30 November 2010
I've watched Gundam 00 Movie: A wakening of the Trialblazer in a cinema a little more than 2 weeks ago. As I have been eager to watch the movie for a long time, it is good to be able to watch on the big screen finally.
This post is to be served as an afterthought about the movie, not a review of it (no, not at all) nor on the entire series. I'll try to avoid spoilers for those who want to watch it, so whatever I say in this post are a bit vague overall; it's just something for me to share my thoughts on.
N.B. I do notice that I have very rarely talked about anime on my blog, which has mostly focused on merchandise/toys and other anime-related stuff. With this said, this is going to be one of the very few times I will comment something about an anime itself.
Gundam 00 Movie: Awakening of the Trailblazer was aired in Japanese and Singapore cinema on 18th September 2010. It is a movie to conclude the Gundam 00 series, which had 2 seasons of 25 episodes (total 50) aired from 2007 to 2009.
At first, only one cinema would air the movie with approximately 6 screenings in total over 3 weeks or so. Not surprisingly all tickets were sold out very quickly, and I wasn't able to get one for myself. It's only until 2 weekends ago I have found out that other cinemas from the same company have started to do regular showings (i.e. daily), so I was able to grab a seat in the closest cinema in the next hour. Even though I have heard mixed opinions from the Internet and from fellow bloggers (mostly from Singapore), I just couldn't wait any longer ^^;
But I must say I was a tad surprised on how little promotion there was for the movie; I couldn't even find a promotional poster at the cinema I've watched, as if the movie was intended to be low profile. Besides, I wouldn't know that there would be regular showing in cinema if I didn't decide to check on the actual cinema website personally (out of curiousity).
For a (very brief) recap on what happens on the two anime seasons of Gundam 00:
In the first season we see the introduction of Celestial Beings and its 4 Gundams entering "armed intervention" against the world's 3 factions/superpowers while carrying out a supposedly deceased scientist's (Aeolia Schenberg) grand plan in an attempt to remove conflicts and warfare. The 3 factions, aided by a traitor originally working for Celestial Beings, united together and defeated the Gundams, forming the new Earth Sphere Federation afterwards.
In the second season we see the world 4 years after Celestial Being's defeat and disappearance, and is oppressed with an iron fist from a separate military branch of Earth Sphere Federation called the A-Laws. Celestial Being reappeared, regrouped with 4 new Gundams (00 Gundam being their trump card, piloted by protagonist Setsuna F Seiei) and fought primarily against the A-Laws. It was only later they have learnt that there was a another group that was pulling the strings on the conflict from the backstage - a group of posthuman individuals originally created to support Aeolia Schenberg's plan and to guide humans through evolution and advance humanity into deep space but decided to take over the world on their own.
The movie takes place 2 years after the end of 2nd season. With the main threats from previous season eliminated, Celestial Being continues to operate in the dark and overlook the peace of the world as the Earth Sphere Federation establishes pacifist and tolerating approach to manage world problems, while monitoring the emergence of the evolving posthumans called Innovators across the world that may help guide the world to advance humanity as Aoelia Schenberg has planned. However, a new enemy appears in the form of an extraterrestrial alien has entered within Earth's vicinity, and asEarth Sphere Federation and Celestial Being joint forces together for one final mission against such unprecedented threat, the protagonist Setsuna F Seiei, who has evolved into a posthuman Innovator throughout the course of 2nd season, would soon realise his purpose for evolution, with the aid of his newest Gundam - Gundam 00 Qan[T].
As for the movie itself, I must say this Gundam vs alien concept is quite radical, but ultimately I think the points are shown at the end. The movie seems to have a very mixed feedback, with some people downright rejecting the idea (of aliens like Macross and what the movie is trying to point out), and some people managed to draw meaningful points out of things. Plot is fairly straightforward, but there are a few symbolism here and there too it seems which may make some parts appear more abstract than they seem. Pity how some voices against the movie are very strong, and bashed outright that it ruins Gundam traditions, wants 'revolution' but it fails miserably, and that its a rehash of Gunbuster but with Gundam etc etc.
Bad things aside, I am glad that some people manage to draw meanings out of it and treasure it. I think ultimately unlike the UC universe and timeline (which is pretty dark overall I must say), the director and writer (Seiji Mizushima and Yousuke Kuroda, who have no prior experience on Gundam series) feel optismistic of the world they would like to imagine. It's not the best series for Gundam metaseries, but definitely not the worst. Perhaps some more stuff can be extended on (perhaps an immediate aftermath on what happened to the rest of the characters), but I think it's an interesting change to previous Gundam series we had in the past.
28 November 2010
Putting aside gunplas and figures aside for now. Behold, the 1/144 scale of Dora, one of the biggest artillery gun ever produced in history.
This is a completed and pre-assembled model from Soar Art, which is essentially a completed version of FUJIMI's model kit. Even for a 1/144 scale, the size of this thing is still something not to be overlooked!
Side view with flash
Base of the gun platform
View of the pivot and the breech (sideways). Minor rust and weather effects can be seen as well
Breech of the gun as well as the loading area
Back of the Dora gun, showing the elevators for loading the shells from the ground
Accessories are 2 80mm shells and loading unit
Shells and loading unit placed
Gun elevated. Maximum angle of elevation is said to be 48 degrees.
A comparison of Dora with (from left to right), Stuka divebomber, Tiger I tank, Panzer IV, Panzer III, Panzer 38(t), and Panzer II
For those who are curious about how tall a mobile suit stands next to a Dora, here is a HGUC 1/144 Zaku II for comparison
Last but not least, a 1/144 Dora shell with a 1/144 German soldier (which comes from my other 1/144 military collections). For your information, the German soldier in the picture stands 12mm (millimetres) tall.
For more information about Dora (and Schwerer Gustav), you can read more about it from Wikipedia, or this blog post here.
Having looked for this for years, I must say I am really glad that I have finally managed to have my hands on this, especially a completed and painted one too. For a 1/144 scale, the amount of details is very impressive already, with a lot of delicate railings and visible metal flooring.
It is perhaps still pretty crazy how the Germans have managed to build two of these things (namely "Schwerer Gustav" and "Dora") in the first place. Even though they contributed very little to the actual war (Dora was apparently never got to fire in anger), their architecture and size will definitely remain in the minds of like-minded people who miss the old days of big guns and the 'art' of conventional warfare weaponry.
Given that guided missiles are now the future of long range artillery, it is very unlikely that we will get to see guns of such size already, which is also the case with battleships too like the Iowa class battleships. Everything needs to move on eventually, but these guns would prove to be a legacy in one form or another.
24 November 2010
It's December soon, and for Gundam fans in Hong Kong this means Gundam Expo 2010 Hong Kong is coming soon.
The expo will last from 17th December 2010 to 2nd January 2011.
A list of event exclusive items are announced already:
Like in previous years, the expo will have free admission, showcase for current and upcoming gunpla and other products, shop, minigames, gunpla workshop, card battle area for Gundam War & Battle Spirits, as well as finalist models of this year's BAKUC / Bandai Model Kit World Cup 2010.
The expo will take place in Metropolis Hall in Hung Hom, 12:00pm (noon) to 9pm for weekdays, and 11:00am to 9pm for weekends and public holidays.
You can find the previous coverage of the expo here (2009) and here (2008).
Gundam Expo 2010 Hong Kong website:
Like the previous 2 years, I will go in and take some pictures for the coverage. Unless you are going for the limited items, the rest of the gunpla etc are probably not worth buying there as they are rather expensive; it's better to buy them in local shops instead. Looking forward to see what the finalist models are for this year's BAKUC~
Image comes from Gundam Expo 2010 Hong Kong website, info from CYBERGUNDAM BLOG
20 November 2010
A Taiwanese modeler has recently finished modding his PG 1/60 00 Gundam to become 00 Gundam Seven Sword/G. To sum it up: this is one heck of an impressive work.
00 Gundam standing & equipped with GN Sword II Blaster and GN Buster Sword II
The 00 Gundam itself.
GN Sword II Long
Close up shot on the barrel of GN Sword II Long
GN Sword II Short
GN Katar lit up o_o
The signature weapon: GN Buster Sword II
Back of GN Buster Sword Ii
Closer view of the GN Buster Sword II showing the decals
Parts expanded with lit up parts
GN Buster Sword II fully expanded, revealing the creator's original design GN Drive in the centre (i.e. non-canonical)
GN Sword II Blaster
Close up view of GN Sword II Blaster, showing the paint work as well as the smaller details such as screws
GN Sword II Blaster lit up. Even the the tip of the barrel has a blue light there o_o
The finished model has also just participated in the Bandai Model Kit World Cup 2010:
The project started in mid-November last year, just before PG 1/60 00 Raiser was released. The GN Buster Sword II has an inner frame which is apparently from MG Astray Red Frame Kai. Other minor modifications are done on the 00 Gundam itself, such as some proportion corrections and allowing the feet to bend backwards.
All images are from the creator shockingkimo (aka wuncin999999 on ToysDaily forum). You can have a look at his WIP posts here.
I remember first seeing the GN Buster Sword II last year when the creator posted it on ToysDaily forum (before PG 00 Raiser was released). It was one ambitious project that I thought I may not hear again, but it is now finished a year after the creator announced his 00 Gundam Seven Sword/G project. It's definitely an impressive work he has done there, and he has just made it into BAKUC as well. Speaking of BAKUC, the BAKUC Final international competition is held in Hong Kong around December 2010 (i.e. Gundam Expo Hong Kong 2010). I do hope to see this PG 00 Gundam Seven Sword/G to make it there, as I am really taken by his work!
All images are from shockingkimo's blog via ToysDaily forum
15 November 2010
Got a phone call from a local shop that the GSC 1/8 Black Rock Shooter animation ver. figure I have pre-ordered is ready to be picked up on Friday, a day after its official release date.
Review may come later this month, and gosh this is a big box...
What is with the huge size of the box? It kind of suprised me when when the shopkeeper delivered it to me as I did recall the actual figure being fairly small. Looks like that the Rock Cannon and some of the chains etc do take up some space, but still there's a lot of unused space on the packaging with the way they've packed it. Heck, the box is even slightly bigger than that of the Black Blade ver. figure which is based on the original art!
Now looking back, this was probably a bit of a impulse purchase of some kind because of the good price I was offered (and probably because I was in a pretty low mood for the 1st half of this year). Since I pre-ordered this figure from a local shop refund is not possible as I have to pay deposit in the first place. But this doesn't look so much of a bad figure given the look and the dynamic pose. Well, I will see when I take it out later this month.
For those who are itching to see some pictorial reviews, there is one available at Akiba Hobby.
Speaking of Black Rock Shooter, I heard that there is going to be a 2nd OAV for it as announced in the recent Anime Festival Asia X (AFA X) event in Singapore, and now the figure company that releases it (along with the figures of the franchise) is apparently denying it. One way or the other it's very likely to happen anyway.
But given the mixed opinion of the first OAV, I wonder how many will be anticipating for the second one?
ADDED: Just found out not long ago that the white star on the coat is missing on the actual figure, as mentioned on Mikatan's blog (a member of staff from Good Smile Company).
The missing star on Black Rock Shooter
This will probably add to the dropping of quality of recent GSC's figures. Not surprisingly with this being my first scale figure from GSC this problem has not given me the best impression of the brand. Oh well at least they are willing to send out white star stickers to collectors or let people to send the figures back to them so they will fix them themselves.
For those who have bought the same figure they can visit this page to fix the problem.
10 November 2010
Yep, that's right. I've bought a PS3 on Sunday. After a long delay, I felt I should delay no more even though my sister didn't feel there is an urge for one. Not surprisingly, after I brought it back home her reaction changed from "don't really care" to "excited" ^^;
Games I got so far (from left to right): Gundam Battlefield Record 0081 (aka Gundam Senki), Final Fantasy XIII, Katamari Forever, and God of War Collection.
God of War Collection is mainly for my cousin, which comes with a God of War III keychain
I still need to buy Valkyria Chronicles, but the games I have bought so far will keep me well occupied already. On the other hand I have a feeling that my sister will start FFXIII before me since I need to restart FFXII International ver. on PS2. At least there will be no conflict on console should this happens ^^;
So... I know this may sound like a lame excuse *if* it does happen, but should I disappear from blogosphere, you know what would have happened to me -_-;; If it happens, that is.
6 November 2010
Kotobukiya is planning to release 1/12 Christmas dress sets, which seem to be aimed for Max Factory's figma action figures.
The new upcoming dress sets are spotted in Kobobukiya's showroom store on the 2nd floor of Radio Kaikan, Akihabara.
Type-A is a set of furry coat mantle and furry dress. figma Haruhi is not included.
Seeing Haruhi wearing that makes her look like a queen or something (as if she isn't acting like one already ^^;)
Type-B is a set of Christmas cape and skirt. figma Azusa not included.
Retail price for either costume set is 2425 Yen. To be released in late November 2010. Apparently those who pre-order the costumes in mid-November will get some kind of small bonus 1/12 Christmas-themed item as well (1/12サイズのクリスマス小物), but there is no mention of what it is.
Interesting to see Kotobukiya making something to that appears to be aiming for Max Factory's figma figures to wear as costumes. Well of course the costumes can be worn by other stuff in the similar scale or size, such Kaiyodo's Revoltech action figures. No info is known regarding its availability for overseas market, and there is a possibility that this is for Japan-only, but please don't count on my words for that. :\
P.S. There are also 1/12 coats in the background behind figma Haruhi. Maybe more clothes and wearable accessories will be available from Kotobukiya in the future?
All images are from Moeyo