Occasionally you get to see something wonderful in terms of gaming history. In this instance it’s an interview from the early 90’s with the team behind Assault Suits Valken that has been recently translated (made all the more brilliant by lovely scans of Satoshi Urushihara’s artwork for the game). Originally in a guidebook for the game, it covers all sorts of fascinating aspects about this classic game. If you have never played Valken, then avoid the dire PS2 port and instead avail yourself of the Virtual Console release. Thanks to GSK for the heads up.
Whilst this is not the first toy of Sakura Shinguji’s pink custom koubu from the Sakura Taisen series, this new Variable Action toy from Megahouse looks to be one of the best. Released at the end of September for 7,800 yen, it has a nice sculpt and what appears to be decent articulation too. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it comes with a Sakura pilot figure (though this likely helps to keep the price down). If you are one of those that enjoy pink steampunk mecha then make sure to pre-order yours here.
As expected, PLUM have finally announced their ASS-117A Valken kit from the classic Super Famicom mecha shooter Assault Suits Valken. Prototypes were previewed a while back and after the success of the various AS-5E3 Leynos kits, this was only a matter of time. Actually set before the events in Leynos, the first Valken game features much grittier mecha designs. These were similarly penned by Kazutaka Miyatake under the auspices of Studio Nue. This particular kit is also of the unit used by the main character, Jake. On sale this July at a very reasonable 6,900 yen, you can pre-order it here.
For those that held back on either the Armor Plus or Tamashii Spec toys of the awesome Tekkaman Blade, then you’ll now have a far more affordable (though still very shiny) Figma toy on the way. Part of Max Factory’s Figma line, this new Tekkaman Blade is admittedly a touch smaller than Bandai’s Armor Plus variant (which we admittedly adored) but it does have an excellent sculpt and will likely have utterly epic articulation too. Considering all this will only cost you 3,300 yen, makes for a pretty damn sweet bargain as far as we are concerned. As a company Max Factory have a very long and prestigious heritage when it comes to mecha toys. From producing some of the lushest Guyver figures to some lovely VOTOMS toys as well, these guys really know how to make decent mecha action figures. Admittedly there’s also the MAX Gohkin line of toys too, competing with Bandai’s similarly pricey die-cast offerings, but the Figma toys have always been excellent value for money by comparison. This new Tekkaman Blade figure will be out this June and you can pre-order yours here.
Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent the 1/35 AS-5E3 Leynos kit from Assault Suit Leynos. Our review is also of the kit in its unpainted form, followed by painted pictures after. In addition, to help give the kit some context, we’ve also included some video footage of it from the original MegaDrive game at the end of the review.
At the 27th Kanazawa Model Exhibition a fair few toys and kits have surfaced. From more Border Break kits to Armored Core as well as a nice little set of new gashapon (which we mentioned a while back). Even seeing the Flintlock from the classic Xexex also cheered us up. However, the big show stopper was the appearance of the AS-5E3 Leynos kit from the genre defining Assault Suits Leynos (aka: Target Earth). The manufacturer behind this suitably regal kit is that of Plum, who’ve also handled the recent Silpheed and Darius Burst kits. What’s different and impressive here though is that this is the first mecha kit the company have made. That said, judging from some of their blog entries, the sculpt and articulation look absolutely bloody amazing. No word on a price or a release date but this is a kit that is made from the purest of DO WANT!
Update: GA Graphic has a nice article on the kit as well, with some cool close up shots.
America has finally received a game from the long-running Sakura Wars series. It may have taken a decade or so longer than the fans had anticipated, but I’ve got a copy of the PS2 Premium Edition in my grubby little paws right now, and can confirm that, yes, this this release has actually happened, after years of false hope, wild rumors, and constant delays.
We’ve written about this game before, but for those of you who haven’t been playing along at home during the thirteen-year wait to see one of these games in English, here’s the short version: Sakura Wars is a strategy RPG series that started out on the Saturn and was one of the few landmark titles that Sega was able to develop for their ailing competitor to the original Sony PlayStation, and quickly grew to popularity in Japan because of its (then) unique combination of sexy, steampunk robots and sexy, talkative women, with game mechanics that rewarded the player for their ability to chat up girls with better units to use in the strategy RPG portion of the game. While it did well enough to get live theater performances in Japan, anime hadn’t yet hit any sort of popularity in America and at the time no one was willing to take the chance on what would be an incredibly niche product.
Times have changed, though, and Nippon Ichi’s American branch announced they were bringing over Sakura Wars 5 as Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love on both the PlayStation 2 and the Wii, and unlike all the other false starts over the years, I have physical evidence that the game is out in my native language. After all these years, it’s finally here.. While our younger audience probably fails to appreciate why Sakura Wars’ strategy RPG gameplay paired with visual-novel style focus on relationships was so shocking to gamers on this side of the Pacific back in the nineties, old men like myself (23 years old) remember when both strategy RPGs and dating sims were extremely niche genres, never mind a game containing both. Seeing a game in the series make it to market not only fulfills a personal dream of mine, it also shows how cosmopolitan the video game marketplace has become. So what are you waiting for? Grab either the PlayStation 2 or Wii versions now!
Expect us to review this at some point in the future, although given the site’s nature, we’ll probably have more to say about the pretty robots than the pretty girls.
Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent the Variable Action Zephyr from Hao Taikei Ryu Knight, a very successful anime series from the mid-90’s. The Zephyr was also recently featured in the quite excellent Super Robot Wars Neo. Interestingly, due to its already rather distorted proportions, the Zephyr wasn’t rendered in SD in Neo compared to many of the other featured mecha.
Due to the nature that this is a toy, all pictures shown are of the item out of the box. Click on to read more…
Courtesy of our good friends at HobbyLink Japan, we’ve been sent the latest in Bandai’s Armor Plus toy range; Tekkaman Blade. This titular mecha was also repackaged abroad as Teknoman and, due to the series’ high production standards, enjoyed a large amount of popularity across the world. Earlier this week, Capcom finally released Tatsunoko vs Capcom Ultimate All Stars (which you can buy here) and it features Blade as a playable character. So Bandai’s release of this toy is timely indeed.
Due to the nature that this is a toy, all pictures shown are of the item out of the box. However, we’ve also included comparison shots of the recently released Soul of Chogokin Spec Tekkaman and Pegas set (sold separately). In any case, it’s worth clarifying here that this toy is one of the few that falls under the category of “impossibly awesome”. Click on to read more…