Smart Doll - Mirai

Some time ago I talked a little bit about Danny Choo in my post about the figma that was released based on his mascot, Mirai. I even did my own fanart image of that same character. Danny has been an inspirational figure for me for some time. He loves what he does and shares his excitement for his interests with the world on his blog. He's taken many of his ideas and worked his behind off to make them a reality. He never stops and he never gives up. He posts about his trials, and while it might seem like he's gone from one thing to the next over the years, he's never done any of them halfway.

He's taken his main character, Mirai, and several others from just an idea and some images to a true idol. His characters are all over the place now in Japan. I look at him and see someone with determination and a love for what he does. I only hope I can be so persistant.

Over the last year or so Danny has started a new endeavor, to create SD-sized dolls similar to Dollfie Dreams. He wants to make them motorized so that they can move and react, but first he made a "manual" version. He did everything himself. He researched, hired people, and little by little he managed to produce his own product, and it's doing well. So well he can only take small orders at a time and the line is long.

I was one of the few lucky enough to get my hands on a Mirai after the first few batches. I don't have a ton of time to take photos of her, but here are a couple.


She came in a clear plastic case wrapped in bubble wrap. She also came with a couple cards and a signed "Thank you" note. For a product that is not being mass-produced this is amazingly professional packaging. A real display of Danny's attention to detail.


She came complete with some really well-made clothes. The shirt and pants are quiet amazing, really. The beany hate and magnetic hairclip are a nice touch. She also comes with socks, shoes, a wig, and panties. The shoes are simply... unreal. Since his father is a fairly well known shoe designer, it's not terribly surprising. Her wig is also very nice. It has her two signature braids and is fairly well stylized to match her look. She also comes with a unique stand. There is a "port" on her back that you can place the single, telescoping stand to lean her against. It's fairly stable and it allows you to hid it by cleverly angling when taking photos.

She looks amazing! My photos don't really do her much justice. I'm grateful that Danny gave me the opportunity to get her. He was very nice in our email exchanges. I was also very excited to get a response from someone I've followed for some time. ^^

Mirai will be with me on my desk reminding me to keep moving forward, have fun, smile, and never give up! "You can do it!"



Enter Kanami

This post has been a long time coming. Many months ago I received my limited Dollfie Dream 06 head. She was my first "floating head," as they call it. Finally, after nearly six months, she is complete. So I'd like to introduce Kanami, my third Dollfie Dream.

I was lucky enough to get this limited head thanks to a close friend. I was missing a key component, however, a body. I wasn't able to get a body for her for a long time due to a lack of funds and the Dollfie Dream body supply shortage that spanned most of this year and continues to this day. However, if you read my last desk diary you will have caught images of a recently acquired Dollfie Dream Dynamite body and some clothes. With all the pieces finally in place, my third girl is here.


With her striking red hair and Dollfie Dream Dynamite body, which is more "curvy" than the standard body type, she has a unique look compared to my other Dollfie Dreams.


Of course, like the other girls, she's trained to fight! Thanks for following along as my third Dollfie Dream came together.




Desk Diary 9-10-12

Well, it's been a little over two months since my last desk diary post. I've been pretty busy (gaming) and thus haven't posted much (leveling), but it's time for some updates and, of course, new loot!

First things first, an update on the webcomic project. My friend recently called this my "white whale," but hopefully this won't have such a tragic ending. For the last several months I've been bouncing between two main ideas. Lately I have been thinking of combining many of my favorite aspects of both. I think I'm close. I still want to get this started before the end of the year. That doesn't give me much time. I tend to work well under pressure, so hopefully a deadline will force me to get this project started.

In doll news -many- things have happened, some of which I'll share below. For now I'll say that my desk has suddenly become a little more crowded. I'm -still- waiting for some things I pre-ordered almost a year ago. Volks has been very much slammed this year due to that pre-order event. They are just now starting to ship out the last batch of orders, my stuff included (hopefully). There are already rumors of another pre-order event coming. With the shortage of regular items this year, one has to wonder if things will ever settle with all these events. It also goes to show how much this hobby has grown in popularity over the last couple years.


In gaming news... we'll let's be honest, I've been sucked into a handful of new games that were launched this year, which hasn't helped my productivity. I had mentioned in my 2012 post that the games coming out this year could potentially suck away a lot of my free time, and that prediction has become mostly true. In that post I had mentioned I was playing Star Wars: The Old Republic at the time, I had quit that game not long after that post, as have many others. It's going "Free to Play" later this year, nuff said. For a time after that there wasn't really a game distracting me. That is until Tera launched earlier this year. That game has been the main time-sink for me this year. I'm still playing Tera, which I talked about at length in its own post.

Since then the other games that I mentioned in my 2012 post have also been released. I played The Secret World from launch, and while I do like its unique modern-day-mixed-with-horror-films style, it was fairly buggy and a bit unforgiving in its gameplay. While a challenge is nice, sometimes I prefer the more casual stuff. It also had some stiff character animations and a lack of character customization. The combat was decent. Working on finding a "build" that worked for you was interesting as were the unique quests and stories. However, All MMOs need a time to grow and expand, so it's definitely one I may check out again down the road, but for now I have stopped playing it.

Next up, and most recent, is Guild Wars 2. The most hyped MMO of the year. Did it live up to that hype for me? Yes and no. It's a wonderful game and very pretty (not Tera pretty, but still really nice), and it really does break many of the not-so-great and over-used MMO mechanics, but some of what they claimed didn't really pan out. The dynamic quest system, while great overall, doesn't really give that sense of making lasting changes to the world. They restart rather quickly. While this makes sense from a gameplay perspective, it does kinda make the game feel a bit like a theme park, not like a WoW (World of Warcraft) theme park, but a different kind of, and certainly more fun and active, theme park. That doesn't actually bother me at all, though. Heck, Tera is a prime example of the old-style WoW theme park setup. The combat is, at its core, a target based system, but you can attack while moving. Some of the personal missions can be a bit brutal as well. My favorite part of the game is that they encourage you to explore. This aspect is the gem of this game to me. They have added a lot of little hidden areas to the game and even some rather fun and challenging jumping puzzles. Overall, it's a well-polished and well-made game. Since you only have to buy the game once and there is no subscription fee, there is really no reason to not play this game. It's one I'll certainly be playing for some time to come (sucking away more of my free time).

Finally (yes, it does end), a game that was released two years ago this month may be making a comeback and has me eager to try it again. Two years ago Final Fantasy XIV launched with a less than stellar reception. It was so bad that the game suspended its subscription fee for many months. While I didn't completely agree that the game was a total failure as some others, it did have some holes and lack of content. Most of the original team was taken off the project and a new, untested, game director was handed the reigns. Square Enix has been determined to push forward. You have to give them credit. Other MMOs would have buckled and failed under similar circumstances. However, not only has this new team and director attempted to fix a lot of the problems, late last year they stated their plans to take things a step further with a project that would almost completely remake the whole game. This is something that has never been done before and just recently the first signs of this "2.0" version have begun to surface. I'm very interested to see how this pans out. I had a lot of faith in SE when the game was released and I still think they can pull this off. So this is the next MMO that I'm looking forward to trying... again, especially when I learned there will be a new summoner job. I really respect them for working this hard to please their customers. They have taken a lot of polls and kept the players in the loop. I think they deserve a second chance. I know I'll be there opening day. I already have "Legacy" status for supporting the game during this rough period. It should be interesting.

Okay! Now on to the loot. There have been several items that have come my way over the last couple months that I meant to post about but didn't have the time (gaming), so I'm going to post them all here in one go.

First off I bought some new items for my computer. My hard drives have been nearly full for a long time, so I bought a new 3TB hard drive to ease the pain. I also picked up a new keyboard and mouse.


This is the new Logitech G600 gaming mouse. I wasn't sure if I would like this mouse at first. I picked it up on impulse. The mass of button on the side were intimidating at first, but I have to say that it really has grown on me. I've been a "clicker" for most of my computer gaming years until I was "forced" to use the keyboard for combat in Tera. Now this mouse has taken me to the next step with executing commands all from the buttons on the side of the mouse. I don't know if I'll be able to go back.

Since I take a lot of photos for this site I'm always struggling with my lighting. Usually I just deal with whatever light I have, but normal room lights tend to be yellow and I don't always have sunlight. So I finally saved up and got a proper lighting kit. I couldn't afford anything super crazy. I also didn't want to deal with lights that gave off a lot of heat. After much searching I found the Flora light set by Linco. They use florescent light bulbs and have pretty ingenious softboxes.

The softboxes are a sort of umbrella deal. You just pull a string and they open up and snap into place. The diffusing cloth attaches with some Velcro and it's all set. The softbox sits in the grooves in the light base which kinda looks like a flower, hence the set's name. Setup is not too bad, another thing that was important to me. They do take up some room, though, but I can tell they are improving my photos a lot. They seem to be made pretty well. Some parts are plastic, but as long as I'm careful with them I'm sure they will last for some time. They also came with carrying cases. It's a really nice set and I'm glad I got them.


I picked up a new Blu-Ray anime called "Samurai Girls." I haven't finished it yet, but it's a silly haram story with some unique animation styles. I'm not really sure what I think of it yet. It has some cute and funny moments, but some of the over-the-top stuff isn't really my thing. The "fan-service" is nice, though.

As I mentioned above, I've been playing Guild Wars 2. Since I had a feeling it was going to be a good game I pre-ordered the Collector's Edition, which sold out soon after. I'm glad I took the plunge. The box for it is -massive- and contains a lot of nice goodies.


Inside is the massive Rytlock statue and a sizable tin case. Everything about this CE is big.


Inside the tin case is a collection of items. A portfolio with prints, a picture frame, an "Behind the Scenes" artbook, a soundtrack sampler and the game discs.


And last but not least is the Rytlock statue. He is one of the main characters in the story from the Destiny's Edge guild. He is also a Charr, the race that was the main enemy from the previous game. He's quite massive and hefty, fairly well painted and detailed and his Rurik "flaming" sword is pretty cool.


It's a really nice and well-made collector's edition. I'm glad I got it. Now where to put it...

I also got some doll loot. Some I didn't plan on while others were nice surprises. First I got a couple little things from Volks. Some cute hands and another wig cap.


I've been on the lookout for a body for my limited 06 head for many months, but due to the Volks pre-order event from last year, bodies have been in a major short supply and nearly impossible to get. However, I managed to snag a slightly used one from a member on the Dollfie Dreams forum.


This one is a Dollfie Dream Dynamite body, which is different from the standard body due to its larger hips, thighs and other "assets." This means that my third Dollfie Dream is nearly complete.

Of course, no Dollfie Dream is complete without some clothes and accessories. And, of course, if you are going to get clothes for one, why not get some for your other girls as well? Here are some items that I got from Cool Cats. I like Cool Cats because their prices are reasonable and they have nice clothes and stands made for Dollfie Dreams.


Here I got some swimwear, shirts, skirts, stands, shoes a wig and way too many socks. I seem to have a thing for socks. At least my girls will never have cold feet. As always, Cool Cats threw in some free extras too, which is always a nice surprise.

With all these items I realized I was running out of room to store them. I had most of my Dollfie Dream stuff in cardboard boxes. So I thought it was about time to get a new container for their stuff.


Only two years into this doll hobby and I already have a cart for their stuff. I never thought I would get to this point. The funny thing is, as you can see with the extra box and container on the top... I already filled it up.

But wait... there is still one box left.


A friend helped me greatly with these items in a way I could never fully repay.


As you can see there are some interesting items in the box. But there is this odd item...


What ever could it be? You will just have to wait for a future post to find out.

WHEW! Well, that concludes this desk diary. It was quite a long one, but it wasn't six months apart from the last one at least. Still a lot happened in a short couple of months and I'm not done yet. There are still a couple item I'll have to show soon. I also hope to start working on illustrations again for my webcomic.




One Year - Rika & Yuri

Last week marked the one year date for my two Dollfie Dreams, Rika and Yuri. I learned a lot over the year while in this hobby and I'm glad that these two girls have been keeping me company on my computer desk each day. I thought I would take some photos of them in some new school uniforms I got for them and try to recreate an illustration I drew a while back.



Last year, while I was waiting for Rika and Yuri to arrive, I drew an image of how I thought they could look.


And here is how they look today, inspired by that image.


Not exactly the same, but pretty darn close!



Desk Diary 6-23-2012

It's been six months since my last desk diary. Several things happened since then, mostly in the last couple months.

First, a couple general updates. The webcomic project I've been trying to get started hasn't moved all that much in the last several months. While I had a fairly workable idea a while ago, as things go, I've changed my mind on a few things. I haven't given up, though. I'm currently trying to come up with fresh ideas.

As you may have seen from recent posts, I had a couple anniversaries with my BJD girls. My first girl has been with me for two years now. My two Dollfie Dreams and floating head haven't seen much attention lately, but in the last few weeks I got a couple of new items for them.

I haven't been paying much attention to Volks events since money has been tight. However, there have been a couple recent events held by Volks called Kyoto 9 and Doll Party 27 that had a lot of great items. They both had great Dollfie Dreams up for lottery. I really like "Shining Blade" Sakuya. She's from the same series as my first two. I would have loved to enter for her, but it's beyond my means right now.

However, they had a plethora of great clothes on offer from the Kyoto 9 collection. Unfortunately, these items are very limited, and while I tried to grab some via the lottery with Kerbey Lane, I was only able to get one item through them. This left me with the only option to take part in the "click war" on the Volks site. This is a first come first serve—he who clicks faster wins—setup. I took a little extra time beforehand to plan a process to get me through the clicks and cart as fast as I could. When the day came I managed to get four out of the five items I wanted in the cart and purchased in less than fifteen seconds. I was pretty pleased. Unfortunately, many were not so lucky. Nearly everything was sold out in less than a minute. It's an unfair system when you consider that lag and browser/computer speeds can really affect the outcome.

Here is Yuri in one of the outfits I was able to get.


I also received a couple random goodies over the last couple months.

First up is a Roku XS. I don't really watch much TV, but I do like to watch Netflix and Crunchyroll. While my PS3 sufficed for Netflix for a while, I didn't have access to Crunchyroll except on my computer and iPad. Enter the Roku XS! I love this little thing, and I do mean little. It fits in the palm of my hand. This little wonder has caused my PS3 to collect dust lately. I certainly recommend these little Roku boxes.


About a month ago I finally caught up with the rest of the world and got a smartphone. It's an HTC Vivid running Android 4.0. I mainly picked this one because it was cheap, but I find myself using it more than my iPad. I still love my iPad and it's great for certain things, but this phone has really helped me become more connected to the social networks.


While I generally like Apple products, I must say that Android is nice for its customization. I changed my launcher to something custom that I like, my lock screen has all the latest tweets, facebook and flickr feeds that I follow right there. I can flip through these posts without even going into the phone. It has a nice camera as well and being connected to all these social networks really makes it convenient to post a quick picture.

Next up is a little treat from a childhood favorite of mine. I was a big Transformer fan growing up. Recently I watched the new series, Transformers Prime, and really enjoyed it. When I found out there was a Wheeljack, I just had to get it! He was one of my favorite characters from the original series. I still have his G1 version from way back when.

It took a couple stores to find him, but eventually I saw one hanging on a shelf.


These new Transformers have really cool designs and are a lot more complex than the old toys. Though, they have a lot more plastic. The instructions are pretty crazy too.


The posability is rather impressive. The old toys almost never even had movable legs, let alone elbow joints. These new ones have ball-joints and hinges all over the place. Luckily, or not, we didn't know better with the older toys.


I love seeing all these old cartoon and toys that I grew up with coming out again with updated stories and designs. While some more hardcore fans may scoff at them, if you actually watch the original shows today you may be surprised at how silly and nonsensical they were. These newer "updated" shows and toys have really grown up.

Hopefully it won't be another six months before I post the next desk diary.




DDH-06 Finished Version

Earlier this week I received a nice little package filled with goodies. One of which is my new "Finished Version" Dollfie Dream 06 head that I had mentioned earlier this year. I have to thank a close friend of mine for getting this for me and spoiling me with extra, unexpected, treats.


The finished 06 head, nicely protected in bubble-wrap.


The "finished version" 06 head. The photo doesn't do her much justice (especially in that bag). Unfortunately, I don't have a body for her, or a wig, or eyes, or clothes... On top of that, the body I want to get her is out of stock at the moment. So it may be a while. Either way, this is the first piece for my third Dollfie Dream.



Rika & Yuri

I finally put together all the pieces I ordered and took some photos of my two Dollfie Dreams to give them a proper introduction. So here is Rika (DD Neris) and Yuri (DD Airy). I think they came out rather nice.


They may be pretty and cute, but they are trained to "deal" with anything that comes their way. I drew an illustration of them as well!


I hope you like them. It's been a long time coming from the first time I learned that I won them in the lottery, to waiting months to get them, and finally to now all together with the things I ordered for them. I think the photos came out rather well. I hope to take more photos soon!



Desk Diary 9-18-11

This has been a busy month for me, and it is far from over. There are still several things coming up that will be keeping me busy. However, as far as my room and other goals go, I have started to make some changes and progress.

Since I got my Wacom tablet I don't really draw on paper anymore, and thus, I also don't really need my scanner anymore. On top of that, with the recent addition of my girls (dolls), I wanted to change my room around a bit to accommodate them. These two things worked out well for me.

First I packed up the scanner/printer. This freed up space on my desk for my girls. I then removed my little drawing table and added in my second matching bookcase. Yes, I actually have more furniture than can fit in my current little room.


Now I have a lot more shelf space, which quickly filled up with books, manga, games, and DVDs/Blu-Rays. A large chunk of shelf space is now being used for my two resin BJD girls. Overall I think it looks a bit nicer, though I hate all the brown. I still plan to "upgrade" all my furniture little by little, but for now this will do.

I'm still collecting items for the girls. I've been putting the new items in a little bucket as I've been getting them. With all the additional items the bucket is now too full to even close, as you can see.


And I STILL have another small order incoming. Lastly, to finish things off for them (for a while), I plan to order two stands next week that will be used on the now cleared off space on my desk.

I'm pretty happy about these changes. Next month, after all the busy things I have to do this month are over, I hope to really start moving forward with a webcomic. I want to get a webcomic started before the end of this year. I'll keep you posted.




Dollfie Dream Airy!

Only a couple days ago I received my first limited Dollfie Dream, Neris. Today I got my second limited Dollfie Dream, Shining Hearts Airy! They are from the same game and were both sculpted by the same artist, so they go together.

I'm so glad I was fortunate enough to get both Neris and Airy. I won Airy through Kerbey Lane Doll Shop, which is why she took a little longer to arrive, but they shipped her out really fast - faster than I expected.

Here are some photos from the box opening.


This time it was a simple brown box, but a little bigger than the last one.



She has a cute "cat-like" smile. :3


She's finally out of the box and bag. Her eyes have a bit of a "pearl" effect to them.


She comes with a lot of items. A basket (like Neris), a book with real (blank) pages, boots, a white dress with a lovely coat and hat, and a nice blonde wig. Volks really puts a lot of attention to detail. The book is fully stitched with a working buckle/strap. The basket is real, not plastic.

Here are a couple quick shots!




Dollfie Dream Neris!

After much luck and waiting, my first complete limited Dollfie Dream has arrived, a Shining Hearts Neris! She was delivered safe and sound with a box full of goodies.

When the Dolpa 25 lottery started I didn't think I was going to be able to get anything. I figured I had no chance when I heard how popular Neris was. I entered for her twice. When I got the Volks email saying I won, I didn't know if it was real.

However, here she is! Here are some quick box opening pictures.


You can see some of her face looking out from inside the box.


She came with a lot of items. Even a little basket. The hair is nearly impossible to get on her head as is her default top.

Here are a couple quick shots of her.