AKB48's latest single is "心のプラカード," which Google translates as "Placard of Mind." Perhaps it is in spite of its title, then, that the song is mindless J-Pop fodder. But that's not such a bad thing. When most people listen to pop songs, they just want to be entertained. And "心のプラカード " does entertain for all of its approximately four minutes. What it doesn't do is break the AKB48 mold. You have a fast tempo, blaring horns, soaring strings, jittery piano and a seemingly infinite number of girls harmonizing together. Not bad. Or is it?
The first official release of the Prometheus Rising Heavy Industries Roteaugen 1/18 scale 3D printed mechanized infantry action figures will be available at FOE Gallery in the shop on Saturday, August 30, and online Sunday, August 31st. These special forces are printed in color with details painted with Monster Kolor and acrylics, are fully articulated, and are equipped with light grenade launchers for anti-mecha operations. Catch this first release for just $20 each on ShopeFOE.com starting Sunday, August 31.
This black and red CollectionDX-themed microrun was a sneak peak release of the PRHI Roteaugen 1/18 scale mechanized infantry figure. They are full articulated, 3D printed in color in ABS plastic, with details painted with Monster Kolor and acrylics.
Folks that follow me on Twitter and Instagram have been seeing these new figures for a few weeks now, but it’s time for a proper reveal. The Roteaugen infantry are the first release in my effort to transition the Prometheus Rising Heavy Industries line of 3D printed toys to 1/18 scale to be compatible with some of my other favorite toy lines.
The Roteaugen (Red eye) infantry system is named for the effect its Indirect Battlefield Awareness System (IBAS) has on its users. On a battlefield dominated by hulking power armor and heavy weapons, rank and file soldiers are happy to suffer a little eye irritation for the increased survivability the Roteaugen suit affords. The suit consists mainly of lightweight plate armor over an impact resistant semi-rigid undersuit. Shock absorbing endo-actuators on the lower legs provide the wearer with the ability to carry heavier weapons, run faster, and cushion falls, such as in airborne deployment. The IBAS headset provides real-time enhanced tactical data on the battlefield and targets, as well as suit and equipment status Heads Up Displays (HUD).
The 1/18 scale Roteaugen figure stands four inches tall, features thirteen points or articulation (swivel neck, elbows, and knees, ball and socket shoulders, hips, and ankles), and is made entirely from 3D printed ABS plastic treated with an acetone vapor bath for smoothness and durability. There is a 5 mm port in the back for compatibility with all sorts of existing accessories. I brought a couple early samples to the East Coast Chogokin Summit last month in CollectionDX-themed black and red, and the first real release will be through FOE Gallery this weekend. I’ll put up another post about the FOE release tomorrow, but for now enjoy these photos of the early samples.
Another 3D printed Microman scale (1/18) CD-1-L Blockman figure has been added to the ranks! This one was a commission by a big Micro collector and friend of mine, looking to add some cross-pollinated SFLand action to his collection. This guy was painted at the same time as the Brute Squad Bounce Torotise, featuring similar techniques and finish. Painted with Monster Kolor and acrylics.
Here’s the family photo of the three fully painted Blockmen I’ve completed. More photos after the jump.
Red vs. Blue!
The Tenacious Toys and Monster Kolor Custom Toy Show opens at P!Q in Grand Central Terminal NYC tonight. The theme of the show was toys painted with Monster Kolor paints, and what would an MK show be without some real type, flat finish, weathered 3D printed mecha action? I was asked to participate and couldn’t say no. I was pretty short on time, but I was able to dig into my stash and piece together one last classic 1/12 scale Bounce Tortoise, the last of its kind. This Tortoise is from Brute Squad, featuring a red and white scheme where I tried some new tricks for adding color variation while applying the main colors, and a new acrylic wash mix that I’m pretty pleased with. The other thing I tried on this guy was to skip my usual chipping step. All the weathering here is a combination of airbrushed fading, color modulation, and washes. I’m pretty pleased with the results, and hope to see some great pics of the last Bounce Tortoise making its debut at the opening tonight!
The Japanese government commissioned a report on the history of Japanese robot animation. Yes, the government. My government's robot studies are undoubtedly focused on stuff like killer Predator and Reaper drones. Japan's? Astro Boy, Tranzor Z, and Voltron. More power to 'em, I say. (Pun intended.) "Japan" and "robots" go together like chocolate and peanut butter. It's fair to say that no other country has become so intimately associated with robots both real and fictional.
But until now, precious few have explored the history of the robot shows that are a virtual synonym for Cool Japan. Ryusuke Hikawa wrote the majority of the report. He's been on the front lines of otaku culture since day one, chairing the fan club that played a big role in getting the Space Cruiser Yamato movies made back in 1977. Today he's one of Japan's top anime critics and I can't think of anyone better suited to have authored the report along with Sunrise's Koichi Inoue and writer Daisuke Sawaki.
AltJapan was hired via the Mori Corporation to translate the 90-page beast into English. And now it's available for free download on the Agency for Cultural Affair's Media Arts Content site. (Scroll down for the English link.)
The English-language ebook editions of Fujiko F. Fujio's classic manga "Doraemon" have started coming out. AltJapan translated it for Voyager Japan in association with Fujiko Productions - some 12,000-plus pages over the course of last year, easily the biggest manga localization with which we have ever been involved. It's finally being released in 3-episode chunks: volumes one through ten have come out via the Kindle Store as of this posting. (Apologies if you can't see them - they're only available for download in North America at present.)
This release is a really big deal. Doraemon is Japan's single most popular character, yet the comic has never been officially released in English. There have been a handful of bilingual editions created for students of English, but never a truly localized edition intended purely for enterainment's sake.
If you've never read Doraemon, you can't truly call yourself a connosieur of manga. I challenge anyone to find a middle-aged or younger Japanese person, otaku or not, who hasn't read at least a few pages (and probably a lot more than that.) It is the first sci-fi most Japanese read. It's part of the fabric of Japanese life in the same way that classic Disney films or Peanuts are in the West. The cast of characters are archetypes: Nobita the nerd, Sneech the rich kid, Big G the bully, Shizuka the neighborhood idol. They are given homage in countless other works, parodied in nationwide advertising campaigns for car companies. People casually drop references to them in daily conversations in the same way an American might refer to Homer Simpson's love of donuts or Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown.
So why hasn't it ever come out in English before? It's hard to say. Perhaps because manga and anime are often associated with dark, edgy imagery in America, and that's the last word anyone would ever apply to Doraemon. It is kids' entertainment par excellence, but quintessentially Japanese kids' entertainment, meaning it's filled to the brim with subtle cultural references, occasional nudity, and inevitable toilet humor of the sort that sends certain types of parents into a tizzy. And simply due to the age of the series - it debuted in 1969 - modern-day analogues of many of Doraemon's "22nd century" gadgets are available to anyone with a credit card. The Asahi Shimbun quotes a "former industry ministry official" theorizing that Americans can't sympathize with a passive loser like Nobita, but that can't be right - Charlie Brown is an even gloomier protagonist, minus any hope of salvation from a pal like Doraemon.
Whatever prevented Doraemon from getting an English release didn't stop it from being translated into many European and Asian languages, where it retains a huge following (particularly in SE Asia.) The English-speaking world is simply behind the curve on this one, and it's been our loss - until now. Doraemon is a cornerstone of Japanese pop culture, and it has been an honor to be part of the team that is bringing it out in English for the very first time.