Thursday, March 24, 2016

Muteki Koujin Daitarn 3

 Throughout my playthrough of SRW, Daitarn 3 always held rather high impression on me having really catchy BGM and Banjo being one of the few Super Robot Pilot who possess Soul Seishin. Considering how Banpresto treated the series rather highly, i decided to give Daitarn 3 a watch. Overall it is your average 70s Robot Animation directed by Tomino save for the Shock Value at the last episode.

To put it simply the overall tone of the series turns completely from lighthearted silly antics to rather dark and depressing one. Daitarn 3's ending is rather ambiguous one but in my opinion can be interpreted as the descent of a hero towards madness as he is hell bent to exact his vengeance. In the beginning of the series, Daitarn 3's protagonist Banjo Haran introduced as James Bond clone with Robot, a suave and charming guy however shortly after the final battle suddenly everyone close to him abandon him for unexplained reason which imply he is former husk of himself after he destroys Meganoid from his extreme obsession toward revenge. Daitarn 3's last episode probably some of the showcase of Tomino's directing that earned him his nickname but i just find it rather distasteful for Daitarn 3. For me the series doesn't have enough proper buildup for such depressing conclusion though i guess Tomino had a reason for it like to spite the sponsor for instance. Daitarn 3's setting could have been used as a mature robot drama with adult romance which unfortunately the trend at the time was completely way around and both the protagonist and bad guys never get any character development. In terms of production value Daitarn 3 lose to Nagahama's trilogy as most of the episodes are rather weak and the monster of the week design are uninspiring most of the time.

 Even so, watching Daitarn 3 makes me appreciate the Banpresto treatment of the series in their game in which they take all the good parts of the series while leaving the undesirables away. Daitarn 3 in Alpha series is not too Shabby but Banjo is pretty awesome in SRW Z where he get team attack with Trider and Zambot 3. Grungust is also probably Banpresto's homage to the series as well in which Irm inherit some of Banjo's personality. In the end while my opinion toward Daitarn 3's anime is low, i will always keep its incarnation in SRW in high regard

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rifts: Promise of Power

 10 Years ago N-Gage failed to compete against Nintendo but it doesn't mean that the platform did not have good games, in fact it does have some good Western RPG games on it. Rifts: Promise of Power was one of them and it is one of the few game in the platform that leaves such lasting impression to me. While Shadows over Mystara introduce me to Role-Playing series, Rifts was the one that introduce me to the mechanics of these Pen-and-Paper Games.

 Rifts: Promise of Power is a turn-based RPG games that follows closely to the rules of the Pen-and-Paper RPG Rifts. In this game you play either as Mercenary, Psychic or Mage exploring the Dystopian world of Rifts. In the setting of the Rifts, Earth turned into hellish landscape as Aliens including Dragons enter the Planet through Dimensional Portal called Rifts. In this game you will find allies to join your journey and fight enemies ranging from Draconian Purist Coalition Deadboys, Undeads wandering in Wilderness to Insect Alien Creature called Xiticix. At some point in the game, your character will get a job change and each starting class have different classes to choose from. Ranging from Chivalrous Psionic-Energy Sword wielding Cyber Knight or Super-Human but Short Life-Span Juicer to the game to Infamous Power Armor with Giant Cannon called Glitterboy.

 For a mobile game, Rifts: Promise of Power had such good production value that is capable of creating immersive world with limited specs. I remembered that i finished this game clocking 24Hours with my Glitter Boy which is capable of dealing serious damage with his back-mounted cannon with the Support of Invoker who is capable of pulling some nasty spells with the support of Leyline. It was such a waste that Rifts series never get any more video-games after the N-Gage considering it has the potential to be a good RPG like the DnD adaptation Baldur's Gate. Here are some more of the game screenshots that i took back when i played the game.

Pyromaniac Burster
Battle Magus
Cyber Knight

Coalition Deadboy and Dogboy



Monday, March 21, 2016

Treading into forbidden land

 Since i have been getting back into modelling again recently, i am getting some kits to build from China and Taobao certainly a paradise for Bootleg Gundams. From this encounter, the appeal from these Bootlegs are quite tempting indeed and out of curiosity i decided to get some for research purposes.  While majority of the Bootlegs are Gunplas, there is one Company that does bootleg for Kotobukiya kits called BT Black Knight.

At the moment BT Black Knight mostly produce bootleg HMM Zoids stuffs that roughly cost 1/4 of the Original stuff but at the past they manufacture some SRW kits that probably Kotobukiya didn't produce anymore. From the vendors in Taobao i bought myself Huckebein Mk-III, Weissritter and Alteisen Progressive ver. They roughly cost 1/3 of the original price with Huckebein cost only 50 RMB which is less than 10 USD. I am really curious with the quality of the kit but i think it shouldn't be too different compared to the original one since Kotobukiya's engineering at the time was not that good save for Alteisen Progressive ver. Apart from these 3 Kits, the other SRW stuff that BT do are the non scale Dygenguar and Person-Lichkeit but i think they did bootleg 1/144 Cybuster and Huckebein Boxer at some point.

 My stance toward these bootleg stuffs are neutral considering they won't really affect much on modelling world as they target more on the casual consumers. In the first place these kind of stuffs arises due to demand from consumers who are unable to afford the original product especially on the third world countries where the original product usually cost twice or more of its base price. Probably at some point i will discuss these Chinese Bootleg stuffs considering i live in the close proximity of this Bootleg Paradise. Once i had a good grasp on it, i will definitely write the article to give some proper insights on this controversial Gray Area.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Choudenji Machine Voltes V

 When i am not procrastinating, i guess i can get things done really fast. Finished marathoning Voltes V and with this 2 of 3 Nagahama Trilogy finished and i will be waiting for Daimos. The series was quite popular in Southeast Asia around late 80s especially in Phillipines and i can see why. Overall Voltes V is Combattler V with Sword and plot-wise it fared slightly better but worse in terms of romance. Just like Combattler V, Voltes still use Monster of the week formula but this time the drama was improvised with more interesting Plot Twists. The main casts are pretty much identical with Combattler V with slight personality swap here and there with Kenichi being more serious compared to Hyoma. I think Voltes V originally intended to be around 50 Episodes but was cut to 40 instead due to sponsor issues. Nevertheless it do tie most of the loose ends but perhaps Heinel would surpassed Garuda by greater margin or the series had better ending if Voltes run on its intended length.

 While the series have aged greatly considering a late 70s anime, Voltes V did huge influence on japanese media. Without Voltes V arguably we will never see Banpresto's Mascot SRX considering the latter got some of its design based on Voltes. SRW games did give good homage to Voltes V and other Nagahama Trilogy titles in which Voltes and Combattler usually get tag team attacks and Alpha 3 is the best one up until now but J and L are quite good too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Zoids Legacy

 Rewriting this article with updated screenshots from the game since i believe the series deserve some better treatment. This game was my gateway to Zoids series and I think i have finished this game like four times already both in emulator and back when i had GBA. While Zoids Legacy was riddled with plenty of bad translations it does not ruin much of the gaming experience.

 Some examples how terrible the translation work by Atari on this game, i think the worst one from what i recall is they translate 落ちろ! to simply "drop!" which just didn't make sense for the context

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Choudenji Robo Combattler V

 I have been using Combattler V in my SRW games that feature this guy like Alpha Series or J. While i prefer Voltes V since Kenichi racked more kill counts than Hyoma, i thought about paying this series a respect by watching original tv series. As i expected for a 70-80s Mecha series which was made mainly for selling toys, Combattler V was mediocre as Storytelling media but certainly the Robot is memorable especially with the Crotch Missile. Combattler V uses Monster of the Week formula for its episodes where the Combattler V team fight a new monster each time and won through hair's breath. I think the series tried to make something different early in the series but proceed to the generic route for robot series in this time. While the story is pretty generic, the series got a cool rival named Garuda for Protagonist at the first half of the series at very least and i didn't expect Hyouma lost its arm really early in the story. What puzzle me the most with these 70s-80s Robot Show that most of them feature stupid annoying kids for some reason as the sidekicks for the protagonist.

 In my opinion Combattler V did have significant influence on Super Sentai. While the series doesn't focus on infantry combats, the Combattler V robot sure fit the regular trope of Super Sentai's megazord where 5 machines combined to form a Giant Robot. Considering Toei is behind this series and do Tokusatsu as well, i think my wild guess that Combattler V sets up some of trends for Super Sentai is not too far off. With one of the Nagahama Trilogy finished, i will give the rest a watch though it would be a while for Daimos since i can't find the complete series. I doubt the series will get a reboot considering the present market condition but if it ever got one it will look the videos below which Garuda is quite a bishie.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Super Robot Wars Alpha 2 Arado's playthrough Complete!

 Looks like it took me 3 weeks to complete my SRW@2 second playthrough which is not that bad considering my procrastination habit on SRW. Back then before i begin my first run on Alpha 2, i promised myself to do Arado Balanga's playthrough at very least since Wildwurger was one of my favorite SRW Original. Compared to Ibis playthrough Arado's was much more a breeze obviously with NewGame+bonus which i got 6 Million cash and proceed to curbstomp everything with my Upgraded units. Compared to my First playthrough however, Arado's playthrough is slightly boring early on since he is stuck with mediocre Huckebein MkIII in the first half of the game and frankly speaking Arado is rather mediocre Pilot with crap original Seishin pool. But still he is one of my favorite guy with his Happy-go-lucky attitude.

 In Alpha 2 Arado get his Wildwurger around stage 30 and then Seolla joins with Wildfalken after few stages. Compared to Hyperlion it lacks ALL or MAP attacks which make Arado hard to rack up Kill Counts. In exchange Wildwurger is better Boss Killer compared to Hyperlion though probably not as strong as Daizengar. Once fully upgraded, Wildwurger and Wildfalken are probably some of the best support units in the game as both Arado and Seolla got Support Attack Lv4. Put them nearby Tough enemies and let other Unit take a dip on the unit first while either of the Twin Birds support them and you will find those unit will die in no time since they are quite capable of providing 30k worth of damage from support in a single turn once fully upgraded. On top of that Arado's route is the only route where you gets upgrade carried over for Viletta and Ratsel's Huckebein if you upgraded Arado's early on which means Two Solid Support Units

Monday, March 7, 2016

Early March Loot

 Lol what a way to celebrate my return to Beijing for the last time with Impulse spending on Taobao. For this time i bought myself Kotona Nendoroid, YS7 Adol Figurine and Volks A3 Type 00 A&R Takemikazuchi. Overall i got the price of the items on par with Mandarake's price tag which are still compared to buying from Mandarake when Shipping is taken on consideration since i only pay like 3$ for the shipping when i buy from China. I bought both Volks A3 for 220 RMB each which is around 3700 Yen which is really good deal for the Blue Takemikazuchi as it is the 2nd most expensive Type 00 after Yui's. Originally i didn't intend to get the White Takemikazuchi considering it was abit higher than the average price but bought on impulse anyway since i guess Ikaruga would be lonely without someone to boss around. Also i have been looking around for Adol Figurine but the only decent one i get is the UFO catcher grade figurine which got nice sculpt overall save for the face. It is hard life for collector when your favorite character is male since the Japanese figure market didn't make much of those most of the time. In any case it will be a while before i reviewed these items considering it will be like 4 months before i returned to hometown.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Monster Hunter Generations

  Kinda see this is going to happen as 4U was a great success for Capcom in the west, slated for mid of this year we are getting MHX renamed as Monster Hunter Generations to be released in the west. Personally i won't be getting this one as 4 Ultimate is my last MH Games on 3DS, as long as the series stuck on 3DS.

I have nothing against Nintendo but i personally think won't get to its fullest potential if it is stuck on 3DS for many reasons. I was really hyped for 4 Ultimate back then but was really disappointed with the game which contributes to the reason why i think 3DS doesn't suit for MH. Firstly 4U was such a rushed out product that you will find lack of Quest variety in Grank Guild, then 4th Gen was the worst when it comes to level design. As for the community i was really sad with the 3DS Community for this game which majority are either Munchkins or Noobs and i think next MH should have some measures to make railroading harder. Lastly the Apex mechanics are terrible as it deviates from its original purposes making the monsters annoying instead of challenging.While i won't be getting the game i will support the series by buying the merchandises.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Oda Nobunaga (Ikegami Ryoichi)

 I have read severals manga that depicts the life of Oda Nobunaga and out of all the one that catches me the most is the version drawn by Ikegami Ryoichi. This version is purely biography like Mitsuteru's version but when compared to other Oda Nobunaga's manga, the Ikegami Ryoichi's version appear to be really dramatic and got the most handsome version of Nobunaga. The art quality is quite outstanding too for a manga drawn from late 80s. It is quite possible that Koei got their inspiration for their version of Nobunaga for their long standing Nobunaga's Ambition and Samurai Warriors from Ryoichi's version.

 One of Japan's most famous historical period was the 16th Century Warring States period and Oda Nobunaga is probably the most celebrated character out of that period. To explain why Nobunaga is so famous in Japan won't be sufficient in a single post but he is famous enough to appear alot in Japanese media especially manga and video games and the reason why we have Nobunaga no Yabou instead of Tokugawa no Yabou. To some people Nobunaga perhaps is no more than a devil incarnate since he slaughtered lots of people during his campaign including tens of thousands of civilians. However in the passage of history he left behind a great legacy as one of the three Unifier of Japan and arguably the one who did most of the legwork. While he may never trust fully his subordinates, Nobunaga is the paragon of a Pragmatic ruler who would made Machiavelli smitten like a little girl if two of them ever met each other.  I hope one day some scanlators would be interested to pick up this manga for translation since this is one of those manga that would be a waste if kept in Japan only.