Mirai Fanart

Recently Danny Choo asked for fanart submissions for an upcoming magazine he's working on called the "Worldwide Otaku Report." Here is my submission featuring Danny's character, Mirai, having some summer fun.


When I started working on this image I wasn't sure what I wanted to draw. I wanted something fun and colorful. Something bright and cheerful to match the character. So I thought since it was summer Mirai standing in some water wearing her signature bikini was a good start. I liked the idea of her hand close to the "camera" splashing water, which became the start of this image.

The pose from the back really helped add some interesting angels. The two arms point towards the face where you can see she's having a good time. Of course, being a bikini image it had to be a little sexy. Certainly no complaints here. This took a while to get to a point I was happy with.

For coloring I went with high saturation. I wanted it to have some "pop." I added some gradients to add some depth. I spent a lot of time on the eyes. I love to experiment with different eye styles. These have details that gives them some interesting features. The water also took some time. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but I think it turned out okay. I colored the linework, something I like to do with my images. It helps to soften it up and add more color. To top it off I added a huge sun flare to really brighten it up with some beams to add highlights to the image.

While I can always be really critical my own work, I think this came out okay. What do you think? Have you ever drawn fanart? How were your results?



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!



Sony NEX 5n

I got a new camera last week. It's the very popular, and shinny, Sony NEX 5n. This is a mirrorless camera, which allows it to be super small, but still pack the same APS-C sensor found in most DSLRs.

I wanted to get a smaller camera for a while. My Canon T1i/500D is a medium-sized DSLR, but it feels rather hefty after a while when taking pictures with it. On top of that, since I take pictures of smallish things (figures / dolls), I often have to position myself in less than comfortable ways, which can add to the pain of using a larger camera. Also, I sometimes need to hold the camera with one hand and a reflector with the other, this is hard to do with a DSLR.


Enter the mirrorless cameras. A new breed of camera that has been gaining popularity for a while now. They don't have a mirror like DSLR cameras and use an LCD and/or electronic viewfinder instead. This removes a lot of bulk from the camera so they can be a lot smaller. And the NEX 5n IS small. I was almost surprised by how small it is. It contains a 16mp CMOS sensor, just as my Canon, but it also has some features my Canon does not. However, due to the its small size, it lacks a lot of buttons to quickly access functions and its LCD screen is small and made smaller by a permanent menu on the right side. Don't let that fool you, though. It is a fully functional camera. It has all the same options found in my Canon and most DSLRs, and a couple more. There are customizable buttons that ease some of the lack of buttons and the LCD is a touchscreen and tiltable, something my Canon lacked.


I haven't had time to do many tests, but so far I can tell that the Sony performs pretty well. It's great in low light, something the Canon always struggled with. It has much better white balance than the Canon, but the Sony suffers from a kit lens that is sharp in the center but soft and almost blurry on the edges. The Canon kit lens is a bit more consistent from center to edge, though a little soft overall. However, resized for the internet, you'd be hard-pressed to see a difference in sharpness.

Here is a quick comparison shot with the same settings (Aperture Priority, ISO 100, f5.0, AWB)


I also got a Sony 50mm f1.8 prime lens for this camera. This will give me more options for bokeh effects and appears to be more balanced in sharpness than the kit lens, which is to be expected. These Sony lenses are unique in that they have fulltime active focus and optical image stabilization. Another lens on my wishlist is a Sigma 30mm f2.8, which I hear great things about. Another great thing about this Sony is that there are a lot of adapters for it to accept a wide range of lenses. For example, I've also been looking at a Voigtlander Nokton 40mm Leica lens. Maybe a little exotic, but it has a great "film look" that would be fun to use. To round it out I'd like to get a nice wide angle lens to create some neat "fish eye" effects. Of course, lenses are expensive, but I never looked at other lenses for my Canon and even though the Sony lacks a lot of DSLR buttons, its size makes me more interested in playing with these kind of options. Maybe that's because I spent a lot of time fighting with my Canon to get good shots.


You can find a ton of reviews for the Sony NEX 5n online. Check them out! What kind of camera do you use? Do you have a mirrorless, DSLR or P&S? In the meantime, I'm going to see what this little beast can do.



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.




Two Years

Wow does time fly. I received Jaimee, my first BJD (ball-jointed doll), two years ago. I ordered her soon after I started this site. She is a reminder of how I felt when I made that first post. It's hard to believe it's been that long. Here are a couple shots I took of her in a nice outfit with some headphones.


Along with some other things, getting my first BJD led me down many new paths. Hobbies are great, but they can be even better when they inspire you to do more. What started as one BJD turned into another and now Dollfie Dreams, all of which help to inspire me. Now at the two year mark for my first BJD, I realize how little I've actually done. I blame my MMO addiction.


With Jaimee I've taken a couple photos here and there, but she's remained largely ignored. Not for lack of interest, but lack of time. While it's good to be productive, I feel something can be lost if you don't take the time to balance things with a more varied set of activities. But it seems our world more and more demands us to be in one spot as work piles up and money becomes tighter.

So in a sense these BJDs and Dollfie Dreams remind me that I need to take a step back sometimes and get off the computer and, basically, stop ignoring other parts of my life. Just as Jaimee is doing here—relaxing and listening to some music. Hopefully, as things move forward, I'll find more time for photos and such. I'm glad I have her to remind me there's more to do than what's behind a screen.


Do you have an item that inspires you? Do you have something that keeps you aware of how you spend your time? Do you feel you could spend your time better? Hopefully next year I can say that I did more things I wanted to do. How about you.



BRS Beast Figma & Artbook

It's black, blue, white, and a beast. It's the Black★Rock Shooter Beast Figma. I pre-ordered this limited figma and artbook set in September of last year and finally received it a couple weeks ago. It took me a bit of time to finally take photos, but here it is.

I really love the whole look and feel of the Black★Rock Shooter line. So far they make up the bulk of my figma collection. They're a great creative inspiration for me, but they also just look plain cool. When I saw this Black★Rock Shooter Beast figma, which is based off an image by the BRS creator, huke, I really wanted to get it. Unfortunately, it only comes in a limited set with the artbook. However, I'm glad I took the plunge and picked it up. She's definitely one of my favorite figmas thus far.


It comes in this fairly unassuming brown box with only the logo and name on it to let you know what's inside.


Inside is the artbook and another box that holds the figma.


Here she is with all her bits and bobs along with a little card that has a cute illustration of the "beast" character. She comes with a fairly typical assortment of items. Only one optional face, but they included a couple sets of hands, a gun, sword, crown, optional hair piece with the iconic blue flame and a standard figma stand. Another face would have been nice, but still, it's a decent set.


She has a lot of nice detail. The zippers are painted silver, the black and white stripes are clean and there is even some grunge detail on some of the armor bits on her legs. The arms, hands and some of the legs are glossy black while other parts, like the shirt and skirt, are matte. It makes for a nice contrast.


Her back has a unique coat of arms emblem. The detail is really impressive at this scale. I also love the blue star on the zipper by her waist -- nice detailing.


The sword is semi-transparent and I love the text on the back. It's actually in English and it isn't gibberish. This really impressed me. It reads like instructions on how to use the "device". Very cool!


She features typical figma posability. The hands can't move due to the long sleeves. The feet also don't move much. She has transparent blue spikes on the back of her legs that fold out. The skirt/belt is a hard rubber, but it doesn't have much bending range due to the connected part in the middle. Everything else uses the typical figma joint, including the twin tails on her head.


The artbook is very heavy and well made. It's full color and, as the title says, contains selected works by huke, the creator of Black★Rock Shooter. As a fan of his characters, I really like this book. It contains a lot of painted-style images of his characters as well as some design sheets.


Black★Gold Saw, probably my favorite BRS character.


All in all I'm really happy I got this set. I'm glad I was able to add this limited figma to my collection. She really stands out. If you can get your hands on one, I'd recommend it. Especially if you like artbooks and are a fan of the BRS characters.

What about you? What are your favorite figmas or characters? Do you have a large amount of just one character or series? Do you have any limited figmas? Leave a comment.



Tera Online

One of my many addictions are MMORPGs, which, for the uninitiated, are online games that generally take place in a large virtual world that allow you to make a character, level that character, and play with other people. This is one that I've been looking forward to and I'd like to share along with the collector's edition game box.

I've played nearly every major MMO release since Anarchy Online in 2001. I like many of them for different reasons. None of them are perfect, and Tera is no exception, but only a handful usually can keep me playing for months on end. Graphics, explorability, and gameplay are probably the top three things that I look at, which I'll detail below, but first lets look at the collector's edition box.

Collector's Edition Box


I love collector's edition game boxes. They tend to vary greatly with what you get and the quality, but they typically also include some unique "in-game" items that you can't get otherwise. For Tera they provide a fairly standard CE with some nice little touches.


Inside the plastic case you have a nice brown box that opens to reveal a bevy of goodies. They even include a material "pull-tab" to help you get the items out. Nice touch. They include a "Letter of Marque", which is a story-based letter as if it was given to a character in the game world, a map of the game world, a "Handbook" that gives some information about the game story and world, the game discs, which also include a soundtrack, and a real metal compass.


The compass is a nice touch. The outside is nicely embossed with some simple aging effects.  While the quality is certainly not grand, the compass is actually housed in a plastic shell with a sticker bottom, it, along with the letter and map, kinda help to make the game world feel more authentic. As for functionality, I wouldn't rely on it for a trip in the woods.

Overall it's a "fair" collector's edition. I've certainly seen better for the same price point, but I've also seen much worse.

However, the real reason to buy a collector's edition is usually for the in-game items. While you will find the typical in-game accessories that your character will outgrow, the crowning item for this set is the Frostlion mount. A mount that is very unique to the typical horse mount in the game and it is also faster. I must say this mount is probably one of the most well made mounts I've seen in an MMO for a long time. It is superbly animated and modeled that really gives it a sense of life that is often missing from mounts. I think it is almost worth the cost of admission for the collector's edition alone if you plan to play the game for some time. As with all of the bonus in-game items, they can be claimed by all of your characters.


The Game

So why is Tera an MMO that I enjoy? In a nutshell it's absolutely gorgeous, the world doesn't restrict where you can go, and its action-based combat doesn't get boring or tedious. Beyond that it is a very standard "post-WoW" MMO that is fairly feature rich from launch. So let's talk in a bit more detail about this MMO while I share some of my own in-game screenshots.



The first thing that will stand out about Tera are the graphics. Even some of the more critical gamers will agree it is a beautiful game. Because it is built on the Unreal 3 engine it is also amazingly optimized, being fairly forgiving of computer specs. Since it was created in Korea a lot of the design choices are not what you typically find in a "western-styled" title, which tend to be more medieval in design. Tera is very much a "high fantasy" world. The environments range from idyllic islands to barren wastelands with everything in between. The creatures that inhabit the world are also varied from creepy little sprites with large heads that giggle at you to fierce and massive beasts that will scare the crap out of you when they jump in the air only to land on top of you.

The world is a place I feel you can get lost in and brings back that sense of "what's around the corner" that has been missing from MMOs in recent years. While the gameplay (read "questing")  may follow the traditional quest hub to quest hub style, Tera hasn't forgotten that this is supposed to feel like a living world. Instead of finding a game world that is only purposefully designed to funnel the player from one area to the next, Tera actually has several areas that are just there for no other reason then to explore. There are several areas that are just open and empty. This may sound boring to some, but for me it's nice to actually have areas that you can explore without dodging monsters at every step. For example, outside of the main human city there is a large area that has some ruins, mountains and a large beach. There's nothing there, it's just a nice open area.

This is not to say that the game world is absolutely perfect. While they do give you the freedom to explore nearly everywhere, you will find several "unfinished" areas if you poke around -too- much. Still, just the fact that they give you that freedom to look around is still nice.

Let's talk about the cities in the game. Many MMOs seem to forget that the world is supposed to be filled with people, unless it's some post-apocalyptic setting. Many cities in MMOs feel too small to hold a sizable population. Not in Tera. The cities feel massive. While you can't explore every nook, they all have a large footprint on the land and feel layered. The game world overall does a great job of making your character feel small. There are three major cities and various towns and villages to explore. While I wouldn't say that Tera has perfected the feeling of enough living areas to house a sizable world population, it does do a better job than most.


Finally I'd like to mention the most important aspect of the game world, the races. You can pick from one of seven races, each are fairly unique and some even unique to the fantasy genre. The characters are probably my favorite part of the game, graphically. They simply look amazing and range from massive and aggressive looking Aman to the overly cute and semi-controversial Elin. Not all races have both male and female choices and there are no body sliders for customization, but what it lacks there it makes up for in the rest of the customization choices. They provide you with a sizable selection of hair styles, hair colors, faces, face details, face sliders, and even voices. If you want you character's eyes to be always closed, you can do that. If you want them to smile more, you can choose that. The sliders give you enough control to twist the base faces so much to make you yell "QUICK, KILL IT!" While it may be extreme in some cases, having those options is still nice. It does lack some options, namely the choice of eye color, which is connected to face detail/makeup.

Each race has a very distinct personality in Tera. This is shown in their run, jump and emote animations as well as their combat animations. A larger race will wield a large sword with ease while a smaller one will show that extra weight as it swings. The armor is another one of my favorite graphical details. Each race and gender will look different in the same armor set. This is not just in shape but complete style. The same breastplate will look massive and bulky on a Baraka, but look, well, skimpy and erotic on a Castanic (my favorite race btw) each armor set is exquisitely modeled and textured to a level I've never seen in ANY game to date. This isn't just simple textures on a character body, these are each uniquely modeled PER race and gender. Something you rarely ever see in MMOs. To top it off there is a dying system and remodeling system in the game so that you can be sure your character always looks how you want. They even went through the trouble to automatically tie up long hair when an armor piece has a high collar. Really nice attention to detail.

I'll let the sceenshots I added here to speak for themselves. These have all been taken from my time in Tera with max graphic settings.



With overall gameplay in Tera (I'll get to combat below) you'll find a fairly typical questing system, gathering and crafting system, and dungeons. They don't break the mold here too much from other MMOs before it. All the quests are presented in a text-based format with a quest tracker. However, there are a couple different types of quests to help with organization and to give you a little bit of variety. First you have your basic random quests about the world. These range from kill quests to escorts. They offer experience and sometimes an item. The next type are story quests. These are unique since they tend to be chained in a series and often require a certain level or previous quest completion to be unlocked. They will also often lead to a dungeon at the end of a chain, usually requiring a group (five people) to complete. The game does include a dungeon and group finder to help with that. While I won't say that the story is award-winning, it's better than average MMOs, but most people will soon forget it or not even read it. It is also, at times, presented with per-rendered in-game cinematics to help move the story along. It has a repeating cast of characters that you follow all the way up as you level. Those are the two types of quests that will be your main bread and butter for leveling through the game, but they do offer some other options in the form of repeatable quests. The first is a regular repeatable quest that gives you experience and/or tokens that you can trade in for gear. The second is only available if you are in a guild. Guild quests are repeatable (level limited) quests that give you special tokens used to help level up the guild.

As a Korean made MMO, there is a stigma that Tera would be another "grinder". Basically meaning, a game that requires you to either level soley by repeatedly killing the same monster in the same area for hours before getting a level, being so slow to level and tedious that you want to stab yourself, and/or requiring you to group all the time to make any progress at all. I can tell you that Tera is in fact none of those. It is very similar to WoW's leveling speed, if not faster, and you will have solo quests, and sometimes too many, all the way to level cap. Of course this is considering that you don't think questing is a "grind" as well.


Outside of questing you have factions (at end-game) that you can gain reputation with to claim rare items, 5-man dungeons at various levels throughout the game, some of which come in a "hard-mode" flavor, a "soon to be added" Nexus system for end-game (think "Rifts") and also "soon to be added" "revised" battlegrounds. There are two server types as well, PVE and PVP, for those that like to kill each other. Guilds can also wage war with other guilds (currently only on the PVP servers).

Of course, there is crafting. Unlike other MMOs, you can actually learn EVERY crafting skill on one character. Though, I wouldn't recommend it as it can be extremely expensive. However, if you are hardcore enough, it is there. Crafting in Tera is fairly typical with gathering nodes around the game world and crafting areas/tables in the major cities. You will need to have the materials and then purchase items from a vendor to make an item. There are chance rolls while crafting that can gain you more crafted items etc. Some harder items may require an item from BAMs, which I'll get into in a bit. There is also an item enchanting system that allows you to improve the power (stats) of a weapon or armor item. This is a random chance roll that requires another equal tier item and vendor material to accomplish. It can be pretty hard to get an item to +9 let alone +12 (the enchantment cap), but for those that do, they will have a certain edge.

Another unique feature to Tera is the "Vanarch" system. With this players are able to vie to be elected as "ruler" over certain regions in the game. With this power they can open up certain features in towns and cities, control taxes etc. While this may really only affect a small group of players, when you add the fact that this will require the help of a whole guild and guild alliances you may find a more vested interest in it if you are in one of these groups vying for Vanarch power. Even still, a political system like this just adds yet another layer of realism to the game overall. Just hearing others talk about political backstabbing etcetera around towns in the game should be something unique to Tera as a whole.

Finally there are BAMs. BAMs stands for Bad-Ass Monster, which are the closest equivalent to world bosses or elites in other MMOs, however, in Tera BAMs are a unique "beast" all their own. I'll get into this more in the next section, but I will say that BAMs really help complete the Tera gameplay package, offering another fun challenge for solo or group players that you won't often see in other MMOs.



I left combat for last because many will agree that Tera's combat is its primary "trump-card." Combat in Tera is a real gem and a joy to play. If you've played other MMOs you will be used to the tried and true "tab-targeting" system where you "select" a monster (mob) to kill it, usually using a handful of static skills. By "static" I mean that your character will carry out an attack animation and your enemy will as well, often without much regard to each other. In the background the game is running random "dice rolls" to see who has successfully hit whom based on stats, skills and gear etcetera. This is NOT how Tera plays.

Tera takes a much more "action game" approach to combat and this isn't some cheap gimmick either—this is a very refined and fluid system that is fairly balanced. In Tera you don't select a target, you have a crosshair in the center of the screen, similar to an FPS (first-person shooter) game. You don't click on your skills in Tera. Your mouse is locked to you camera and thus your crosshair. You can play with a controller (yes, a controller) or a mouse and keyboard. With a mouse, your left and right mouse buttons are for skills, usually a main attack and a dodge/block. From there you have to use whatever works best for you to execute your other skills, typically the 1-0 keys etc. If you are a melee class you would run up to your target, centering them with the crosshair, and swing your weapon with you left mouse button or use your other skills. If it is a group of monsters your swings will hit more than one around you depending on the weapon and skill. A ranged character would do similar, but at range (duh). It sounds simple, and in a way it is, which is the beauty of it. After playing Tera, tab-target-based games start to feel so clunky.

But there is more to it than just how you hit the target. Monsters in Tera are not dumb. While they they will sometimes do stupid things, they will also often surprise you. Monsters in Tera move, they will try to evade, they will "wind-up" to do a massive attack that if you don't move out of the way will hurt. Dodging and blocking are another big part of Tera combat. You are no longer just standing in one place while you fight, you are MOVING, you are TARGETING, it is very active. The monsters have a wide range of actions that result in no two fights being exactly the same, even with the same type of monster. I've had monsters actually evade area attacks, snare me and run away. They will almost taunt you by using a variety of tactics. Some like to run at you hitting you as they pass so that they end up behind you. This causes you to have to constantly turn around and be aware of their next move. They may pause, giving you an opening, only to hit you with a massive attack.

This very active combat rarely allows you to just "zone out" as you play, you have to pay attention. While death isn't harsh, regaining health can be slow, unless you're a healer. A nice touch in Tera is that to regen health you need to be near a campfire, again, unless you're a healer or have a healer with you. There are campfires in outposts around the game world, but there are also portable campfires that you tend to use often. The effect of a campfire can by used by anyone that stands near it almost creating a mini-meeting place for players. You can also use charms at a campfire to gain buffs.


BAMs, I mentioned them a couple times before and now you might see how these guys really come into their own in Tera. BAMs are the kings of the monsters as far as challenge goes. Generally they are meant for a group, but with how Tera's combat is designed, if you are skilled enough you can solo these beasts for a real challenge. Their attacks hit hard and can be difficult to predict, unless you fight them a lot. A couple of good hits by these guys will typically kill an equal level character. You'll find your first BAMs around level 20, and while some at that point are fairly slow to attack, giving you a chance to hit them and move out of the way, others are fast and mean. Basilisks can jump in a wide pattern doing massive damage, or they may just swipe at you with their massive claws or do a breath attack. If you are not paying total attention you will die and fast. Groups obviously make this easier. From two people to five, you will easily notice how much easier they become with a group, but they are still always a challenge. And from level 20 onward they can be found all over. So there is no shortage.


Believe it or not, but this was my attempt to keep this short. I can talk about MMOs for days. I glossed over a lot of details, but I hope you get a feel for the game overall. It's not perfect, it has its flaws, and for some, the traditional text-based questing will be a turn-off, but I think the rest of the game is something of a gem in the MMO game space and worth a try. Many gamers I've seen said they never gave Tera a thought, whether it be because they thought it was just another "Korean grinder" or because the graphic style was a "turn-off", but many that tried it said it really surprised them in the end. I think you can tell that I like it. Let me know what you think. Have you played Tera? Is there something about it you want to know? Have you played other MMOs? Let me know.


Of course there's nothing like seeing it in action. Here are some official trailers to wet your pallet. These are all using in-game graphics (minus custom cinematic animations). The game actually looks like this.

What are you waiting for? Do you have what it takes? http://tera.enmasse.com



Naturally Alexis

Alexis, my Dream of Doll Calla, was made a year ago today. I thought I should take some nice photos of her since I haven't done much with her since I got her.

Alexis is my second resin BJD (ball-jointed doll). Soon after I got her, though, I had received my two Dollfie Dreams. So, unfortunately, she didn't receive a lot of attention. She's such a great girl, though. These photos don't really do her justice.


Alexis was a great model. I think they came out pretty good.



HOTD: Full Color Edition

I'm always on the lookout for works that can inspire me and give me a kick in the behind to get moving on my own projects and ideas. In my ongoing attempt to get a new webcomic started, I've been looking for inspiration to help me get motivated.

While Highschool of the Dead itself might not be a groundbreaking story, it is fun in its own way. I actually rather enjoyed the anime, over-the-top situations included. It's just fun to watch. The manga, on the other hand, didn't have that same oomph.


However, now they have a full colored edition of the manga, and I must say, I'm pretty impressed. Not only is the book hardcover and weigh a ton, they didn't just do a simple color-over of the pages. They actually used the black and white line art to work from instead of just coloring over the toned images you seen in the original manga.


It's printed on heavy semi-gloss stock with a smattering of extra pages with bonus images and information. They even include a nice full color image inside the dust cover. The dust cover has high-gloss markings on the outside for the blood print and others that look like fingerprints. It's also fairly large at about the same size of normal American comics, and two quarters (25 cents) thick! I'd say it's a very high quality product. In fact, it was actually cheaper to buy this edition than the four included volumes as separate b&w manga, shipping included.


But see for yourself with these images. As for myself, this is a nice source of inspiration. Not only from a coloring perspective, but from page layouts as well.


Even the hardcover itself is in full color.


If you're a HOTD fan, or just like high-quality manga, I'd recommend this. It's not often you find a manga product of this caliber. It's certainly worth looking into.



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.