Toy Review- Super7 Masters of the Universe Classics Collector’s Choice Wave 2

After a bumpy start, Super7’s Masters of the Universe Classics lines saw their first waves released earlier this year.  This time,  they promised the second wave by late August/early September.  They kept that promise, mostly as wave 2 of both Club Grayskull and Collector’s Choice started shipping the second week in September.  I had ordered Collector’s Choice wave 2 solely on the figure based on Karg from the live action He-Man movie from 1987.  Lets take a look at all of the figures in the set.

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L-R: Dylamug. Karg, Wrap-Trap, and Granita

Wave 2 consists of four figures from various parts of the Masters of the Universe line’s history.  From the aforementioned live action movie (Karg) to characters from the various cartoons (Dylamug and Granita) to unproduced characters finally seeing the light of day (Wrap-Trap), the Collector’s Choice line pulls from various sources  Let’s look at each figure.

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The first figure is a member of the Horde, Dylamug.  He checks off two categories that this line pulls from: unproduced figures from the original line and secondary characters from the Filmation cartoons.  Dyalmug was a planned character who never go out of the development stage.  He was used, however, as a character in the She-Ra cartoon.  Dylamug appeared working with the Horde for three episodes of the original series.

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The Dylamug figure is an entirely new sculpt as there have not been any characters like this produced before.  He main feature is his large face that is in his chest.  The eyes and mouth are on dials so you can rotate them to get his face in various expressions (dial a mug!) He has ball joints at the shoulders, allowing for a range of movement hindered a bit by the wire that runs from his shoulder to his arm.  His elbows can bend over 90 degrees and his legs can move forward and backwards at the hip.  There are no knee joints but they do rotate at the thigh cut and his ankles can move up and down and pivot.

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You can move the dials in his mug to get different expressions.

For accessories, he comes with three Horde crests which go on his forehead.  The first two are cartoon accurate with one being his normal crest and the other representing shooting a laser blast from the crest.  The third is a toy line accurate crest, so he can fit in with the rest of the Classic line Horde figures.

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Next we got Karg.  Karg is a character from the 1987 live action Masters of the Universe movie.  He was a gruesome, yet well-spoken lackey of Skeletor that was introduced in the movie in lieu of more recognizable characters.  He never has a figure in any of the previous line and there has been some interest in seeing characters from the movie get a figure.  So Karg here joins Blade, Sauroid and Gwildor as the only MOTU movie characters to get a figure.

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In hand, Karg is a nice, solid figure.  His suit in the movie was black though and there wasn’t any red on his cape, but overall they go his look down nicely. There could be many reasons for the colour change, but I think it allows the Four Horsemen (the team that sculpts/designs these figures) to show more detail.  His skin is  a sickly green here instead of pale as in the movie (maybe for him, it’s a healthy green as the pale look didn’t look healthy either) and his hair is a darker shade of blonde.  According to Wiki Grayskull (here), this is based on his look in the comic book adaptation of the movie by Star/Marvel Comics.)  He looks nice and even has the hook hand as in the movie.  But, honestly the movie was so long ago and I’m just glad we have a figure of this guy.

Articulation-wise, he is like most other male Classics figure.  The head, while on a ball joint, moves left and right al the way around, but on a bit up and down due to the hair.  The ball-jointed shoulders ge ut a good range of motion even with the rubber pauldron on his shoulders.  His elbows bend 90 degrees, his wrist rotate and has the newer joint to move left or right.  Legs can go forward and back, out and in, knees bed to a right angle, there is a boot cut to allow some rotation, and the ankle can move up and down but no ankle pivot!

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For accessories, he has two (the hook, which is non removable, does not count.)  He comes with a blaster and a knife, which is assume is a laser knife as the blade is blue.

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Next is Granita, the sole female in this wave.  Granita is a female from the Rock Person race, the same as Stonedar and Rokkon.  While Stonedar and Rokkon were in the original toy line, Granita was not, only appearing in a couple of episodes of the She-Ra cartoon along with the other two.

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Granita looks like she did in the episodes of She-Ra that the Rock People were in.  Her red and pink suit, gold belt, blue skin and green hair are straight from the Filmation designs.  Her articulation is similar to the Hawke figures from the last wave but much more tighter.  Her head is on a ball joint, but her hair doesn’t allow for much movement .  Her arms are the same as Hawke, down to the newer wrist joints.  She has a joint below the breasts in lieu of a waist swivel ,again like Hawke.  Her hip, knee and ankle joints are the same too, complete with ankle pivot.  The right arm swivel on mine a bit looser than I’d like, but definitely a tighter figure than Hawke.

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Accessory-wise, she comes with rock armour to complete her look.  The pieces snap or peg onto her back, arms and legs to make her looks like the other rock people figures.  The pieces stay on pretty good and can actually help to stand your figure better.  She also comes with a laser gun similar to Stonedar and Rokkon.  Like the Classics versions of those figures, you can have her hold it in her hand or plug it into her belt.

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Belt guns are all the rage in Etheria this year.
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Granita comes with rock armour and this extra piece.

The original Stonedar and Rokkon figures were designed to be able to change into rocks (because in the mid 1980’s the most popular things were toys that change and rocks) and the Classic version included pieces to mimic this.  Granita is no exception.  With all her rock armour on, you take this extra piece and bend the figure over to get… a rock.

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Thrilling.

The 1980’s were a simpler time, that’s for sure.

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Lastly, we have Wrap-Trap.  Also known online as Fear-Ro or the much simpler Horde Mummy, Wrap-Trap was an unproduced figure from the original toy line.  Over the years, He-Man fandom have comes across the original concept art for this character and at last, he see an official release.

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Seemingly a mostly new sculpt, Wrap-Trap  has off-white mummy wrapping over a light green skin and red eyes.  His Horde harness is sculpted on, which might disappoint some.  His articulation is nice and tight and are not hindered much by the sculpted  He does have the newer wrist articulation and, unlike Karg, he  has ankle pivot joints.  He is a fierce-looking mummy.

He has two accessories.  First is a scimitar, done to look old and worn.  The blade is a dull, metallic grey and tha handle is gold.  Next we have Wrap-Trap’s crossbow.  Crossbows are a thing in the Horde and every humanoid Horde member has got one.  Wrap-Trap’s has an Egyptian feel to it with the gold and metallic blue, winged beetle motif.  Say what you will about the Horde, but, at least with the crossbows, they allow you to be you.

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For the best of the wave, i will have to go with Dylamug.  I was all set to really like Karg, and I do, but Dyalmug, a character that I wasn’t so thrilled about when he was announced, impressed me with how well it was made.  His action feature works well and it can stand on his own.  There is not really a dud amongst these figures, either.  Granita make be the weakest, but the design and look of the figure is good and the accessories included just to make her be able to turn into a rock shows how Super7 and the Four Horsemen are dedicated to give us figures we’ll like

So, that was wave 2 of the Masters of the Universe Classics Collector’s Choice.  These figures have been anticipated  since last fall, and, with all of the wait we had for wave 1, I am glad we only had to wait six months from actually ordering them. (unless you one of those you ordered even before the first wave oc Collector’s Choice or Club Eternia., then, over a year…)  While the wave three of Club Grayskull was revealed back in July, we have yet to see the next iteration of this subscription.  I hope that changes next week as Super 7 will be at New York Comic Con.  Depending on who they are offering, I might go with the Filmation line as it would be the only way to get a Fisto without paying $200 for a loose figure.

Masters of the Universe Classics Collector’s Choice Wave 2 was purchased from http://www.Super7.com as a preorder.  They are no longer available on that site, but could be found on at websites like Big Bad Toy Store or on eBay.  Check back with Super7 website in the near future for more information on the next round of preorders.

This Review is for entertainment purposes only. I have no affiliation with Mattel, Super 7 or any other website mentioned.  These items were purchased by me with my own money. I have not received any payment for this review. All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.

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“And I thought She Ra was a pain in the disk drive!”

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Review: Mezco One:12 Collective Wonder Woman Collectable Figure

Mezco has continued with its One:12 Collectables line, licensing characters from various mediums and producing high quality figures.  With the Suicide Squad Harley Quinn figure from earlier this year, they has shown that they can do female figures well.  Before the Harley figure was even released, they announced that they would be doing a Wonder Woman figure based on Gal Gadot version from 2017’s Wonder Woman movie.  Much like the Harley figure, it was delayed for almost a year.  They finally released the figure in August 2018, and hopes are high that it is as impressive as the Harley Quinn figure, if not more.  Let’s find out

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The front of the box features the movie “WW” logo on a blue background.  In case that wasn’t enough to let you know who you are buying, they have Wonder Woman in gold lettering, along with the One:12 logo and DC logo (in dark blue.)

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The back showcases the contents of the box and gives us some action shots using the figure.

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Removing the outer slip cover, you see a window box with the figure ang accessories displayed.  The arm for the stand is in a tray behind the one with the figure.  You can see my sword came loose and fell down, since I had opened the figure earlier.

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In hand, the figure looks nice.  The likeness is close enough to actress Gal Gadot (some may say otherwise) that it is easily identifiable as her incarnation of the character.  Her bustier is molded plastic, not cloth like Harley’s outfit, which makes sense for the figure.  Her skirt is cloth, though I wish it was make from a more leather like material.  Her straps are plastic as is the rest of her outfit.  Her articulation is less than the Harley Quinn figure, with Wonder Woman missing a torso joint and waist joint.  Maybe I they used some sort of material for the bustier, but that could introduce slippage and result in a “wardrobe malfunction” with the figure.  I’m sure they could have did something, but it is fine as it is.  The rest; head arms wrists and legs are the same as Harley.  You can get a decent range of motion with the figure, though mine can’t stand up without the base.  Double jointed elbows and knees would be better for posing, but for a premium figure meant for display, this fine.

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For accessories, she comes with six pairs of hands (including the ones on her, two heads (ditto), a sword, shield, a coil lasso and a bendy, plastic string that supposed to be used as the lasso un action.  As I stated earlier, the heads are a good likeness.  The sword and shield are well done and detailed, imitating the ones in the movie. her hands come in two fisted, two gripping and two open hands.  The are firm but  rubbery and pop on and off easily, but fit tight.  The gripping hands can firmly hold her sword with out it felling you might break the sword or the hand. The coiled rope fits on her belt easily, as does her sword.  The “uncoiled” lasso, (though more like “magic rope,” as it is not tied in a lasso) is a lighter colour than the other one, perhaps indicating it is glowing like in the movies.  Sure you can have her hold it and bend it around, but it should look like a lasso.

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Wonder Woman next to the One:12 Collective Suicide Squad Harley Quinn.

All that is fine, but scale wise, this figure loses me.  The One:12 Wonder Woman is about the same size as the One:12 Harley Quinn.  Now, in the comic, Wonder Woman is supposed to be tall and is taller than Harley Quinn.  “But these are the movie version,” you say.  True, and Margot Robbie is 5’5″ and Gal Gadot is 5’10”.  Even factoring in Harley’s 4″ heels, Wonder Woman is in heels (at least 3″.)  As I type this, I realize Wondy is a bit taller, but I think she should be a bit more bigger.

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Mattel version (left) next to the Mezco version (right)

In the end, this is a high quality figure and you get what you pay for.  The design, sculpt, accessories and likeness all out due the cheaper mass marketed figures.  There are other high end Wonder Woman figures in this scale for this version and there are varying opinions on which one is the best; I think as a collector of high end DC specific/superhero figures in general, you can’t really go wrong with this one.

The One:12 Collective Wonder Woman figure was released earlier this summer and may be found at comic book/collectable shops, toy/comic conventions or online.  I picked mine up at the Kingston ToyCon from Silver Screen Toys and Collectables for about $104 Cdn before taxes.  Thanks for reading!

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Comparing her to the Mattel DC Multiverse Dark Knight Strikes Back Wonder Woman (left) and the DC Collectables DC Bombshells Wonder Woman (right)

 

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received anything from Mezco Toys, Silver Screen Toys and Collectables, Kingston ToyCon, 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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Anime Review: Keijo!!!!!!!!

It’s been a while, but I couldn’t be bothered to write a review.  I’m ready, now and  it’s time once again to look at an anime that I am currently watching.  I will give a brief synopsis of the series, my thoughts on the plot, animation and voice acting/dubbing, as well as any content of the anime that might get a WTF! moment.  Boy, this one has some.  Let s take a look at KEIJO!!!!!!!!

KEIJO!!!!!!!! (yes, that is a lot of exclamation points), which means “competitive girl”, is an anime based on a Japanese sports manga of the same name.  Also called “Hip Whip Girl”,  it was made by XEBEC and licensed in North America by Crunchyroll, with Funimation producing a dubbed version.  This review is of the Funimation dub.

L to R Kazane Aoba, Sayaka Miyato, Nozumi Kaminashi, and Non Toyoguchi

In the fictional all-women sport of Keijo, competitors must  force their opponents off of floating platforms into the water.  The catch is, this must be done using only their breasts and butts.  Former gymnast Nozumi Kaminashi joins the sport in hopes of becoming rich, helping her family escape the poverty she’s known all her life.  Despite this, she easily gets along with her friend, Sayaka Miyata and their two roommates, Kazane Aoba and Non Toyoguchi.  Despite a less that spectacular start, she attracts the attention of the instructors and Elite students alike  with her skill, determination and quick mastery of the dreaded “Vacuum Butt Cannon.”  Just… just let that sink in.  Nozumi and her friends soon find themselves among the elite and training to take part of the East-West Challenge against a rival  Keijo school

The character of Nozumi is a likable main character.  Sure, her motivation is money, but it is help her family.  She is very friendly and open to the other girls on her team. She can be a bit ditzy and a little too forward, but she means well and is very determined.  Her friend Sayaka is more serious, having left a promising career in judo to take up Keijo.  This created a rift between her and her family, but she is determined to make it and be successful.  She is also self-conscious of her bust size as compared to Nozumi and the others.  Their two roommates, Non and Kazane are an unlikely pair.  Non is very clumsy but nice and tries to hide her country accent.  Kazane is quiet and shy, but she is very knowledgeable about Keijo and even has an ability to read her opponent’s weaknesses.

Keijo trainees learn to use their boobs and butts.

The girls find themselves at odds with members of the elite class at first.  Girls such as Hanabe and Mio take a liking to Nozumi, with Mio making some unwanted sexual advances (because what’s an anime without a predatory lesbian, right?).  They eventually warm up to the Nozumi’s friends, accepting them when they move up to the Elite Squad.

Mio being friendly with Nozumi.

Now, what’s a fighting anime without special attacks, right?  The world of Keijo has that, as hinted at with Nozumi’s Vacuum Butt Cannon.  Yes, somehow her ass is able to create a vacuum to propel her butt attack, with the added bonus of shedding their bathing suits.  Other moves have names such as Heat Seeking Butt Missile, Butt Gatling, and Titty Hypnosis.  All these have flashy effects and shows this anime does not take itself seriously.

KAME-HINEY-HA!! Or something…

The Funimation dub I’ve watched is good.  The voices seem to fit the characters and synchs up well with what is on-screen.  The only nitpick would be how they portray Non’s country accent.  They give her a Southern twang in the dub.  I guess it would be hard to convey what the Japanese would consider a “country bumpkin” accent in a another language.  I guess a southern drawl would be better than, say, a North Dakota dialect (you betcha!)

Here’s what you all came for…

THE WTF FACTOR- Medium.  Which the premise of being a sport in which you attack with boobs and butts, you know KEIJO!!!!!!!! would raise a few eyebrows.  Close-ups of the girls’ breasts and butts are common, especially when they are competing.  Some of the girls (Mio) get handsy with the other girls, as is common in  anime fanservice.  Surprisingly, though, there is only partial nudity.  The girls go from one piece bathing suits to bikinis as the series progresses and of course, there are changing room scenes, shower and bath scenes and of course wardrobe malfunctions due to special attacks, but all the naughty bits are covered up.  I was surprised there wasn’t an occasional topless scene of fan service-y peek in the shower, as there was in a similar girl sports anime, Wanna Be the Strongest in the World (women’s wrestling, BTW).  It wouldn’t have been unwelcome, to be honest.  All the girls are adults in the anime (have to be 18 to be in Keijo) and none of them skewed young.  I wouldn’t watch this in mixed company as it is and a little T&A wouldn’t have mattered.

Nozumi prepares to use the Vacuum Butt Cannon

KEIJO!!!!!!!! is a solid, if different, anime series.  It is one that you come for the fan service, but stay for the characters and story.  I am sad to hear that there will not be a season 2 and that the manga has stopped in Japan, but hopefully international interest may revive the series.  The series is streaming on both Crunchyroll (subtitled) and Funimation (dubbed) with all the episodes available.

Toy Review- Super7 Masters of the Universe Classics Collector’s Choice Wave 1

 

 

Super7 is a company out of San Francisco, California that specializes in pop culture products.  They are most famous for producing merchandise based on licensed items like Aliens, Street Fighter, Universal Monster and more.  They have recently obtained the license for Masters of the Universe from Mattel, producing new figures in the original 5″ style, as well as reimagined “retro” figures in the lines of classic Kenner-style 3 3/4″ figures (i.e. the original Star Wars figures) from the 70s and 80s.  They haven’t been the only company churning out new He-Man figures in the past 9 years, though.

In 2009, Mattel (the company that owns the Masters of the Universe characters) started to sell figures based on the classic Masters of the Universe characters through a subscription on its website, mattycollector.com.  Their goal was to release a updated version of all the classic MOTU toys by the end of the line’s run.  They preceded to do so, pacing them out over 6 years, interspersed with characters from other related media as well as some new characters or some based on unused concept art.  The line officially came to an end in 2015,but it continued as two separate lines; Collector’s Choice, continuing the Classics line with characters from outside the original toy line; and Club Grayskull, releasing new versions of classic characters, but done to closely resemble their look in the original Filmation cartoon.  Both lines had six figures in the initial run but shortly before San Diego Comic Con 2016 (where upcoming figures were usually showcased) Mattel announced it was closing down Mattycollector and awarding the license to produce Master of the Universe Classics lines to Super7.

That was in 2016 and fans of the line waited to see what Super7 was going to offer them. First, Super7 produced a line called Masters of the Universe Classics Ultimates, which were re-releases of some of the older figures, but with additional weapons and alternate heads that were added as bonuses with other figures or with alternate versions of the same character during the original run.  These were released in 2017, with fans liking them for the most part, but there were some concerns with the plastic being too hard or issues swapping the heads.  There were also some Power Con convention exclusives (three repaints, three new characters) that suffered alternately from stiff  or loose joints.  Then they offered the new wave of Collector’s Choice and Club Grayskull figures in May of last year.  The original delivery day was Sept of 2017, then November, then the new year.  Quality control issues cropped up and Super7 was determined to release the best version of the characters they could.  Finally, they shipped in Feb 18 and I got a set of the Collector’s Choice (because I prefer the Classics design than the less detailed Filmation look.)IMG_1879

Super7 first set of The Collector’s Choice line consists of four figures.  Unlike the Mattycollecter subscription mode, in which you commit to 13 or so figures while only seeing the first three, Super7 was upfront on the four figures being offered.  The packaging is the same as the original Classic line, with the yellow sky and green/grey bricks decoration the packaging.  This is so they can fit in with the collection of those who keep them mint or card (not my style).  The back is similar to those of the original Classics line, with cross sell art showing the characters from this set as well as the four from Club Grayskull.  Unlike the other Classic lines, there is some new art on the side of the card, showing the packages figure.  It also has a bio card (missing from the Collector’s Choice wave from Mattel.)  Depending on your own “head canon,” or if you only go with what was written in official publications or cartoons, you might enjoy these bios or dismiss them.  There is nothing too shocking that hasn’t been mentioned before, like Man-At-Arms turning into a Snakeman or the Unnamed One, the big bad behind the Snakemen, being a evil sorcerer from Orko’s race (all in previous bios/mini-comics)

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Both “facts” mentioned above are in Fang-Or’s bio.

Now lets look at the figures:  First up is Hawke

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Hawke is an Avionian, a race of flying Simian led by her brother and Heroic Warrior Stratos.  Obviously, Hawke got the looks in the family because she is less “ape-y” than her brother, and I guess all female Avonians are like this (that’s a helmet on her head apparently.)  She is based on her Filmation appearance as Stratos was the only Avonian in the original toy line.  She also appeared in the 2002 version and, despite a different character design, also appeared more like a normal woman than her brother.

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The figure articulation is fairly typical of figures in this size and is mostly the same on all female figures in this line.  The head is on a ball joint allowing standard movement and is removable (more on that later).  The shoulder joins are also on ball joints and can move up  and down and up to the sides.  The elbow is a single joint with about a 90 degree bend and the wrist rotate and can bend in and out, with is a new feature seem mostly on the Club Grayskull figures.  Legs are ball jointed at the hips, there is a boot cut swivel at the top of her boots, the knee are single jointed and the ankles can bend and has some pivot.  The only different joint is the torso swivel  mid chest underneath her breasts.  Most female figures have the torso cut at the waist.  The joints on my figure were good, with none of them being too tight or loose.IMG_1885

She comes with three accessories:  A sword (as seem in the picture of Hawke above), a rather large gun (a smoke screen gun, probably from the cartoon) and an extra blonde head,  This head belongs to Delora, Stratos wife (though some sources say sister.  Maybe it’s both?).  People with the forethought (and extra cash) to order two of her could have two separate characters to display, if they choose to.  Both heads are pretty much the same, with the hair color being the only difference.

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Next up is a character from one of the original pack in mini-comics, Lodar

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In the story titled “Slave City”, Lodar was the ruthless leader of an army of Kolbolds that capture people and brought back to their underground city.  He-Man was captured by them and forced to fight in the arena, but overcame his opponent then took on Lodar himself.  Lodar stood toe to toe with He-Man exchanging blows but also cast magic blasts which He-Man turned back on him.  Lodar was one of many characters featured in the mini-comics that never got a figure.

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Lodar is made from the standard figure buck seen throughout the line.  The head is new as is the chest piece, but with Beast-Man’s arm pads converted into shoulder pads. The rest of him is reused molds but they recreate his look from the comic nicely.  His main weapon is a back mace, see before in the weapons included with Castle Grayskull (but in silver).  Articulation is similar to Hawke, but with an ab crunch and waist swivel.  He also has the extra wrist articulation.

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His other accessory is a set of chains.  This enables you to recreate scenes from the story and have Lodar have He-Man chained up.

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Like so.

The third figures is this guy, Quakke

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Hailing from the often forgotten 1989-1990 The New Adventures of He-Man cartoon and toy line, Quakke is a member of the Evil Mutants, a faction led by Skeletor trying to conquer known space and take over the planet Primus, protected by He-Man and the Galactic Protectors.  Yes, it is He-Man in space..  Quakke uses his “Grabatron Meteormace” (I can’t make this stuff up) to create tremors to defeat his opponents.

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The figure’s design is faithful to the design of his original figure (from what I’ve see on Google) and has a futuristic look to it.  He is different from the usual barbarian look of most figures, but remember, even the original toys has futuristic vehicles and characters like Roboto.  His armour has a lot of wire sculpted into it with a seismograph screen built in.  His helmet is cracked and it look like even his face is slightly lopsided like the helmet.  His articulation is standard, with his ab crunch hindered by the armour overtop of it.  He also lacks the extra wrist articulation, which would have been handy for holding his oversized weapon.

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His Grabatron Metoermace is his only weapon but it comes in two parts.  The first part is his staff, with is a gun metal grey and fits in his right hand with the top part resting in the palm of his left hand.  The other part is a meteor itself, which fits in (and easily pops out) of the grabbing part of the staff.  The meteor even splits open, revealing  a mechanical interior.

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Lastly, we have the newest character in this set, the Snakeman, Fang-Or.

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Appearing as a background character in a large battle scene in one of the more recent mini-comics produced for the Classics line, Fang-Or is the Snakemen’s mechanical expert.  Apparently he was able to learn quickly under the tutelage of the transformed Man-At Arms.  He is a well designed figure with  new armour and belt pieces on a Snakeman body.  The Head is a gruesome sight, with his mouth wide open and his pointy fangs on display. HIs extra head features retracted fangs.  His articulation is in line with what we’ve seen, but his armour does not hinder his ab crunch, but he lacks the extra wrist joint.

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He has a few accessories that are all well done.  He has a wicked looking sword, which fits easily in his right hand.  He also comes with a winged snake pet, which, while neat looking really has no place to go on him, unless you carefully balance it on Fang-Or.  Finally, being a mechanic, he comes with tools.  The wrench and hammer all have snake designs incorporated into the tools,  The screwdriver does not, but it is just a screwdriver. They are all panted gold with brown handles.

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Fang-Or’s accessories.  Missing is the screwdriver, because it fell out of the package and I didn’t notice it until later.
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You can get his pet snake to balance on his shoulders, if you are careful.

 

Overall, this is a great initial set from Super7.  The figures look great  I didn’t have joints that were too loose or tight and my paint apps were spotless.  The weakest figure, in my opinion is Hawke, because of the minimal detail on her.  That can be chalked up to her design, since it was based on the Filmation version.  Hawke could have been in either line (Collector’s Choice or Club Grayskull and not be too out of place.  The best was Fang-Or, despite being the newest character and not having a previously known backstory.  He is still an awesome looking figure and we can always use more Snakemen to fill King Hiss’ ranks.

Both Master of the Universe sets (Collector’s Choice and Club Grayskull) waves were preorder only, which means you can only find these figures on reseller websites or eBay.  Expect to pay extra for those figures.  The preorder for the second wave ended mid-March, with a expected delivery date of late Fall.  A third line is planned but will no be announced until the summer at the earliest and not available for preorder until some time after the announcement.

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Why aren’t the Avionian women as hairy as the men? Almost like they use the same logic as the WoW races (males ugly, females hot.)

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received any payment for this review. All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.

Anime Review: A Certain Magical Index (Series)

Hello.  Once again I dive into a topic that I like, but I really have little knowledge about:  anime.  I look into various series that I have watched, either recently or a while ago, and give my take on them.  I will also look into aspect that arise from cultural differences from Japan and the West, as well as any “WTF” content that may be in the anime.

A Certain Magical Index is a series based on a Japanese light novel of the same name.  The anime was produced by J.C. Staff and released by NBC/Universal Japan (formerly Genon.)  There are two seasons of 24 episodes each along with a movie continuation.  It is licensed in North America by Funimation is available subtitled on Cruncyroll and dubbed on Funimation Now streaming services.

The story is set in a fiction Japanese city called Academy City.  It is a place were students with special powers (called ESPers) go to live, go to school and learn how to best use their power.  In this universe, special abilities like, telepathy, teleportation and electromagnetism are real and scientifically explainable.  Students are tested to see if they have the potential to be an ESPer.  If they do, Academy city trains them and assigns them levels, with the highest being Level 5.  Some, however, have the potential but never tap into those powers.  They are Level 0.  Our protagonist, Touma Kamijo, is one of them.

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Touma is well, meaning, likeable but just can’t catch a break.

Touma Kamijo is a typical anime high schooler, in the regards that bad and embarrassing things tend to happen to him.  Constantly late, forgetting his homework or embarrassing himself in front of the opposite sex, you’d almost think that bad luck was his super power.  Despite being labeled as a Level 0, Touma actually has a powerful ability; with his right hand, he can cancel out any super power.  Whether it touching someone using an ability, touching an object, or cancelling out an attack, he can disrupt the powers of other ESPers.  Unfortunately it cannot cancel out his own dumb luck, and that’s how he runs into Index.

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Index may be mean to Touma from time to time, but she is helpful and she likes him very much.

 

Index is a young nun from the English Puritan Church.  In her head she has 103,000 magical tomes, called the Index Liborium Prohibitorum, giving her access to all sorts of magical abilities.  When she mets Touma, she is on the run from fellow wizards from the Church.  Touma finds out that magic is real, that Academy City is at odds with the various magical Churches, and that his right hand can disrupt magic as it does the “scientific” ESPer abilities.  Touma takes Index in, reluctantly becoming her guardian and becoming more involved in the intrigue between the magic community and Academy City.

Throughout both seasons, Touma deals with the various churches. Caught in a war between the English Church and the Roman Orthodox Church, he fights off bloodthirsty nuns and various magical agents.  He also prevents various magical attacks against Academy City.  That’s not to say Academy City does not have its dark side.  In one story arc, he finds himself caught up in an experiment using one Level 5 ESPer, Accelerator, killing off clones of another Level 5 to reach the next level.  With the help of the girl who was cloned, Mikoto Misaka, they try to stop the experiment and save the clones, who are not the hollow, emotionless dolls that the experimenters believe them to be.  It is definitely an actioned-packed anime.

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Mikoto Misaka is a Level 5 “Railgun” and is one of the more interesting supporting character. Think she’ll get a spin-off?

The subtitled and dubbed version are equally good.  The translated subtitles are easy to follow and won’t leave you confused.  The dub is well done too, with the voice actors portraying the characters well.  There is no time in which you think the voice doesn’t sound right.  I think that the Crunchyroll version is a bit censored, which is often the case on that service.

As it is an anime set in Japan, it follows that the setting would reflect normal Japanese life as much as possible.  While the city is a bit futuristic and the buildings look like more modern cities,  there are still some uniquely Japanese aspects.  Bath houses (not seedy ones), vending machine serving hot drinks in a can and Japanese  shrines are all present.  The school runs 5 and a half days like in Japan and they go to school until the end of July.  None of this is jarring as you know it’s a Japanese show.

In this anime, however, the Western churches are sued as adversarial, in not downright evil organizations.  Given the setting of the anime having magic and super science, the Churches are  placed on the magic side.  They have different, yet similar names to their real world counterparts .  Although the English church is called the Puritan Church, they have nuns, which the real Puritan do not have (or magic for that matter, but, I’m sure you got that) so it is more similar to the Anglican Church, in that respect.  The Roman Orthodox Church is based on the Roman Catholic Church, an organization with its own secrets.  I am not sure if the changes to the name were done for the anime proper, or just the subtitled and dubbed versions.  In any case, some with religious sensitivities may be offended.

The WTF factor: Low-Medium As I said before, Toma has bad like, and that sometimes translates into getting in embarrassing moments with the opposite sex.  Whether it’s bursting in on Index changing, running face first into the boson of a Busty villain or inadvertently getting a peak up the skirt of a Misaka clone, these are fan service-y moments that you find in anime.  Add to that is the fact all the girls he runs into seem to develop a crush on him.  This includes Index, who, although her age is 15, looks younger.  There is some partial nudity, however and such scenes are short and played for humour.

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This is as fan servicey as it gets.

A Certain Magical Index was one of those animes that I hear of but never really looked into it.  I had a passing knowledge of its spin-off, “A Certain Scientific Railgun,” but only due to some merchandise that I saw.  Overall, I am glad I gave this one a chance. All 48 episodes and the movie are available on anime streaming services Crunchyroll and Funimation Now.

This Review is for entertainment purposes only.  I have not received any payment for this review. All opinions are mine and any pictures taken are for review purposes only.

 

 

 

Subscription Box Review: Legion of Collectors Green Lantern Corps

We are back, with what is. sadly, the last box in the Funko DC Legion of Collectors Box.  The final box features the emerald protectors of all  3600 Sectors of the Universe, the Green Lantern Corps.  So, don’t be a “poozer” and read on as we look into the box!.

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The cover features the silhouette of Green Lantern Hal Jordan on the box.  The Legion of Collectors logo is there, as always.  Moving on.

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The liner features some Silver-Age artwork, featuring Kilowog, Hal Jordan and Sinestro in his classic outfit and in his Green Lantern duds.  Once again, it looks nice.

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No patch or pin this time.  The t-shirt is this black Green Lantern shirt, featuring Hal, John Stewart and Guy Gardner flying out front, with other Green Lanterns hanging in the background.  The art gives me an early 90’s vibe, I’d say around the Green Lantern: Mosaic era (mostly because there is no Kyle Rayner.)  It also looks like Hal has grey in his hard, as he did in the comics at that time.  It’s a good shirt and the not pop style is appreciated.

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We also get this lantern-shaped stress toy.  It is fairly squeezeable and can be used as you worry over how you’ll get your DC pop vinyl fix without the subscription.

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Next, we get this set of Green Lantern Pint-Sized heroes.  We get these ridiculously cute version  of main GL Hal Jordan and his arch-nemesis Sinestro.  Sinestro is even in his modern Sinestro/Yellow Lantern uniform.  These always give be a Fisher-Price Little People vibe, which, to be honest, is a bit weird.  Still, more nic-nacs for your shelf.

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For the last Pops in this subscription, we get a three pack!  We get three Green Lanterns; Ch’p, Guy Gardner, and Kilowog.  Each figure is a different sculpt and size, which gives you three unique Green Lantern Pops for your collection.  I was personally hoping for a Ch’p pop and Funko came through.  You got to love a sentient chipmunks wielding a power ring!

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This box is what a  Green Lantern Corp box should be.  With so many different, unique characters showing up in the comics over 60 years, the only way they do the box wrong was to only focus on Hal Jordan and Sinestro.  Both Guy Gardner and Kilowog have their fans and Ch’p was too of a unique character to not make into a Pop.  The shirt, stress toy and Pint-Sized heroes were all great, but the Pops make the box, as it should be.

Sadly, this is the last box in the Legion of Collectors subscription.  You can go to https://legionofcollectors.com/  to find out more, but they haven’t really said what the next step is.  Those who had a subscription can log in and buy this or any other box that they have left in stock.  Supplies are limited, though.

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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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?