Monday, November 9, 2009

Phantom "Leon's Bomber Jacket" Update

Remember this story we did earlier this year about Japanese military clothier and accessorizer Phantom producing an almost true replica of that iconic bomber jacket warn by Leon S. Kennedy in Biohazard 4 (Resident Evil 4)?

In late 2008, Phantom produced a shadow of replication of Leon's Bomber Jacket, a much sought after short-lived item of apparel warn by protagonist Leon S. Kennedy of Biohazard 4. In our aforementioned story, we urged the company to produce more of the reservation-only jacket shortly after the remaining supply had vanished from e-Capcom, Capcom's official web-only merchandiser of often exclusive and rare items based on their myriad video game franchises.

It appears the powers that be have listened to eager fans willing to burst open their wallets because producer Phantom will be making another wave of Leon's Bomber Jacket this year.

As the site exclaims, the jacket will be open for reservations within in the same frame of last year's model; sizes Medium, Large and X-Large, each priced at 26,040 yen ($289). According to Phantom, the jacket will be available to ship sometime in December, so if you want one (overseas fans, keep reading), you had better get that credit card ready.

Because Phantom will likely not cater to overseas patronage, those interested will have to contact a middleman, or just get in touch with your familiar local import retailer (try NCSX) who has connections in Japan to further make financial and logistical arrangements. Be forewarned, the costs may exceed $400 for such services.

The jacket, more or less a modified B-3 bomber jacket with more forgiving synthetic leather with faux-shearling weathered to handle harsh conditions (unlike real leather), cut to fit more like Leon's than a typical B-3 with the trimmings, buckles (which are leather) and such. Since, we've uncovered a much better, officially-commissioned, ultra-rare replica made by (obscure) Korean company Johnny-Hill (which I paid out the nose for!). Needless to say, we will be purchasing the sought-after Phantom version for our collection.

Recently, one of the very few actual seen Phantom products has appeared on Japan's equivalent U.S. eBay auction circuit, Yahoo Japan Auctions back in late October. Remarkably, that one sold for roughly 82,000 yen (a whopping $911, at the time I'm writing this). I wonder if the buyer knew of the reproduction...

As suspected, the jacket shown in the company's model pictures versus the actual product is very true. We still think the cut and color, which seems to be cut too far below the waist and too black than brown looking are less than true to the actual jacket seen in production and in-game shots, but it's still a cool collector item and distinctive jacket to have. Below are more images we've collected of the item sold on various auction sites in Japan.

From the words of that creepy merchant, "Heh, heh, heh thank you!"

Friday, July 31, 2009

Game Music Reviews "Rockman 1~6 20th Anniversary Arrange Ver."

Oh, Rockman 1~6 20th Anniversary Rock, Techno Arrange Ver.: you could've been so much more: vision, execution and value.

Ever since the early 1990s, I like many others in my now early 20s age range, in my childhood grew up playing Mega Man games. Not just playing them, living (live role playing, yes I did it), playing outside the game (had the Bandai show-based action figures), watching (the U.S. TV series) and humming the music outside the game since before there was even an internet to distribute line-in rips of each track. Delving deeper into the wonderland of game music arrangement seeking, never found was a full-blown arrangement treatment done to the original Nintendo/Famicom series. Sure, it took some indie bands and later doujin covers to do a few tracks here and there, but nothing grand.

Now Rockman X received an outstanding jazz-fusion arrange in 1994, but the original series was limited to keyboard-frenzied mixes done by mainly by Alph-Lyla (Capcom's in-house sound team moniker). The closest we ever got was the fun remixes included in the "Complete Works", but they skimped and swiss-cheesed on the first three in the series.

Wanting more, I had always imaged hearing the catchy, melodic 8-bit tunes done up in something of an eclectic live musical foray -- which is why my jaw was on the floor when TEAM Entertainment released early bits on two arrange albums for the 20th Anniversary of the blue bomber.

To commemorate Rockman's 20th Anniversary, Capcom commissioned two albums be made to celebrate a decade or so of wondeful Rockman music (considered by myself as some of the greatest video game music ever composed) with a Rock Arrange Ver. and a Techno Arrange Ver. Thinking the Rock Ver. might follow in the mighty path of the recently released Wild Arms Rocking Heart, the results were of high expectation -- and the result was not of that same ilk.

In fact, dare I say whom ever commissioned these albums should be shamed -- I want a do over.

It's not to say both albums are terrible. In fact, they're decent -- but the expectation of waiting far too many silent years for a quality musical treatment will have to wait even longer for a true arranged musical tribute. Instead of gathering up a team of the industry's greatest, the Rock Arrange Ver. was given to Tohru Iwao, a heavy-rock guitarist known for his work on a couple Guilty Gear games but mainly Valkyrie Profile while the Techno Arrange Ver. was given to techno and sampling king, Shinji Hosoe who needs no such introduction.

After learning of the arranger choices, I believed these were golden from the start (well, at least with Hosoe). For Iwao, I had thought he won a raffle or something. Having not really heard of him, it was expected having anything to do with Guilty Gear would qualify for doing a rock-centered remix album. However, this selection as a guitarist of such a shallow resume in front of a line of the myriad brillant guitarists to be chosen is beyond me. Not to say one with a shallow history can't do great works -- Nittoku Inoue certainly surprised us all on Wild Arms Rocking Heart.

Either way, a mystery it shall remain.

Let us begin with the Rock Arrange Ver.

I don't know what happened here. Call it an uninspired couple of weeks in the studio, a lacking budget or a dubious director in charge of the playlists on both albums -- the burden to undertake Rockman music is something of a colossus. What's here is highly disappointing, steming right from the production. Skimpy, non-creative arranges and a short, oddly picked track list leaves too much more to be desired here begging further question. And why not two discs? If we're covering 1~6, why only ten tracks spanning the entire series?

The musician breakdown was another blow -- a simple "quartet" Tohru Iwao (guitar), Atsushi Hasegawa (Bass), Okky (Who? Drum *programming* -- not even live drums!), Masao Nakano (Keyboards/Programming). There's no guest artists, no eclecticism or surprises (truth be told, I was hoping for a sax or trumpet inclusion), and the guitar solos are slouchy in spaces. Did I mention those drums aren't even live? Not to dis Mr. Iwao, but these are lethargic and a giant slap to the face of the composers who worked legend to create the legendary Rockman sound tracks.

Putting aside the juggernaut disdain for the lackluster production of the album, that doesn't go without the tracks being engaging and ultimately salvagable though the material here never quite lifts off and results in being dry, often flat. They're all listenable, even if you try to block out what could've been. Actually, Dr. Wily 1 (Rockman 2) mix is pretty mean; exactly the amount of slobbering guitar meat I'd expect minus the extra polish and steam found on other superb guitar-centric albums like the aforementioned Wild Arms Rocking Heart, Konami Dracula & Shooting Battles, SEGAROCKS, Metal Slug 5, Shin Sangokumusou (Dynasty Warriors series, but specifically 3 & 4) and F-ZERO X Guitar Arrange Edition.

Each game receives a good two tracks (for the most part), which includes the Boss Mix medley, and well-performed at that (my blood starts to go when original Rockman comes on halfway through) even if they burned my ears by using Rockman 2's lame battle as the foundation here. The melody idea should've carried seeing the team only sought to pick ten tracks, but the "mix" at the end of each track will mislead a bit. Upon intial listen, I was hoping for "mix" to suggest inklings of other themes thrown in for good, well, mix.

And for gosh-darn-darn, who thought Get a Weapon (Rockman 3) should get its own of the sacred ten? A good track, but hearing three plus minutes of an originally under-minute tune to do nothing terribly special in that time is unacceptable.

Yamatoman mix
was done with a native Japanese twist, Shadowman mix sounds off-beat at the chorus, Cutman mix is decent but don't know why Tomahawkman mix had to be here -- perhaps to get something in there that diversifies with a Western sound a bit? Not hearing trumpets here is just wrong. Dr. Cossack 2 mix was good on the Complete Works iteration, but is just ho-hum here. Most of the tracks pace too slowly, even ones intended to be slower, like Dr. Wily (Rockman 5) mix doesn't have the intensity, so I found it hard to really rock out to these arranges.

The disc rounds up the list with ten bonus tracks -- but don't get too excited. They're all the original 8-bit versions of ones arranged here. You can have them all on Suleputer's now-I-can-finally-die-in-peace three-disc complete boxset of the original tunes released back in 2003.

Shortly after, Techno Arrange Ver. reared itself.

Here's a brilliant composer whose career and diversity in arranging talent was built upon the vast Namco sound history including the hyper-sampled Ridge Racer, later the fusion-edged Street Fighter EX series and simply far too many games to mention and his work with the first six Rockman titles' is nothing short of painful mediocrity. Did you hear Rockman EXE Transmission (Mega Man Network Transmission)? I thought that might influence him here a bit -- a smooth electronica. Nothing of it here. Instead, the techno used on the album is more of his classic, foundation material -- not bad, but not satisfactory by any means.

Still, Hosoe exhibits his mastery in the field of techno -- though not to the best of his abilities here. The tracklist is what it is -- like the Rock Arrange, Hosoe likely chose a bunch of tunes that would be ideal for a techno arrange -- and he chose well. Again, there's too much material left aside, and the creativity train has no steam. Though my musical umbrella is spacious enough for a plethora of genres, these are tried and true techno mixes -- like the rock ones, you won't find any surprises here.

Though I know Dr. Wily 1 (Rockman 2) is a sensation across the world (a BA song, yes, appearently, they're nuts for it in Japan too), I'll take the rock version over this raver edition. Snakeman might take you back to racing 170 kph on a the highways of a Rave Racer, especially with the voice samplings. Quickman takes a while to warm up, Magnetman is just too slow and Dr. Wily 2 (Rockman 4) misses out. Starman can't help feeling off-sound, which disappointed the most after expecting something as funky as the aforementioned Complete Works version. And poor Rockman 6, again for the shaft. Who picked this? Flameman? Oof.

Oh, and they put Dr. Wi -- I mean "Mr. X". Aside from the contrast to the Rock Ver. cover, there's no such Mr. X Stage Arrange here.

We're glad Rockman got some official recognition for its 20th on the arranged music front, but both albums had high standards to live up to -- and both have failed to meet them. Both albums were handled like late-term projects, feeling rushed, soulless and underproduced. To reiterate, both are not horrible, but the lackluster production values halt both albums tremendously.

But there's still time to pull out all the (guitar) strings for the forthcoming 25th...





All scores are graded on a scale of 1~10 (1 / Worst, 10 / Best).

Here samples on YouTube, Buy Them at CDJapan or Play-Asia.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Game Music Review "Gunstar Heroes"

NON & Nazo² Unit's collaborative Gunstar Heroes arrangement has a constance of catchy melodies, superbly-peppered with instrumental solos and downright funky, bouncy space-vibed dance beats faithful to the original sounds

My history of video gaming is fruited. I grew up in what I consider to be the golden age, or the 1990's. But even in such a time of rich exploration for gaming combined with advances in technology, I've realized now that I missed out on some of what are considered by enthusiasts as Treasures. We're talking about the company "Treasure", responsible for many of today's rarer, more sought after, steep-difficulty curved titles in the shooter genre. Just a handful of their titles include "Guardian Heroes", "Radiant Silvergun" -- all of which either didn't reach the North American shores or were marred by their limited print runs due to their SEGA-only formats (mainly, the ill-received Sega Saturn in the West).

Gunstar Heroes, released for the Sega Mega Drive in late 1993 around that same time made its way over to the Sega Genesis shortly after. We'll spare the usual hideous U.S. box art commentary to pale in comparison to the superior native version for this album evaluation (and if you think that's bad, go compare Guardian Heroes: U.S. and Japan).

A few months later, Pioneer Records released an album for Gunstar Heroes. Like many game music releases in Japan, the vague cover art doesn't suggest the music on the disc is actually "arranged" (for those unaware, "arranged" music is typically reworked as to remix, extend for the purpose of utilizing broader musical capacity or genre that may or may not have been limited by the original hardware) and not the original game's soundtrack. Luckilly, the team commissioned to perform the album with staple Treasure composer Norio Hanzawa (known as "NON"), a well-known in-house group led by Jun Irie, Hideki Matsutake and the phantom guitarist Nazo² Suzuki called the "Nazo² Unit", whose done composition work for Treasure (see: Dynamite Headdy, Alien Soldier, Silhouette Mirage).

Nazo² Unit, just another variant of a more commonly known "Nazo² Project" under Konami and its "Perfect Selection" releases in the early 90's and before that "Akihabara Electric Circus" under various Nintendo releases. "Nazo²" has also appeared on countless other works, mainly for Konami and even Falcom, nevertheless employs a signature electronic-funk fusion sound. And, if you can forgive them for their infamous' Dracula "rap" album (to which I'm a proud owner of), you'll be glad to hear of their vocal-free Gunstar Heroes effort.

Irie (Keyboards) and Matsutake (Synthesizer) know how to arrange; they've been doing it since the early 80s under their group "Logic System." The results are, as usual, nothing short of excellent with arranges that never stray too far from the material. Over the course of the 90's, they've carved a signature sound for themselves that makes them rise above other arrange groups.

If you don't know the original soundtrack well, you'll be oriented to enjoy it anyway because of its constance of catchy melodies, superbly-peppered instrumental solos and downright funky dance beats making it faithful but also supplemental to the original works.

To go along with the theme, those who've heard Nazo² works will known of their well-stocked bevy of always impressive guest musicians who spice-up various tracks against Irie and Matsutake's funky-electronic sound. Following with the trend, this one's no slouch with the frequency of such musicians as Masato Honda (A. Sax, S. Sax), Ken Shima (Keyboards) and Willie Nakao (Guitars) -- with some of those names who've appeared on their previous Konami works.

NON & Nazo² Unit have selected 12 tracks to arrange (though opening and endings are on the shorter side), the ten on here are heavy on the bass and satisfying. Whether it be my long-time favorite "Last Party on the Moon" with Nazo² Suzuki's signature cool guitar riffs against bouncy beats or "Dice-Dance-Days" with Masato Honda belting out a series of fantastic, tight alto sax solos, the album has steam from start to finish. Other favorites include "Military on the Max Power" and "Stairs to High" which has their synthesizer sound in-tact against. Honda later appears on "End of Our World" with a slower, nasaly soprano sax effort and a taste of the group's chilled-out diversity.

Gunstar Heroes is a successful effort; faithful to the original music and co-existing with a happy medium to make it a solid arrange album. While this one has always been a lesser preferred Nazo² works to, say, mainly because this album leans more dance-funk across the board with less musical diversity than their superb Konami discography. Still, it stands up there as a classic, having been apart of my digital library for many years now. Though long out-of-print, and pricey to obtain on the used market, there's no exception as to why anything by Treasure is a sought after Treasure.


Gunstar Heroes

01 Legend of the Gunstars
02 Empire~The Final Assault~
03 "Good Night, Baby!"
04 Theme of Seven-Force
05 Dice-Dance-Days
06 The End of the Battle ~to our world~
07 Dancing~Smash~Hero
08 Military on the Max-Power
Stairs to High
Last Party on the Moon
11 Rolling chaser
12 Heroes~reprise for Yellow

Cover Image Courtesy: VGMdb (submitted by Kewing Darksun)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Now, Your Local Forecast...

I've always gushed at The Weather Channel -- but not the current iteration on your local cable box. We're talking about the 1990's one I and many grew up watching before the advent of on-demand weather brought about by the internet. The ol' days of flipping on the TV to channel X to hear that phantom voiced man "And now, your local forecast" followed by the most plush smooth "jazz" background tunes (this genre of music is either extremely loved or hated/tolerated and please leave Kenny G alone).

Something about weather and smooth tunes strikes a cord within me of warm, nostalgic comfort. Oh, yes.

Now I've always seen the internet as a conduit of time travel. One can harness, the technology bringing us material akin to one only could've imagined through hitting 88 miles per hour in a stainless steel beast designed by a wild-eyed scientist. Made possible through the internet, computers and technology, a nostalgic indulgence through the wonders of the vast technology it brings us to new realms, possibilities.
The "WeatherSTAR" or computer program and unit was designed to report the weather through your cable box, harnessing live data from the National Weather Service. The program really gained notoriety in 1990 with the graphics-capable "4000" version, succeded by the 1986 "3000"; formerly text-based, no-frills into the 4000's colors, animated graphics and live radar.
It was a heavenly, calming, enjoyable background environment -- that's before The Weather Channel starting mouthing off about global warming -- I mean "climate change", chasing storms and the dreaded day they installed a news-style podium to "report" the weather. Just bring me back, give me my "On The 8s" and let me be.

As the 1990s roared on, the iconic 80s-laden graphics of the 1990 established "WeatherSTAR 4000" went by the wayside on most cable providers as newer technology brought about fresh graphics and more "programming" for TWC. Swallowed by the past, the new iteration just hasn't charm. Seeing the old WeatherSTAR 4000 once again is almost a dream, though reportedly some regions of your state might still carry the old-school look, according to Wikipedia (yeah, where is Lakeville, CT again?).

Since I won't be barging into anyones Lakeville home to see a live cable broadcast, I'll sit at my PC and view it on a constant loop...

Your dreams can become as clear as the night sky (with unlimited ceiling)...

Founder "Bill" and his team from his website have managed to replicate the much favored program through emulation of the WeatherSTAR 4000 software. That's right, the iconic "The Weather Channel" look and feel will run right on your PC, based on the somewhat archaic Microsoft .NET (and "ver 1.1" currently).


Though the program has been fluttering around the net for almost a decade now, I tend to arrive late to the party, just in time for Bill's long-awaited update, still in the beta stages. Make no mistake, though the program is and has been beta for many years, keep in mind of the small team as well as its entirely no-cost venture. Entirely functional and almost 100% emulated as you'd see on your cable box with nice, crisp (vintage) graphics, the WS4000 emulator is simply a marvelous recreation -- certainly one of the most intruging acquisitions of recent time. Yes I know, I love this kind of stuff.

So you've heard enough, you know you'd like this on your desktop (it beats any app or desktop buddy you could currently download), but getting started isn't as quite as easy it ought to be. You'll have to sign up at Taiganet's somewhat fortified forum, past the dreaded anti-spam "captcha" (which took me many, many attempts and patience to pass). Oh, and you can't register using a Yahoo email account (not sure what his beef is with Yahoo, though it might have something to do with crippling quantities of spam).

You must have version 1.1 of Microsoft .NET, so if you've got anything higher, trash it and download the regressive version (though reports claim to have gotten the current versions running on ones higher). Once you've gotten registered, head over to the downloads section and grab the latest version. Set-up will take a while as you'll have to endure data entry (though this is where the customizable option could make it "fun") but once it's all in there, you will likely never have to change a thing unless you just want to play around.

Because this emulator grabs data right from the official source, The National Weather Service, you will have to enter specific data and certain codes including an "ASOS ID", and "NWS Zone" number, both of which can be gathered from an excellent WeatherSTAR 4000-themed site. Following the user-friendly parameters of the emulator in order to get the program running will only take five-to-ten minutes.


In order for the program to run, you must enter your data in all fields on the various categories of Local, Regional, Travel (though you needn't toy with this at all). Radar data is currently null and void on the program, so even if you've entered your radar code for your region, you won't see it on the emulation. In the local segment, you must enter seven cities and this is where you can get somewhat creative. Want to always keep tabs on conditions in York, Pennsylvania? Perhaps Miami, Florida? Simply enter seven desired cities anywhere in the U.S. known or unknown and you'll be kept abreast.

What's a "flavor"? Simply the arrangement of the various segments. The "J" flavor is known as the common version but there are many other preset flavors formerly used on the WeatherSTAR 4000 and can also be tweaked to your liking.



Finally, the program wouldn't be The Weather Channel without the music. While I'll typically run my own hand-picked playlist on iTunes of a soundtrack reminiscent of On The 8's, (and yes, I have many) you can program music to run with the loops through the emulator program. Need a muse? Head over to YouTube and grab some ideas or check out The Weather Channel's official (though incomplete) listings of music actually used on the segments from the WeatherSTAR 3000 days of 1986 to the 4000's 1990 advent to the present.



Now Run the emulator and enjoy -- and have fun with it. Oh, and don't forget to grab your desired "classic" logo to run in the upper-left corner of your screen. You can find all that and more on the Taiganet forums.

Thank you to Bill and his team for creating this wonderful program for all of us to enjoy and bask in nostalgic goodness -- and entirely free. Be sure to check in frequently for revisions, updates which are forthcoming.

Here's the video that got me started featuring a classic: "Rainbow Seeker" by Joe Sample, previously used on The Weather Channel.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Lost "Space Road"

"Space Road" by Tetsuo Sakurai with Casiopea featuring Kazuki Katsuta (2000)

Performers: Tetsuo Sakurai (E. Bass), Issei Noro (Guitar), Minoru Makaiya (Keyboards), Akira Jimbo (Drums), Kazuki Katsuta (A. Sax)

Casiopea is one of Japan's foremost and eldest jazz-fusion groups which helped pioneer the sound of guitars, keyboards and basses to the tune of funky music too smooth for rock, too eclectic and fresh for traditional jazz, thus the birth of fusion -- combining the best of both worlds. The genre of fusion boomed in the 1970s with many experimenting beyond the galaxy of jazz and rock.

"Space Road" was of Casiopea's finer, lesser known achievements not performed too much beyond the early 80's in live shows, eclipsed by their newer works. The original, a gem of a tune was released on their first album "Casiopea" in 1979.

In 2000, Tetsuo Sakurai, the former bass guitar player of Casiopea, whose gone towards other projects and collaborations since 1989, had played live with his former band in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary (which had struck in 1999, went to continue touring live in 2000) of Casiopea's discography.

This special show: Tetsuo Sakurai with Casiopea 20th Anniversary Live, which had released only on the web after a premiere on "Music Air", a music channel on Japan's cable, remains visally unreleased onto any home format. Well, actually there was a CD released though disappointingly a handful of tracks (actually all the Casiopea tracks, likely halted by licensing issues) didn't make it onto the disc's impressive performances including this amazing rendition of "Space road" which features Kazuki Katsuta's signature rocket-fast, super action high-registering alto sax playing.

If you haven't seen this video yet, it's a must watch: an array of incredibly talented, fine musicians.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ahh! I'll Buy It At A High Price!

"What're ya buyin'?"
Phantom produces Leon's Bomber Jacket from biohazard 4.

It's taken 4 years. 4 years since that horrible incident in some nowhere part of world...

F our years since the release of biohazard 4 (Resident Evil 4) on the Nintendo GameCube in late January 2005 and a clothier has finally made a nearly closely scaled replica of Leon S. Kennedy's iconic custom bomber jacket worn in the first (and only first) Chapter 1-1 of the game before it disappears after an unfortunate capture. Upon waking from unconciousness, tied-up in captive next to a strange long-haired Johnny Depp lookalike, Leon recognizes his jacket off.

L eon's jacket, a leather and fleece or shearling inner-lined bomber style has been contrast to it's resemblance to a B-3 flight/bomber jacket, customarily warn by fighter pilots in World War II. Unlike the traditional B-3, and unlike many a poor replication by cosplayers across the land, Leon's was designed to be custom form-fitting, like a motorcycle jacket, with the length stopping inches below the torso with a standing colar. A spiffy jacket, there's no surprise why the Ganados stole it at the end of Chapter 1-1: it's a very unique piece of apparel which has not been without mimicking since (I'm looking at you Mummy 3).

Back in early 2005, Capcom Japan produced a "Leon's Collection" series which included various apparel, most of which Leon never wore (nor did much of it have anything to do with the game) but included a (rather ugly, inaccurate and overpriced) iteration of Leon's jacket back in February 2005 but so few were produced and I've not seen any living person with one.

But now...

"Leon's Bomber Jacket", made and sold by a Japanese company called Phantom was not mistakenly released on January 28, 2009 or one day and four years after the release of the very game it originated and a few weeks before the release of BIOHAZARD 5. Retailing for 26,040 yen ($287), it's somewhat steep price tag didn't stop eager fans from exhausting the scarse supply from all retailers including e-capcom, Capcom's online store functioning out of Japan, seeing all units sold out no more than a couple weeks after release.

"Not enough cash! ...stranger..."

It's just not fair! Produce more, we demand!

Now, I've got a few beefs with this jacket by the looks of it. Firstly, the one pictured on Phantom is quite black looking. No biggie, probably a conceptual/pre-release version. The one on e-Capcom looks more true, brown, but still off in its cut. Conclusively, it's not cut 1:1 scale like the game's iteration. Moreso, it's looking like a traditionally cut jacket with the length encroaching below the waist line. The colar looks also looks too tall and floppy, which makes us question the ability to stand up straight without fidgeting. Finally, the sizing doesn't offer anything below a "Medium" size unlike other Phantom jackets, which is approx. 48.5 cm at the shoulder, 63.5 cm at the sleeve so it might run a little loose (for myself, at least). You can see the dimensions on the former ordering pages.

I'm no cosplayer, but my own chapter goes further; ever since even before Resident Evil 4 released, I've had an obsession, no, a manly love affair with this jacket. In all my attempts to track one down, I have been somewhat successful. I've managed to snatch up a couple in my years-long search; one from Calvin Klein Jeans and an actual leather from Wilson's Leather. (got both for under $100). Furthermore, I've searched all over the net, through poor reproductions and ugly, baggy versions, nothing has been found. Not one retailer has made an attempt on Leon's stylish, short-lived outerwear... until now.

Even if one wanted the jacket, you'll have to go through an importing service which wouldn't be a huge deal if it weren't sold out. Since it's only been two weeks, we would see it as foolish for Phantom not to produce more. So far, I've contacted our friends at NCSX to snag a couple for overseas fans. Luckilly, they've agreed to import one once the stock has been replenished (if at all). I can hope, I suppose. Until then, like a pack of hungry, torch-wielding Ganados, storm the desk of Capcom, urging them to produce more!

But If some creepy, masked trenchcoated man with glowing eyes finds me in my travels, "I'll buy it at a high price!"

UPDATE (February 2009): PHANTOM e-mail claims there "will not be the possibility of the arrival in future."

UPDATE (September 2009): PHANTOM has begun taking reservations for a new batch of jackets for December. Pre-order yours now, it's likely this offer will expire around Christmas.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It Has Wings

Because it's all "fly." Here's a cool stuff post of things I must slowly acquire.

"Wii Super Famicom Classic Controller"
From: club.nintendo (Japan) > eBay

Sure, it's the price of maybe three U.S. classic controllers.

it's fancied after the multi-colored button scheme of the Super Famicom controller, 1:1 scale. The Japan-only goods came out last year as a limited item once offered as part of Nintendo's "Club Nintendo" program; a points-based program whereby the more games you buy, the more points you acquire and turn in for exclusive goods. We have one such in the U.S., but our rewards... well... kinda suck compared to theirs.

While they're just about out of print, they can be found on eBay for a good $65~70 (dry) bones. One simply cannot resist the rainbow palette us west of Japan did not get in turn for a bland-0-matic shades of purple on our Super Nintendo controller though vestigial in the U.S. version of Super Mario World upon the Star Road Yoshi selection.

Click the above link for juicy images.

"Empire Urban Regeneration"
from Star Wars series T-Shirt

"Save The Clock Tower" T-Shirt from Back to the Future series (and/or) Hoodie

"Objection!" T-Shirt from Gyakuten Saiban (Phoenix Wright)
from: Way of the Rodent

Resistant on all of the above because it's still freezing in Connecticut plus it's often hard to throw down $20 for iron-on T-Shirts.

Also. Our tenth episode of Friday Knights of The Round Table will be filming tonight, new episode (Ep. 9) ought to be available now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bird Vomit Saves Lives + $289 EVA Watch

Two-for-one special because people are bogged down by the economy!
FIRSTLY, Caught this story on the news reel picked up from Yahoo! News. As if this story about bird vomit survival didn't sell me to click on it, it further had me at the "two men from Myanmar" caption...

Ok, it's a pretty boring story with lacking delivery in quotes and pictures. Ah, the slow scrap news day...

SECONDLY, Seiko is releasing a wickedly cool Neon Genesis Evangelion digital wristwatch fancied after Shinji Ikari's EVA Unit-01; decked in purple, priced at almost $300 and to be released in mid-February. I've got a few days to decide if I'm to make such a plunge amidst these Wintry weathery blues. All I have left to say is watchout wallet...

As you'll know, as co-host of FRIDAY KNIGHTS of the ROUND TABLE with my buddy Nick Fusari, the entirety of NCSX today could fuel a segment or two on my featured Japanese Tech chapter.