Saturday, June 24, 2017

Third Time's a Charm: Obtaining Unoa Lusis (Again)

The Unoa Lusis sculpt has always stuck with me through the years of doll collecting. It's something about the beautiful shape of her eyes, her button nose, and especially the dainty hands that sculptor Gentaro Araki is famous for.

As of this month, I've owned three Unoa Lusis dolls. All of them, the same character: Miss Reina Amura.

Reina's first incarnate was around 2011, during my second year of college. I had purchased a Unoa Sist, since they were much easier to find (and to some extent, cheaper) and a Lusis faceplate separately. I remember when I got her, I had my hair dyed the same color and I cut my bangs. We were twins. She was, in a small way, an extension of myself.

She actually made it to California with me when I moved there to continue school. Ultimately, somewhere along the way, tuition and rent got tight. I needed to eat. So I made the hard decision to let her go. Honestly, I was devastated and maybe am still, just a little.

This was long before the accessibility and reasonable prices of Unoas today. I can remember a time when a Lusis could easily go for $800 (or more). I never figured that I'd own her again... but then Unoalchemy came along. The first Unoa I snatched up again was Yusuke, a Sist boy (thank you, Unoalchemy!).

Later, I finally got Reina back - or so I thought. I adopted her on layaway from a friend who had recently gotten one from Unoalchemy too. I submitted my down payment. I did a little dance of joy. My friend (who is a complete saint) let me take her home early. She was blank, but we bonded. I bought her eyes and clothes. I dressed her up.

Then, my car died.

I had to give her up again. Handing her back over and cancelling that layaway was the hardest part. But, let's fast forward again almost half a year later.

While browsing Den of Angels, I came across a Lusis with a certain glam, a certain style that resonated with me. She was adorned in light, realistic freckles, with a dewy, glowing face-up and stunning back tattoos. I never thought Reina to have tattoos or freckles, but she was perfect. I honestly thought I had found the perfect vision of the character I had been missing for so long, even if both of them looked nothing alike.

There was really something about this particular doll, painted by Rianne, that stuck with me. Is she the same doll, just repainted? Maybe. My original Lusis had a Sist box and so does this one - so it's possible.

Long story short, I've come full circle back to a Lusis again, whose character seems stronger and more vibrant than ever. I'll have to share more of her story in depth, but for now, here are a few fun facts about Miss Reina Amura:

  • She greatly enjoys toys, dolls, and Gundam
  • Her favorite ice cream flavor is banana
  • She loves to learn new tech
  • She's a low energy lady and often enjoys reading and watching Yusuke work
  • Often mistook for being shy, she is rather fierce and outgoing
  • Her favorite Gundam series is Zeta Gundam (and she loves Amuro)

Monday, May 1, 2017

NYC Gunpla Builders Meetup at Kulu Desserts

As if Saturday wasn't awesome enough with Tamashii Nations in town, Jordan and I got invited to a local Gunpla builders meetup in NYC (thanks, Poh!). I honestly wasn't sure what to expect - I am quite the casual Gunpla builder and didn't have anything painted to bring, so I brought along my snapped Origin Zaku I just for fun.

The meetup was held at Kulu Desserts in Elmhurst, NY with ample table space for us Gundam enthusiasts to spread out and share our work. Kulu Desserts features lots of yummy food like dumplings, pudding, and bubble waffles (I really must try one next time for sure). They also offered free Thai tea (YUM!) drinks to the builders, which I thought was really sweet of them.

Overall, the atmosphere of the meetup was awesome. I felt right at home and was welcomed right away. I didn't realize it at first, but the owner likes to build gunpla too! He had an impressive case of models he has built, including some gorgeous Saint Seiya ones. My favorite though, was of course the Kulu Custom RX-78-2. :) If you're in the area, definitely check them out, especially if you're a Gundam fan!

One of the greatest aspects of the gunpla hobby for me is seeing all of the finished models and how different they look! Even the same exact kit can look totally different painted by someone else. In that respect, it is sort of like the doll community, where one doll sculpt can look completely different, even though the base is the same.

Check out some of the amazing kits I got to see:

 Two Grimgerdes: left by Raymond Liu, right by 00gundamreviewsv2 (ED).

 Gundam Berith by Blindmech Plamo, Gundam Heavyarms - I did not get the name, I'm sorry!

 Black Tri-Stars Zaku II, Zaku II Head by Squee's Workbench, Gusion Rebake by Rxsunahime.

At the event, they raffled off a generous amount of P-Bandai kits and everyone who brought an assembled model got to take home a Petit'GGuy in the color of their choice (pink, blue, yellow, or red)! I think little Garma has claimed the Petit'GGuy as his own. They look so cute together, don't you think? I will have to turn it into a Garma Zabi Custom Petit'GGuy now. :)

Be sure to check out the rest of my photos from the event on Facebook!

I want to thank our friend Poh as well as Hangar Bay Toys for sponsoring the gunpla prizes and of course JaySon of Kulu Desserts for hosting the lovely event. Seeing so many amazing models has once again inspired me to keep building. Thank you for such a fun time and hope to see you all next time! ♥

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tamashii Nations World Tour New York City 2017

This weekend was a real treat for fans of toy lines like S.H. Figuarts, Robot Spirits, and Daruma Club. Tamashii Nations held an amazing exhibit on Saturday and Sunday showcasing their dozens of toys from series such as Dragon Ball Z, Gundam, Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, and more. NYC was only one stop on their 10th Anniversary World Tour roster, which started last year in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Taking up a massive corner of Grand Central Terminal, the show featured a rather gigantic Shenron and the dragon balls looming over the exhibits. Even better? Shenron was joined by a life-sized Goku action figure. That's right - action figure. Goku had joints!

The amount of figures they had on display was impressive for the space they had. Figures were grouped by show or movie, with a mix of figures that had already been released and were going on pre-order. Lighting in the cases are fairly decent too, which each case featuring a different layout and setup. I thought that was a nice way to keep each display looking fresh.

In addition to Japanese characters, they also had a wide variety of non-Japanese characters including Star Wars samurai figures, super hero samurai, and Marvel characters from Suicide Squad. I haven't seen much of these figures in person, but needless to say, the Stars Wars ones were wicked cool.

There was two retail counters for both days, one for pre-orders and non-exclusive items and another for exclusive items you could only purchase at the show. The photo above show all of their show exclusive items:
  1. S.H.Figuarts SON GOKOU KAIOHKEN Ver. 

Although sadly neither Jordan or I got the Real Type Zaku we were hoping to get, we did take home a few of the commemorative goodies they had for sale, including Body-chan, the Tamashii Stage stand, and the World Tour Daruma. They were also handing out goodie bags with a free issue of Dragon Ball Super, a poster, card, and a flyer to pick up a free tote bag and sticker from participating stores nearby. I snagged my tote and sticker Kinokuniya. At the show they also offering a free Tamashii Nations membership card if you signed up on their website and with a purchase, members received a free white Daruma figure. 

The coolest part, though? Getting to ride the flying Nimbus (Kinton), of course.

Even though their stock did not reflect the sheer amount of people that attended, I think that this shows that our country is just as enthusiastic and dedicated to collecting Japanese figures as the rest of the world. My hope is that there will be more shows like this in the future. 

Please share this blog or leave a comment telling me what you thought of the show, what your favorite figure was, and what you would like to see more of next time for Tamashii. Personally, I want more Gundam figures!

See the rest of my photos on the Studio Miscast Facebook page, too!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Feature Shoot: Sakura Sunday with Sayla

Sunday, I finally got to visit Fairmount Park in Philadelphia to see the cherry blossom trees! I haven't been to their Sakura Sunday event in many years, so it was nice to finally go again and see all of the changes. (Thanks to ED for helping me with these photos!)

I put together a last minute outfit for Sayla, featuring a half length kimono that my friend's mom made for Nico many, many years ago. I recently found it and realized that it was the perfect color for Sayla, whose main color happens to be pink. I didn't have any proper obi lying about, so a flower pattern bandana from Target actually made a great makeshift one.

At the festival, they had a lot more vendors than when I was there last, including lost of anime ones. ED and I found the gunpla, of course. Lots of traditional Japanese merchandise including Daruma dolls, tabi socks, vintage kimonos, and more. I was surprised at the lack of Japanese foods available, however. I missed a lot of my Japanese festival favorites including taiyaki and takoyaki.

I picked up a lovely pink kanzashi (traditional Japanese hair ornament) hair clip early in the day, which really completed Sayla's look, I think. I also couldn't resist picking up some Sumikko Gurashi Rement blind boxes with ED as well. We pulled most of the good ones, I think!

Thanks to everyone I met up with and everyone who stopped for a photo of Sayla or to learn more about her. I can safely say I'm more in love with this doll more than ever. I am hoping that maybe I can afford another Dollfie Dream if VOLKS is at NYCC this October. Sayla needs a friend, don't you think?

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