Evangelion designer’s illustration of virtual idol/vocaloid Hatsune Miku released as a cool new figurine

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

Virtual idol or not, there’s no denying that Hatsune Miku is a bona fide star in the Japanese music scene. But while human vocalists might have professional photographers eager to take their pictures for a glossy photo spread, the equivalent for Vocaloids like Miku is being drawn or redesigned by famous artists of the anime and video game world.

Last year we saw Miku as reimagined in CG by Final Fantasy’s Tetsuya Nomura, and now the world’s most popular computer-generated songstress is being given a new physical form as a figure based on a redesign by the character designer of seminal anime hit Evangelion.

While Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is best known for creating the look of Shinji, Rei, Asuka, and the rest of the Eva cast, he’s got a number of other impressive designs on his resume. Sadamoto’s history with animation studio Gainax stretches back to long before the company produced Evangelion, as he was also the character designer for Gainax’s professional debut work, The Wings of Honneamise, as well as Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the studio’s first television series.

Gainax isn’t the sole beneficiary of Sadamoto’s talents, either. In recent years, he’s provided designs for several of director Mamoru Hosoda’s animated films, including Summer Wars and Wolf Children. Sadamoto also collaborated with sound producer Mitchie M by providing the cover illustration to 2013 Greatest Idol, an album created by Mitchie M using Hatsune Miku’s Vocaloid program.

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Given how many fans Miku and Sadamoto have separately, Japanese anime merchandiser Good Smile Company figures there should be plenty of people intrigued by their team-up, and so recently unveiled this 1:8 scale figure of the Sadamoto-designed Miku.

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Standing roughly 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) tall, Good Smile Company has done an excellent job bringing Sadamoto’s characteristically slender limbs and angular jaw line into three-dimensional space.

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The Hatsune Miku Greatest Idol Ver. figure, as the piece is officially called, goes on sale in May, but Good Smile Company is taking preorders through its website here between now and September 30.

For those who purchase early, 12,000 yen (US$100) gets you not only the figure, but also a 420 by 297 millimeter (16.5 by 11.7 inch) tapestry of the original Sadamoto Miku illustration.

Pre-order the sleek new Batman figure envisioned by prolific video game designer Tetsuya Nomura

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RocketNews 24:

Tetsuya Nomura is the mastermind behind this upcoming Batman figure, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. The 44-year-old video game artist/designer/director of Square Enix fame (he’s a veteran of both the Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts) personally designed this version of the Dark Knight, and if you’re a fan of both his work and DC Comics, you’d better ready your wallet now!

Even by Batman standards, this new figure is a relatively dark interpretation of everybody’s favorite brooding superhero. One look at its design and Nomura’s stylistic flourishes are evident in every little detail, from the incredibly intricate bladed arm gauntlets to the flowing, jagged cape. A pair of mobile arms sprouting from the figure’s back, which can be “deactivated” at your pleasure, add a nice personal touch.

This definitely seems like the Final Fantasy X Batman crossover that we’ve all been waiting for.

Check out these promotional images:

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The glossy black coloration accented by a rich red does wonders to further stylize the Dark Knight. Just watch out for those claws!

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At approximately 306 millimeters (12 inches) tall and weighing 670 grams (1.5 pounds), the figure has quite the threatening presence.

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Nomura’s figure is currently available for pre-order on Amazon Japan’s site for 19,786 yen (US$166.01), which is also listed as being 26% (6,998 yen/$58.72) off the list price. The actual release date is slated for July 31.

New Evangelion film’s team make video for Hikaru Utada’s new cover album

Anime News Network:

 

The official website for Hikaru Utada‘s new cover album Utada Hikaru no Uta revealed on Tuesday that the team behind the new Evangelion films will create a video for the album.

The new album will feature other artists covering Utada‘s work. The album is the second one the artist is releasing this year to commemorate her 15th anniversary. The first one was a remastered version of her debut album First Love that shipped on March 10.

Utada has also set up a special website that will feature works by different creators with a theme of one of Utada‘s songs. Aside from the Evangelion team’s video, Square Enix designer and director Tetsuya Nomura (Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy franchises) has also drawn a collaborative art piece for the project.

The website also has a work by Kumamon designer Manabu Mizuno (Utada released a single in 2006 with a song titled “Boku wa Kuma” or “I Am a Bear”).

Utada Hikaru no Uta will ship on December 9, and will feature the following artists:

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  • Yousui Inoue
  • Trio Ohashi
  • Yasuyuki Okamura
  • Miliyah Katō
  • KIRINJI
  • Ringo Sheena
  • Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis feat. Peabo Bryson
  • tofubeats with Bonnie Pink
  • Hanaregumi
  • Ayumi Hamasaki
  • Kazuya Yoshii
  • Love Psychedelico

The official website has not yet announced which songs each of the artists will perform.

Utada has been on hiatus from the entertainment business since the beginning of 2011, although she returned to host a monthly radio program called Kuma Power Hour with Utada Hikaru on the InterFM station starting in April 2013. She did contribute the song “Sakura Nagashi” as the ending theme for 2012’s Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (Evangelion Shin Gekijō-ban: Q), but her management emphasized that the song did not represent a full-fledged return from her hiatus.

Utada‘s father Teruzane Utada had originally said in a Twitter post in October 2013 that he and his daughter would be involved in the Kingdom Hearts III theme song, but he took back that comment the next day, saying that “as of now it’s undecided.” Utada contributed the two theme songs that have been used for every game so far in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.