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CharaExpo 2017: Takeaways From The Last Day

Friday, September 15, 2017 / No Comments
If there was one thing that I didn't mind at all about last week's CharaExpo 2017 at Suntec Singapore, that would be...gosh, you know what? Maybe I should just start from the time where I had met up with fellow writer Zwei and our founder Max. It was a little past 11am, and a considerable crowd had long scattered across the halls. So we finally went inside, and almost immediately a few things had caught my eyes.


Unfortunately, I can't draw to save myself from everyday embarrassment. I don't know about the prospects of drawing manga and producing anime here, but there has to be a market big enough to contain our future creators upon their graduation from such courses. I would say go learn the language before anything else!


We had a little fun with Eren Titan over here! With such a massive proportion, it was hard to miss him anyway! Sorry for the somewhat unflattering shot though. I had to avoid all that knocking, blocking, pushing, knocking, blocking, pushing...you get the idea, don't you? But Max had managed to take a wonderful shot of this big guy! Moving on...



I was telling Zwei and Max about the discounted merchandise at La Tendo (Otaku Tachi also had stuff that were going cheap) while trying to navigate through the growing crowd. Yeah, no kidding! The figurines were selling for as low as $10, and stuff like acrylic keychains and such were going for $5 a piece! Not bad of a discovery on the last day, eh?



If I had a money tree, I wouldn't hesitate to sweep almost everything that I had laid my eyes on. Well, I saw a few people stacking up boxes of figurines at the checkout counter. For a second, I was envious. But the thought of swinging them around for the rest of the day wasn't what I had in mind, though if they were smaller like keychains, towels or pouches I would be more than willing.


The biggest highlight of CharaExpo 2017 had to be the tournaments, as the tables and such took up a lot of space in the halls. I was surprised that we had actually finished walking around the premises within a relatively short span of time! Max had sat down for a while with some players. I didn't want to be anywhere too close to the madness, hence I only had a glimpse or two of the games.



Another highlight of the event was the BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! that had attracted many youngsters lining up for the games. There was a mini competition or something going on, and amid the fancy sights and music I saw the guitars used by some of the characters in the series. I am not much of a gamer, but frankly I was quite tempted to download the game.



Even though we didn't stay for long (we were out of there by lunchtime), there were still some things to take away from the last day. Max was right when he said that I would probably enjoy CharaExpo more, despite its smaller scale. By the way, as we were among the first 5000 attendees of the event, we had each received a goodie bag with a very nice plastic folder! I really liked the mascot. She had this merlion mask stuck to the side of her head! Kawaii!!! <3

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

Nendoroid Katsuki Yuri

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After a long wait, I am back with Katsuki Yuri's Nendoroid. Sit back and enjoy this short review :D

Packaging
It took me quite a while to finally get my tools ready to review Katsuki Yuri. This is his first Nendoroid (not the event exclusive) and I also have Viktor on hand, and I will review him a little later. As you can see, most of Yuri's Nendoroid is clad in black, so having this white box with blue is a really good change.
His box might look plain but it does come with tiny snowflakes to spice things up a little. These are usually hidden from view until light shines on them so be sure to orientate the box around to see them!
However, I am quite disappointed by how plain the inside of the box looks. I would have loved a background sheet with the rink on it, considering how popular this series is...
\
Something that I really like is how GSC has been handling the packaging for their smaller parts recently. They have this plastic sheet on top of them that prevents them from spilling out when you open the box. While this has been present for some nendoroids previously, I find that they are more common recently.
Something that I really like is how GSC has been handling the packaging for their smaller parts recently. They have this plastic sheet on top of them that prevents them from spilling out when you open the box. While this has been present for some Nendoroids previously, I find that they are more common recently.

The figure
First, let me get this out there. I am not very impressed with this Nendoroid due to how plain the colors are (typically black and silver) but there are a lot of details on this Nendoroid and I hope that this review would help to get more people to appreciate him better.

Firstly, the part of his attire at his hip area has a little leeway for moving and manipulating. While it isn't removable (I think), it is certainly very flexible. This helps to reduce damage from handling as well as allow more changes during posing.
Here I tried a pose where Yuri is falling down. I don't think it worked out at all but at least that gives us a ton of uncluttered space to view his attire.
Firstly, let's look at the details on his outfit. Although there is limited shading (due to the flat color of black), it comes with a few shades from black to grey to silver (white), which helps to add some details to the figure. It is also rather accurate to the attire in the anime, which is an area that GSC excels at anyway!
The sheet around his waist (the one that's flexible) has a gradient going from white to black. It's pretty and a nice detail to many others but I find the sharply-changing gradient a little jarring. If it were a softer gradient, it would probably have looked much better on the eyes.

There's a lot of details that's sculpted into the sculpt, like the indent at his shin area, or the grey parts around his chest area. The silver parts at his waist are sculpted on as well, hence they look like they are layered on one another (which they are!).
Even from the back, the sheet maintains its gradient. The tiny gloves on his hands are really cleanly painted and sculpted too and looks cute~
One part that I really like about this Nendoroid is the hair part, especially the additional hair part, which has his bangs down. It came with this additional black piece (image above) that attaches to the pegs on his front hair part. This helps to protect the pegs during transport. Well done, GSC!

In addition, you can also see that the top of his front hair part actually goes beyond the peg. This is rare for Nendoroids since they usually end before the peg area. However, what this helps to do is...
It helps to hide the hair seam so well!

Why can't GSC employ this for the other Nendoroids as well? This could become the start of a Nendoroid revolution!
I love how the 2 different hair parts give such a different feel. However I do find it a little strange to pose Yuri in his non-competition hairstyle when he is in this outfit. Well, but I could always think of it as him before getting his hair gelled and waxed... I guess?
Next up, it's obviously his glasses part. It attaches to his front hair part through this sculpted dent at the sides of his front hair part. So you won't be able to use this with his other hairstyle.

But you will still be able to use it with other Nendoroids though it will look a little more strained since other Nendoroids will not have this sculpted dent.

Note that glasses parts on other Nendoroids typically attaches inside the front hair part.

With the glasses attached, Yuri is now all ready. You can see how snugly everything fits together and how nice and clear that navy blue glasses are, contrasting his black hair.
And last but not the least, let's look at his katsudon part. Katsudon is an integral part of Yuri and it was featured many times in the anime, and even had a picture of its own on Kahotan's blog. Now that I have it in front of me, I'll say that it looks quite similar to the prototype featured on Kahotan's blog itself!

His smartphone part is one that I will not feature the Nendoroid using, but I'll like to point out that even the details on the phone cover were accurately painted (or printed) on.

And since this is a GSC exclusive, here's the rubber strap too!

~ Reina-rin

Nana's Fall'17 Outlook

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 / No Comments
Fall is one of those times where it suddenly feels cathartic to sit in a park and gaze at falling red and yellow leaves... until the cool breeze blows dust straight into my face. Life is just so unpoetic when you're not an anime protagonist. That being said, it will soon be time to live vicariously through a brand new season of anime!

It's not revolutionary for darker themes to creep in with action and comedy series during the fall anime season, but there are a few standouts for me. Let's get started!

1. Hoozuki no Reitetsu Season 2



HnR is the anime that I have always been most keen on for a new season. It is definitely one of my favourite anime and I have watched it at least four times. The story centers around Hoozuki, an oni who works under King Enma, AKA the Big Man of Hell. For lack of better description, Hoozuki routinely intimidates and bullies the Great King into doing his work seriously. With a colourful supporting cast of various underworld-dwelling creatures, I highly recommend this slightly morbid comedy to anyone interested in the supernatural and Japanese folktales!

2. Kekkai Sensen & Beyond



KKSS was extremely well-received among my circle of friends despite its deviation from the manga and I am glad a new season has been decided on! If the first season was any indication, we can expect more shenanigans from our motley crue of anime blood benders. Man, I absolutely can't wait to see Zapp's gorgeous self onscreen again!! (ง ˃̶͈̀ᗨ˂̶͈́)۶

3. Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara



The "slightly sweet tipsy couple comedy" centers on the 28-year-old senior public relations company staff member Chisato Mizusawa. The story follows Chisato's daily life as she enjoys her husband Sora's cocktails. However, she has secrets that only he knows..? It seems really adorable! I might read the manga beforehand...

4. Kino no Tabi



We're definitely not going to see a let up on light novels being adapted to manga and honestly, why would we? Most, if not all, have been rather successful! Kino is the main protagonist in the series and travels to different countries with her talking motorcycle Hermes. She is skilled in combat, carrying both guns and knives, and is accustomed to life as a traveler. To those she meets, she is invariably polite and answers questions directly. Sounds like my kind of protagonist!

5. Ousama Game



An entire high school class of 32 people receive a message on their cellphones from a person known only as the "King." The messages contain orders that the students must obey, or they risk the punishment of death. With their lives on the line, the students soon find out that the orders are getting more and more extreme as time goes on. While the manga was not as outstanding as others in the mystery/horror genre, I feel like having the story animated with suitable background might give it a fresh breath of life.

6. Shokugeki no Souma Season 3



A mainstay in my outlook posts, simply because I am an absolute glutton. I love the art, the lighthearted moments, the serious moments... You can say I am weirdly passionate about animated food. Also I gotta admit, Shinomiya is the best looking megane in anime... ever. (づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ

Bonus:

7. Dies irae



I am slightly apprehensive about it as it is adapted from a visual novel, but I really like its setting in the anime introduction!

8. Sengoku Night Blood



While I always start off with high hopes for my otome games, I tend to get irritated and lose interest quickly, and unfortunately the same often happens with anime adapted from otome. That being said, I have a serious weakness for Sengoku era themed ikemen and can't help myself from wanting to watch this... ( ˘ ³˘)♥ <- a lost cause (me)

9. Urahara



The poster is so pretty... Not to mention, the aliens and Harajuku, a wacky combo that I am keen to see! (In fact, I am getting mild Tsuritama x magical girl vibes.)

Pretty long list this time! There are lots of interesting anime this season, I hope I have enough time to watch them all! What anime are you looking out for this fall?

Written by Nana


CharaExpo 2017 Day 1

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 / No Comments

It's that time of the year again and what a great time it's shaping up to be. The spate of exhibitions and festivals celebrating geek culture are jam-packed into the final quarter of the year. I could have sworn the previous edition of CharaExpo was held barely a few months ago. How time flies, eh? The Japanese entertainment exhibition has been held annually since 2015 and the third iteration is its biggest yet. Although there aren't any official visitor numbers, the fact that I was caught sandwiched in the crowd on more occasions than I can remember is a clear sign of the expo's popularity. To sweeten the deal, Bushiroad celebrated their 10th anniversary at CharaExpo as well and their booth size certainly showed that.



To most visitors, the giant inflatable Eren Yeager Titan was the first thing they must have noticed upon entering the exhibition floor. I definitely did. Impressive is an understatement and there were countless people taking pictures with and of the display itself. I wonder how many people will start watching Shingeki no Kyojin because of this!



Merchandise plays a huge part in any anime festival and I'm thanking my lucky stars my wallet is spared from any abuse this time round thanks to my recent trips to Japan. Queues formed at lightspeed and I noticed visitors running around with plastic bags from the various booths barely an hour or two after the doors opened. Fortunately, the merchandise on sale ran the gamut and there was a variety of scale and prize figures, cosplayer photobooks, badges, pins, posters and apparel to satisfy even the most hardcore otaku. Hatsune Miku fans had a field day at the Good Smile Company booth, which featured both her Nendoroids and Good Smile Racing t-shirts.





I, for one, particularly enjoyed the other scale figures and Nendoroids they had on display and for more impatient collectors, fret not. These figures and Nendoroids are either released already or are available for pre-order. Fingers crossed that Alter, Revolve or other scale model manufacturers will join Good Smile Company and set up shop at future editions of CharaExpo or C3AFA.



The other exhibitors certainly held their own, to say the least. Popular brands such as Aniplex, COSPA and Sony had their own booths and drew the crowds in easily with the merchandise lineup they boasted. I had my fill in Akihabara, Ikebukuro and Nakano so it was nice to see Singaporean anime fans being able to purchase these items from the comfort of our home country.



However, Bushiroad clearly stole the show that day, taking up huge blocks of space for various booths and minigames. They even showed off their latest TCG, Dragoborne. It had a more western flavour and it was a nice departure from their stalwarts of Cardfight!! Vanguard and Weiss Schwarz. For Magic the Gathering fanatics, it might just be your cup of tea.






Although I avoided spending much money at CharaExpo, I did spend a huge amount of time at the Love Live! School Idol Festival booth. It featured the key visual of Love Live! Sunshine!!'s second season along with two minigames and a standee of Kurosawa Dia, the game's ambassador for Singapore. The first minigame was one that you'd expect to see. It was a blown-up version of the Love Live! School Idol Festival mobile game and had songs from both μ's and Aqours. Needless to say, the queue was long and as much as I like the game, I didn't have the patience to wait that long to play one song. 

The other minigame had you perform a simulated 11-time Honour Scout for the Aqours and if you pulled an Ultra Rare or Super Super Rare card, you received a sticker set and a chance to win an Aqours pencil case. I didn't have the luck needed even after two tries but on the bright side, my odds in the actual mobile game haven't been that bad.



As I made my rounds through the exhibition, I begun to notice these Kemono Friends standees. If you're wondering where Serval, the main character was, she's situated at the Aniplus booth. Hululu, the one pictured, and the rest were peppered around the expo. I'm sure there was a prize to be won if you had a picture of every single one of them.



The final highlight for the first day were the events on the main stage. The cosplay competition was especially gripping, with the top three contestants sporting costumes that wouldn't look out of place in a movie set. Any one of them could've clinched the top spot but the Fate/Grand Order fan in me was happy that the Jeanne D'Arc (Alter) cosplayer won.



Myth & Roid's performance following that was electric. Only two members of the unit were able to make it but they had the energy of the whole group. For those of you wondering, they did perform Paradisus-Paradoxum and Styx Helix from Re:Zero, to the audience's pleasure. These were accompanied by L.L.L from Overlord along with Jingo Jungle from Youjo Senki. The duo didn't miss a beat and even the MCs in between each song was done in English to cater to the audience. It was the highlight of the day for me.

CharaExpo has grown leaps and bounds since its first exhibition in 2015 and I'm glad I had the opportunity to cover this year's edition as it was a huge improvement compared to last year's expo. I hope that it continues to grow both in scale and in quality and with C3AFA around the corner, the organisers will have ample time to take note and prepare for next year.

Meanwhile, please read Fluffysheep's coverage on Day 2.

Written by ET