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Friday, 13 February 2009

HG Gadessa and Sora wo Kakeru Shojo

It’s been a while since my last post and I’ve been meaning to post something up since I finished up my gadessa. I just checked my traffic map and for some reason 26% of my hits come from the USA, 20% from UK and 13% from Brunei. It's odd to know that the majority of my hits are from foreigners. School has been getting me more and more exhausted this year that I barely have enough energy to do anything else at home but rest or watch tv. In fact, it seems like I’ve only been getting the urge to work on the chapters I’m supposed to translate while waiting at school. I’d probably be doing it at home too if I had some new music to listen to but the tracks I want to get don’t come out for at least another month. Oh well, I can at least somewhat appease myself with the ones I have now since they still sound good despite the loss of “freshness” to my ears.

Speaking of freshness, I’ve recently started following a new anime series for the winter 2009 season. I never expected Sora wo Kakeru Shojo to be quite so good. I wrote it off as a fanservice show when I saw the promotional poster photo for it and the fact that the title was terribly misleading since it made me think of Toki wo Kakeru Shojo. I was terribly disappointed when I read the preview for the series because I was hoping for a TV series related to the movie done by Makoto Shinkai, the master of scenery porn. Scenery porn by the way refers to incredibly beautiful backgrounds used in anime mostly and not anything lewd that you probably thought up when you read that. Admit that you did, I was surprised at the name of this trope myself but it makes sense in a way. Other than Makoto Shinkai, Ken Akamatsu could also be called a master of scenery as his backgrounds were made using 3D imaging software as building models when they get drawn into his negima chapters.

Anyways, with a lack of interest towards the show, I turned my head towards the ones that I expected good things from: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2, Tower of Druaga – Sword of Uruk, Shikabane Hime Kuro and Minami-ke Okaeri. Funnily enough, all of them are sequels. I also kept the stuff I was already watching: Toradora, Gundam 00, Clannad After Story and To Aru Majutsu Index. When I checked the other stuff later, I added Munto, White Album, Maria+Holic and Hetalia - Axis Powers despite the Koreans managing to somehow persuade Japan to not broadcast the show on TV. Didn’t stop the webcasts though and so they’re still trying to stop it by any means they can. There’s even a bounty for the original author’s head. Why is it these people can’t enjoy this anime for what it is; an anime that makes fun of all countries during World War II including itself. Hell, Korea hasn’t even debuted in the anime yet and nor any indication of him appearing at all and they still want to kill the show.

The Italians should be more insulted at this blatant description of their military power than the koreans for a character that hasn’t appeared at all. Funny thing is, it’s all because the Korea character did some odd things in the manga based on their actual traditions. I’d love to see how they portray Brunei was like during WWII.

It was after I finished off last week’s gundam 00 episode that I got around to watching the first episodes of the series I haven’t looked at yet. I kept the first ep in my hard drive because I heard Lelouch returned to Sunrise in the form of Leopard, which honestly I thought was the name of a male character. Leopard ended up being the name of a sentient but eccentric hikikomori of a space colony. That itself was quite an interesting concept but the references in the show also made me appreciate it a lot more. Leopard also happens to be the name of an operating system software so I’ll have to remind myself to ask someone who uses it if they’ve ever caught their computer scanning tea and talking back to them.

Sora wo Kakeru Shojo greatly impressed me with its direction. No surprise there considering that the person that was in charge of Turn A Gundam’s storyboard is doing it. Even if the plot gets too out there for me, I can at least say that the show was very interesting. The small tidbits and Chekov’s Guns subtlely fitted in clearly shows how ell thought out this series is. Humor, action, plot, setting, characters and music were all well done and integrated. I was especially impressed with its OP sequence. Never actually heard a Project ALI song that upbeat and I’ve gotta say, it was very, very well done. It actually sounded different from all their other supposedly different songs. The animation went perfectly with the song. When I saw ASIMO doing Chinese martial art stances in it I wondered to myself “What the hell is it doing in there?!”. The references in here are quite amusing. So far I’ve caught:
  • Allelujah’s “I Have Control” phrase being used by people
  • Hardgay-kun. (A minor otaku celebrity in Japan who wears leather)
  • ASIMO running on pure awesome
  • Sponsors actually showing up in the anime. ( I don’t remember seeing any car manufacturers on that sponsor list even though that’s clearly ASIMO. An ASIMO that shoots laser beams and deflects missiles…)
  • The show’s name. Very misleading.
  • Leopard’s Zetsubou-sensei-ish attitude because his giant deathbeam misfired.
There were a few more which I can’t remember right now but this should give an idea. Humor is very natural in this one like in Druaga – Sword of Uruk. It really got to me when two of the villains found out that the person they thought died before they could arrest was actually still alive and reasoned that she was brought back to life because someone in the occult mystery department she worked for used voodoo to bring her back to life.

The mecha design was also nicely done as also the action sequences. Character designs also gained my approval, when the main characters were all properly introduced. Each heroine has the right balance of features and personality to bring out the different “Moe” factors in each of them to high levels. Not crazy rapid fanboy levels like Nagi of Kannagi and the girls of Suzumiya Haruhi but still much higher than any of the generic designs usually put into fanservice shows. That really shows how good this one is since fanservice doesn’t actually take up very much plot space. In fact, the designs have actually grown on me and I quite like them. I was wrong to place this show on the same level as Akikan, Asu no Yoichi and Sekirei( I’ll never understand the appeal of this one. Absolutely terrible plot and bigger breasts than all of the girls in Bleach).

It’s just that after watching so many fanservice shows turn out so badly, anything that registers in my head as a fanservice show doesn’t even pass through my interest filter and ends up in my Do Not Want category. Adlan still can’t believe that I wouldn’t like a show like Tenjo Tenge and I still can’t believe that he actually described it as a mix of Fullmetal Panic and Street Fighter. Street fighter also happens to be in my Do Not Want category by the way. I don’t know about other Otakus but with the amount of experience I have reading manga, those risqué drawings and scenes barely register in my head as being such. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate beautiful things, just not the lewd stuff. It goes something like this, though that guy’s reason is actually because he has someone on his mind.
Can’t see why people find that hard to believe. I always manage to stay calm in those high panic situations so why is this any harder to believe. I remember Hamizah once joking that I’ve already reached “Mushin” or “clear mind” because I asked a kendo senior whether we actually supposed to fight using our emotions when that senior said to pretend that our opponent was someone we hated and that we should just beat them up silly with our Shinai. Can’t do that either by the way, I don’t actually have anyone I bear animosity towards. Even the guys who graduated this year who seemed to resent me for some reason I still don’t know were at worst, “Unreasonable People” at their most bothersome moments. I do have some for food, smells and sounds though. Mayonnaise and onions are two of them.

In any case, Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo is on my approval list along with enough people in Japan to make it the most popular new show there. I have no complaints about it just yet and am actually looking forward to the 6th episode more than Gundam’s 19th episode. Even I find that odd but I guess this formula down here really is true. Adding mecha to it also gave a higher result. Nanoha was quite popular by the way although I’ve never actually watched it myself. I will have to remember to do that sometime in the future.

Now… time to talk about my HG Gadessa… It disappoints me. Sure enough articulation is pretty damn good and the new polycap designs was a nice refreshing change from the usual ones. However, the noticable lack of small but amazing details that anime’s version has greatly disappointed me. The stickers, lack of paint and less than anime epic color scheme greatly subtracts the value from it. Heck, the linear gun barrels aren’t even yellow on the inside like they’re supposed to be dammit! Shoulder stickers didn’t fit properly and ankle stickers wrinkled way too easily. I thought buying gundam markers would have saved me from this lack of win but turns out all I could use them for were to make minor touch ups to my models. Although, I greatly appreciate the improvement they’ve done for my 00 Raiser. Now it really is at the same level as a master grade kit minus the decals, the people who saw it yesterday at school seemed to be impressed enough to want one. Decals are a nuisance.

Unfortunately, until I perfect the art of airbrushing and paneling, I will have to settle for this win-lacking badass model in its incomplete form. I swear that if Bandai stops being the trolls that they are and come out with a 1/100 scale for it, I’m going for that one as well. The BFG on this HG model is the biggest gun I have out of all my kits. I want to see a 1/100 scale of it.

Until then, I shall have to remain satisfied with saving up for the upcoming 1/100 Seravee and the samurai flag, Masurao regardless of the scale. I may also be getting the other two jinxs’ and Sergei’s custom Tieren Taozi in honour of Papa Bear’s death. Sergei, your son’s patricidal actions have not been in vain, he’s actually made me want to buy yours and his suit too. I’ll probably be getting Cherudim, Arios and GN Archer’s 1/100 kits down the line in the months ahead for the sake of completion since Bandai usually releases new gundam series once every two years leaving me with enough time to buy the 00 kits before the next season. I also reserved a Hatsune Miku Figma for May when it gets rereleased so I'm hoping that I have enough money to order an MG grade gunpla along with it. I'll probably order a Kagami figma too if I feel like I've got enough reserves. A full scale Keroro(37cm) would be nice as well but unfortunately that thing is more or less 300 bucks online. Until my next post, enjoy these Gadessa and 00 pics.

Gadessa in a badass pose

You can tell how good a Gunpla is when it looks cool with another one's weapons


The two most detailed models I own

Quantisation in action

BFS stolen from my brother's Exia

Still Pretty Damn Cool Without The Twin Drives


Hosaka-senpai seems to be in control... Or maybe Graham...

The right way to react!

Posable enough to do a SPINZAKU KICK!

Model looks cooler than the manual's cover art in this pose

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