Alter Saber Alter Maid 1/6 and Chibi! Figure Review

So this figure, or rather two figures, had appeared on my blog a couple of times already, so we’ll mention them a tad before we delve into my review of them.

The first appearance was back in the Figure Friday post covering September 18th to the 24th (2009). It shared the first pick of the week award with another figure. Then, it made another appearance, on Figure Monthly of that same month, under the title of “Figure I am Most Likely to Buy”, and at this stage, everything was just me trying to stave off the expenditure of money, fighting against the inevitable.
It wasn’t very surprising that in the overview of November, in the Media Consumption and Purchases post, I had let it be known that I had sent forth the money in order to purchase this figure. In the end I picked this figure over Saber Lily Distant Avalon.

This figure is a Hobby Channel exclusive, so I had to use a deputy service in order to acquire it. I have went with the figure-oriented Joseph Tsai of Tokyo Hunter. The figure was 8,000 yen cover-price, and going through a deputy service had not surprisingly made the costs higher. The figure was very well packed, and communication with Joseph was rapid, easy, and accomodating, so I am not at all sorry about having used him. Thumbs up to Tokyo Hunter’s services, so long you’re ok with the prices.
Figure produced by Alter.

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Taking Care of Bigfoot Cat.

Bigfoot, as imagined by a Canadian artist.

Well, I thought it was time for another entry that is light-hearted, and probably even more important, short, so it’s just fitting that this entry will be of a cat. And no, you will not see any photos of the cat in question, for reasons that will shortly be explained.

A friend of mine had gone on vacation recently, and I was entrusted with the task of taking care of his cat. I went there every day, and did not see the cat once; merely… cat traces.

The cat is one I’ve seen before, and is named Naftali, a name that was more common in Israel 40-60 years ago. Regardless, this was the cat’s name.

Each day I would go to my friend’s house, call to the cat, look in all the rooms, and I would not see the cat. I was worried so much that the first day I mailed my friend that his cat was seemingly not there, but had declared that I will return that night in order to see whether the food was consumed, and the litter-box used: Evidence that the cat was still there.

I did check, and food was consumed, and the litter-box disturbed. The cat, though elusive, was still on the premises, but it had eluded me.

For five days and for five nights, I have taken care of the cat (once per day or night, usually). And for five days and for five nights, I had seen neither tail nor hide of the cat, but its food-plate was filled, its water refreshed, and its litter-sand scooped.

And so I deemed this cat to be Bigfoot Cat, not for the size of his feet or paws (which I assure you all, are quite normal and average), but for the fact that there was never any direct reporting of the cat itself, merely… cat traces.

P.S. Three more entries to this blog’s 100th entry.

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You Only Have One Shot at My Heart. (First Impressions)

This is something good about media, they (plural of medium) have a discrete length. That is, not just any series comes to an end, or fails to come to an end as the case might be, but each piece, each packet, is of a discrete length. For instance, a DVD only has the episodes on it, a book only has the number of pages within it, a movie is only as long as it is.

A series might comprise several DVDs, and each DVD might comprise of several episodes, and each episode has a distinct length. But what is important I think is the DVD. A lot of it comes to how much effort people are willing to put into things, but also because people want to have given something “a fair shot.”

One shot meme/motivational poster

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Shigofumi – From Hello to Heart-Wrenching in 20 Minutes [TIL]

While watching Angel Beats yesterday I got to think of an anime I love, an anime I think is under-appreciated. Well, it seems appreciated by all those who have watched it, but it definitely seems like not enough people have watched or heard of it. This anime is Shigofumi, Letters from the Departed, Stories of the last Letter, or what have you.

Another anime that I thought of and also came up on Twitter a couple of days ago is Visions of a Distant Star, a thirty minute movie made by one person, who is so heart-rending it is not even funny.

So the point I thought of regarding Angel Beats, well, if you know anything of Shigofumi it might not be too hard to see why I thought of it. In Shigofumi we get to see the last letter someone wrote after having died, and we also see their life just before death, or someone’s life as affected by the story… In Angel Beats, we’ve thus far saw the life stories of I believe four people, and these are small poignant moments, which deeply affect me. They usually do not take more than 4 minutes, yet you find yourself all teary-eyed after having watched them, even if you did not bond with the character depicted in them before. This is also true for Shigofumi, whereas most characters, and certainly those who send or receive the letters do not appear before “their” episode. And yet, after an episode of merely twenty minutes, you feel connected to them, you feel related to them, and their stories have impacted you.

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Discworld and Deus ex Machinas

Cover by Paul Kidby.

Discworld and Deus Ex Machinas; Foreshadowed DEM are still DEM.

So I’ve been reading, well more like re-reading, some of my old Discworld novels recently (ny Terry Pratchett), and something hit me as I reached the book that stopped the manner in which I’ve read them, the onslaught, the flood. The book was Making Money, the second Moist von Lipwig book.
The fact that I’ve read that book reasonably recently probably also had a part in it, as my memory of it was still pretty fresh. But the issue that came up in this book is one that had come up in other Discworld books as well, in a manner at least, but it is in another iteration what makes up for Discworld’s “charm”. The issue is that of Deus Ex Machinas, so to speak.

Discworld books often have iterations and re-iterations of things. We have a specific issue crop up time and time again in a book, and that is part of what makes it “Funny”. Scare-quote funny in parts, genuinely funny in others. Anyway, it is the repetition that gives things power, as we either get the same idea across time and time again in the same manner, or with subtle changes.
The idea that comes up, or the sentence, in The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, for instance was “He  could to take down a dog,” which is usually applies to rats, so it’s quite some feat. At a certain point in the book we’re told that X was strong enough to take down a dog, but Y was strong/mad enough to take down a wolf. And let me tell you, after we read the same sentence time and time again, in the context that this was posted, it made me all teary-eyed. It hit hard, the way that it was changed.

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Scott Pilgrim – The Awesome Zeitgeist.

Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim against the world. A comic book released in the form of books, 5 released and 6 total planned, by Bryan Lee O’Malley.  Well, there’s a movie now so I’m sure more people will hear of it, and hopefully the creator will also earn more money. It’s not like independent comic writers (comic sold through Oni Press, which houses a lot of independent and manga publications) are known for the piles of money they swim in.

Anyway, it may very well be that Scott Pilgrim is a reflection of the generation that I am a member of, the “Y Generation”, or in the case is, which Scott Pilgrim makes quite convincing, the “Yeah! Generation.” You see, Scott Pilgrim feels to me like an invention that hails in spirit from Seattle, though it’s actually Canada, but let us assume that it is Seattle’s spirit for the moment, the city that had brought us Grunge, the city that had brought has Starbucks. In other words, it’s a hipster city. I have hipster friends who live in Seattle or in its environs and whom I can think of as “Seattleans” in my mind – even though I’ve never actually been to Seattle myself.

So Scott Pilgrim against the world. The plot as there may be is that Scott falls in love with this girl called Ramona (note, it’s been two-three years since I’ve read any Scott Pilgrim). But there’s a problem, Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends, all seven of them. What follows is a mocking super-hero-esque series of fights where the hipster, broke, slacker Scott Pilgrim is someone we (IIRC)  find out to have never lost a fight, and who is “too cool for school”.

Note: It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read Scott Pilgrim, so on one hand consider it a review of my memory of the comic, and on the other, I use it as a stepping stone to speak of a wider issue. Thank you.

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Baka to Test – That Little Extra Thing Called Charm

Baka to Test to Shōkanjū

Image via Wikipedia

Well, you know how if you go by a check-list you sometimes end up not knowing where the wonder had come from; how you cannot really put your finger on what separates the great from the mediocre, but you do know that it’s there?

Well, that’s the case with Baka to Test (to Shokanju). If you would try to compose a check list of what “Light-hearted anime comedies” should include in them, you’re probably going to mark most of what appears in this series. Well, it’s likely also going to appear on a list of many lewd jokes…

(This is a “Things I Like” post, and as such covers more my thoughts, and is less focused as an actual bona fide review. There will be next to no spoilers in this post.)

We have the flat-chested tsundere, we have the buxom girl with a soft personality (Did anyone notice how “soft” is often tied to being well-endowed and being “hard” is tied to being not as well endowed in anime?), we have the voyeur who is even addressed as such by everyone (and the accompanying nose-bleeds).
We have the yandere who wants someone who doesn’t want her, we have the guy who is too cool for school, with great black and white line-art scenes where he convinces the eponymous character to trust him, and he always gets burnt, we have the trap boy who everyone addresses as a girl, and the butt of jokes closet yaoi boy.
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