Dorayaki

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A friend of mine gave me a dorayaki (どら焼き) as a souvenir for his trip to Tokyo and Sapporo last month. How many people had one before?

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A dorayaki, by Wikipedia's definition is "а red bean pancake which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of sweet Azuki red bean paste".

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Dorayaki cut in half. The red bean paste can be clearly seen in the middle.

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If one is to associate dorayaki with anime, then Doraemon will definitely be the biggest example. The robot cat with a 4-dimension pocket that holds all sorts of gadgets inside holds no resistance when being offered with such confection, even if he was in a bad mood prior to offering.

The dorayaki is quite tasty IMHO, and it's a confection that has been around for nearly 100 years. Variations such as matcha dorayaki exist. Have you tried Dorayakis before or possibly variants of them?

I can't get enough of Balls!

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More RB-79! More Balls! These spherical "cannon fodders" with a cannon or two on their heads somehow really tickle my grunt unit interest~

Here comes 6 boxes of Gunpla from Premium Bandai online web shop. Together with my 10 Balls that I got earlier, that would make it a total of 19 Balls XD

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HGUC 1/144 GM Kai (aka GM Type C) standard colour & Ball Type C, released in December 2011. Both appear in Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory.

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HGUC 1/144 Ball Type K & Ball Sharkmouth version, released in February 2012. Type K appears in the first episode of 08th MS Team, whereas Sharkmouth is from MS IGLOO.

It's a pity how more and more stuff are ending up becoming limited items these days. The MG 1/100 counterpart of all the stuff mentioned above are all normal releases, but the HGUC 1/144 ones are not. This way it's harder to get them and it's more expensive to acquire as they have to be ordered via proxy services if one is not a Japanese resident.

I did consider getting HGUC 1/144 GM II Desert version as seen in Gundam UC OVA episode 4, so that they will go together with my GM Command and my GM Kai of the same colours, but ended up not to do so.

Prepare for more Zer... I mean Ball Rush in the near future!

HGUC 1/144 Dra-C

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First bought in late November, and later mentioned again last month, I have left the Dra-C lying half-built for quite some time due to procrastination and other actitivites. Time to review one of the more unusual looking Zeon MS in the Universal Century timeline of the Gundam universe!

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Front

Notable features of the Dra-C are the lack of a proper right arm, those huge shoulder thrusters...

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Back

And the lack of proper legs, which are replaced by propellant tanks for it to manuveur in space. Serving as recon as well as hit-and-run, the Dra-C is pretty much a hybrid between an MS and an MA (which is indeed the case as it uses parts from the Gattle fighter-bomber of the One Year War).

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The Dra-C is pretty much blue in all places except for the joints, and as that looks a bit plain to me I decided to colour the chest plate grey just like the Zakus (more specifically the Zaku II F2) that they are originally based on.

It's perhaps worth mentioning that this guy has no waist joint, but for something that has no legs it's not an issue really.

The head can look up to a pretty high angle, and has a special neck joint on top of the normal polycap joint to help it do so.

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The pelvic joint is pretty much the same as the newer 1/144 Gunplas, except that the legs have been replaced with very long propellant tanks instead. Those tanks can go pretty far back (up to 90 degrees), but can't go up front other than being aligned with the torseo.

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The stand that comes with the kit is based on HGUC 1/144 Asshimar, and it has 2 axis of rotation.

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The shield has some pretty good details on the inner side. A beam sabre can be seen just behind the left hand.

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The Dra-C's default weapon is the 30mm vulcan, which is pretty much the whole of right arm itself.

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Beam Sabre in use. It's interesting to see that the Dra-C does not have to hold the beam sabre in order to use it, which is not common with most mobile suits except for the very elite ones.

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A nice bonus and optional armament is the gattling gun, of which the 30mm vulcan has to be exchanged with a new right arm and right hand. This particular weapon is said to be used only from UC0090s, but there are some MS that use gattling gun before then, such as the Gouf Custom from 08th MS Team. Due to the weapon's large size there is a slot in the grip for the right hand to fit in snugly.

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A few more random action shots

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Other weapons such as the Zeon's 90mm machinegun can be equipped. However, if the weapons do not have a slot in the grip it may not fit in too well in the hand.

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Comparison with HGUC 1/144 EFSF's captured Zaku F2. Those propellant tank legs sure are long ^^;

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And one last picture showing off two Dra-Cs in combat flight.


The Dra-C is an unusual fella, having features not seen in other MS, but backed with interesting background info for its reasons of such appearance. It's an interim solution of using salvaged parts to develop a relatively capable combat weapon in spite of lack of resource for the rebellious Delaz Fleet, which retreated from battle near the end of the One Year War so it would return to seek its revenge for Zeon 3 years later as featured in Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory. It also made small appearance in Gundam Z as well as in Gundam UC OVA. Speaking of Gundam UC a pink variant of the Dra-C with decorated sleeves and a modified arm for gattling gun is also released recently as a web shop limited item.

Overall the Dra-C is pretty easy to build, but the hands seem to pop off a bit too easily. Maybe it's not the coolest MS out there or fans' favourite, but it surely is an unusual one.

C3 in Hong Kong 2012 preview

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C3 in Hong Kong is coming back for the third time. The event will last from 9th to 12th March in Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Run mainly by Japanese hobby firms, this event is essentially the Hong Kong version of the C3 x Hobby event, now known as CharaHobby C3xHOBBY (キャラホビ C3×HOBBY) that takes place in Tokyo every summer.

The times for the opening hours will be as followed:
9th March (Friday): 13:00 - 21:00
10th March (Saturday): 11:00 - 20:00
11th March (Sunday): 11:00 - 19:00


Confirmed guests for the event include Nanamorichuu☆Gorakubu (七森中☆ごらく部, a group consists of characters from the anime), Masayuki Ozaki (尾崎雅之, director of Tiger & Bunny), Masakazu Morita (森田成一, seiyuu for Barnaby Brooks Jr. in Tiger & Bunny), Ai Nonaka (野中藍, seiyuu for Kyouko Sakura of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Meme Touwa of Depna Onna to Seishun Otoko), singer Chiaki Ishikawa (石川智晶), Shoji Kawamori (河森正治, director of Aquarion EVOL and Macross), and many more.

Some of the event exclusive merchandises are listed below:

BANDAI
HGUC 1/144 DELTA PLUS COATING ver HK$400
HG 1/144 Forever Gundam GPB-D Color Saki Mishima Ver. + Action Base 3 Blue HK$260
HG 1/144 Beginning Gundam GPB-J Clear IFS Ver. + Action Base 3 Red HK$260
S.H.Figurarts BARNABY BROOKS JR.(DARKNESS BUNNY EDITION) HK$450
EXCLUSIVE INSPIRATION MODEL ZAKU × ASHLEY WOOD HK$2,599

SQUARE-ENIX
Play Arts Kai Super Street Fighter IV Ryu Exclusive Color Ver HK$440
Play Arts Kai Super Street Fighter IV Chun-li Exclusive Color Ver HK$440
Play Arts Kai Super Street Fighter IV Gouki / Akuma Exclusive Color Ver HK$440
Play Arts Kai Super Street Fighter IV Cammy Exclusive Color Ver HK$440


Like last year, I will spend a day or two to check out this event.

But looking at the guest list, it appears that I haven't watched any of the shows they contribute to. I am now really behind on anime these days orz...


Official website:
http://www.c3hk.com.hk
http://www.facebook.com/C3HongKong

The Rise and Fall of the Snow Miku Sculpture

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During the Sapporo Snow Festival (6th - 12th February) a Snow Miku snow sculpture was built based on this year's Nendoroid Snow Miku Fluffy Coat ver. figure. Naturally Hatsune Miku fans would be delighted to see it, especially in person. But tradegy struck as the scultpure collapsed on 7th (even injuring 1 person), but good news came as it was to be rebuilt on 10th. The not so good news was that the reborn Miku didn't look quite like as it should have been... ^^;

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Another image of the Snow Miku before the collapse.

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The collapsed Snow Miku with policemen at the scene. Image from @noriB4 on twitpic.

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The damage on the Snow Miku Was... Devastating. The top part collapsed and there was nothing left but rubbles of snow. The reason for the collapse was apparently due to the fact that the temperature had risen to 2C, causing the snow to melt slightly and the heavy head to fall.

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What's worse was that the sculpture collapsed on a passerby, a visitor in her 60s. She had a light injury on the waist, and had to be sent to hospital.


On 10th February it was confirmed that the scultpure would be rebuilt. Here shows a picture of Snow Miku being rebuilt.

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Within 9 hours or so a new Snow Miku sculpture is made, with extra snow at the back to hold the scultpure in place. But the face looks a bit different... With the slight misaligned eyes and the lack of eye brows, the new Snow Miku now gives a deadly stare of an "evil god" (邪神), just like the notorious "Sader" and the McDonald Sasuke.

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The people on 2ch even made a Shift_JIS art image out of it too.


Well, that concludes The Rise and Fall of the Snow Miku Sculpture. The collapse is quite widely reported; even some local Hong Kong newspapers mentioned it as well. :o I hope the lady who got injured by the collapse gets well soon.

Sources:
http://jin115.com/archives/51847024.html
http://jin115.com/archives/51847036.html
http://jin115.com/archives/51847713.html
http://jin115.com/archives/51848027.html

figma Insane Black Rock Shooter preview

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A new figma for Black Rock Shooter franchise has been announced. This time it's the Insane Black Rock Shooter (aka IBRS).

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The character design of IBRS comes from huke's original artwork as seen on pixiv. The previous image mimics the pose of the one in the illustration above.

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The figma will be bundled with "Completely Limited Production Edition of Black Rock Shooter TV Animation DVD/Blu-ray BOX, which has a hefty price tag of approximately 25,000 Yen and 30,000 Yen respectively. This seems to imply that the character will make appearance in the anime.


Looking at the preview pictures and the original artwork, I can see how WRS has drawn elements from the IBRS. Notably the trimmed down jacket and the way one of her twin tails are shaped.

IBRS does look tough and mean, and the weapon is definitely one ofthe longest I've seen for figmas so far.

But the price is pretty scary, and perhaps fittingly "insane"... Approximately 25,000 Yen for the DVD box and nearly 30,000 Yen for the Blu-ray. The Black Rock Shooter franchise has a lot of variations of the same character (mainly with BRS herself), and with a figure bundled with limited box here and there, the way this franchise becomes very commercialised makes me feel quite wonky over it... I like the original character design, but the way it is heading for does not really appeal to me.

I haven't watched the said anime that the figma will bundle with yet. From what I've heard so far the opinions are still a bit mixed, but it seems to be slightly positive over the 2009 OVA. After having a fairly sour taste with the OVA and the unrelated PSP game, I want to keep my distance from the future media in general.

Fortunately IBRS does not catch much of my attention, so I am definitely passing on it. What do you think about it?

Source:
Black Rock Shooter TV Animation Official website
http://www.noitamina-brs.jp/bddvd/figma.html

Nendoroid Snow Miku: Snow Playtime Edition

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Back in 2010 I got myself a nendoroid Snow Miku, which is really lovely IMHO. Last year in 2011 there is a new version called Snow Playtime Edition. Liking the overall colour scheme and the extra stuff included, I couldn't resist and got this one as well. ^^;

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Nendoroid Snow Miku: Snow Playtime Edition is the second Snow Miku nendoroid first released in 62nd Sapporo Winter Festival in Sapporo, and later as web order in the summer of the same year. It features more accessories and joints than the original.

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The contents in the box minus the ice tray (which will be mentioned below). There are two additional faces, one fringe piece for Hachune face, a pair of mitten hands, one hand for holding items (specifically the ice leaks), a stand, and a Hachune snowman.

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Front view

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And back

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In terms of poseability, the elbows and knees can bend, and they can rotate around a ball joint at the shoulders and at the pelvis as well. The waist can also turn though not very much.

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Snow Miku with a blushing face. A scarf and mittens are put on as well.

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Snow Miku blushing and making a snowman at the same time. *This is cute!* >_< Photobucket
And the last face is a Hachune face.

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Hachune Snow Miku and Hachune snowman posing together. The snowman has a small hole on one side that one can put an ice leek on it like a stick.

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Unlike the usual one-piece stands, this Snow Miku comes with a relatively new kind of stand featuring a base with multiple holes and an arm with 3 points of swing joints for extra poseability. Some of the newer nendoroids use this as well I think.

I personally don't use the stand at all as just like the first one, Snow Miku can stand on her own thanks to her long twin tails. ^^

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The earmuffs can be swapped for normal headsets.

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One extra item not included in the pictures above is the silicone ice tray.

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Original Snow Miku and Snow Playtime Edition side by side. They look pretty similar, except the latter has a lot more joints.


Overall this 2011 version of Snow Miku is pretty much the same as the first Snow Miku in 2010, but with more stuff and different faces. Apart from the limbs, the two have a lot of interchangeable parts. While there are more accessories on the 2011 one, I think the 2010 one is a little more sturdy, especially on the twin tails. Otherwise either one should be suffice, depending whether you like the extra joints or not.

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With the end of the review, it's worth mentioning that a new version of nendoroid Snow Miku, called Fluffy Coat version this time, will be released in 63rd Sapporo Snow Festival. Again it will be available for web order as well, which will be released in the summer this year. Really like the surprised face on this one. I will probably get this one as well ^^;