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!
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.
Went a little shopping around on eBay for once – didn’t know you could find cool books like these on there for prices that doesn’t cost X amount of limbs or your eternal soul. Or both. Generally, I only buy electronics & the occasional game from eBay, and I know what things can cost there sometimes – the word “eBay gauging” wasn’t coined for nothing.
Man, taking photos of artbooks like these is a pain, some even needed a little bit of photoshopping afterwards to make them readable.
For the keen-eyed reader, there’s two MM-games in there as well: Rockman EXE 2 (Mega Man Battle Network 2) and Rockman DASH 2 (Mega Man Legends 2). I’ve played both of these before and the reason for getting them is a bit…weak, perhaps but why not. I’ve played through MMBN 2 a few times before using the excellent VisualBoyAdvance emulator, but I’ve felt a craving for the early MMBN-games again recently. So, I thought that I could try to play them “for real” this time, on real hardware & no save-states, and then in Japanese for kicks just to see how far I will get.
As for Rockman DASH 2…well, I already have it for PC and I’ve actually reached what I believe to be the final boss BUT, I’m sort of stuck. The controls are a bit wonky, the added mouse-support really can become problematic sometimes. Soo, maybe it will go better with the PS1-controller…not sure, but I’m happy to have it anyway.
Now for the good stuff~! They say a picture can convey a thousand words, and I can’t be arsed to write that many words. Picture spam imminent!
GALL FORCE MOOK*
The fighting gallant girls
GHOST IN THE SHELL OFFICIAL ART BOOK
3D action-shooting game for PlayStation
PATLABOR – Pulsation
Dragon Magazine Special**
Maybe, just maybe, this amount of photos is a bit overdoing it : |
* “Mook”, in this context, refers to a book styled and laid out similar to that of a magazine.
** While Wikipedia says that Dragon Magazine is a publication mainly for light-novels, they have released a number of artbooks as well. I have another one, featuring art from Michitaka Kikuchi (Silent Möbius, Borgman) and I’ve seen some for Slayers as well. The ones I have are very good, so keep a look out!
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. : /
This is my latest haul. The artbooks are by Makino Ryuuichi and Kikuchi Michitaka (also known as Asamiya Kia) respectively. They’re both very nice, though Ryuuichi’s got plenty of saucy content I wasn’t aware of. I don’t really mind though :p
The LD for Gundam 8th MS Team (contains the first two episodes) came with a nice folder/booklet & fold out poster to go with it, which can be studied below.
Other than that, there’s two more soundtracks from Namco Game Sound Express-series as well as some games for PC Engine & one PS1 game : ) That ought to keep me busy….I hope?
…56k warning? 😀
(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