Monthly Archive for September, 2006

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Figure News: FF Mechanical Arts Brings Us the Old n’ the New

Final Fantasy fanboys can rejoice, for Square Enix has twisted the nipple harder for the good of us all. For the slow, I mean "milk".

As we all know, SE ties up with Kotobukiya to produce most of their merchandise. So far, we have had the famed Playarts series, and the various Monster/Summon/Guardian Force series. There’s also the FF Weapons series coming up. The Master Creature set I mentioned, which has summons from the various Final Fantasies, really suck.

And now, to go even one step further, it’s Final Fantasy Mechanical Arts – featuring various mecha/vehicles from the games and movie. Each of these are probably the size of the AC Bahamut, though there is no official statement on the exact size yet.

There will be five different figures in this series, each costing 3465 yen (in other words, don’t get them all). Release date for Japan is December 2006 but as usual, for Square stuff, let’s wait for the US versions to be released a couple of months later for 2/3 the price.

Actually, the size could be even smaller because the materials used are ABS and diecast metal. The previous SE figures were mostly PVC.

The five are:

Not all would’ve bought the big-ass super Fenrir that came with either the LE or the mass produced Playarts. These unlucky fools can now get this cool bike. As usual, it cannot do the sword-flipout mode. Not too interested in this one for obvious reasons.

Oh yeah for the realllly reallly rural people, this one is Cloud’s motorbike in FFVII: Advent Children.

Kadaj’s Bike

Now this is cool. Very cool. Exhaust pipes may be the scourge of Mononoke Hime, but it is the vehicular penis – the bigger and more numerous, the better. Kadaj’s bike is the Tripeman of Final Fantasy, with three megahuge exhausts and two side ones. To top that, there are even four heavy machine guns mounted on the front. The massive airintakes add even more manliness. So how does this masculine beauty get itself ridden by a fag of a silverhaired wimp? BUY.

Continental Circus
I got lost here. What is this? I haven’t seen anything like it. The design looks like something out of FFX but this series seems to focus on FFVII and its spinoffs. I’m guessing it’s from Dirge of Ceberus but someone please share the truth.

I’m reminded of Noein’s monsters though, with its colourful and grotesque appearance, mouth like section and flailing stuff all over. NO BUY unless I find out what it is.

Ah, one of the most recognisable symbols of modern gaming transportation – the Highwind epitomises the spirit of FFVII, with its sleek and futuristic design contrasting with a metal plated crudish exterior and also incorporating an anachronistic mode of thrust. Like why does Cloud use a sword when laser cannons exist?

There are actually a couple of Highwinds out already but these were all coldcast and prohibitively expensive. The more recent release of an airship, the Sierra, is just fucking ugly. So I hope this version can live up to the high expectations of nostalgic fanboys. BUY.

Sister Ray
BIg guns are manly. A big gun with a girly name is even sexier. It’s like calling your big chinchin Tiffany. Now that is sexy. Anyway, the Sister Ray is the final form of the Junon Cannon, that was dismantled and converted to a Mako Cannon fueled by Midgar’s reactors. Named Sister Ray with the lovably hated Scarlet, Head of Shinra’s Weapons Development Department, it’s basically just a giant gun with a couple of pistons. BUY!

Out of the few, my favourites would be the Sister Ray and Kadaj’s Bike. These are probably a confirmed buy, with the Highwind in consideration. The thing about Square Enix Merchandise is that the promo pictures are huge lies. So try not to pre-order anything but adopt a wait and see attitude. These tend to have tonnes of stock anyway due to the big production run which caters for sales worldwide.

Goodbye School Rumble Season 2! Hello Season 3!

While I’ve not heard of any official reports about the third season of everyone’s favourite school comedy, the ending text of episode 26 explicitly says, "Thank you for watching School Rumble, we will be continuing!" or something to that effect. Add to that the effective undoing of all the plot deviations of the anime from the manga and the final part of the last episode, I am pretty sure SR will have a third season.

"School Rumble will still continue!"

That alone made my day. I was in a mix of emotions – frustration at the retarded Tenma, in love with the hot Itoko and Akira, cuted-out by Akira getting smacked in the face, excited about the class’s England trip, touched by Yakumo’s backstory and totally elated by the season three news. School Rumble must never end! We’ll work Kobayashi Jin to the bare bones and have his sons/daughters take over and continue. Just like One Piece’s Oda Eiichirou.

I loved this scene!

There exists no man that does not find Itoko sexy.

Over at the Wannabe forums, the pseudo-intellectuals are burning up with passionate debate, applying psychoanalysis to Yakumo and the Ghost Girl. Didn’t really read the text thoroughly because I am more interested in seeing hot pix of the Sukuran girls. The only Id I would like to talk about is Fei’s alter ego from Xenogears!

On the whole, with Wannabe completely dropping School Rumble S2, many have not been able to enjoy this season fully. Yourmom subs have certainly improved since their fledgling days and that’s the sole avenue for mono-linguistic people to get their weekly SR fix. I don’t follow Yourmom but I know many who do.

Season 2 is surely not as good as the inaugural one, with several really really bad fillers (Ultra MAI MAI DREAM comes to mind). It also encompasses the arcs widely known to be rubbish (basketball and to a lesser extent, battle royale). The animation standard wasn’t good, with a lot of stills and cost-saving scenes. However, I still looked forward to and enjoyed every single episode.

And the highlights? Akira getting more screen time and dialogue, Mikoto getting hitched, Eri’s great progression and closeness to Harima, Yakumo’s childhood, Imadori and Karen’s little family, Yakumo and Eri’s theatre battle and many more.

The OP was good in the end. While initially derided as a substandard successor to the totally perfect Scramble!, Tokito Ami’s Sentimental Generation caught on and was rather energetically addictive. The first ED was shite though and I never did listen to the song fully. The 2nd ED had the Tsukamoto sisters in a duet and I quite liked it. While Noto Mamiko and Koshimizu Ami can’t really sing, knowing that they are Yakumo and Tenma is enough for me.

On a final note, Noto Mamiko seriously cannot do many types of voices. As child Yakumo, she was sooo bad. The only roles she can do are calm graceful Yakumo types (Megumi of Rescue Wings, Enma Ai etc). When she attempts more actiony and emotional ones (Witchblade’s Masane comes to mind) I can’t really bear to hear her voice. One special mention is Mois of Keroro Gunsou though.