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A Troubled Swimsuit Competition

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 / No Comments
Hello everybody! Isn't summer just awesome? I mean, the temperatures are rising like nobody's business, yet people just can't keep soaking in the pool, sea or bathtub. Has anybody heard of or seen the recent, rather peculiar swimsuit competition which happened on the beach? Apparently, all the judges had to be towed away by the ambulance. Oh, I'm supposed to host a similar competition though. The irony is that I have to find my own contestants. Jeez, what kind of competition requires its host to look around for people to participate in?


Ah, there is a group of guys in the water! Hello boys...uh, what happened? All of you don't look too well. Say that again? Your swim trunks came loose and drifted off somewhere?!! But why would...okay, just calm down for a bit while somebody...oh, is that your friend over there on a float? Her hand seems to be clutching onto some fabric. Those are your swim trunks? Oh, that is such a relief! Okay, I think that I should leave you guys some privacy. Oh, I'm looking for contestants for a swimsuit competition. But I guess that you guys aren't very interested. See you around! 


Uh, that oniichan over there? Hi, do you have a minute to spare? I'm actually scouting for suitable candidates for a swimsuit competition, and I think that you have what it takes to become one of the top contenders. Perhaps you would like to consider giving it a shot? Huh, you want to know what the first prize is? I'm not so certain myself regarding the prizes, because I'm just a lowly employee around here. Pardon? You wish to eat grilled saba? Well, I'm sure that you can make some at home! Why would you want to win a dozen pieces of saba from a swimsuit competition in the first place?


Oops, I'm sorry...oh, hello there. Whoa, that is a cute little crab on your hand. Is it your pet or just something that you have scooped randomly from the water? No, I don't think that I would like to bring the crab home. No, I'm not interested in buying some bananas or grapes or those peculiar-looking fruits. I just want to convince some people to take part in a swimsuit competition that is facing a great deal of problems right now. No, please stop waving that crab in my face. Pardon my intrusion. I shall get moving. The sun is pretty scorching today. How I wish that I could take a dip.


Excuse me...oh, I'm sorry for interrupting. Please continue eating that chocolate bar. Uh, it certainly looks mouth-watering.

It is with much regret that I announce the indefinite postponement of the swimsuit competition. Now, if you would all excuse me, I'm going to look for a place to hide my embarrassment in. 

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪ 

Figure Review: Kousaka Honoka Mogyutto "Love" de Sekkinchuu! (Furyu)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016 / No Comments
Next down the list of Love Live! Prize Figures is another Honoka by Furyu as well! I'm not a huge Honoka fan, though she's in the top half of my rankings, but my roommate certainly is~
To be honest, I never liked the outfits much in this song, especially on the album cover, due to the art style. I always found that those earrings which Honoka wore looked so bulky and weren't practical. However, this figure made me take a double-take because of how cute she actually looks!

Base
As with the Valentines Version of Honoka by Furyu which I reviewed previously, this Honoka also has a similar base. I still don't feel much connection between the base and what's printed on it but the font color makes more sense this time round -- tying it in impeccably with the pink ribbons on this figure!

Posing and Assembly

This Honoka looks a little melancholy to me. I'm not sure if you'd understand even with pictures but se definitely isn't portraying the usual bubbly and energetic side of her in this figure. In fact, I find this to be a nice change.






A quick 360 shows Honoka's pose well, and we see that she appears to be mid-performance, probably where she's singing a solo part. Her pose definitely isn't dynamic, but neither is it static. It does leave much to be desired though.

As with most other prize figures, her assembly is simply placing the figure onto the base, with the respective pegs aligned. There's nothing too tough about this as all her pegs fitted well for me.

Sculpting and Painting
Honoka looks so much more mature here! Her face sculpt isn't anything great (I wish they could have added more shading to her mouth), but the main focus of this image is with the earrings. They are so puffy and round, and actually do look good from a distance. Close up though, that magic is gone since the material now looks (and is) hard to the touch. The same thing goes for the scunchie-like material at her wrists.

Honoka's hair sculpt in this figure isn't all that well made either. The only part I like about it is the curls, which portray a more unusual style for her. However the individual strand sculpting, painting as well as movement in her hair still leaves much to be desired.

With this picture, we can see her outfit as well. Her collar are full of well-sculped frills and they are in fact layered and don't appear as messy as those I see on some other Furyu prize figures. I like how her apron isn't only solely white as well, and that the large bow on her back can be seen even from the front of the figure!
I don't like how her ponytail just looks totally flat and 2-dimensional in this image. But a god point is that her hair seam is completely covered thanks to the headgear of the maid outfit!

We also get a better view of the frilly parts on the top of her chest (in between the collar and the apron), which is also layered with much smaller frills. And speaking of frills, there are ruffles not only on the straps of the apron but also all around the apron as well!
The back of Honoka's hair isn't forgotten, and it's probably not wrong of me to say that it's better sculpted than the other parts of her hair!

Her outfit shines from the back as well! The ruffles on the apron's straps at the back are not forgotten and are fitted with ruffles steadily decreasing in size too! The huge pink bow on her back has a gradient from lighter to darker colors and ending with a nice touch of pattern. The ragged ends of the ribbon and the cut out really do make a difference and help to bring attention to her which stockings and pink ribbon around her ankles!

But more importantly, I'll like to mention the sculpt of her skirt part which is catching the light and casting shadows in the right way which makes her look so much more 3-dimensional!

Enjoyment

Whether you like the song or not, as long as you are a fan of Honoka, I find this figure a worthy buy! She doesn't have many scale figures out there which I'm willing to spend on, but thankfully she does have her own fair share of great prize figures as alternatives!

~ Reina-rin

Figure Review: Kousaka Honoka Valentines' Version (Furyu)

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I chanced upon my set of Love Live! Prize Figures when I was cleaning up my apartment and took the liberty of taking some pictures of them in case anyone is interested in how they fare! I would be posting a series for the 6 separate Love Live! Prize Figures which I have~

Base
With the purpleish-pink font on the base, it is able to easily lift the plain black base up from being a bland holder to something much decorative! However, I wouldn't say that this suits the figure well since it has almost no relative with the figure save for the "Love Live!" logo. But this base does its job well at holding the figure steady.

Posing and Assembly



A quick 360 of this figure shows that Honoka is in an energetic pose, showing off her box of chocolates. As much as this pose does suit Honoka, there are several unrealistic parts about this pose such as how much her waist is bent, resulting in an awkward jutting out of her butt.

Another issue would be with her left leg, which she lifted the heel off of the base. This pose seems to be quite physically taxing to maintain.

Assembly-wise, there is no problem as with most prize figures, which only consist of placing the figure onto the base into the correct pegs.

Sculpting and Painting
I do quite like Honoka's face sculpt and paint for this figure as compared to most of the others I have. The paint is clean and crisp and while it isn't a fantastic job done, there are no huge errors as well. Her hair sculpt is average for a prize figure. The ends are not that sharp as with most scale figures, but each strand is rather well-defined. If anything, I wish her bangs could be a little longer.
Hair seam for this figure isn't that obvious until you look closely. The yellow ribbon for her ponytail matches well with the box colors as well. More importantly, the ribbon is also defined with different creases in its sculpt.
Going back to her uniform, we notice that it's passable but appears a little flat with this minimal amount of shading. However, this isn't a huge issue for a prize figure as expectations should be lower in the first place.

We also notice that her shoes are defined, which is a good additional point for this figure!
And last but not the least, let's look at the nice present Honoka is holding up for us!. Matching her image color is a orange box (that's leaning more to yellow than bright orange) with a red ribbon wrapped around it.

There are no paint spills on the box whatsoever, which took me by surprise. Kudos to Furyu for this!

Enjoyment

I love this one the most of all the Honoka Prize Figures that I have because it just looks so good from afar, and it still looks good close-up! Of course, my impression of Furyu isn't all that great when it comes to prize figures, but this Honoka Prize Figure really exceeded my expectations and stereotype I branded Furyu with!

Thoughts On the 2016 Summer Anime Season

Sunday, August 21, 2016 / No Comments

The Summer anime season is firing on all cylinders right now. As an indication, 15 currently airing anime are keeping me glued to the screen. Once the season ends, I plan to add in Orange, Tales of Zestiria the X and Handa-kun to my list if I find the time to read or watch the original Barakamon. 

There are even weeks where I can barely keep up with the sheer number of episodes but it's a problem that I'm happy to deal with. Here's my thoughts on the more outstanding anime this season but there are definitely many others that you should be watching.

1. 91 Days


Imagine The Godfather or The Sopranos but as an anime instead. 91 Days is also produced by the same studio that helmed Durararara!! so if you're a fan of the art style, you're in luck. The main character's cunning and intelligence is a joy to watch, even managing to outwit a mafia boss at one stage.

2. Amaama to Inazuma


A touching story about a father who finally learns how to cook after finding out his daughter misses his deceased wife's cooking. For anyone who remembers their first week or month in the kitchen, this anime is a hilarious reminder of those times. From handling a knife gingerly to egregiously overcooking even the simplest of dishes, it's probably the sleeper hit of this season.

3. Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu


A pity that Arslan Senki's second season only has 8 episodes before the Nanatsu no Taizai special airs. The production quality has improved by leaps and bounds from the first season and the characters continue to get fleshed out, especially Prince Hermes. He's no longer one-dimensional and I actually feel for the guy now.

4. Fate/Kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 3rei!!


The fourth season of PRISMA ILLYA receives a huge tonal shift from the first three seasons, resembling Fate/Stay Night instead and specifically the Heaven's Feel route of the visual novel once the second half of the season kicks in. 3rei!! might even have the best fights of the franchise. Imagine Gilgamesh facing off against two Archers. If that doesn't excite any Fate fan, I don't know what will.

5. Love Live! Sunshine!!


The girls from μ's are ba---just kidding. In their place is a brand new group named Aquors along with a new set of high school girls. If you're a fan of the franchise like myself, Love Live! Sunshine!! and Aquors need no introduction and for casual viewers who enjoyed the first Love Live! anime, the sequel features vastly improved production quality and a different setting altogether.


6. Mob Psycho 100


Like One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 is an anime that's more complex than it seems. It turns overused tropes on their head and although the art pales in comparison to the rest of the anime this season, the animation is fluid, especially in fights.


7. Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu


This is perhaps the easiest anime to convince anyone to watch based on hype alone (>2000 comments per episode on the Anime subreddit). I'm already waiting for an announcement for a second season, given how faithful the adaptation is. Nagatsuki Tappei, author of the source material, even sits through each episode as it airs and livetweets the process. That's a clear indicator of how successful this anime is.


8. Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara


There have been complaints regarding the pacing of Shokugeki no Souma's second season but my only gripe would be second season not being two cour and the art not being able to match up to Saeki Shun's in the manga. On the flipside, I hope that J.C Staff compiles the missing scenes into an OVA. More than a few of them are key to the development of a competitor's dish in the Autumn Election.

Written by ET


Reina's Japan Trip, June 2016: Day 8

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Day 8 is a fine day of field trips to different companies in Hakodate which have a role in some of the famous processed seafood in Hakodate.

The first place we visited was Takeda Shokuhin where we learned a little on how processing of Shiokara (fermented squid) occurs and how they ensured that their products are fresh and free of potential food borne illnesses. They also regularly come up with many new flavors to add to their already extensive menu and currently they are thinking of expanding overseas to let their products reach out to the rest of the world!
Upon entering the are, we were greeted by a large squid board for height measurement.
After gathering in the area, we had to watch a video which explained the process of making Shiokara as well as the precautions we had to take when we enter the factory area so as to not cause any potential infections or bacteria invasion to the food. Best thing of all? The narrator is a cute little squid!
Upon the end of the video, we were ushered to change our outdoor shoes to an indoor slipper before entry to the factory processing area. This feels much more hygienic with this controlled environment and sanitary practices, but room slippers and going down metal staircases just don't work well together.


A brief walk through the factory followed by a quick comparisons between squids from different areas, so we can visually determine the differences in the sizes.






Next up was the taste test, where we tried four different kinds of shiokara, then rate them via visual appeal, texture, smell and taste. They didn't all look half-bad to me, but I found out that I might be allergic to them from breakfast so I decided to skip the taste test.

I heard that the one with Korean Miso was good and the Wasabi one covered the fishy taste and smell of the fermented squid quite well! I'm excited to see which one would be the one they decide to go with!
Before leaving Takeda Shokuhin, we also received a Scallop rice gruel, which I decided to keep until I get home for my family to try. As far as I know, even with them being picky eaters, they had no complains for it.

We left for Maruyama next, but they did not allow any pictures to be taken on their premises, thus I'm unable to clearly illustrate what happened there. Their working conditions and steps used are similar to Takeda Shokuhin, but they had more varieties of squid products such as ika-meshi.
Next were a series of fun activites!
We had a class teaching about some squid dishes to make delicious squid dishes! First off was ika-meshi~ Ika-meshi is a dish where you stuff rice into an empty squid body. Cooking methods can be via broiling, though I'm unsure of other methods and if you can consume it without cooking after stuffing.
And after cooking this, we have...
After making the ika-meshi, we proceeded on to prepare saki-ika. Saki-ika is made from tearing pieces of squid from the cooked mantle, then seasoning it with different spices. This was the most difficult dish to make in my opinion because the cooked mantle were hot to touch, making it very difficult to tear them into pieces by hand without getting scalded repeatedly. Of course there were machines for shredding the mantle but we were not allowed to use it during this process.

For seasonings, there were red pepper, wasabi and chili pepper and for mine, I used a mixture of all three. The end result was a spicy but tasty snack that you can chew on as you watch anime!
Right after this was the third and last component of this class, Kaisendon making! For this exercise, all the food products were already prepared and we only had to arrange them on the rice bowl. Although it may sound easy, it definitely wasn't! When you're faced with a bowl of white and a tray of ingredients, it's so difficult to conjecture what design you want to use in a short period of time.
Three short preparations later, we're done with the class and have to move on to lunch. Most of the tasks we carried out earlier were then served to us for lunch. For instance, we had the Kaisendon as well as the ika-meshi. The saki-ika can be taken home, which I did, to snack on.

But that's not all for lunch! There's soba noodles with tempura ika (tempura, not with prawns but with squid instead) and melon for dessert as well! The melon is really juicy and melts in the mouth -- as expected of melon in Hokkaido!


As fun as all field trips are, they must all come to an end. Luckily, we still had some time to spend with our course mates, with a kimono dress-up session! We had a short introductory session to different types of kimono as well as the occasions which they are worn!


And last but not the least, we had ice-cream on the way back. Caramel is one of the more conservative choices but it definitely was a good choice made!
Day 3
Day 4 (Part I) | Day 4 (Part II)
Day 5 (Part I) | Day 5 (Part II) | Day 5 (Part III)
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8