Poppin’ Party is a band from the All Girls Band Project series BanG Dream!, and consists of the voice actors of Toyama Kasumi (CV Aimi), Hanazono Tae (CV Otsuka Sae), Ushigome Rimi (CV Nishimoto Rimi), Yamabuki Saaya (CV Ohashi Ayaka) and Ichigaya Arisa (CV Itou Ayasa). In addition to providing the voices for these wonderful characters, the voice actors also play their respective characters’ instruments while performing live, with Aimi on guitar & vocals, Otsuka on lead guitar, Nishimoto on bass, Ohashi on drums and Itou on keyboard.
Having performed in a band before as a drummer (of which I mentioned to Poppin’Party and in Japanese, no less), I do understand the challenges of picking up an instrument from scratch and working together as a band, so BanG Dream! as a whole is something that I can relate to.
The interview between us and Poppin’Party was largely nerve-wrecking, but still fun nonetheless. However (again), due to her busy schedule, Ohashi could not come down to Singapore for Chara Expo and thus was not present for the interview.
As the interview was conducted in a group with other media personnel as well, our article will only feature the questions we asked.
CV: What are the biggest challenges you face when learning your respective instruments? Aimi: Because I’m the lead singer and the rhythm guitarist, it’s very hard to play the guitar while singing. And also because I’m the centre of the group, I have to be very cautious about how I perform.
Otsuka: This is my first time being the lead guitarist in a band, and because I mostly played the acoustic guitar before this, so performing in front of people and making sure the audience enjoys it is a challenge for me, but it is something you will get better at if you keep practicing.
Nishimoto: As a bass guitarist, the role is more of a supportive one, so it’s a challenge to support the band while trying not to make any mistakes at the same time and not create trouble for the band.
Itou: I started learning the piano when BanG Dream! started, so everything is very difficult to me, especially since the melody that each hand plays is completely different from one another. The keyboard is also very different from the piano in that the keyboard produces different sounds, so figuring out which sound flows well with the band is also a challenge for me.
CV: What other instruments would you like to learn? Aimi: I would like to learn the drums! When Hasshi (nickname for Ohashi) was playing the drums, she looked like she could lead the band, so I want to be as cool as her and bring everyone together as a band.
Otsuka: I want to learn the keyboard. I was in the light music club in high school playing the piano and other instruments, but never actually played the keyboard. I find that it’s easier to arrange songs on the keyboard as well because it can produce a lot of different sounds.
Nishimoto: I would like to play the contrabass. During our live performances, we try to do an acoustic section where I play a more classical bass instrument because I like the low pitched sounds that it can produce.
Itou: I want to be a guitar vocalist! I find girls who play the guitar while singing really cute. I also look up to people who can play the guitar bridge-mute style while singing, and because of that I want to learn how to do that.
Thank you for your time, Poppin’Party!
And with that, we’ve posted all of our interviews conducted at Chara Expo 2017. We couldn’t have done it without you guys, so thank you all for making this happen! We hope to be able to do even more next year, so we hope you can keep supporting us!
Our next interview in Chara Expo 2017 was with Milky Holmes!
Milky Holmes is a voice acting unit established in 2009 and consists of the voice actors of the characters from the series Tantei Opera: Milky Holmes, namely Sherlock “Sheryl” Shellingford (CV Mimori Suzuko), Nero Yuzurizaki (CV Tokui Sora), Hercule “Elly” Burton (CV Sasaki Mikoi) and Cordelia Glauca (CV Kitta Izumi).
The interview between us and Milky Holmes was largely casual and very fun overall. However, due to her busy schedule, Mimori could not come down to Singapore for Chara Expo and thus was not present for the interview.
As the interview was conducted in a group with other media personnel as well, our article will only feature the questions we asked.
CV: Seeing that Milky Holmes are in the world of Vanguard as cameos, if they are actual Cardfighters what clans do you think they will play? Tokui: Nero, which is the character I portray, loves animals a lot, so I think she’ll play something like Great Nature.
Sasaki: To me, Elly is the kind of character that likes really cute things, so I think she’ll play Bermuda Triangle or something like that.
Kitta: I think she would have played Bermuda Triangle as well because of the general swimsuit theme, but (since it’s already picked by Mikoron) I’ll go for Royal Paladin, since they have the cool image that the Cordelia in the game would have gone for.
CV: Which World in Buddyfight do you think you will fight for? Tokui: I will fight for Danger World, since I like something that’s more wild.
Sasaki: Divine Guardians! I actually came in second place with it in our in-house Buddyfight voice actor tournament.
Kitta: Ah, I wanted to pick Divine Guardians too! In that case, I’ll fight for Hero World! I want to be able to say “I’m a hero!” or something like that.
CV: Do you have any messages for your fans in Singapore? Tokui: Singapore is like a second Yokohama to me with so many people here knowing about Milky Holmes. The food here are really delicious, and we find ourselves wanting to do a live in Singapore more and more. We’ve performed a lot here in various events, but we want to do a 2-hour long live here in Singapore.
Sasaki: I’ve come to Singapore a lot of times, like once every year, and I’ve come to like Singapore a lot. It really is heartwarming to know that there are many people here who know about Milky Holmes and like their songs, and I look forward to coming to Singapore even more, be it for live in the future or even during our 10th anniversary.
Kitta: The first time I came to Singapore was 9 years ago for card games, before Milky Holmes even began. Then Milky Holmes started a year after and every time we come to Singapore, more and more people come to know about Milky Holmes. I really wish that we can go on more tours and I would like to be an ambassador to Singapore so that I can broadcast to Japan about Singapore.
Thank you all for your time, Milky Holmes, and we look forward to seeing what you have in store for us for your 10th anniversary!
Chara Expo 2017 just ended, but our memories and experience still stay really fresh. This year is yet again a step up from last year as we managed to score not one interview, but THREE! THREEEEEEEE!!!!!!! (if you guys get all the reference in this one line, you’re awesome)
Our first interview was with two well known cosplayers – Knitemaya and YUI – from Australia and Hong Kong respectively.
Knitemaya is a Greek cosplayer residing in Australia with 7 years of make-up, sewing and crafting experience. She is well know for her bishounen cosplays from various anime series and video games.
YUI is a cosplayer from Hong Kong and has made multiple appearances as a special guest and a cosplay judge for several events. She is very passionate about making cosplay costumes, and pays very close attention to the finest details.
We got the chance to sit down and conduct an interview with them. Because this is the first interview that we’ve conducted with guest cosplayers, needless to say we were still very inexperienced, so we got Leon to lead the interview for us since he’s also a cosplayer himself and thus is more knowledgeable than ZaCaptain and myself when it comes to cosplay.
CV: What is your usual cosplay budget? Knitemaya: It depends on the costume. My basic budget is around AUD 200 (SGD 216), but for more extravagant costumes it’ll be more than that.
YUI: For me, I make the costumes myself and I have high standards for the quality and the a keen eye for detail, so I will purchase a more expensive type of cloth. So a set consisting of the wig, the costume itself and the shoes will usually be around HKD 1000 (SGD 172).
CV: Who is your favorite cosplayer and character cosplay? Knitemaya: Reika is someone I really look up to, because she was one of the first cosplayers that I found, and that’s how I got into cosplay. Reika is a very big influence to me because she makes her own costumes, and I find that to be very admirable. She’s been cosplaying for so many years that it’s just nice to see how she’s progressed over time. As for character cosplay, I like Genos from One Punch Man because I met the director for One Punch Man and also the voice actor for Saitama (Furukawa Makoto) and they both said that my cosplay is very nice and Genos would have looked like me in real life, so it’s something special to me.
YUI: Because I am a costume maker, I find myself following other cosplayers who also make their own costumes. The one cosplayer I like is Lenneth she puts in a lot of effort for every single costume that she makes, and she makes it stays true to the original character as much as possible. As for male cosplayer, I like KANAME☆ from Japan. As for characters I like to cosplay, other than Noctis from Final Fantasy XV it would have to be Ayanami Rei from Evangelion and Kusanagi Motoko from Ghost in the Shell.
CV: What do you feel is the most challenging part of making your costume? Knitemaya: I think the most difficult part of making armour or sewing is making the patterns for a costume and also making sure that the costume is realistic and fits (to your body). For armour making like robotic arms, it’s very hard to make it movable and you have to figure out how to make the pattern will look like through a lot of trial and error, because what may seem nice on the character in the anime may not work as well in real life.
YUI: When I start making costumes from scratch, inevitably I will come across certain costumes that I have never done before because my costume making skills are self taught, so I would try to figure out how to work on the things that are new to me. But most of my challenges come from wigs. When I encounter characters whose hairstyles are more difficult, I will do some research online or ask more experienced people on how to better style the wigs. Another challenge that I’ve faced is during the photoshoot because you have to consider how to do the right pose and be able to capture the feeling of the character at the same time, so for that I feel that it’s important to be able to work with a photographer that we can both agree on when it comes to taking photos.
CV: This is not cosplay related, but have you guys tried chicken rice? Knitemaya: I came to Singapore two years ago and that was the first time I had chicken rice, so this time when I’m back here I told myself that I need to eat the chicken rice here. We do have chicken rice in Australia, but it’s very different if it’s not made with the Singaporean recipe.
YUI: When we first landed in Singapore, the first thing Knitemaya asked me during dinner was if I wanted to eat chicken rice, and it was so good! We have chicken rice in Hong Kong too, but the taste is different because it is made by the local people there, and the soy sauce used in Singapore is very delicious and different from Hong Kong, so it’s still better to eat chicken rice here in Singapore.
CV: What are some of the anime or video games that you’re into currently?
Knitemaya: Persona 5!
YUI: Definitely Final Fantasy XV!
CV: Do you have any tips or advices for cosplayers who are just starting out?
Knitemaya: My advice is to never give up and continue doing what you love to do, and not to compare yourself with other cosplayers, especially when you begin because at the start you won’t be good so you have to keep practicing. I used to do this a lot when I first started cosplaying. I would look at other popular cosplayers and told myself that I wanted to be like them but I’ll always make myself look bad in a way because I’m not good enough, and that’s something a lot of younger cosplayers tend to do. You will make mistakes and you won’t get it right on the first try, but if you keep going, you can improve and have fun with it.
YUI: When I first started out cosplaying, I’m still new to costume making, so what I did was to take apart my old clothes and analyze how they are like since your clothes can fit you. This makes learning how to do everything from scratch a lot easier and more convenient than going for lessons since that takes time and money.
Thank you Knitemaya and YUI for your time!
The interview with Milky Holmes and Poppin’ Party will be up soon, so follow the blog if you want to be notified of it!
Chara Expo 2017 will happen again, this time on 9-10 September at Suntec City, Convention & Exhibition Centre. If the date seems familiar to you, that’s because Chara Expo is (unfortunately) clashing with Singapore Toys, Games and Comics Convention (STGCC), which is happening on the same dates. Just to let you guys know, ZaCaptain and I will be attending Chara Expo while Leon will be going for STGCC.
There was a press conference held today to announce more details about the event, and Leon and I attended to see what’s in store for us this year.
This year’s partners are about the same as last year, and just about the companies you’d expect in a convention. I’m more interested in what TBS has to bring to us for this year.
There will also be tournaments held this year, with Dragoborne making its debut this year with its first tournament. What caught us (or rather myself) off guard was that Angela Lee is chosen as the image person for Dragoborne Asia Championship this year.
There will also be a cosplay competition this year, with up and coming cosplayers from Hong Kong, Australia and Malaysia being special guests for this section. Ely from Taiwan will also make an appearance at Chara Expo, so mark the dates on your calendars if you wanna catch her!
If you’re a fan of NJPW, I got some good news and bad news. The bad news is that there will not be live matches happening this year. The good news is that it’s not for naught as Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask will be coming as special guests!
Special guest appearance will include the following:
Poppin’ Party (comprised of Aimi, Itou Ayasa, Otsuka Sae, Nishimoto Rimi & Ohashi Ayaka) will be making their first appearance in Singapore at Chara Expo. Unfortunately, Ohashi Ayaka will not be able to make it.
Appearing in Singapore for the first time as well is Rummy Labyrinth (Yumizuki Luna CV Kudo Haruka & Chouno Am CV Aimi).
Making a return for the second time for her live concert is Nitta Emi. Apart from the smell of sweat and the heat from the audience, I really enjoyed her live last year, so this is a welcome surprise for me. But no, I’m not going for the live as I no longer have energy to spare.
Of course, Chara Expo’s press conference wouldn’t have been complete without special guest appearances, and this time we have (the usual) Kidani Takaaki, Aimi and Aiba Aina (Anjou Tokoha, Cardfight!! Vanguard G Next). Aimi’s back for the second time for Chara Expo and Aina has been to Singapore a few times, though this is her first time here as a special guest. To summarise, they’re really excited about the event and hopes to see lots of people and having fun together—blah blah blah you know the typical.
We were invited for a private interview with Aimi and Aina, but due to time constraints we were asked to submit our questions in instead. We will do a follow up once we’ve gotten the responses, but that is all we have for you for now.
Have you ever found yourself sitting at the table with your jaw dropped and eyebrows getting closer together while your opponent pulls off their cheating skills/cancer combo and there’s nothing you can do about it? Well fear not, because Bushiroad Japan has noticed this issue and has rolled out the updated treatment for cancer!
Just kidding, it’s an updated restriction list for the Japanese format.
This list will be in effect from 1st February 2017. The details are as follows:
The following card has its restriction removed and can be chosen as the First Vanguard: BT01/016 etc “Lizard Soldier, Conroe“
The list has been rather consistent throughout, so I’ll only be talking about the cards are affected and have been recently added. But before that, someone please enlighten me, in full detail, WHY LIZBETH IS STILL RESTRICTED TO 1 COPY! Ahem…
Seven Seas Apprentice, Nightrunner
“Limiting Nightrunner won’t do much. For a Seven Seas rush, Seven Seas Pillager, Nightspinel is the more dangerous unit of the deck. Limiting Nightrunner would still be okay had there been no viable substitute, in this case more Chappie the Ghosties.” – Ben
Well, thanks Ben. XD
Steam Battler, Ur-Watar
Again, this falls on the category of “this will not do much”, mainly because the prime suspect in this case is Steam Maiden, Melem. The only reason why this card would be restricted is because of his ability to be sent back to deck on bind and gives you one extra draw. Even restricting him would not eliminate the problem of calling him from the deck, although it does increase the chance of your opponent pulling his hair out if Ur-Watar is send to the drop zone or damage zone.
Sanctuary Guard Dragon
“My best guess is that they want to push players to play Sanctuary Guard Ark more.” – ZaCaptain
Well, I don’t know what to make of that line. There was an outcry for a restriction on Sanctuary Guard Regalie for being too powerful, but with the attention on Gear Chronicle getting hit, it made us forget why it is the case.
All that can be thought up is that the one reason Sanctuary Guard Regalie didn’t get hit because Sanctuary Guard Arc players would lose one of the only 2 Sanctuary Guard strides available.
Lizard Soldier Conroe
“After all these years…” – ZaCaptain
Thank you, Cap, for such an insightful comment. >_>
Conroe being restricted from being a First Vanguard has been a thing for almost the entirety of Vanguard’s existence. There was a lot of talk that Spike Brothers’ Mecha Trainer would get hit similarly but when you think about it, Spike Brothers could have been used as a test to see whether if Kagero still needed to have Conroe restricted. We may see a renewed resurgence of Kagero in the competitive scene.
On that note, we hope that this new restriction list will perform its purpose in getting players to compete with other builds. While the hit doesn’t seem to properly address any of the game-breaking problems the competitive scene has, we hope this will “inspire” players to create more unique decks, and to see other clans rank much more highly in tournaments.
On a final note, let’s make this a thing: #makeOTTgreatagain.
Remember Cardfight Online? The game that was supposed to be out this year but was delayed? We remember it very clearly, but unfortunately, it has become a memory of the past. Just like your Time Leaped units in the Bind Zone that will never come back, development for Cardfight!! Online has been cancelled.
ZaCaptain, Leon and myself were very sad to know that this was the direction the development team took, and for them to announce this after a whole year of nothing, it was almost too easy for the community to speculate what was going on behind the scenes. I don’t claim to know what exactly happened, but based on the Open Beta that we played, I could come up with a few points that could make the game better:
1. Outsource the game development to a company they know can handle the job well
Cardfight!! Online was outsourced to DELiGHTWORKS Inc. and Crossgames Inc, the former well known for the mobile game Fate Grand Order. Who is Crossgames Inc.? Personally, I have no idea. Why not outsource it to FuRyu, the same company that brought us the 3DS Vanguard games? They did a great job with the 3DS games in my opinion, and with their involvement, the game would be a lot more solid. Never mind the character creation and the likes, the game engine itself has to work first, and they know how to make it work!
2. Stick to the initial card releases and add the rest in as DLCs
This is just my own speculation, but just hear me out. Let’s face it, all games nowadays have DLCs, and there are people out there willing to pay for them. Bushiroad is known to churn out new sets every single month, and with each set you have more than 50 cards to program into the game, not to mention their skill activation times, clan-specific keywords and so on. I feel that they wanted to make the game complete by trying to include the most recent cards to date, and in the process delayed the completion as the year drags on with an increasing pile of programming left to do that seems endless, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the project.
What they could have done is to make sure the mainframe of the game works flawlessly, then add in cards at a later date after its release as forms of DLCs or even events.
3. Give constant updates and announcements regarding the project
For the past year after its initial announcement, we heard nothing from Bushiroad about Cardfight!! Online. If the game is geared towards fans and you specifically promised them that it would happen, why not ask for help when facing difficulties? I know that’s what the Open Beta is for, but couldn’t it have gone longer and open to more players worldwide so that they can help yo7 focus on what’s wrong with the build of the game?
Trust me when I say that the game has potential, because it really did. It really comes close to the Japanese 3DS counterparts and being the one good vanguard game for non-Japanese players to enjoy other than Cardfight Arena (which in my opinion is more of a test base instead of a game), but the constant delays with no updates led to the fans forgetting about its existence, only remembering it when it’s too late. Whatever that’s going to happen after, I can only wish them the best and hope they do not repeat the same mistakes again. After all, the community got them in their sights.
Like I mentioned, these are just my personal opinions on the reasons why Cardfight!! Online was cancelled. What so you think were their reasons? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading and let’s have fun with Vanguard!
While the rest of Crossbone Vanguards were happily opening GBT08, I was in Malaysia for a trip when I decided that I should visit the Vanguard Cafe there, and visit the cafe I did (not alone of course, I was with Chloe). Don’t worry, I made sure ZaCaptain has my cards by the time I come back. 🙂
Vanguard Cafe is located at F10 , Aeon Mall Shah Alam, 40100 Shah Alam, Malaysia, which is approximately 15 minutes away from Sunway Pyramid. The whole cafe has a warm and cozy feel to it and, of course, being a Vanguard Cafe means that the interior is full of Vanguard-related stuff. Unfortunately, it was rather empty when we went there, partly because it clashed with Day 2 of Animangaki, which was happening at Sunway Pyramid and there was a huge crowd there and of course a space allocated for Vanguard players.
The walls and tables are fully decorated with characters from Vanguard, and the character mats on the tables double as playmats so you can play Vanguard while having your Vanguard meal and watching Vanguard on the big screen.
And no, you can’t bring them home. Not saying that I didn’t try (just kidding, I really didn’t try to pull it out), but it’s something that’s best left there.
Speaking of big screen, there’s one at the side of the cafe so customers can enjoy watching Vanguard-related videos while eating or playing. At the time we were there, they were playing the latest few episodes of Vanguard G: Stride Gate.
If your table is full of plates and you want to experience the feeling of playing Vanguard the way characters did in the anime, there are two standing Vanguard tables for you to do just that. Do take note that it’s not some highly advanced mumbo-jumbo, so don’t expect to see your units appearing in front of you or flashy effects on the table. All it does is to light up the playmat to bring out the colours more, and if you ask me, that’s already cool in itself. Also, the mats are of the pre-G era, so you won’t see the G Zone in here.
Most themed cafes have related merchandise and products on sale, and the Vanguard Cafe is no exception. Up for sale are boosters packs for Vanguard and Luck and Logic, playmats, card sleeves and other exclusive items. Surprisingly, the items sold there are pretty updated, as you see recent products like The Genius Strategy and even Absolute Judgment.
Here’s the menu of the cafe. Needless to say, the dishes all have names based off units of Vanguard, so you’ll see dishes like Nightstorm, Abyss Healer, Demon Eater and Queen of Heart, just to name a few. There are some that are not as obvious like Ice Prison (based off the Cocytus units), but Shinden’s Original…? Do let me know if I’m missing something here because I’ve not heard of anything like that in Vanguard.
Drinks are also a rather interesting mix (no pun intended). They’re based on the characters that have appeared in the anime, and invoke different emotions in you when you drink them. For exmaple, if you want a mind-numbing lucksack experience, go for Chrono’s Freeze Attack! Okay I kid, but you get what I mean.
Due to limited budget, we only managed to order a few dishes. I will talk about them as much as I can and give a rating on how I feel the food tastes.
Rating: 7/10 Chicken burger with black seasame bun, cheese, tomato, lettuce, a slice of nori seaweed (seems like Tao Kae Noi to me) and served with nachos. And for some reason, it was decorated with the Critical icon instead of the Heal icon.
First of all, the nachos came with a very small amount of ketchup. It’s still enough to keep the nachos from becoming somewhat dry when it enters the mouth, but I would much like to have a full saucer of dip so I can control how much dip I want on the nachos.
The black sesame bun was very dry and tough. And I mean REALLY tough. It’s so tough that you can’t even flatten it so that it fits your mouth. It’s that tough. Everything else is okay though. The lettuce is crunchy and fresh-tasting, the tomatoes are soft and moist just like what you’d expect in a burger, and the seaweed is….okay I have no idea because I didn’t eat it. In a single bite, the texture of the chicken patty and the softness of the tomato makes the buns a little more tolerable and not so dry. Couple that with the crunchiness of the lettuce and just like what the name of the dish suggests, it heals you and pulls you out of the abyss that is your growling stomach.
Oh, I forgot about the cheese? Well, what can I say about the cheese except that IT’S GOOD?
Assault Dragon Rating: 7/10 Hawaiian Pizza with turkey roll, pineapple, mozzarella cheese on a tomato base with seaweed sprinkle.
Let me start off by saying that I LOVE pizzas, so I’m quite particular about how pizzas are made. The combination of the crust and everything else is very important, and one should not out-taste the other. To me, a good pizza is one that can leave a lasting taste in your mouth with its complex mixture of ingredients and not feel too dry at the same time.
Assault Dragon is your typical Hawaiian pizza with not much special flare to it. It’s just Hawaiian pizza. While the taste was okay, what kinda spoiled it is the crust. The crust is too thin and powdery, and somehow managed to get covered by the taste of the tomato paste. There was not enough mozzarella cheese on it as well, as the whole chunk of pineapple just came of when I took a bite. The seaweed sprinkle did almost nothing as there were so little that it made the pizza look like a barren wasteland.
One thing I think could make the pizza better is to have more cheese on the pizza, and not just underneath, but at the top of the pizza as well. That way, the ingredients will be held together stronger and every single bite will stretch the mozzarella cheese to unimaginable heights.
Anjou Berry Exchange Rating: 7/10
Honestly, I have no idea what the components for this are. But from the name of the drink, it tasted like a berry soda topped with some fruits, though I can’t make out what they are. Even so, it tastes really refreshing and it definitely goes well with what we were eating. If I had ordered any slushies or milk drinks, it would have felt different. In short, the Anjou Berry Exchange was thirst quenching and had a taste that complimented the pizza and the burger.
When the reviews said that the staff have remarkable knowledge of Vanguard, they meant it. One of the staff asked me if I play the game and politely asked me for a fight, so how could I turn it down?
I brought out my Magus deck, which was the only deck I brought with me (apart from Chloe’s Regalia deck) and he took out his Gaiaemperor deck. It was a very close match, but I still lost. That didn’t change the fact that it was a good fight though.