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Banana Fish: Anime Review

Monday, January 21, 2019 / No Comments

For many of you who have yet to feast your eyes on Banana Fish I have a proposition; set aside whatever task that you are up please do me a favour by walking over to switch on your laptop or browse in your handy-dandy cell-phone for the ttle "Banana Fish" and seat comfortly for an epic show. By far one of the best anime so far for in 2017 bagging the Tokyo Anime Award after avid fans casted votes to top at number #1 in a list of 100 anime titles from a total of 524 titles beating others. The anime consists of 24 episodes but I succeeded through in 2 days consumed by the bitter ending after the fall of the heavy scarlet drapery usually after a stage show whilst a streak of salty tears of frustration, agony and sadness. 

In clockwise: Shorter Wong, Eiji Okumura, Soo-Sin-Ling and Ash Lynx.

Banana Fish debuted in May, 1985 the manga actually published under “Shojo” genre although by the intensity of the storyline, extensive action sequences as well as heavy dialogues when the said demographic expanded towards both the male and older female audiences. Right after, the manga was marketed to "Seinen" genre series as Banana Fish becoming one of a few “girls manga” that endorsed men to read without the impression of discomfort due to the implication of “Boys Love” category. The beautiful relationship between Ash and Eiji being pure without being romanticized or sexual but their love for each other was unmistakable; a selfless love. Their struggles alongside the those involved would definitely tugged the heartstrings of the viewers during the arduous journey to put an end to the chaotic medicine.  
Aslan Jade "Ash Lynx" Callenreese a 17-years-old head honcho of a street gang became cognizant of a mysterious elixir as known as Banana Fish after a man closer to his death passed the vial in his hand. Not before long, Ash uncovers a web of lies linking to a world of corruption among a group of hierachy governments when threats to his safety and those around him whereas a former member had plans to ursurp the young leader's position. Upon the shocking revelation of the illegal drug that of which performed an uncanny role resulting to his older brother, Griffin Callenreese, crippled state of mind -physically and mentally. In blinding rage and mutiny, Ash once and for all revolted against his longtime guardian, Dino “Papa” Golzine, the fiery clash resulting in a war between different gang factions. Due to his cynic history, Ash never revealed his true nature to anyone else until the presence of a boy named, Eiji Okumura, their blossoming friendship throughout their unceasing evade from the grasp of those hightailing them.  
Eiji Okumura, a college student and a former competitive pole vaulter, the valid reason for him to travel to New York City being a assistant to Ebi Shinuchi a seasoned photographer to interview a street gang leader-Ash Lynx. Raised under a humble abode with a doting family, the flustered male in a couple of shakes exposed to a series of near deaths trauma forced to witness the brutality outcome of the lives of gangsters in the fullness of time Eiji shrug off his gullible self to stand by Ash someone he eventually comes to cherish deeply and vice versa even as danger lurks in every corner. At the same time, Eiji perceive the other’s mental instability to come to terms with his situation but cemented their unbreakable bond going as far as to carry missions alongside Ash’s followers during the later episode to rescue the apprehended teenager from Dino Golzine -who’s unsettling obsession over Ash became plain obvious. Almost at the end, Eiji declares an idea for Ash to accompany both Ibe and him back to Japan in hopes to introduce a peaceful sanctuary instead of the tumultuous mode of living in the streets but a sudden chaos interrupted for the pair to be separated until at the last episode where the concerned boy brandishes a letter instrituced to be given to Ash along with a flight ticket.   
As per episode the plotline develops into a darker and gruesome route; my heart weighing heavier as the anime comes closer to tragical ending. Without warning, you are deeply engrossed by their cause whilst sitting on edge every time an action scene appears on the screen that of which never fails to amaze before long you create a bond with each one of the characters as they literally seep under your skin. Banana Fish is definitely one of those stories that will haunt you for a long time after watching the anime or reading the anime -I’m still insecure about reading the manga knowing the outcome- I rate this show 10/10 by the eventful plot from story progression which is neither too fast nor dawdling with unnecessary filler, character development perfectly executed; invoking a riot of feelings from within.
The story might be touchy to some of the viewers since it highlights on child pornography/gang rape and minor sex although the anime avoided any graphic details enough hints surrounding the main protagonist for everyone of us to conclude. Of course, There is just a single kissing spanning only a couple of second in between our lovable Ash and Eiji early episode as we discover the latter’s mix feelings regarding his new companion at the same time we delve into the matters of same sex-relationship being the most influential work in a “Boy’s Love” category. When we enjoy a certain anime, the second nature in us scour for the opening/ending OST in which Banana Fish delivers great music that puts a shiver inside you and set on replay button while reminiscing about them.  

I am currently shedding tears because that is how much Banana Fish deeply affects me the whole storyline integrated within the pores of my soul, it is truly wise to give this anime a try because you will come to love (hopefully) it. The comedy stabilizes the gritty series giving it a proper balance; you can bet that I will be building a Banana Fish shrine so that my swollen eyes sweat profusely every time I glance upon those beloved characters. Of course, as for now I must take a step back for me to gather up my runaway emotions ever since watching this anime the world underneath my feet has tilted.
Thank you everybody for taking the time out of your busy schedule my review and we shall soon meet again. Written by Rugi Chan

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