very telling between the bootleg and the real figure.

Bootleg Patchouli Knowledge (left) is also not very convincing. Note the difference between the sculpt of the hands, the lack of shading, and lack of print on the cover of the book on bootleg Pache.


Bootleg Pache has a peg located on her underside to attach her to a stand. There is absolutely no painted detail underneath.

Ribbons are sculpted as part of the bonnet and hair for bootleg Pache. Again, the paint job is poorly done.

Bootleg Chen (left) is okay. Her hair is not the right color, and her socks and shoes are both painted the same color. Her posture seems different from the original figure (right).


The tip of bootleg Chen's tails are black, and there is no shading for the color transition to the tip of her ears.

Bootleg Cirno (left) looks self-satisfied, but the original Cirno (right) looks downright smug. The bootleg's skirt is not properly painted.

To be a genius like me, you have to do your best!

Bootleg Cirno's bow seems to sit higher up on her head, and her wings are not translucent.

Komachi is the last figure comparison. Again, the hair is not as well defined in bootleg Komachi (left). The decorations on her hair ties are not painted, so they are the same color as her hair. The bootleg wears a toothy grin, whereas the original has an open-mouthed smile.

Bootleg Komachi holds her scythe with the blade up, while on the original (right) holds her scythe with the blade down. Again, the soft PVC makes the staff bend quite a bit (though the original has a bit of bend as well). The stitching on the sides of her skirt is not painted on the bootleg.

Bootleg Komachi's shoes are not painted, and she has a part number "5" engraved on the inside of her skirt.

Bootleg Komachi's stand peg fits into the back of her hair. For the original figure, it fits into a hole in her bloomers, and is hidden by her skirt.

The final figure of the set was Flandre Scarlet, but I did not bother doing a comparison because bootleg Flan was missing one of her wings.

They did a nice job with the translucent material, and they're actually a lot more robust than on the original figure.

In any event, I plan on using most of these bootlegs for gaming; something I would never dare use the originals for.