A little help with research

I need some good references (preferably with illustrations) describing the Imperial Palace in Tokyo as it was before the Second World War. The modern palace – built in the 1960s to replace the Meiji Emperor’s original residence, which was destroyed during the war – frequently appears in books and websites about Japan, but I’ve had some difficulty locating references that contain more than a passing mention of the old palace. A few isolated photographs and snippets of information are available on the Internet, but there’s not nearly enough of it to put together an accurate mental image of the pre-war imperial complex. To that end, I’m especially interested in books/articles that include ground plans and photographs.

The references don’t necessarily have to be online, or even free. Just send me the title, author, publisher and other details and I’ll see if I can order it from overseas if I can’t find it in a library here.

Leads can be submitted by e-mail or as comments in reply to this post. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Sword + kimono = pure win

I have never seen Kara no Kyoukai. Until today, the name Ryougi Shiki has never passed within my hearing.

All that changed when, on my usual random browse-through of a certain online retailer, the stunning vision of a sword-wielding woman clad in a kimono appeared in front of me.

And before I knew it, my hands were scrambling to submit an irrevocable pre-order.

Details on Good Smile’s official website. She’s due out in November.

EDIT (09:16 PM): I just realised something – this is my 100th post. Break out the pocky!

Room post, 2008 edition

Today, Diego takes you on a tour of his personal domain.

(Just don’t touch anything.)

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Mid-season write-up (Part Two)

Otaku cannot live on 2D bunny girls alone, so here’s a piping-hot mid-season helping of live action goodness.

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Mid-season write-up (Part One)

Time to pull over, look back and take stock of how some of this season’s anime series have fared so far.

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ABe doujinshi on the iPod Touch (first peek)

Writing on his blog, graphic artist Abe Yoshitoshi (Serial Experiments Lain, Haibane Renmei) recently announced that his doujinshi Yakkyoku no Pochiyama-san (Pochiyama at the Pharmacy) had just been released for the iPod Touch and the iPhone via the iTunes App Store (53 pages, USD 4.99).

(And yes, it’s also available on the Philippine iTunes App Store. All you need is an iPod Touch or an iPhone, the iTunes software installed on your PC, and a credit card.)

According to ABe, the doujinshi app includes both the original Japanese text and an English translation bundled into a single package. Users can’t choose between Japanese and English themselves since one of the two languages will be triggered automatically depending on your iPod’s configuration. (For example, my iPod is set to English so the text appears entirely in English.) The doujinshi can be manipulated like an iPod Touch photo album: slide right or left to change pages, pinch in or out to zoom.

I purchased the doujinshi within seconds of hearing about it, but I haven’t had the chance to flick through more than the first few pages. I like what I’ve seen so far. The images are crisp and clear, the text is sharp and perfectly readable (even on the iPod’s relatively small screen), and of course the art is excellent. On the other hand, the English translation is a bit awkward in places (“You are impolite to customer!”, “I can’t cuz I’m a social withdrawal”), but it’s still good enough to allow readers to follow the story without doing more than the occasional head-scratch.

EDIT (6:51 PM): I’ve finished reading the doujinshi, and I regret to report that the translation DID provoke a lot of head-scratching. “What the heck is he/she trying to say?” came up in my head almost as many times as there were panels. But the art IS good – so good, in fact, that I’m diving in again (shaky translation notwithstanding) and redirecting all of my brain’s processing power towards the single objective of trying to make sense of the story.

I’ll write a full review just as soon as I finish reading the doujinshi. For now, you can view some sample pages here.

Image credit: Abe Yoshitoshi, from a blog entry announcing the debut of Yakkyoku no Pochiyama-san on the iTunes App Store. A higher-res version (800×800) can be accessed through Abe’s original post.

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September-October shopping list

R1 anime DVD collectors can expect a stampede of goodies to come roaring onto store shelves over the next couple of months. Here’s a look at what’s coming up. (Note: Only those titles I actually intend to acquire are included.)

The links will take you to each item’s product release page on Anime News Network.


02 September = The four lovely ladies from Saitama are back in the third volume of Bandai Entertainment’s R1 Lucky Star release. In this installment: Konata drags the Hiiragi twins along with her to Comiket. Chaos ensues – for Tsukasa, at least. The LE version includes Tsukasa’s character CD and a P.E.-uniform T-shirt. USD 44.99 on Amazon.

30 September = A new Venice rises on Mars in the complete 13-episode season one boxset of Aria, from Right Stuf International. USD 36.99 from Amazon.


07 October = Just a few weeks before ghosts and ghouls take over the streets for Halloween, FUNimation Entertainment scares the living daylights out of anime fans with a 3-disc DVD boxset containing the first part of Ghost Hunt. Fortunately for us, the price – USD 36.99 on Amazon – isn’t scary at all.

14 October = After ADV collapses onto the ground just one volume shy of the finish line, FUNimation Entertainment comes thundering by to give us our last dose of ~uguu in the sixth and final installment of Kanon. USD 21.99 on Amazon.

28 October = The pampered pupils of Ouran High take centre stage as their most famous student organisation debuts in the U.S., courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment’s 13-episode Ouran High School Host Club DVD boxset (containing the first half of the series). USD 44.99 on Amazon.