Mio Akiyama News

Mio Akiyama is a anime/manga character in the K-On! franchise
From Anime Vice
News Mio Flees the Fanboys Feb. 15, 2010
News Play the Anime Vice Dating Sim Oct. 5, 2009
News K-On! Takes Boobs to the Beach Sept. 17, 2009
News K-on's Mio is Falling for me Aug. 6, 2009
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Welcome, my fellow AnimeVice members, to this my third installment of the Weekly Figure Preview feature here on the Vice. Last week, we previewed three anime figures (Maxima, Yuri, and Black Gold Saw) along with one nendoroid (Makise Kurisu), and this week will feature the same preview formula. All of the figures/nendoroids that will be featured in this preview can be found on Play-Asia's site. For any figures that are not on Play-Asia, I will provide the link for the product at the end of the figure's respective article. Due to my current commitment to college, the next couple of previews might be shortened or perhaps not appear as scheduled. The line up for today, as follows:
 
  1. Strike Witches 1/8th Scale PVC: Charlotte Elwood Yeager (ALTER Corporation)
  2. K-ON! 1/7th Scale PVC: Akiyama Mio (Max Factory Version) (GoodSmile Company/MAX FACTORY)
  3. Steins;Gate 1/8th Scale PVC: Makise Kurisu (Kotobukiya Corporation)
  4. Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai Nendoroid PVC: Kirino Kosaka (GoodSmile Company) 
 
I will give readers a preview of each figure, complete with 2 images, descriptions, price, and my overall thoughts on each figure. 

Strike Witches 1/8th Scale PVC: Charlotte Elwood Yeager

Produced by the ALTER Corporation and licensed by AIC Spirits Studios as part of their official line of Strike Witches products, the 1/8th Scale Strike Witches PVC Charlotte Elwood Yeager figure is expected to see global market release around May 2011 in Japan and on Play-Asia's site for roughly 7,800 Yen (excluding taxes). It is crafted by the talented figure sculptor Munetoshi Kajio for the ALTER Corporation
Figure Preview: Charlotte Elwood Yeager
Figure Preview: Charlotte Elwood Yeager
Being new to the Strike Witches anime as well as the Strike Witches franchise from AIC Spirits/GONZO, I needed to look up more information regarding both Strike Witches and Charlotte Elwood Yeager, one of the many girls that appears in the franchise. I stumbled across this figure on ALTER's site last week when browsing their upcoming figures, and it quickly caught my interests to the point that I felt that I should preview it this week. I am not quite sure what about this figure caught my attention, but I was impressed by the quality that both ALTER and sculptor Munetoshi Kajio have put into this figure, from her overall appearance of her outfit to her striker gear down to the combat rifle she wields in battle. As a certified sucker for anime girls with guns, that is perhaps the reason why I took interest in her in the first place, since I had not known anything about her prior to looking up information on Monday. The blades on her striker unit are swappable with both still blades and spinning blades depending on what the collector wishes to display with. She would make a great addition to anyone's figure collection who is looking for another high quality figure that will attract the attention of all who lay eyes upon her in your growing collection. Perhaps I should look into Strike Witches one of these days....
Figure Preview: Charlotte Elwood Yeager
Figure Preview: Charlotte Elwood Yeager
Height: 210 Mm (21 Cm)
Availability: Limited (Limited Edition: Currently available for pre-order on Play-Asia and expected for global release in May 2011)
Price: 7,800 Yen (roughly $94.90 USD)
Who It is Recommended For: Fans of the Strike Witches franchise, Charlotte Elwood Yeager, or the figure collector who is looking to add a high quality figure to their expanding collections that is modestly priced compared to other similar-sized figures on the market. 

K-ON! 1/7th Scale PVC: Mio Akiyama (MAX FACTORY Version)

Produced by the GoodSmile Company in their continued partnership with MAX FACTORY and licensed by Kyoto Animation as part of their official K-ON! line of products, the 1/7th Scale K-ON! PVC Mio Akiyama figure is currently available on the market in Japan and on Play-Asia's site for roughly 7,640 Yen (excluding taxes). It was sculpted by the talented figure sculptor Nakayaman for MAX FACTORY
Figure Preview: Mio Akiyama
Figure Preview: Mio Akiyama
Being new to both the K-ON! anime as well as the K-ON! franchise from Kyoto Animation, I had to look up more information regarding the K-ON! franchise and Mio Akiyama, one of the five main female characters that is in the K-ON! franchise. I came across this figure when checking out the newest figures uploaded on GoodSmile's site, and decided since I had put off the other K-ON! figure that I had meant to feature last week (Tsumugi Kotobuki), I would feature Mio in this week's figure preview. Although I am not much of a fan of the moe or slice of life anime genres, this figure won me over with the high quality that both MAX FACTORY and their sculptor Nakayaman have put into her, from the details on her maid outfit to the flowing black hair and her slightly embarrassed expression down to the intricate details on her prized bass guitar Elizabeth. She would make a perfect addition to the figure collector's collection who is looking for a good quality figure that is attractive to the eye and priced at a affordable price that will not put the squeeze on your wallet. Still not sure if I will ever give the K-ON! franchise a try, but perhaps one of these days I might try it out and see what everyone is talking about.
Figure Preview: Mio Akiyama
Figure Preview: Mio Akiyama
Height: 230 Mm (23 Cm)
Availability: Limited (Limited Edition: Currently for sale on Play-Asia's site)
Price: 7,640 Yen (roughly $89.90 USD)
Who It is Recommended For: Fans of the K-ON! franchise, Mio Akiyama, or figure collectors that are looking into a good quality figure that is easy on the wallet and will be a eye-catching addition to their expanding collections. 

Steins;Gate 1/8th Scale PVC: Makise Kurisu

Produced by the Kotobukiya Corporation and licensed by the joint partnership of 5pb. and Nitro+ as part of their official line of Steins;Gate products, the 1/8th Scale Steins;Gate PVC Makise Kurisu figure is currently available on the market in Japan and on Play-Asia's site for roughly 7,880 Yen (excluding taxes). She is sculpted by talented figure sculptor MIC for the Kotobukiya Corporation.
Figure Preview: Steins;Gate (Makise Kurisu)
Figure Preview: Steins;Gate (Makise Kurisu)
Again being new to the Steins;Gate anime as well as the Steins;Gate franchise, I had to look up more information regarding both the Steins;Gate franchise and it's main female protagonist Makise Kurisu on AnimeVice and on Wikipedia. I featured a nendoroid version of Makise Kurisu in last week's preview, and I decided to feature the 1/8th Scale offering from Kotobukiya on this week's preview since I have been gaining interest in the Steins;Gate franchise since I looked it up last week. I was not sure of the overall quality of this figure (since my 1/8th Scale Valkyria Chronicles Alicia Melchiott figure also came from the Kotobukiya Corporation, and it had some rough patches on her legs and minor artifacts from production left over on her hands), but what amazed me the most about her was the unique base that Makise sits on and how it adds to the overall appearance of the figure, down to the cold and emotionless expression on her face. She comes with the base, the complex, intertwining cogs/gears that she sits upon, and her trademark cell phone that is attached to one of the gears. Makise would make a good addition to anyone who is looking for a unique, stand-out figure that delivers good quality and will become a appeasing addition to your growing collection. The price is a little steep for the quality in my opinion (I would have priced this at perhaps 6,200 or so Yen if it was up to me), but I can't argue about it without being a hypocrite. I really need to look into the anime one of these days, and perhaps the XB360 game if I had a XB360 and understood Japanese. 
Figure Preview: Steins;Gate (Makise Kurisu)
Figure Preview: Steins;Gate (Makise Kurisu)
Height: 220 Mm (22 Cm)
Availability: Limited (Limited Edition: Currently for sale on Play-Asia's site)
Price: 7,880 Yen (roughly $94.90 USD)
Who It is Recommended For: Fans of Steins;Gate, Makise Kurisu, or the figure collector looking to add a unique figure to their growing collection of figures. My only issue is the price and perhaps some overall quality concerns.

Nendoroid Corner: Non-Scale Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! PVC: Kirino Kosaka

For this week's edition of Nendoroid Corner, we will be looking into the popular female protagonist Kirino Kousaka, the 14-year old main female protagonist of the hit Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! anime. Produced by the GoodSmile Company in cooperation with Nendoron and licensed by a joint association between Aniplex and ASCII Media Works as part of their official lineup of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! products, the Non-Scale PVC Kirino Kousaka is expected to see global market release in February 2011 in Japan and on Play-Asia's site for roughly 3,500 Yen (excluding taxes). She is sculpted by the talented figure sculptor Katou Gaku for the GoodSmile Company.
Nendoroid Corner: Kosaka Kirino
Nendoroid Corner: Kosaka Kirino
Once again, I am new to both the Ore no Imouto anime and the Ore no Imouto franchise, so I had to look up for more information on both the Ore no Imouto franchise and Kirino Kosaka on AnimeVice and Wikipedia before starting this preview. She comes with three swappable faces (Grumpy, Excited, and Confident) and several swappable arms that allow for several poses along with as a copy of her favorite shojo Meruru DVD , her cell phone, as well as her infamous bag of dirty doujinshi magazines for her to be displayed with. This is another great nendoroid that both sculptor Katou Gaku and GoodSmile have put great effort into, and it shows in the overall appearance of this nendoroid. I am not sure that this series is quite my cup of tea, but I do know when I see a great quality product on the market, and this nendoroid fits into that department with ease. She would make a perfect addition to the figure collector looking to expand on their nendoroid collection with a high quality figure that is reasonably priced and will not put the squeeze on your budget.
Nendoroid Corner: Kosaka Kirino
Nendoroid Corner: Kosaka Kirino
Height: 100 Mm (10 Cm)
Availability: Limited (Limited Edition: Currently sold out thru pre-orders on Play-Asia's site and is expected to see release in February 2011)
Price: 3,500 Yen (roughly $42.90 USD)
Who It is Recommended For: Fans of the Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai! franchise, Kirino Kosaka, or the nendoroid collector looking for another high quality addition to their collection to display to all who lay eyes upon it.
 
This concludes this week's figure preview. Next week, Bakemonogatari, Strike Witches, Manaka de Ikuno!!, and a Kuroneko Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii ga Nai! Nendoroid. 
 
*William Anderson is currently attending classes at Butte College in the process of earning a Radio/TV/Film Bachelor's Degree by 2012. He writes short stories, regularly contributes to both AnimeVice and Giant Bomb's wiki databases, and is trying to catch up on the anime shows that he has fallen more than 3 months behind on.
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After waiting for my nearest anime store to get it, Figma Mio has arrived!


Pros
  • Very accurate to the anime counterpart from the outfit to the guitar
  • Uses long pegs for hands and feet for easy removal and install
  • Cloths and hair are flexible for more possible poses
  • She has stripe panties!
 
Cons
  • No angry face or very happy face
 

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It's such an awesome song, but  「 NO,Thank You!」's release date is on August 4th, and that's way too long to wait.
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My first hat. I haven't decided how I'm going to place the cards yet.
My first hat. I haven't decided how I'm going to place the cards yet.
The crafting goddess has shined her glory down upon me. I have successfully created two mini gothic lolita top hats. One is a replica of the hat worn by Mio Akiyama in K-ON and is the final element in completing my costume. The other is just one that I made inspired by one I saw at OhayoCon at the Gothic Lolita Tea Party. They're a little rough looking, but I think overall they're not bad for a beginner. I spent
It's kind of wrinkly, and I need to find a way to hide the cardboard side. Not bad though.
It's kind of wrinkly, and I need to find a way to hide the cardboard side. Not bad though.
forever trying to find a good, simple tutorial. I found a great tutorial on youtube using a lampshade. I remembered a girl at Ohayocon telling me her dad made her a hat out of a paper coffee cup. Suddenly the method clicked in my head. For one hat I used a 12 oz coffee cup and the other I used a smaller, plastic cup I had. I used cardboard as the base and the top cover for both. For the green hat, the top and base are covered with felt. I found out that while the felt I had worked well for covering flat surfaces, it didn't fit too well when I tried to adhere it to the cup. So I used scrap fabric to wrap around the cup. I didn't measure exactly, so I kind of have an extra crooked flap on one side, but you can't really tell from a distance. Plus, it lays pretty flat, blending in. I burned almost all my fingers with the hot glue gun, and made a nightmare of my living room (it's clean now), but it was worth it. I'm really proud of my hats. I figure with practice, I'll get better. I also bought a mini top hat for teddy bears at Michael's, but have yet to decorate it. Now I just gotta figure out how I'm going to attach the hat to my head. I think I'm going to get metal hair clips and hot glue them underneath.
 
My Mio Hat. Looks a little bit more polished than the first hat.
My Mio Hat. Looks a little bit more polished than the first hat.
  I spent $11 for my first Lolita hat; not bad for a really nice hat with lots of trim. However, I see less than stellar hats being sold for more on ebay.  Lolita hats do not cost that much to make. You just need cardboard which you can get for free just about anywhere. Buy a grab bag of ribbon at Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or any crafting store or even Wal-Mart; it's like maybe $5 for a bag filled with tons of different colored and textured ribbons. Buy leftover fabric or those small bundles of fabric folded like squares--I know these were like $3 a bundle which is more than enough fabric for one hat. Buy a hot glue gun for $2.99, glue sticks for $2.99, and
The least of the mess.
The least of the mess.
you're set to go.
My disaster zone living room.
My disaster zone living room.

 
 You could also try painting your hat instead of covering it with fabric. Acrylic paint is cheap and decent brushes are not that expensive. All you got to do is go home, invest some time, be patient (which I'm not very good at), and you'll have an awesome Lolita hat.
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As the chibi-sized Nendoroids from Good Smile Company continue to try and woo with its adorableness, a prototype has been spotted of Mio Akiyama from K-On!.

Her little bass and amp are lovingly detailed and I hope to see the other characters become Nendoroids too. Personally, I'd rather have Figma versions of them but the Nendoroids are too adorable not to pass up.



Now the real question is, will she have shimapan (striped panties)?

[Picture source]
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So my last post, I mentioned I was planning two cosplays for Sugoi Con in October. I didn't reveal the second because I was waiting on accessory to arrive that would make the outfit more complete and obvious.  The accessory came in yesterday, and I went to the mall today to purchase one more accessory.

 So now I present (coincidentally on the same day as the newest episode of K-ON! is released) : Mio Akiyama from K-ON!
Please don't say you are lazy...
Please don't say you are lazy...

Poofy Black Lace Skirt
Poofy Black Lace Skirt
This is a "Found Item Coslay" as almost everything is already made. The skirt I bought last year at Halloween for a Gothic Lolita outfit from my favorite local consignment type shop called Queen of Rags. It  was mighty expensive ($50) but well worth it for the large amount of tulle, lace, fabric and work that went into making it.This skirt is like five pounds and like twenty layers (exaggerating here, but you guys get the point). Plus it can be reused for a variety of cosplays or Gothic Lolita outfits.

The top I've had for a very long time, still debating whether I'm going to use it or make another.  The arm warmers I bought off ebay for $8.99 and the tights from Hot Topic for $8. The shoes I bought earlier this year from the shoe store I work at to wear to a conference. They cost about $12-15 with my discount.

Tights, shoes, and arm warmers
Tights, shoes, and arm warmers
Things still left to obtain or make:
  • Long, dark brown wig with bangs
  •   Mini top hat with red ribbon
  • Rose/flower bouqet
  • Cane
  • Black sash
  • Add some extra elastic in the back to make the skirt tighter so it won't slide down.

Obviously not going to carry around the rock band guitar. I would trip over the cord constantly. Then I would get tired of holding it and hand it off to Baku to carry around or take back to the hotel room. Plus it's not a lefty guitar. :p So that's all for now. I'll keep updating with more pictures as I get all the stuff together.





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While everyone else in Japan seems to be wasting their money on left handed guitars that they'll probably never learn to play right, I've been hit by K-On's subtle brilliant marketing tactics with something else.

AKG-K701s....*drool*
AKG-K701s....*drool*


*more drooling*
*more drooling*



















































Now, to be fair I was already in the market for a pair of high-tier headphones before I saw this episode thanks to a friend of mine, but this short little scene certainly hit me like an AMRAAM missile. (On a sidenote, I'm still in the market shopping around for a pair... I have no clue if I want AKG-K701/702s, Grado SR80/225is, or Sennheiser HD650s or what....there's too many choices!....and may I say listening to the Gundam X opening "Dreams" on Alessandro MS2's is akin to Kamina giving you his sunglasses personally)


In any case, this brings me to a point I've been wanting to address for a while: Product Placement in anime.

Since anime fans are probably one of the easiest crowds to market to, I wanted to go into an analysis of tactics various shows and series have done, and explored what works particularly well and what does not.

I'll continue using my first example of K-On and move from there. Here we have one of the flagship female characters of a popular Kyoto Animation (KyoAni) series who could arguably fall into the same crowd of fans as past characters like Tomoyo Sakagami, Kyou Fujibayashi, and Kagami Hiiragi. This by itself places her in a very prime position for product placement since she has her own established fanbase that is even pulling from older fanbases. Some may argue the moe-factor of a character may improve the marketing potential of a character, but if you look even at other past KyoAni characters that's not necessarily true (I still have yet to hear of Dangos making a huge comeback or selling amazingly well).

Aside from the character, another important factor is the method of presentation. Continuing with Mio's example, arguably the best method of presentation is going for a subtle approach. Subtle enough that the audience can still recognize what it is, yet not so subtle that they don't notice or can't make it out. In this case Mio's AKG-K701 example probably wouldn't not be considered a good instance since only audiophiles would be able to recognize them, yet at the same time, this can be a good thing because then you are marketing at a target audience who already has some expressed interest, though you could ultimately argue either way.

An example that I believe portrays an excellent mix of subtlety, character potential, and even a little something more would be from the first Kara no Kyoukai film, Kara no Kyoukai: Overlooking View. At first the film opens up with two characters that newcomers to the series probably have no clue who they are whatsoever, and the male lead tells the female lead Shiki Ryougi that he bought her Strawberry Haagen Dazs before putting it away in her fridge.

"Sutorawberi Haagenu Datsu dayo!"
"Sutorawberi Haagenu Datsu dayo!"





















That by itself wouldn't matter at all and I would consider that an absolutely failed product placement attempt if it weren't for the second part.

Later in the same film, Shiki (who by then has established herself as at least a fairly interesting character) feels depressed and goes into the fridge to eat one of the halfpints. What results could possibly be considered perhaps one of the most brilliant scenes of marketing I have every laid eyes on. Since a fight that happened earlier in the film caused her mechanical left arm to need repairs, the scene shows her struggling with and eating it entirely with one hand for about 30 seconds. The spectacle in of itself is probably a quarter of the reason many people consider Shiki to be moe, but regardless, the brilliance of the tactic in this situation lies within using the product itself in a development scene of a character.

Not only that, but this scene made me really hungry...
Not only that, but this scene made me really hungry...



















In addition, by now the viewer is more familiar with the characters, and so if they remember (or later rewatch it) the opening scene using the "strawberry's belong to the rose family" and poetically relating it to Shiki greater reinforces a certain ambiance, almost like a "classy" nature to preferring Haagen Dazs over some other brand.

Now, several films later we are brought to the fifth Kara no Kyoukai film, Kara no Kyoukai: Paradox Spiral. Unfortunately with this film (-as awesome as everything else was-) the marketing approach they utilized was drastically shifted. Subtlety was thrown out the window, as was just about any sense of class with it.

a little "in-your-face"?
a little "in-your-face"?






















If I didn't know better I'd almost assume the production staff was intentionally trying to reverse their previous marketing success, as if the Haagen Dazs company threw a hissy fit at the ufotable production crew or something to that effect. The blatant over-selling radiance of it all was by far most evident through the "sink full of empty containers" scene. Portrayed in such an excessive and borderline disgusting level, it's hard to tell whether the animators were trying to make a joke to the viewer or not. On top of that, the fact that a new (and somewhat unkempt) male character is the one this time shown eating the ice cream regularly, they effectively removed all of the original methods from the first movie that made Haagen Dazs seem "professional" or "classy".

For my last example (and probably one of the most famous), I'm going to use Code Geass and it's Pizza Hut obsession.

If Paradox Spiral was beating a person upside the head with a club, then Code Geass would be punching them with a mobile suit (a fitting analogy, seeing as this IS Sunrise we're talking about). The absolutely blatant advertising and showcasing all throughout the series showed very little professional marketing taste. Using a female lead like C.C. was probably the only aspect they managed to get right, but the absolutely ridiculous exhibitionism of Pizza Hut pizza in every scene possible came across as distasteful. When every scene showing C.C. eating has her with greasy cheese hanging off her lips, that's not really a good thing. I could delve into it further, but just about anyone who has scene the show or heard the pizza hut jokes following in it's wake probably understands well enough already.


Ultimately it seems there three important things to keep in mind for effective product marketing in anime: Subtelty, the character representing/using it, and the method of using it in the scene. Further examples anyone would like to pont out are very welcome in the comments, as are thoughts and other analytical opinions.
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