A week in Tokyo August 28, 2013Posted by ayasawada in Japan, Travel.
Tags: Akiba, Akihabara, evangelion, Gundam, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Japan, Shibuya, Tokyo, Travel
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Back in June, I had a “short, relaxing break” in Tokyo. This was my fifth time in Japan, my fourth in Tokyo, having stuck entirely to Kansai and Kyushu on my last trip. Seeing the Japanese capital again after 4 years, it’s interesting how much has changed – and not changed – both in the city and myself.
On the one hand, nothing much has changed. This is still the same Tokyo I’ve found my way around several times before. Convenience stores and vending machines still sell my favourite bottled green tea. I still know the Yamanote line like the back of my hand. Suica is still the way to travel, Ueno station in rush hour is still a nightmare. My favourite haunts of Ikebukuro, Shibuya and Akihabara remain largely the same. And unlike much of the western world, there are still physical record stores you can browse CDs and DVDs in. On the other hand, it’s amazing how much can change in 4 years, like the entire Radio Kaikan building being demolished or the Japanese population finally embracing the smartphone revolution.
I spent the days walking around my favourite parts of the city, doing the things I love and, unlike previous travel-rushed trips, just experiencing life as a Tokyo-ite. (more…)
2012 anime retrospective December 30, 2012Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Drama, Film, Manga.
Tags: AKB0048, Anime, Ano Natsu de Matteru, Black Rock Shooter, Chu2Koi, Chunibyou demo koi ga shitai, Eureka Seven, Fate Zero, Gundam, Hyoka, Kokoro Connect, KyoAni, Kyoto Animation, Last Exile, Lupin III, Persona 4, Sakamichi no Apollon, Sword Art Online, Tsuritama
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Another year, another great batch of anime watching. Despite my ‘cutting down’ due to time constraints, I still ended up watching over 20 shows this year, not to mention the odd OAV, movie, drama, live-action adaptation etc. etc. As I rarely get a chance to blog on a series’ end, I thought it might be fun to follow many other blogs’ lead and gather my thoughts in retrospect. (more…)
Gundam 00 movie: A Wakening of the Trailblazer January 29, 2011Posted by ayasawada in Anime.
Tags: Gundam, Gundam 00
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Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack (1988) June 26, 2010Posted by ayasawada in Anime.
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The film that finished it all as far as Char and Amuro, and UC Gundam go. Having got all excited after Zeta (and more recently, the outstanding first ep of Gundam Unicorn) and not quite in the mood after hearing mixed things about ZZ, I jumped straight to this. And what a typical Gundam headfuck.
Char’s Counterattack drops you straight in the midst of another major conflict. Within five minutes you have to get your head round Char turning bad guy (again), a Zeon plot that puts the earth in danger (again) and a burst of new characters, allegiances and the usual batch of nonsensical military acronyms. But of course, this is the kind of stuff us Gundam fans thrive on :)
It’s all, of course, an excuse for Char and Amuro to duke it out in one final geek-spectacular battle. In this respect, Char’s Counterattack certainly delivers. I enjoyed the mecha battles almost as much as those in Zeta and the plot itself was interesting enough (especially with the random plot turns) to keep my confused mind engaged. There were also several ‘amusing’ digs at Char’s playboy lifestyle and seeming (or blatant depending on your POV) loliconism.
The problems with are really not to do with the film, but the ethos of the whole Gundam franchise — familiar faults like too many characters, too complicated a plot and nonsensical politics. But these matter little given that, if you’re watching this you’re likely a Gundam fan.
For a relatively new Gundam fan coming to the original MSG after Wing, SEED and 00, it was interesting for me to see the template lain for Gundam plots to come (or, in cynical terms, how much every Gundam series hence has ripped off the original). Char’s Counterattack gives us the original Operation Meteor, as well as (I think) the first appearance of fin funnels. And in Quess Paraya another irritating Gundam brat that beggars belief why people fall for her (the weedy semi-romance between her and Hathaway Noa made 00’s Louise Halevy and Saji Crossroad look like Romeo and Juliet :P).
But, hey, beautiful mecha, big explosions. I’m sold :P
Japan trip 2009: The otaku experience August 9, 2009Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Film, Friends, Gunpla, Japan, Personal, Travel.
Tags: Anime, Books, figures, games, Gundam, Gunpla, Gurren Lagann, Honey and Clover, Japan, Jpop, K-ON, Manga, Music, otaku, plamo, shopping
So, I’ve written all about my Japan trip. But given the nature of this blog, it’s the geeky things you want to hear about right? ^^
Japan! July 6, 2009Posted by ayasawada in Japan, Travel.
Tags: Akihabara, Anime, evangelion, Gundam, Gunpla, Hanabi, Japan, Kyoto, matsuri, Matsuyama, Osaka, Shikoku, Tokyo, Travel
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I’ve fallen rather behind on my posts the last few weeks (got a stack of Japanese films I’ve seen to write about, not to mention the end of the Spring anime season, several volumes of manga and a few new albums and singles CDs). This is largely because of — what else — real life getting in the way, particularly conferences and events for work. However, I’ve also been planning and preparing for my upcoming trip to the mother country. That’s right, ayasawada’s going to Japan 三回！ (more…)
1/144 HG Strike Noir Gundam June 14, 2009Posted by ayasawada in Gunpla.
Tags: Gundam, Gunpla, model, plamo, Stargazer, Strike Noir
Some kits sit around for ages before you actually get around to making them. I got this one about three years ago, when my sister went on a trip to Japan. I’d actually wanted it mainly for the free promo DVD that came bundled with it. She came back with a heavily discounted box — marked down because it was sans DVD. Let this be a lesson kids, be honest why you want something when you ask people to buy things for you.
Thankfully I like the Gundam itself too — who wouldn’t love a black version of Strike Gundam with added weaponry? The Strike Noir is the main mecha from the Gundam SEED: Stargazer OVA anime, a spin-off of Gundam SEED Destiny with little to do with the main show. That actually worked in its favour given the stinking pile of crap Destiny turned out to be. For a three episode series lasting a grand total of 45 minutes, it was pretty good and I loved the ‘upgrades’ of the original SEED Gundams.
This is the first 1/144 kit I’ve made in a while, and probably the last I’ll do, since I’ve vowed to invest only in the better quality MG and PG kits. To be fair, Bandai’s gotten pretty good with it’s HG 1/144 line these days. With HG, a 1/144 scale figure no longer looks as cheap and nasty as the no-grade versions. While a splash of painting helps, there is nowhere near as much as used to be required and a quick and dirty job using just the stickers would yield a decent looking model.
1/60 PG Strike Gundam April 18, 2009Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Gunpla.
Tags: Gundam, Gunpla, model, plamo
Finished up my 1/60 PG Strike model kit this weekend. It’s the first gunpla kit I’ve done in over a year. I struggled to find time last year due to moving, work, real life etc. Somehow it always seemed like there was something else I should be doing with my time instead. As such, all my leftover kits (and the MG Infinite Justice I got for Xmas) were left back at my parents place. But I try and do a bit every time I go back home to visit the folks. As such, this one — already a huge undertaking — took longer than if I’d spent every weekend on it.
The whole thing took me about four months and reminded me how much I love gunpla ^^. The construction process I find very therapeutic (I’m a cleaning freak, so the clipping and washing of parts is a nice methodical task for me) and it’s nice to do something that doesn’t involve staring at a screen for a change :p
Gundam 00 second season Ep 1-25 (complete) April 5, 2009Posted by ayasawada in Anime.
Tags: Anime, Gundam, Gundam 00
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Another year, another Gundam series finishes its run. Gundam 00 finally ended with the end of its second season last week.I do like the split season idea. Kind of keeps things from getting boring over a 50 episode arc and raises anticipation. This worked well with Code Geass and Gundam 00, so am hoping they do something similar for the new Full Metal Alchemist and whatever new show follows.
So Gundam 00. For me, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Overall, I liked it, but was rather disappointed. It was fun without being very profound, considering it has the usual epic Gundam themes of war, peace and human evolution. It certainly got me more pointlessly excited than any other Gundam series I remember, even if every time it ultimately climaxed in ridiculousness :p Yes, I know it’s one big toy advert and most Gundam series inevitably end with a big confusing fight, but good Gundam, with a proper, engaging story arc and characters (like the original Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta, or even SEED) can be so great I can’t help but feel disappointed.
Gundam 00 music March 15, 2009Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Music.
Tags: Anime, Gundam, Gundam 00, Jpop, Music
Gundam 00 has been exciting, if a little disappointing with its constant deux ex machina plot twists. What I’ve really enjoyed though is the music accompanying it. The OP and ED themes have been outstanding, so I thought I’d write a little to showcase another successful Gundam/JPop collaboration. Videos after the jump. (more…)