New camera get! - Olympus OMD EM-5

Olympus OMD E-M5 Hello peeps, how are you enjoying your first days of spring?

If you look at the title of this post, you can probably guess how I will enjoy mine.

One of the reasons I stopped blogging for a while was my good ol' Nikon D3000. Lovely camera but I became increasingly dissatisfied with it last year. The Nikon D3000 is the entry of entry level cameras from Nikon which I bought back in 2009. As such it lacks quite a bit of features found in other more contemporary cameras.

Olympus OMD E-M5

Things like live view for example, which would cause some problems once in a while as I would need to contort my body in ways I would rather not to take low or high angle photos.

The newly lovely OMD E-M5 thankfully includes both the option of live view as well a viewfinder giving me the best of both worlds. Although I got to say getting used to an electronic viewfinder is taking me a bit of time.

Other things include better low light and high ISO performance which is great for me. Both of those made my D3000 useless in low light conditions such as inside a restaurant making it very hard to take a nice low noise picture without a tripod. One of the reasons I would much rather use my cute little Lumix LX7. Plus the M5 has a fancy 5-axis stabilization system making taking hand held shots at slow speeds more than feasible neglecting the need for a tripod most of the time.

Olympus OMD E-M5

Another reason I would constantly choose my LX7 was it's size, it really is so cute and tiny, perfect for taking out and about. Sometimes though I wish I could carry my DSLR with me but it's size made it impractical or cumbersome. While not as small the M5 is quite portable even more so with one of the pancake lens available for micro 4/3rds.

Speaking of lenses, I got the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 macro. Such a nice lens, it has an equivalent focal length of 120mm, something I find super nice is I don't have to get super close to my figures as I had to with Nikon's 40mm micro that I use. I plan to buy the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 which is a 35mm equivalent lens as my multi purpose prime lens.

Now, why this camera out of all those out there? Allow me to show the reason with this dramatization of a conversation with Fab from Wieselhead.

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That's why... I also think it looks pretty.

Otagamers is open for business again!

Reimu sweeping up!

Oh no, I haven't blogged in nearly six months, I hope I still have readers!

Regardless Otagamers is back, now with 100% more orange and few improvements here and there.

I think I will just start with the most obvious change, new theme yay! I originally planned to have this new theme all set up by the time the blog anniversary would roll around in September. That obviously didn't plan out that way in the end.

Mobile Theme

This new theme adds a lot of nice improvements such as a nice responsive design for varying display resolutions which includes mobiles devices. One area that was a problem before as the previous theme just didn't have a mobile option. Reading the blog on devices with smaller screens such as my old iPhone 4 was not what I would call comfortable.

Contact Form

A brand new addition is a dedicated contact form, which can be accessed from both the header and the footer menus. Before I had  a small icon in the footer section which you can still see above for an email link. I think the new addition of this menu item will make it more visible and easier to contact me.

Contact for what you might think? Things like link exchanges, any questions about anything about the content of this blog whether the figures themselves, props or the actual photography for example. Whatever you can think of that you might want to hear back from me.

Blogroll

Speaking of link exchanges, I finally went and replaced my apparently not well liked blogroll menu with an actual blogroll page. Right now I just copied the more or less active members of my old list into a wall of links. I do plan to make it a more visual affair in the near future as well as actively search and add some of the new blogs that I been following lately.

If you are reading this and have a figure or anime blog I would be more than happy to add you.

Sitemap

I added a new sitemap page in order to make finding content a bit more easier and as alternative to just using the search bar on the header menu.

Footer

This page can be accessed from the footer menu.

Reimu sweeping again!

Now that the new stuff is out of the way.

Why the long gap of inactivity? One reason was that I wanted to time this 201st post with my anniversary. As well as setting up this theme as a way to celebrate and start on my 5th year of blogging.

Another reason is that I actually became dissatisfied with my current camera so I wasn't really in the mood for photography.

I also ended up interviewing, accepting and moving to a new city for a new job during the later months of last year.

Now that I am settled in, I can start unpacking my figures, and since I have a new job I'm considering buying a new camera. I have been eying the new Sony a7 and a7r, those are some really nice cameras that do a lot of things I want but they are very, very pricy and their first party lens selection is a bit sparse right now. Do you guys have any suggestions for a nice small or mid sized camera with interchangeable lenses? Perhaps something a bit more affordable?

Also, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn happened. Yeah... it was mostly FF14... By the way, I am Miette Patiss on Ultros if anyone plays FF14.

That's all for now, I shall leave you guys until next time where I will do a photo shoot for an appropriately orange themed figure.

Sakuya plays Double Dealing Character

So, Double Dealing Character was released this past Comiket! Yay!

In order to celebrate not only that but Sakuya's glorious return as a playable character I made this short post. Also gave me an excuse to make use of this Neca figure I bought from the film Aliens. I question why non Japanese toy connoisseurs like Neca figures so much. They are ok I guess but boy is their sculpture accuracy kinda questionable. Still like it well enough though, just kinda ugly.

Anyways, fun times with my toys.

 

Gift's Hakurei Reimu - Another look at the Shrine Maiden of Paradise

Why go and take pictures of a new figure when I can go take pictures of an older one again I really, really like!

Actually this is a result of an itch that has been bothering me since the last post I did about my upcoming pre-orders. In that post I linked to the original post I did for this figure and it bothered the hell out of me when I looked at those pictures. I felt the pictures were so darn... meh, this is one of my most liked figures, I felt I had to do better.

So, I went and did another photo shoot of it. The super lovely Hakurei Reimu from Gift.

The original post is back from May of 2010, at the time this blog was only about six months old. Back then there were a few things that bother me today when I look back. One of them was I didn't know what I wanted to do with my blog, I have reached the conclusion to do what I want. I quite simply blog for myself as an enjoyable outlet for my figure collecting and photography hobbies.

The other thing, the more related matter is of course the pictures. 2010 was the year I actively started using a DSLR for photography. As such I didn't know what the hell I was doing with it, after all a DSLR just offers way more control and as a result way more complexity. I was definitely doing it wrong! Just look at that horrible white balance! Now though, I have used my lovely D3000 for some 3 and half years, now I know how to get the desired effect in my photos more easily than before.

That leads to this set of pictures, as I blog for myself I feel no pressure to do something new or something popular. With a better working knowledge of my DSLR I can take better looking pictures than before, add to that my personal vow to stop relying on simple variously colored backdrops so much I thought I could take a little more interesting photos.

I also feel for Reimu being the blog mascot more or less this blog sure has a lack of her. The world needs more Reimu figures, too bad pretty much the only ones I don't own from the usual manufacturers are the Griffon ones and I just don't like Griffon. Kind of a shame GSC, Max Factory or Alter didn't jump into the Touhou band wagon would love a Reimu from either of those.

Yup, bloomers on Reimu is still the best!

Aside from wanting to retake the pictures there were a couple of other reasons I want to reuse this figure. I had this idea for set for a while but I didn't really have any Reimu figures to take pictures of with that idea. Alas as with any overly ambitious set ideas I tend to think of, I keep underestimating them. Thus that ended not necessarily in failure per say but somewhat far from what I had envisioned. I should really start splitting the work and do at least a mock up before the actual day I set aside for picture taking.

Instead I went and did what I end up doing like 90% of the time, improvise!

I went and dug a couple of vaguely looking oriental place mats I bought while I was in Canada of all places. I used those as a backdrop and for the floor. Then I simply threw in the flowers you might or might not be able to recognize in the background that I bought  for my original idea.

It's a somewhat familiar idea that I seen been done before, or at least something similar to it. I liked, seemed to look decent enough. Plus I got an idea that I would like to revisit using a similar set up as this one.

I also wanted to play around more with Lightroom, I think I'm starting to figure out what does what and how I can use the tools provided to get the desired effect. I'm starting to get more comfortable with it but still not super accustomed with it that I can easily tweak every picture one at a time. I think for now I will keep to just doing batch processing for most of the pictures.

Looking at this figure now, it still holds up pretty nicely, good job Gift! Although it does still have some mishaps here and there like some residue on Reimu's right sleeve. I still love the face too, the reason I bought it still holds true. I wish people would stop getting their panties in a bunch when figures take some artistic liberties, figures at the end of the day will always reflect the individual sculptor after all.

Thinking about it, complaining about this with Touhou stuff is really pointless, nothing really looks like ZUN's charming art. Except for the bestests more accurate Touhou figure ever, which I actually own... that figure looks exactly like the title screen of Undefined Fantastic Object.

Hmm... thinking about it, I don't own much Reimu stuff for her being one of my all time favorite girls.

There is this figure and the one I mentioned, the Kotobukiya one I showed before and of course the figma. My favorite out of all of them is the figma, it's just so nice and cute.

Although I haven't taken that many pictures of it, I notice that for the figures I really, really love I tend to take less pictures of them. I wonder why that is.

Looking at these pictures while I write this post sure has made me want more Reimu stuff right now. I never been much for merchandise as I don't need even more stuff to take up space in my room but some Reimu stuff would be nice. Aside from the figures I only own one of Gift's Touhou plush of her and some decals I never applied to anything.

I think I want at least a shirt, gotta show my love for my favorite Touhou after all!

Before I continue rambling I want to ask you guys something.

What do you think of revisiting figures just as I have done here? For bloggers is a figure a one shot kind of deal?

Has there been any figure that made you think, I want to shoot it again for whatever reason?

Do you try to forget about your earlier days of blogging and photography or do you look back on them fondly?

Well, I think I'm quite satisfied now when it comes to this figure now. I'm not sure if I will end up retaking photos for other figures I done before, I will just cross than bridge when I get there I suppose.

So long peeps, until next time!

PHAT's Yakumo Yukari - You are going to get spirited away!

Hello you lovable readers! This week once again we shall take a look at the equally lovely Yakumo Yukari from the Touhou games.

I hope you don’t mind though since last time exilehero just did a post about her. After seeing his pictures I really got the urge and got in the mood to shoot this Yukari figure by the rather untested PHAT in my collecting experience so far.

exilehero already talked a bit about Yukari but I will talk about her some more, even if some of it is a repeat... because I can!

Much like with him Yukari is one of my favorite touhous, not my favorite per say but she ranks pretty high. I think she is in my top 3 for sure, possibly second right after my favorite Reimu. I suppose the border team is my favorite among the dozens and dozens of touhous.

My interpretation of Yukari is a bit more towards the darker more cunning depiction of her. While I don’t think she is malevolent it does seem to me that she tends to let others do the dirty work for her. Rather than lying or manipulating someone she gives half truths to steer them in the desired direction. Much like way too many of the Gensokyou residents she seems to be very, very bored and might instigate things to shake up the boredom a bit. I suppose when you are a few millennia old and omnipotent you tend to get bored.

http://youtu.be/195XntreoMc

Like essentially every character that I become interested in, it was her because of her music theme. Necrofantsia is pretty high on my list of favorite Touhou songs, it’s among those that I still haven’t gotten tired of yet no matter how much I listen to it.

I really like it, I love how it is a high paced, high energy, rather dramatic affair. It really feels like you are fighting the battle of your life.

You all learned that Yukari is the hidden boss that you get to fight after the hidden boss in the 7th Touhou game, Perfect Cherry Blossom, in last week’s post. Now, I have always found this rather strange, very much strange indeed.

Usually how it goes is like this Stage 1 > … > Stage 6 followed by the Extra Stage once you clear the game without using any continues in any difficulty. Usually the Extra Stage is the apparent hardest stage and boss in the game. Yet PCB has a Phantasm Stage that goes beyond that, harder than hard so to speak. In the game it is described as “planned chaos”.

Never before and never after has there been a Phantasm Stage in a Windows Touhou game. What makes Yukari special enough to be the only Phantasm boss? In addition to that, given the typical power progression in kinda puts her at the top of the food chain.

Well, given spell cards like the infamous Boundary of Life and Death where Yukari just throws faster and denser waves of every type of bullet featured in the game is easy to see as much. Heck at the end of the battle she hasn't even broken a sweat, even the final and extra bosses usually look all beaten up and scuffed from the battle.

This is my Yukari mystery #1.

There is also her informed ability, she has the power to manipulate boundaries which can be applied in a variety of ways. One such application is her gaps, which Yukari uses for instant transportation akin to teleporting. Another example is using a reflection of the moon and manipulating the boundary between the moon and the earth to allow for easy and quick travel between the two. Her powers over boundaries kinda make her a bit omnipotent in my opinion. Yet she lets other people do the work for her when she could probably solve it instantly.

This is my Yukari mystery #2.

Speaking of gaps, why are they so freaky? They have those weird bloodshot red eyes looking from within. Are those eyes Yukari’s? She is a youkai so her true form is probably not that of a young woman. Are the gaps tied at the end with bows just to make them look cute? What in the world is inside those things, is it safe for others besides Yukari to even go in them?

This is my Yukari mystery #3.

Yukari also seems to have been to our side, outside of Gensokyou. In a written supplementary material she has shown knowledge of things such as iPods and Nintendo handhelds, not only what and how to use them but also knowing that they are trendy item in out world.

There are nods such as a Marisa’s description of Yukari using something that sounds a lot like a cellphone to communicate with her servant. There is also the not so subtle spell card where she summons a train in the fighting games to run over her opponents. Does this means she can freely cross outside the boundary that separates the real world and Gensokyou?

This is my Yukari mystery #4.

Yukari sure is a mysterious character, often described as a very youkai like youkai. Yet most of the time she is rather playful and teasing. Good thing there is no truly evil characters in Touhou otherwise Yukari would be one I would be extremely wary of, most depictions of her go for the cutesy and playful depiction.

Which is a bit unnerving considering she is millennia old, I mean an older lady acting like a teenager is kinda weird. Just don’t call her an old hag.

This figure does nothing but show Yukari in a fairly good light though.

PHAT stands for “pretty hot and tempting”, which this figure is a perfect example of. I mean look at her!

That alluring expression, a faint blush, golden locks of hair, an inviting neckline, sexy long legs! Yup, pretty hot and tempting indeed. Actually, this figure does something that I really like, it shows Yukari in an adult appeal rather than a cutesy approach. After all, I always seen Yukari as a mature attractive woman.

This figure is actually very reminiscent of Yukari’s original appearance in when she was introduced in PCB. Phat essentially reused the same pose she had in her game appearance. The only difference is Yukari is missing her parasol and fan. Much like in the game she is sitting in one of her gaps leisurely resting.

How does she even manage that?

The same thing can be said about her clothes, the purple frilly dress, the elbow gloves, the ribbon on her neck, all essentially the same as she looked in PCB. With only a few differences like the corset, the rather open neckline showing Yukari’s ample bosom, and the short hemline showing off her nice slim legs. I like the changes, give her a bit of nice sex appeal.

I found this pose to be quite fun actually, you can go for cutesy thanks to Yukari’s expression and the right angle. However, if you change the angle to be looking upwards you can almost feel like she is literally looking down in contempt. I like figures that give different vibes from different angles.

Speaking of which I always found it quite interesting when in comes to bustlines of the Touhou girls. In the games ZUN did not really draw the girls with any sort of noticeable bustline. However, in fan works you have characters depicted with different sizes, some are flat, some are big, some are in between. I always wondered how such consensus come to pass.

Much like with past Touhou figures you can remove Yukari’s hat. Hats are serious business, touhous still die if they take off their hats, don't take them off. As for this figure, while Yukari looks just fine without it I can’t help but feel she has a loss of identity. Without it she looks like an unknown rather attractive blond young woman. I feel hats go a long way towards a touhou’s identity.

I gotta say though that without it her hair looks really nice, her flocks of blond hair look gorgeous nice accentuated by the red ribbons in her hair. Surprisingly enough though for having so many individual locks of hair PHAT managed to pull it off without noticeable seam lines. Something that tends to be somewhat common when it comes to figures with several individual locks of hair.

You know one thing that I really like about this figure is? It’s Yukari’s eyes, they are nice a violet shade. I always found that a nice nod since her name essentially means violet or so the wiki claims. As the games progressed her eyes changed to yellow or gold, apparently golden eyes are special in Japanese culture.

As for me I would prefer violet, it matches her name and presents a nicer more balanced color palette her.

PHAT seems to have done a good job, never gotten anything from them so I’m happy to have a pleasant first experience.

There was only one big flaw that I found in this figure. There are two pegs on the gap where Yukari’s hands attach to. The pegs are not at the right distance so the arms have to be forced to extend outwards a bit to be able to properly match the holes in the hands with them. Not only that, the hands tend to come out easily since the arms try to return to their original position. Not a major cause for concern since the grove in the gap for Yukari’s tushie and her balanced sitting position keep her in place.

Painting seems fine as well with no problems, everything is line where it should be. I did notice some dark spots but that could just be me failing to clean the figure properly. Besides these are only really noticeable when looked through a macro lens.

In my opinion this is the best Yukari figure around. You read all about ques Q’s last week and while a good enough figure the price of admission is too high. Out of these two I find this figure to be the better made figure while ques Q’s version is more Yukari like.

Other renditions such as Koto’s seemed to be off the mark when it comes to her character in my eyes. With Griffon who pumps Touhou figures like there is no tomorrow I’m very weary. Their own Yukari turned out be very unspectacular.

In the end I say buy this figure if you like Yukari, if you are a Touhou fan, or if you simply like it as a figure. Although for non fans the price might be a little high for a 1/8th figure. If you want it you are in luck since there is a re-release set for November.

Ah! Although I suppose for a lot of people November is probably no good.

Hope you liked reading, more than you probably ever wanted, about my views on Yukari .

 

Edit: Apparently someone linked this post on Facebook and ended getting a bunch of views. I'm curious, if you come from there mind telling me who linked to the post?