dinsdag 28 maart 2023

The Quintessential Quintuplets volume 14 - Negi Haruba

 It is with heavy heart I started this book, as it means that when I finish this book my journey with the Nakano's will be over.

After loving the anime, the movie and now the manga, I must say I`m sold on the series for sure.
But it starts with quite a reveal, are they actually only Quadruplets on paper?

We ended the previous volume with Futaro having revealed which of the sisters he was truly in love with, and it was, just like all those years ago, Yotsuba.  The girl he met as he was younger in Kyoto and made him become the student he is today due to a vow they made.

Yotsuba says she always loved him, but feels incredible guilt towards her sisters as he picked her instead of one of them, trying to run away from Futaro.  but the sisters, each in their own way, go out to help the both of them and find happiness, to acknowledge their love for each other.  Yotsuba seeks out Nino to get her blessings for their relationship, but Nino tells her she will watch them like a hawk, swooping in to steal Futaro under her nose if she screws it up, which is sort of Nino's way of saying she approves.  Futaro and Itsuki overhear them, as they went into hiding when the others walked in, though Nino is aware they are present.

When Futaro finally takes her out on a date, he concludes it at the swings they enjoyed all that time ago, and proposes to her after he falls of the swing.  She accepts though, and as they start following all their own path's as school comes to an end, Futaro moves to Tokyo, with Yotsuba moving over a while later.

Five years later, Ichika returns to Japan from her auditions in the States, now a well-known actress.  She is picked up by Itsuki, who became a teacher like her mother, and they go to the cafe of Futaro's dad, which is now ran by Nino and Miku.

During their wedding speech, they thank everyone, especially their fathers.  It also shows how Futaro had to play the Quintuplets game one last time, and this time succeeding with flying colours.  As a result, Yotsuba says farewell to her green trademark ribbon, as she has found someone who can always tell her apart.  But the bond between Futaro and the sisters remain, as they all go off on honeymoon together...

And that is it, the manga is done, all the anime has been seen... it has been a great journey with the Nakano's, and I will miss this joyfull, innocent series for series!

maandag 27 maart 2023

Dies Irae: To The Ring Incarnation

 Okay, I wasn`t wild about the first season of Dies Irae in the least, but being the completionist that I am, I've slotted it in nevertheless on the D of this years personal anime challenge.

It's a bit confusing wether this is a season 2, a continuation of season one, or even a full new series, as the numbering is different on about every website.
Fact is, as season 1 wasn`t "that great" to put it mildly, it was taken of the air and the final 6 episodes released purely online.  With an expansion to it's name, yet following the original numbering, but labelled second season.  In other words, a bit of a mess... like the series itself in season 1. 

A plan is revealed for Kraft, who wants to appoint his successor, while still breaking the boundaries between our world and the heavens.  And as such, it is up to Ren to avoid this from happening.  Together with his allies, they have to figure out the secret of the Grail.

This goes as far as in a flashback, a heap of children are coldbloodedly executed to bring Father Reinhard back into Brenner's fold.  Back in the present, he faces Herr Heydrich's lackeys as he shows his true face and the Spear of Longinus, as well as acturally wearing the Grail as an armour as he is possessed by hatred for the past.  But when the grail is defeated, Heydrich reincarnates.

Ren and his companions swear to defeat him, as he starts the Dies Irae, the stealing of the souls of people.  This is done by a device called Valhalla that floats above the city.  But the power of the reincarnated Heydrich is not to be laughed at, leaving Ren unable to overcome him.  As his friends and himself try to take care of his servants first, they battle towards the goal, but at great costs as his friends suffer heavily in battle one by one.

Ren faces Heydrich once again, Heydrich drawing on the powers of his defeated servants as well.  Their fight draws out Karl, who declares he already had decided his successor, Heydrich stopping the fight and walking towards his final death at last.  Ren follows him, where they discuss fate and strength before engaging in the final attack.  His lover from the first season is chosen by Karl to become the new god of the world though, as both Ren and Heydrich gravely wound each other.  But it is Ren whose strike is the fatal one, bringing the souls back to the world.

The second season was (marginally) better then the first, but the CGI detracts a lot from it sadly.  It just doesn`t really work for anime in my opinion (last year's Shield Hero's turtle-god anyone?), but for the rest it was visually appeasing to be honest.  But it will remain a series I will mostly remember for the excellent end theme more then for the anime itself.

The Quintessential Quintuplets volume 13 - Negi Haruba

 The penultimate volume of this series that stole my otaku heart, as we keep continueing the journey of finding out who will eventually become Futaro's bride.

And we start by seeing the rest of the viewpoints of the remaining sisters.
Beginning with Miku, who wants to make peace between the girls and their pancake stand, and the boys with their takoyaki stall.  But when that suffers a mild fire, it is shut down by the school board, and Miku can convince the boys and girls to work together again at the pancake stand after she builds up the confidence, even after seeing Futaro with another girl.  After settling the food stand issue, she confronts Futaro on the girl, and once the misunderstanding has been cleared out, she kisses him.
The next girl who we relive the festival with is Yotsuba, who drowns herself in work as she accepts every request for help.  But as a result, she collapses and is brought to the hospital.  Futaro visits her, and conforts her that all her work is being taken care off, as people she helped before are now jumping in to help her out.  After the last day of the festival, she runs into an exhausted, half asleep Futaro.  Deciding to no longer relay on memories from the past, she decides to make new ones and kisses Futaro.
The final sister, Ituski, has been studying for a large part of the festival, determined to become a teacher like her mother.  But then a teacher of whom she attended a special lecture turns out to be their biological father, who left their mom when she got pregnant of the quintuplets.  He tries to convince Itsuki to give up on her dream of becoming a teacher like her mother was, telling her she didn't enjoy it.  Futaro goes to talk to her, convincing her to keep chasing that dream though.

Together with their stepfather and her sisters, she confronts him, telling the reason their mother lost her love for teaching was because of how he had hurt her, and that her daughters gave her hope.  She banishes him out of their lives, and with that resolved she tells Futaro is her inspiration.  But she doesn't kiss him like the other did.

The five of them realize that between them, they can overcome any issue, before each going to a different classroom to wait for Futaro, who will come to the one he chose.  As the festival ends, he enters one of the rooms, where his bride to be is waiting for him.


So the choice has been made, and that leaves only a single book left now in the series.  I don`t know yet though if I`ll dive into it next, or wait a short while to lenghten the idea of it all endind some more though...

zondag 26 maart 2023

The Haul Report 356: the earth shakes!

 Nope, not anime loot this week.

Instead, a true classic fell into my lap during a trade, and which will be part of a resurgent project.

Yes, I`m rebuilding and updating my Dawi Zharr, aimed to participate in a 3.500 points tournament at the end of october for the 9th Age.

And of course, this beauty shall be included in the force as a Titan Mortar, now to await my round bases to arrive as apparently in those rules, they are mounted as such.

Benefit of T9A is well known, the rules are free, they only evolve without overhaul, and it is basically the 9th edition of good old beloved Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

And I also received a small parcel from Germany, containing the needed round bases for war machines in T9A... 

Now to build and paint this machine of legend...

zaterdag 25 maart 2023

On the Painting Desk 226: first layers completed and the start of an army

 So we got some painting in the past week, and that means the first layer of Hurricane is now done.

Starting soonish on the second, I can begin adding depth to the model, and work out the contrasts better to liven up it's current blandness.

But that will depend for a lot on how much time I can spend, as it are busy times at the moment.

The other model I have been working on, Zephyrantes, also has it's first layer now finished.  But as these small models are only two tones, some good progress will hopefully be made on him in his next session.

Apart from continuing to work on them, I also began painting on the 1/400 scale samples I received for MechaTop a while ago, and namely on the M61 battle tanks. 

 Okay, so I put a deadline unto myself, in order to finish a 3.500 points Infernal Dwarf army by the last sunday of october when a tournament happens at TSA.

So to that end, I`m trying to get at least one hour or painting time in every evening, and I made good progress as a result.

The first unit I want to complete are the six Kadim Incarnate's for the force, and the first three are nearing completion, with one already done bar basing and varnishing, and the others only needing the yellow outlining.

I also began painting on the other three, cycling a figure every evening to avoid monotonous work.  As a result, they are all at a different stage right now, but making good progress.
At this rate, I'll get them done in I estimate two weeks, considering next weekend I`ll be at a tattoo convention for a new piece on my body...
So check back in the next instalment to see what I actually managed to get done!

vrijdag 24 maart 2023

Control Z season 3

 The third and final season of this mexican teen drama series, and as we jump forward 15 months, they still have to cope with the accident that killed the director of the school.

And to make matters worse, the body had dissappeared, and the All Your Secrets account is back online...

Sofia and Javier are now a couple, Natalia and Maria have moved out of town due to the drug affair, Gerry is serving in a juvenile detention center... and they are on the brink of graduation now.  This led to them making a pact, that no-one would ever tell what happened.  The body had been mysteriously moved and classified suicide, so no-one knows.  Or is there, because All Your Secrets is back and vows to bring it all out.  Of course, everyone suspects Raul being back to his old habits, but he denies.

When Pablo is called a few times by a strange number, convinced it is Maria, Sofia and Javier go out to investigate, and find it is actually Natalia, telling them her sister is dead, drowned in the sea.  Claudia is found out to be having a relation with the arts teacher, but as Raul is the next victim of AYS he involuntarily causes an accident that gravely injures Pablo.

One of Javier's teammates is put into a wheelchair as they do a mix-up between him and Javier, as Natalia confesses she was send by AYS to spy on them and give their whereabouts, in exchange to finding out what drove Maria.  Gerry is taken to a LGBT+ assembly by Luis's mother, where he can come to terms with his feelings.  

Back at Sofia's house, Javier and Natalia get close again, but just as they are about to kiss he backs out, confessing to her his and his father's role in hiding Susana's body, but a drone has recorded everything.  Sofia discover that her father has another family outside theirs, leaving her heartbroken.  After confronting him, she decides that him serving his time is enough punishment for her father, and she leaves him behind in jail.  As she contacts the hacker, he forces them to each turn one of the group in for their crime.  

They learn AYS is not a hacker, but a collective that was inadvertetly founded by Bruno when he posted his grievances on a forum.  But he has lost control over them and now they keep taking it further and furtherm kidnapping Raul and forcing him to make a fake confession of him being AYS once again.  Gerry, being beaten up by his homophobic inmates, is allowed to serve his sentence from home.  But as he has no contact with his family, he is saved by Luis's mother who wants to be his guardian and guide him through those months.  

When Ernesto, who barely can handle computers, won a contest she realises he has been in the loop, and confronts him.  He confesses to Sofia that in exchange for a hefty sum, he just had to put his name under some files and tap the school computer, as the collective could get their hands on their data that way.  As the graduation ceremony approaches, Gerry seeks out the group notifying them someone is using Raul's profiles.  They go and free Sofia, who was captured by Bruno when seeking him out, and Raul from the cult. 

As they go to the school festival, Sofia gives a speech, but in doing that she also confesses to everyone what they did and how they where involved.  They are sentenced to community service.  A few months later, Sofia and Javier meet, who has made a theory it was still all raul behind it.  Sofia laughs it away, before going outside and driving off with Raul on his motorcycle...

Okay, so this wasn`t a bad series at all, but for some reason a stomach feeling still tells me that 1. Raul is behind it all but also 2. that Sofia is involved in the master plan as well.  But that will be one of those theory things that we will never know in the end...

donderdag 23 maart 2023

Tau SEED Destiny project: ZGMF-1001/M Blaze Zaku Phantom Heine Westenfluss custom

 It has been "a while", as in over a year, since I did an update on my budding Tau battlesuit force inspired and painted by my beloved Gundam SEED Destiny series.

But, I completed recently the third suit for my bodyguard crisis suit team.

Based on the third member of the Zaft elite team alongside Lunamaria Hawke and Ray Za Burrel, this mostly orange tinted mobile suit was piloted by the late Heine Westenfluss.  A brave warrior and capable and skilled officer, he met his end when outmatched by the Freedom gundam.

For the suit, I went with dual Burst cannons, and a multi-tracker for even more possible hits against rank and file units like cultists or guardsmen, to allow the other suits in the team to take on the juicer targets.  For even more low power mass volume firepower, he is joined by two gun drones to boot.

So that completes the bodyguard team, and in the current points cost system the force is now nearly ready for a 1000 point outing, just needing to finish, as in go beyond the undercoat, a single suit and it's drones.


The Inspiration

I based the paint scheme on the mostly orange suit of Heine ofcourse, specifically his Blaze Zaku Phantom, even though he also piloted a Gouf Ignited in the same coulours.  But as the other two piloted Zaku's, this seemed more appropriate.

Now to get that force finished and get a game in hopefully this summer...

woensdag 22 maart 2023

The Quintessential Quintuplets volume 12 - Negi Haruba

 The highlight of the school year is upon Futaro and the sisters, as the school festival has arrived.

And while it will be their last event together, they decide to give it their all and enjoy it to the fullest.

But first, they must decide what they will organise as food stalls, settling on both Miku's and Nino's idea of what to serve.  Miku takes Futaro along to the aquarium, where she tells him she wants to attend cooking school, even though she is afraid he would refute it seeing her good grade.  But he tells her that whatever they decide to do, they have his full support.

When he returns home, he finds Itsuki there, bringing along vouchers for them to the festival.  As he walks her home, she confides in him that no matter what failures life might bring in their future, they where happy to have met him as it allowed them to grow into their own individuals.

Futaro calls them all together, telling them he loves all 5 of them and wished this could last forever.  But he will tell them his descision once the school festival ends, so they can keep the focus for now on the event.  But as Futaro is spotted with another girl, they don`t know what to think.  This is actually Takebayashi, a friend from elementary school that came to see how he did in high school, and who used to be Futaro's tutor.

The story shifts to the points of views of each of the sisters, and how they went through the school festival, starting with Ichika.  After snealing into the festival to avoid fans, she and Futaro help a young boy finds his mother again in the masses.  As they take an evening walk, she wants to know if Futaro has figured out already which of them kissed him at the bell that time, even kissing him herself before confessing this was the very first time she kissed a boy.

Next, Nino takes the center as she is looking for their father, to whom she had send an invitation for the festival.  When they run into Futaro's father, who turns out that he not only landed his son the tutoring job, but also was in school with the quints's dad, Futaro tells him he wants to say to their father his mind.  But thanks to the broadcasting club, it turns out their dad did come, but was called away.  Futaro collects his motorcycle and takes Nino to him in the hospital.

She bakes him pancakes like their mother used to do, using Miku's batter and telling him she wants him closer in their lives.  He tells Futaro he is actually glad he hired him for his daughters.  But as they leave, Nino pulls him in and kisses him.

And so we are a volume closer to the conclusion of this series, with only two books left to go sadly...

dinsdag 21 maart 2023

Control Z season 2

 Back to back with season 1, Noshi and me watched the second season of this Mexican teen drama.

And it seems that after a fast forward of 2 months, the death of Luis isn`t over yet.
During a funeral ceremony at the Nacional School his account suddenly comes to life posting one cannot bury the past.  Soon various students involved directly or indirectly, like the (gorgeous) lesbian student Alex, are assaulted by an unknown revenger.
Sofia and Javier are out to discover the identity, and in doing so learn that Raul is housing the fugitive Gerry who was the one that killed Luis.  At the same time, Nati, who started dealing drugs to make up for her debts, finds herself in problems as her stock was lost and now she has to pay up, her partner in it, Jordi, fleeing.  All the while, her twin sister struggles with an unwanted pregnancy as she was the one Isabella's (the trans girl from season 1 that now moved to the States) boyfriend cheated with.

Sofia and her mother are removed from their house now that her father is still alive, and move in with the principal.  Her father wants to talk with her mother, but she has called the police and he is arrested as they meet.  Luis mom's house is put on fire by an unknown assailant when Sofia and Javier are there to look for clues.

While the attacks continue and it turns out Maria had been lying to Pablo, not telling him she had an abortion, Gerry starts coming to terms with himself for being gay.  But in Sofia's efforts to get information out of the still manipulative Raul, Javier and Nati find comfort with each other and start becoming an item.  He offers to help her out any way he can, but she decides to try to find a sugar daddy, her first date ending with Javier's dad.

While Sofia and Raul try to locate Gerry, they find out he went to a queer club, where he meets with a bartender he previously encountered in a gaybar.  As he makes his escape from them, he goes to Felipe, and they make love to each other as he starts coming out of the closet.  As they go back to his appartment, Raul and Sofia sleep together and he promises her to not lie anymore.  But Raul is tased by the avenger, and he steals all the money from Raul's vault.

While the news get out that Raul and Sofia harbour Gerry, the former principal Quintanilla is attacked by bees on the toilet.  Afterwards, Sofia confronts her mother she had her father locked up in jail, before getting hold of Luis's drawings whom all tell the tale of how he would take revenge on the others, understanding the pattern now that the avenger is following.  In a flashback, it is shown Luis had made a drawing for Gerry which he really liked, but under the pressure of Dario and Ernesto, as well as his homophobic father, Gerry lashes out to Luis instead, starting to bully him even though he was genuinly moved by the drawing.  He goes to Luis's mother, and tells her he will be turning himself in as he is wracked with guilt.  

Javier discover his father and Nathalia making out, though this is part of a plan gone wrong to get the money by the twin sisters, leaving her behind in anger.  Gerry and Raul are trying to trick the avenger, and are brought to the school's roof, where it turns out to be none other then Alex.  But Sofia and Javier intervene and can bring her to her senses.  Susanna shows up and wants to keep the money for herself, falling from the roof and to her death... 

So that was an unexpected avenger, though I did figure it out when she suddenly had money to support herself instead of living off from her partner in the 6th episode.  Now, one more season to go of this suprisingly fun series.