Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gunpla Expo 2016

Yesterday was my fourth time visiting the Gunpla Expo at Takashimaya. With the exclusives still not sold out, it seems that my Bear-san is a failed investment T_T Surprisingly there were not so many people although I reached at about 11am after I finished my Japanese homework at Ion Starbucks. Thus, I took some photos. I have to admit that I did not find it as exciting as Gundam Docks last year when I took photos right from the first time I went. Lol. I can't wait to have the next Gundam Docks and I hope they will bring the same Gundam Wing Zero Customs displayed in Hong Kong last year. Anyway, enjoy the pictures from my half-assed effort to take them.
Glad to see it with a pose instead of just standing stationary
The crowd arrived by the time I took the back view
SG50 Gundam at MBS diorama
Merlion Gundam is here as well
Gundam Barbatos
Gundam Bear-III Double Happiness version
I bought grilled squid ($5) and fried squid ($8) from Takashimaya food fair. I wanted to buy since a week ago but I decided to just get a fried squid ($5) from Taimei at Bishan which was a mistake. The quality of Japanese product is simply unrivaled by its neighbouring countries: the squid was thick and yet it was not tough to chew. I could bite it in small pieces. The one I bought from Taimei was so tough that I had to use my finger to pull the pieces apart. Bleah... The one I bought in Takashimaya also had a more superior flour which surprisingly did not fall apart to crumbs as I was biting pieces by pieces. It was a well spent $13. Lol.

I was tempted to visit LaTendo for one last time as Funan is closing at the end of this month but I decided not to if there was no sale. I checked the facebook page again last night and I realised that they are having their closing sale just for the weekend! I did not scroll down when I checked the phone so I thought their latest post was about the moving. It was actually a pinned post. So I went there this evening and I snagged Saint Seiya 10th Anniversary DX Display Stage. Not one but two for $40 each. I still felt the bitterness when I missed it during HLJ sale for 1500 JPY a few months ago. It is sold out now so there is no way I can ever find such a price anymore. I actually don't collect Saint Seiya Myth Cloth figures but the display looks quite cool and I am going to use it for my other figures. I am not a frequent visitor and in fact, I find it quite inconvenient to travel to Funan. But now I feel kinda sad that Funan is going to close. My most memorable memory is getting a Christmas figure of myself there a few years ago. Sigh.. The booth closed not long after that and I kinda regret that I never buy more of this.

I am in need of a new laptop but sadly there was no exciting closing sale for the laptops. Oh well, I think I have overspent lately so I have to put a rein on my wallet. JPY is almost 20% compared to when I went to Japan in September last year so buying things directly from Japan is getting more expensive. Haiz.. So sad I so quickly changed my leftover JPY last year. I am holding to AUD and USD in hope of making a profit but thanks to Brexit, these 2 are dropping. Sian..

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans (Season 1)

Gundam 00 left quite a bad impression for me and I have not watched any Gundam series from then on. Thanks to the currently ongoing Gunpla Expo at Takashimaya, I decided to give Iron Blooded Orphans a try. There seems to be more non-Gunpla related merchandises released for this series so I guess this is pretty popular and I decided to give it a try.
Gundam series are usually dealing with the conflict between colonies and earth. Iron Blooded Orphans takes the conflict one step further to Mars. Earth has managed to make Mars habitable but Martians suffer as most of the wealth are sucked by the businesses and governments from earth. Earth itself is divided into 4 factions and the 4 factions do not go to war thanks to an organisation called Gjallarhorn which helps to end the Calamity War 300 years ago and to maintain peace up to today. Kudelia Anna Bernstein is the poster girl of Mars independence movement and her goal is to go to earth for a diplomatic mission for Mars' sake.

Gundam series usually run for about 50 episodes so I kinda expect this 25-episode run is only the first season. With the 2nd season already announced, it is still too premature to judge the series. But from the 25 episodes, I have to sadly say that this is worse and less memorable than Gundam 00. Sigh. The story is patheticly 'thin' and it takes maybe 20 episodes for the journey from Mars to Earth and another 5 episodes to go from their landing point to the city of Edmonton.

The conflict presented does not make sense and has little believability. How can be an organisation as big as Gjallarhorn which maintains peace of earth and space for the past 300+ years unable to defeat Tekkadan which is just a group of mercenaries? Yes they have the arayashiki system and they have Gundam Barbatos but it is an 'outdated' machine and I am pretty sure Gjallarhorn is able to have more advance machines. 

Surprisingly, Gundam does not take a center stage in this series as Gundam is considered a relic of the war 300 years ago. That explains the absence of exciting or memorable fights. We only have 1 significant Gundam Barbatos vs other lousy mobile suits controlled by mostly nameless soldiers whose death or survival does not really matter anyway. It is pretty sad for a Gundam series not to have memorable Gundams and Gundam fights. It is mentioned a few times that there are 72 Gundams so I am not sure if somehow they will all make an appearance in the second season.

There are too many characters (I cannot even remember what names goes to which face) but too little character development. Tekkadan is a group of orphans coming together as a family but there is little shown about their bond as a family. They keep saying that they are doing this together because it is a job and it is for money. That basically kills all the emotional aspect which can possibly utilised. With all the talk about "job" and "money", I can't help but feel that Tekkadan is essentially a business and simply wants to complete its job to escorting Kudelia to earth. And that is not exactly a protagonist that we are rooting for. Not to mention the last few episodes make it worse for them to be blinded by rage and revenge. Of course if we are looking from their point of view, I can understand their desperation and fight for survival. If they don't give their all and complete their mission, they will simply perish on earth. However, from audience point of view, they are not exactly heroes that I want to root for.

I think it is quite sad that Tekkadan does not realise that they are simply a pawn being played by bigger parties with their own business or political interests. That is an apt reflection of what is happening in the world today: there are people, especially in conflict regions, who are doing their best to survive and thinking that they are fighting for the good without realising that they are just being used by other people to enrich themselves.

So yeah.. another disappointing Gundam series and I think that this is worse than Gundam 00 which I already dislike. Well at least I am able to remember the name of the 4 pilots from Gundam 00. Lol. It will be interesting to see how season 2 goes but honestly, I doubt it will be good.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dream on~~

Dream high... Aim for the stars.. Those are what people say. But the higher I dream, the more painful reality becomes. My friend informed me about $7m toto on Monday and despite knowing the impossibility of striking it, I told him to help me buy $10. After all, the possibility is only zero when you don't try at all. To console myself from the harsh reality, I was already dreaming of getting a condo, giving $500k to my friend who helped me buy, donating $1m to Daughters of Sts Paul who is searching for a new compound as announced during mass on Sunday, quitting my job and enjoying life simply from the bank interest from the remaining money. Obviously none of this happens.

I broke my promise by getting a limited Wing Gundam Zero Custom with pearl coating at the currently ongoing Gunpla expo at Takashimaya. My friend wanted 2 Beargguy III ver Double Happiness and I decided to buy 2 as well in the hope of selling it for higher price in the future. As the total exceeded $200, I got one chance of lucky draw. I had to spin this tin container until one ball dropped out and I would win something if I got a golden ball. I had 3 balls dropped but the golden ball was the second and hence I did not win. Aaargh.. It was soooo damn close.. I did not ask what the lucky draw prize was to prevent myself from disappointment and I am glad I did not.

I wanted to buy AAA concert ticket. According to the email I received, the sale would begin on 8 June at 1000. I logged in at 1008 and it was already sold out. What sorcery is this!! This is supposed only for their global fanclub members. I don't believe that there are that many to sell out all the tickets in less than 10 minutes!! I was still hopeful that perhaps the system was up but it was not the time to book yet. So I checked again in the evening and after reading the announcement carefully, the timing is actually 1000 CST. Google says that it will be 9 June 0000 GMT+8 and I waited past midnight to still get the same message that quota has been exceeded. Sigh.. I sent an email and I received a reply that the ticket is already sold out indeed. I did not even bother to ask how can the ticket be sold out at 1008 GMT+8 when the announcement said that sale began at 1000 CST.

My online shopping this week has been terrible too. I was so happy last week when I won an auction for all 38 chess pieces of Clamp no Kiseki for 2700 JPY. When the final invoice, I was shocked to see a domestic shipping charge of 1500 JPY. How can domestic shipping be as much as the international shipping from Japan to Singapore? Haiz.. In total, I spent 7000 over JPY for that only to realise an auction that ended at 7000 JPY for all 38 chess pieces + 12 books + box to place all the books + chess mat + and the display box of the 38 chess pieces. Damn damn damn!! It has domestic shipping and if I get this, I suppose I will pay 10000 JPY at the very most. That is only 3000 JPY more for all the additional things T_T I also realised Eijun Sawamura figurine that I bought during 40% off is not on 50% off.

Seriously.. what's wrong with me this week :'(