Archive for the merchandise Category

Update from beyond the grave circumstances of being busy

Posted in cinema, merchandise, site news/maintenance on December 30, 2009 by reccaphoenix

Hullo everyone, Recca Phoenix here again.  Gee, this year has been busy.  I’ve had almost no time [or interesting things with which] to update this blog, and Latin Baby is suffering even more.  But I have some exciting news.

1. I finished another film.  A real one.  An experimental film.

2. Said film is to be shown at a prestigious film archive as part of a student film show.  I won something and I feel like a legitimate artist now.  I cried when I heard the news, I was so happy.  Said film may or may not be posted online somewhere for your viewing pleasure in the future.

3. I have a twitter account now.  Allow me to provide the appropriate classic rock quote: “and I’m waiting for you to follow me” (-The Who, “I’m Free”, Tommy)

4. My main store should receive an update sooner or later.  The other stores are also overdue for updates….

Greetings from Tezuka World Kyoto!

Posted in advertising, anime, cinema, fun stuff to do, japan, manga, merchandise, osamu tezuka, reviews/opinions on April 8, 2009 by reccaphoenix

Hullo from my new home, Japan.  And sorry for the huge lapse in posting, I’ve been here and there and everywhere doing all kinds of more important things.

Honestly, it’s not as awesome as you’re thinking.  BUT there’s one awesome thing about living here and being able to read Japanese (albeit with much dictionary usage) – Tezuka manga for cheap!  And lots of Tezuka merchandise!  And Tezuka-related attractions, such as Tezuka Osamu World Kyoto, located in Kyoto Station next to the Granvia Hotel.  What is it like?  I’ll tell you.  And show you.  To the best of my ability, anyway – some of the photos are so-so.

Stepping off the bus and up to the train station, I noticed some awesome posters and figures-with-arrows pointing the way to Tezuka World (click images for fullsize)

Astro!

Leo!

Leo again!

....and a whole bunch of obscure and famous charas, too!

After following these signs, I finally arrived at the front entrance of Tezuka World!  It’s hard to see in the photo, but the signs outside the building are actually 3-D hologram type graphics.

Tezuka World entrance

And then…I went inside…. and saw some awesome life-size figures of Black Jack, Sapphire, Leo, and Astro Boy, as well as an awesome mural with tons of Tezuka characters on it.

The 4 life-size photo-op figures.

BJ skulking around with Sapphire next to an awesome mural.

Then, I went to the main attraction – the store. I spent almost an hour looking at tons and tons of merchandise, some of it exclusive to Kyoto Tezuka World, and ended up buying some, which you can see here (along with the Tezuka-related results of my separate manga shopping trip).

some flyers from Tezuka World, 2 Dororo mangas, an Astro Boy pencil case and pencil board, Pinoco folder, 3-eyed one manga, ticket from Tezuka World theater, and a Hinotori Kyoto pen.

But back to Tezuka World…

The other main attraction is the “Anime Theater,” where you can watch a short movie on a flatscreen TV in a dark “theater” decorated with images from many different Tezuka works.  The movie tickets are on sale in the store, and the movie plays on the :05 and :35 of every hour.  The programme changes every month.  The cost is 200 Yen (about 2 U.S. dollars) for an adult.  The programme names and schedule are listed on the flyers they have near the entrance with Sharaku on them (there’s one in the photo of the stuff I bought).  The ticket also lets you use the “Mini Library,” which has comfy seats and a huge selection of Tezuka manga to read (in Japanese, of course).

According to the flyer, the programme for April is supposed to be “Black Jack and Jungle Emperor Leo” but it’s “in planning” right now, so that’s probably why they showed the December programme, “The Secret of Astro’s Birth,” on the day I was there.  I thought I’d record my impressions of the film, even though chances are that you wouldn’t see the same one if you decided to go to Tezuka World Kyoto.

Anime Theater Programme: “The Secret of Astro’s Birth”

The film starts out with a *mysterious figure* (that anyone acquainted with the series could identify as Dr. Tenma) breaking into a science lab.  Flashbacks, etc. inform us that he is stealing a mobile laboratory spaceship to work on some project.  Ochanomizu tries to stop him, but is shoved into something and locked up.  Later, he and the authorities try to hunt down and stop Tenma, who is on his way to Mars (working on his experiment along the way).  Flashbacks show us Tobio (Tenma’s son) in the days leading up to his accident, and give us an idea of Tenma’s relationship with him.  As any idiot could guess, Tenma’s “project” is the creation of Astro Boy.  Chase scenes, high tension “drama,” etc. follow, leading up to the inevitable – Tenma is caught and must return to earth, but he is allowed to finish working on Astro.  Standard Astro birth scene follows.

In short, this was a canon prequel to Astro’s story.  It was a little heavy on the “suspense drama,” seriousness, and emotional flashbacks in my opinion.  Come on, this is Astro Boy we’re talking about here.  Not gekiga.  The animation, done in the style of the “new Astro” of the 2000’s, is a bit shiny for my tastes.  Part of what I love about Tezuka is the simplicity of his designs, which doesn’t always translate well into the hyper-detailed modern anime style.  Anyway, it was worthwhile entertainment for 2 bucks and it WAS Tezuka….but if this wasn’t in the venue it was in, I wouldn’t really recommend it except to die-hard Astro fans, though they might be more disappointed than the average viewer, now that I think about it.

Anyway, that’s my take on Tezuka Osamu World Kyoto, and I hope it was worth your time.

‘Gyakuten Meets Jazz Soul’ is awesome.

Posted in Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright, merchandise, mod, music, reviews/opinions, video games with tags , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by reccaphoenix

As I have said several times before, the video games from the Ace Attorney/Gyakuten Saiban/Phoenix Wright series have pretty great music compared with the usual stuff that comes out of the speakers on your DS/GBA.  And man oh man does it sound even nicer when it’s fully arranged, as on the “Gyakuten Meets Orchestra” album.

And even better is another album of real-instrument arrangements called “Gyakuten Meets Jazz Soul,” which features a whole bunch of great tracks from the game in a chill jazz swingin’ style.  This is an album I’d recommend even to those who have never played a video game.  It’s that good.  If you like jazz or lounge, that is.  Being a big fan of these styles of music myself, I loved this album (in case you haven’t guessed that already).  So don’t hesitate a moment longer.  Get this album now here.

Here’s another general thing about GMJS (as I will refer to it for the rest of this article) that I really dig.  Hip, modern/mod people like myself are often reluctant to admit that we play/really get into video games at all, much less listen to music from them habitually.  But this album can rub shoulders comfortably with my collection of lounge/jazz music and Continue reading

OWN THE QUADROPHENIA SCOOTER! / ’79 Quadrophenia movie rant.

Posted in cinema, merchandise, mod, music, rants, reviews/opinions with tags , , , , , , on November 7, 2008 by reccaphoenix

I ride a GS Scooter with my haircut neat...

"I ride a GS Scooter with my haircut neat..."

Up for auction for an estimated 32,000-40,000 U.S. dollars…. Jimmy’s Lambretta scooter from the 1979 Quadrophenia movie!  A must-buy for any hardcore mod!

For those of you who are unenlightened, Quadrophenia is a 1973 rock opera album by my #1 favourite band, The Who.  It’s about the tail end of the mod movement in the UK.

I’m not too big a fan of the Quadrophenia film, actually.  I prefer the album much better, and I think the “Quadrophenia Live” DVD actually does a better job of telling the original album’s story better than the film does.  While the Quadrophenia film wasn’t nearly as much of a bastardization as the Tommy movie was, it still just doesn’t do it for me.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Somehow, having Jimmy drive his scooter off a cliff to “I’ve Had Enough” (which comes in the MIDDLE of the album) at the end of the film doesn’t work as well as ending with “Love Reign O’er Me” which is a much more poignant ending.  Isn’t that what it’s all about?  That Jimmy can in the end overcome the desperation of youth rather than submit to its pressure and commit suicide (or trash his scooter…we don’t actually *see* him “die”).

*END OF SPOILERS*

Another issue I had with the film was casting: I don’t really think Sting makes a good Ace Face/Bellboy.  This character is supposed to be the KING of all mods, the moddest of all of them.  Sting just isn’t mod enough.  Okay, I know that they had to put at least one well-known person in the film so that it could sell more tickets.  Fair enough.  But they threw this popular ’80s…er…late ’70s guy in there who just isn’t that mod.  I totally felt the whole late ’70s thing more than I should have, especially with regards to some of the girls’ hairstyles in the film.

I realize I’m being exceedingly picky here.  These little things don’t affect my total appreciation of the film.  That has more to do with plot/music choices and pacing.  Seriously, Sting and curly-hair girl wouldn’t have taken away from it if it was a better film in the first place.

I appreciate the fact that the Who learned from their mistake in the Tommy film and switched to using the album versions of the songs in Quadrophenia.  However, using the songs as background and not having the characters sing them like they would in a musical really takes away from the film.  Ideally, the casters should have picked actors who can sing and act, and not put too too much of their own weird spin on the songs (I love Eric Clapton, but his rendition of ‘Eyesight to the Blind’ in the Tommy movie just pales in comparison to the Who’s…bluesy doesn’t work for it).  You know, like they did in Across the Universe….make it different, but the same…..if that makes any sense 😛

And what’s more, the film doesn’t even use all of the songs on the album, but uses other Who songs and mod favorites (like “Da Doo Ron Ron”)….and takes far too long to actually start using the songs from Quadrophenia everyone wanted to hear!  And it goes for a linear plot, unlike the album, which totally ruins the order of songs/events, and makes everything way less poignant.  How are we to experience the awesomeness of “The story begins ON A ROCK….*dramatic pause*,” as Pete Townshend said in Largo, Maryland back in seventy-whatever, if the story doesn’t start from “the end”?  And while it is educational to see Jimmy and his buddies participating in all their mod antics (such as breaking into the Chemist…er….Pharmacy to steal uppers), we want to see the STORY.  Anyone could make just “a film about mods,” what I wanted was a film OF QUADROPHENIA.

So….. to cut this long-winded and heavily disorganized rant short and come back to the point…..

It’s still a pretty sweet scooter.  Snatch it up.  Even if the movie pretty much sucked, the scooter is quite appropriate for mods and part-time-mods of all sizes, shapes, and persuasions, so snatch it up if you’ve got a couple thousand dollars lying around.

This important newsflash came to my attention via ModCulture.co.uk, as always your #1 source for mod happenings in Europe and mod information of all types.

Musings on Ace Attorney 1 + Phoenix Wright Artbook Humor

Posted in Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright, anime, books, merchandise, shameless parody, video games with tags , , , on August 8, 2008 by reccaphoenix

Overall Impressions (parody follows later!)

So I borrowed the first Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) game from a friend. Several other friends of mine are hooked on the series and it looked too ridiculous to pass up, so I gave it a spin.

I always used to say how corny the Ace Attorney games looked. How super-anime-like. How unlike any real legal system. But despite all this….once I tried the game, I was hooked. The games themselves are so simple…just a basic visual novel structure with a few menus and a fairly fixed storyline. Normally, those types of games on their own don’t intrigue me all that much, but the difference here is in the writing. Start with some funny, dynamic, and interesting characters with backstories and development (!!!), some nice background music (that only gets better), and intriguing, pretzel-like twisting stories developed for each trial (all of which happen to be for murder).

It was really inspiring for this former visual-novel-type-game creator to see such a “simple” game work so effectively and be so popular among both VN fans, other habitual gamers, and non-habitual-gamers (especially in the USA, where visual-novel-like games are nowhere near as popular as they are in Japan. Could it be all the reading involved?). It’s all in the writing. Given the relative simplicity of the game, I was not surprised to learn that the entire Ace Attorney core development team is only about 6 people. Capcom sure gets their moneys’ worth. However, the next game in the series (where you play the prosecution rather than the defense; it’s in development in Japan now) moves beyond the VN structure in that it appears to have controllable character sprites and a further “investigation” aspect. I’m not disappointed; it actually looks very very exciting.

As angry as most dubbing and over-localization makes me, I have to applaud Capcom’s USA team here. The vast majority of the names and humor don’t translate directly, so the localization team decided to do the best approximation without totally wrecking the sense of the original. And the humor really makes the game more enjoyable. From punny names (i.e. Winston Payne) to subculture jokes (the nerdy director of a samurai TV series talks entirely in l33t-speak) and other comedy gold (a wiretap is found in the “Gatewater Hotel”), the localization team really creates a well-written game that appeals to people outside the anime-fan-cum-gamer crowd.

So am I going to play the rest of this series? Yes.

Artbook Musings of Hilarity

*This was originally a chain email sent to some of my friends who play Phoenix Wright, in response to an artbook drawing of Miles Edgeworth in his pajamas. I can’t link the artbook scans directly, but I will provide the URL link to each picture.*

http://gyakusai.magical-art.com/gallery/gallery.php?g2_itemId=510

It’s really funny to think….SOMEBODY official drew that picture ’cause I’m sure something like this went down:

Boss: “Hey, look, underpaid Capcom artists, we’ve gotta get this stupid artbook together so we can make tons o’ money on something that’s half made-up of graphics already used in the game, but…there’s something new we need here. Something different….”

Artist 1: “Uh, how about something for the fangirls?”

Boss: “….Good thinking there! They will have no choice but to buy it!”

Artist 2: “Oh I drew this picture of Miles Edgeworth in his pajamas as a stupid joke but….”

Boss: “(shrieks). OH. MY. GOD. WHAT IN GOD’S NAME HAVE YOU DONE?!”

Artist 2: “Sorry…”

Boss: “NO I LOVE IT! YOU’RE GETTING PROMOTED! STOP THE PRESSES, PUT THAT SH*T IN THE ARTBOOK NOW!!!! Okay people we need more of this!”

Artist 3: “Err, how about something like this?”

http://gyakusai.magical-art.com/gallery/gallery.php?g2_itemId=719

Boss: “MAYA FEY IN A SCHOOLGIRL AND MAID OUTFIT?! YOU SICK PERVERT!……I LOVE IT! THOSE FANBOYS WILL LOVE IT TOO!” **addition: my friend informed me that the maid outfit is actually a waitress outfit from one of the later games.***

More Artbook Musings

(from the same email)

Okay, yes, I haven’t played the 2nd or 3rd game yet so I might be missing something, but this picture looks SO SO wrong:
http://gyakusai.magical-art.com/gallery/gallery.php?g2_itemId=547

Franziska: Hey, I hear your salary is pretty low recently, but I can pay you for *something else* if you just hop inside my limo here…. *heh heh heh*

Or maybe she’s just bribing him. *rolls eyes*

Additional Fangirl-like Rant (and response)

“Oh man, I can’t wait for that *new* game they’re developing in Japan to come out…I just saw the trailer and it looks hella cool.”

***note: this refers to the new Miles Edgeworth game (tentative USA title Miles Edgeworth Perfect Prosecutor) that is in development in Japan right now****

***When my friend responded to the email, I received 3 OBJECTIONs which can be seen here and here and lastly, here. Don’t turn your volume up too loud on those.

Coloring Books!

Posted in anime, artwork, comix, disney, fun stuff to do, merchandise, nostalgia, television, video games with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2008 by reccaphoenix

I stopped coloring in coloring books for fun around the age of 9. The only coloring I ever did after that was on my own drawings, or with kids I was babysitting. But, after reading a hilarious post at X-Entertainment devoted to “Sh*tty He-Man Coloring Books,” I wanted to color something. Something nostalgic. From my past.

And lo and behold, I found an awesome site with all sorts of COLORING BOOK scans from cartoons, video games, and anime of the past. I did a nice picture of Super Sailor Moon (which, on second thought, has WAY too many complexities to be colored by a kid….) but that was unfortunately lost. So, lacking anything to color with at the moment, I will present to you my Corel-Paint-Crayon-Tool-colored masterpiece, “Bauhaus Mondrian Pony” (click for full size):

Happy coloring! And feel free to link to your own colored page (only 1 please) in your comment!

The “Wright” Stuff

Posted in artwork, merchandise, Uncategorized with tags , on May 14, 2008 by reccaphoenix

I really like Frank Lloyd Wright’s art and architecture. This is a little something I drew (one of my first attempts with a vector graphics program) inspired by his style:

the wright stuff.

(click for full size)

Thought about using it for a tshirt design, but decided against it. Let me know what you think!