Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kamen Rider Motifs

Back in 1971 where kids shows weren't nearly as gigantic as the franchises they've grown to become today, character designs were pretty straightforward. I present my point through this blog post on how the Kamen Rider designs have progressed throughout the years, from the Showa era to the present Heisei era. 

The Showa era riders were basically designs based on insect motifs. They had distinct insect like figures, and were considered bugs, with the exception of a few riders. But case in common, they were always designed after an animal. Here's the breakdown:

Kamen Rider Ichigo, Nigo - Grasshoppers
Kamen Rider V3, Riderman - Dragonfly
Kamen Rider X - Waterbug
Kamen Rider Amazon - Monitor lizard (yes, a lizard)
Skyrider - Locust
Kamen Rider Super 1 - Honet
Kamen Rider Black/RX/Shin/J/ZO - Grasshoppers

Fast forward to the Heisei era, where everything is about money and making parents and collectors alike to buy more toys. The Riders these days come with fancy belts and are sure to have gimmicks that is based on collectibles. Such examples are cards, rings, switches, coins, whatever they can mass produce in different designs to get you to commit into their products. The character designs have been straying away from the original formula of insects or even animals. Note I'm only talking about the main title riders and not the sub riders, simply because there are just too many.

Kamen Rider Kuuga - Stag beetle/elements
Kamen Rider Agito - Dragon/beetle/elements
Kamen Rider Ryuuki - Dragon/Knight
Kamen Rider Faiz - Phi/Dragonfly/Shark
Kamen Rider Blade - Rhinoceros beetle/Cards (spades)
Kamen Rider Hibiki - Oni/Taiko
Kamen Rider Kabuto - Japanese beetle
Kamen Rider Den-O - Train/Peach (yes, a peach)
Kamen Rider Kiva - Bat/Vampire
Kamen Rider Decade - Barcodes
Kamen Rider W - W (the letter), grasshopper
Kamen Rider OOO - King/coins
Kamen Rider Fourze - Rocket/Astronaut
Kamen Rider Wizard - Magic/Jewellery

Here comes the new Rider for 2013. A few months back there was this rumour of the new Rider being based off the popular mobile game Fruit Ninja. He would just a knife to chop off fruits and transform using the seeds. I was like "RIGHT. How can people even take this seriously?" Well guess what. Kamen Rider Gaimu, our latest Rider, IS FREAKING BASED ON FRUITS. And a Sengoku theme as well. Just look at him. LOOK! He has an orange for a face and armour. Rumours are that him, with other riders, will have different fruits for different armours. I've already seen pictures of the banana, pineapple forms, and there's a listing for a durain form. No joke people. 

Well, I guess it's the same every year. We complain about their designs in the beginning but when we see them in action we start liking them. I remember hating Den-O and Kabuto in the beginning, but those 2 are now one of my favourites. I'll post more thoughts when the show starts :)

牙狼〈GARO〉~闇を照らす者~: Failing to meet expectations

南里 美希 has become the sole reason why I'm still watching 牙狼〈GARO〉~闇を照らす者~. The plot is all but broken and it's aggravating because it had so much potential and it chose to throw away 2 seasons of established background stories.

First episode sets us up with a new protagonist, along with 2 new lead characters who are also Makai Knights. There was so much potential to show the rivalry between each distinctively different character, but nothing done to establish them. Nearly 20 episodes in and I've never seen anyone of them kick ass. Even when they finally teamed up, there was no emotions between them. 

Not intending to make this a long post, but I really hate the fact that all the transformations and fight scenes are totally done in CG. It's not too bad if they are good, but I really detest the low frame rates and awkward animations. Seasons 1 and 2, although it was obvious they were using rubber suits, had much better plot and fight scenes and the Makai Knights looked really awesome while kicking ass. The short stories in season 2 were great and had depth in characters and plot. Here, it's a mess. I thought Garo going blind (see above pic) was going to be cool but they didn't even try and show how bad his eyes were damaged in human form. 

Well, at least they have Rian. That's the one positive thing I have for the show right now.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where do all the toys go?

I strongly suspect myself to be a victim of circumstance. With eBay and Amazon being the heinous masterminds tempting me with all those specially customised advertisement emails. They have mastered the art of customer tracking and know what I will spend money on, based on site visits, search informations, cookies, etc. 

Well, that's my best excuse for spending a little too much this month. Once again in my defence, the things I buy are relatively cheap. The key word here is of course 'relatively', and I benchmark with the high end stuff such as Hot Toys which go for hundreds a piece.

Me? I go for candy toys and cheap Funko Pop figures like the one you see above. $10 USD a piece, cheap cheap. Though, if you factor in the taxes and import fees the cost goes up quite a bit. Especially when the annoying thing is Amazon doesn't ship everything over to Singapore and I have to engage the use of 3rd party shipping services.

Still, I'd like to keep my collections focused. The core bulk of my collection consists of Japanese Tokusatsu figures, such as the Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman figures. These are the main things I go for, but I also go for generally popular toy lines I fancy, such as Marvel (Spider-man and Ironman), Transformers (I am resisting the urge to go into the Masterpiece series but I do have Optimus Prime), the recent Kotobukiya Justice League line, and single pieces here and there such as movie inspired figures.

For example, I thought the Jaegers in Pacific Rim were pretty cool and so in my post movie excitement I've started to order the Neca line of the related figures. Not exactly as cheap as my main collection but I find them cool. So.... most probably I'll have to remain with the line for the next series.

And then there's the old classic figures which I can't really ignore if I find one that's cheap enough. Surprisingly I got this Son Goku piece at a really really good price, around $40. And it's huge! I'd totally get this if they have more from the DBZ series. 

More photos: This is the exact position they'd end up on my display shelf, which is coming soon in a matter of weeks.

I've refrained from getting the S.H.Figuarts for the Kamen Riders but I did get the Sentai ones, namely the Red ones but some of the nicer figures such as Dragon Ranger..... do eventually make their way to my collection.

In preparation of my new place I've also printed some mini posters. Getting excited and I plan to make more photos and videos of the entire setting process. Check back here soon for more details! :)