Death Note - Figures part 3

Today I want to show you the lovely Amane Misa (弥 海砂). Misa Misa is a model and also the girlfriend of Yagami Light (夜神 月). She is the owner of a Death Note and came to know Light through her utter devotion to and admiration of Light's life-mission. Obha Tsugumi's (大場 つぐみ) story gives Misa a primary role in the story, and as the owner of a Death Note, much of the plot and story-development revolves around her. On the surface, Misa seems to have many of the highly-generalised qualities of a ditzy schoolgirl, but oftentimes demonstrates her own brand of clever craftiness and ingenuity. Her beauty and moe moeeee qualities make her very popular with the fellas, both in the story and also among us fans.

Just like Yagami Light and L Lawliet, Misa comes to us from RAH (Real Action Heroes) and looks just great! She's one of the favourites in my collection.


New release from Perfume

I just got the new CD, "Game" by Perfume. My first impression is that Perfume has matured! Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A~chan have developed a more evolved and serious style that comes out in this new release. "Game" has no shortage of Perfume's signature sound, and fans of this tantalising trio are sure to love these 12 new tracks. It's not necessary to be a Perfume fan to enjoy the new CD, however. The slick, well-produced technopop sound will appeal to anyone who enjoys listening to music from the dance, techno, and electropop genres. If you're lucky enough to find it, "Game" is also available in an already out-of-print, limited edition CD+DVD release; I'm sad I couldn't find one.


Death Note - Figures part 2

For part two I want to show you my L Lawliet (エル) figure. L is Yagami Light's (夜神 月) nemesis and is also one of the primary characters of the series. L is the only other character in Death Note (at least in the beginning) that is capable of the great level of genius that Light possesses. L's strength, however, is detective genius. So incredible are his skills of deduction and investigation that he's sought by crime-solving agencies throughout the world. His appearance is decidedly peculiar and on sloppy side, which offsets his astonishing talent. L is an extremely popular character with both Japanese and international audiences. Many of the female Death Note fans find L's disheveled appearance to be cute and charming.

This is another fine figure made by RAH (Real Action Heroes), and is probably the best-selling of RAH's Death Note figures. L's wearing genuine denim jeans and a cotton shirt, and his joints are fully-poseable like those of all RAH figures. I'm very glad I got this one!


Death Note - Figures part 1

OK, so yeah-- I have been getting LOTS of figures recently. I think I'm addicted. I really do like collecting them a lot! So if I'm going to collect figures, what sort of collector would I be without the ones from my favourite manga / anime series-- DEATH NOTE!?

This, of course, is Yagami Light (夜神 月). He's the main character of the story and if you're like me, you don't know whether to fear him or cheer him. I think that one of the themes of Obha Tsugumi's (大場 つぐみ) story is the irony of human life that permits us to admire a criminal genius like Light.

This is a nice figure, though, don'tchya think? This is the RAH (Real Action Heroes) version of Yagami Light. He's got the standard issue clothing made from real fabric and expertly-crafted poseable joints. He also comes with interchangeble hands-- the closed fist version seems to say, "I am the god of the new world."


ATOM:TOWA - it's mine!!

Finally! This is the rare, limited-to-1000 Tei Towa 7-inch picture disc featuring part 2 of his awesome track "Different Nu Nu" with its even more amazing Atom™ remix on the flipside! "Different Nu Nu" part 1 and the remix by Atom™ first appeared on Tei Towa's full-length releases Flash and Flasher, respectively, back in 2005. I've been trying to get my hands on this limited-edition picture disc ever since then and it's proven to be very difficult. I finally got my copy-- it just arrived from London. The Atom™ remix of this track is one of the most exciting and playful tracks I've ever enjoyed, and is truly a milestone in the collaborative works of this dynamic duo. Exciting!!


Don't miss the Death Note live-action movie!

Oops! What the heck!? I almost missed this! Death Note the live-action movie, is playing in the U.S. for two days ONLY-- 20 and 21 May! That's today and tomorrow only! The film is directed by Kaneko Shusuke (金子 修介) and stars Fujiwara Tatsuya (藤原 竜也), Matsuyama Ken'ichi (松山 研一/松山 ケンイチ) and Toda Erika (戸田 恵梨香). This movie, based on one of the best manga/anime series of all time, was insanely popular in Japan and got some great ratings. I haven't actually decided yet whether I will go see the movie tomorrow night. I am right in the middle of watching the anime series, I am *completely* addicted to it, and I am afraid the movie might be a spoiler for me!

A complete list of all showings in the U.S. is here:


American life = fear and distrust

Last night I saw Bowling for Columbine. I can't believe it took so long for me to see this incredible film! I am very glad I finally saw it. Once again Michael Moore delivered an eye-opening and thought-provoking analisis of a specific chapter in American life. As always, seeing his film inspired me to try and improve social conditions by starting with myself and working to be a better person. Also, as usual, Moore's film inevitably reinforced my resentment and contempt for this screwed up country and the powers the drive it.

In Bowling for Columbine, Moore reviewed the tragic events surrounding the massacre-suicide that took place in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado. He then went on to illustrate how this event is a microcosmic reflection of the American ideologue in its entirety. The point of this documentary is to demonstrate how Americans are raised and nurtured in fear and distrust. The film explores this in-grained fearfulness and reveals a social infrastructure that breeds violence, paranoia and suspicion amongst American people. Viewers also see how our situation provides vast opportunities for political dominance and the success of businesses that capitalise on fear.

There is a fundamental difference in America that results in 11,700+ gun-related deaths annually as compared to a yearly average of less than 100 in most other industrialised nations. As Michael Moore points out, this cannot be attributed merely to this country's bloody past or easy access to firearms. The root cause of this disturbing social phenomenon is the uniquely-dark and corrupt way that Americans are raised, educated and governed. I really believe that the concepts communicated in this film should be the foundation from which we all approach our understanding of political process, news media and social practice.


Chicago's growing Otaku Playground

Chicago's Clark Street area just north of Belmont seems to just keep getting kooler and kooler! This lively section of Lakeview East has been home to the landmark manga and comic headquarters Chicago Comics since 1991. Last year, the opening of A.Okay Official brought some West Coast urban flava to the area, as well as the promise of a new Otaku playground. The onset of spring has attracted two new business owners who are also getting in on the fun!

Galactic Force is a new network gaming lounge and collectible shop at 3240 N. Clark. I haven't been in this place yet, but they have high-end PCs with extra-large screens setup for interactive, online games such as Shadowrun, Halo 3 and Star Wars Empire at War. Collectible Star Wars and Halo 3 figures can also be seen lining their shelves and display cases. Looks like a kool place!

People Play Games opened just 2 weeks ago at 3264 1/2 N. Clark. This place is a very kool shop specialising in old skool games and game consoles! They have almost every classic console you remember, including all editions of our favourites from Atari, Intellivision, Colecovision, NES/Famicom, Sony and Sega (yes-- even Sega Dreamcast). They even have some of the really rare and unusual systems like Vectrex, for example! All of the systems have been meticulously cleaned, reconditioned, tested and carefully boxed up for sale. There are tonnes of cartridges and CD-Roms to go with them, and the shop also offers the latest PS3 and XBOX 360 titles to satisfy next-gen gamers. Have an old game system you want to sell or have repaired? This is the place!

I definitely look forward to spending more time in the Lakeview East Clark Street area. I am so thankful to live just down the street from Chicago's up-and-coming Otakuland.


Who's House these Days? Osunlade!!

Folks like me who were born and raised in Chicago have a natural appreciation for great house music and we tend to have pretty high standards when it comes to going out for a night of music and dancing. Living in the city where the whole style of music was born provides numerous opportunities to hear some of the best that there is or ever was.

Last night the legendary house music producer Osunlade performed at the Victor Hotel in Chi-Town's West Loop. Anyone who buys his records or has seen him DJ goes in with an expectation of something amazing, and last night was surely no disappointment. Osunlade had that room at the Victor Hotel charged with great spirit and energy, and gathered the crowd together into an exciting and electrifying house experience of which only a few musicians are capable. His unique style takes his fans on an audio-tour through a continuously refreshing and gratifying blend of classic house, latin house, afro house, techno house and club house. As listeners journey from one style to the next, the music is blended seamlessly into a complete sound that is an ever-changing and modulating unified whole. My music-producer/DJ friend Phonaut likens this to a House Music interpretation of M.C. Escher's "Relativity." :-) There were so many great tracks played last night, but a couple of special treats were "Change For Me" which Osunlade produced in collaboration Eric Roberson, as well as his remix of "Hard Way" by Rhythm & Sound w/ Tikiman!

The Victor Hotel was a stimulating departure from the club venues where Osunlade can typically be seen. The room was very comfortable and intimate but still had plenty of space for everyone. The overall look and feel was unpretentiously-modern with a well-preserved classic hotel ballroom quality to it. The crowd was typical for an Osunlade event and was full of the old school house heads, the well-dressed dancefloor divas, and the 20-30-something music aficionado young-professionals. As always, the crowd was fun, charming and completely free of the stupid, irritating, drunk-ass, college-minded white folks that tend to make Friday nights out so intolerable.

Wow! What a great time!! Wormgear recommends that his readers make the effort to see Osunlade in person, for themselves. I can promise you a memorable night out.

A link to last night's event is here:


Rebirth of the Hayabusa Clan

Back in March I introduced the Kool Kunoichi, Ayane (あやね), who watches over and assists Master Ryu Hayabusa (リュウ・ハヤブサ) during his journey through the kick-ass PS3 game, Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Now, I am pleased to introduce Ryu, himself-- guardian of the Hayabusa clan's Dark Dragon Blade! He was brought back to life after the fierce battle with his clan's mortal enemy, Doku, and arrived here the same as Ayane, by way of Kotobukiya.

Ryu is seen here, with Ayane watching over him, ready to fight the next gang of fiends standing between him and his target, the evil lord Doku. I don't think there can be any doubting his success in the soon-to-come defeat of lord Doku and subsequent recovery of the Dark Dragon Blade.


Grand Theft Auto IV kicks ass!

This is the game series that I have always enjoyed the most. The latest, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released this past Tuesday so of course I HAD to get my copy that very day. It's now day 3 and I've been playing every day after work for an average of 3 hours per evening. I'm really getting into it and the stories are now starting to get really interesting! This is definitely the best GTA release so far. My favourite, up until now, was GTA San Andreas. IV definitely has a new and unique twist that takes it to the next level.

In this new release of Grand Theft Auto, gamers play the part of Niko Bellic, a Bosnian immigrant who fled the homeland after the horrific experiences in the war. What makes this GTA different from the others is the choices that players are given during missions. Gamers are given the chance to explore the more merciful, good Niko, or can also allow the more violent, brutal, war-veteran Niko to come forth. Additionally, Niko has his choice of the people with whom he spends his time. The choices you make seem to effect the outcome of the missions. How cool! There are other distinct differences, too, of course. In this release, for example, Niko can pick up objects off the ground and throw them, and when stealing parked cars Niko has to break in and hotwire them. I am sure there are numerous other additions, too, that I haven't yet discovered.

I can see that I'll be fully engulfed in this new game for the next few weeks. I'm already addicted. Great job Rockstar Games!!