Games and Gunpla

So first up for today are some recently announced Gunpla kits, ones I’ve been eagerly awaiting for awhile now:

– HG Arche Gundam – May release, 1,680 Yen (inclusive of tax).
– HG O Gundam – Release date & price TBA.
– HG Susanoo – July release, 1,260 Yen (inclusive of tax).

– HGUC Schuzrum Dias – May release
– MG G Armor – June release
– HGUC Hi-Nu – Release date TBA

(info from Ngee Khiong blog)

Of these new kits, All 3 of the OO ones and HGUC Hi Nu are the ones I’m very excited for. I”m defenitly glad they decided to release Susanoo over Masurao, as the Susanoo just looks better overall. I also wonder what colors the HG O Gundam will be in. I’m hoping for its RX-78-2  color scheme, though I honestly wouldn’t be disappointed if its in its Roll-out colors. HG Arche should also be pretty awesome as well, and it would go great alongside my HG Throne Zwei.

Now HGUC Hi-Nu has me very excited. Its been one of my favorite UC Gundams ever since I laid my eyes on it, and it will be nice to have a kit of it that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg like the fantastic looking MG. I also hope the HGUC retains the MG’s slimmer build. While I do like the original, I like the less bulky style of the MG better.

Now on to some other Gundam news, this time about video games. In a disappointing move, it seems the 0081 series I posted on earlier will not in fact be a series, but will in fact be a new Gundam video game for the PS3, called MS Gundam Battlefield Record U.C 0081. While I am disappointed that we won’t be getting a new UC series, the game does actually look pretty good. And its supposedly a game in the vein of Gundam Lost War Chronicles, which I’ve been told is a very well designed game. The reason I mention this is that Gundam games are not usually of the highest caliber, so hopefully this game turns out great.

In other Gundam game news, the sequel to Dynasty Warriors Gundam has been pushed back to next month. This sucks as it was supposed to be released in North American this weekend. Hopefully this is the last time they push it back.

Gundam 00 S2 Episodes 21, 22, 23.

Episode 21

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In regards to deaths, this episode was full of them, Wang Liu Mei and Hong Long both meet their ends at the hands of Nena, though Nena meets her end thanks to Louise. I personally thought it was about time Nena suffered for what she did to Louise. And really, Nena deserved to die. There were no redeeming qualities about her, as she was just an evil person. However, Louise has finally realized that killing the person who murdered her parents isn’t going to magically bring them back, and its hit her quite hard. Saji is going to have his work cut out for him if he’s going to try and bring Louise back. This episode also starts another exciting battle between Graham and Setsuna. I say Graham because he’s seemingly returned to being Graham. Its also nice to see the Susanoo (formerly the Masurao) looking more like an Overflag.  However, the most interesting part about this episode is the revelation that Setsuna is becoming the first natural Innovator. You can almost draw a parallel between him and Louise, who is essentially an artificial Innovator. Because of that, she’s messed up quite a bit, yet Setsuna is perfectly normal. It will be interesting to see what happens in regards to this in the coming episodes.

Episode 22

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A truly epic episode. This episodes contained one of OO’s best battles to date, with A-LAWS using an anti-beam field to severly restrict CB’s fighting potential. However, in the end they are saved by the combined might of Kataron, who really shine, and the Federation coup forces under the leadership of Kati. Because of this, A-LAWS is dealt a fatal blow, and is essentially all but defeated by the end. The only thing I didn’t care for was how quickly the battle between Setsuna and Graham was. Graham has been defeated, but I think he’s been shown the light, if you will. I defenitly think we’ll see him again as a changed man before the end. I did think it was fitting how the Susanoo was truly an Overflag, seeing as its head was simply an Overflag head with a mask over it (somewhat befitting Graham. He’s somewhat been unmasked by the end here, and the same happened to his MS) Of course, the bit shocker at the end is Ribbons being killed by Regine (who seems to truly have plans of his own), but we’ll have to wait and see.

Episode 23

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As I expected, Ribbons was not truly dead. The Ribbons Regine shot was simply a clone or something, and now Regine is dead, thanks to Ali Al Sachez. The battle also continues as A-LAWS is essentially finished and the fight for VEDA has begun. Ribbons unveils his ship, the Celestial Being, and his army of clones and attacks the CB/Kataron/Coup forces relentlessly. The Gundams have also truly lost any advantage they had previously, as all of Ribbons forces have Trans-Am at their disposal. The final battle is going to be like nothing CB has ever experienced.  Some interesting matchups begin here. Ali and Lockon have engaged in battle, and really I think its fitting. Though Setsuna has his quams with Ali, he did kill Lyle’s brother, so Lyle has every reason to want him dead. Also, Setsuna/Saji countinue to fight against Louise and her seemingly unstoppable Regnant, while Tieria goes after Ribbons himself. The endgame has officially begun, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

J-Pop and K-Pop – A difference in Quality Control

This post is about something I’ve mulled about for some time know.

Now, everyone who visits here will know how much I love AKB48, and J-Pop in general, but most people don’t know that I have an equally strong like of K-Pop as well. That started about a little over a year ago, when I found out about the K-Pop group Girls Generation, which has now become quite the phenomenon. When I was getting into K-Pop was also around the time I was getting into AKB48, so I’ve liked both for an equal amount of time. Now, I love both J and K Pop just as equally, but I have begun to notice just how much more goes into making music in Korea.

Lets take a look into how groups are formed. AKB48, for instance has occasional auditions to find new Research Students, who will eventually have a chance at being put into one of the teams. Now, as far as I know, these auditions are open to anyone in Japan (as long as your a girl, obviously) and essentially if your chosen, you begin performing almost immediately, though obviously not on the same level as actual members. The RS’s backdance and do fill in for other members on occasion. Now, one thing I am unsure of is what training comes with being an RS, or even a full member, but as is apparent, you don’t have to have any formal training to audition. I expect they get some pretty lousy people audition, which brings to mind all those hilarious auditions you see every season in American Idol.

Now, what I’ve seen in the Korean music industry is quite different. Auditions are still present, but the training seems to be far more intense, almost to the point where it seems like a boot camp for the music industry. Lets take a look at SNSD (Girls Generation), before any of those girls actually debuted, they went through YEARS of training. Years. Some more so than others, but the one thing that is for sure is that these girls didn’t audition and then immediately start performing or pumping out singles and what not. For example, one of SNSD’s lead singers, Jessica, trained for over 7 years before debuting with the group. That’s devotion if you ask me. I don’t think any of the girls of AKB48 or Morning Musume can attest to that.

Now, of course, I still love AKB48, regardless of whether these girls had proper musical training. One thing that seems to seperate these 2 groups is simply why they were made in the first place. AKB48 is an idol group, and more of its focus is on the girls themselves, not actual talent. That’s not to say AKB48 doesn’t have its share of tremendous talent. It does for sure. It just seems to me that K-Pop groups seems to have a better focus on the musical talent of its performers.In SNSD’s case, not one of them are a bad singer in any way. They all have fantastic voices.

There are times when listening to AKB48 when I wonder how some members actually passed their audtions, and it becomes obvious image is the key factor here. All I am saying is why can’t the idol world of J-Pop be more like the Korean music industry, where image AND musical talent are both valued just as equally.