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.

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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.

 

 

Movie Review- Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It is co=produced by Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios and released by Sony Pictures.  It is the second reboot of the Spiderman franchise which started 16 years ago with Tobey McGuire.  It is a collaboration between Sony Pictures (which wns the movie rights to Spider-Man) and Marvel Studios (which is owned by Disney.)  It stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favereau, Robert Downey Jr and Marissa Tomei

The movie opens up with a salvage crew, rum by Adrian Tooms (Keaton) collecting alien tech in the aftermath of the the climatic events of The Avengers.  When they are forced to halt operations  by a government organisation called Damage Control, Toombs and his crew find themselves out of work and broke.  Using some of the tech that they previously acquired, they decide to keep collecting the tech and make money developing and selling weapons.

Fast forward eight(!) years and we meet Peter Parker, fresh from events in Captain America: Civil War.  Using the new suit from Tony Stark, he patrols Queens, New York, stopping low level crime while waiting for the call to join the Avengers.  Meanwhile, he has to deal with school, friends like Ned Leeds, classmates and his over-protective (and uncharacteristically attractive) Aunt May (Marissa Tomei).

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Spider-Man (Tom Holland) pulls it together.

In the usual Spidey fashion, things start to turns south.  Tooms gang has been selling advanced weapons to street gangs and criminals.  Once Spider-Man interferes with a buy, he gets noticed by Tooms , who has got a powerful flying jetpack which makes him look like a vulture (so, lets call him Vulture).  Spidey fights the Vulture and comes up short, prompting a warning from Tony Start to let the adult heroes handle it.  But he persists and ends up failing and losing Stark’s trust and the suit.  But the Vulture is still out there and Spider-Man has to try to stop him, using only his powers, his wits and his home-made suit.

Spider-Man was a nice surprise addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he appeared in the last Captain America movie.  Fans wanted to see the character in the proper movie universe, so the announcement of a partnership between Sony and Disney/Marvel Studios was met positively, though there was concerns.  People did not want another origin story and we already has a Spidey reboot in 2011.  I am sure some were surprised when it was announced that Tom Holland would take the role from Andrew Garfield.

But Holland fills the role nicely.  He is sufficiently geeky like Peter in the early comics but not as much as Tobey Maguire..  He is wiry and not too buff, but he looks the part.  His Spider-Man acts much like any 15 year-old with superpowers and an overly developed sense of responsibility would act.  He seems to have fun in the role and embodies the character nicely.

The rest of the cast is good too.  Peter’s friends at school, Ned, Liz and Michelle, act like movie school kids act and provide some lighter, down to earth scenes for Peter.  Flash Thompson is changed from a athletic sometime bully to a spoiled rich kid who looks down on Peter.  There is also the adults, with Happy Hogan acting like aa uninterested intermediary between Peter and Tony Stark, who is trying to encourage peter to be better than him.  Then, there is Marrisa Tomei’s Aunt May, which is the most attractive portrayal of Peters doting aunt EVER.  She acts as Peter’s grounding rod, reminding him to act like a normal teenager, blissfully unaware of his double life.  But the film does not hide the fact that she is attractive, with several characters, including Tony Stark, commenting on it.  But let’s be honest:  who wouldn’t stay for breakfast if she’d make you wheat cakes?

Sorry.  Old joke.

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Your Aunt’s hot, Peter. Keep her away from mad scientist with robotic tentacle arms.

But the standout character is The Vulture.  Keaton plays him as a blue collar person.  He works hard for his success and hates it when the rich and powerful steal opportunities from him.  His actions may not be relatable but his motives are:  it’s family.  That gives him a certain likability as a villain.

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Michael Keaton: From Batman to Birdman to Vulture

Overall, this was a good movie.  I am not a big fan of Spider-Man in his high-school days, but this was a good adaptation of it.  The filmmakers were smart enough to realize we did not need a origin rehash so soon after the last one.  The smaller scale of this adventure, as compared to the other MCU movies is good too.  It sets up this new version nicely and hopefully will lead to more movies in this franchise.  Just avoid anything like the dancing Peter from Spider-Man 3.

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Peter loves to eat Aunt May’s Wheat cakes

4/5

 

Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: Batman: the Animated Series

I just got the latest DC Legion of Collectors subscription box from Funko today.  This month’s theme is Batman: the Animated Series, the modern classic that kicked off a wave of superhero cartoons that prized good storytelling over selling toys.   I have been looking forward to this box so lets takae a look.

IMG_1746The box features the silhouette of the Penguin (from his 1997 redesign when the series was revived on the WB) done in blue.  The box is rather large this month.  Other than that, it is just a box.

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Opening the lid, you can see the box’s interior is decorated with art done in the DC Animated Universe style, which Batman: The Animated Series started.

On the top flap are the pin and patch, as always.  The patch features the Joker (in his original design for the series).  As you can see, it is a nice looking patch.  The pin features Catwoman (again in her original design) on top of a diamond-shaped background.

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Under the flap we have the comic book.  It is a reprint of The Batman Adventures #1, which tells stories in the style and set in the BTAS universe.  This was originally published in 1992 and I remember actually having this issue.  It is a self contained story written by Kelley Puckett with art by Ty Templeton and Rick Burchett.

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The T-Shirt this time features a Pop version of the Batman the Animated Series logo.  Done in black, white and red, it looks awesome on the black t-shirt.  I think I have a new favourite shirt.

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Next is the Pop!  We get a Mr Freeze pop vinyl, which was the most requested pop for the BTAS pop line.  Mr Freeze’s colours are cartoon accurate and even has a dome over his head.  The body is well done, if in the standard pop stance, but there is some nice detail with his gun, and the tank on his back.  This definitely the Pop to have for any Batman fan.

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Finally, we get to… the Dorbz Ridez?.  We get a Dorbz Batman along with a little Batmobile for him to ride in.  The Batman can be taken out of the Batmobile easily enough, but the tires to not roll.   I think it is great.  I like Dorbz well enough, it is just I am running out of room with my Pops and this…this isn’t helping.  Oh, the trial of being a collector…

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He looks too happy. Alfred must’ve made cookies.

That is all for this box.  There was a lot of awesome stuff this month.  My favourite has to be the T-shirt, though.  The next DC Legion of Collectors box ships late August and will feature DC’s Most Wanted, centering on the villains.  If you wish to get the next box, you can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ .  The deadline is 1 August 2017.  By subscribing, you can order boxes from previous months like this one. (supplies are limited.)

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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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Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors: Wonder Woman (Movie)- May 2017

Funko’s DC Legion of Collectors have returned once again with a new box in its subscription.  This time, to probably no one’s surprise, the theme is the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.  Will this box be worthy of the Amazon warrior princess?  Read this review and wonder no more…

First we start with the box.  The overall design of the Legion of Collectors’ boxes is still intact, with the featured character’s silhouette on the top, this time being WW.  It is a different outline of Wonder Woman than the Women of DC Box from September of last year, with the tiara looking like the DC Cinematic Universe version.  The inside of the box features pictures of Wonder Woman in various action poses.  They seem to be original drawings (or from design art from the film) and I don’t recognized the art style.

Next, we get to the standard patch and pin.  Of course, both are centered on Wonder Woman this month.  The patch centers around the tiara and eyes of Wondy.  It looks nice and you can tell it’s the movie WW because in the comics, her eyes are blue.  The pin is of the movie logo, with “Legion of Collectors” on the bottom.

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Next we get…socks?  Yes, forgoing a T-shirt or hat, we get these Funko Wonder Woman socks.  They are dark blue with red heels and a picture of a POP Wonder Woman on each sock.  There are WW logos and stars done in a lighter blue.  They are a bit tight on me (I am size 10.5 US in shoes).  I don’t know why they didn’t go with a shirt (I’d unironically rock a cool POP WW shirt.)  Just socks seems like a let down.

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Next we get another Funko product, a Pint-Sized Heroes figure.  These look like tiny versions of their Dorbz figures.  This one comes in a blind bag, but there is only one of Wonder Woman.  It’s cute, but could be a choking hazard to young kids or dogs.

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Finally, we get to the Pops!  We get two this time:  A new Wonder Woman Pop and one of Doctor Poison.  The Wondy one is new, with a more dynamic pose than the one in the Batman V Superman line.  She is getting ready to use her magic lasso with a determined (for a Pop!) look on her face.  Doctor Poison, a character that can be traced to the early stories in the 1940’s, is in a stand-at-ease type pose, similar to the Grand Moff Tarkin Pop for the Smuggler’s Bounty Death Star box, but with her hands in front.  Her outfit looks like the one from the movie and they even gave her the half-face mask she’s been rocking in the trailers.

So, that is all that is in the LoC box for May 2017.  I must admit, I an a little disappointed with the lack of a t-shirt  The socks aren’t really my thing, but they even got a hashtag for wearing them to see the WW movie (#SockItToEmWW).  The two Pops helps to make up for the shirt, and the Pint-Sized Hero WW gives you another Funko item to try.  Still, and I will keep repeating myself, I wish they’d include more of those 3 3/4 inch Funko action figures, like the Suicide Squad ones or the first appearance Superman from March.  A movie WW in that size would have rocked, Funko.  Well, with this subscription, sometimes you get more, sometimes you get less.

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That is all for this time.  The theme for the next DC Legion of Collectors box is Batman: the Animated Series, the classic cartoon from the 1990’s that spawned the DC Animated Universe (Superman: TAS, Justice League, Batman Beyond.)  You can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ in order to get your box.  The deadline is 1 July 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, Warner Bros or the Kingdom of Themyscira for doing this review.  The item was purchased with my own funds.  All opinions are mine and any picture staken are for review purposes only.

Movie Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017)

gits_trailerThere has been quite a few good science fiction animes to come out from Japan.  Ghost in the Shell was one of them.  Starting out as a manga, the anime adapted the source material and went in its own direction.  Using elements from cyber punk like cyborgs and brain hacking, it  became a instant classic around the world.  It is not surprise that someone would want to do a live action adaptation.  It is also not surprising that, even though it is an international collaboration, a Hollywood actress was chosen to star in it.

Ghost in the Shell is an 2017 science fiction movie starring Scarlett Johanssen,  Takeshi Kitano, Michel Pitt, Pilou Asbaek, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche.  It is directed by Rupert Sanders.  It is based on the Ghost in the Shell multimedia franchise, pulling it’s inspiration from the various version, but with an original story.  It is released by Paramount Pictures.

Set in the not so distant future in a culturally diverse city that could be future Tokyo (on not;  they do not specify), it focuses on a woman given the name Mira Killian (Johannsen).  Involved in a terrorist attack which killed her parents and severely maimed her body, she is saved by a company called Hanka Robotics.  She becomes the first fully augmented human, with a robotic body and a human brain.   Employed by a government agency called Section 9, she obtains the Rank of MAjor and leads a squad of mostly cybernectically enhanced personnel.  When a mysterious hacker called Kuze, starts to target and kill employees of Hanka, the Major and her team-mate, Batou, try to track him down.  But, the Major discovered that she as a connection to Kuze, somewhere in the past that she barely remembers.  As she goes deeper into this mystery, she starts to question her memories, even her own name as she discovers a secret at Hanka that they will to anything to keep hidden.

Ghost in the Shell is a fast paced movie that does not forget it’s anime roots.  In fact, there are several shots and action secrets that were based on scenes from the 1995 movie, from the building of the Major’s body to the fight sequence in the water..  The visual are very futuristic, with the city skyline dominated by holographic signs and billboards.   It looks very futuristic but still very much in the realm of probability.

The storyline is good.  There is nothing too out of the ordinary, given the source material.  There are a lot of movies with heroes with a mysterious past with benefactors that are hiding secrets.  The Major is pretty somber but as she questions her past, more of her emotions show.  The rest of Section 9 is used sparingly, save for Batou who acts like he did in the original anime.  They even show how he got his cybernetic eyes.

Now, the major complaint about the movie is the “white washing” of the Major.  They could have easily cast an Japanese woman I the role, but with Hollywood, they would like a marque actress to star in such a project.  ScarJo is pretty popular right now and has international recognition.  The creator of the manga even says he didn’t mind th casting (but that could be the money talking.).  The movie does explain her name change and it will be up to each viewer to decide if they accept it.  But, there is no reason to thing that a future Japan could be more heterogeneous place.  Western films like Blade Runner had a future America where Japanese was spoken widely.  Putting aside the guilt of past colonial aspirations, what is the difference from that setting to the one here, if it is set in future Japan?  Anyone familiar with Ghost in the Shell knows that each iteration is different for each other.  The manga is different from the film.  The film is different from the T.V series.  Even Arise differed from Stand Alone Complex.  This is just a different version of the Ghost in the Shell story.

Ghost in the Shell is not perfect, but it is a decent science fiction movie.  If one can get past comparing it to the anime, it is an entertaining movie.  Scarlett Johannsem is a decent actress, but one cannot argue that she looks good in tight outfits, which she wears plenty in this film.  The call out to the original are well done and Aramaki is pretty badass for an old guy.

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Ghost in the Shell opened 31 March 2017.  It is rated 14-A in Ontario.