Monthly Archives: January 2010

Yamato’s GN-U Dou VF-1S, VF-1A, VF-1A Max, VF-1J

Here we have Skull Leader and the Vermilion Squadron, whose valkyries are from Yamato’s GN-U Dou line of toys!

Left to right: VF-1S, VF-1J, VF-1A Mass Production, VF-1A Max

It’s not quite Vermilion Squadron, because Hayao/Ben’s valkyrie is really the mass production VF-1A, but I like the mass production VF-1A’s darker brown color more than the light tan color on Hayao/Ben’s valkyrie toys.  For a review of the GN-U Dou VF-1J and how its height compares with the 1/60-scale valkyries, please see my earlier post,

Front view of box for GN-U Dou VF-1S

Front view of box for GN-U Dou VF-1A Mass Production

Front view of box for GN-U Dou VF-1A Maximilian Jenius

As you can see, each toy comes with four TV-show-based hands and four DYRL-based hands and a gunpod.  The display stand is in the back.

Beauties!  Each is very well painted, and highly articulated.  Both wings can also pivot, but the backpack is fixed.  The laser antenna(s) also pivot.

About the display stand, in order to mount the piece that the valkyrie rests on, take a Phillips screwdriver and loosen the screw so that you can fit the ball socket into the display stand arm.

See that small screw? Use a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the screw to put in the U-shaped piece

The only flaw that bothers me somewhat is that these toys have a nasty plastic odor, but the odor is definitely not as strong as the one you’ll find from the Revoltech valkyries.

Macross Frontier Action Figures from Bandai

Bandai has a set of gashapon characters from Macross Frontier!

Left to right: Alto, Sheryl, Ranka, Sheryl, Alto, Michel, Klan Klang, and Sheryl

All the standing figures have their own base, which is a nice touch!

First, we have our male hero protagonist, Alto, with his pilot jacket, and then in his school uniform.

And then there’s Ranka in her red Chinese dress.

Now here’s fashionista Sheryl, in multiple outfits.

And now for our Michel, the sharpshooter, whose blue color theme is analogous to Max’s.

Lastly, we have Michel’s love interest, Klan Klang, who was a lot more interested in him at first..

As a closing note, these figures are up to 2 inches shorter than the figures in CM’s Corporation’s Macross Figure Collections.

Vermilion Squadron in Macross/Robotech TV Series

In Episode 10 (“Blind Game”) of the Macross/Robotech TV series, we see the Vermilion Squadron in a lot of action!

Vermilion Squadron in fighter mode. This particular shot of the side views of the valkryies in fighter mode reminds me of the colonial vipers from the original Battlestar Galactica!

Colonial vipers from the original Battlestar Galactica. How's that for nostalgia?

Vermilion Squadron in battloid mode, to rescue Misa Hayase / Lisa Hayes!

Max and Hayao/Ben in battloid mode

Here are Yamato’s 1/60-scale replicas of the Vermilion Squadron from the TV series!

Left to right, Hayao Kakizaki, Hikaru Ichijo, and Max Jenius' battloids

Hayao’s battloid has tan accents.  But in the screenshots above, his accents look a little darker.  Here’s another screenshot from Episode 10 of the battloid.

Hayao/Ben's battloid

Finally, the Yamato toys are numbered!

Hayao has 112, Hikaru has 101, and Max has 111

Interesting that 113 is missing!  On Max’s DYRL VF-1A, there’s a 013!

Vermilion Squadron in Macross DYRL

In Macross DYRL, Hikaru Ichijo is the leader of the Vermilion Squadron, which also includes Max Jenius and Hayao Kakizaki.  Vermilion, a deep scarlet red, is the color of the accents on Hikaru’s valkyrie.  We first see Hikaru, Max, and Hayao as part of Roy’s Skull Squadron at the beginning of the movie.  After Roy dies, we see the three again when Milia/Miriya’s team of Queadluun-Rau’s launches an attack on Earth.

Our first look at Skull Squadron. Roy's VF-1S is the only one with the strike cannon

Hikaru's Vermilion VF-1A in Gerwalk Mode

Hikaru's Vermilion VF-1A in Battloid Mode

Max's Blue VF-1A

We don't see Hayao's valkyrie engage in close combat. Instead, we get to see his enthusiasm! His helmet has green accents.

Yamato has 1/60-scale replicas of each VF-1A valkryie!

Left to right, VF-1A's flown by Hayao, Hikaru, and Max

In Hobby Link Japan’s photos of Hayao and Max’s VF-1A’s, there aren’t skulls on the cockpits’ heat shields.  But these toys come with them!

I put the Super Parts on Max’s VF-1A to mimic what we see in the opening battle.  The Super Parts do not come with Yamato’s VF-1A, and must be purchased separately.

Now for a bit of trivia:  Hikaru’s VF-1A is marked 011, Hayao’s is marked with 012, and Max’s is marked with 013.

See the "011" on the side of the cockpit?

See the "012" on the side of the cockpit?

See the "013" on the side of the cockpit?

Vermilion Squadron about to engage with Queadluun-Rau's

See the "012" on the side of Hayao's cockpit?

I wonder why Hayao got “012”, whereas Max got “013”.  Hayao has the bad luck of being killed by Milia’s squadron–he should’ve been 013.

Finally, for another bit of trivia, notice the hands on the DYRL valkyries.  I like those hands–the fingertips are straight and the joints are pronounced.  In contrast, the hands on the valkyries from the TV series have round fingertips and the joints are not as pronounced.  Yamato also has the valkyries of Vermilion Squadron from the TV series.  More on that later!

Toradora Soundtracks

After hearing the opening and ending songs to Toradora with each episode, and after growing to like the series, I caved in and bought the soundtracks from CD Japan.

Tora Dora! Soundtrack

The Tora Dora! soundtrack CD was released on January 7, 2009, in Japan.  It has 32 tracks, 30 of which are instrumental, and the final two tracks have the first opening and ending songs, “Pre-parade” and “Vanilla Salt”.

Tracks 1 through 9 are really upbeat.  Track 10 has a slinky saxophone and trumpet, and Track 11 is where the techno music begins.  Great piano tracks are Tracks 4, 15, and 24.  Track 28 is a great acoustic guitar piece.

The second set of of opening and ending songs, “Silky Heart” and “Orange”, which Episode 17 first features, aren’t on this soundtrack!  You have to get two singles.

TV Anime “Toradora!” New Opening Theme:  Silky Heart

The Silky Heart CD single features Yui Horie on the cover.

There are 6 tracks, 3 with vocals, and then the last 3 are the same as the first 3, except no vocals.

TV Anime “Toradora!” New Opening Theme:  Orange

The title is a misnomer; “Orange” is actually an ending song, where we see Ryuji preparing oranges and a very tasty cake.

This CD has 4 tracks, 2 with vocals, and then the last 2 are the same tunes but without vocals.

The second song on this CD is a very playful song.

I wish King Records re-did the initial soundtrack to include “Silky Heart” and “Orange”, so I would have to buy only one CD instead of three.

Yamato’s 1/60 VF-1J Hikaru Ichijo with Armor Parts!

Yamato just released their 1/60 VF-1J Hikaru Ichijo with Armor Parts!

The box comes with two plastic encasings that fit one on top of the other.  Because there’s some overlap, the depth of the box is not quite twice the height of each plastic encasing.  For comparison, here’s the side view of the box next to the box for a VF-1A.

The actual toy is beautifully painted!


At 8 minutes and 57 seconds into DYRL, we see this armored beast for the first and only time!

The missile tips in DYRL are green!  In the TV series (Episode 9, Miss Macross), they’re white!

So how does the 1/60 stack up to the 1/48?

  • Perhaps the largest difference is that the missiles in the 1/48 toy are removable, whereas in the 1/60, they are not.
  • The boosters on the shoulders are gray on the 1/48, and are gold on the 1/60.
  • The gunpod in the 1/48 comes with a strap, whereas the 1/60 does not (although we know that none of the 1/60 valkyries have a gun strap).
  • The armor on the 1/60 is a darker purple than that on the 1/48.
  • The 1/48 comes with DYRL hands (the ones with the black joints and flat fingertips), whereas the 1/60’s hands are all white with round fingertips, as in the TV series.  In addition, the 1/60’s hands are slightly larger than the normal hands that come with a 1/60 valkyrie.
  • The 1/60’s head’s eye is a darker green than the 1/48’s.  Update 4/7/10: Also, the eye has a gray covering (matches what you see in the line art), whereas the 1/48’s eye covering is white.  You’ll also notice that the older 1/60 VF-1J Hikaru’s also have the white eye covering.
  • The 1/48’s backback has an antenna, whereas the 1/60’s does not (although this is also true for all 1/48 vs. 1/60 valkyries).
  • The chest armor on the 1/48 fits better because the top hinges go over the metal hinges in the valkyrie’s shoulders.  In contrast, the 1/60’s chest armor merely rests against the shoulder metal hinges.
  • The red missile doors on the chest armor on the 1/48 pull out a certain distance to make seeing the chest missiles easier.  In contrast, the 1/60’s missile doors do not pull out at all, but just open on hinges like a normal door.
  • The white paint on the 1/60 is brighter than the white paint on the 1/48.  The 1/48’s white is almost an off-white.
  • The 1/60 comes with feet covers, whereas the 1/48 does not.
  • Because of its bulk, the 1/60 is easier to handle and play with than the 1/48.

Finally, the 1/60’s instruction book shows additional missile attachments that make the missiles look like they’re taking off.  However, these missile attachments do not come with this toy.  They’re separate!

The Toradora Rollercoaster Rush Starts in Episode 13!

The rollercoaster ride’s rush, that feeling you get when the rollercoaster starts moving fast after the initial climb, begins in Episode 13 of Toradora!  The characters are defined enough, and the stage is set for one amazing, emotional ride.  Hidden feelings come out, characters fight (yes, punches are thrown!), and we see more development of the relationships of Ryuji and his mom, and Taiga with her parents.

If you haven’t watched the series, but will, then please be warned that spoilers are coming.  I’m intending this post for readers who’ve seen the series.  So if you don’t want to see any spoilers, please stop reading now!

What I really like about this anime series is that we see at the beginning how similar Taiga and Ryuji are, and then throughout the series, we see how they complement each other.  In my opinion, such relationships are the best.  Taiga doesn’t do chores and doesn’t know how to cook good food for herself, but Ryuji does both very well.  Taiga is brash, but Ryuji is level-headed.  Finally, Taiga and Ryuji support each other emotionally.  When there isn’t this balance, there is tension in a relationship.  That’s why Ryuji and Minori wouldn’t have worked out.  Ryuji likes Minori, but Minori is quite self-sufficient and hard-working.  Taiga likes Kitamura, but they’re too different:  Taiga is somewhat of an outcast, but Kitamura is on the student council and is widely respected.  Ami likes Ryuji, but emotionally, Ami is more mature.  And for a guy, how do you date a model?

I remember reading somewhere, in life, you will find out who you really are.  You find out your limitations, your likes and dislikes, and who you get along with, and who you don’t.  Try too hard to be like someone else who you are not, and you risk losing your own identity:  that’s what the school president was afraid would happen to Kitamura by his following her career path.

There is one plotline I wish had more resolution:  Ryuji and Taiga didn’t know what they wanted to do after high school.  Their high school teacher told them that they must choose their own career path, and that no one can choose it for them.  In the end, one is in charge of one’s own happiness.  While that’s true, I think the teacher or school counselors should’ve provided more guidance, like figure out what you’re good at, and look at possible careers that match those strengths.  College is a process of self-discovery, and the sooner you figure out what subject you want to major in, the sooner you can take the classes to graduate with that major.

Finally, Toradora reminds me of Kimagure Orange Road.  There’s a love triangle among two young women and a young man, and there’s a family pet for comic relief.  Kyousuke’s special powers in Orange Road are analogous to Ryuji’s talents in cooking, cleaning, and being level-headed.

What did you think of Toradora?