Anime Review: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (aka Star Blazers 2199)

Note:  Hi.  I am trying something new to increase my number of posts and get more practice writing.  With a lot of streaming services out there offering anime, I have been watching quite a bit of it.  I seen shows that I haven’t seen in years, ones that I’ve heard of but never got around to watch and some that are new to me.  So, I will feature some of the ones I have watched and do a review going over the art style, storyline, dub (if it is dubbed) and overall feel.  I will also look at what I call the WTF factor; aspect of the anime that may raise and eyebrow or cause you to ask “WTF did I just watch?”  Our first subject is a remake of an anime that I have known about for years.

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Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (or Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199) is an 2012 Sci-Fi anime series by AIC and Xebec studios.  It is based on the original 1974 T.V. anime series Space Battleship Yamato, which was dubbed and edited for the West and renamed Star Blazers.  The series is 26 episodes long.  The series is dubbed by Funimation and is currently being serialized on their streaming service, Funimation Now, which new episodes being released on Thursday.  It is also on Crunchyroll with in Japanese with English Subtitles, with the series being released at the same rate as Funimation.

The series takes place in the year 2199.  The Earth is at war with a and advanced militaristic race called the Gamilons.  They had destroyed all of Earth defences and, using radioactive planet bombs, destroyed the surface of the earth, driving the survivors underground.  But not all is lost.  A message from the distant planet Iscandar offers help to restore the planet to life.  Included in the message was the plans for a ship that can traverse the great distance between the planets and fight off the Gamilons.  But the UN could only build one ship in time and, for reasons, build it to resemble and ancient Japanese battleship from World War 2, the Yamato.

With the ship build, its crew set out on the perilous journey through intergalactic space.  The crew includes Captain Okita, a man who puts his mission first before his own health; Tactical Officer Susumu Kodai,  a brash young pilot whose brother served under Okita and in whose memory he joins the mission; and  radio and sensor operator Yuki Mori, a woman missing her past.  Together with te rest of the crew they set out on the perilous journey to Iscandar.  Time is not on their side as they have to travel 168, 000 light years to Iscandar and back in only one year, or else the Earth will die.

Star Blazers (as the English dubbed is called, like with the original series) is a space opera, science fiction anime, similar to series like Robotech and the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise.  The series has a serious tone, with the threat of war and it’s consequences being a central theme.  The ship gets damaged, machine fail, space fighters run out of ammo and not everyone makes it back alive (though mostly faceless extras.)  The Yamato does have its all-powerful McGuffin plot device, the wave motion engine, which powers the ship and gives her the ability to fend of waves on Gamilon ships and make the long journey through space.

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Lt Kaoru Niimi is one of the female crew members added to the series.

The art style is excellent.  It looks modern, but is still harken back to the original anime’s designs.  The original series was directed by manga artist Leiji Matsumoto, famous for the Space Pirate Captain Harlock series, so you can see how the ship design for the Yamato (a WW2 battleship) influenced the ship design in Harlock (17th century pirate ship…in space!)  The remake keeps that design, updating so that the ship is larger and only made to look like the Yamato as camouflaged for before it was launched.  The crew of the Yamato is more varied than the original, with a third of the crew being female (Yuki was the only female crew member in the original) with most with speaking roles being all new characters, with only the character of Akira Yamamoto  being gender-bent into a woman in this version.  The Gamilons, the Nazi-esque enemies in the series also were updated, with only those with blue skin being the “pure , true Gamilons, with the others of different skin tones and features, bring races subservient to the Gamilons but still as loyal.

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Pure Gamilons are blue-skinned.

The writing also gives us a better look at the Gamilons.  There are more scenes showing their leader Dessler, interacting with his subordinates.  While most of them are arrogant and looking to please Lord Dessler to advance their own careers, we see some of them in a more sympathetic light.  Some are fathers and husbands, some make the hard choice between duty and family.  Some even express their understanding on why the Earth and Gamilons are at war, causing some of the Yamato crew to realize Earth is not without blood on their hands.  But over all, the Gamilons are still a conquering race, driven by their own self-importance to consider the cost of their actions.

Still there are a lot of similarities’ with the original series.  In fact, there are episodes that are pretty much retellings of ones from the original series.  The fourth episode, “Grave Marker on an Icefield” follows a similar plot to the original series’ “Space Destroyer Yukikaze Sleeps in the Ice Field” or ‘Paladin Rest in a vast icefield” in the Starblazers version.  The major differences are the inclusion of the female medic, Makoto Harada on the mission (the original only had Kodai, Mori and the robot Analyzer) and the introduction of the robot Gamilon troops (one of which plays a big part in a later, orignal episode.  Truthfully, it has been over 35 years since I’ve seen an episode of the original Starblazers, so this is all new to me again, but is seems there is a good balance between honouring the original and telling a new story.

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The uniforms for the female crew members tend to flatter their form. Apparently, in the Medical wing, pants are optional.

WTF Factor: Low.  Now, with cartoons imported from Japan, there will be some cultural differences.  Different aspect of their culture, like holidays and beliefs will pop up and that is to be expected.  Space battleship Yamato 2199 doesn’t really have this issue (at least not with what I’ve seen so far as of episode 14).  Despite the addition of more females to the cast there has not been much of a romantic sub, those both Yamamoto and Mori showing interest in Kodai.  And there hasn’t been much in the way of fan service in this version (the original had a plot of Analyzer being in love with Yuki Mor, flipping her skirt and even confessing his love (this was cut from the Star Blazers version).  While there is a scene with Yamamoto and Yuki Mori in the communal bath (again, a common thing in Japanese culture), any nudity is avoided and the most salacious thing we get is a bit of lower side boob from Yuki.  If anything can be called fan service, it is that all the female characters wear body suits.  While the male uniforms have tunics and pants, the women are all in tight, form-fitting body suits with the only exceptions being Makoto’s nurse uniform with a skirt (or is it a long tunic?) and stockings and Yamamoto’s bomber jacket and flight suit.  Still this is not played up for fan service, with the only exception I can think of is a shot of Yuki descending a ladder behind Kodai in episode 14 (and I think she was flirting with him.)

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Ass shot!

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is a great science fiction anime that hold up well for a Western audience.  Older folks like me who watch the series will get a kic out of this new version.  For those new to the series, I think you will find it an intriguing anime with a memorable storyline.  The series is done in Japan, but there is already a sequel retelling the second season of the original being streamed in Japan.  Here is hoping we see that sometime in the near future.

Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is currently on the Funimation and Crunchyroll streaming services with 14 episodes released and new ones released every Thursday.

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Yet the front side being open is okay?
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Review: Mezco One:12 Collective Suicide Squad Harley Quinn Collectable Figure

There are a lot of companies out there that produce high-end collectable figures in various scales, the most popular being 1:6 scale, or around 12 Inches.  But these figures are a far cry from the Holiday edition Barbies and the Bob Hope G.I. Joes you might has see at a Toys’R’Us over the years.  Companies like Dragon, Sideshow and Hoy Toys produced beautifully designed figures with cloth costumes and detail accessories that capture the look and feel of the comic or movie character they are producing.  But all this attention to detail is costly and the lower production runs means these figures cost around $200 (Cdn) or more and can only be found at comic/pop culture stores or online.

Mezco Toys, trying to produce an alternative at a lower cost yet with the same quality, has come up with the One:12 Collective.  It is a line of 1:12 scale (around six inches) of figures based on various pop culture properties, from comic books to TV and film.  Like their larger 1:6 counterparts, the sculpt are highly detailed, capturing the look and feel of the character it is based on.  They also have cloth outfits, tailored for the character so that it looks straight from the source material.  Starting off in 2016, they have produced over a dozen of different characters, but they have all been larger, male characters.  Now Mezco Toys has produced the first female figure in the One:12 Collective line; Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad.

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The One:12 Collective Suicide Squad: Haley Quinn figure is based on the character in 2016’s Suicide Squad movie, as played by Margot Robbie.  How you feel about that depends on your own taste, but I liked the look.  The figures comes in a box with a red slip case featuring the characters name, the movie logo and the One:12 collective logo.  On the back we see the contents of the box and various action shots of the figure  The sides of the cover has the “Q” of the Suicide Squad logo (and “Q” for “Quinn”).

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Removing the sleeve and you get the first look at the figure.  Harley is displayed with her alternate heads, hands and weapons. In behind you can see the base of the stand with the Suicide Squad logo on it. When you open that up, you will find the arm for the stand and the jacket that goes with the figure.

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With the figure in hand, see seem so… small.  Having never had a One:12 Collective figure before, I have no way to compare her with the male figures in this line.  I am a bit.. obsessed with figures I display together be in (or at least close) to scale.  The figure is about 6 inches, which in the 1:12 scale is 6 feet scaled.  Too tall to have be next to a 6 inch Batman (who would be 6’3″ or so).  Margot Robbie is about 5’5″ in real life.  Add that she was wearing 4-inch heels on those Adidas pumps in her Harley outfit, it would bring her to 5’9″.  She’d pair well with figures in the 7 inch scale, I guess, like older DC Direct ones or Mattel’s  DC Multiverse Dark Knight Returns figures.

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The figure is great though  The outfit looks great and close to the movie, but without the wear and tear shown in the movie (no rips).  The shorts fit well and she even has actual fishnet stockings, which are sewn around the legs.  There is a noticeable seam in the back, but it doesn’t distract from the overall aesthetic of the figure.  They even got her tattoos on her, from her face, arm and legs to the ones on her stomach and lower back (if you move up her shirt.)  There is even a red bra painted on that shows through the shirt, like in the movie.  As for the likeness, well, I spend hours on the internet, looking up facts about Ms. Robbie (including the size of the heels on those Adidas shoes) and  painstakingly going over pictures after picture of her in costume and I can say it is a very good likeness.  The butt could be better, but it is a awesome likeness for the scale.

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Research.

 

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As for her accessories, she comes with three different heads;  a closed mouth smiling, and open mouth laughing and a blowing bubblegum head.  She has five interchangeable hands; three right hands (trigger finger, gripping hand for the bat and an open hand) and two left (open and gripping.).  She comes with her baseball bat from the movie as well as a gun with the shoulder harness holster.  She also comes with two wrist bands, one saying “Yes” and the other “Sir,” and two spiked bracelet, which can fall off easy and are a bit small.  Lastly there is the coat, with looks like it did in the movie, from the colour scheme to the having “Property of the Joker” on the back.  It fits quite well, though be sure to remove the bracelets and wrist band before you put it on her.

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The jacket fits well enough.

 

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The design is authentic to the movie.

 

As it comes with a stand and a posing post, this figue is mean to be displayed and posed.  She has good articulation, with the head being on a post with a ball joint.  She can look up, down and side to side with ease.  The heads are easy to swap and I never felt like I was going to break it when I swapped heads.  The arms are also ball-jointed at the shoulder and you get a good range of motion even with the cloths goods in the way.  The elbow is, sadly, single jointed and hidden by the shirt and you can rotate the arm at the elbow.  The hands attach at the wrist, also ball jointed and, though the post is small, they are easy to exchange and stay on well.  There is a diaphragm joint beneath the breast and articulation at the waist, though she can’t turn side to side much.  The waist joint is the most noticeable, with her low riding hot pants.  She is articulated where the legs and crotch meet, with each leg being able to move forward a fair bit but no much back.  Her legs can spread a part a fair bit, but not to a split.  With the fishnets being two pieces around each leg, it does not hinder the movement.  The knees are single jointed and can bend to almost a 90 degree angle and the ankles joints allow side to side pivot, left and right turning but little forward and back movement.

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Use the stand and posing arm for dynamic displays

 

This figure is definitely a high quality figure.  Compared to the DC Multiverse Suicide Squad Harley Quinn, this figure stand out in quality and attention to detail.  The faces, body and outfit really capture the likeness of Margot Robbie playing Harley in that movie.  But like the 1:6 Scale figures, the quality comes at a higher price point.  This figure retails for about $89.00 US (I paid $108 Canadian from a Canadian distributer) so it is a pretty big purchase for a 1:6 scale figure (mass market 6 inch figure retail for about $30 CDN)  But if you have already bought a One:12 Collective figure, you know the quality that is put in it.  If you haven’t and you pick up this figure, you’ll know soon enough.

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Heads and hands swap easily.

 

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Comparing the Mezco Harley Quinn (center) with the Mattel versions.  I think a One:12 version of the one in the dress would be sweet.

 

The One:12 Collective Suicide Squad Harley Quinn figure is out now.  You can check your local comic, toy and hobby shop for availability, or you can order online from various resellers.  I got mine from Canuckables.ca, a Canadian source for toys and collectables.  This is not a plug;  I just saying where I bought it from.  For more information on this line and upcoming and current figures, you could check out www.mezcotoys.com.

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Mezco Toys, Canuckables.ca, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros or anybody else for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.

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Puddin’!

Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: Teen Titans

It’s my first post of 2018, and we are starting off with the latest DC Legion of Collectors  box by Funko.  This month’s theme is the Teen Titans, based off of the “New” Teen Titans comics that ran from 1980 to 1996.  Will this box rate a “Boo Yah!” from Cyborg?  Let’s take a look!

For those unfamiliar with the Teen Titan’s history, here is a little back story.  Originally conceived as a team made up of the sidekicks of various Justice League members, the Teen Titans featured Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy (Green Arrow’s sidekick), Aqualad and Wonder Girl. The group had two series in the 60’s and 70’s (plus a cartoon that omitted Robin) and was mildly successful.  But in the 70’s, the trend was to age up the sidekicks:  Robin and Kid Flash went to college, Speedy became a heroin junkie.  Aqualad… got wet, and Wonder Girl went to comic book limbo as she never really fit into the Wonder Woman comics at the time.

Then, in 1980, the series was revived.  Guided by the creative Team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the series reunited Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash along with Beast Boy (then called Changeling) from Doom Patrol.  It also introduced three new characters:  Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, all who are would be familiar to those who watch the recent cartoon.  The new series was called “The New Teen Titans” because, well, it was new at the time, though most of the characters were pushing 20, so, not teens.  The series saw many of the other Titans returned (Speedy got off the smack, Aqualad was…still wet) and show the evolution of two of its characters: Robin, looking to get out of Batman’s shadow, adopted the name Nightwing, and Kid Flash took over as the Flash after Barry Allen died (he got better 25+ years later), leaving the team and eventually joining the Justice League.  The comic was a hit and even had a crossover with Marvel’s #1 team at the time, the X-Men.

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But enough history, let’s look at the box.  The lid features the silhouette of Nightwing in his 1980’s costume.  I had always called it his disco costume, not only because of the large collar, but also because he was written by Marv Wolfman, which made me think of the 70’s DJ, Wolfman Jack (side note, I have see pictures of Marv and he is not nearly as hairy as my 10 year old self though he’d be.).  Beside, he was the writer; George Perez probably had more influence in the design.

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The lining has artwork featuring the Titan members most would be familiar with (i.e. from the cartoon)  The art seems to resemble George Perez’s work.  I could be wrong.

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First out of the box is the T-Shirt.  There are two variants this month and both feature Beast Boy.  Once has him changing from a tiger, the other (i.e. this one) has him changing from a eagle.  I personally like the Changeling name better than Beast Boy, especially since he was more mature over the course of  the New Teen Titans series.

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There is no flap any more and we only get a patch this time.  Cyborg is featured on the patch in his 80’s design.  It is good that this character has evolved over the years and now is part of the Justice League franchise.

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We get a comic this time, too.  It is a copy of The New Teen Titans #1 from 1980.  IT features a new cover by artist Phil Jimenez, the original story from 1980 and a couple of Who’s Who in the DC Universe pages from 1986 featuring the team and the Titans Tower.  The cover is really nice and the story, well old, still holds up.

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Next we get…figures!  I really like the Funko figures we have been getting and I have said that I wanted more.  There are four different figures available and you get two of them per box:  Cyborg and Starfire are featured here, but Raven and (disco) Nightwing are the other two.  Funko said there may be a way to order the figures you are missing, and I hope these turn up at comic shops and EB Games along with the other original members.

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Finally, we get to the Pop!  It is Nightwing, in all his pop-collared glory!  In the comics, Dick Grayson, looking to distance himself from Batman (and wear big boy pants), decided to give up the Robin identity (which Bruce fills really quick!) and takes the name Nightwing, based on a hero he met/heard about (depending on the story) who protect the streets of the bottle City of Kandor..  Dick used that name exclusively since them, only dropping it to take over as Batman for a few months in the early 90’s and from 2009-2011 (Note.  Kandor did have a modern Nightwing for a while when Power Girl went there for a bit.)

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And that is it for the box.  I really enjoyed this one as we got a lot of cool stuff and figures!  The figures have been improving over the years with these ones slightly larger than the Suicide Squad ones.  They also have ball-jointed arms (Starfire even has a ball-jointed head!)  The Golden-Age Superman figure from last April also had ball-jointed arms, but I never noticed until I compared him to Starfire! And we get a Pop of Nightwing! This is a good buy for both old and new Teen Titans fans.

The next DC Legion of Collectors box ships in March 2018 and will feature the Green Lantern Corps.  I am hoping for a Ch’p pop, Funko If you wish to get the next box, you can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ .  The deadline is 1 March 2018.  By subscribing, you can order boxes from previous months like this one. (supplies are limited.)

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Funko, DC, or Warner Bros for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.

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Interior shot of the comic

 

 

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All the Legion of Collector Funko action figure thus far.  They are getting better.

 

 

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Classic Starfire and Cyborg next to a modern Nightwing (from Mattel)

Movie Review: Justice League

Note:  Yes, this is incredibly late.  I know that.

Justice League is the latest movie in the DC Extended Universe, which started with Man of Steel.  It stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavil Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher, amongst others.  It was directed by Zack Snyder, with an assist from Joss Whedon.  It came out in theatres on 17 Nov 17 in North America.

Justice League takes place after the events of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, with Superman dead and Batman and Wonder Woman looking for the three super beings that were being watched by Lex Luthor,  They suspect a new threat is  coming, and they will need to work together to stop it.

The threat comes in the form of Steppenwolf, a New God from the planet Apokolips, who, with his army of Parademons, intend to conquer the word and turn it in to a hellish landscape like their home world.  This was not Steppenwolf’s first time trying to conquer earth:  thousands of years ago, an alliance of humans, Atlanteans, gods, Amazons and aliens (Green Lanterns) forced him back.  They managed to capture his doomsday weapon and separated it into three parts called Mother Boxes.  The human champions, the Atlanteans, and the Amazons were all  given a box to hide.  The one that the human champions took had been lost, however, only to be discovered in the present, which drew Steppenwolf back to Earth.

Now. Batman, Wonder Woman and three untested heroes; Arthur Curry, the Aquaman; Barry Allen, The Flash; and Victor Stone, Cyborg must face a god and his army from beyond.  Steppenwolf doesn’t see to care, because with ‘No Kryptonians, no Lanterns,” he believes the world will fall.  Can the heroes stop him?  Or will they need to find away to bring back their fallen protector?

This movie has been the subject of a lot of debate. With Warner Bros trying to fast track a “Shared Universe” for its DC Entertainment superheroes as was done for Marvel they seem to want to jam a lot in these movies.  While I believe Man of Steel was necessarily darker to give us a Superman who is not perfect, Batman v Superman was consumed with its darkness, trying to mimic comics from twenty to thirty years ago without the shared history between the characters that fueled those stories.  Wonder Woman was the highlight of that movie and she wasn’t even in the title.  Her solo movie proved that there is room for levity in these “serious comic book movies” (as had been shown in the Marvel movies.)  They have seemed to have learnt that lesson.

The acting was overall good.  Ben Affleck, despite was most want to believe, is a good Batman.  He has some pretty fully interactions with Aquaman when they meet and is less murder-y with the crooks of Gotham (the Parademons dont’ count as that is an invasion) and Affleck plays the weariness of years of crime fighting well.  I want to see more Bat-Fleck in a solo outing to get that history.  Gal Gadot is perfect as Wonder Woman.  SHe represents Wonder Woman in a different way than in the past, playing up the warrior/Amazon side of the character.  And that accent…mmm.  Lynda Carter is still my #1 Wonder Woman, but the more I see Gal, the more I like her in the role.

Out of the rest of the cast, Jason Momoa is the favorite..  His Aquaman is a bad ass, echoing his comic book series during the mid to late 90’s.  The character of Aquaman is frequently the butt of jokes but Jason Momoa’s version may change that, if his solo film is handed right.  Ezra Miller’s flash is much different from what the character has been protrayed as in the comics (and the Flash TV series), being a computer/tech whiz and a fast talker (with fits, in a way)  His Flash suit is great, though and he grew on me as character.  CYborg, played by Ray Wise seemed to have the less character development, but needed it the most.  They touched upon how his father used a Mother Box to save his life, and his reluctance to team up, but he needs to be fleshed out.  Let’s not forget about Henry Cavil who plays Superman who… is dead.  Yes.  Best portrayal of a corpse since Weekend at Bernie’s?

Supporting cast wise, we have Amy Adams back as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Ma Kent, and Connie Nielson as Hippolyta.  J.K. Simmons portrays Commisioner Gordan, making it two comic book supporting characters under his belt (first being J. Jonah Jameson in the Rami Spider-Man trilogy), and Jeremy Irons comes back as Alfred Pennyworth, who seems a bit less sick of Bruce’s shit.  Steppenwolf is played by Ciarán Hinds, who used motion capture to portray the villain.  Steppenwolf’s look is based on his more recent incarnation, which, admittedly is better than the green outfit he wore originally.  I prefer the redesign Jack Kirby did for the Super Powers toy line, myself.

I found the movie good.  I think is it a step in the right direction that the DCEU must take, as long as the suits don’t mess it up trying to reproduce Marvel’s success without the effort and output.  We still have the issue of Eisenburg as Lex Luthor (who they yet to get right in the movies) but perhaps they could recast?  Make the Luthor we saw Alexander Luthor Junior?.  We at least have Aquaman to look forward to and I hope the positive changes for this franchise follows that movie in its production.

Still, while DC‘s products do better on the small screen (Batman:TAS is better than any Marvel made for TV cartoon and the Arrowverse is doing well compared to Agents of Shield) Marvel is the king of the box office.  Warner Bros can change this, but they got to put in the work

 

Justice League is in theatres.

3/5

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Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: Justice League (Movie)

It is November, so it is time for the last Funko/DC Legion of Collector’s subscription box of the year.  To probably no one’s surprise, the current theme is the Justice League movie, coming to theatres 17 Nov 17.  What’s in the box?  How many Pops do we get?  Can Jason Momoa make Aquaman seem cool?  We will answer two of those three questions in the review.

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The box design remains the same.  This time, we get the shadow of Aquaman, as portrayed by Jason Momoa. He is holding his signature weapon, a…Quindent?  It is not a trident, because there is too many prongs.  Maybe it is a giant shrimp fork?  An Atlantean pitch fork for kelp farming?  Hopefully the movie cleans that up.

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The inside liner features the symbols of the six heroes from the movie..  We also get the Justice League movie logo.

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No patch again, but we do get this pin of the Batman.  He is wearing goggles, which makes me think of Nite Owl from Zack Snyder’s other superhero film, Watchmen.  Snazzy pin, though.

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Next it this T-shirt.  This black shirt features a straight up illustration of the heroes in the Justice League movie.  The art reflects their look in the movie, but depicts the characters in a way more akin to the comic book, not going for the actor’s likeness.

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Next, we get stationary, featuring the Flash (think about it!)  These sticky notes feature a running Popified Flash.  All of the pages are the same, so no flip book action, which would have been cool, but more expensive to produce.

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Next we get… a straw!  A subliminal message to all the Zack Snyder haters to “suck it”?  No.  It goes with this!

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It is a Wonder Woman tumbler with a lid.  It is made of a very thick plastic and seems durable.  It is a nice change from the coffee mugs.  I am going to have to fight the wife over this one.

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Now, we get to the Pops.  Yes, we get two of them: Steppenwolf and Aquaman.  Both of these are exclusive to the Legion of Collectors.  First is Steppenwolf.  A general of Darkseid’s army and a vanguard for his invasion forces, he will take you on a magic carpet ride of destruction.  I’m sure he was born to be wild.  Next we get Aquaman..  He comes with a stand to show him bursting out of the water..  He is shirtless and we get to see his tattoos.

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So that’s the box.  This is a really solid one and I like all the items included.  The pop vinyls are probably the highlight for me (as they should be) with the tumbler and T-shirt close behind.  I hope the movie will be as good or better.  I plan to do a review of it next weekend, providing I go see it.

The next DC Legion of Collectors box ships in January 2018 and will feature the (mostly) Teen Titans.  It looks to be based of the comics, not the crappy Teen Titans GO! cartoon.  You cancelled Young Justice of that, WB?   If you wish to get the next box, you can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ .  The deadline is 1 January 2018.  By subscribing, you can order boxes from previous months like this one. (supplies are limited.)

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Funko, DC, or Warner Bros for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.

PS4 Review: Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash

Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash is a third person action shooter developed by Tamsoft (through Honey Parade Games) and published by Marvelous and XSEED Games.  It is a PS4 exclusive and the second Senran Kagura game on that system.  It follows the events in last years Senran Kagura: Estival Versus but is more of a spin-off than part of the Versus series.  It is rated M for Mature.

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The not-so-mysterious Miss R and Mister K

 

Peach Beach Splash finds the girls of the Senran Kagura series transported to a mysterious island.  There, they are greeted by two familiar-looking hosts, Ms R and Mister K (Hebijo/Crimson Squad master Rin and Hanzo instructor Kiriya in disguise).  They tell the girls they are to participate in an ancient Shinobi tradition:  a water gun tournament called Peach Beach Splash, or PBS.  The winners will receive whatever they wish for.  All four groups agree to participate to find out the real purpose of PBS, and why Rin and Kiriya are wearing those ridiculous outfits.

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Ninja girls having water fights in bathing suits?  Why not?

 

The roster for the game is robust.  It includes all the girls from the four schools (Hanzo, Gessen, Hebijo, and Homura’s Crimson Squad.  Ayame, the shop girl playable as DLC in the last game, also joins the Hanzo Squad.  Rin can be unlocked as well as Daidoji, along with the Mikagura sisters, Ryoki, and Jasmine from Estival Versus.  Former DLC characters Naraku and Kagura are also unlockable in the main game.  Also include right off the bat are characters from the Japan-only mobile phone game, Senran Kagura :New Wave:  Souji, Leo and Yuyaki.

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Yuyaki from New Wave G Burst.

 

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Enemies come in various forms.

 

The gameplay is pretty straight forward.  You control a character a group of up to six girls and battle groups of grunts, robots and other teams using water guns.  The water guns come in a variety of styles, such as pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, gatling guns,water bazookas, water grenade launchers and  shower heads.  Each weapon has its strength and drawbacks, like range, strength, clip size and reload times.

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You equip these cards for special attacks or bonuses.  Some of the artwork is…intersting.

 

Unlike the Versus series and the 3DS Senran Kagura games, there is no shinobi transformation or magic.  Instead, you get special abilities from cards you collect by winning battles.  You equip the cards in your character and activate them in battle using the D-Pad  These cards can affect your character’s stats, such as health, accuracy and clip size.  They can also activate a special attack, like flames, lightning or poison that will affect you enemy.  Other cards that can be earned are weapons.  Each Faction has their own effect cards with their girls on them.  Sometimes you will get higher ranking cards, depending on how well you did, the level you played or the difficulty.  You only need one type of each card however and you will get a lot of doubles.

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The doubles have a purpose, however.  You can trade them in for points to level up you cards, weapons of you characters.  Each card gives you a certain amount of experience points, depending on the rarity of the card (From Common to Ultra Rare).  You can use the points to upgrade your favourite girl to give her an edge in battle.

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Humiliate and disrobe opponents in Splash Mode

 

As you beat the other girls in the game, you get an opportunity to initiate  the Splash Mode.  Using a rubber duck squirt gun you target the fallen girl’s head chest or butt to humiliate them.  Score enough before the time runs out and her top or bottom will pop off.  Of course, lights protect their modesty.  Note that, no matter the outfit the character was wearing, they revert to the default white bikini for this mode.

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The strategic lighst keeps things rated M

 

The single player mode have three options.  You have the main story, Single Splash, which follows the PBS storyline: Paradise Episodes, which you unlock through playing the main game, featuring one or multiple characters in a five level arc; and the V-Road Challenge, which you battle different teams to win the tournament.  There is multiplayer, which has Co-Op survival, , Ranked matches for the online ranking system and free matches in which the host can set the rules.

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Each group has their own story.

 

Like the other Senran Kagura games, you have a shop and a dressing rooms to explore.  The Shop have various hairstyles, outfits and card packs, amongst other things, for you to buy.  New items are unlocked by playing through the various modes of the game.  The Dressing room is where you can customize the girls’ outfits.  All the default costumes are white, two piece swim suits but you can change it to their individual swimsuits from Estival Versus.  You can also dress them in their school uniforms and shinobi outfits along with outfits that you buy.  These outfits get shredded as you take damage in the game, like in the regular games.  There are also outfits that become transparent as you get them wet.  The default one is a t-shirt over a bikini and other one can be bought at the store.  There are also accessories as in the other games to be used or bought.  No balloons, though that may be DLC.

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Have fun in Diorama mode!

 

Of course, the popular Diorama mode comes back, with various settings and poses available to create your perfect scene.  Outfits can be set to be ripped or wet, depending on the outfit.  You can also adjust the characters head position and even their size.  The pervy mode is back too, now in a separate section called Intimate Mode.  You can look at, rotate and zoom in on your chosen girl.  You can also grab them, poke them and do really…unacceptable-in-polite-society things to them, which, for some reason, increases their Like meter and enables you to go in for a kiss.  You can also get a good look at the wet cloth physics by spraying the girls with water to get wet drenched.  You can even change the colour of the water by buying different  duck guns in the store.  I didn’t see a yellow colour, thank God…

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Those wandering hands are back.  Again THIS IS NOT HOW TO GO ABOUT MAKING GIRLS LIKE YOU IN REAL LIFE!!!!

 

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Get her wet…with water!  Get you mind out of the gutter!

 

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Some outfits become transparent when wet.

 

There is actually a story in all of this, but it is not as deep as Estival Versus.  During the story for each faction, the girls deal with a conflict with in the group such as Ikaruga realizing graduation will mean leaving her friends and Murasaki getting jealous when her sister, Imu, pays more attention to Miyabi.  The story is fine, but not deep enough to balance out Katsuragi’s groping obsession and Ryona and Ryobi’s…interesting family dynamic.  But, it is what you would expect from a Senran Kagura game.

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The last Hejibo mission has you fight a giant Ryona, echoing the battle in the Estical Versus OVA.

 

The thing you expect is fan service and PBS has that in spades.  In fact, the game is built around the wet cloths physics that was created for Estival Versus.  The outfits combined with either the ripping or the see-thru when wet mechanics is definitely front and center.  I will state that I like this series because it is a little naughty.  My complaint that I have with the other Senran Kagura games still stands with this one:  some of the girls look too young.  Mirai is the one I most have a problem with, though her default bathing suit is modest.  But, with the Splash mode, she is on a two piece like the other girls.  At least the girls are not hacking each other and fighting with swords, knifes and guns.  Well, they do use water guns , but at leat they aren’t trying to kill each other.

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Packs like these will contain a least on rare card

 

There is a lot of DLC coming out for this game.  This comes in the form of new outfits, weapons, accessories and cards.  In fact, the FIrst Week DLC bundle cost over $73 Canadian.  The DLC most are interested in though, are the guest characters.  In Japan, they got Ayane, Honoka and Marie Rose from Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Ikki Tousen, with Sonsaku, Kan’u, Ryofu and, my favourite, Ryomu, and Super Sonico, the busty, pink-haired girl from the anime, Super Sonico and the game Communication With Sonico.  No North American Release datehas been confirmed, but if the Ikki Tousen girls come over, they will probably have their Chinese names.  Super Sonico may have an issue depending on the publishing rights Nitro+ has with JAST USA.

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Ayame joins the main cast for Hanzo.

 

Overall, this is a fun game.  It is nice to see a new game in the series come out so soon after the last one and even better that the localization was fast enough to have a worldwide release within six month of the Japanese release.  With a remake of Senran Kagura Burst coming for the PS4 in 2018, Peach Beach Splash will tide us over until the eventual English release.  It is good to see the series thriving after six years.  It might be a few more years until the next chapter in theses girls’ story, but it will be interesting to see what direction they will take.

3/5

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Soapy!

 

 

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Naraku is one of my favourites

 

 

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Oh, Kat.  Never change…

 

 

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Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: DC’s Most Wanted

Funko has shipped out the latest DC Legion of Collectors subscription box.  This time the theme is DC’s Most Wanted, again focusing on the villains.  Will it be any good?  How many Batman villains take up spots in the box?  Let us see!

The box has the Scarecrow on it.  That’s one.  Nothing out of the ordinary here.

The inside liner features an assortment of villains (8 in total).  Half of them are (surprise) Batman villains. though I think Catwoman should be considered an anti-hero at this point.  The other half are from the rest of the universe, with two Superman villains (Luthor and Bizzaro), Black Manta and Deadshot, who, wait –  started off as a Batman villain!  I’ll count that as two.

There is not flap for the patch and pin this time.  In fact, there is no pin!  The patch does feature Black Manta, an Aquaman villain that deserves some recognition.

Next in the box is a Funko Pop luggage tag… of the Joker.  That’s three!  I know that the Batman Villain box was ten months ago, but there was a Batman themed box last time.  Could you please spread the love, Funko?  A Captain Cold or Kalibak luggage tag would be nice.

Here’s something new!  We get this set of almost chibi versions of DC baddies.  We get  (clockwise from the top left) Harley Quinn, Black Manta, Deathstroke and Sinestro.  I won’t even ding the Batman count because three out of the four didn’t originate in the Batman comics.  Besides, this year is Harley’s 25th birthday so she gets a pass.

Next, we get the t-shirt.  The design shows off six of DC’s major villains each who oppose a major hero.  We got Luthor (Superman), Ares (Wonder Woman), Sinestro (Green Lantern), Black Manta (Aquaman), Joker (Batman) and Captain Cold (the Flash).  All six sure live up to the Most Wanted tagline so I like it.  I won’t ding the count, though I think Circe or Cheetah would be better for a Wonder Woman villain.  Ares was in the recent WW movie though. so I see why he is there.

Finally we get to the Pops.  We get two awesome-looking Pops;  Lex Luthor in his Battle Suit and the man who broke the Bat (that’s 4!), Bane.  Both look great, with Luthor’s battle suit nicely detailed and Bane having his Venom tubes running to the back of his head.  I love the more dynamic poses the Pops have been in recently.

Overall, I liked this box.  The stickers were nice in lieu of the pins, because I really have no use for them (or the patches, for that matter) but the stickers I could put on my laptop.  My one gripe is the abundance of Batman villains so soon after a Batman box.  Batman is popular.  I am sure Batman-related Pops would do well at retail.  This box should have the lesser-known villains: Mirror Master, Fatality, Doctor Psycho, Lord Manga Kahn… okay, maybe not the last one.  This box does have a pretty awesome shirt and some great Pops, though.

The next DC Legion of Collectors box ships November and will be based on the upcoming Justice League movie.  Will it feature something Batman related?  Probably.  I am hoping for a movie Parademon Pop.  Make it happen, Funko!  If you wish to get the next box, you can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ .  The deadline is 1 November 2017.  By subscribing, you can order boxes from previous months like this one. (supplies are limited.)

 

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Funko, DC, or Warner Bros for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.