Mark Nguyen (
Sun, 09 May 1999 17:19:50 PDT

Yo, all! Mark-II is back from the land o' the rising sun, exhausted, but
happy to have spent two weeks in Japan. Sightseeing and backpacking aside, I
had the opportunity to take in tons of anime stuff, and take a sizeable
chunk home, too. :) If anyone need tips on where to find anime stuff in
Japan, gimme a ring. I can probably help.

The Gundam front in Japan was similarly an interesting experience. I
couldn't make it to the Gundam shop in Osaka (dang it all), but I managed to
learn and observe a number of interesting GUndam-related tidbits during my
stay. Here's a quick rundown:

-Well, I picked up the MS Encyclopedia. It rocks! Why did I wait so long? :)

-Along with it, my very first anime cell! It's a small, cheapo cell, but I
love it anyway. Specifically, it's a cell of the fight between Heero (in the
Heavyarms) and Zechs (in the Tallgeese) from Episode #16 of GW.

-And yes, I picked up the Turn A 1/144 kit. Ugh! Yuck! Gross! To answer a
question on another thread here, YES, that Turn-A Gundam pic is right out of
the box. This thing has barely more colour pieces as a garage kit! Glad I
got it on sale. Heck, I may never assemble this ugly duck...

-Speaking of on sale, this *may* tie in with the financial troubles Bandai
may be experiencing. I picked up the Turn A for 450 yen (regular 500; you
can work out the exchange), and my other kit, a 1/72 VF-19 Fire Valkyrie,
for 3150 (regular 3500). This was from a rather backwater store though, and
so the discount weren't that unexpected.

-However, their PG Gundam and Zaku kits were discounted to about 9600 yen
(from 12000)! This wouldn't be too jarring, except for the fact that I saw
the same thing in another, downtown-Tokyo store... And both stores had
STACKS of the models left over. What could this mean?

-And I caught an episode of Turn-A. Well, half a one, anyway. They were
playing it in the Osaka Animate shop when I popped in. The animation is
okay, but nothing to write home about (but didn't I just do that? Oh
well...). The mecha designs look just like they do in the Newtype pics we've
seen, and their animation is even worse (that big long-legged one runs
dragging its arms behind it, almost with its knuckles on the ground!).

-The Turn-A itself was, well, crappy. I'd have given it a chance, but then I
saw the end credits, which featured the protagonist of the show flying
through space, naked... The fact that they gave a 17 year-old a female voice
actor makes things even worse... I'm skipping this one. The music was only
half-decent for me, too.

-On my way out, my host family gave me a gift... the Comic Bon Bon
adaptation of GW. Three volumes is *not* enought to cover 49 episodes, I
must say.

Well, that's all I can remember at this point (jet lag's getting to me about
now). Thanks to everyone who helped out by suggesting tips & ideas for my
trip; they turned out helpful. If anyone has any firther Japan-trip-related
questions, I'd be happy to foeld them if I can!


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