Wonder Festival Winter 2012 Most Wanted List
If you’re into figure collecting then chances are you spent a good chunk of this past weekend glued to your computer, checking for the latest updates from this Winter’s Wonder Festival. The semi-annual event brings together the top Japanese figure makers to show off their latest offerings, making the wallets of collectors everywhere shudder in anticipation. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I thought I’d share some of my favorites.
Best In Show (in no particular order)
While it seems like these have been around FOREVER at least it’s good to see they’re still in the works. What’s not so good is the potential price for these relatively small, poseable figures. Still, it’s two iconic characters (three if you count both Cantis) that I’d love to add to my collection, we’ll have to see how they turn out.
Luka has been teased for awhile now but finally seeing her painted… wow. Dos abs! Plus it’s a nice change of pace from the sea of Miku figures, including Miku’s own Tony Taka version.
I personally thought GSC’s Madoka line was a little dull but this might make up for it. Even without paint this figure looks stunning. Keep your eyes open for pre-orders, I’m sure this is going to be a super popular Figure of the Year contender.
My love/hate relationship with the Guilty Crown anime may still stand, but there’s no question this figure of Inori is gorgeous. I especially love that they used her look from the original Redjuice illustrations, it gives it a much more unique feel compared to your usual anime figures.
This is one ambitious looking figure. I am no fan of Infinite Stratos but I do love the character designs and wouldn’t be opposed to getting a nice figure from the series. I shudder to think how much this one is going to cost so I don’t plan on ordering, but it sure is pretty to look at.
Things I Can Actually Afford and Might Buy
Nodoka may not be the most exciting of the K-ON! girls but she’s always been my favorite character design from the series. If she ends up priced around the Alter Ui release I just might pick her up.
This figure leaves me with an intriguing dilemma - I already have the figma preordered, but now I’m wondering if I should save my money and go for the full scale figure. I’m sure it will look fantastic once it’s painted, the big issue will be the price. Also, the figma includes all three penguins, so that’s tough to ignore.
We may be on the brink of Persona overload but I don’t mind a little more if it means we’re getting figmas and nendoroids. So far only Yukiko and Chie have been announced, but I suspect we’ll be seeing more of the cast soon. I’m inclined to pick up the figmas over the nendos in this case, we’ll see how it goes.
GSC really stepped up their game this WonderFest, covering practically every anime this season and then some. I’m loving Marika from Bodacious Space Pirates but the real story for me is Nichijou nendos. Seriously, out of all the beautiful figures I’ve mentioned that is the single thing I’ve been wanting most since the show aired. Guaranteed buy on my part.
Quite a few Haganai figures have been trickling in, and understandably so with such great character designs. GSC has their own standard Yozora on the way but personally I like this one more. I’ve stated several times I love girls with short haircuts, add in a potentially reasonable price and I just may have to pick this one up.
Well that’s what I’m looking at for the upcoming year or so in figures. Can’t wait to see what they’ll have ready for us at Summer WonderFest, but in the meantime anything catch your attention? Anything stand out that I missed? Let’s hear it.
Impressed!! Guilty Crown 11
Sorry Guilty Crown, it’s not you, it’s me. You’ve managed to stay modestly entertaining and even had the good sense to kill off Dan Eagleman. But I’ve got a lot of other things going on in my life now and it’s going to take more than that for me to keep writing about you every week. You’re beautiful and talented, I’m sure there is someone out there who will love you more than I can, but I think you and I should just be friends. I’ll be pulling for you in the second half and I really hope you can get things together. I’ll see you around.
Impressed!! Guilty Crown 10
When in doubt, bring on the Apocalypse.
I was convinced this was going to be the episode I dropped Guilty Crown. As Shu was moping through his best (worst?) Shinji Ikari impersonation and I was shouting all kinds of verbal abuse at my TV, I was pretty much at my limit. Then they kind of brought on the end of the world… well at least the end of Japan anyway. OK FINE, I’LL KEEP WATCHING.
I’m always hesitant to bring up Evangelion comparisons since you could do that with a lot of shows, but as mentioned Shu has gone beyond the average flaky male protagonist to actively making the audience hate him. He’s even got Inori and Ayase in the Rei and Asuka roles respectively. With Evangelion though, mercilessly exposing Shinji’s faults is kind of the point. I feel like Guilty Crown actually wants us to sympathize with Shu but they don’t know how to make that happen. The one positive to all this is giving Hare (who apparently has +10 stealth or something) a chance to expand as a character. I loved how she called Shu out, saying exactly what he needed to hear as opposed to berating him or pointing a gun to his head.
With the world apparently flipped upside down, we’ll see if Guilty Crown actually makes any progress. Inori, Gai and a few others still have secrets they’re hiding and I do kind of want to know why the bad guys (I honestly have no idea who they are at this point) would want to unleash a deadly virus on the unsuspecting public AGAIN. My hope is dwindling though, ten episodes is pretty far along to still be having this conversation. We’ll see if things change for the better next episode.
Impressed!! Guilty Crown 9
The Pruning Shears of Despair.
Oh right, there’s some kind of virus and people dying and stuff, THAT’S what this show is about! Glib remarks (and Hare’s cringe-inducing cliché antics) aside, this week’s Guilty Crown was actually pretty good. You would think sending Gai away and having Shu in the driver seat would be a bad idea, but somehow it worked out to deliver the first episode that got any kind of emotional response out of me.
Of course to get to this point we have to assume Shu finally grew a pair, and honestly I’m not quite buying it. Unless a lot more time has passed than I’m realizing, his newfound assertiveness seemed awfully sudden. Still, I’d rather have my main character ready to take charge and be decisive, so it’s a change for the better. We’ll have to see if that courage translates into his relationship with Inori or any of the other attractive ladies that seem to like him for no explicable reason.
OK I have to call out GHQ again for being the worst military organization of all time. Not only could they not kill two teenagers carrying a sick little kid, they didn’t notice the shy, timid school girl following them the entire time!? I’m going to assume they had orders to take them alive… right?
One interesting note was seeing Gai and Inori vaguely discussing some sheet music for a song. I mentioned last week how the music element was strangely absent from Guilty Crown so far, so I am actually curious how that will come in to play. That should give me just enough reason to keep watching through next week, then we’ll see from there.
Impressed!! Guilty Crown 8
So I guess this was the beach episode?
Guilty Crown continues down their checklist of anime clichés as we take a trip to the beach for some kind of mission or something… I don’t even know what’s going on at this point. I’ll admit Hare was pretty cute and I do appreciate that everyone seems to be a little more forward about their romantic interests than usual, but not much more to see this episode.
Going forward, there are two things I would love to happen: 1. More Ayase, who only makes a brief appearance this episode, and 2. Do something, ANYTHING with Inori. The fact that she was basically using Shu through the first couple of episodes was a nice twist, but otherwise she has zero personality. I mean come on, we’re told she’s a famous pop star, but we’ve seen no evidence of that. Isn’t there a band or something she’s supposed to belong to, where are they? If she’s gonna be the female lead then I think she should be better developed eight episodes in than she is right now.
Well, I’m still watching and blogging… for now. Guilty Crown continues to keep just entertained enough, but I’m not sure how much longer I want to invest the time into writing about it. I would like to continue until the end of the season and then we’ll see after that.
Impressed!! Guilty Crown 7
A day in the life of a state-branded terrorist organization.
Guilty Crown returns to “normal” this week as Shu and Inori return to school, Shu’s mom returns home, and Gai returns to looking sexy in a tuxedo and securing black market supply chains… so yeah, just another average day, really.
To my dismay this episode does take us back to school, but fortunately not for long. We’re introduced to three new characters, Shu’s mom, the Class President (who looks a lot like Karina Lyle) and DAN EAGLEMAN!!!, each one a bigger stereotype than the next. Seriously, “DAN EAGLEMAN”, the blonde-haired meathead American ex-football coach who loves shooting missiles at things?! That’d be like making a Japanese character named “Origami Cyclone” that prances around in Kabuki makeup and Samurai armor…. oh wait. Tiger and Bunny references aside, I wasn’t offended or anything, I just think we can do better than that.
What WAS interesting this episode was a return to the issue of Japan’s dependence on foreign aid. It was not so subtly hinted in the first episode that Shu’s journey would be an allegory for Japan itself, especially in light of the help it’s been receiving after the recent disasters. So seeing the topic come up again was encouraging. That’s the kind of message that could help elevate the series beyond a pretty action show into something more poignant.
Well another week gone by and Guilty Crown continues to be moderately entertaining. I’m still waiting for something to happen that will actually make me care about what’s going on, but I’m entertained nonetheless.
Impressed!! Guilty Crown 6
I think GHQ needs to re-evaluate their combat training.
*sigh*… after taking a step forward last week Guilty Crown takes a step back with arguably the most predictable episode yet. I don’t think anyone was surprised by Gai surviving last week’s attack, Shu questioning his leadership and seeing him go all emo, and the two making up by the end. Between that and the GHQ soldiers conveniently standing around not firing or having the WORST AIM OF ALL TIME if they did, the whole episode felt like we were just going through the motions. So rather than the usual impressions (I don’t think I really have much to add), I’m going to remind myself why Guilty Crown is still worth watching:
1. It’s beautiful. Great animation, character designs and music.
2. The action is cool. I like the concept of the voids, especially Shu’s beam cannon thing this episode.
3. I really like Ayase. She seems to be a unique, well-rounded character that I’d like to see more of.
4. We’re only six episodes in and we’re going a full twenty-four, there’s a lot of time left.
5. Tsugumi dancing around her control panels and monitors.
So I would still say I’m enjoying Guilty Crown but I’m finding it very hard to connect with it beyond the surface level. It’s a fun to watch but writing about it almost seems unnecessary; kind of like trying to discuss a music video every week. I’ll give it a few more episodes to build some kind of substance and for now just try and appreciate the things I like about it.