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.
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.
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/
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?
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:
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!
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:
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.
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.
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 : )
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.
Alright, first loot post in 2012!
There’s games, books, music and anime both in LD & Blu-ray. Yup, think we have all bases covered this time…
The How to draw Manga-books came from the same Amazon purchase as the collectors edition of REDLINE, since I wanted to reach the amount needed for free shipping. As far as how-to-books goes, they’re neither bad nor great. They feature some interesting inteviews but they don’t teach you any techniques besides “draw more” :p
And as for REDLINE, haven’t watched it yet. I’m thinking of watching it the first time with some friends for maximum effect.
Moving on then, to music! Let’s just get those Sailor Moon CDs out of the way first. One turned out to be some sort of drama cd, but giving it a quick listen,
Usagi’s voice is all I can hear. Upon closer inspection there are songs in there, they just start after 1 or 2 minutes of the characters talking. Weird that they didn’t separate the tracks. The full OP & ED is included though so it’s not that bad I suppose. As for the other one, it refuses to play. I’ve tried that disc in, basically, everything that I own that can play a CD and it just doesn’t work. Weirdest thing is, the CD looks pretty good too. No big fingerprints, hardly any scratches…but there seem to be some kind of…something just around the inner area. Maybe that’s it. I’ll need to see if I can clean it somehow.
Aside from Sailor Moon, there’s also two albums from Mariko Nagai, who I discovered late last year through youtube and the anime Yawara!. There’s mostly good early 90’s j-pop in there and some slower songs as well. Good stuff!
Lastly, there’s an album by the group Pink Sapphire. A “tv-sized” version of their song “P.S. I Love You” is played in the main menu of the first Galaxy Fraulein Yuna game, so that’s where I heard it. Sadly, it also has some kind of playback problem during the first track. Wonder what I can do about that…
1st OP for Yawara! The song is “Miracle Girl” by Mariko Nagai
“P.S. I Love You” by Pink Sapphire
On to the games, then. There’s Bomberman ’94 for the PCE (HuCards are totally rad), which needs no introduction since it’s well…Bomberman. Same goes for Daytona USA. Then there’s JetMoto, which I have fond memories of playing the PC-version I borrowed from a friend when I was younger. And finally there’s Racing Lagoon, which is this rather interesting tuning-racer mixed with a healthy dose of RPG-elements (complete with an over world mode and “enemies” that forces you into a quick battle should they hit you with their car), from Squaresoft, of all companies. Now, the character CG models haven’t aged well at all, the driving feels floaty and slightly off but the music is, for the most part so far, bloody fantastic. Oh, and then there’s Noël – Not Digital, because I could. I’m not very good at these kind of games (Noël 3 on the Saturn gave me a bad end, oops!) but I’m strangely attracted to them.
And with that we move on to the last group, the LaserDiscs. Last time there were 5 of them, this time it’s only 4 but all very good. With this I can add Idol Defense Force Hummingbird to the list of completed series, and Bubblegum Crisis, Birdy the Mighty & All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku gets another one each.
Hummingbird is probably the only anime in my LD collection so far, with the possible exception of the Dirty Pair TV-series, that I haven’t watched in any shape, way or form before actually getting it. As a whole, it’s a pretty nice series, but the later two episodes, while trying to build up tension and be all serious-like (well, not really) wasn’t as enjoyable to me as the first two. Specifically, episode two is my favorite by a clear margin. It’s the most consistently animated, having lots of good key frames, introduces two new likeable characters and out of all four LDs is the only CAV one. Which is weird since both episode three & four clocks in about 30 minutes as well. Also, 3 & 4 has a different art direction where the girls doesn’t have the same colorful hair and the drawing style is slightly changed as well. Still, quite enjoyable for what’s it worth. : )
Also, yes, my bedsheets have an elephant-theme going on. You are now jealous.
Until next time.
I’ve got a pretty big loot post coming up, but before that I want to share my experiences with one of those scart to HDMI upscalers in a little mini review of sorts.
If you’re interested in reading more about scalers & gaming, here’s a great site to check out!
You see, the CRT TV I’ve been using for retro gaming & LD watching isn’t actually all that great. It’s a big, chunky 32” widescreen Sony WEGA CRT that 99% percent of the time only gets feed with 4:3 content. It’s got the wrong shape for the job, really. Also, when viewing a 4:3 image on it, it squishes the edges, ever so slightly. Once you notice it, you will see it every time though. It’s especially evident in horizontal scrolling games but also any time a movie or whatever pans horizontally.
One simple solution would be to get another CRT TV, and that is a solution I’ve been thinking of for a while but haven’t been able to go through with. There is two reasons for this:
1) People often don’t specificate what TV it is they’re selling. “Sony CRT” will be the most detailed description you will see. Also, almost never any pictures of the back or information about the inputs available. They will say if it has scart, because scart is important to people here, but s-video? Composite? Component? No. You simply won’t get that from 99,99% of all sellers looking to get rid of their old, fat TVs.
2) They’re big, heavy and generally cumbersome. I can’t lift one myself and in order to get to my room, you have to climb a set of stairs. Not fun with a TV.
So, I’m kind of looking to save space by getting rid of my current CRT and plug everything back into my LCD TV, the proper way this time. I used to just plug things in and it worked all right, didn’t notice much input lag, but with the PCE I got image problems with interlacing and artfacts in some games.
With a scaler, though, you let it take care of the image from your preferred video source and scaling it up to the native (or close to) resolution of your LCD TV.
Problem is a good scaler, like those home cinema ones, are disturbingly expensive. Though, brand name is part of what you pay for and there happen to be tons of Chinese no-name scalers listed on eBay. So, I tried my luck with one of these, a scart one because what isn’t directly connected to my TV goes into my scart boxes.
This isn’t a proper review, to get that out of the way, I didn’t actually play much with it, as I was more focused on how things would look, would it work at all.
The unit itself feels very solid. It’s got a metal casing and certainly weighs a bit. Setting it up couldn’t be any more simple; Scart goes into the scart socket in the back, HDMI cable goes into the HDMI socket on the front. Add power and you’re done. But what’s the end result? Well, here are some pictures I took:
Let’s analyse these, shall we? First up was Ridge Racer 4 running on my PAL PS1 through scart. The result is a bit odd. The image has black borders and isn’t centered. Also slightly squished. Ghost in the Shell was running on my NTSC-J PS one through s-video through scart and as you can see, the scaler didn’t like s-video. No color, just black & white. Although in full screen. PCE then? No. Won’t work. Don’t know why. Technically, it’s a NTSC-J composite signal put through one of those Xbox 360 scart connectors, but running it directly into the composite inputs in my scart switches didn’t change the fact that I got no image.
This highlights the biggest problem, aside from getting a proper image, everything is mercilessly stretched to 16:9. And for some reason, I can’t change the aspect ratio to 4:3 on my TV. Actually none of the two TV sets I’ve tried this on allowed me to change the aspect ratio to 4:3 once the scaler was powered on.
And therefore, it is to me quite useless. Sadly.
As I stated earlier, there are many many many no-name scalers available on eBay (but also Amazon). It might be worth a shot, but don’t be surprised if you get a similar result. : /
Edit: Corrected the part about the Dirty Pair LDs.
Earlier today I picked up a package that was in transit during Christmas. You probably know what to expect by now…
No games this time but an Arcade Card DUO for my…well, DUO. Others in the same group is a bgm collection sort of from the All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku OVAs, as well the soundtrack for Bubblegum Crisis episode 4 & 7 (I think I should collect all these, I have them as mp3s but they’re good) and finally yet another installment in the Namco Game Sound Express-series. I wonder if I haven’t gotten all the GALAXIAN 3-related ones now – Namco makes (and made) some good music, after all.
And then some more LaserDiscs. First off, the final two episodes from Aozora Shoujotai (801 T.T.S. Airbats). This marks the second OVA series that I’ve completed, the first one being YUA with only 4 episodes. And that’s one of the nice things with OVAs – they’re pretty “easy” to collect thanks to the small number of episodes.
I threw in episode 8 of BGC in there as well. I’d like to complete that series too but thanks to their age (and/or popularity, perhaps?) they can be a bit tricky to track down. Rakuten had a few more but at the moment I thought I’d just concentrate on my favorite episodes. Couldn’t get my hands on ep. 7, sadly.
Lastly, I picked up two LDs from the old Dirty Pair. I’ve seen a bit of before (mostly the OVAs) but not everything. Wasn’t sure exactly what these LDs would contain – it was hard to dig for info. Now with them in my hands, I can see that both of these (Dirty Pair Masterpiece Compilation +1 & Dirty Pair Complete +1) contains episodes from the 80s TV-series. However, the episodes they contain seem to be a bit random and doesn’t correspond to the order in which they aired. According to wikipedia anyway.
I wonder what the +1 stands for though…hmm.
(Warning: thumbs are a bit screwy thanks to me not resisting captions)
During the time when my old blog was getting ignored by me, I did get a way of income and that has naturally resulted in some loot. First up was something of an impulse buy where heart went before all reason:
And as a result of that, this:
Yes, I’ve started to collect Laserdiscs. I realize DVD might be better in many ways such cheaper per episode and generally less cumbersome but LOOK AT IT. IT’S SO AWESOME. I mean, it’s certainly not very economic to buy each episode loose as often seems to be the case with anime LDs but it really feels like you’re getting something for your money spent. High quality artwork on the front (and often back) of the big sleeve and then a gigantic disc that weighs quite more than you’d initially believe. And in all of LDs I have collected so far (not a very big collection but slightly bigger than pictured) there’s usually an insert of some kind, sometimes a folder, with interviews, comments and character/vehicle design/sketches.
Really cool stuff.
Some stuff that I bought together with the LDs also deserves special mention. Like, for starters, this B-Club Special Bubblegum Crisis artbook. I wasn’t expecting that to float around the interwebs for an affordable price, really happy to pick that up. My camera does suck though, apologies for that.
I also picked up the first artbook for another guilty pleasure of mine: Agent AIKa. Sadly, I didn’t take any special pictures of aside from the one above.
In the same batch, there were also two volumes of Namco Game Sound Express.
And last but not least additions to my game collection:
I also got Rockman Dash (Mega Man Legends) and Tokimeki Memorial 2, pictured in the loot above.
Phew! I believe that’s most of it. I don’t have any more pictures, anyway :p