Wednesday, December 7, 2016


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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

PMX 2016

I went to the Pacific Media Expo for the first time over the weekend, and I have to say that it was a lot smaller than I imagined for a con that's been around for 12 years.

Despite billing itself as bringing "the cutting edge of Asian entertainment to America", the focus was still primarily on Japanese properties. There were panels on Filipino, Indonesian, and Western martial arts; one panel on K-Pop vs J-Pop, and that was about it for the non-Japanese stuff.

Because of the low density of attendees and the small number of cosplayers, it felt odd to approach people to ask for photos. I still did get a few cosplay pictures though.

Not having much to do, we went to an idol panel. Most of the five or so people who were attending this panel arrived early, so we were sitting in a room that probably could have held ~100 people while the presenters were setting up. Then just before the panel was to start, staff arrived to tell us that we had to line up outside and then come back in. It was pretty silly since there was nobody else waiting to get into the panel.

It was still an interesting panel, and I ended up receiving a free AKB48 CD at the end for asking a [pointless] question.

Koko ga Rhodes da, Koko de Tobe! (ここがロドスだ、ここで跳べ!)
AKB Theater only edition

Later, we went to the Mamoru Yokota panel. It was actually rather interesting, since Yokota-san seems to be somewhat of a curmudgeon and has a very practical and unromantic outlook on the anime industry in general.

I was only there for Saturday, but from what I understand, it was probably the most busy day of the event. I won't say it was a bad con, but it wasn't really for me.

I probably won't be going to PMX again, but a friend mentioned that this would probably be a good event if you went with a large group of friends, and just wanted to hang out at the venue.

Here are some suggestions that I would make to the con organizers:

1. Be more proactive in seeking out presenters for programming to fulfill the mission statement. Even if the panels need to remain tangential to Japanese properties for recognition, there are a lot of possibilities for interesting topics. Just off the top of my head, I could suggest:
  • The entry of Chinese studios into the animation business: Haoliners Animation League has been producing titles from TenCent Holdings for both Chinese and Japanese audiences.
  • The use of marionettes in [Asian] media: Gen Urobochi and Chris Huang collaborated recently on Thunderbolt Fantasy. Other titles include Thunderbirds, Pili, etc.
  • Martial arts panel/demo pitting different styles against each other.

2. Do not schedule panels for the same genre in conflicting time slots. This is not a problem if overall attendance is huge, but frankly, for PMX this results in having super tiny audiences.

3. Combine the artist's alley, fashion boutique, and exhibit hall.

4. Consider making the event run for two days instead of three.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

AX 2016

I went to Anime Expo again this year, and from all impressions, attendance probably broke all previous records. I arrived in L.A. around noon on Friday, and was in for a rude surprise. First of all, convention center parking was completely full, I ended up spending $40 just for parking after giving up trying to find a cheaper lot that was still within acceptable walking distance.

From circling the convention center in the car, it appeared as if the wait to get in would be long. The line of waiting people went all the way out to Venice Blvd, but it wasn't clear if they were pre-registered attendees or not. Trying to find out where to get badges was not easy, since none of the several access control people could tell us where the end of the line was. We were sent in all different directions before finally queuing in a random line.

After getting in, attending one panel, and wandering the exhibit hall, I decided to change to my cosplay ahead of the ZUN panel. I told the volunteers outside the cosplay area that I wanted to use the changing rooms, but they stated that there were none. I said that the there should be some, but they claimed the area was for repairs only, and unhelpfully directed me to a bathroom.

Instead of forcing the issue, I stupidly followed their advice and changed in a bathroom stall. All I can say about that is FUCK! It was a long and excruciating ordeal, and I ended up pulling my left calf muscle. When I finally got out of the stall, I was so relieved that most of my anger faded. As I checked my wig in the mirror, someone who I believe was probably in the stall next to me came over and offered some words of consolation (I guess they heard me cursing and sighing and crashing into the sides of the stall), helped to pull up my back zipper, and attach the rear snap of my ribbon tie.

I went back down to the cosplay area, and asked if there were any full length mirrors. The same two volunteers said they didn't know. This time, I just went inside to ask the people manning the repair station directly, and was informed that there were full length mirrors in the changing rooms... I was ready to go back and throttle those two idiots at the entryway. I would have been more angry, but I knew I was also at fault for not being my usual self and investigating the situation when the information I had conflicted with what other people told me.

Anyway, I think a couple of people asked me to pose for photos, then I went to the ZUN panel, and afterwards slept in the car practically the whole way back home because I had a huge headache (thanks for doing all the driving SpireKat!).

U S A !

On Saturday, we arrived earlier, but the Pico exit was completely jammed. We decided to take another exit and take a local route, but by the time we arrived there was no convention center parking again. Because we already had our badges, this time we take advantage of the free shuttle service from the hotels. We decided to look for parking near the L.A. Sheraton, and parked at Joe's Auto Parks for a mere $5.

Ariving at the con, we went to the Artist's Alley, and it was jam packed. They used a larger hall, and gave the artists more space behind the stalls, but I think the traffic lanes between the stalls did not increase. Later that evening was the Shoji Kawamori panel, which was probably the highlight of the convention for me. Unfortunately, no photography or recording was allowed. A teaser of his next project was played at the end of the panel.

Anyway, here is a picture of the loot I acquired after three days.

I bought up my first FSS Mortar Headd at the Volks booth. I know it is 1/100 scale, but I'm willing to let that pass since I don't want to deal with resin kits. Frankly even at 1/100 scale, the Mortar Headds are big enough to look okay with 1/72 scale models.

I picked up an artbook by Reynart in the Artist's Alley, and a couple of  books from Dirty Kitchen Press. I also filled in the gaps in my set of Knights of Sidonia GNs. Issue 11 is one of my favorites, because it introduces the character Teruru Ichigaya, who must be a descendant of Bender from Futurama.

Seven Seas and Ninja Division did quite a promotion of monster girls this year.


Papi and Miia

I also saw these sprout hair clips that many people were wearing. It was surprising, because the first time I encountered these clips was last year in China. They were being sold to the various tourists from the countryside visiting Beijing for their National Day Holiday. I guess the left over stock is now making it's way overseas.

I saw that some maids from Maidreamin were doing photos with people, but typical of my luck with meido, their handler allowed one last photo op as I was walking over to them, and hustled the maids off before I could even get my camera ready or say anything.

I kind of wanted to take a picture with these kigu as well, but I chickened out. The Loli Mercury mask is one of the nicest doll masks that I've seen. The costume is great as well. Maybe next year I'll work up the nerve to ask to be in a picture with them (if they show up)...

Sonico, Loli Mercury, and Maki


I've got to say that kigu really nail the character poses.


I always have this irrational fear of looking bad compared to real cosplayers who really take their hobby seriously, so it's tough for me to ask to be in pictures with them.

I spent most of Sunday taking pictures of cosplay. There were several American McGee Alice cosplays. but one stood out particularly because of an amazing hobby horse prop. I was actually able to talk to her a bit about its construction since she kind of opened the conversation by complimenting my outfit...


I'll end this post with some more cosplay pics that I took.

Captain Okita



Jamie and Cersei of House Lannister

Ash of House Ketchum

Sriracha Dude

Soda Can Warriors


Kotori, Nozomi, and Rin

cv01 as Mumei

Ootori-sama, one of the Aburaya Yuna, and Oshira-sama

Krul Ţepeş

Raimu Sempai


Nurse Sakuya