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Bungou Stray Dogs Season 1

Friday, October 21, 2016 / No Comments

Characters and superpowers inspired by famous authors and their literary masterpieces are unique concepts, at least to me. I know of abilities and characters named after states in the USA, food, mythology and even celebrities, but literature-inspired ones are few and far between. 

Enter Bungou Stray Dogs, a bookworm and literature fanatic's wet dream. Be prepared to see names such as Edogawa Rampo, Mark Twain, Kunikida Doppo and Edgar Allen Poe, to name a few. Bonus points if you can guess the abilities of the characters inspired by said authors.

Bungou Stray Dogs revolves around 18 year-old Nakajima Atsushi joining the Armed Detective Agency and solving various crimes that occur in the city while fending off the Port Mafia and later on, The Guild. The latter two organisations are secret societies with unknown agendas, at least in the first season.

The first season follows an episodic format, mainly serving to introduce either a new member of the Armed Detective Agency or the key players in the Port Mafia in each episode, although there is an overarching plot revolving around Atsushi. It's great for people who don't have the time for a plot-driven anime or those who have the perennial problem of watching too much anime every season.

I appreciated the humour in Bungou Stray Dogs, although some viewers found it jarring. It kept the tone from becoming grim, considering the Armed Detective Agency deals with cases that are too extreme for the Military Police to solve. Some might argue that several comedic moments are abruptly inserted but I welcome the change of tone nonetheless, considering how the start of the currently airing second season plays out.

The anime's art and animation quality is top notch. Fights are fluid and I constantly looked forward to characters activating their abilities, especially Akutagawa Ryuunosuke's Rashomon, a black, serpent-like beast that is formed from the fabric of his clothes. The abilities that other characters displayed weren't half as flashy but they were creative and powerful nonetheless. Some of these include nullifying anyone's ability as long as there was physical contact, super-strength on an empty stomach and the creation of illusions.

I particularly enjoyed the exaggerated expressions of the characters through the course of the season. Even the diligent and stern Kunikida Doppo isn't immune to the series' 'funny face' syndrome. The art style shifts to a chibi and 4-koma-esque one when the characters are kidding around or just happen to be stuck in hilarious situations. The contrast is obvious in the image just above this paragraph.

Who could've guessed that an anime inspired by literature would turn out to be such an action-packed one? I certainly didn't and fortunately, I finished watching the first season a week before the second season aired. 

My only gripe with Bungou Stray Dogs' first season would be the constant flashbacks of Atsushi being thrown out of the orphanage. The time wasted could have been used to develop the characters or to lengthen the fight scenes instead.

Written by ET

A short summer playlist and loots from September…

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Time really flies by fast these days. 

It has already been 11 weeks since I was enlisted and am currently beginning my BMT phase. Tekong really changed my perspective on time. Throwing a live grenade felt so surreal and firing live rounds with a rifle feels absolutely different than shooting in game. Army really lets you experience interesting things and with Field Camp in a few weeks, I am quite nervous and at the same time looking forward to it.

Anyway, without further ado. Here’s my short summer playlist that was due three weeks ago (sorry).

The first song on the list is “Million Clouds”, the opening from Amanchu! I really love this song. It is calming to listen to where I can’t help but close my eyes as I listen to the song and let the music slowly drift me into a tranquil state. The drums and quicken pace in the second part of the song really stands out where it makes it seem as though a brand new day is arriving.

The next song is the opening from Fate/Kaleid liner PRISMAILLYA 3rei!! “Asterism” by the ever famous Choucho. I don’t know how many times I have said this but I absolutely love her voice. The rhythm of the song really keeps my finger busy tapping to it and as you get to the chorus, it builds it up slowly before it then drops and transits to the chorus. The song is highly reminiscing of the previous songs from this series and I really do like it.

Following that is from a movie that came out during the month of August but I could only watch it during September. 

Kimi no Na wa with its theme song “Zen Zen Zense” by RADWIMPS. I instantly love the song when it was played in the movie. My fingers were tapping like crazy as I tried my best to play out the song. It sorts of reminds me of “Yasashisa no Riyuu” Hyouka’s opening at some parts of the song.

The last two songs are the second opening and ending from the anime Macross Delta, ”Zettai Reidou θ Novatic” and “Hametsu no Junjou” respectively. I consider these two songs as the best for my Top 5 as I have replayed them too many times on my phone and in the car’s speakers. I really love how each of their voices compliments each other either when they sing together or for their separate parts. I would really love to go for their concert if they had one. If you were to ask me to choose either of them to put as my top for this season, I would say the ending. I absolutely love how Mikumo sounds like in the chorus and yes, I know there’s a Mikumo solo version for it.

In the last few days of September, I spoiled my Otaku self a bit by buying a few figurines. The two of the three are from the Monogatari series.

Hachikuji Mayoi with her huge backpack and Yotsugi Ononoki with her peace pose, which I find absolutely adorable (even with her straight face). The last figure I bought is Nagato from Kantai Collection.

She comes with her equipment, which was in a separate box, where it leaves me wondering how can she carry its weight. I really shouldn't underestimate the power of one of The Big Seven. So now in my collection of figurines I have three characters from the Monogatari series, which are Shinobu, and the two mentioned above, if I’m including a chibi Karen then it’ll be four, a nendroid Shimakaze, scale figure of Mutsuki and the Nagato mentioned above from Kantai Collection. Following that is Izayoi Sakuya from Touhou Project, BRS from Black Rock Shooter, a Hatsune Miku Append figma and Snow Bell nendroid, Mami and Homura from Madoka Magica. A Saber Nero nendroid, Sakamoto Mio Armor Girls Project, an Angela Balzac chibi and finally a Gundam.

As you can already tell, I am not a frequent buyer and certainly not a collector so my figures won’t be as much your average otaku. I’m sorry. I’m setting aside and saving up some money for other things in the future like going to a university, travelling abroad and by any chance I require the money desperately for various reasons.

Well, it’s time to turn in for the night. My cough medicine should be kicking in any moment now.

Mata ne~

Anime Films: Now and Then

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 / No Comments
Recently, there has been a great deal of talk on Your Name, a full-length anime film written and directed by Makoto Shinkai. Yeah, people around me have been talking about it. Facebook posts have been dedicated to this soon-to-be-aired anime in Singapore. An official premiere date has been announced. Your Name will be called on November 3rd, 2016. Fans of Makoto Shinkai and his work are already elated. Nope, I am not one of them quite unfortunately. While his work is beautiful and such, nothing rings a bell in me. Your Name has elements of fantasy and science fiction. Hmm. Anyway, there is also a manga adaptation and the original novel that inspired the film. Makoto Shinkai is a genius. My previous Japanese teacher used to recommend another anime film by him, which of course I didn't attempt to watch it. Gomennasai, Sensei!

Speaking of anime films, there is one which reminds me of one of my friends from Japanese class. I remember recommending her a set of manga to read since I thought that the storyline would interest her. That manga is also an anime film now: Koe no Katachi. Yeah, I wrote on the manga nearly two years ago. Back then, Koe no Katachi had peaked at #1 in the Otoko section of the must-read titles in 2015. I was rather intrigued by the storyline, but it was my friend who would go on to read and collect the complete set. I don't think that the anime film will be shown theatrically in Singapore though. There are stuff that just don't see the light of day because of some reasons. But if anybody is able to find it somewhere else, good for them!

Do I have a favourite anime film at all? Sure, I would love to think so myself! In my opinion, anime films are considered rarer in terms of availability and reach (whatever the industry people call those things). I can say that the number of anime films that I have watched on the big screen here is pathetically small. Really small. Then, there is also the running time which is honestly a potential setback. Most animation don't stretch past a certain duration for fear of diminishing attention spans among their audiences. Then again, if something would be really exciting, I don't see why people should become restless in the first place. An acquaintance used to gather a few people for the Detective Conan films. Yeah, I had watched a couple myself. One of them was a crossover with Lupin the 3rd. It was okay. I mean, I still know nothing about the franchise. I went along because I wasn't able to think of an excuse in time.

Ah, there is a favourite anime film of mine after all! When I first started writing for Milkcananime, I had talked about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. I still love that after so many years. Hmm. Honestly, that was what got me interested in a little time travel myself. Though it still remains a wide mystery, the idea has never stopped moving in my mind. Everything about The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is breathtakingly beautiful. Some things just stand the test of time, though there is a classic line in the film that reads: Time waits for no one. In my dreams at least, I wish that I could step back in time. Maybe I would be able to see some things again! 

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

Figure Unboxing and Review: Morgiana 1/8 Scale (Megahouse)

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If you refer to my post earlier about Yuuki Yuuna, you will know that I got Morgiana delivered from Amiami on the morning of the same day!
I got her pre-owned from the pre-owned section of Amiami for a bargain, considering that her usual price ranges from 8-10k yen currently.

She was on condition C for the figure and B for the box, which suggests that she has been opened and displayed though all parts are still intact. And true to the description, I do see signs of use, but it was mostly just dust and nothing of a huge issue. There was no outstanding damages on either the figure or the box and I am quite pleased with this purchase as she had been my grail for the longest time.

Let's start with her box.


As you can see, she has a unique cutout on the front, top and even the sides of her box, in the shape of a star. This actually ties back well with the Arabian theme that Magi has about it, with "Alibaba" and "Sinbad" and what not. It's a very subtle but good inclusion and I'm pleased with it.

The back of her box showcases her in various poses and helps you decide which to put her in. Not to mention, they even included a small preview of her first order bonus, the tiny Morgiana on canarian clip!

The blister which Morgiana is encased in shows her fully so let's take a look at it to see what she comes with~

She actually only comes with the main figure, a red base and the mini-Morgiana, but the details on her actually makes her shine more!

Her base ties in with the color of her hair well, giving it a well balance to the massive stretch of white from her neck down to her feet. Also, despite her base being only a red circle, it actually has her name and the series name printed on it in gold, giving it some accent and details, which also ties in with the gold rims on her attire.

Posing and Assembly

Posing is reminiscent of the anime, where she was posed like this in one of her dance moves in the festival at Sindria. If you watched Magi, I'm pretty sure you'll know what I'm saying because that night was definitely memorable!

There is a great deal of movement in her pose and the fluttering and billowing out of her outfit mirrors that feel perfectly. The material is sculpted in a way which makes it look extremely lightweight, like it should be, and the semi-translucent effect makes that even more apparent.

Morgiana is definitely scantily dressed in this figure but there is something about it (maybe the atmosphere?) which doesn't make me think that she's supposed to be erotic at all but rather it is just a culture of the country in the series she's in, which is... kind of true.

Assembly is as simple as putting Morgiana whole onto the base. The problem comes when you decide where to put the mini-Morgiana, however as she is a keychain, there is definitely a lot of options for that!

Sculpting and Painting
Now that we have gone through the past sections, let us now immerse ourselves in highlighting different sides of her from the top down. Let's start with the veil.

As I have pointed out before, it looks extremely lightweight. It's also very flexible which resists damage but be careful not to break it. 

From the image you can also see that there is a definitive flow of her veil -- how it caresses the back of her head then curl in at the end -- which makes it look like she is really in mid-dance-move. We see the gold accents to her veil and they actually look like real bright gold instead of the typical dull ones that show up occasionally on figures.

Different shades of pinks are also used, such as that string of flowers, and there is a slight gradient to it which ends in white. It is a good inclusion because it helps us move from her striking deep red (or dark pink) hair to the stark whiteness of her outfit.

We can also see brightly colored flowers on the other side of her head which I would cover in a later picture when we have a clearer view of it. 
Here we can see her outfit better. Morgiana is definitely not one for chest size, but we can see that this outfit actually accentuates her figure. The tightness around her bosom as the outfit holds her chest up goes to show how much effort was placed in to make it look authentic because it definitely had to be tight around her chest to keep it from falling when she was dancing.

A bad part about this area that isn't showing up well on the photos would be the glue around the gold pearls going down from her neckline to her chest. It isn't that obvious but I just wanted to point out that my copy had that defect, which is okay because the pearls are small and I don't expect perfect work for this figure as it is a pretty old figure already. Megahouse probably improved a lot since then.
Here you can see her outfit better and this image is to highlight the pearly paint used for this figure.

Actually that sounds a bit controversial so allow me to clear things up. Her paint job is generally matte but her outfit catches light in ways that makes her look like she's sparkling at times. It's a really beautiful effect.

And here, we can see the loose material around her waist which accentuates how thin her waist is. Her stomach sculpt is also near perfection, and if they could do any better, they can try adding a little more shade to it.
The choker and anklets are detailed and the red jewel in the middle really stands out. But more importantly, we get to see the flow of the material around her legs. Morgiana relies on her legs for battle a lot and it's nice to see a little tribute given to them!

Also, the strip of material between her legs is really very flexible so try not to fiddle around with it too much or it'll break easily. I was actually quite afraid of breaking mine when putting her on the base...

Here's a little more leg tribute and a mention to how nice and realistic the sculpt of her thighs is. 

The images above show how much movement her outfit has and how each crease feels like it actually has a purpose on the figure.

And finally, let's take a look at the flower on the other side of her head. It has that slight gradient again but now with the inclusion of the blue flower.

This highlights the part where the main part of her hair is (the high ponytail) which is curled at the ends. This gives it a fancy feel as opposed to normal everyday Morgiana with straight hair.

Morgiana is one of my favorite characters in the anime universe and I feel this figure has captured one of the scenes involving her. While it didn't capture the everyday Morgiana or the strong her, this is a girly side of her that is indisputably her as well.

If you are one of Morgiana fans, this figure is a must-buy.

Figure Review: Akemi Homura (Banpresto)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 / No Comments
Following Madoka, we have Homura in her own Mahou Shoujo costume too! Homura's isn't that frilly and emphasizes more on sleek and cool than cute.

Look at that mark on her left hand!

First we will take a look at her base, which, similar to Madoka's is a simple white circle. A little more thought could be put into it, like printing the character's name or series title on the base. However, appearance aside, this base is doing a good job with holding the figure upright.

Posing and Assembly

We look at Homura from different angles and it is evident that she has a pretty good sculpt. Her pose is one of elegance and confidence, very much like her after looping many times. It is a good portrayal of how she ended up being.

Assembly is easy as usual for prize figures, which involves putting her onto the base. There are no extra parts for ther to worry about either.

Sculpting and Painting

From these images, we'll look at Homura's attire. The many different shades of matte colors help to bring her look together and give her a mysterious air. There are no paint flaws from afar but some of the lines aren't that clean close-up, but most of these mishaps happen at the back of the figure and aren't that visible.

The purple ribbon on her chest and her back have a considerable amount of shading, which is a good point. However, it also makes the rest of her outfit pale in comparison in the realm of shading. Her stockings catches light at the right areas, making it look very realistic.

Of course, we mustn't forget the light single layer of frills at the bottom of her dress which is sculpted in a way that gives it dynamic movement with the way it is lifted slightly.

 Homura's hair has a lot of movement to it as well and the ends of her hair isn't chunky, however, it isn't as thin like expected either. I'm glad that Homura's hair is flowing freely and matches well with her face, with her bangs being neither too long or too short. Her hairband is of a slightly different shade from her hair itself, but it might not be that visible in the photograph.

Something that I really dislike about this figure would be her ear, as you can see in the first image. It's slightly too huge and the sculpt of the inside of her ear (or lack of) does make her ear look like that of a monkey's.


Similar to Madoka, I would recommend her to anyone collecting to make a Homura shrine, but this figure isn't worth an expensive purchase or if you want to get a statement piece. The series is popular enough to get many better figures in the future, and has a lot of them now already. For a statement piece, perhaps getting one of her not in her Mahou Shoujo outfit would be better!