woensdag 31 januari 2024

Touring after the Apocalypse volume 2 - Sakae Saito

 I enjoyed the first volume of this series, one I discovered rather accidentally, and so I picked up volume 2 and see how the story continues.

So time for more touring and sight seeing in Japan... after an apocalypse razed it completely!
And the first stop of the tour takes us to all to known Akihabara, as Youko and Airi follow the mysterious radio signal they picked up at the end of the first volume, looking for other survivors of the disaster.  Indulging themselves in taking pictures with costumes found in an abandoned Cat Maid cafe, they discover the animals of the nearby precint's zoo have migitated into the Akiba area, even encountering a tiger close by.
But when they locate the place of the transmission, they find out it is an AI that is playing the music and making the programmes, created by the last DJ of the station as his legacy.  Not wanting to make this for nothing, they attach speakers to the system so the nearby area, including the animals, can enjoy the music now as well, before moving on with their roadtrip.  As they stop at the Tone Canal for some laundry and all, and Airi telling Youko she likes travelling more then the shelter, a strange feeling becomes Youko as she sees how big the full moon looks on the night sky.

Travelling onwards to Chiba, they arrive in Kisarazu as they suffer from a flat tyre.  When a serious storm hits, they race to safety, making it barely in time, yet Youko keeps having a strange feeling.  Sheltering in Umihotaru, Youko dreams of how the place used to be, but when they wander the place it all matches, down to a coin she dropped under a vending machine in her dream.  When a horde of famined rats appear, they need to make a run for it, but as they escape Youko receives a phone signal for just an instant, seeing there is a message from her sister.  But as she curses for having immediatly lost the signal, Airi seems to have short circuited and topples over...

And that concludes the second volume of this series, and one I must say I really like so far.  Soon I'll be reading volume 3 for sure and see how this develops!

maandag 29 januari 2024

The Quintessential Quintuplets OVA specials

 Well, I guess I'm kind of a sad panda as I write this.

Because with these two specials, it is all over and done for one of the anime's I really enjoyed the past years.

The Quintessential Quintuplets, the story of 5 siblings all crushing on their tutor and only one ending up his bride was a fun, relaxing series of two seasons and a great movie, adapted from a 14 volume manga.  And that is exactly what this miniseries of 2 OVA episodes contains: the (few) chapters that where omitted from the manga.

Wether it is the sisters babysitting, or Nino and Futaro visiting the former's employer in hospital, it also contains a large part that was cut from the movie, being their visit to a waterpark as was seen in the first bits of said movie.  

But perhaps the most deep hitting chapter that was not adapted in the anime, probably to keep the suspense a bit more up, is the one where Yotsuba is by her own in her favorite retreat, a swing on a playground, and admitting to herself that she is also in love with Futaro, and we all know how the story went between her and the past they shared without realizing it at first.  Except... Yotsuba knew from day 1 when they meet at school that he is the same boy she met five years earlier.

So this was a fun wave out for a great series, well worth the watch.

zaterdag 27 januari 2024

On the Painting Desk 266

 Well, we gotten a bit more in a regular scheme this week, as I finished the Mordheim henchmen bar basing.

And on that note, I also made progress on some other miniatures.

The first being the gaoler of the warband, wielding his whip to keep the above greenskins in check for their masters.

But I also did some very modest work on the Alchemical Horror, as it shared some colours with the gaoler so I could tackle two birds with one stone.

I hope to have the dawi'zharr completed by next week, and then proceed to the three warrior henchmen in the warband, before tackling the leader.  

Check back next saturday!

vrijdag 26 januari 2024

Rebel Moon - Part One: A Child of Fire

 Time for the much hyped Netflix sci-fi epos by Zack Snyder!

Now this movie is what the sequel series of Star Wars would have been, as it is Zack Snyder's proposal for them, which got rejected.  And the Star Wars feel shows throughout the whole movie as a result of course.

The story is set on the farmer planet of Veldt, where Kora, a former Imperial soldier, sees the Motherworld turn it's dominating and enslaving gaze on the little planet.  The sadistic admiral Atticus arrives at the planet, and opposed to her comments the settlers strike a deal which quickly backfires and would leave them starving after delivering the required quotum.  When a group of soldiers tries to rape a girl, Kora intervenes and kills them, but this forces her to leave the settlement and seek aid outside the planet.

Together with another villager and her friend Gunnar they travel to Providence spaceport, to search for the disgraced Imperial general Titus.  She reveals she had to leave the military after a coup by Balisarius, which resulted in the death of princess Issa who was under her care.  They meet the smuggler Kai who agrees to take them to Titus, together with the beast-tamer Tarak and the cybernetic swordswoman Nemesis.  Using Gunnar's trade connections with the Bloodaxes rebel group, they arrive on the planet Sharaan with Titus, who agreed to aid them after Kora swore an oath to avenge his fallen soldiers.

The rebels agree and send a small band of troops to help defend the village from the returning Imperial forces, but after they depart the population of Sharaan is massacred by Atticus for aiding rebels.  Kai however betrays them, delivering them to Atticus to claim the bounty on their heads, but is killed by Gunnar.  In the ensuing battle, Atticus is killed and the warrior band returns to Veldt, the threat seemingly eliminated.

But Atticus's body is recovered by the Motherworld, and is revived after being send to the astral plane and meet with Balisarius, who demands he brings Kora to him alive...

So okay, not that super great as the hype made it out to be, but it wasn`t a hopeless movie either despite the critics mostly negative reviews.  I think it more of a Star Wars light, and (sadly) on the same level as the Rey sequel series: generally bland, but with some sparks of cool television in it.  Curious what the sequel will bring in april...

donderdag 25 januari 2024

Gridiron Gazette issue 27: Chaos Dwarfs & Khorne

 Another fanzine to enjoy, and albeit a bit of a short one this time round at only 9 pages, Gridiron Gazette is a nice series of Blood Bowl related stuff.

And of course, dealing with Chaos Dwarfs, this meant it immediatly got picked out to have a read.

Published by the NAF fansite for the game of fantasy football by Games Workshop, all issues are still available for download, just click the link above.

The first article deals about Hobgoblin teams, a fluffy article about one of the most incompetent teams around, before moving on to the Zharr-Naggrund Ziggurats.  In this background piece, they tackle amongst other the mysterious bans Chaos Dwarf teams suffered at playing Blood Bowl at one time.

It moves on to the crazed Khorne teams after that, and the star players like Scylla, before going into a who's who of the players and teams mentioned in this issue.

So if you fancy a bit of (fanmade) fiction for both teams, this little gazette is worth the download.

woensdag 24 januari 2024

Fixing Up Christmas

 So the fourth and final christmas movie we saw last december on christmas eve, and the end of the writing away of that suffering hehehe.

Though I went in this movie with one clear goal in mind, how many actors from the previous three would appear in this one as well, as they seem to keep drawing from the same pool for all the minor roles in these films.  

They all seem to have the same uncle, aunt or cousin, no matter in which family and where in the United States they live.  This also is the one movie that didn't come from the Hallmark stable but from Reel One, yet I still counted three people in the above challenge.

But, I must say, this wasn't to bad a film actually.  The story goes around talented event planner Holly, who has a reputation of satisfying difficult clients, and she takes the job of helping a young CEO-in-making organise the christmas party at his father's company.  

During this party, it is the goal to impress the mayor for a new development project, and save the company as a result from impeding bankrupcy, and they grow closer to each other during the sorting out of the event.  But Holly's actions seem to threaten the project, and she might lose it all, until she goes for a private talk with the mayor and convinces him to back the project and everything falls into place.

Cheesy of course, because a christmas movie, but yet it had a bit more "tension"  to it for some reason.  The backdrop had bigger issues then the reuniting of old friends or estranged family typical in the previous three Hallmark flicks I overviewed, and that actually added at least some form of layer to this film.

dinsdag 23 januari 2024

The Kingdoms of Ruin

 A new series that launched in this fall season, Kingdoms of Ruin is a fantasy series so that picked my intrest from the get-go.

Even including it in my MAL Fall anime league, where it did rather well compared to lot of my other choices...

Hunamity has flourished with magic for ages, gifted by the witches to help mankind.  But with changing times, the scientific Gear Expansion has made both obsolete.  The mighty Redia Empire has began liberating humanity from what they see the blight that magic is, by eradicating all the witches they find.

Adonis was still a kid when the witchhunt began, and apprentice to one he loved dearly.  But when she perishes at the hand of the Empire, he vows revenge (be aware, this scene is BRUTAL).  He is held in captivity with many other young people, until one day a jailbreak occurs and he escapes from the iron maiden he was kept in.  He takes along the girl that set him free, Doroka, after he runs into her again as he attacks the city.  But she is shot by Eekhout, a special agent out to hunt Adonis.  

The witch is killed by Eekhout, bringing Adonis into a serious rage.  He uses total overkill to slay Eekhout, and many soldiers are killed by his spells.   The Bureau of Security wants to employ a device that dampens magical powers, but the Bureau of Science tries to stop vice-director Yuki for doing so, as it has serious aftereffects on regular humans.  But Yuki never the less activates it, suppressing Adonis magic briefly, and allowing the soldiers to decapitate him.  While a sick president gives his winning speech, a school girl has grown enamoured by the late Adonis, but Oz, an investigator, receives a call from Charmy his assistant that Adonis's body is a fake.

Adonis has been saved by the witches, with a witch called Anna, who was the actual soldier that "killed" him using a duplication spell.  He is brought to Lunamilia, a moonbase where the Nation of Witches now resides in a plan to ressurect Chloe.  But as he learns more abouth both the witches and Chloe, he confides in Anna that he knows they want Chloe back as she is the only one that can make quills like his, and use her to build an army of human apprentices like himself.

Out of love for her, he changes the ressurection ritual, bringing back the young witch that saved his life instead, Doroka.  Human forces led by Bureau of Security's director Yamato invade the dome, as the ressurection tree is burning preventing any future witches to be born.  Adonis engages Yamato, as the witches, including their leader madam Ophelia, are being decimated by human troops.  Doroka saves him through a love spell, but Adonis slaughters Yamato and the soldiers.  On Earth, the queen is revealed to be miss Dorothea, a dimensional witch that had the emperor under her control, and having him played out his part makes him commit suicide.

Returning to Earth using Yamato's teleport device, they change the coordinates to prevent capture and end up in the desert.  Gravely wounded, Adonis tells Doroka his reasons for his drive for revenge.  Saved by the bikers of a certain mr Punch, who in the days long gone had been saved by Chloe and Adonis, they are recovering and concede to each other's viewpoints, starting off on their journey together.  Dorothea is crowned the new ruler of Redia in that time, succeeding her late husband.

Arriving in the fallen pleasure city of Mamuta, they are chased by two assassins from the Suzune empire.  But director Shirougasi confronts those first, swiftly beheading them, before engaging Doroka and Adonis.  By working together, they seemed to have had a chance, but are quickly overpowered by the cyborg director, and he gouges out Doroka's eyes.  This pushes Adonis into a rage, and he asks Doroka to cast her love spell, Knight Fall, on him, unlocking his full potential.  Using the mightiest spell he learned from Chloe, a blizzard of immense size that reaches the absolute zero and freezes Shirougasi to a crisp... but not after Adonis vows he will take the Queen's sight as well in payment for what he did to Doroka.

Well, if you thought Erin Yaeger or Lelouch Lamprouge where anti-heroes, wait until you run into Adonis.  The down side of this series was the sudden more comical relief episodes in the second half, and Doroka changing from an idealist to a love-struck puppy in them.  Another thing was that some villains and characters had been staged up, only to have them killed off within half an episode.  These things for me make it dwindle from the grandeur of the first episodes to an above average series in the middle, though it ends strong again.

Now to hope a second season will be made...

maandag 22 januari 2024

Ghosts of Christmas Past

 And the christmas movie marathon evening went on, with another Hallmark movie shoved on my plate.


Though this was a recent one, being released in 2021.

Ellie is a serial ghoster on dating apps, but at an office party a fortune teller says to her she must make ammends with all those she ghosted before, or she won't ever find true love.  As a result, she decides to find all those men in the week before Christmas to appologise.  

But she also has a last minute deadline to take care off, making the task not any easier.  Luckily, her co-worker Charlie offers to help her out on the task, and as they undertake the tasks together, they slowly grow towards each other.

Now, amazingly they end up together of course, but compared to a lot of the Hallmark stable movies, this one isn't actually as wide-eyed and cheesy as many of them, but actually has some relatable relationships in it, like the sister in law, making those characters actually believable due to their sarcasm of the whole situation.

All in all, of the movies I saw that evening, this one actually mad me laugh two or three times, and didn't feel as much of a hardship as the other ones I saw...

zondag 21 januari 2024

The Haul Report 387

 Well, it's a bit of an anime haul again this week, as my box from TokyoCatch arrived with the loot I won at the end of december last year.

And for the contents, that's some nice anime stuff for the collection

But that is not all, through Cardmarket I obtained some foil cards for the completing of the Date a Bullet series from Weiss Schwarz, ticking 4 of the counter.

I also obtained some wargame material, in the form of this classic Chaos Dwarf general, a nice find through Vinted.  Though the little big hats aren't cheap anywhere, I did get it for a price I could live with.
I also received a late christmas present of sorts, as the voucher I got from my brother in law has been used for the volume 20 of the excellent Terraformars series.

So that is surely a wide and varied selection of goods this time round, totally a winner!

zaterdag 20 januari 2024

On the Painting Desk 265

 Ravaged by misery and despair this week!

Okay, at least by a very annoying constant pain of stitches in a place you don't like to have them, as it severly cut the mobility of my leg.

Meaning painting was not really on the agenda, being unable to fold my leg under the little painting table.  I managed to base the Fomoroid though, as no bending over was required for that, but apart from that not to much has been achieved.

A little work on the Mordheim henchmen band, which I had hoped to actually finish during revalidation, boy was I mistaken.  But that means I hopefully will get some night batches in the coming week to compensate and achieve my target of finishing the band by the end of january never the less.

Finger crossed!

vrijdag 19 januari 2024

Road to Christmas

 More christmas goodness to view for this old otaku!

Though believe me, it was not entirely of free will that I have been spending all of christmas eve watching Hallmark movies, but one must cater for his guests.

And the second one, I must admit, was definitly more watchable then the first movie I gave my opinion on earlier this week.  The tale revolves around Maggie Baker, who lives in Los Angeles, working as a television producer.

She falls for Danny, the son of Julia Wise who is also a producer who annually broadcasts a christmas special with cooking and sorts, bit like Martha Stewart to name an example.  Maggie takes up the plan to reconnect Danny with his two estranged brothers during the upcoming holiday special, but the brothers aren't to happy with that plan.  But she persists, and during the whole undertaking is reminded that the love for family and friends make the merriest of christmas's.

Okay, cheesy but not overflowing, it was an average okay movie, the sort that can play on television and you just keep watching for some strange reason, even though it doesn't leave any sort of lasting impression...

donderdag 18 januari 2024

Hi-Score Girl season 2

 Jumping forward five years to 1996, and the friends are still as passionate about video games as they where in the first season.

And now in their second year of high school, the being brought together by just arcade games has evolved into friendship and more.

As Akira Oono sets into private tutoring, a game of Street Fighter brings back the memories of the great times she had with Haruo.  And Kohura hasn`t given up on her feelings for Haruo yet.  But with the reputation of arcades on the line against a group of high school girls, they stand up for their believes.

When Koharu comes to Yaguchi's aid, she holds him to a promise of a date for when she defeated him earlier, though they agree not to call it that.  But as the trains fall out of service due to a power outage, they pull an allnighter, and Koharu tells a part of her feelings towards Yaguchi.  This results in an awkward situation as Akira walks in on them, but she doesn't seem to mind to hard and love-triangle begins to form.

But slowly and surely, the rivalry between the girls starts heating up, not helped in the least by Oono's elder sister and Haruo's mom putting their noses in.  Haruka challenges Oono to an arcade duel empowered by her feelings, but gets soundly defeated.  As Haruo gains his license for his scooter, he visits Oono but she backs away from him...

Thinking it is because he wasn't gaming lately, he starts training again, even enlisting for a tournament, as he realises he loves Akira and wants to impress her.  But the truth is that her parents had decided to leave Japan again, for good this time, and she is trying to cut her ties to him softly.  They take the train together to the tournament, and arriving in Osaka they visit the local arcade first.  Due to circumstances, they have to share the same room, and as they go to sleep he sees Akira teary eyed.

As Harua advances to the final of his bracket, Oono lost her first match.  But she finds her drive back, and goes to smack through the loser brackets of the tournament and get back in the main tournament.   But then they have to face off in the semi-finals, each winning one round before going into the final and all deciding thrid round, which Oono takes and winning the tournament.

Later on, he engages in talks with Akira's elder sister, who tells him he should be there when Akira leaves.  Running into Koharu, she tells her Oono came to her to ask for her approval to date Haruo and tell her of her feelings towards him.  And so, at her own expense, she convinces him to seek out Oono.  
Racing towards the airport supported by his videogame characters, and crashing into the terminal, he reaches her just in time as her flight got delayed, and they fall into each others arms.

This was another enjoyable season of an anime that might not be so well-known, but sure is worth the effort to take a look at!

woensdag 17 januari 2024

Christmas in Evergreen: Tidings of Joy

 Last christmas I didn't give you my heart, but we did see cheesy christmas movies all evening.

So expect the movie opinions on those in the coming days, starting of with this one, Tidings of Joy.

The Christmas season is approaching and New York City's Katie Connell, a writer with a published novel, visits the christmas town of Evergreen in Vermont.  What starts out as a holiday trip quickly turns into a working expedition when her mother Patti asks her to write an article for her business magazine.

Katie decides to find a story in Evergreen and it's Christmas traditions, and the 50 year old time capsule that is going to be opened this year at the Christmas festival.  She decides to tackle the story together with the local librarian and former reporter Ben, and soon develops feelings for him, making it a wonderfull christmas after all for the sceptical Katie.

Well, yeah, a christmas love story movie, what more can be said of this typical Hallmark production.  Nothing to remember it by, nothing that makes it stand out, just one hour and a half of jolly viewing...

dinsdag 16 januari 2024

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Bandit Flower

 Time for some hardcore mecha action this time, with the Bandit Flower movie of the solid Gundam Thunderbolt series.

A compilation film of the second season of the series, it also adds various fresh scenes to the series.

Taking place during the One Year War, this series focussed on the "back fighters" in the conflict, the unsung heroes amongst the Char's and Amuro's of the franchise, like the force made up of injured Zeon fighters desperatly fighting against the Alliance's testpilot of the new Gundam technology.

The movie features extended fight scenes, and the animation even seems to have an extra step up in my opinion, while it was already top notch to begin with.  Gritty and at times even gruesome, the underlying ego duel between Daryl Lorenz, the Zeon sniper who willingly gives up his remaining limbs to pilot a pre-psycho frame and Io Flemming, a test pilot who had hoped to be higher in the ranks of the Alliance, is joined as in the series with an zwesome jazz music track.

While this movie doesn`t add supermuch to the series, it does give that bit of an extra layer that makes it worth checking out!

maandag 15 januari 2024

Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail

 After the bloody and brutal adventures of the (gorgeous) Revy, the only thing remaining to watch in the franchise is the spin-off story Roberta's Blood Trail.

And in this 5 episode long mini-series, we follow the story of the housemaid slash assassin of the Venezuelan crime family, the Lovelace's.
When her master is taken out by the US military, she vows to go out on a vengeance. In Roanapur, the Lagoon company is minding it's business assets.  The young new master of the Lovelace family hires them in order to stop Roberta's rampage though, and bring her back into the family.

As the Lagoon Company sets out to try and find Roberta and what her next target is, Rock still learns more about himself and his friends in this bloody business they are part off.  But the various mafia factions in the area also take an intrest in trying to take Roberta down to ensure the relations with the drugcartel.  
As Roberta is chased through the city, she manages to escape time and again (the taking out of soldiers one by one with a cannon-like gun was brutal), but is chased by Revy. They also encounter some other assassin's from the earlier series (chainsaw wielding girl!) on their chase, as Roberta, high on anti-depressants, keeps managing to envade them.  But when the young master comes across her as she beats up an enemy, she loses it completely.  When the marines think they "save" the Young Master from her, she comes after them.

Rock is searching for a backer in the meantime, as he wants to bring down the Hong Kong mafia of Chang that is trying to take control of the situation to their own benefit.  The Russians from Balalayka step in, making sure Revy and her allies are not able to take part in the upcoming battle.  As the americans go to the extraction point, Roberta gives chase even surviving an ambush from the Russians. 

Scheming all the actors onto the stage, Rock brings his plan into motion, as the extraction ship for Garcia and the americans is none other then the Lagoon's ship.  And the scene is set at nighttime in the jungles of the Mekong river.  Roberta hunts the soldiers down, before the Young Master manages to contact her and tell her where to rendez-vous.  A gravely wounded Roberta comes, as Rock reveals to Revy it is all a plan by Chang to keep the drugtraffic between the Golden Triangle and Roanupur secret.  The Young Master takes away Roberta's ultimate chance for revenge, before he kisses her as he is shot by Roberta in a trial of faith.  A setup to bring her out of her mindset of violence, and take on their life together again.  

Now this was one brutal series, and I enjoyed it a lot to be honest, perhaps the most intense set of episodes of the whole franchise and that is saying something!  And of course the topless shower scene of Revy in episode 2 makes this the summon of series ;-)

zondag 14 januari 2024

Winter Fantasy Anime League 2024

 So, after the abysmal (well, it actually ended better then I feared) result of the Fall league 2023, we go our chances again for the Winter season.

And this time, with a plan in selecting my anime!

You see, as I looked through the list, there where 3 anime's I want to watch in the coming season.  One of them is in the Restricted section, meaning only 1 from that section can be chosen, one is normal, and one has low expectations and I'm going to put on my bench.

So that means, I am going to just take for the other spots the anime that are expected to be doing the best by anticipated members, only fiddling around a little with the release dates in order to try and score points from the word go!

My restricted choice, Mato Seihei no Slave, immediatly starts airing from the beginning of the season, so that was an easy pick, while the other one I want to see, the second season of Urusei Yatsura only airs in the second week, as such beginning the season on the bench.

The other one I wanted to select is the second season of Synduality Noir, and that is the one I start out on my bench as well.

So now comes the hard part, namely shuffling 4 more actives and 1 bench out of the highest anticipated series to start, and take into account their starting dates.

Dungeon Meshi starts the first week as well, and goes as such immediatly into my actives.  The same goes for the new season of Blue Exorcist.  So for the other I went for Sign of Affection which is a romcom about a hearing impaired girl, and Majo to Yajuu which is a fantasy horror series.  The final bench spot is taken by Hokaido Gals are Adorable, a harem like series judging from the synospis about the gal subculture in Japan, and for some reason I feel this might become a next My Dress-up Darling series.  As that starts only in week 2 though, I've put it as such on my bench.

So all in all, I have a feel this might actually be a team that could net me a top 50% ranking to start the year off, so let's see how it goes!

zaterdag 13 januari 2024

On the Painting Desk 264

 Well, I spend most of the week stuck to the couch after a leg surgery...

But never the less, I did manage to paint some more in the short stints I needed to try not to keep it all stretched.
The biggest advance was on the Fomoroid Crusher, who is all finished bar basing.  I hope to do that this weekend, so he will be ready for gaming, and then see to obtain the other two Warcry big beasties to have the Regiment of Renown for Age of Sigmar.

I also made minor progress on the Mordheim band, but as the days now come with a little more mobility all the time, I estimate I will be able to give them a nice push in the coming week, and as a result even might get my paint targets back on course, finishing the band by the end of january.
But, babysteps, and this time not by choice hehehe...

vrijdag 12 januari 2024

The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3

 Back into his lands, Naofumi, Raphtalia, Filo and their new companion from last season Rishia are readying themselves for the arrival of the Phoenix guardian beast in 3.5 months.

So that means we can enjoy our beloved Shield Hero once again, and his witty remarks!

Arriving in the Kingdom, he learns from the queen that the three other heroes have gone missing after fighting a Catastrophe Wave that was created while he fought in the parallel world.  He needs to bolster the defences for his lands as well, and goes looking for the missing slaves of the village he freed and now governs.  Melty and Eclair will take care of his lands and teach the inhabitants, while he goes looking for others.  This leads him into the fighting pits of Zeltbone, where he heard rumours of one of the demi-human slaves being auctioned, and earning gold that way to buy it's freedom.

In those pits, he meets Nadia, who is a shapeshifting killerwhale demi-human actually called Sadina, and who decides to join him in his mission.  In the slaver's pen, he meets Fohl and his sick and injured younger sister Atla.  He uses an elixer to bring her back to health, and buys them their freedom, taking them with him to Sardeena, where the defence works are in progress for the coming of the Phoenix.  But slavers attack the demi-human village when Naofumi is out on a trade mission, yet before being captured Fohl manages to send out a signal flare.  

The demi-humans are all captured and the village damaged, but as they prepare to leave the Shield Hero and his companions arrive, quickly defeating the slavers and sending them off to slavery themselves in Siltvelt, the city he is worshipped as the Shield God.  resetting Fohl and Sadina's levels, they now become a part of his group, and in a meeting with the queen he is informed they located the Spear Hero, who wanders the lands now as a broken man.

S'yne, the murder clown from the fighting pits, arrives in his village wanting to find a home, but is rebuked and leaves.  Motoyasu the Spear hero, having hit on lower fortunes, is traced down by Naofumi, Rapthalia and Filo, while they also encounter an embittered Ren, the Sword hero, who has seen all his companions die in battle.  But Myne (Bitch), the fallen princess appears, as she is clearly influencing Ren and shifting all blames on the Shield hero in the presence of the Spear hero.  As the Sword hero flees off with Myna after wanting to use a skill in a crowded inn, which Naofumi manages to deflect, the Spear hero begins recovering from his depression.

Back on the way to their village, they are ambushed by some powerful bandits, only to be saved in the last moment by S'yne.  She reveals she is one of the Vassal heroes from a now destroyed world, and looks to join forces with Naofumi.  While not entirely believing her, he none the less allows her to stay on his lands as he takes the young heroes of his people to upgrade their class.   As they go out to hunt a group of bandits that roam his land, he finds Ren engaged in a duel with Motoyasu.  As they face Ren, we get to see what had transpired with the Sword hero and how he was also betrayed by Myne.  These events led to his Sword's cursed mode becoming active and taking him under it's influence, the friends banding together to stop him causing mass destruction.

Rat, a royal alchemist specialised in the study of monsters and demi-humans arrives in the village to offer her services, bringing along a dragon egg.  Breeded out with the help of Wyndia, the little dragon is named Gaelion, but when he accidentally swallows the Emperor's Dragon Core Jewel, he grows and breaks out.  Linked to Filo, he starts stealing levels from her, and the hero and his friends seek him out at the dragon's den.  Calling Filo to him, the two linked beasts merge as he swallows her, becoming the Emperor dragon.  Wanting to dominate humanity, he takes control of Naofumi's shield, raising the dragon's defensive powers, but with the aid of Atla's power and Wyndia's true link to the zombie dragon of the first season they overcome him, saving Gaelion and Filo and retrieving the jewel.

They locate the fourth hero, Itsuki the Archer, as he is fighting in the arena's scooping up price money.  Having fallen under Malty's poinous words, he believes that only the things he did where right and the others have been in error.  Rishia enters the battles to face Itsuki and bring him back to his senses, making him join Naofumi in the village as well.  But when Rapthalia dons a seemingly innocent miko cloth, she is revealed to be born of noble family and heir to the throne of Q'ten Lo, an island country that immediatly send assassins after her the moment she does so.
With Naofumi deciding to solve the matter before the Phoenix arrives, the others start training and gearing up for the ensuing battle which is now looming closer then 2 months... but that will be for next season.
So after a weaker second season, we are back on track with the series in my opinion, though it still strikes a bit odd with all the big reveals suddenly in the final episode, and why these things never been brought up or even hinted at in all the previous episodes.

donderdag 11 januari 2024

Saintia Sho volume 5 - Masami Kurumada and Chimaki Kuori

 Time to get to the next instalment of Saintia Sho!

And with Athena brought before Saga, as she was captured by Aphrodite at the end of volume 4, the truth behind Sanctuary might be revealed!
Here she is met by a Saga in total duality, as his sane side begs her to kill him, while his evil side threatens her not to approach him, but she can`t bring herself to deliver the strike. But before his evil side can attack her, his good side sweeps her away through Another Dimension, where Aphrodite delivers her back at the mansion.  In the arena, Katya reveals it was all part of the plan, and that she is actually loyal to Saori, instructing both silver saints to protect her as well.
While still in the hospital recovering, Shoko is visited by Aquila Marin.  She brings the grave news that Saint's Academy, where aspiring saintia are trained, has been destroyed by Cancer Deathmask.  Cassopeia Elda, one of the saintia's that is present, engages him but is no match for the gold saint.  He brings her to the mouth of the Underworld, where he reveals that Eris's followers still lurk around, and wanted to posses the bodies of the students, so killing them all was the fastest way to stop him.  Enraged by his cruel methods, Elda is left behind frustrated in the ruins of the academy.

In the meantime Saori sends the other saintia's to train with Marin, in order that they get more powerful for the battle to come, while the pope gathers the gold saints to put Sanctuary on full alert.  As the battle for Sanctuary is about to begin, Mayura meets with the trained saintia's near the ruins of Eris's temple, where evil souls are flocking.

As Athena is struck by the golden arrow, the battle has now begun in earnest and Seiya and his friends fight their way to the Pope's room.  Here Seiya overcomes Saga and saves Athena, but when she later confronts him, he kills himself in shame of what he had done, his evil side driven out by the light of Athena's shield... but it seems this side is ressurected at the ruins where the others wait.

And so the fifth volume ends, and we are already near the end of the (sadly only one season made) anime.  Considering there are 18 volumes in total, that means there is still a lot to discover for me in this series, and I'll happily read along!


woensdag 10 januari 2024

Fall Fantasy Anime League 2023 result

 So, here we are again, the weekly points tally and movements in my effort to get a decent result in.

I already gave up longtime on immortal glory, I just ain't that good in these prediction things as I always go by what I would watch instead of studying the numbers...

But, how did my picks perform this season?
Kingdom of Ruin: 11th place
Tokyo Revengers Tenjiku-hen: 7th place, which is lower then I guessed
Overtake: 24th place, okay for a very niche anime
Uma Musume Pretty Derby season 3: 30th plqce
The Faraway Paladin the Lord of Rust Mountains: 21st place
Dr Stone New World part 2: 3rd place
Dead Mount Death Play part 2: 17th plqce, also about 5 spots lower then I estimated
FLCL Grunge: didn't even get ranked...

And the weekly progress in the ranks went as follows:

Week 1: 1361 th place, 116277 points, succesfully aced Tokyo Revengers
Week 2: 2255 th place, 284205 points, swapped in Dr Stone for Derby Girls, succesfully aced Kingdom of Ruin
Week 3: 3574 th place, 612022 points, swapped in Dead Mount for Faraway Paladin, succesfully aced Dr Stone
Week 4: 8686 th place, 699624 points
Week 5: 13307 th place, 854617 points
Week 6: 14654 th place, 962215 points
Week 7: 15351 th place, 1240501 points
Week 8: 15891 th place, 1316088 points
Week 9: 16588 th place, 1506490 points, swapped in Faraway Paladin for Overtake
Week 10: 16926 th place, 1767380 points
Week 11: 17231 th place, 1877053 points
Week 12: 18061th place, 2058924 points
Week 13: 18289th place, 2597863 points, used Wild Card points bonus, swapped Kingdom of Ruin for Overtake

So as expected, while with the aces I could hold up a bit in the first weeks, starting after week 4 the freefall began, losing about 15-20% per week from the top spots.  This season was pretty simple, if you didn`t have Sousou no Frieren, you where out as it scored more then double of the second anime on the ranking, Dr Stone New World s2 (which I had in my list).  But with Tokyo Revengers (relatively) and Dead Mount Death Play underperforming, my chances where slashed for any decent ranking in this Fall contest.
But in the end, I came to a top 75% score, which is actually less dramatic then I feared at the outset...

Guess I`ll have to try and strike back with a vengeance in the upcoming Winter edition then...

maandag 8 januari 2024

Fafner Dead Agressor: The Beyond part 2

 Finally I've gotten around to watch some more of this excellent mecha series, Fafner in the Azure.

It really has been to long, yet it is imprinted so much on my otaku memory I know precisely where I left off.

And that is with Lady Ruby wanting to protect the island refuge.  Azrael lures the enemy away, as they want the weapon technology of the island for themselves.  Opposed by the Fafner, the enemy is held to a standstill.

Realising their location is no longer a secret and communication between humans is the hardest, they have to figure out what to do with the defeated machine.  Life returns to it's normal pace for now, with the enemy pilot in medical custody.  They decide to put the island in motion, sailing it through the Pacific Ocean as their allies will keep the other nations in check.

With the enemy pilot, the brainwashed Soushi, acting as their guide, under surveillance by Maya.  But the Benon fleet is readying itself as well.  Maris manages to make contact with Soushi, putting him asleep, but he is stopped by the power of an Element and is stopped as the Festum approach.  Soushi slowly but surely returns to the fold of his former friends, being treated and trained as one of their comrades.  
With the arrival of the red moon, they  realise the enemy has arrived.  Soushi receives a vision, that he has the power to stop the Mir, if he comes together with his Fafner.  He joins the battle, but can't prevent Maris managing to take out control and as a result a lot of the adults.

So the battle rages, time to get to part 3 and see how this unfold!

JK Haru is a Sexworker in Another World volume 6 - Ko Hiratori and J-ta Yamada

 Time for the latest instalment in perhaps one of the best isekai, if a bit of an unorthodox twist, I have been reading in the past years.

And not because it is ecchi or something, because it barely is, but it just has this damn good story of the strenght of a girl, who has to use her body to survive in a male-orientated fantasy world.

And in this volume, JK Haru is out for a vengeance for what happened to her friend in volume 5!  So what happens when the rain stops?

Unleashing her true combat skill level, she kills her first soldier, one she used to like before, to get into the camp.  Far above their skill level, she cuts a swathe through the force, even taking out the famed decurion Subaya effortlessly.  She recalls her very first customer was God himself, and he granted her a skill that absorbed the experience and skills of all the men that came in her.

Decurion Bisque arrives, but she removes his Emotion Killer skill moments before avengening Shequraso, making him feel all the pain of loss in his dying moments.  Facing the centurion, who was nothing but a low level fraud, she wiped out the entire garrison and now faces the monsters on the border alone, a piercing gaze following her movements.  

But while Shequraso only gets a modest burial attended by the girls of the brothel, the soldiers are granted a heroes funeral.  Haru takes up singing and the guitar, as she believes she must fill her departed friend's shoes to keep the shop running.  As it rains outside, the strange silverhaired guy appears in front of the shop, stating he just wanted to see Haru's face when she goes out to meet him.  He tells her a strange story about how she is the one from the past that will end his tale in the future before disappearing in the rain, but not after inviting her to visit his place next time.

Later that night she is purchased by an older, dual sword wielding man who wants to figure out what happened to both the soldiers and the monsters.  He tries to trick her for information, but she diffuses the situation by sharing her views on the world and being a sex worker.  As they consumate, he tells her he wants her to become his next and final woman, as he invites her to come along and slay the demon lord.
And so the volume ends with some tea time between the girls, and the sad news that the next volume to come out will also be the final one...

zondag 7 januari 2024

On the Painting Desk 263

 Okay, so after two weeks finally some good painting progress on the projects.

I pulled out some time as I did the main goal I needed to complete in FF14 for the moment, and now it is back to questing and levelling as usual, so I can put up some paint time while waiting in instance lines.

And this week the Fomoroid had some strong progress, that much even I might finish it in the week to come if I can keep this rate up.

I also worked some more on the Mordheim warband, and especially it's greenskin informant henchmen as some work on their first layer has been completed, as well as the skin's first layer on the gaoler.

So with some forced off time ahead, I am going to commit myself to do some seriously painting in the next fortnight.

Check back next week!

zaterdag 6 januari 2024

The Haul Report 386: completing Quintuplets gachapon series

 So the first report of the year, and it has some nice little thingamabobs to share!

And it is a varied lot, the result you could say of christmas wrap-ups.

The first thing I obtained is another manga, in the form of volume 20 of Terra Formars which I purchased with a gift voucher that was also included in last week's Secret Santa (but arrived at the door a few days later).

From Yatta Japan, I had a box of gachapon being send, in the hopes of getting both the remaining Ichika keychain and Nino hugcot, and I got lucky as both where indeed in the selection.  The unboxing video is on my YouTube, with the doubles going into my trade pile.

I also received some christmas money from mom, and a quick trip to the city yielded me the following Underworlds warband, which just looks like fun band to try out some day.
A final piece that arrived this week was my Secret Santa from the Chaos Dwarf Online community, granting me the latest in the Secret Santa line they maintain there.

So a lovely and varied set of goodies, and this means I kick off the year with a nice pile of figures to paint as well as two completed Quintuplets sets, that's what I call a great start!

donderdag 4 januari 2024

Warmuster volume 1

 Kicking of this year's goal of finally reading all those PDF magazines I collected over the years, wether they are official magazines, e-zines, digital scans of old magazines or beloved of all, Fanzines, the first one is Warmuster, an e-zine for the Warmaster game.

Released back in the summer of 2009, this magazine was created with the aid of the Warmaster playtester group, many of them still working on the lovely 10mm game through Warmaster Revolutions website.

Counting 17 pages, this e-zine starts of with an editiorial, telling on how the magazine came to be, and what the goals are.  

But the first article is already a great one, as it details on how to model the various fantasy armies, starting with the Dogs of War.  Garth Bragg converted this colourfull army, and how he created various famous regiments of renown for his force.  The next force we see is an Ogre Kingdoms one, sculpted around the Warmaster Ogres and BOFA Trolls as main sources.

Moving on, we get the mystical army of Albion, which in the main lore at the time was mostly known as a single Dogs of War giants unit and two characters with a felbeast from a summer campaign booklet, so it is always cool to see a force totally imagined by it's creator.

The other forces are tackled as well in this first volume, including even the Chaos Dwarfs, as many armies where not available 15 years ago.  Now, with the advent of 3d printing, companies like Forest Dragon bring out excellent models that make the game far more accessible to people though.

But in 2009, you got this nice little e-zine that just told you how to build it all for yourself!

woensdag 3 januari 2024


 An anime about Formula racing... I'm game, big time!

Because F1 has been my favorite sport ever since 1991 (yes, the times of prequali's with Olivier Grouillard in the Fondmetal for example) and the year those beautiful 7Up Jordan's and a certain Michael Schumacher debuted in the sport.

So let's see what this series can bring to a long time fan as myself.  Kouya Madoka is a freelance photographer who is one day hired to take pictures of a car race, something he doesn't know anything about.  On the circuit he meets one of his friends, and only that day finds out he owns a Formula 4 team, Belsorisso, and starting to pick Madoka's intrest in the sport.  He meets Asahina Haruka, who drives for a small team, Komaki Motors, and decides to support him.

And so their lives, with highly different ages and personalities, start to interweave as he captures a moment of great disappointment of young Asahina, who fell out the race with a puncture the moment he was going to overtake for a podiumspot.  Madoka wants to become an official sponsor of the team, and get involved.  And then he gets the numbers of what a season of F4 actually costs...
However, when he gets potential sponsors to visit a race, Haruka underperforms, causing none to jump onboard.   Never the less, he finds one through a friend, allowing them to get new tires and such for the car, even though this means a commercial has to be taped.  In the race, Haru seems on fire, as at the Belsorisso team is starting to suffer internal cracks.  Tokumaru, their second driver, wanted to go his own chance for once as he was better setup for this race, but got team orders to act as the windbreak for the first driver.  During the race, he comes in a duel with Haru with whom he has a feud, and who by using the slipstream beats Tokumaru for his new best result, 4th and just short of the podium.  

When the commercial is presented, Haruka isn`t to happy they used his crying picture.  During the planning for a photoshoot, Haruka learns more about Madoka and who he really is, while reflecting on his own childhood days.  Part of a team effort, Haruka and his team sign up for a charity run, with also the Belsorisso team featured in it.  It's a threeway tie for the win, Haruka being assigned second place by rock paper scissors.  But he just wanted to win a prize to give to the teammanager as a birthday gift.
But when Haruka qualifies his highest ever in fourth, rainy weather hits the track, making all teams ponder between slicks and rain tires.  Haruka wants the first option, but Madoka knows his father died in an accident in the rain. This brings a discussion about between Madoka and Haruka, as he sees Haruka is on a "high" mental state today and fears for his safety.  But the weather is fickle, and soon it starts raining hard.  Haruka makes the wise decision to not take big risks, throttling down and stopping the race realising an accident might happen on his slicks, as happens with number one driver Harunaga of the Belsorisso team.  

Luckily, he comes off with broken bones only, escaping a worse fate.  Madoka relives a trauma from long ago though as he sees the despair in his eyes.  His past is revealed, costing Komaki Motors their sponsor.  In his past, he took a picture of a young child during an earthquake, causing people to question his morals in not trying to save her and him having to adopt another name.  Haruka really starts to worry about Madoka, going to look for him and appologise.  

Haruka receives a test for the position of number two driver with Belsorisso, with the blessings of his team.  Harunaga in the meantime forces his recovery in the hospital.  He learns that Ena, the Belsorisso owner, goes a long way back with his late dad and Komaki.  During practice, Haruka forces his leadman Tokumaru to make mistakes.

Haruka tracks down Madoka, and goes to visit him.  He decides to stay with Madoka until he is finished doing what he has to do, and Madoka tells him te story of what really transpired 12 years ago.  He was accepted in the community, taking pictures of the people present, when an earthquake strikes and a tsunami approaches.  Using his camera he sees the young girl Momo run through the streets, moments before she is crushed by the rubble, and why he can no longer take pictures of people as her begging eyes are seared in his memory, even though he was to far away to help her.  

Together with Haruka, he goes to visit the girl's grandfather in hospital, who is dying of an illness, and brings closure to Madoka on his dying bed.  Haruka returns to his team, having turned Belsorisso down.  After a bad qualifying, Haruka makes his way up the field as Tokumaru leads the race, going all the way up to second and in the tail of Tokumaru.  But with his tires wearing out, he drops back unfortunatly.

But thanks to the local sponsorship search Madoka did early, they merchants decide to step in to sponsor Haruka.  This allows them to do a serious upgrade in parts and tires on the car, as Harunaga is slowly recovering and visiting the race again, and doing some practices showing he still has the speed.  But he hides the extent of how his injuries still play up though.  

The day of the race, Madoka gets a job to make a special about F4, Haruka promising he will get onto that podium and give Madoka that podium picture of him.  Qualifying 6th, he is not far behind the Belsorisso cars where the positions of number one and number two driver have been switched, quicly finding Haruka behind them in third.  As Tokumaru is hit by a lapped car, he takes the risk of not pitting, allowing Harunaga to pass him with the slipstream.  Haruka goes on the offensive, making a passing move on the final corners.  He takes that long eluded checkered flag, making up his promise to his deceased father, to the joy even of his rivals and everyone present. 

Okay, I loved this series, it was a great sportsshow, and it had some serious emotional rollercoaster moments to show the reasons of how the characters became who they are... go watch this stuff for certain!