Haven’t been much activity around, for which I apologize but…I bet all three of you are used to that by now.
I have been picking things up left to right this past month(s) but maybe one of the most important things I just got must be this:
The Sony NEX-C3, which will be replacing my ageing Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 as preferred camera of choice from here on out. The NEX-C3 can also film in 720p so maybe, just maybe, we will get some use out of that for youtube or something. I would very much like to, but I have the refined speech capabilities of a submerged otter.
Now for the rest of the loot.
There’s a lot of fun stuff in here, but since I’m short on time, let me just highlight the really cool things. First off, new Minidisc player/recorder. It’s one that I’ve been wanting for quite some time. It’s very cool. It would be even cooler if I had some proper 4-pole headphones to make full use of the good sound tho’.
The other, for me, big pickup in there is Bulk Slash for the Saturn. Been wanting this game almost as long as I’ve had the system itself. Properly hyped to give that a spin later.
Moving on, Patlabor OVA LD box. MMmm….what can I say. Patlabor is a really cool show, you ought to check that out if you haven’t. I actually bought another version of this (called the Early Days box) on eBay in summer but it never turned up, sadly. So I was able to pick up another one through Yahoo Auctions. Very classy stuff.
While on the subject of anime, you maybe also noticed the Aika artbook to the left there…yes. Hrm…I still think AIKa is pretty bloody good, for a fanservice show. 99% of the known internet WILL disagree with me but to be honest, there is tons of fanservice shows that are so, so, so much worse. AIKa actually sports some really decent animation values not to mention good character & mechanical design – which is why it’s fun to have the artbooks. This is the second artbook, as I picked up the first one in what might be one of my first posts on this very blog.
Before I have to run, I’d just also like to mention the Dexule ARIEL soundtrack which, not only have the music on a disc, but also comes with a mini novel of sorts and a mini artbook. Very nice stuff. I got the LDs a while back and the soundstrack’s really nice and…not very common on eBay, so another Yahoo find then.
And now I own 3 PC-FX games without owning a console to play them on. Hmm.
And that’s it!
Actually it isn’t. But that’s most of it. There’s a few other bits & bobs that I maybe will make a separate post for, but this will be all for now.
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!
Would you look at that, exactly one month since last time I featured some sweet, sweet loot.
Actually, I have been picking up a lot of stuff these last weeks, debit card or not. 😛
I believe I mentioned sometime earlier that I was looking into re-arranging my room again, and I’ve pretty much been trying to gather things I need for that. But I’ve ran into a bit of a “problem” with how I should arrange and connect things with the gaming systems, so I’ll have to think about that some more.
In the meantime, I’ve been focusing on the computer area. I was thinking of maybe moving the PS3 & XB360 there because it would mean easy access to an internet connection and less cables across the room.
That requires a decent sized screen and a way for both the PS3/360 & PC to make use of the same speaker system. Right now, I’m hunting stereo speakers.
But! I have no pictures of all this. Instead, I will update when things start to move along. However, I do have this:
I finally got a hold of a copy of Video Essentials on LD. This will hopefully be useful in testing the comb filter in the TV, scaler and DVD recorder. Also on LD is the movie Under Siege, which I hadn’t watched until now. There’s too many 80s/90s movies that I haven’t seen before and the reason I picked up this one was because I loved the title theme when I came across it on youtube. lol 😀
Also picked up one part of the soundtrack for the Patlabor TV-series, MGS: Peace Walker and also a new mouse to play around with. Haven’t tried the Scope Node yet, but I always thought it looked really cool.
Also I bought a whole bunch of game-related flyers:
These were all bought from the trading section on the System 11 Shmup community forums and are in really nice condition. There is still a whole lot of them left as I’m typing this.
…Yes, that Yuna-flyer, I know what you’re thinking. It folds out into a nice poster tho’, so it’s okay! 😛
And…I guess that’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some nice, small speakers and fix a few other loose ends soon.
I’ll see you then.
Another UppCon comes and goes. Rumour has it this year’s was the last. If true, then it’s with mixed feelings I bid farewell to what was, if wikipedia is to be believed, the biggest nordic anime/manga-convention.
I have been attending UppCon with a couple friends since a few years back and during these years the con has switched locals what must be at least 3 times (though we missed the first move, I think). So it has grown considerably and in my eyes, become a bit too big for it’s own good in recent years. The price for entry tickets have skyrocketed, mostly thanks to increased costs of operation, but this (and maybe last year?) the 3-day pass also doubled as a ticket for the live performances on the main stage.
At the same time, it has been a pretty fun experience. Good things have been bought in the dealers area and since 2010 there were also an artist’s alley – something I’ve envied after hearing about conventions in the US. This was also the first year I could attend 2 days instead of only 1, which made the “big” day (Saturday) a slightly less hectic experience. This also allowed me to collect more swag, of course.
In the end, despite the increasing costs and crowd, good times have been had and I’m left to wonder what will replace it.
As has been proven in previous years, the con-run booth that specializes in selling what attendees bring with them is the most interesting place in the sellers area. Even I managed to get some stuff I didn’t need sold there.
It’s probably the most varied booth in terms on what’s on sale and it’s also possible to find some very good deals there. Also, games.
I picked up Ikuruga and a roughed up copy F-Zero GX for the Gamecube. Mega Man X: Maverick Hunter for PSP and lastly Paro Wars for the PS1.
That’s a good haul, I’d say! Speaking of which, I also found a loose PAL PS1 for a very low price. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with two of these but despite needing a little clean up, it works. It’s also an older revision than the one I already have, having both the serial and parallel ports on the backside, so that’s interesting I guess.
Speaking of games, I also found collectable figures based on Galaxy Fraulein Yuna, so naturally I had to buy one. The price was a bit above what I wanted to pay but the seller was really nice and offered me to find the figure I wanted.
After assembly, I have to say that Yuna’s build quality is a bit shoddy, at least compared to collectable figures from more contemporary series, but really, when was the last time you saw Galaxy Fraulein Yuna merchandise? Thought so.
In terms of more classical anime/manga-con loot I secured two DVDs, the 1st Cardcaptor Sakura movie and a Japanese release of Di Gi Charat Nyo! volume 1.
Along with this I picked up two manga books, a free compilation of manga-styled short stories by Swedish artists and volume 4 of Master Keaton, which I dug out of a cardboard box of cheaply priced, to me, mostly unknown Japanese manga. No, I don’t have the 3 preceding volumes 😛 But my curiosity go the better of me and it was cheap. Speaking of cheap random pickups, I found this magazine called “CUT”. I guess it’s normally a movie/cinema-kind of magazine. This one had a Studio Ghibli feature (mostly interviews) so I thought that maybe could be interesting to flip through.
Last up is two CDs I picked up. The Tackey & Tsubasa Best collection (say whatever you want, some tracks are pretty good) was offered for a really good price in the mentioned attendees booth while I picked up Mai Otome/Z-HiME Best Collection from a normal seller.
Sadly, that turned out to be a bootleg. Bummer. The label “Miya Records” caught my eye and after getting home and comparing it to a scan off the real thing, the cat was out of the bag. Upon further inspection, I found two other CDs I’ve had for a while with the same label. Quality seems pretty great tho’, so that’s a good thing I guess.
Returning to the topic of UppCon for a bit, there were loads of cosplayers if that’s your thing 😛
My camera didn’t really take that many good shots, especially not during the actual cosplay competition, but there’s always this site if you’re interested. I also believe some of the other performances and events will be uploaded to youtube.
I think this might be a fitting picture with to end this post and also say goodbye to UppCon.
I was thinking of writing a few lines about the new anime season but I’m waiting for episode 2 of the shows I’m following, so that’ll have to wait. Instead, I’m going to do a little shoot-out here with two versions of the same game; 銀河お嬢様伝説ユナ (Ginga Ojou-sama Densetsu Yuna) or Galaxy Fraulein Yuna. I’m going to issue a 56k warning here 😀
I don’t have any proof, but quite I’m confident that a great many gamers and anime-fans haven’t heard of this particular title before. And I don’t blame them. With the third and last game released for the PS1 in 1998 and a series of OVAs released around the same time, Kagurazaka Yuna is indeed an icon of times past. There is a compilation of the first two games + sought after spin-off Ginga Fukei Densetsu Sapphire released for the PSP in Japan, 2008, but I’m not really counting that.
With artist Akitaka Mika at the helm, Galaxy Fraulein Yuna is a classic multimedia franchise, including everything you would expect; games, anime, CDs…the lot.
The plot revolves around the cute but somewhat ditzy 16-year old Kagurazaka Yuna, who just happened to win an intergalactic beauty contest (the Ginga Ojou-sama contest – hence the name) and with that suddenly became an idol, with all that entails. However, not only does she receive fame, but also the title of “Saviour of Light” and must do battle with evil forces – in this case, her rivals from said competition, who have had their hearts “stolen by darkness”.
And that’s the gist of it. Sounds corny to you? It is. But I think the game’s straightforwardness works in it’s favour.
The series started out on the PC Engine, with the first game released in 1992. It saw a re-relase (the one I have) with some additional content in 1995 and also a sequel. In 1996 the first game got a re-make on Saturn titled “Remix”. So, you’d imagine that the Saturn version is quite the upgrade from the, by then, 4 year old original version. After all, the Saturn is known as a 2D powerhouse and the large number of high quality adventure, visual novels & digital comics in it’s library certainly speaks in it’s favour.
But you’d be wrong. And in this comparison we will see why. Before we get to the screencaps, let’s compare the opening:
Now, I used Magic Engine (PCE) and SFF (Saturn) respectively in order to grab some screencaps, from the beginning to the first battle with jealous rival Kaede. I used emulation because I’ve got both systems hooked up to a CRT-screen at the moment and we all know how well that goes with photography. Right.
PC Engine-version (1992 – quite small so enlarge them in your browser or something)
While the Saturn version features anime-cutscenes in the more modern style the series adapted as it series went on, everything is a mess. Let’s be honest here, the Saturn never had any luck with FMVs (I blame bad codecs) and when they replaced the pixel art cutscenes with the handrawn ones, we’re well on our way to artefact central. Speaking of artefacts, around all character portraits, there’s this almost halo-like pixelation, or what looks like the result of a poor job with the magic wand tool in Photoshop. Not to mention that many character portraits are re-used from the PCE-version, and thus doesn’t match with the newer character design. Other casualties includes the backgrounds, which now looks like they were made in MS Paint – and I’m not joking. The map-screen, which is displayed when you change location in the PCE-version, is absent and so is almost the whole GUI. We’re left with a very bare bones interface with only a semi-transparent blue bar for text and character portraits.
While I appreciate that the game now runs in full screen, it all looks so amateurish. The battle system also gets an “upgrade”. What used to be merely a rock-paper-scissors kind of thing now also has 3 quickly changing stats (attack, shield & evade) which needs to be timed correctly for maximum effect. The idea itself is good but the result is lacklustre. It makes my eyes spin. Also, the grainy FMVs make their comeback during the battle.
In fact, the only thing that can actually be seen as an improvement in the Remix-version is bigger character illustrations and the sound, and even then it’s not a very big difference. Voices sound maybe a little less compressed and the music is no longer chip-generated, but whether that’s a good or bad thing is debatable. This time, it’s a bad thing because no one seemed to care enough about the music to really make it any better. The PCE version actually sounds a bit more distinctive.
If you think I’m hard on Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Remix, it’s because an improved version of a game released on 32-bit system, should not be inferior in almost every single way to the original version, released 4 years prior on what essentially is an 8-bit system. If they just had actually sat down and harnessed the power of the Saturn, it could’ve turned out a great remake.
Now, I do enjoy this particular franchise, and some day I should really pick up the third game for the PS1 or Saturn…and maybe the PC-FX version, should I manage to get my hands on one of those.
Omake content! (Season backdrops from the Saturn version’s calendar mode.)
And that’s that. See you next post!