24 November 2013
A new Doraemon movie will be produced in 3D CG for the first time in Summer 2014. Called "STAND BY ME", the movie will most likely base on the early stories of the original manga collection.
Doraemon is a story of the eponymous blue robotic cat who travelled back in time to the 20th century in order to look after his owner's great-grandfather, Nobita, so that his descendants may prosper a better life in the future under Doraemon's guidance.
The many short stories in the manga see Nobita and his daily life, be it his poor grades at school, or being bullied by friends Gian or Suneo, as well as his encounter with his love interest Shizuka. In many situations Doraemon will lend out his gadgets to help Nobita, which are often abused by Nobita or stolen by his friends. By the end of the story, the characters who do wrong are usually punished.
Together with the annual 2D feature length movies, it's interesting to hear that a new Doraemon movie is in the making. Though I must say I am not very used to the new looks of Doraemon and his friends in this upcoming movie, having getting used to the 2D form for many years; even the "3D" versions have remained fairly faithful to the original appearances in the past. Nevertheless, this may be something worth looking forward to for those who reads them in the childhood? If not then there is always the 2D ones to look forward to. ^^
22 November 2013
Gunpla Expo happened on Saturday, and there are new kits announced especially in anticipation for the ongoing Gundam Build Fighters anime series, as well as the final episode of Gundam UC that is to be aired next year.
MG 1/100 Unicorn Gundam Unit 3 Phenex
MG 1/100 Gundam X
MG 1/100 Sazabi ver Ka.
MG 1/100 Turn X
HG 1/144 Star Build Strike Gundam
HG 1/144 GM Sniper K9
HG 1/144 Kampfer Amazing
HG 1/144 Qubeley Papillon
HG 1/144 Universe Booster Plavsky Power Gate
HGUC 1/144 V2 Gundam
HG 1/144 Turn A Gundam
HGUC 1/144 Gundam F91
HGUC 1/144 Gundam F91 Harrison Madin colour
HGAC 1/144 Wing Zero Gundam
HGUC 1/144 Full Armour Unicorn Gundam Destroy Mode
HGUC 1/144 Unicorn Gundam Unit 2 Banshee Norn Destroy Mode
HGUC 1/144 Silver Bullet
HGUC 1/144 Silver Bullet Fin Funnel Test Type
HGUC 1/144 Kshatriya Repaired
A lot of new kits out there, and I have quite a few in my wish list~ Wing Zero, Banshee Norn Destroy Mode, and perhaps Silver Bullet as well!
14 November 2013
Remember a Puella Magi Madoka Magica film strip that was sold for over 1 million Yen last year? Well, there appears to be a new record that broke it by a factor of 4.
This film strip features the film's title name "Hangyaku no Monogatari" (literally "story of rebellion". Unlike the first two movies, which are a retelling of the TV series, the third movie of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica movie trilogy features a new story that stems from the TV series' ending.
The auction lasted for 3 days from 11th to 14th November, with a total of 664 bids and ended with the price of 4,103,000 Yen. The film strip was a present for those who watched the movie in cinema. Each strip feature a few frames of the movie. Those with memorable or significant scenes will be in higher demand and/or have high collection values, hence potentially higher prices in online auctions.
There is an uncertainty in the auction's authenticity though, as I did put a question mark at my blog post's title. Most of the bidders are newly registered members, and there was another auction with similar film strip that ended at 18,500 Yen.
Maybe it was just a stunt? That would be a bit disappointing if it were to be the case.
Original auction page:
12 November 2013
Hong Kong cuisine restaurants in Japan have a dish called Taxi Rice (タクシー飯). Sounds and looks genuine in a way, but it's never known in Hong Kong. What is this exactly?
According to online descriptions, the so-called Taxi Rice is named after Hong Kong's taxi drivers, who want a quick fried rice dish to be prepared and be eaten quickly so they can get back on with their work.
It seems to be fried rice with nian gao, shrimp, vegetables all mixed together with heavy use of thick sauce.
Just like Yang Chow fried rice does not originate in Yangzhou, or that Singapore-style noodles (星洲炒米) does not come from Singapore, together with a few other dishes whose name do not match their actual place of origin.
The dish does seem to be faitly popular in Japan, and it makes appearance in several chain restaurants. Prices are tagged between 700 to 900 Yen. It may be interesting to try it and see how foreigners think of Hong Kong dishes as a Hongkonger myself. :P
Sources and links:
17 October 2013
Robot Damshii ELS QAN[T] posed in the style of Gundam 00 movie ending scene. Image from Yui's blog
After part 1 and part 2, the final part for TAMASHII Feature's Vol. 7 coverage is on the making of a Robot Damashii action figure. I find this to be rather interesting as it's not something that is featured often, so I dedicated a post for it.
1. A conference is held with several departments to discuss what to be merchandised, the release date, and other proposals.
2. Once the proposal is determined, the license holder of the subject is contacted for permission of merchandising.
As the example here is Robot Damashii Full Armour Unicorn Gundam, Tamashii Nation will seek Sunrise for permission.
Every samples progress will be co-supervised by the license holder
3. After getting permission, a sculpted sample is to be made by a company called Liquidsone. All parts, including the joints, are done by hand.
Liquidsone is apparently a company that specialises on sculpting samples of action figures, be it for mechs or for bishoujo characters. What's strange is that I can't find any info for it online, unless the name is misspelt, which would be rather embarassing (I hope this is not the case!).
4. Once the sample is sculpted, colouring comes next. Since the Full Armour Unicorn Gundam is based on previous previous releases of Unicorn Gundam, the colour of the actual Gundam is already decided. Just the extra weapons need further decision after comparing with the colours used in the anime.
5. The coloured sample is sent to the factory together with instructions and any further specifications.
Specific instructions, such as which parts are the same from older releases, which parts share the same pegs / hole sizes, and articulations are annotated across various pictures for the factory to understand and make a factory sample.
6. Sample revision. Factory's sample is not perfect on the first time for replication of the sculptor's sample. It takes multiple revisions before a final sample is approved by Bandai for mass production.
7. Photo shooting. Once sample is finalised, it is taken for photo shooting. The joints for the sample are not as stiff as the final product, therefore it can take much more time to pose and keep it in place while taking photos.
8. Package design. The idea for the package design is to look cool. The picture above shows how the package layout for Testament Gundam is based on Full Armour Unicorn.
9. Mass Production. Mass producing the final product based on the final approved factory sample takes quite a few steps as seen in the picture above. I'll break it down into smaller sections for explanation.
We take ELS QAN[T] for example, which was a web shop limited item released at the end of last year. According to them, each part and each step is carried out by one person, therefore making one full product requires a lot of manpower.
Robot Damashii ELS QAN[T] has a total of 225 parts (!).
A total of 177 steps is required for colouring, and the total number of people responsible for mass producing is approximately 400 people (!). ELS QAN[T] has a lot of colour gradation, therefore it is antitipcated to need a lot of colouring.
What about from the beginning? First the metal mould must be made for the parts. For precision in replication 3D scanning and CAD are used. Once the moulds are made, plastic is hot injected into the mould, forming runners, and the parts have to be cut away by hand.
The parts are then painted before being assembled.
Here are the moulds that were on display. All are made of metal, and all have a slot where plastic is injected into the mould to form the runners.
And here are the runners formed after the moulds are removed. They look like those seen in model kits, don't they? The main difference between those in mass production and those for model kits is that the former has minimal runners for efficiency; the latter tend to have a full frame around as seen in Gunpla kits.
Masks are used for holding specific parts in placed, while revealing only the required area for painting. Each are unique for their own corresponding parts, just like the moulds.
For very fine details, decals are used instead.
And here is the final product. 225 parts in one package done by 400+ people.
It's an interesting insight to see how the toys are made from planning to mass production. Many toys are more or less manufactured in the same way, but it's nice to see some of the backstage work that contribute to the final product we get at the end. Next time you get a Robot Damashii, or any other toys, think about the efforts behind it!