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Oh hey, kickstarted things…

Back in 2013, before I took a brief lengthy hiatus writing things here, I mentioned two very interesting Kickstarter campaigns. One was for the western release of the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA on Blu-ray and the other was for SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works, a fancy book dedicated to well, the Sega Mega Drive.

As you might know, not only did those successfully finish their fundraising, but also the actual products as well. Neato!
As I don’t have too much experience with crowd funding, and while I can see the same problem as everyone else, it does feel like a fresh way of doing things, and also a way to vote with your money to get what you want. When that works….that is.

If we tackle the book first, it’s a really cool book. It’s big, chunky and absolute eye candy if you have…feelings for Sega’s 16-bit system.
I regret to say I haven’t read the whole book yet, as in with the words, but I’ve looked through it multiple times and it’s just a matter of me finding time to properly wind down with this sleek read.

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With that, we’ll move on to the BGC Blu-ray which, unsurprisingly, is just delicious. I never owned the DVD release or had a high quality rip on my PC, so this was a real step up. No matter how much I love to have the show on LaserDisc, this is just better. Not the biggest fan of the multi colored subs, as they are rather too saturated, but there’s also non-colored subs available so it’s a non-problem really. Video and audio is, as expected, stellar. There are also some interesting extras, such as the Knight Sabers Holiday in Bali, which I can’t watch without cringing uncontrollably – but that might just be me.

Also getting access to a high quality scanned PDF version of BGC manga Grand Mal, among a few other things, is definitively a nice touch.

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Wrapping it up, I’m looking forward to whatever future projects might be next from the creators of both. Robert from AnimEigo seemed quite interested in maybe doing another kickstarter…
Here’s to hoping! /o/

Quick anime recommendation: Tenamonya Voyagers

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I love checking out the odd OVA – there’s always something to discover, something you’ve never heard of. Sometimes it’s even good.
That’s the case with Tenamonya Voyagers, a 4 episode late 90s OVA which best can be described as a collision between a zany space adventure and a 70s Yakuza flick.

This charmingly odd ride is presented with a surprisingly high level of visual quality with nice special effects, lovely detailed backgrounds, cool mechanical design, and mostly above average (sometimes excellent) animation. Characters are drawn well enough, although this particular style of drawing exhibits some parts of the 90s style that I’m not too fond of.
The music, too, is unconventional but fitting and well produced. The opening sequence is set to a happy march, while the rest of BGM is very low-key, if used at all. However, some really pumping tunes are brought up during the action scenes.

Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 1 [OnDeed] [525594B6].mkv_snapshot_00.44_[2014.04.19_12.14.29] Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 1 [OnDeed] [525594B6].mkv_snapshot_02.39_[2014.04.18_22.51.25] Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 1 [OnDeed] [525594B6].mkv_snapshot_11.57_[2014.04.18_22.57.00]

Without getting into too many details, the story is about a trio of girls, the newly graduated but unlucky teacher Ayako, the athletic Wakane and the mysterious Paraila, which are stuck on a remote planet and for various reasons, must make their way back to Earth, all while being chased by the space mafia and a loose cannon police officer – both for story reasons and because the trio manages to rack up quite the amount of criminal charges during their travels.

Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 1 [OnDeed] [525594B6].mkv_snapshot_14.44_[2014.04.18_22.58.12] Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 2 [OnDeed] [0D7EA562].mkv_snapshot_03.33_[2014.04.18_23.04.39] Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 3 [OnDeed] [ED9EFBAD].mkv_snapshot_20.16_[2014.04.18_23.13.26]

Despite everything that happens around them, the characters in Tenamonya Voyagers comes off as very ordinary – they have their specified roles (and they don’t grow a lot) and they’re easy enough to visually distinguish from each other, but no-one is over-designed or that well fitted to having their face plastered over some merchandise. In this case, their everyday-looks go well in hand with the feel of the show, although their personalities falls into a pattern quite early on which might bother some.

Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 3 [OnDeed] [ED9EFBAD].mkv_snapshot_07.49_[2014.04.18_23.11.18] Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 3 [OnDeed] [ED9EFBAD].mkv_snapshot_07.57_[2014.04.18_23.11.30] Tenamonya Voyagers - Episode 3 [OnDeed] [ED9EFBAD].mkv_snapshot_03.02_[2014.04.18_23.10.34]

It ends quite abruptly with the 4th episode and it really feels like someone originally had planned for a longer run – I could easily see this having double the amount of episodes.
In the end, if you have the time and are up for it, I recommend checking out Tenamonya Voyagers!
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The Classy Loot of March 2014

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Welcome to this late March decidedly CLASSY loot extra post.
It’s the kind of post where we’re just all about staying classy.

And, you might ask, what exactly is this glorious little pile of stuff? I’m glad you asked!
The headphones are the Sony MDR-1R – which are just so, soo very comfortable. Although gets a tad warm after a while.
Still, for a closed can they feel really airy and I’m impressed by both the soundstage and instrument separation.
On the other hand, I don’t have that much in terms of headphone experience. Could do with just a bit more thumpy bass, though.

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Then we have the just released Ranma ½ TV Season 1 Blu-ray collection. It’s a new HD master, apparently. Viz posted comparisons on their youtube page, which did look a bit over-saturated but with nice details. I’m planning to check it out after finishing writing this, so we’ll see how the quality is.*
This box is nice anyhow, and I’ve always wanted to check out the TV-series.

*Update: Quality is actually really nice. Colors doesn’t seem overly saturated to me and there’s no horrible filtering going on. Maybe a bit on the grainy side on the other hand, but that’s really preferable instead of having it forcefully removed.

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Lastly there’s another Agent AIKa DVD.
…What? D:< RightStuf had a sale so I jumped on that. Picture quality is all right with good colors and decent details but it seems to be suffering a bit from compression. Oh, well. Still nice to have it on DVD as well….now to complete that LD collection… >_>

 

Stayclassy

The (still) early 2014 loot post

Err. Yeah.

A bit late as usual but here we are. Literary TONS of stuff to go through! Important to note is that, all this isn’t bought at the same time but rather, all the collected loot since last time I posted (and maybe even before that, in case of pre-orders and the like).
Where to start? Maybe with this PC-FX that finally made it’s way to me late november last year?

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A bit yellowed but seems to work well 🙂 That is my complete, measly library of games for the thing on the left there. Team Innocent has seen the most action among those games (completed it).
Next up is what arrived after I went a bit nuts after the holidays:

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Decided to expand my meagre collection of import manga. I’m really liking Mikiyo Tsuda’s work so I picked up Day of the Revolution and the first volume of Princess Princess. I really want to get my hands on the english language release as well. Great stuff!
Also picked up another volume of the excellent Family Compo. And some other stuff, including an interesting assortment of music CDs & soundtracks. T-Square is always nice (fab Jazz Fusion) and I discovered Frankie Goes to Hollywood thanks to youtube.

Also got me the soundtrack for Under Siege which is simple, but atmospheric, another entry in the ever growing pile of all things Bubblegum Crisis, the soundtrack to the first Idol Defense Force Hummingbird OVA and some delightfully cheesy dance tracks with the MAKAI*STARs album. Also found a nice 1981-1987 collection CD from Japanese artist Toshiki Kadomatsu, whose stuff I’ve really gotten into as of late. It’s basically more delightful cheese.
THE GOOD STUFF!

Lastly I bought a copy of Manga Studio 5 – however I was stupid and imported it (and got hit by extra charges) when I could’ve saved money and bought it -with free shipping- from Amazon UK instead. >_<;
Aaaanyway, some welcome additions to the LD library also showed up. Good stuff too, maybe especially Gundam 0083.

Then began my latest collection craze – physical anime releases. It’s a bit embarrassing this but, I’ve always been more of a fansub guy. I did buy some anime DVDs but those were so crappy I grew very, very wary of official releases however stupid that may sound. But recently I’ve seen so many things I want to own on DVD/Blu-ray pop up for very decent prices so I basically just caved in.

I’ve actually always wanted to support the industry by buying physical anime releases but the box-sets I’ve seen have been a bit pricey and I’ve always been strapped for cash – not to mention me not really trusting the companies to do a decent job. But that’s a topic for another day!

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Pre-ordering that Hidamari Sketch blu-ray literary blew open the floodgates. More cool deals showed up, such as the sweet Doujin Work DVD/Manga combo by RightStuf (which is probably just the right amount of Hiroyuki) and being the self-declared fan of the original AIKa I am, how could I pass up AIKa R-16 for a super low price? I can hear your facepalm from where I sit but I don’t hate AIKa R-16. Now, AIKa Zero on the other hand….*shakes fist*

Keeping in line with the fan service, I also picked up Highschool DxD and it’s been surprisingly decent. Also picked up Summer Wars as well as the ever excellent Cowboy Bebop. I forgot to mention I had to secure two blu-ray players (region A & B) in order to enjoy all this, by the way. A great book store in Stockholm also had a sale where I picked up some neat things.
Thankfully, all this craziness is coming to an end. The last pile of things to look at is this:

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Last but not least, as they say. With this, another milestone has been achieved as my Bubblegum Crisis LaserDisc collection is now complete.
Then some cheap bishoujo-games for the Saturn showed up, along with Asuka 120½ Burning Fest. Limited and Langrisser for PC Engine. Also thrown in there is ToHeart 2 DX Plus for the PS3 which is, as far as I can tell, pretty much the perfect version of this game to own. Sure, the extra scenes from the X-rated PC release will most likely not be included, but those aren’t really important anyway.

And that’s it. Geeez, talk about hoarding.

Last minute tip: The BGC Blu-ray kickstarter

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It’s a bit late now, only 12 days to go but I just thought I’d mention this really swell kickstarter that aims to release the classic Bubblegum Crisis OVAs on Blu-Ray.

Here’s the link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/madoverlord/bubblegum-crisis-ultimate-edition-blu-ray-set

Japan already got a BD release (and this one’s based on that one), but as expected it’s rather expensive to import – and, well, there’s probably not any subs or anything on there. Now, I love BGC enough to get it on LaserDisc, so obviously I had to get in on this. But for those of you who yet haven’t and are interested – well, here’s your chance : )

Re-check: Ano Natsu de Matteru

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After all these loot posts, let’s talk anime for a change.

Winter season 2013 is upon us and the shows I was thinking of checking out have slowly started started to emerge. In all this, after checking out the first episodes of about 3 new shows, I felt a sudden craving for more.

I ended up giving Ano Natsu de Matteru another chance. Actually dropped it after writing about it a year ago – something just didn’t click with me, I suppose.

Because I could skip the first few episodes, I was able to marathon it yesterday after work.
Turns out what I wrote back then still holds up to how I felt watching it now.
I think I’ve managed to pinpoint exactly what it is that I had against the show when watching it last time – Ano Natsu often is incredibly awkward. Well, romance shows all tend to be a bit like that but Ano Natsu manages to create some very embarrasing scenes in too few episodes. That’s one thing that really put me off when watching this.

The other thing was the pretty the vague connection to the Onegai-series, as I mentioned in my old post. I just can’t put my finger on who this show really is for. Is it for those who’ve seen Onegai Teacher/Twins or is it intended as a stand alone piece of work? The problem is, in my opinion, it manages to be neither of those things and once again, ends up feeling odd, slightly out of place and again, awkward.

To be fair, Ano Natsu de Matteru is actually a pretty decent/good romance show. After all, I rather liked it, despite some issues I’ll discuss below.
Characters are pretty decent, production quality is good and it never gets too sappy or depressing – So, all criticism aside it’s probably worth a watch.

But that’s not what I want to get at. No, more like, what is the purpose of Ano Natsu’s existence?

Here’s the problematic bit. It’s exactly not a secret that this show bother heavily from the Onegai-saga. The story about the girl who crashes her spaceship on earth and gets involved with a spectacled boy and his friends in the progress, should feel very familiar to anyone who has ever read the plot description of Onegai Teacher. The characters also feel familiar, though not everyone is represented this time. They are not really carbon copies, but they are playing a similar role. Add to that a lush, laid back rural scenery and the fact that the overall “sound” of the music score would feel right at home in both Onegai Teacher and it’s follow up. The “feel” and mood is pretty similar as well.
Not to mention all the moments of “hey, does this sound familiar to you?” *hint hint* *nudge nudge*

It doesn’t go all the way, however. At any second, I was expecting Ichika to blurt out that she’s a relative/descendant of Mizuho/Kei and Lemon to reveal that she’s actually Ichigo and hasn’t aged a bit. In fact, that was Ichigo’s “schtick”, if I remember correctly.
But the ending was pretty vague (i.e. they didn’t make it super obvious), so for an airhead like me, the connection is still pretty much up for discussion.
I guess for me, Ano Natsu doesn’t feel so much like a sequel as a semi-reboot. I do not mean a total reboot. More like, the staff wanted to tell the story again but with a new cast.
….aaaand, I’m not really sure how I feel about that.

See, I quite liked the old cast. Let’s be honest here. Onegai Teacher is far from the best romance show ever made and certainly not without it’s flaws. But something about it catches me every time.
I really liked seeing the couples form during it’s run and in my eyes, the best thing that ever happened to Onegai Teacher was Onegai Twins. I mean, yeah, the new cast was pretty good I guess (okay, I quite like them) but what I enjoyed the most was that because the setting remained the same, you sort of got like an epilogue to the original show as well. I always thought that was kinda neat.

Probably was something like that I was hoping for this time around too. I didn’t at first, I just thought Ano Natsu would have a similar feel thanks to the screenplay writer and character designer being involved was the same as in Onegai. But when the first episode turned out the way it did, the comparisons (and the expectations) were most likely inevitable.

In the end, now, I can’t help but to wonder if we ever will get any more Onegai-related releases, be it anime, manga, drama CDs or novels, or if this served as the staff’s final hurrah with this IP.
I sure know I could take another entry. 🙂
Actually, looking over at the wiki, Ano Natsu has been adapted to both manga, light novels and a book, but you know what I mean! 😉

Lastly, I’m left with a few personal gripes with Ano Natsu:

* Lemon, despite all the badassery in the end, feels rather flat as a character this time ’round. She’s mostly just played for comedic relief and plot convenience. Not that Ichigo didn’t play a similar role in Onegai Twins, but she was a tad deeper in Teacher.

* Despite being aired early 2012, no one seems to have a cell phone. Is this some kind of alternative future? Are they really teenage students? I can’t go outside the door without seeing young kids having a smarter phone than me. They’re pretty much everywhere and I have no reason to believe Japan would be any different, not even in the countryside. Except if like…the reception is really bad or something retarded like that. There were a couple of times where they all went “oh man, did you know where he/she went? I’ve gotta look for him/her!!”, and the fact that nobody seemed to start off by making a phone call just seemed…unreal. 😀

* Which brings me to the point of, that old camera is fine for filming for fun, but when making the darn movie, just use a normal camera. Waugh! D:

Allright, that’s quite enough of me ranting.

P.S.Ufufu!

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The “I bought a lot of stuff” Special (part 2)

It’s time to look at what hides deep within the pages of those Newtype issues!
Let’s get started with this little announcement I found where it says that “Sasamoto Yuuichi’s popular novel-series ‘ARIEL’ will get an anime adaption! The OVA is planned to be released this summer”.

Fun stuff to find, especially now that I own the LD release 😀  Really puts one’s possession in historical context…

Here’s some of the rest:

Upcoming is some fun stuff I didn’t want to get lost in the picture flood. First up, model sheets from…yup, Angel Cop! That’s not really something I expected..

Next up is some model sheets & concept drawings from the Patlabor TV-series:

Here’s some (very small) backdrops from Yawara! TV-series:

And what better to end this picture dump with than some super expensive and at the time high-end but now utterly obsolete hardware:
😀

Actually, I would love to get my hands on those players, as they are looking absolutely gorgeous and much sleeker than pretty much anything I see in stores nowadays… : /

…right, where did I put my time machine?

Recent pickups 18/8 2012

The room is coming along fine with the PC corner almost complete. But let’s take a break from that and look at some loot I picked up recently. Well, to be fair, most of this stuff is from late last month but I was waiting for a few more things to come in that sadly haven’t – so I’ll just put these up anyway.

This is mostly a Rakuten haul with a few additional things picked up from eBay. Actually, there have been quite a few anime LDs listed on eBay these past months.
So, what do we have here then? First up is a music CD: KANA, featuring artist Wada Kanako (和田加奈子). This one is from 1987 and I quite like it. Picked it up mainly because of this song:

If you’re interested in seeing what else tracks are on there, somebody actually made a dedicated page for it. I don’t completely agree with the opinions stated there (both #1 & #6 are now favourite tracks of mine) but it’s there, should you need it.
On eBay I also picked up the OVA soundtrack for Patlabor. Yes, my Patlabor collection is slowly growing. ❤

Also picked up three games, the original Ridge Racer, Densha de Go 2 and Gakuensai, which actually have a longer title that I won’t bother with 😛
Ridge Racer is, well, it’s riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidge raaaaaaceeeeeeeeer as they say. Managed to beat it last week or so, felt good but the hard PS1 d-pad made my thumb hurt. Haven’t tried out Densha de Go 2 yet but I have started out in Gakuensai. It’s a decent game for it’s genre and it contains actual gameplay – which means that it’s better than any modern visual novel-type game 😀

Another interesting game I picked up, which I’ve also wanted for quite some time, is The Game Paradise (or Game Tengoku) for the Saturn. It’s a pretty cool comedy/parody shooter, similar to Parodius in a way but scrolls vertical instead. The cool thing about this game is that this version comes complete with a VHS-tape featuring some anime OVA goodness. I knew it was a good idea to pick up that NTSC-compatible VHS-player a while back!

Before we leave the games and move on to the always delicious laserdiscs, I just want to mention that I also did pick up more Yuna-related l00t – a proper poster this time. Sadly, it’s quite a bit bigger, or well, longer than I imagined it to be and thus will not fit within my 70x50cm frames. Hm…a problem, that. It still is a very nice poster tho’. Almost forgot to mention the You’re Under Arrest artbook as well. It’s very nice, especially if you, like me, is a big fan of the series.

Finally, we have the LDs. The loose one’s are Patlabor the Movie (great movie by the way) and a Ghibli double whammy with Porco Rosso (or Kurenai Buta here) and On Your Mark, the animated music video for a song with same name from artist’s Chage & Aska. Very cool gem, indeed. Not commonly found on DVD I hear (but does exist as a part of a collection) so that’s an interesting LD to own (and watch). I also got myself two boxes, Golden Boy & Agent AIKa. Both of these are well known for the fanservice elements, but are actually really good shows if you’re able to look past that (or enjoy it). Golden Boy actually was quite well-received last time I checked and it really sports some quality animation and background work that makes it worth checking out just for that alone.

The box contains all six episodes and looks like quite the premium item, it also weights a ton.
The Agent AIKa box on the other hand is incomplete  as I only have 3 episodes total. The box was introduced together with the Special Trial episode, so you’d have somewhere to tuck the other discs you’ve probably accumulated at that point. I don’t know if Agent AIKa ever was sold as a complete set in stores. It is (in)famous for the panty-flashing it delivers with such glee, were it a person it would have a big dorky smile connecting both ears, throughout the entire series.

It still is a good show though, in it’s own right. It doesn’t reach the artistic & technical heights of Golden Boy but it’s not badly done in any way. Character design is good, background and animation well above what you can expect in this genre and it’s got an attention to detail that I appreciate. Also, the jazzy soundtrack is both fitting and quite good, and spans across 3 CDs – I don’t own it though. It’s probably my favorite Studio Fantasia work as I don’t think they have been able to match this yet, even though they have tried.

And with that, I’m off!

Aozora Shoujotai: An otaku room study


While curiously absent from the cover illustrations, Isurugi Takuya, the male lead from from 青空少女隊 (Aozora Shōjotai), also known as 801 T.T.S. Airbats, is a gigantic nerd (in a good way). He doesn’t go around spouting anime references like other people sharing his passion would do if this was any other series, instead the shelves in his room is filled to the brim with figures and toys.

The original manga ran from July 1991 – October 1992 in Shounen Monthly Captain and for the reader with a keen eye, provides an interesting glimpse into what shows were popular back then. Or at least what the author, Toshimitsu Shimizu, preferred.

Lovers of Bubblegum Crisis will have a riot as hardsuit-clad Priss is featured in almost every photo. Speaking of which, I also suspect Toshimitsu may be a fan of BGC episode 8, since Vision’s spider-like tank makes two appearances. A man after my own heart, this guy 😛

A robot from Armored Trooper Votoms also appears twice, as does King, the lion cub from Nadia: Secret of Blue Water though not Nadia herself, strangely enough.
Other interesting appearances are Rabby and Patty from Gallforce: First Story and Magical Taruruuto-kun, from the series with the same name.
For the lover of older anime there’s Maetel from Galaxy Express 999 and Tetsujin 28.
There’s silhouettes resembling Onyomiko (Kaku Rei) from Genji Tsuushin Agedama and Tekkaman Blade. Something that looks like a Sailor Moon figure is also in there as well as the Thunderbird 2. Even Totoro and the Moomins show up once.


In 1994 the series got an anime adaption and the reference hijinks continues, this time in color!

Hooo boy, there’s a lot in there. Obvious ones that I can tell right away is the Millennium Falcon, Ultraman, Sailor Jupiter, B-ko from Project A-ko, donning her battle suit, Gunbuster, Kinu Himuro from Ghost Sweeper Mikami, Nuku Nuku from All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku (say that one fast three times) and even a not yet painted figure of Kagurazaka Yuna from Galaxy Fraulein Yuna. Evangelion also makes an appearance in the shape of a poster and somewhat more obscure is a figure of Cyomi from the (in)famous Viper-games by Sogna.

There’s even a lovingly reproduced brief homage to Namco’s Air Combat, the predecessor to the excellent Ace Combat game series.

Phew!
I think that was all I could catch, but there’s probably more in there. I love it when manga authors and anime studios show their love for other works in this way. It’s like a pop-quiz extravaganza for the viewer “in the know”, so to speak.

In other news, I’m still waiting to stuff to arrive. Bleh.

Recent Pickups 10/5 2012

So, I was thinking to myself, “Man, it’s already May now, you should start saving for the convention you will attend in June”. YEAH, THAT ALWAYS WORK DOESN’T IT?!
So, I stumbled over some stuff I had to get because I either wanted them badly and they were elusive or just a good deal.

First up, there’s this Mitsubishi VHS deck I picked up very locally for a very low cost, along with a whole box of tapes. Which included Disney’s Peter Pan, which I’ve always wanted to watch in full since I had to go home that one time when I watched it at a friends party as a kid, so that’s something I guess.
No, the real reason I wanted this is because it can play NTSC tapes. Something I have no immediate need for but might have in the future. Just felt it would be really nice to have, considering the interests I have. For this player, which outputs in very nice quality I might add, I paid 250 SEK. Or about 36 dollars, if you want. That’s a steal, even if it isn’t a Super VHS.

Next up is some LaserDiscs. More Bubblegum Crisis, to be more precise. Gee, you would think I have this show completed soon. And you’d be almost right.
I found episode 2 & 3 on eBay for what I thought was good deal. They were auctions, but nobody had bid on them so I got lucky I guess 🙂

Speaking of lucky, I’ve secured two, to me, elusive LaserDiscs I’ve wanted since I got my player in August last year. Bubblegum Crisis episode 7 (probably my favorite) and Metal Skin Panic MADOX-01 showed up on Rakuten. Naturally I had to buy them, but in hindsight I should’ve picked out some more stuff while I had my wallet open. The price to get these two through EMS was hardly ideal. I think, just for LDs alone, 5 or 6 seems to hit a sweet spot when balancing items costs versus shipping costs. Oh well, happy to finally own both of these~! 🙂

Especially BGC 7, I have been looking for quite some while. Now I’m just missing ep. 4 & 6, which I think shouldn’t be so hard to track down.

Hopefully.