Godzilla and fellow kaiju monsters apologise at Japanese press conference for acts of destruction

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

And every formal Japanese-style apology comes with a heartfelt bow.

The world of gachapon vending machine capsule toys just got even weirder with a new lineup of figurines from top Japanese toy producer Bandai. Called the “Godzilla Toho Monsters Press Conference”, the series depicts Godzilla, along with three other kaiju monsters from the acclaimed movie production and distribution company Toho, all appearing at fictional press conferences, complete with microphone stand and name plaque. These types of formal apologies are commonly seen on television news reports around Japan, in cases where high-profile politicians and celebrities formally atone for scandals and wrongdoings, expressing remorse to the public with deep, heartfelt bows. Only this time, it’s a group of well-known movie monsters making amends for their actions.

▼ Here, Mechagodzilla bows deeply, in formal stance with his hands by his side. At the front of the table is a scroll that reads “Hakai Koui” or “Acts of Destruction“, so the public can know exactly what he’s apologising for.

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▼ Godzilla’s archenemy King Ghidorah bows all three heads in regret.

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Hedorah, also known as The Smog Monster, is the only one to forgo the formal bow, replacing it instead with a long stare into the crowd with vertical red-and-yellow eyes.

Together, these figures create one of the funniest and most bizarre monster scenes we’ve ever seen. Available at gachapon capsule toy vending machines around the country from the end of June, these will be on sale for 300 yen (US$2.92) each.

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New “Submariner Camera” is ready to get up close and personal with your pet fish

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RocketNews 24 (by Krista Rogers):

On April 28, CCP, a subsidiary of Bandai, will release an underwater recording device dubbed the “Submariner Camera” which can take up-close pictures and videos of your fish like never before. Designed in the guise of a miniature submarine, the gadget is controlled via an infrared remote control and is capable of underwater navigation, surfacing, and left-right rotation.

▼ The Submariner Camera

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▼ The infrared remote control

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▼ It even comes with headlights on each side for some nocturnal navigation!

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▼ Use the bait-holding extendable arm to lure unsuspecting fish into the camera’s field of view.

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The camera (VGA: 640×480 pixels, 30 FPS) is able to record videos for approximately five minutes and can store approximately 800 photos (Quad-VGA: 1280×960 pixels) in its built-in 256MB internal memory. Use the accompanying USB cable to upload the best shots onto your computer and share them with friends.

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The submarine is safe for use in any water 50°C (122°F) or below, meaning it could also be a fun little party trick at your next pool party, or even a way to keep your little ones entertained long enough to give them a bath.

About the only downside to this nifty little gadget is its hefty 10,778 yen (US$100) price tag (tax included).

Hello Kitty x Mazinger Z die-cast crossover toys unveiled with anime short

Rocketnews 24/Anime News Network:

Bandai posted an English-subtitled anime short to promote its Mazinger Z and Hello Kitty crossover project on Wednesday.

The video also teases a possible collaboration between Getter Robo and My Melody at the 1:45 mark.

The Mazinger Z and Hello Kitty collaboration will include two revamped toys in Bandai’s Chogokin line. The Hello Kitty toy now comes in the colors and likeness of Mazinger Z, which includes a pop-open cockpit featuring a Hello Kitty mini-figure in Koji Kabuto’s uniform.

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The Mazinger Z toy uses the Super Robot Chogokin Mazinger Z as a base, and is painted in Hello Kitty colors. It includes a special belt for its Jet Scrander pack that features a Hello Kitty symbol.

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Both toys have replaceable parts that allow them to depict the handshake shown in the short anime.

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The crossover Chogokin Hello Kitty is slated for release in May, while the revamped Mazinger Z is slated for June.

Bandai will also release the Chogokin toy of Sanrio character My Melody on January 18. The release celebrates the character’s 40th anniversary.

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Bandai to release life-like posable plastic figures to help you draw “realistic” epic poses

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RocketNews 24 (by Scott Wilson):

It seems like Bandai really wants us to get better at drawing. First they released the totally awesome and totally-not-just-for-kids Magic Illustrator, and now they’ve announced that they will be selling life-like posable figures for all of your human-sketching needs.

And what’s more, these figures come with dozens of sweet accessories, making it easier than ever to draw a someone wielding a sword, a deadly cellphone, or their own awesome lightning fists. Ready to never again lose friends by asking them to hold a pose while you carefully draw it? Then read on!

Now for those of you who haven’t done much life-drawing before, you may wonder: why would you need plastic models? Can’t you just draw without them?

And the answer to that is a resounding… well, er, uh, kind of. Some great artists can rattle off drawings of people no problem. But for the rest of us, it helps to have a model to work off, especially if you’re drawing something that doesn’t typically happen in everyday life.

▼ It’d be hard to model this scene without someone breaking their neck, but the posable figures make it easy to sketch.making_img

The posable figures themselves are being produced by S. H. Figuarts, a maker of high-quality Japanese plastic figures. They come in two varieties, male and female, appropriately named Body-kun and Body-chan.”

What sets these figures apart from other posable art models before is that these ones are built to only bend in natural human ways. This means you can’t accidentally put the figure into an unnatural pose, which could potentially mess up your sketch. And since they bend in over 30 places, you can get a lot more detail than from other similar products.

The figures also come with a variety of accessories and interchangeable parts, making it much easier to see what certain hand positions look like when interacting with objects.

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And the possibilities don’t end there. Here’s what people all over the internet have been doing to show off the unlimited potential of working with Body-kun and Body-chan:

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body-chan computer

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body-chan kicking

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If you think Body-kun and Body-chan would make good additions to your artistic arsenal, then be sure to check back in April 2016 when they’re officially released. The models range in price from 4,320 yen to 6,480 yen (US$36 to $54) depending on how many accessories it comes with.

A simple paint trick to make your anime robot models look extra sexy

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RocketNews 24:

Although the RX-78 Gundam is the most famous mobile suit from the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime TV series, it’s not the only giant robot the Earth Federation has at its disposal. As a matter of fact, debuting in the very same premiere episode as the Gundam is the RX-77 Guncannon.

Still, there’s a reason the series, and franchise, is called Gundam and not Guncannon. Aside from being slower and less powerful, the Guncannon can’t compete in the looks department with the dashing Gundam. Simply put, it’s just not sexy enough…at least not without this subtle variation to its paint job with a hidden significance.

For everyone who hasn’t spent their life acquiring an illustrated encyclopedic knowledge of anime robots, let’s take a look at the Gundam and Guncannon, side by side.

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As we can see, the Gundam, on the left, has longer legs and lithe limbs, giving it a more graceful and athletic figure. When lined up next to each other like this, the Guncannon comes off looking just a little dumpy.

In light of this, Twitter user and model builder Takuya decided to give the Guncannon a makeover. While he didn’t make the mobile suit quite as colorful as the titular Gundam, he decided to mix things up a little on the Guncannon’s legs, which are ordinarily a single shade of crimson.

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But why add two patches of pale paint? The reason lies in the Japanese text in the above photo. It reads zettai ryouiki, which literally means “absolute territory,” but is a Japanese slang term for a strip of exposed skin on a woman’s upper thighs between the top of her socks and the hem of her skirt or shorts.

View image on Twitter

Online commenters had the following to say about Takuya’s risqué creativity:

“That’s awesome. That’s sexy.”
“Looks like a robust woman.”
“Excellent absolute territory.”
“If you’re gonna do this, do it with the [schoolgirl-themed] Nobel Gundam!”

▼ Things got a little weird during 1994’s G Gundam TV series.

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Now we’re wondering if Takuya will do an even more revealing follow-up, using the same-flesh tone to create a sleeveless outfit for the underappreciated Guncannon, or, if he wants to get really daring, a bikini version for summer. Considering the hundreds of different Gundam model kits sold by licensor Bandai, the possibilities really are endless.

Resort in Philippines has literally giant Gundam rip-off, plus Disney and Marvel knockoffs galore

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RocketNews 24:

Although the Philippines have plenty of seaside travel destinations, Jed’s Island Resort isn’t one of them. Being located in the landlocked municipality of Calumpit means that while Jed’s isn’t far from Manila Bay, it doesn’t have any coastline to call its own.

That’s OK, though, because you can still relax in one of the resort’s nine advertised swimming pools. And while you may not be able to enjoy listening to the sound of the waves, you will be able to look up at Jed’s gigantic Gundam statue that’s as tall as the one in Tokyo yet far, far skinnier. Not into anime? Not a problem! Jed’s is also home to beloved characters from Disney, Marvel, and DC…or at least their disturbingly off-model, knockoff doppelgangers.

The facility’s grounds used to be a private estate, but were opened to guests as Jed’s Island Resort in 1995. The resort’s website boasts that “During its five summers of existence, Jed’s has welcomed actors and actresses, singers, and band members from showbiz as its guest.” Ordinarily, we’d write the use of “guest” off as a typo, but considering that the reference to Jed’s five summers of existence is on a web page updated in 2014, nearly 20 years after the resort’s opening, it’s possible the management simply isn’t very good at math.

But hey, who needs statistical accuracy when you’ve got the most iconic giant robot in the history of Japanese animation, the RX-78-2 Gundam!

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Wow…looks like Gundam needs a sandwich. Or, seeing as how he’s in the Philippines, maybe a plate of lechon, the local variety of suckling pig. The robot is looking so skinny that we’re surprised it can still stand, and also so anemic that there’s no way it could survive an attack by the bellicose Zeon forces.

Gundam is so gaunt that at first glance it seems like the photo is the product of a weird camera lens, but the proportions of the woman standing between his feet aren’t warped at all.

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As further proof, here’s the anorexic mobile suit from a different angle that reveals more of its narrow dimensions.

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Still, this is a pretty gutsy move by Jed’s designers. Non-official wonky physique and large letter J on its crotch, that’s clearly and literally a huge Gundam rip-off. We’re sure executives at Bandai, the company which holds the licensing rights to all things Gundam, aren’t happy about it. If it’s any consolation, though, Bandai’s lawyers should bear in mind that Jed’s Island Resort isn’t just ripping off Gundam, they’re ripping off everybody!

Well, maybe not everybody, but that only seems to be because there’s not enough space for a project of that magnitude. Still, Jed’s has done an impressive job of filling its property with as many unlicensed likenesses as it can hold. The resort isn’t shy about this, either, at least in the case of these two photos from its Facebook page, which are excitedly touted as “New attraction-One Piece at Jed’s! and Big Hero 6 Robot Baymax!”

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Among Frozen’s many crowd-pleasing aspects, some fans were thrilled to see a Disney movie with two princesses. But apparently the special Jed’s edition of the film features no less than three royal ladies.

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Elsewhere, Jed’s gets the number of siblings just right. Can’t say the same about their facial features, though.

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▼ Elsa must be hitting the gym regularly to have added that much muscle definition to her shoulders. She’s apparently become so addicted to the pump from lifting weights that she’s curling half a head of cabbage.

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Going from Disney’s newest hit characters to their oldest, here’s Mickey and pals Goofy, Donald, and Mickey Clones 1 through 3, plus rival Bugs Bunny, all posing in front of a brachiosaur.

 

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We’re guessing some older, hand-drawn cartoon characters must look down on their nouveau rich CG counterparts. How else could you explain why the heroes of Avatar were left out of the Disney/Warner Bros. group photo?

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Of course, not all classic animated characters are so set in their ways. For example, Snow White has expanded her social circle beyond her seven stout housemates, and is seen here in the company of 1977 anime mecha Voltes V.

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As a matter of fact, Jed’s Island Resort seems to be all about crossovers, like this snapshot of the Sesame Street gang hanging out with Mother Goose.

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Awesome as it is to see Superman and Captain America in the same place, it’d still be cooler if they were fighting.

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Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman seem to have climbed all the way to the top of the water slide tower before losing their nerve to actually go down it.

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Legalities aside, we can at least see why the management of Jed’s Island Resort would want to decorate their pools with these instantly recognizable and hugely popular characters. They may have been a little too zealous in their efforts to copy as much as possible, though. For example, can you imagine any travelers picking where to stay according to which resort has the cast of free mobile game Clash of Clans?

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But even then, Jed’s “creative” team wasn’t done scraping the bottom of the barrel, because you haven’t exhausted every option until you’ve made a knock-off based on the cover 1980’s flight disaster satire Airplane!

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Super-rare factory-sealed NES game emerges on eBay, bids currently at $99,600

RocketNews 24:

If you grew up playing video games, you’ll understand something that modern day kids with their newfangled graphics and gameplay streaming antics don’t get – the power of nostalgia! Nostalgia is what makes us dig up landfills full of buried cartridges, and waste hours of our lives watching old videos of NES start-up screens. It’s why we still want to play the classics, so we can remember the good times, when being able to navigate an entirely different world through your TV screen still seemed like magic. It’s no wonder that rare old retro games can still sell for a pretty penny, although most often they’re snapped up by collectors who want them for their rarity rather than to add lovingly to their own game collection. Because, while nostalgia can be a powerful emotion, we mere mortals couldn’t even contemplate dropping around $10k on a mere video game. Yet that’s exactly what the owner of a rare, factory sealed copy of NES game Stadium Events can (at the time of this writing) expect to bring in from the eBay auction that’s currently in progress.

So just what is Stadium Events and why is it worth so much darn moolah, anyway?

Stadium Events was released in 1987 by Bandai for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES, aka Famicom in Japan). The game is basically a sporting sim featuring several track and field events (hurdling, long jump, triple jump, sprinting, etc). According to its Wikipedia page, the NTSC version of the game is officially the rarest licensed NES game ever available for purchase in North America, with a limited print run of 2,000 copies, of which only 200 ever reached store shelves. If that doesn’t sound rare enough, it’s actually believed that there are only 20 copies of the game still in existence, of which a mere two are factory sealed.

One of the two factory-sealed copies of Stadium Events has popped up on an eBay auction twice previously, the first time in 2010 with a winning bid of US$41,300, although the auction never went through as the winning bidder neglected to pay what they’d bid. In 2011, another factory-sealed copy actually sold for a relatively paltry $22,800. We’re not sure which one of the factory-sealed copies has resurfaced again this year, but we do know that it’s gone from its starting price of $5,000 to $99,600 in a little over a week (and the auction isn’t even finished yet!)

Here’s a short video showing some of the gameplay from Stadium Events. Would you pay $99,600 to play this game? Bear in mind, you’re going to lose several thousands of dollars just by opening the box. Worth it?

Do you think video games deserve wildly inflated prices just because of some distribution mishaps during their original run? For $99,600 you could buy 1,992 copies of the “best video game of all time”, The Last of Us. Or 3,984 copies of Deadly Premonition, arguably the “best worst video game of all time”. Or even 996 copies ofRule of Rose, a survival horror game set aboard an airship in 1930s England, which was banned for groundless reasons before anyone in the UK ever got a chance to play it. (Disclaimer: math has never been my strong suit, so these calculations may not be completely accurate, but you get the picture, right?)

▼ Good games are still worth playing, even if they’ve lost their boxes and booklets over the years.

Perhaps there are worse things to spend $10k on if you’re a mega-rich collector type who gets their kicks from obtaining some of the world’s rarities, and the extravagant price tag of Stadium Events might actually serve as an example of the fact that video games are indeed a worthy form of art, and should be afforded the same respect as paintings, film, and literature. What do you think?