dinsdag 30 november 2021

What I Painted in November 2021

 So, this has been quite a while since I did a monthly round up of painted models, but I picked up my brsh again this month.

Nothing nearly as immense in volume as I used to do, but just some pure enjoyment for my own this month.

And the first model in half a year I completed was a 1/400 scale gundam, the Blitz.

Total tally for the month: 1 model.

maandag 29 november 2021

Violet Evergarden The Movie

 Well prepared with a box of tissues, Noshi and me sat down to watch the conclusion of the Violet Evergarden anime phenomena.

Because take my word for it, this is a piece of art.  The whole franchise is gutwrenching, will touch you to the core, is beautifully drawn and animated (those eyes!) and has a melancholic, awesome soundtrack.

As telephone is taking over more and more, the Auto memory Doll service is dwindling down, people writing less letters.  However, Violet gets a call from a young, terminally ill, boy who would love her to write letters to his parents, younger brother and best friend to tell them how much he loved them the moment he passes.

She writes the first three already, when a letter in the return to sender warehouse gets noticed by Hodgins.  It's send from a small remote island, in the handwriting of the long lost and presumed dead major Gilbert, the man Violet loves so much.  Together with Violet they sail to him, but they find an embittered man, rejecting Violet.

The boy passes away in the meantime, but he can speak his final letter through the telephone thanks to Violet's collegues, as Violet prepares to return to the mainland.  But after a lecture by his older brother, Gilbert realizes his errors and manages to just catch up with her, sealing their love and living out their lives on the island.

Another crying galore movie for sure, with the drama of the young boy on the one hand, and the joy of the reunion at last.  The movie also gives that good closing vibe, as a lot of side character stories are resolved, and we now know how it all ends, and it is a happy ending for once...

Greatly recommended like the rest of the franchise, and I said it above, Violet Evergarden is a work of art!

zondag 28 november 2021

Pas op voor de kleine

 Yesterday evening, Noshi and me finally got to the theatre again, something we couldn`t do due to the little warrior and the Covid restrictions since our citytrip to London... back in 2019.

And we went for a comedy play in a local small "cafe theatre" Multatuli.  You know, those playhouses that can seat about 50 people in a cosy little theatre, and watch a production there.

The play we selected, which is the title of this post of course, translates about "watch out with the baby" and handles about the behaviour around a little guy, from his first day to about the period he became one year old.

During this year, some events happen, like the grandparents, who are both single, becoming a couple.  Now, apart from that part, I must admit both of them very, VERY strongly remind me of my own parents, aka Thorin's grandparents, and as a result it was double fun.  People might think how those two behaved, it might be overplay, but I can vouch... no it isn't.

I nearly wet myself when the baby stated "yes, saved by den Bompa!" .  Wait, the baby stated???  You see, in this play, the baby is giving comments to events giving on like in a true Look Who's Talking style, even becoming a war reporter when it comes out that the father had a short lived fling with the babysitter.  

Add to the mix the distrustful of men best friend of the mother, and you get a lovely selection of pretty "typical" characters that most families have left or right, but now thrown together into one household, with a little munchkin thinking a lot of "oh my God's" in the process.

So a very fun piece to watch, especially if you are from Antwerp, otherwise you might miss the dialect puns of some of the jokes though.

I just wonder if Thorin is thinking those things as well though... well, apart from the Saved by den Bompa part, because I KNOW he thinks that for certain...

zaterdag 27 november 2021

The Haul Report 299

 Yay, our 13th month was already deposited by my boss the past week, really early this year.

And while it mostly went into the savings account, as well as some Chirstmas presents, I decided to grab some small treat in the form of some manga for myself as well.

My first stop to that end was Akiba in the Antwerp Central Station, where I picked up issue 6 of Gigant (now to find 5 first), as well as the first volume of my "guilty pleasure", the Quintessential Quintuplets.  

But going outside I spotted this in their gashapon machines, so two turns later I also had rubber keychains of Mash Kyrielight and Ishtar.

I also dropped by over at Mekanik Strip, to see for some more manga, and picked up the first two volumes of Saintia Sho.

In the "investment game" I talked about last episode, I picked up some Weiss Schwarz booster packs, which I found in a belgian online store at only 3 euro each, about -50% of their current value on Cardmarket.  The goal is to flip them and with those profits gets some more of the Date A Live ones I'm trying to complete.

Noshi also suprised me with a nice bookmark of No Game No Life she bought of Etsy, and that came with some extra sticker freebies as well.  It's gorgeous and will be used for my manga reading for sure!

So yes, a pretty awesome week it was for certain!

vrijdag 26 november 2021

Unboxing Himiko Toga nendoroid

 My most recent pre-order that arrived from Ami Ami, and it is our cute little psychopath from the League of Villains, Toga.

This evil lady from Boku No Hero Academia is a shapeshifter, but she can only do it as she ingests the blood of the ones she wants to replace.

So yeah, that makes her a pretty outthere sort of villainess, as her quirk didn`t really suit a career as a super hero.  The nendoroid was released in oktober, and with my shipping options always combining near the end of the month, she came in in the beginning of november.

So time to unbox her and pick the equipment and pose I wanted to put her in!

A really cute model, she now goes in the shelves of the anime cabinet.  She is the second nendoroid I purchased (the first was 02 from Darling in the Franxx) and I must say I`m really warming up to these cute little action dolls.  I can certainly say more will be added over time!

The next one on pre-order to be released being Nanachi from Made in Abyss, somewhere in the coming weeks actually...

donderdag 25 november 2021

Violet Evergarden Gaiden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll

 As I`m catching up with Noshi on all the Violet Evergarden material, next on the list was this side story movie.

Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll takes place during the series, and it is another gutwrencher, be warned.

Violet is recruited to become the private teacher of Isabella York, daughter of a magnate in a private girl school.  Here she is groomed to become a debutante, and then married to a rich aristocrat.  But she rather sees it as a golden prison, because she carries a deep secret.

She grew up in poverty, under the name Amy Bartlett.  One day, she takes in a young girl, Taylor, and makes her her little sister, no matter how few she can offer the child bar love and protection.  But when her biological father shows up, the sisters are separated and bar a letter to Taylor, they have no more contact.

Three years forward, and Taylor has ran away from the orphanage to become a postal worker.  That way, she can hopefully bring hapiness to people like Field did to her when he delivered the letter.  She writes a letter to Amy, and goes off to deliver it together with her teacher Field, but she knows she can`t see her big sister.

This leads to a heartbreaking moment as Amy reads the letter and cries from happiness knowing her little sister is alright.  But unbeknowst to her, Taylor is barely meters away, swearing that one day she shall deliver her own letters to Amy...

Yup, another highscorer on the tearjerking scale for certain, but this one has a rather happy ending, as the farewells aren`t finite this time round in the story.

Recommended for anyone loving this most beautiful of anime made the past decade... if you can stand the emotional rollercoaster.

woensdag 24 november 2021

Violet Evergarden Special

 Noshi teary eyed caught up on the main series of Violet Evergarden, so we started watching all the extra stuff for this beautiful drama series.

Starting with the so-called "episode 14", a special released a while after the original series ended.

Asked by a famous opera singer, Violet is enlisted to write a love letter.  She has to ask her collegues on how to do this, even writing her own feelings down.
But the letters are rejected by Irma, and she has to find a way to get through to her to bring her feelings on paper:  her lost love, and how she wants a letter to incorporate into her newest production, as she can`t face her feelings.

In the spirit of the series, another romatic episode, though this one isn`t as tear-jerking drama as some of the main episodes where.  Well, apart from that song at the end...

Still, it's time they bring out a figure of Violet, I would so be on the front row to pre-order her...

dinsdag 23 november 2021

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid Specials

 It's a thing to be honest lately.

Every anime seems to have it's chibi specials included on DVD / BluRay boxes as specials.  Or you can find them on YouTube for example.

And Miss Kobayashi is no different, with this 7 episode series of short stories on them.
In these shorties, we get a heap of fun little situations, like why the OO are in the name.  That way, the dragons can insert any words they like to make all kinds of short jokes.

It's a fun in between for the series if you like the characters, but of course these aren't required watching for the series at all, just some good simple fun.

maandag 22 november 2021

MechaTop Strategy Guide

 A PDF I got together with my Kickstarter bundle, this is a guide on the in and out's the game developpers and playtester's experienced during the games creation.

Presented in a 72 page file, it features some helicopters going in on the assault on the cover.
The book is divided into four sections: the introduction, the types of opponents, the pilots and finally the final considerations.
Starting with The Introduction, we get a view into all kinds of things, ranging from the composition of a team over the special attack abilities to the twist card deck.
All the steps are in the sequence as you would encounter them during a game of MechaTop, making it easy to keep track of what findings could be applied when in a game.  It covers things as how to best deploy, how to use good upgrades, what combination of types might be best suited, ...
Truly a great chapter, and one that provides an awful lot of handy insights, like a good strategy guide should all be about after all.
The Type of Opponent chapter talks about the generic sorts of players usually found in games, and especcially the archetypes suited for MechaTop.  It talks about how to play the role, but also the best strategies to be used when playing that "style" of force / game.  Yeah, I would fall in the Sniper archetype btw, I always prefer bombarding my enemies, and have a unit as "ablative armour" around.

But it also covers all the other types in depth of course,  and the guide takes a look at the most common mecha that where used in playtesting, on how they perform, their strengths, but also how to take them out the most efficient way.

The same goes for the The Pilots section (Nuclear Progeny ofc, because we all want to be New Types) as every aspect of them and their unique skills is looked at.  Mind you, the guide only looks at the basic three types from the rulebook, not the additional pilot types introduced in the Campaign book.

In the Final Considerations, it is just all about that, some things you might want to take in consideration left and right as they don`t specifically fit the above sections.

So that's the Strategy Guide, a good read to give some ideas on tactics and all that can be used in the game.  It's not recommended material to enjoy the game, but it is some great additional material to the source to immerse oneself some bit further in it.

zondag 21 november 2021

The Haul Report 298: back in the game!

 No, not the actual playing of the game, but the investment game that is.

And to test the waters, I grabbed a duo of the new Fusion Strike boosters, the packs with the coins and promo foil evolution tree.

Now let's see what this will be doing in a few months down the line, and gradually stock up on various cardgames again like Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon.

Talking Pokemon, I also got these lovely stickers from Ko-Fi.

Those are pretty cute and will happily go on my sticker collection spots.

zaterdag 20 november 2021

On the Painting Desk 196

 Not figures, but I did manage to get some work done on the Quintuplets project.

During the past weekend, I coloured in the skintones.

They might have been a bit paler, but I`m still searching for some better suited anime skintones, though I learned with the Miraj Nikki one these tones turned out fine on that one.

I guess I`ll have to see how it evolves as more colours get added, and how the contrast will work then.

vrijdag 19 november 2021

New Gods: Nazho Reborn

 Recently, Noshi and me sat down one evening and put on this film from Netflix.

A chinese animated movie, it aired in february this year initially.

Donghai City is ravaged by a great draught, and has been like that for decades.  Lin Yunxiang, a courier and smuggler, tries to make out a living in these harsh conditions.  When one day he runs into the third son of the largest crimeboss, he becomes embroiled in affairs beyond his understanding.

It turns out he is the recent incarnation of Nazho, a mischievious god and slayer of demons and dragons.  He gets the power to use fire, to great extend, but suddenly finds himself and his friends and family the target of attacks by otherworldly creatures.  The crime boss is in reality Ao Guang, leader of the dragon clan and wanting to overthrow the old gods to create a new pantheon under his rule.

Aided by a mysterious masked man, believed to be the Six-Eared Macaque, but in reality the Monkey King himself, Lin takes on the challenge to bring back peace to the land and overthrow the evil machinations once and for all.  In doing so, he looses his father, while his best friend gets heavily wounded in the whole affair.  He blames himself, because while not being the cause, he finds himself responsible for the bad things happening as it is fall-out for the hunt on him.

An entertaining film with a nice turn on a classic story, this was a good watch for a lazy saturday evening.  A sequel is planned for 2022, but the end credits also show some various other gods "hinted at" so perhaps this might turn into some sort of chinese Avengers universe franchise?

Some more research seems to be required on that part!

donderdag 18 november 2021

Red Light

 A high prestige flemish / dutch television series, Red Light goes about the trafficing of prostitutes between Antwerp and Amsterdam.

Starring Carice Van Houten (Mellisandre from Game of Thrones), it is fun to see how my GF's old appartment block seemingly is a large brothel.

Well, tourists coming for that are going to be in for a large disappointment...

The series revolves around three women: an elderly prostitute that finds out her lover and pimp is actually using her, as he has a nice homely family, a young police detective struggling with an alcohol addicition, and an opera singer who is searching for her missing husband, a university professor.  When his body is found in the Schelde, his wife goes to look for him, coming into contact with Sylvia, the prostitute.  The latter is pregnant from her pimp, and against his wishes decides to hold the baby.

Slowly but surely the women get closer entertwined, as Sylvie tells Esther the baby is her husband's, and that he was madly in love with her.  Evy on the other hand tracks her down in the Netherlands as they flee to an another villa outside Amsterdam, pursued by Ingmar and his hitman.  In the house, the three women come together just as Ingmar arrives.
We learn that Evy's partner at the police force, Sam, is actually on the payroll of the trafficers, and has been relaying the information Evy send him.  The whole thing plays out a bit, well, far fedged if you ask me in the series finale, and I must say I have seen better flemish series so far...

Now, no matter how fine the series is, about 20 years ago there was another series about this topic, Matroesjka's, and Red Lights really pales compared to that.  Ingmar, the pimp, is like a thin copy of the legendary character Ray Van Mechelen, as are his cronies.  To be honest, around episode 4 it lost it's raunchyness and became more of a hotch-potch, loosing my attention.  Heck, I guess in the end the only thing that I`ll remember is the excellent opening music, Control, performed by Warhaus.

While enjoyable ar first, if you seen the older series, this one isn`t shocking or revelating at all...

woensdag 17 november 2021

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid episode 14 - Valentine's Special

 Released a while after the regular 13 episode series, this was a special made for Valentine's Day and known as "episode 14" as such.

And it is a nice little fun adventure based of course around Tohru's love and affection for Miss Kobayashi.

She has decided that in order to win her love over, she is going to use a love potion!  But what better way to disguise this then add it to some homemade chocolates she made for the occassion.

But the plan fails, but that doesn't mean there are more opportunities when the dragons go on a trip to the hot springs and revell in the festivities.

So yeah, this was a nice little special, and a good "run up" to the second season that was released this year.

dinsdag 16 november 2021

Gigant volume 4 - Hiroya Oku

 Alas, for me so far the final volume I have in my possession of this series, I guess I need to do some shopping soonish.

But, the tale of pornstar turning giantess continues!
As the giants keep roaming Tokyo, the Japanese Self Defence Force gets it all more or less under control, until a huge robot appears.  They manage to topple it, but at a great loss, and the cries to release Chiho from prison to battle the appearances rises higher and higher.  When three Lord of Destruction's appear, Chiho is taken out of prison and brought to the field of battle.
While she gets overpowered initially against the three Lords of Destruction, she manages to collect herself and defeat the first one of them by once again growing to large size inside his body...

Now, while I still love this series, one word of critique perhaps for this particular volume is that it contains a lot of huge, multipanel battlescenes.  As a result, that means lots of large pages with barely any text, and you will go through this particular volume in no time as such.
But, I still look forward to get my hands on the next issue!


maandag 15 november 2021


 The latest boys only weekend and evening "me and the boy time" anime, I opted for the 24 episode long Blassreiter series this time.

A series from 2008, this also makes use of CGI heavily for it's high chase combat sequences, and I must say, I have seen faaaaar worse in anime.  Because for some reason, animation and CGI doesn`t really seem to blend well so far.
Modern day Germany is plagued by Demoniacs, lifeforms that can fuse with technology and run havoc.  XAT is a special team created to counter the threat, but they are also aided by some mysterious Amalgam, a species that fused and has total control of it's conscience and abilities, like Joseph Jobson. When Gerd, a professional motorracer, gets in an accident, he becomes paralyzed.  But a mysterious woman offers him a way out, to also become an Amalgam and fight the demoniacs.  But soon it turns out that he doesn`t have complete control after all...
Malek, the adopted brother of XAT agent Amanda, is being bullied in the meantime, going even that far that his friend Johann commits suicide over it.  This leaves him with a strong hatred towards people.

While it briefly seems under control, he only wishes to race his best friend one last time.  When he goes berserk again though, it comes down to Joseph to stop him once and for all, as Gerd had requested him himself when he threatens Malek.  Malek is offered the choice to become an Amalgem himself, the moment it is found out that XAT leader Wolf Goring has been infected by the nanovirus himself, and learns that amongst all the chosen, one will become the ultimate amalgem, the Blassreiter.

Malek kills the students bullying him, and Joseph flees with him.  An amalgem called Xargin appears, severly wounding the two before XAT arrives.  Malek passes away in the arms of Amanda as Joseph is taken in custody.  When Hermann and Amanda are incarcerated for digging to deep, a mass of amalgam's is raised and attacks the base.  Making use of the newest bike turns mecha Paladins, they take the battle to the enemy.  But after their base gets infected, nearly everyone of their unit falls except for Amanda.

Joseph and the XAT survivors team up, as he tells Amanda the tragic tale of his youth and how he and Xagin became  aquintances.  They meet and team up with the Apocalypse Knights, a secret force created for the endgame against the amalgams.  When Hermann, her partner and presumed dead, shows up again as an amalgam that retained his humanity, they pair up once more to help out the Knights and bring down Wolf and Xargin... and get help defeating Wolf from a very, very unexpected source.

Amanda finds Malek again, who like others survived after all due to being an Amalgam, as Xargin meets his long lost and presumed dead sister.  The pieces fall in place slowly and surely, as loyalties and ideologies waver...

On a story level, this truly was a good anime series, but unfortunatly the still rather crude CGI for those days detract a bit of the quality of the series after more then a decade.  But, don`t let that stop you from giving this series a go!


zondag 14 november 2021

Breaking News: Back to the old Template

 Well, for now at least.

I tried (and loved) the Date-A-Live Template I have been using the past 6 months, but there where some Firefox related issues.

Apart from the fact that most of the "writing" in the blog had to be done in HTML, which gave errors at times, it also gave some faults with the Firefox transferrences:

* It didn`t show italics and bolds when I opened it up in my browser
* The links of my affiliate stores went haywire at times
* It didn`t link the post mini picture to my social accounts.
* the colours where off compared to the older ones in the sidebar.

So I tried to fix those things over the past months, but with limited free time to tinker it in detail, let alone refresh my whole course of html programming from years ago, I threw in the towel for now and restored the old template.

Though I am going to be using this one as a "base" to finetune some colours and images over the coming weeks!

The Haul Report 297

 More MechaTop this week, as I finally got round to buy the three DLC campaigns, whom are in PDF format and available from their online store HERE.

So I now have all three supplements, being Challenge, Gaia's Revenge and Francesca Rescue, and whom I`ll be having a look at on this blog in the near future.

My Raphtalia pre-order from Pop Up parade also arrived at Nendo Addicts, so I picked her up this week.  Now me and Noshi can exchange pre-order figures at last with each other, she gets a Rapthalia, and I get a Naofumi for our collection.

An Ami-Ami parcel also dropped in this week, containing my nendoroid of Himiko Toga.  Because we all love our little psycho cuties, don't we.

Finally to fall on the doorstep, was the latest prize from TokyoCatch, the Hatsune Miku villain version.

Seems I can make a few unboxing videos after this week for sure :-)

zaterdag 13 november 2021

Unboxing Hatsune Miku Villain version Noodlestopper

 Okay, so I`m not that big a fan of noodlestopper figures, but when this Miku showed up on the various online crane game apps that I frequent, I just had to try and catch her.

And after a few days of trying, I got her through TokyoCatch.  Shipping and import costs later, and she is ready to be unboxed!

Because she looks really awesome as a villainess, with the eyes, wings and dragon tail, this was something that just appealed to me from the moment I saw her appearing.  the evil yet kawaii vibe she gives off is immens, and to that end I gladly displayed her.

Now, will I manage to catch more figures this year?  The look in her eyes at least compel's me to do so for sure!

vrijdag 12 november 2021

MechaTop Campaign Book

 After an initial review of the rules PDF last year (I have the hard copy now), it's time to start indulging myself in earnest into the game.

And the first thing of DLC add-ons, and part of my intitial Kickstarter, to review, is the PDF version of the Campaign Book.

And that is a hefty 102 page file, featuring a gorgeous rendition of the Shinjaku on the cover.

The book is divided into three sections: New Pilot Classes, the Campaign Definition, and the actual MechaTop Campaign, which obviously takes the largest part of the book.

The first section, the New Pilot Classes, features 9 classes.  These are Ace of Combat, Builder, Cyborg, Fanatic, Leader, Mercenary, Nuclear Progeny, Son of War and Veteran.  These offer enough variation to recreate every character from your universe of choice, and make teams for example from the Gundam franchise actually behave as their pilots would have.

They then proceed with all the specific new skills for the pilot classes, and whose skills can usually be bought in any preferred order for the XP costs indicated for a skill.  All classes have subskills in their skill trees, so you can go for a total rookie with perhaps one skill, or a single suit with a pilot skilled out to the max.  Every class of course also has one class specific ability to differentiate them even more from each other, and these aren`t obtainable by the other classes.

The Campaign Definition is just that, a series of reasons and motivations why it would be fun to play the actual campaign system.  It also takes a look at how campaigns can evolve, and how to keep balance more or less sustained during a campaign.  A chart is included to define the victory of the campaign, and how to be able to obtain it, as well as the campaign finale scenario which includes all players of all factions.
There are also rules for a survival style campaign, where your players face off using a fixed pool of models, until these dry up and you get knocked out of the campaign.

And then we move on to the biggest part of the book, the actual MechaTop Campaign.  This is a huge campaign in which the player takes the frontrow seat in the timeline, reliving all the battles and events in the history of the setting.  The campaign book is planned to be a trilogy, and this included the first 24 stories.

All battles are "historical scenario's" and it is suggested to try and use, or proxy, as much as possible the actual models for the games.  It takes some weird angles (for the better), the very first scenario being the actual RX-78-2 at Yokohama being taken into use, meaning you pilot a squad of F14's to stop the giant Mecha.  The whole campaign is laid out as one big story (hence the size of this portion) with pictures, artwork and more.  Progressively, you work yourself through the story, taking control of different mecha and "AI" pilots joining you.

While starting out in a measly jetplane, soon you are commanding "generic" units like Dom's or Zaku's, to Kampfer's and beyond.  It certainly looks like a fun campaign, all I have to do with the 1/400 collection I have is print up some generic units, prepare the solo game mode cards, and then I`ll definitly be giving this a go!

A nicely made book, this especially focusses on what seems a great campaign to get the hang of all sorts of styles and skills with.  Be sure to check in once I actually get playing and of course those reports will appear on the site here as well!