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Figure Unboxing and Review: Idolm@ster 10th Memorial Figure

Monday, January 7, 2019 / No Comments
This is the first Idolm@ster figure that combines idols across different series into a single figure. Here, we have Haruka, Shimamu and Mirai, the three "main" characters in their respective series!
As this is a deluxe version that comes with a larger exclusive base, there is an additional box that comes with the shipment. The above is the box for the base, which has an image of how it should look fully assembled at the back of the box (image below).
Fresh out of the box reveals the main base in its full glory~ The color palette and clean painted lines are really refreshing to look at!
The color acrylics come separately and they are to be pushed into three of the stars at the back of the base. The colors and patterns are meant to fit the girl who would be placed before it. That being said, these acrylics are not really visible from the front once the figure is fully assembled.
 Here's the base fresh out of the blister. There are two parts to it. First, it's this chunky white base...
Together with the acrylic inserts that I mentioned earlier, photographed both front and back...

And also with an autographed clear plastic base! If you see clearly, it comes with sole-like holes and that is because you are supposed to put this above the base that comes with the normal version of the figure!
 This is how the autographed effect is supposed to look, but that is not all yet!
You can rest it onto the white base to give it this effect! Doesn't it just look like the girls are on top of an elevated stage, all prepared for the moment the elevator docks so they can leap onto the stage and start singing and dancing?
The main figure itself comes in a slightly different box, and has a wide window so you would be able to see all the three girls packaged in it. This box alone would be what you get if you order the normal version instead of the deluxe.
The back of the box features two similar shots of the figure, and I find the close-up shot incredibly important and useful when it comes to assembling the three idols together.
To ensure that there are no damages or paint transfers during shipment, all three girls are packaged individually in the blister. It is then the buyer's duty to assemble the figure. Both of Haruka's hands are removable, so you will just have to slide them between Shimamu and Mirai's arms and put her hands back into place.
For my copy, Haruka's arm is a little loose where it connects to Shimamu, while the arm that connects with Mirai fits snugly. The heart shape formed with Haruka's hands are not a perfect heart shape due to this reason as well. However, since the general shape is still present, this issue did not bother me much.
 A simple 360 of the figure so you can see which girls are better viewed at which angles.

I would say that the sculpting and painting on all angles and all three girls are similar and very well-defined. However as Haruka's arms are detachable to fit the others into this pose, it feels that they are rather loose and might come off their pegs when you move them around. If you did not receive a pristine copy like myself, you may require some patience for this aspect.

I love how their boots are sculpted. The feel that Shimamu has a different kind of shoe from the other two girls really help me to appreciate her outfit better. That being said, I love how the white boots are so glossy and the laces are well-sculpted too!

No complains outfit-wise too. We see the three girls in their usual promotional costumes and these same costumes are adapted to fit well with the pose. The frills are all generally realistically sculpted and are lifted to add a sense of dynamism to the figure. The paint job is also exceptional. All the details on Shimamu and Mirai's costume is perfectly painted on with no visible paint errors. I'm amazed at how crisp the painting for Mirai's plaid patterns is!

Even from the front, the costumes are made according to their model and painted with the correct shade of colors! From Haruka's simpler costume to the more complicated school uniform-esque costume Mirai dons, we get to see the growth of the series and designing.
The hair ornaments for all three girls are nicely detailed as well. Shimamu's tiara-crown is gold and glittery, showing off her Cinderella-ness. Haruka's usual ribbon hair ties are also with the figure, painted in an opaque pink that's a few shades darker than Mirai's hairclip and ribbon hair tie. Mirai's hair tie also comes with a gradient that adds another cute touch to the figure.
My only gripe would be the hair seam for Haruka and Mirai, whereas Shimamu's hair seam is easily hidden by her hairstyle.

Next up I'll show a few more shots of this figure as a bonus!

Enjoyment 9/10
It's been a long time since I've seen a figure that's so well sculpted and painted and holds so much meaning to it. This is a figure that brings the three spin-offs together and should be a must-have for any fans of the Idolm@ster series!

Thank you for reading!

~ Reina-rin

Nintendo Switch: Octopath Traveller

Saturday, January 5, 2019 / No Comments
Hello hello my little nuggets!!! 

I got the Switch last month and I am loving it. I got mine off Lazada, and honestly if you want to get one too, it's pretty affordable during holiday season! Apparently 11.11 has the best sales so if you can wait till then to get one (which is practically a whole year away ;;), or if not, just aim for the next upcoming one! Also, 11.11 seems to have the best sales of the year, even surpassing Black Friday, so start saving bit by bit now~

I wanted to get Let's Go Pikachu, but I also wanted to save a little and get it secondhand instead, which means I'm still waiting for a suitable listing to pop up. There are plenty online, but the sellers are all so far away.. )': In the meantime, I got my mitts on Octopath Traveler instead!

The art reminds me particularly of Bravely Default (and I still have to get End Layer), so I went and looked it up a little. Honestly, I was a little put-off the with the pixel pop-up style, but after getting past that, the game is pretty spectacular. The graphics are sharp, the visuals are great, and the soundtrack is engaging. 

As the name implies, there are 8 characters, 8 storylines, but the annoying thing here is that you have a party of only 4. The other 4 sits in storage, and don't receive any exp. That means that it gets pretty grindy, and while I am generally ok with grinding, I don't quite like having to switch parties often, especially if I've found a set that I work with best. Also considering the fact that there are secondary jobs like Bravely Default, I don't really need the other 4 that I keep in storage, except when I want to continue their chapters. You also can't switch out the character you chose as your main, which means actually only swapping 3 of a team instead of doing a 4:4 grind. 

I'm currently only at chapter 2/4 of each character, and there are recommended levels for each chapter, which makes grinding super grating. I usually go with the Scholar (mage), the Apothecary. the Thief, and the Warrior. The other 4 that usually sit in storage are the Dancer, the Cleric, the Merchant, and the Hunter. Each comes with their own special skill- for example, the Merchant can pick up money while entering maps. I would rather use her than the Thief, but therein comes the frustrating part: there are special treasure boxes that can only be opened by the Thief.

there's usually only two

Story-wise, it's pretty cute when you're midway through a chapter and you get a chat interaction with someone else in your party. Other than that, I really don't see what the 8 characters have in common? Sure, you pick a main character and then start recruiting the others, but what made the others follow you? You merely lent them some muscle on their starting chapter, that's it. Because of the level limit per chapter, it's also pretty hard to do a single one all the way through, which means jumping between characters, and while the game does give you a 'previously on chapter' it gets a bit annoying. Especially if I kind of don't want to play a certain character's chapters. 

On to the combat system: they're actually pretty great. It's turn based, though the character's speed stat still determines which character will attack first. There is a box hovering below the enemy that shows their weakness types, but only if you've managed to unlock it. You can use the Scholar's Analyze to unlock one (and show their HP), but I generally just whack them with one of everything until it unlocks. I also just cheat and google the Bosses' weaknesses. There is also the BP system (as with Bravely Default), but instead of defaulting to the attain one BP level, Octopath gives you one per turn, allowing you to attack and accumulate instead of only defending. Now I'm doing this Bravely Default mini comparison thing based on memory, so I might be wrong.. 

All things aside, I'm enjoying myself a fair bit once I've passed the level grind. I tend to grind them all to the highest recommended level, then proceed with all the stories at once. There was an auto battle option for Bravely Default, but not for Octopath so that was a little irritating. But then again, grinding can be made less painful when you're playing another game on another system at the same time. 

Ultimately, I don't regret getting Octopath Traveler, but I don't see myself being able to play too long at a time without getting bored, especially in between chapters. 

Alright, that's all from me for now, nerd out!

Have a great 2019 my little nuggets! I'm super looking forward to Fire Emblem and hopefully Pokemon as well~

Written by: ninetylives

How to interact with Cosplayers during an event?

Friday, January 4, 2019 / No Comments
It was your first time attending an anime convention, the place is crowded, hundreds and hundreds of people are walking, queueing, and suddenly in the corner of your eyes, you spotted a 3D version of your favourite 2D anime characters!

It was a cosplayer! 

Kudryavka Noumi! By me hahaha! @hanihashiya (Insta)

Cosplay came from the word Costume and Play, (コスプレ kosupure). In general, it is a performance art in which people dress up as 2D characters. Wearing colourful wigs, with elaborate costumes and rather thick makeup to achieve that anime complexion and brightly-coloured, large anime eyes, cosplayers are very easy to spot. To some people, meeting cosplayers are sometimes the highlights of coming to an anime convention. 

Ashiru / Rurusama (@rurusama9), me and Iris (@iris.peach)
in ODEX Cosplay Carnival at Tampines Hub

I'm a cosplayer myself (though not cosplaying in that pic above), and to me, anime conventions are more of an event to meet old friends and make new ones! Sometimes I get to meet the more famous cosplayers whose pictures I see almost every day in my social media, and being able to see their works in real life felt so awesome! 

Even as a frequent convention-goer, sometimes I get the nervous feeling in asking for a picture or simply praising cosplayers for their wonderful getups. I thought this would be even more true for those shy-er ones and those who attend conventions for the first time. 

So, what is something that you should and should not do when you meet a cosplayer?

When asking for a picture :

Cosplayers put in a lot of effort in preparing their costumes, wig and makeup. So when someone asked me for a picture, I always felt that my work is commended! Hahaha. Of course, there is a right time for everything. If the cosplayers that you see is rushing to one place or is resting, respect them and wait until they are ready for pictures. Sometimes people will have to queue for pictures too! 

Selfies with @xiaoyukiko (Instagram) during ODEX Cosplay Carnival at Tampines Hub!

It is a must to ask for permission before snapping a pic! Remember to tell them if you intend to upload it to the internet or your social media account. Most people are okay with it, but some are more sensitive when it comes to their online presence. You may need to ask them whether they are okay with the picture before you tag them online!

Asking Yukiko / Kiko for permission before uploading the pic!
Just do it! They don't bite!

If you have a specific pose in your mind that you want them to do, feel free to tell them! Most of the time cosplayers have a pose in mind too for a specific character, but personally, I think inputs are quite welcomed (as long as it is not too awkward or inappropriate)! 

Of course, you can also pose with them, and when you do, if you feel like borrowing their props to pose with, please ask first beforehand! I heard many stories from cosplayers whose props broke because people wanted to take pictures with it, or simply because they want to touch and admire it from a closer distance.

AK. Wirru as Field Team Leader (Monster Hunter World)! Splendid props!!
Check out more of his work!!!

Regarding physical contact, it is super important to ask if they are comfortable with it. Don't just hug them, give them head pats, hold their hands, or put your arms around them! If you won't do it with a stranger, you shouldn't do it to a cosplayer too! This is always true regardless of the character that they cosplay.

When talking to them :
Most cosplayers have cosplay names or at least some online alias. Some also have a specific Instagram or Facebook page dedicated to only cosplay content! You can try asking, but if they don't want to share their details, don't force them to divulge their private information such as real names or where are they studying/working at. 

Oh and also! Some cosplayers are masters at cross-dressing, so don't be surprised to learn that that handsome Rin Matsuoka turns out to be a female in real life! (Is it a he? or a she?Who knows!) Some are quite open about doing cross-dressing, but there are those who are not, and there are also those who enjoy having people guessing their real genders. Respect is the key, and when in doubt, ask them about it! Most cosplayers I know are quite friendly as long as we ask politely!

Rin Matsuoka by Yosuke Sora / @mr.yosuke (Insta)

You can compliment them if you think they did a good job in portraying the character, but try not to give negative feedback such as : "You are too tall to be Aisaka Taiga!" or "You're too chubby to be Sebastian Michaelis," or "You're too skinny to be Tsunade," or any judgmental comments. Keep it to yourself, or if you really have to tell them, then say it nicely. Encourage body positivity! Cosplaying requires a lot of courage, while some may like being the centre of attention, it is not so easy for some people! 

Ryuji Sakamoto from Persona 5 by Rui / @merotama (Insta)

In conclusion, most of this is quite common-sensical, as long as you remember that cosplayers are also human who deserves being respected, you wouldn't do anything wrong! It's just that sometimes we are all too excited about seeing our favourite characters in real life. I'm guilty of that too sometimes!

Written by Hani Hashiya