General UpdatesKristina PinoComment

I'm finally settled into my new place and I'm making space for and accommodating all my beloved figures and statues among my books. Some of the stuff I'm unboxing right now has never seen the light of day, either because of the cramped situation at my previous apartment, or because I acquired it while I was living abroad, or because I didn't have space for it at my parents' house before that. So they were sitting in their boxes in a closet, poor things.

As a result, I'm rediscovering my love for figures I've definitely taken out to take pictures and review and all that, but then sadly had to return to their boxes, as well as figures I've never even looked at outside of their packaging at all. I'll probably be uploading some galleries here and/or on Tomopop soon, because I've got the time and energy for it now. Also, my shelves are looking gorgeous, and they make me happy.

Friday Things: 02/02 - Monday Edition, feat. Cinderella, Mos Eisley, and Tokyo

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Welcome to another week of... winter! And links! And stuff! Yeah, I know, I'm late. Here they are!]

On Movies:

Have another look at Cinderella. The bells are grating, but it looks pretty cool overall:

In case you're curious about what's canon and not in the Star Wars universe, and a reminder that even when things are taken off the canon, they still exist and you can still love them.

Over on Star Wars (dot com): 7 Things You Might Not Know About the Mos Eisley Cantina.

From/On Japan:

As it turns out, Tokyo is the safest city in the world. Osaka is in the top 5 along with it, and NYC is the only US city on the list.

Waaay too expensive, but these fruit-shaped note pads look so great.

Great little guide by my pal Lauren Orsini on writing anime reviews.

Stuff I Wrote:

At Panels: Comics Fetish: Volume 16 (weekly comics merch column)

At Panels: Art Roundup: Spotlight on Quackerjack (weekly art column)


Some tips for getting great photos in/of snow or when it's snowing, whether with a regular camera or a phone.

This might be my favorite Let It Go parody yet:

[Have a wonderful week!]

Friday Things: 11/17 - Monday Edition - The Goddess Morticia Addams

LinksKristina PinoComment

[Hah, I didn't forget about the link dump! I'm just.... late. Happy Monday!]

On Life and Happiness:

Take your vacation days! It's good for your health.

Very sad story about a dude who realized that he's wasted away his life instead of going after his dreams.

The Pope has some great tips for being a happier person, and you don't have to be religious to follow them all.

On TV, Anime, and Video Games:

I have always been aware of the Addams Family, but it wasn't until I rewatched the films as an adult that I came to see Morticia Addams as a woman to aspire to be. Here's a taste of why.

This is an interesting essay about what The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask meant to the author and why it's an important game.

Have an anime/manga/Japan-loving friend? My pal Lauren Orsini wrote up a great gift guide for the otaku in your life. I personally can vouch for the Just Bento Cookbook that's listed there, as I check it out of my local library pretty often for ideas when I want to mix things up. It's absolutely fantastic.


I'm a fan of the food at Disney World in general, but yeah, these "hidden gems" look pretty... yeah. I'm drooling.

Elido Turco goes into forests with a camera and a mirror and creates some truly stunning photography.

Stuff I Did Here and There:

Over at PANELS: Art Roundup: Spotlight on Groot.

On Book Riot: 5 Anime Series Based on Classic Literature.

New vlog!

[Have a wonderful week!]

Playing with my food at Wonder Festival Summer

Food, JapanKristina Pino2 Comments

This weekend I went to a cool event called Wonder Festival near Tokyo. While I was there, the only thing I spent money on besides a bottled water was lunch. And why go for an ordinary bentou lunch when I could go for an Attack on Titan-themed bentou lunch from the Good Smile Cafe?

This disturbing face is what I ate for lunch. It's ketchup rice with some plain omelet underneath, some ham on top, and then olives for eyes and a wobbly corn thingy for a mouth. I was more amused than creeped out at this, though I should have probably been the latter. As an added bonus, I got a button with my purchase of this.... thing.

Was it tasty? Absolutely. Totally worth it, if only for this picture. I just wish I'd had the foresight to adjust that ham nose so he looks a little less askew.

Friday Things: 02/01

LinksKristina Pino4 Comments

[It's a new month! I'm ever-closer to my move, which is now scheduled for late-March. I need to be in Japan by early March 24th (their time), so I'm thinking to go a few days early just to get acclimated, visit with a couple friends and maybe hit up Tokyo DisneySea, Gundam Front, the Ghibli Museum and other things. Just be a tourist for a few days before it's time for orientation and actual moving-in.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to spend as much time as I can with friends, hardly gaming, reading much, and cleaning out my closet as best as I can. 

Enough about me, though. Here are your links!]

On Books:

Peter Damien posts Reading Pathway: Isaac Asimov on Book Riot, in which he talks about which books you should read first to get into his writing. I hope this becomes a regular column for more authors with huge compendiums and accolades!

On Games:

Callegos Yavolitak on YouTube created a video with Team Fortress characters on Source Filmmaker to recreate the iconic Scumm Bar scene (from The Secret of Monkey Island) in which Guybrush proclaims to the top three pirates that he, too, wants to be a pirate. It's perfect.

Kevin Chou got this interesting article published on Wired titled, How Mobile Kills the Console But Advances the Gaming Industry. I think it's telling, especially when he starts crunching numbers. And it makes sense. Who doesn't whip out their phone to play a quick round of Angry Birds or Temple Run whenever they've got a few minutes to wait?

Kotaku's Jason Schreier has some tips for you if you're about to embark on your journey playing Ni No Kuni (see also: my thoughts on the demo). This is actually really helpful.



On Photography:

Last week we saw Annie Leibovitz' latest Disney Dream portrait featuring Taylor Swift as Rapunzel. Not long afterward, a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot was posted over at the Disney Parks blog.

Trey Ratcliff has a hilarious new tee up for sale at his store called Camera Sutra. I'm sure all photographers could relate.

Spotted on PopSci, look at this breathtaking moonrise with people silhouetted in its foreground, shot straight through (this is not time-lapse), over at Wellington, New Zealand. Bucket list, anyone?


This past week I headed a huge editorial at Japanator about fanservice. Specifically, In Defense of Fanservice. I argue that anime fans have lost sight of what the term really means, and spark a great discussion with my fellow editors on Japanator about the sexy side of fanservice, what parts of it are alright, and what parts of it are not. Have a look if you haven't: Part 1 | Part 2.

Brought to my attention via BoingBoing, They Might Be Giants have launched an iOS song app in which everything is hand-stitched. Literally, it's all stitched, and there's a different song featured on it each day. It's also free. Grab it!

I see posts like this every now and then, and it's always worth sharing when a new one crops up. 25 Things You Don't Have To Justify To Anyone. In other words, do what you like, what makes you happy, and for yourself, and don't worry about anyone who questions you. Your decisions are your own!

[Looking good for this week. Enjoy the reading! I'll have more updates on my moving status as I get them, but for now, it looks like I gotta be there by the 24th for orientation from the 25th through the 29th, then I'll be moving in to my new place, getting my residency, phone, bank account, all that good stuff. Nervous!]



Friday Things: 10/19

LinksKristina Pino3 Comments

[Woo, I'm back! Sorry I haven't been active in the past week or so, here. Last weekend I was out of town and didn't end up having any time to write here because of my freelancing gigs. I'll do some shameless self-promoting down at the bottom so you can see what I've been working on. 

As for this weekend, I'll also be out! But thankfully I'm more-or-less on time with assignments and have been able to get some time for this blog. Enjoy the link dump below!]

On Disney-related:

New Wreck-It Ralph stuff! There's a Hero's Duty trailer out as well as a new clip from the villains talking group scene.

New information related to Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.

Swampy's Underground Adventures has finally begun! Fans of Where's My Water? check out this video. In this first episode, Swampy tries to impress Allie with a fire extinguisher. It's cute and will only take about two and a half minutes of your time.

Starting in November, Disney Junior is going to debut their new princess of Spanish-speaking descent Sophia! Fox News Latino had some criticism (echo'd from the Hispanic Media Coalition) about Disney's decision to not define her specific real-life ethnicity though, saying that they should be specific. Disney's point of view on the subject is that by not emphasizing which country she's from, more girls will be able to relate to her. Her character is also going to be half from one and another fictional town, making her essentially mixed (and if you look at the first link to Disney Jr's website and see the family portrait, you'll see). Sounds like a cute idea to me, and I hope that by not specifying an ethnicity they'll also go through great pains to make sure they represent many different Spanish-speaking cultures and not just, say, Mexican.

On Photography:

If you've ever looked at fashion shots and wondered how the model looks perfect but the background is a different color, like red or purple, this is a handy little guide on how to do it. I personally am not a fan of the effect, though I could see myself using it for figure-related shooting.

The Lytro camera has been released! Eventually, I am definitely going to pick one of these up. There were some cool features as well as new colors added to the camera to sweeten the pot even more, like manual control settings. Lytro just keeps getting better and better. And it's only US$400.

PhotoJojo is now selling recycled film canisters that have been re-purposed as fridge magnets. I went ahead and put an image here since it was labeled "extra images for bloggers." <3 PJ!

On Star Wars-related:

Awesome flash mob in Germany (via TheDailyWhat) featuring an orchestra playing the main Star Wars theme.

The magic of that

"Luke, I am your father" moment will never truly die. Here's a reaction video (also via TheDailyWhat) of two kiddos when they see it for the first time. It's wonderful.


This little girl  (8 years old) has a book of historical female figures and dresses like them to school daily. Instead of making fun of her, her classmates admire her and the teachers embrace her dressing habits and use it as teaching opportunities in class. It's awesome.

Recently on Tomopop, the team covered New York Comic Con, and we've had a few cool toy reviews go up, too. I reviewed Kotobukiya's Bishoujo Harley Quinn, Asuka Kazama (Tekken series), Yoko Kurama and Yusuke Urameshi (Yu Yu Hakusho), and Evangelion's Mari Makinami by SEGA prize. More to follow!

I've posted up some cool stuff on Japanator as well, like a review of one of my favorite anime ever, Ergo Proxy, which was recently rescued and re-released by FUNimation. Also of note, Pandora Hearts (another anime I enjoyed) is now streaming on Crunchyroll and Kanto Symphony, an album of Pokémon Red and Blue music reorchestrated by fans, is released and available for just US$9.99. It's beautiful and worth every penny.

[I think that's good for today. This weekend I'm hitting up Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights as well as EPCOT Center's Food and Wine Festival! I'm looking forward to it all and will keep everyone updated on Twitter and everything. 

:) Happy weekend!]

Adventures in Gunpla: SD 00 Gundam Seven Sword/G

PlamoKristina PinoComment

I figured it was about time I built another Gundam model, so I picked out 00 Gundam Seven Sword as my next piece.

Since I had already built the SD Stargazer Gundam, thanks to an enabling friend, it took me much less time and effort to put little Seven Sword together. I put the main body together in one sitting, and made the weapons later on during a second sitting. I've found that this is perfect craft material for when I'm recording a podcast or something, because it keeps my hands busy doing something relatively quiet. Otherwise, I spend the podcast staring at my computer screen and trying to avoid typing things with my loud keyboard.

I tried to take a few more in-progress shots this time around, but since I was excited to keep going with the building, I rushed and botched that. Blurry shots -- yay! I did grab this image of the separate body pieces lying next to each other before I made the legs and put this little guy together.

Once he was all finished up, I made his weapons but ran into a pretty major problem - I couldn't store them all on his own body because my kit varies a bit from the instructions I got. He came with two GN Catars, two GN Sword II Shots, two Beam Sabers, a huge GN Buster Sword, and a GN sword II Blaster. He also came with parts for a shield, but I couldn't really make out how it was I should put it together, so I skipped it and instead put all the weapons together (except the Beam Sabers) to make one huge mega weapon. It's pretty rad, though the Gundam can hardly handle the weight (see image below).

If my kit had come with the correct leg parts, I would have been able to store the Catars there, then the Sword II Shots at his hip, the Buster Sword on one arm and the GN Sword II Blaster on the other. The shield would go on his back and he could be hanging on to his Beam Sabers. This wasn't the case, but I'm not really complaining since I still enjoy the current look.

I'll go back and take some better shots later on, and probably even pose him together with Stargazer Gundam! Now that I've got two of these little guys put together, I'm seriously considering buying little bases or stages for them so I can have 'em in action poses rather than just standing on my shelf.

I'll also be putting up another update here once I get through both of the kits with my microns for the panel lines. I keep forgetting to do it, but when I go back to draw them on to Stargazer Gundam I'll run them over 00 Gundam Seven Sword, too.

What should my next kit be? I actually don't have another one on standby yet. I've got a few listed on my Amazon wishlist (it's all jumbled in there with all the other stuff I've got on the list, so sorry if you've got a lot to sift through to get to the gunpla), though I haven't decided which I should pick up. I'm also open to doing non-SD kits like an MG Dynames or something.

Buy this kit:

Addictive Shoujo: Itazura na Kiss

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment

I've been on a kick with Itazura na Kiss. I'm not sure what it is about that ridiculous show, but it sucks me in every time. This time, I've actually watched past what I'd previously seen, and I'm about halfway through the series. It's just so frustrating.

It's not just the events and the fact that the main character is so dumb while her lover-boy is a cold jerk, it's also the pacing. It's way too fast, with just a few montages here and there to attempt to bridge the gaps in time that come in between episodes. In the course of the first few episodes alone I think about half a year passed, and more than a year after just a couple more. A lot happens in that short time, but I'm sure there's a better way to convey it.

I never learn my lesson with shoujo, though. I don't know how I even got through Suzuka to the end (only the manga - I haven't watched the animated version), or Kimi ni Todoke (anime only, I dropped the manga). Another one I was reading is called Kimi no Iru Machi. It's a cute one, but just as frustrating as Suzuka. Why do people like this stuff?

Oh, right. Because we are masochists.

(image via)

Catching up

TV and AnimeKristina PinoComment

Last night felt like a catch-up night in terms of anime or other shows that I've been meaning to watch, but just haven't found the time (or have had the drive) to do it. In the case with Gundam 00, I had watched more than halfway through season one before life got in the way and interrupted my fun.

Now that I've got an iPad, I'm finding it'll be easy to finally catch up on all of that. It's so simple to just plug in Netflix or stream from Crunchyroll and other places that I'll be able to watch my backlog on the go!

Yesterday I caught up to episode 18 of Gundam 00. I just finished watching Trinity (a team of siblings who pilot Gundams together) perform one of the most terrible acts of violence I have ever seen in anime. I'm trying to keep this spoiler-free in terms of big stuff, but man that was unexpected. It left me speechless. I had to turn off my screen and go do something else (play a little Project Diva in this case).

If you're wondering why I'm getting into the series now, it's because I've never truly been a big fan of the mecha genre. My favorite mecha series is Diebuster, and I really wanted to get into a Gundam show that wasn't SEED (one I really enjoyed in high school) or like Wing (one I really hated back in elementary). The problem with a lot of these shows (and this applies to any anime, not just mecha) is child protagonists usually turn me off. I can't relate to a 12 year old in a really serious role, and I wanted to watch something that was well animated but also mature. You know, to whet my appetite.

I asked a mecha guru, and the first thing he suggested is that I watch Gundam 00. I'm so glad I did, because I'm loving the show so far. There is a lot to admire about the series, such as the strong characters and the beautiful artwork. It also helps that I like L'Arc en Ciel who perform the first Opening Theme (called Daybreak's Bell).

The drama is great, and like I mentioned earlier I love how strong the characters are. It's not easy to introduce a fairly large and complicated cast and not have any just fade into the background. You may be indifferent towards a few people, but you'll definitely love some and feel some intense hatred towards others. To me, that's a sure sign that you're watching the right stuff.

That being said, I'll absolutely be back with another post once I'm through with the first season to update on how I enjoyed it. Eventually, I'll also get into the second season and the 00 movies. I may end up skipping around since there is a lot of well-recommended stuff out there that I've missed out on due to lack of time.

I am also open to more suggestions if you have one or two shows (anime or TV) you absolutely recommend all the time! My backlog will come up on a separate post for anyone who is interested as well. Looking forward to catching up!

(images are screenshots I took while watching)