Souchaku Henshin Blade King form and Todoroki.I'm not a fan of the Souchaku Henshin format but these figures look outstanding.
Paper starships. [via]"Paper starships are foldable models of sci-fi starships. You can download them, print them, cut them out, and assemble them. When you finish a paper model, you'll get a full 3 dimensional physical model of the selected starship."
Translated Katamari Damacy song lyrics."Everybody clump together and spurt it alllll out"
Bittorrent crackdown in Hong Kong."... a Hong Kong movie industry trade association said it plans to send letters to 100 BitTorrent users through their Internet service providers threatening legal action unless they stop using the software." Home users are easier to bully and intimidate than those triad-connected stall owners selling pirated DVDs.
A review of Hybrid Style Galaxy Convoy.Momodani's main complaint is the poorly-designed detent joints of the cannons prevent them from pointing straight forward in flight mode. He's got a suggested fix but it involves taking apart said joints and performing minor surgery.
Microman Magneforce are out. [via]The pictures linked above clearly show the magnets holding the figures together are pretty strong.
Best Project: JAM Project Best Collection album cover.
A tribute to the Micronauts. [via]
Street gaming: PSP-style. [via]Scene I'd like to see: the gamers run over while being completely engrossed in Wipeout Pure.
Ad verbatim transcription of the mostly informative, sometimes peculiar text on the back of the Best of JAM Project CD (LACA-5092):
For children that bear future's destiny . . .And for the adults that do not forget to dream . . ."Heroes inside the screen and children in front of the screen are in search for a powerful voice and spirit"The members of JAM Project executed in the summer of 1999 the first-ever live performance of 1000 songs. Ichirou Mizuki is yet the king, leading the world of animation songs with his heart and soul. Hironobu Kageyama, with Ichirou Mizuki were part of what was called the Big Three who opened the new era of singers. Eizo Sakamoto, known as the true heavy metal "Shouter of Flames", and Masaaki Endoh, the new expectation of the animation song world. This line-up alone proves that JAM Project is one that sincerely cares about the "power of song". Not only that, but the female singer with the most powerful voice, Rica Matsumoto, will be participating! Singing with a strength and sensitivity unique to only women can be heard at JAM Project! For all the children of the world and all adults that keep a burning flame within, these five most incredible singers at times will sing together and at times will compose the best unit ever to create animation songs with the memories of new heroes that will be remembered and sung to the end of time.With a heart that burns forever, sing animation songs together ... That is JAM Project!
Takara's majority shareholder, Konami, sells off shares.Konami cited Takara's poor performance as being a millstone round its neck. But when you get to down to it Konami didn't need Takara to produce toys for its IPs and Takara didn't need Konami's boardroom-level pressure and second-guessing. Anyway, Konami's stake in Takara was bought by mobile phone content distributor Index Corp. so there shouldn't be any problems capital-wise for the toyco. But what does this mean for Takara in terms of future direction? Will Takara maintain its focus on its core toy business or will the Index Corp. tie-up mean Takara is going to diversify to become a total life entertainment business the way the previous CEO intended?
Fan-made Disk Animal-inspired mobile armour. [via]
Microman Road Force vehicles.
Mugenbuilder fan modes.Mugenpolice, Mugenfire and Mugenbuilder combos (1, 2, 3) are over a foot tall.
Spyware is no solution for bad marital relations.Suspicious spouses used to rely on private eyes; keyloggers are the modern equivalent.
Justice League Unlimited 204 and 205 torrents.The Suicide Squad episode was terrific.
Batman Begins Microman. [via]The Knight version looks fantastic.
PSP gutted. [via]
Sh15uya Face 02 fansub released.It's heavy on mystery, atmosphere, style and street culture but disappointingly low on substance. The director, Tazaki Ryuta, also worked on Kamen Rider 555 so this probably shouldn't come as a surprise.
So I married an otaku. [via]"He never failed to get up at 7:30 on Sunday mornings to watch a cult '70s anime rerun on TV and seriously considered dressing up as Kamen Raidaa (The Masked Rider) for his wedding until his mother wept and begged him not to."
Female comic characters don't fare well. [via]It's difficult to see this as anything other than a damning indictment of a male-dominated industry.
I thought I was being a smart consumer by waiting until game developers produced a second patch (or a comprehensive first patch) before buying games but sadly, I've been outsmarted by devious game developers.
It shouldn't be surprising to learn the latest game in Creative Assembly's Total War series, Rome: Total War, is buggy. It shouldn't even be surprising it's buggy after two patches. What is surprising is the developers have no intention of producing another patch because the publisher refuses to pay for the QA required for it. The developers even go so far as to suggest that "non-constructive" requests by gamers for another patch might damage the Total War series.
But wait, it gets even more ludicrous.
There's going to be an expansion produced for the game and it will apparently include fixes for the original game. So, instead of getting a free third patch, gamers will have to pay for the expansion to get fixes for the original game.
This does not sit well with me.
There's a petition protesting CA's various boneheaded moves with 1200-plus signatures thus far (including my own). It may not accomplish much but CA deserve some sort of PR black eye for indulging in this kind of customer-screwing.
Takara's stock takes a hit."Takara, the toy company, fell 6.3 per cent to Y479 after saying its net loss for the last fiscal year would increase because of poor sales abroad and restructuring costs."
Child's play assuages hospital fears."In cooperation with toy maker Takara Co., Tanaka has designed a special doll that children can give an injection or an IV."
I got Rome: Total War last week and thought I'd give my initial impressions of the game in an easy-to-digest Q&A format.
Title?Rome: Total War.
Not to be confused with ...?Paris: Total Whore.
Box contents?3 CD-ROMs, an adequate manual and a map with the Roman tech tree on the flip side.
Hard disk space required?The game folder is about 2.3GB and savegames are pretty small. My early campaign savegames have taken up less than 2MB each.
Is it hard to get into?It's certainly a complex game but there's a good tutorial campaign for those new to the Total War series and there are plenty of context-sensitive tips provided during the actual campaign itself.
Does it require a knowledge of classical Latin?No, it turns out everyone in Rome speaks English -- sometimes with a posh accent -- although like some folks today, the ancients would occasionally spout a Latin phrase in a pretentious fashion.
Is it an improvement over Medieval: Total War?Oh my, yes. It appears Creative Assembly have managed to address all my M:TW complaints. The endgame should be much easier to manage.
How's the AI?I'm still in the early phases of my campaign but I haven't been impressed with the tactical AI at all. Unless vastly overmatched (or supremely incompetent), you should have no trouble beating the computer opponent. However, the AI is decent enough on the strategic level and will wear your forces down by attrition if you're not particularly careful.
The Old Trafford faithful have a new chant:
He plays on the left, he plays on the right, that boy Ronaldo makes Beckham look s****
Candygram!Nice to see Big Guy being remembered.
Gay action figures. [via]"BALL JOINTED and FLEXIBLE penis." This is Robot Chicken material.
Action figure addiction. [via]Personally, action figures have always been about aesthetics and playability, and my purchasing decisions invariably hinge on one thing: will I have fun with this?
Bandai Visual releases DVD/UMD combo package. [via]I'd be interested in the PSP as a movie player if Sony didn't hamstring the device with region-locking.
Fan-created Batmobile replicas. [via]
Japanese textbooks cause violent Chinese protests. [via]Not as widely reported: "The offending books, which are published by a right-wing nationalist group, are used in fewer than 1 per cent of Japan's schools because the vast majority of teachers agree that they distort history." Also not widely reported: "Completely absent from (Chinese) textbooks is China's 1951 invasion and subsequent colonisation of an independent Tibet. Erased too is the 1962 attack on India and the ill-fated 1979 incursion into Vietnam."
Firefox 1.0.3 released.More fixes.
From The Simpsons 16.15:
Robert Cop 3. [via]Part man, part machine, all bootleg.
Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. [via]Tips for writing.
How to solve the piracy problem.Slate focussed on China but the observations and suggestions are applicable elsewhere. The single best point: "... products are not worth what the manufacturers say they are worth but what customers are willing to pay for them. The reason pirated products are so wildly popular is that customers love their value proposition." DVD manufacturers understand this perfectly well but are unlikely to lower prices without pressure from piracy.
Blogs used to spread malware. [via]
Tungsten E2 first impressions.Non-volatile memory, an improved display and better battery life. I almost wish my TE would die so I could justify getting a replacement.
Broadcast/Blaster gets an upgrade.Shockwave customised as a CD player for Hibiki's Disk Animals.
In-game advertising.The nVidia ad in Rome: Total War's manual and the "Plays Best on Alienware" logo during the installation were annoying enough. I'd go ballistic if my faction leader, Gaius Julius, started proclaiming it was Miller time after battles.
Bittornado upgraded.Only minor bug-fixes, though.
Kamen Rider Hibiki episode 11 released.Unsubbed. Interestingly, I managed to get a green torrent status light with Anarion's tracker for the first time ever.
Free WordPress blog. [via]Caveat: indeterminate disk space and bandwidth. They claim to welcome busy, popular blogs, though.
Free stock images.
Choose your names carefully.Here's why.
Kamen Rider Hibiki certainly features extraordinarily beautiful women. The latest knockout to join the cast is Umemiya Masako who plays Hibiki's ex-classmate and colleague.
Here are some Machine Robo Mugenbine links for folks who are curious about the line and what the Japanese fans are doing with it.
Everybine.There are some delightfully quirky fan-submitted creations on the line's official site.
NMB's gallery.A massive collection of fan-modes.
Asimo's blog.Staggering super robot creations combining upwards of 20 Mugenroid.
Prominence image BBS.An image BBS for fan-modes.
Kajiki's site.There are only two fan-creations linked on this site but what he lacks in quantity he makes up for with quality.
Whitebear's site.In-depth looks at most of the ST sets.
Izumi's site.Reviews of every non-exclusive set as well as a large collection of fan-modes.
Disposable e-mail addresses.These fulfill a need but the providers might eventually be blocked by web sites and forums to prevent abuses.
What to expect from a Michael Bay Transformers movie.
Time to meet the mecha. [via]The Land Walker doesn't so much walk as shuffle in a geriatric manner but it's a start.
1/1 Scopedog. [via]Imagine if the guy who made this got together with the folks who made the Land Walker ... a Scopedog that shuffles in a geriatic fashion!
Takara's latest Microman designer interview promotes the Titans-inspired MagneForce series. The Magnemo-powered assortment comprises of Microman figures Achilles, Theseus and Icarus along with their Acroyear counterparts Atlas, Phobos and Metis.
The figures, expected to be released at the end of the month, are 98 per cent done and all that's left is to fine-tune the magnets on the soles.
Designer Abiko Kazutami talked about the MagneForce figures' ability to combine with the accessories to form vehicles. The Microman vehicle, an aircraft reminiscent of the classic Space Knight's vehicle mode, is dubbed MagneGriffon, while the Acroyear equivalent, a ground vehicle, is known as MagneOdyssey. Both look unconvincing but they're bonuses.
Abiko went on to tout the figures' interchangeability (via 3mm, Magnemo-8 and Magnemo-11 joints) and pointed out the new figures will even be compatible with the vintage Titans.
At that point, I was hoping he would announce Takara would be producing replicas of the vintage Titans but that didn't transpire. Abiko did reveal a fondness for the vintage Titans and the Magnemo-powered Jeeg but it appears he's considering producing reimagined versions rather than going with the repro route.
It's a pity. The vintage Titans were some of coolest designs from the original Microman line. Most action figure fans might sneer at them today but I think the Titans have got an endearing retro-cool elegance about them and their Magnemo interchangeability gives them tremendous play value. The only thing that's putting me off getting a vintage Titan is the thought of having to pay upwards of 10,000 yen for a battered and bruised 30-year-old figure with cracked cuffs. I would love it if Takara reproduced these classic designs. The fact they would be compatible with the new figures would give toy fans additional incentive to pick them up.
Disk Animals, unite!A creative fan-mode.
WordPress 1.5 theme winners. I like Wuhan and Zen Minimalist.
Firefox prefetching: a dubious Google decision. [via]
Stardock working on freeware MMOG. [via]"Sims meets Total Annihilation." As I understand it, they're doing this to drive traffic to TotalGaming.net in the hopes it will result in sales for the company's other products.
United draw, Ferguson concedes.If the Premiership awarded points for hitting the woodwork, United would have won the title by now.
Loony Toon.It's not unusual to see football players sent for fighting but the Newcastle-Aston Villa match saw two players from the same team dismissed for that offence. Specifically, the teammates were sent off for fighting each other. Bizarre but not unprecedented.
South Park 9.4:
The Sony PSP was built by God to determine who on Earth had the best skills to defeat the armies of Satan.
Hibiki's Rider no. 3: Todoroki.The opening theme, Kagayaki, will undoubtedly be guitar-heavy when he debuts.
GaoGaiGar Final: Grand Glorious Gathering. [via]With new scenes and dialogue, this will be a nice promotion for Takara's upcoming GGG merchandise.
WordPress.org's dodgy fund-raising.There are better (and more upfront) ways to raise funds.
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