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    I've been wanting to join the ranks of doll owners for some time now, but unfortunately the infamously high prices have made that a pipe dream for the foreseeable future. Of course there are options for those too strapped for cash, like Azone's Pureneemo line up. This time, they've given Sword Art Online's Asuna the ALfheim treament, switching out her familiar guild garb for a flowing elven dress instead.

    Whatever form she's in, it goes without saying that Asuna is a real cutie! Besides her own merits though, in this ALfheim getup she seems to be channeling shades of Chobits' Chii thanks to the jewelry on her ears. As for the rest of the design, I think the Pureneemo style suits the fairly innocent Asuna more than a lot of characters that get the doll treatment, and she's certainly very enticing. You may want to consider giving up the ¥11,300 on her July release!

    [ Pre-order at HobbyLink Japan | Hobby Search | AmiAmi | CD Japan | J-List ]

    Pick up this doll-faced Asuna screenshot


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  • 04/27/13--13:52: Furby Plush Review
  • Furby Plush Review

    The Furby’s back in style with the Furby Plush series and they speak Furbish just like old-time. The new Furby in Furby Plush series is technically advanced to match up with the technology savvy kids of today. It comes with an iPhone / iPod app which understands Furbish and translates it to English for the [...]

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          My daughter loves making her own books and even more so she loves creating digital versions. For the past two weeks my girls have been playing around with Storybook Maker for iPad from Merge Mobile. Merge Mobile’s newest app for kids is StoryBook Maker the app that allows your child to unlock their creativity... [Continue Reading]

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    DHpowersDARK HORSE DELUXE PROUDLY ANNOUNCES A NEW LINE OF COLLECTIBLES BASED ON BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS AND MICHAEL AVON OEMING’S POWERS!   APRIL 27, CHICAGO, IL–Dark Horse Deluxe, an imprint of Dark Horse Comics, has licensed rights to create figures based on Powers, a long-running creator-owned series of comics and graphic novels by writer Brian Michael [...]

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    Build the The Lord of the Rings™ trilogy must-have model! Finally, collect one of the most instantly recognizable and iconic buildings of The Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Tower of Orthanc! Build all 6 highly detailed floors filled with fascinating movie-related details including the attic, library, alchemy room, Saruman’s throne room, entrance hall and [...]

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    Medicom's costly Real Action Heroes line is about to get a whole lot more magical, thanks to the addition of Madoka team members Kyoko and Sayaka, all kitted out and ready to battle. As you can probably expect with the R.A.H. line by now, both girls are heavily poseable and come with a multitude of accessories. I'm particularly digging Sayaka's array of blades ready to be drawn. It's also hard not to love Kyoko about to give Kyubey a well-deserved piece of her mind.

    While the Real Action Heroes line may be quite detailed and rather high quality in the world of poseable figures, there is still the issue of price however. With each girl running you a staggering ¥16,550 or so, you might have to make a contract of your own to pick up the pair for their September and December releases.

    [ Pre-order Kyoko at Hobby Search | AmiAmi | CD Japan ]

    [ Pre-order Sayaka at Hobby Search | AmiAmi | CD Japan ]

    Fight some witches with Kyoko and Sayaka screenshot


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    Some new Transformers 4 movie details have been revealed via Dallas News who are reporting the Transformers 4 production will be coming to Texas. Bay is said to like the class look of small towns with shooting planned for the Lockhart, Elgin, Pflugerville and Taylor where the filming of a police chase will close down part of the city and highway. The many towns will be portrayed as one that Decepticons will be invading. Read more details below on Transformers 4 shooting in Texas.

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    Thanks to who have posted some new in hand images of the Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Ultra Magnus voyager calss action figure. The out of his box images show off the repaint / remold next to his brother Optimus Prime figures for size and mold comparisons. Get a look at the Beast Hunters Ultra Magnus and a bonus shot of Grimwing now for more details.

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    Following the news on Transformers 4 production coming to Sham Shui Po. News via Apple Daily and Asian Pop has named award winning actor Huang Xiaoming, singer Chen Kun. and actor Tong Dawei as possible Chinese candidates to be included in the Transformers 4 movie. Word is Xiaoming has even retained an English language coach to improve his speaking skills in preparation. Stay tuned for more news on the movie as it happens.

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    I love a great casserole in fact some of my favorite meals are baked together in one pan. One product I’ve shown off many times on this blog is Country Crock. Right now Country Crock is having a Country Crock Stars Contest. They’re asking for Country Crock Stars to submit photos of themselves with their... [Continue Reading]

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    Thanks to Alfes 2010 who has manage to score most of the new Transformers Go! action figures that are just out in Japan. Get a look at the Takara Tomy G17 edition of the Beast Hunters Starscream that has be fully repainted in the cartoon colors unlike the clown pants colors edition Hasbro released here in the USA. He's look a lot better this way in robot and alternate get mode that you can see below now for the full detais on Transformers Go! Starscream.

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    Alfes 2010 posted images for the Takara Tomy Transformers Go! G12 Dragontron / Predaking ultimate class action figure that is just out in Japan. Get a look at the Takara version that looks a looks a lot more orange colored than the Hasbro version that is also show for comparisons. Check out the many modes of Transformers Go! Dragotron now for more details on the Japanese edition now.

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    Think pink stinks? Fed up with camouflage print or princess castles? Here are five of the best vehicle toys for young children – unnecessary frills and gender stereotypes not included 1. Playmobil jet, £10.99, from No self-respecting toddler should be without their own private jet. This one comes with a pilot, passenger and luggage. It is part of Playmobil's 1-2-3 range for ...

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    As announced earlier this month, The Japanese government appointed me as a member of the "Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Creative Industries Internationalization Committee" [経済産業省クリエイティブ産業国際展開懇談会] - its a mouth full in Japanese and even more of a mouthful in English so you and I will refer to it as "METI CIIC" from now ^^;

    The committee meets once a month at the ministry to raise topics, discuss issues which will lead to a plan of action regarding the internationalization of Japan's creative industries.

    This first photo taken at the 2nd meeting last week with fellow committee members who are Presidents of companies such as Bandai Namco Games, Sony Music Entertainment, Horipro, Kodansha, Isetan, Mitsui Fudousan, TBS and Gaga Corporation. The gentleman standing next to my right is Isshu Sugawara - the State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. The full member list is up at the METI website.

    My new position working with the Japanese government earns me a new title and thus a new business card ^^; 2 may seem a handful but I've been given 5 cards from the same person before ^^;

    Government buildings are located in the Kasumigaseki area of Tokyo which is very close to Hibiya Park.

    A summary of the previous meeting is posted by the government a few weeks later on the METI website. Below is a translation of the summary.

    • The preconception that foreigners will only buy bootlegs and cheap products needs to be stopped. The need for official products overseas is very high. The market environment needs to be improved in order to sell more Japanese products overseas.

    • Smartphone content and social games are a powerful industry in Japan and can easily be focused on to have an influential economic effect.

    • There are almost no children in Asia that don't know of Japan's anime and games, however there are no sales of these anime and games in many of these regions. Many first think it’s best to combat pirated versions, but on the other hand there are many customers who currently enjoy pirated content. In order to understand these needs better, companies should create business models that incorporate small transactions through hardware such as smartphones which are used worldwide.

    • A mix of traditional and modern, West and East are incredibly important in achieving new innovations. A part of promoting 'Cool Japan' is to proactively take part in such endeavors.

    • Businesses that want to expand overseas are currently often left unable to purchase land. The reason for this can often be attributed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in other countries or government funding. The situation calls for measures that overcome these problems.

    • The worth of products won't be conveyed effectively if products are simply sold as is, what's important is how exactly this worth is built up in the eyes of consumers. Particularly in overseas countries, products won't become popular without this build up. It may be best to first develop new things locally and attempt to improve this 'worth'. It's also important to convey the background and concept of products to consumers, as well as have someone who can pass this information on effectively.

    • Fashion is generally a small to medium-sized industry, so it's probably best to create a base of operations overseas and advance into the market from there. Somewhere to collect and put together information is necessary to expand.

    • Even with the Senkaku island problems in China, there is still a demand for Japanese products.

    • When expanding overseas, it's important to consider how you intend to customize your business or products for the local market.

    • Japanese fashion is attracting a lot of attention throughout Asia. There are more copies of fashion magazines across the rest of Asia then there are in Japan. The current problems however are those of trademarks and pirated goods. In order to further develop the fashion industry into the overseas market, it is necessary to join up with various other industries.

    • At Japan-related events hosted overseas, people from all sorts of different countries sing Japanese songs. These are mostly songs that are popular on YouTube. Many foreigners used to pick up pirated versions of these songs, but are now picking up more and more official versions instead.
      The reasons behind this is because official products actually include sound and often because they are limited editions which include special bonuses. From the view point of a Japanese person, these are worth about 20000 yen. It's likely best to target these wealthy consumers first.

    • Just as the Japanese Embassy of Italy has Ferrari exhibitions in Japan, Japanese Embassies and consulates overseas should open up to such ventures for businesses.

    • Businesses should first put effort into privately expanding overseas. While there, they can learn more of what supportive measures are available in each country.

    • Blended interaction with customers (inbound and outbound) should be considered. Japanese markets have proved they can draw in customers through inbound methods that pull the customer in, which means if they attempt to go out and sell with outbound methods, they are likely to succeed.

    • Step one is the dissemination of information, and not only with new content but also simultaneously through a mix of the Internet and broadcasts, real events and social networking. When it comes to social networking, people are the key to effective transmission of information. How much of a personalized, influential network you can create is important to consider.

    • There is only so far you can go by expanding overseas by opening up a retail store. It's important to think of new types of products, but they should always incorporate Japanese culture as a part of them.

    • Consumer content, commercial establishments and simple consumer goods and services need to all be fused together into a single package to create a boom. Connecting all these together will lead to more effective trade, and this connection is an important role of Cool Japan. These basic roles need to be further discussed.

    • A revised budget of 15,500,000,000 yen (1.5 billion USD) has been allocated for the localization and promotion of content into the overseas market. Step one is to consider how to use this proactively to achieve effective results.

    The round table is only 1 hour so we dont get to cover a lot. From the next meeting however, we are required to submit reports. For the second meeting (which will be summarised at the METI website in a few weeks) I raised a point that its important to allow fans of Japanese content to help spread Japanese culture.
    There does not seem to be many rights issues in Korea which is one of the reasons why Korean content can be distributed easily but most of that distributing is done by fans of Korean culture.

    If you go to a KPOP concert, you are usually allowed to take photos or video footage - much of that is shared on YouTube and you can find about 340,000 results on YouTube for "KPOP Concert" - and the results actually show KPOP Concerts.
    If you do a search for "JPOP Concert" on YouTube however, you get 35,000 results and hardly any concert footage.
    The reason is that management of Japanese artists/record labels dont allow fans to take photos or videos and even if somebody did, the record labels usually use music matching to automatically pull any footage that contains music that they own from YouTube.

    A friend of mine set up a facebook fan page for a Japanese artist - only to have the record label make a claim to Facebook to shutdown the page and give the fan a warning - talk about stabbing fans in the back.

    Information about Japanese content in English is few and far between so fans help by creating websites and fan pages - but the Japanese content owners go and do their best to remove that information from the internet.

    After raising this issue, the minister took these points as being in need of serious revision of how Japanese artist and content rights are managed.

    Meeting done for the day - I'll post the translated summary of today's meeting when its up. Heading back to the station. Tokyo Tower in the background.

    Nothing like some Gusuto to fill up at the end of the day.

    One of my agenda items is to revitalize the "Machikoba" [町工場[まちこうば]] which are small factories dotted around Japan who specialise in a certain craft or technique - it can be anything from making moulds, slush casting, making gears, leather goods and so on. In some cases, these small factories have been around for many generations where technology and know how is passed down the blood line.
    In some cases however, many of these small factories have shutdown either due to lack of people to pass on the know how to or due to the lack of new orders - many of which is being channeled to factories overseas.

    This is a slide from one of my decks. It shows how I'm going to pair up Japanese creators and the small factories together - the work of Japanese creators can then be developed with the help of the small factories. I will showcase the resulting products to folks overseas and in doing so I meet the goal of promoting Japanese technology and creativity to the rest of the world.

    There are many creators in Japan who just dont know which factories to use - many of which are not even listed on the Internets so you need to know somebody who does.

    Most Japanese figures and dolls are licensed from anime or games which is one of the reason why these products are kept in Japan - because of the previously mentioned licensing issues.
    If more individual creators made their own original character dolls or figures then these products should not have any of the said licensing issues and it will be easier to spread the Japanese technology and craftsmanship that goes into these products around the world.

    This is a doll of Mirai Suenaga - a project which I've been working on for the past half year. You can see how she was made in this post - many people thought it was an April fools ^^;

    Through the production of Mirai, I will be highlighting the various factories that I use to make her so that not only Japanese creators but you too can use the small factories in Japan to create your own dolls and figures. Dolls are made using a technique called slush casting - the moulds are much cheaper than injection casting and is just about affordable for many individuals.

    I will be creating a website which has a directory of factories. The plan is for me to visit these factories one by one and take photos of their facilities - then stick them up on the website.
    I also plan to have a directory of producers who speak Japanese & English too so that you can go through them if you dont speak the lingo or cant travel to Japan often. I'm also going to have a list of job openings for folks who are interested in working in one of these small factories.

    I have hooked up with folks at the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and am going to work with on this project.
    I will also be highlighting small factories who specialise in not just doll or plastics manufacture but also leather and other materials and crafts too with the aim of making it easier for you to turn your creative ideas into a reality.

    Is there something that you have always wanted to make and mass produce?

    Read more about Mirai Suenaga >>>

    About Mascots Subscribe by Email Twitter Facebook

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    Let’s face it. No matter how long someone balances on a pole in the water to win immunity on Survivo

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  • 04/25/13--23:53: Outlandishly Outlandered
  • I took some iPad shots of a few more Outlander builds!

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    Bowen Designs currently has another four amazing creations up for pre-order. Hobgoblin, Ms. Marvel (70s), Human Torch, and a modern Rogue may soon join your collection.

    While I think all four look fantastic, my favorite has to be the Hobgoblin (whom many will remember from his run on Spider-Man: The Animated Series where he was voiced by Mark Hamill). Bowen Designs has once again really captured the character's mask and done some stellar work on that color mix. That said, I also love Ms. Marvel's power pose and outfit as well as the the Human Torch's sculpting. Finally we have Rogue, sporting a very cool flying pose. Rogue stands the tallest of the bunch at over 17.5-inches overall while the others clock in between a minimum 12 to 13-inches overall height.

    Ms. Marvel and Johnny Storm/Human Torch are due out in August while Hobgoblin and the modern Rogue will follow in September. The non-club list prices are US$225 for Ms. Marvel, US$200 for the Human Torch, US$240 for Hobgoblin, and US$230 for Rogue. Even if you don't plan on buying, I'd recommend checking out the craftsmanship.

    [ Pre-order Hobgoblin | Ms. Marvel (70s) | Human Torch | Rogue (modern) from Bowen Designs or from Big Bad Toy Store ]

    Another batch of Bowens up for pre-order screenshot


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    “Quercy” asks about the CARS that we have seen backdoor releases of or was at one point listed to be released … For instance, What about “Chauncy Fares the London Taxi, Bernie Caliper, Dan Sclarkenberg and McQueen fan yellow truck?” (This McQueen Fan prototype now stands as the longest from showcase to actual release – [...]

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  • 04/28/13--02:38: A Week in Tokyo 86

  • The series that I abandoned for so long "A Week in Tokyo" is back ><
    Life is moving too fast now and unless I continue to document it then there will be big gaping gaps in it. Looking through previous instalments, I realize how much is missing which has always been a regrettable subject for me of late.

    I tried to keep you updated regularly through my Instagram but I'm really not too happy with the square photos. Even if I dont add any filters, the Instagram app compresses photos taken on the mobile and makes them look pretty crap. These days I'm trying to set aside time so that I can go through and post photos that I've taken on my Digital SLR's instead.
    Are there any other decent photo sharing sites that dont diss with the image size and compression that you recommend?

    I'm still trying to work out a work flow and have been using tools like Hazel for the Mac to automate the process. Just like I make time to brush mah teeth, eat, shower, weight train, mineral deposit etc - I'm trying to set aside time to prep and post photos for the A Week in Tokyo series - lets see how it works out ^^;

    Anyway - Photos in this post taken mostly in the month of March. First photo - bumped into some sweet ladies at Harajuku offering free hugs.

    Gundam Unicorn Blu-ray get. How many of you have been watching?

    Only in Japan can you find an estate agent which has One Piece figures in the window. Awesome.

    I start to sneeze whenever I walk past these ><

    Dont play with the external screen settings on your CM10 or you will brick your phone like I did. Luckily I made a made a backup. Making backups of your stuff is very important as memory devices just die. Without the backup you will waste a lot of time trying to recover data rather than a shorter amount of time restoring data.
    Have you had any unpleasant experiences with data loss?

    Picked up a Buffalo 1Seg tuner for my iPad which allows me to watch TV on it. Pretty handy to have around the workspace when I cant be in front of the TV for news. Quality is 1Seg though meaning very pixelated but the sound is quite decent.

    About to tackle the MMM (Morning Mountain of Mail).

    Ramen for lunch at Nawate in Musashikoyama. Really nice but be prepared to come out smelling like burnt meat ><

    In March I was appointed by the Japanese government as a member of the METI Creative Industries Internationalization Committee. This is my gear ready to give my talk.

    Out n about in lovely Ginza - I love coming here and not sure why - maybe I'm going to have a shop here in the future?!

    An example of some of the samples that get sent to my office - 1/12 scale toilet. Who wants it?

    Another 1/12 scale toilet sample that arrived at the office. Thats. Just. Great.

    Nice cars at the Nissan showroom at Ginza.

    Together with the Anime Expo team at Ginza. How many of you are going AX this year?

    More cute girlies spotted at Akihabara during the regular Akihabara Shops run.

    Try to eat at Negishi when you are next at Akihabara - its so nice!

    Cuties spotted in Akihabara.

    Together with the AFA team in Akihabara. Cant wait to see you at the next AFA which will take place in...

    Nomnoms on mushroom salad at our local Italian place in Musashikoyama.

    SAO and Haganai gatcha - which do you go for first?

    The number of masked men and women in Tokyo increases during the hay fever season ><

    Dragonball characters now eat their defeated opponents.

    A sea of bicycles at the Musashikoyama Palm shopping arcade.

    With the Bushiroad big boss Kidani-san.

    Playing with some Canon Tilt Shift lens.

    My S3 screen all scratched up - time to change the protective film again.

    Dyson Digital Slim get - I love hoovering ^^;

    Got some CableDrop thingies to help keep those cables at bay.

    They dont stick well when placed underneath a table though.

    3DS get. Loving it so far. Got the white version so it will prob turn yellow like my DSLite.

    Picked up the charging stand for my 3DS LL. More photos in the new series Gaming Life.

    Catching the last of the Sakura before it disappears.

    Out n about the Nishikoyama area.

    Do you get to see cherry blossoms in your neck of the woods too?

    Some light novels with artwork by DMYO-sensei (Shirahane Nao).

    Which is your type? I prefer the brown haired girl.

    This why I pickedup the 3DS. I love the Castlevania series and Lords of Shadow is awesome.

    Since I mentioned that I like Cinnamon Toast - comrades from around the world have been replenishing my stock!

    This is how we recycle milk cartons in Japan - we wash, dry, cut and fold out flat before recycle collection.

    Heading out to Kanamachi again - I go there so much that I practically live there! The reason why I go there is this.

    The winner of the latest giveaway is Teensy - check her photos here of Miku which we sent her recently ^o^

    My cough fix - Pei Pa Koa. Am always running low on supplies ^^;

    Relaxing for a wee bit at Starbucks.

    Meetings at Jimbocho with Windows 100% regarding the Mirai Suenaga MMD model.

    Just arrived at the Wieden+Kennedy offices in Tokyo.

    Inside the Wieden+Kennedy offices. Very nice. Many moons ago they produced the Nikon commercial that I was in - just managed to get hold of the HD version below.

    Meetings with Sato Dai in Kichijoji - heading back to base.

    McDees once in a while tastes good. Having brekkie with Shibuya Rin. How often do you eat McDees?
    There is a poll embedded in this article.

    Dragonball is absolutely everywhere in Japan now ^^

    Sushi for dindins - this is a collection of my fave - can you name them all?

    Out in About in Musashikoyama Palm for dindins.

    About to nom on some ramen for lunch.

    Having some Katsu Curry at a highway rest area.

    About to dip into a well earned hot spring.

    Filming at Lucypop Musashikoyama.

    Japanese bags are better - and this is why.

    Japanese bags are better - and this is why (part 2)

    Tonights groceries.

    Lunch time!

    Was interviewed recently and this is what they used - nice recorder that takes video too.

    Two old men with their dolls - together with the producer of Mikunopolis - Toshihiro Fukuoka.

    This Japanese restaurant is gorgeous.

    Photo time with Yuki-chan.

    Yuki-chan relaxing after a day out n about.

    Together with our trusty steed somewhere in North Japan.

    Out n about filming in the Nikko area.

    Visiting Toshogu [東照宮] - I owe you a bunch of photos ><

    Mirai Nendoroid and Figma guard our car at all times.

    Kiddy trollies in Japanese malls are kinda cool.

    Nice apartment in Tokyo for 130,000 yen/month.

    Some of the latest Japanese smart phones - which looks good to you?

    Colonel Sanders now has a dragon radar. I learned very recently that they only have these Sanders statues in Japan.

    A bustling weekend at the Musashikoyama Palm shopping arcade.

    The streets of Tokyo in my hood.

    No blowing pepper onto passengers.

    2D characters encourage us to keep to the rules and join the fire brigade.

    Out n about on the Marunouchi line heading to the Bushiroad offices.

    The office of late.

    Paying a visit to Meiji Jingu in Harajuku.

    Shibuya 109.

    Shibuya is gorgeous by night.

    Got myself a charger for my playstation controllers - charges two at the same time.
    Previous A Week in Tokyo instalments listed up below - I hope to keep up the regular updates ><

    Read more about Mirai Suenaga >>>

    About Mascots Subscribe by Email Twitter Facebook

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    One other diecast available at CARS Land is the Radiator Springs Racer (ride) “Mechanic Set,” which is in 1:64 scale and you assemble it yourself … It is diecast metal with the rest of pieces plastic. You can decide on which options you prefer. Choose between tires, mouth & eyes expression, rollbar and even if [...]

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