MegaHobby Expo 2015 Spring: Hobby Japan

Hobby Japan often caters to the more salacious crowd, and I’m getting a bit of that from their display at MegaHobby Expo. Unfortunately a lot of these will likely be Hobby Japan exclusives, so actually buying them can be a tricky proposition.

Some highlights:

  • Notable underboob-string wearer Hestia from DanMachi
  • Momohime from Muramasa about to hit the bath, complete with the spirit of Jinkuro beside her
  • KanColle fan-favorite Amatsukaze – another destroyer with striped thigh-highs and turret familiars
  • A re-colored Beelzebub from The Seven Deadly Sins, perhaps invoking Alice in Wonderland
  • Black Magician from Yu-Gi-Oh!
  • A new Asmodeus from The Seven Deadly Sins, laying atop dessert

Maybe it’s just me but some of their faces look a bit off. The sculpts look good otherwise, but I’m not into those faces. You can see for yourself by checking out the coverage at Akiba Hobby and Moeyo (some slightly NSFW content at both). Moeyo also has additional galleries for Momohime and Hestia.

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Trying To Be A Game

At some point, the umbrella is too small. You keep throwing things under it, hoarding definitions and references and landmarks, until it stops being an umbrella altogether and starts being a noose. The ones that hoisted the parasol as a banner start to resent the foisted structure.

Of course then the problem is one of nomenclature. What do you even call it if not this thing? This is a struggle that strikes all artistic mediums after a certain point of maturity. Once all the obvious bits are done away with, you have to start asking “what not” instead of “where to begin.” All the fruit, low-hanging or otherwise, has left the tree.

That’s how you encounter situations like the 240-hour Modern Times Forever, a Danish film that depicts how Helsinki’s Stora Enso headquarters building would decay over the next few millennia. Few would dare call it a film as something you could casually watch on your television, but it still is a categorical fit. (Strangely, though, it has a lot in common with many of the first films ever made including Eadweard Muybridge’s galloping horse.)

Video games are finding themselves critically and quickly at this point. Over the short span of 70-ish years, the industry has gone from figuring out what it needs to do to figuring out what it can do. It needed to give people an interactive experience. But what could it necessarily do beyond that?

The term “low-hanging fruit” has earned a negative connotation, but it’s not always a bad thing. The grasp and execution of it all lays the foundation for what lies higher up. Lower doesn’t mean it’s within reach; it doesn’t preclude innovation. In fact, it often requires it.

Certainly the earliest and most recognizable video games were of the needs variety. Consider Pong, a tennis-based game that took a simple and immediately intuitive competitive structure and gameplay loop into the history books. Then Asteroids and Centipede, two classics that arguably rode the space wave amidst the recently launched NASA Space Shuttle program into relevancy and, consequently, popularity.

Very quickly—relative to other mediums like music and film—video games wanted to do more, jumping from tree to tree in pursuit of higher and higher fruit. From simplistic coin-ops to the home console to the modern era of games, we eventually arrive at the like of Proteus and Dear Esther. Whole genres push the greater corral like interactive novels and, well, I guess you could call them experiments.

This is all a very long and roundabout way to bring up something that has been cropping up lately: Mad Max previews. First off, it’s crazy for any of the previewers to compare with or expect anything resembling the recent film Mad Max: Fury Road. Their mostly aligned release schedules seem to be more coincidence than anything else. It’s completely detached from the movie.

But the second part is that ignoring that first thing brings up some interesting considerations. Whereas the film was full of life and drama and implements that are exceedingly specific to what director George Miller wanted to achieve, the game appears to be a by-the-numbers affair, albeit a rather competent one. But lifeless it is by comparison.

It’s not that the game itself lacks content or life; on the contrary, developers Avalanche Studios (the folks behind the rambunctious and teeming Just Cause games) and publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (the same behind the Batman Arkham franchise) seem to have instilled a lot of freneticism into the game. With that combined pedigree, it seems inevitable the kind of game they would make.

That inevitability seems to have trapped them, though. Instead of questioning what the game can be, they made what it needed to be. It reads like a checklist (car combat, melee combat, open world, outposts, etc.) and even more so when the layers peel back. Things like throwing up into the air trackable/countable achievements like yanked tires or freed territories. Jason Shreier of Kotaku made the astute and appropriate Ubisoft comparison.

Not that there’s anything even wrong with the 1 + 2 = Mad Max equation. The structure seems like a natural fit for the fiction and the universe, so it can hardly be blamed as a capitalization on a gift horse. But the described framework quickly became a prescriptive one where reach and grasp were easily met by fruit so low it might as well already be in the basket.

Mad Max

It seems like Mad Max is trying so hard to be a game that it never wanted to explore what else it could be. It seems almost comfortable under the umbrella, watching others push out into the rain and stumble and fall. In the expansion under the brim, you go further and further until a new shelter takes in your borders.

This is not to disparage a game that isn’t even out yet nor is it to put down the artists and developers and designers behind the scenes putting it out. This is just a statement—a plea to not always want to be a game but rather be whatever you need to be. You may not fit under this umbrella and others may not join you under yours, but that’s better than slotting into a mold that never quite fit.

Double Horse 26″ 3.5 Channel Outdoor Metal Gyro Remote Control Helicopter

9053 Features: -Regular 3 channels allow to fly up, down, turn left, turn right, move forward and backward. -New 3.5 channels does all that, plus it let control the speed and can either fly in low or high speed by simply switch the speed control button. -Great gift for the holiday season or birthday gift. -Includes remote control (requires batteries). Product Type: -Play Vehicles. Vehicle Type: -Helicopters. Dimensions: Overall Height – Top to Bottom: -8.5 Inches. Overall Width – Side to Side: -8.5 Inches. Overall Depth – Front to Back: -9 Inches. Overall Product Weight: -8 Pounds.

Product Features

  • Full function 3.5 channel radio control (turn left, turn right, up, down, forward, backward, can also fly in high or low speed)
  • 3.5 channel digital proportional control.Built in Gyro for Extra Stability
  • Flies over 100m high. 2 powerful 180 main motors + N20 tail motor
  • Complete Kit, Ready to Fly (Everything is included and 100% assembled — only required 8 AA batteries for the radio transmitter to start flying)
  • Suitable for 14+ ages. Frequencies & Colors vary.

LEGO Disney Princess Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle

Hop aboard the sleigh and join Anna and Olaf as they pay a visit to Queen Elsa’s beautiful ice palace for some frosty fun! What will they do first? Play hide and seek behind the secret staircase, or go skating around the castle? They could ski down the ice hill or prepare frozen treats in the castle’s ice cream bar and then get ready for a picnic in the snow under the magnificent icicle tree. It’s all up to you! First have fun building Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle. Then it’s time to play! Includes Queen Elsa and Princess Anna mini-doll figures, plus Olaf the snowman.

Product Features

  • Features a castle with icicle tree, sleigh, secret staircase, ice cream bar, bed and an ice hill
  • Accessories include skis, ice skates, glittery wall elements, decorative stickers, 2 capes, tiara, hair bow and a carrot nose for Olaf
  • Follow the movie story or create your own adventures inspired by these brand-new Disney princesses
  • Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle measures over 9″ (23cm) high, 7″ (20cm) wide and 4″ (11cm) deep
  • Sleigh measures over 2″ (6cm) long, 1″ (4cm) wide and under 1″ (2cm) high

Spy Gear – Field Agent Spy Watch

The Field Agent Spy Watch is a real working watch delivering 8 unique gadgets in a single piece of Spy Gear! Write, deliver and decode secret messages with the spy paper, safe-drop capsules, decoder screen and reading light. Or catch intruders in the act with the motion alarm and time stamp. The Field Agent Spy Watch also features a stopwatch, international clock and wake-up alarm because failure is not an option! Gear up with the ultimate 8-in-1 Field Agent Spy Watch!

Product Features

  • The Field Agent Spy Watch is a real working watch delivering 8 unique gadgets in 1 incredible piece of Spy Gear!
  • Write, deliver and decode secret messages using secret spy paper, safe-drop capsules and decoder screen.
  • Detect intruders with the built in motion sensor alarm. Time missions using the stopwatch.
  • Verify international times using the world clock or set a wake-up alarm so you never fail a mission!
  • The Field Agent Spy Watch comes with 2 Message Capsules, Sky Paper and runs on a button cell battery (included). Made for Secret Agents ages 6+.

Kotobukiya Mega Man: Rockman Plastic Model Kit

A Kotobukiya Japanese import. Kotobukiya is proud to release MEGA MAN, also known as “Rockman,” Capcom’s world-renowned and beloved hero as an all-new plastic model kit. MEGA MAN: Standing 5″ tall (1/10th scale), the video game hero is comprised of approximately 200 pieces and has 30 points of articulation for excellent posing. Mega Man also comes with bonus parts so that you can display him as you choose. There are two interchangeable blasts for his Mega Blaster: standard and “charged”. He also has three types of pre-applied tampo printed faces for a variety of facial expressions and even an in-scale “E” can.

Product Features

  • A Kotobukiya Japanese import
  • Based on Mega Man, also known asRockman, Capcom’s world-renowned and beloved hero
  • Stands 5 tall (1/10 scale)
  • Approximately 200 pieces
  • 30 points of articulation

Tote ‘n Glow Elephant Soother

Sooth baby to sleep with this adorable elephant light-up soother. Plays 30 up to 30 minutes of music and white noise that will let baby rest safe and sound!

Product Features

Product dimensions: 5″ x 2.25″ x 10.75″IMPORTED

Product Features

  • Age 0
  • Up to 30 minutes of white noise, lights and music
  • Choose from 6 glowing colors
  • Convenient carry handle- hang it on the door or take it on the go!
  • 3 modes: music only, music and lights, lights only

Meccano-Erector Junior, Advanced Toolbox

Challenge the boundaries of your child’s imagination when they discover elements of real engineering with the Meccano-Erector Junior Easy Toolbox! Help them to develop hand motor skills while creating 8 different models, including a Dump Truck, Crane, Excavator and Windmill. They can build one of 8 models or, create their own! All 88 pieces including wheels, real hex tool and wrench can be conveniently stored in the plastic Toolbox so kids can carry the set anywhere they go! Construct a model Dump Truck or Excavator to make way for new developments! Rebuild the model as a Windmill, to generate power for your town! Easy to follow step-by-step instructions are provided so little hands can piece together large connecting pieces with snap-on clipping screws and add on wheels. Display or play with the creation, then rebuild one of the 8 models, or make an original design! No batteries required! Introduce your child to the mechanical wonders of the world as they bring construction models to life with the Meccano-Erector Junior Advanced Toolbox set. The future is yours to build with Meccano-Erector!

Product Features

  • Discover the world of mechanics with Meccano-Erector Junior Advanced Toolbox pieces including wheels, large connecting pieces, and clipping screws.
  • Construct 8 different realistic models including a Dump Truck, Crane, Windmill and 5 other builds. Or create an original design!
  • This 8-in-1 Meccano-Erector Junior Advanced Toolbox set has 88 pieces & 2 real tools, conveniently stored and carried in the plastic Toolbox.
  • Meccano-Erector Junior Advanced Toolbox is for ages 5+. No batteries required.
  • 88 pieces, 2 real tools, Toolbox