Monday, March 30, 2009

Spectacular!


I got a whole bunch of The Spectacular Spider-Man Happy Meal toys this month. Plus here's a few other less-Spectacular-in-name-only gets.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade: Rave Master

A long time ago I read an online interview with some of higher-ups at Tokyopop where they indicated that they were more than willing to alter a Japanese series they acquired if it meant achieving a broader Western audience. The most noteworthy instance of this would be their laughable "tricked-out" edition of Initial D. That wasn't the only time Tokypop tried something like that. There was also Groove Adventure RAVE which Tokyopop brought over under the title Rave Master. I have no idea why they chose to change the name.


Their dubbed version had all the hallmarks of a series produced by 4Kids complete with a hilariously awful English theme song. I don't know if the the series in its original form was any good or not but I can say Tokyopop's version is near unwatchable. Their attempts to pander to what they thought children wanted didn't quite succeed and the show languished in general obscurity on Cartoon Network where its final episodes aired in the daybreak hours of Sunday morning in 2005. It's too bad though. Tokypop obviously had high hopes for the series and it seems like a bigger marketing push was in the works.


Hasbro showed off a toy line based on the series at the 2004 Toy Fair. Regardless of my opinion of Rave Master, I'm disappointed that these figures didn't get a release. The figures would have made use of interchangeable parts, a feature that's more common with Japanese toys than American ones. So in a sense it's like you're getting two versions of a characater in a single set. Plus I just like the way they look. There's not enough good looking anime based toys widely available in North America. That's especially true these days.


So why am I bringing up Rave Master now? The show is back on the air as part of the Sci-Fi Channel's Ani-Monday block. It's still the same cloying Tokypop version but now it's being aimed at a very different type of audience. It's really bizarre when you think about it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Victory Pose


Looks like I spoke too soon about the sky falling. Action Figure Insider has this news: "Disney is producing a Season 18 and Bandai America will continue to develop action figures and toys for fans and collectors of all ages." Once again the Rangers prove that they're anything but easily defeated. The same report also has news of Wizard Universe having a poll to choose the next chase figure. The Mighty Morphin Pink Ranger seems like a shoe-in to win.

Friday, March 20, 2009

So Say We All

Well the series finale of Battlestar Galactica aired just a little while ago. I've spent some time letting it all sink in.

Going in there were a lot of unresolved mysteries to address and the answer to much of those is that (highlight to read) God did it. Or if you want to be completely specific God did it with angels. This was the revelation I saw coming a mile away, not because I have some great deductive skills but because it was what the series had been projecting for quite some time. If you found it surprising than I have to ask about which show you think you've been watching. Incidentally this the exact same direction that Lost has been headed for a long time now so don't come crying about it once that show ends.

If we're going to talk about problems with the series than I do have one but it has to do with an episode from weeks ago, not the finale. It's the origins of the Cylons. I knew that whatever they were going to come up with was going to feel unsatisfactory compared to the high expectations I had. And I was more or less right. It didn't help that the episode in question felt way too "expositiony". Plus I never did like Ellen Tigh. Still I'm not sure there was a more logical identity for the final Cylon.

Back to the finale. For a moment there it seemed like they were going to wrap things up with a positive message about making peace with your enemies. Then Galen Tyrol decided to frak it all up. And, as Tigh said, Galen was probably right to do so. My one small hope going in to the finale was that they wouldn't just forget that detail of Tori's past actions. Well they certainly didn't and it was epic. Ah well, things still worked out for the non-evil characters. Poor Galen. Everything bad that could happen always happened to him. He found peace though, if only a lonely sort of peace.

Loneliness seemed like a recurring theme in the second half of the episode. I have to take some issue with the survivors' decisions once they reach their new home. I'm smart enough to understand how they all reached the situation they were in, but man technology is awesome. Would you really want to give it up? A more serious quibble is their decision to spread out. Again I understand the reasoning but if I was them I'd want to cling to as many people as I could.

Speaking of which, can I say how sorry I feel for Lee? I know it's not like he had it the roughest. Everyone lost something. But man his final fate seems almost cruel. I know if anyone could move on with their life after everything that happened it's Lee. And Kara? I guess that's even sadder. Following in the steps of the great Jesus and Goku, Kara Thrace has ascended into heaven. So those were some teary-eyed moments. There were more. Anyone else feel a slight parallel between the final fates of Sam Anders and Yui Ikari?

Yet I'm fairly pleased with how it all worked out. The show came to the conclusion that it needed to with a lot of highlights along the way. The happy hybrid family was reunited. Boomer found redemption and then she found bullets in her abdomen. Baltar finally did something brave. My favorite character became president. Cavil blew his brains out. The Galactica held together for as long as it needed to. We got to see the Cylon Centurions duke it out with the older model Centurions. That last part was made of so much awesome that if the rest of the finale was just recycled footage from random episodes of Leave It to Beaver I would still be able to say that Battlestar Galactica went out on a strong note.

Those Centurions are on their own now. They're out there. Somewhere. Watching Us. Remember all of this has happened before and all of it will happen again.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

I've Come To Talk With You Again

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rangers' Run Nearing An End

Something really depressing has recently come to my attention. Sources including the New York Post are reporting that production is ending on the long running Power Rangers series and the current season will be its last. While the toys still sell and the show is still popular in some markets, ratings are down (I wonder if the horrid scheduling has something to do with that) and Disney doesn't want to pay for more episodes. They've always under-budgeted the show, never realizing how much re-filming is required to produce the Western version of the show. At this point no one knows how or if the franchise will continue. There have been long standing rumors that Disney will turn Power Rangers into a more cost effective animated series.

Since Toei no longer has create a program that can appeal to international audiences their current Sentai series Samurai Sentai Shinkenger is filled with elements of traditional Japanese culture including Origami based mecha. In fact the previous Sentai series, Engine Sentai Go-onger, also seems to have been produced without much regard to international audiences. There's a declining birth rate in Japan so Go-onger skewed towards a younger audience as kind of a "get 'em while they're young approach". Many didn't believe Disney would bother to adapt Go-onger and instead produce the previously mentioned animated series. But a Westernized version of Go-onger is airing as Power Rangers RPM. In order to combat the cutesy feel of the original Japanese series the Disney producers added a lot of darkness to their version. Power Rangers RPM takes place in a post apocalyptic wasteland where humanity have retreated to domed off cities.

I haven't been a serious Power Rangers viewer in ten years. I've caught it only extremely sporadically since then. It's been about three years since I've watched any newer episode. I caught a bit of RPM yesterday and it seemed surprisingly cool. I'd like to watch some more but apparently the show is currently only airing on ABC and isn't even on Disney XD's rotation. I feel like I've taken the series for granted and assumed it would always be around in some incarnation. Is a world without teams of multicolored spandex wearing superheroes a world we want to live in?

I think this is becoming "LOLZ I grew up during the 90s" week here at AFOS.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Know How You Know You're Old?

When they start putting out fancy high-end collectibles based on cartoons that you watched as a kid.


To be fair Gargoyles have had a dedicated older fanbase. When statues of the Street Sharks are being produced is when I should really start being scared.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Famous Marvels Of Filmland

Marvel Studios have announced their revised production slate for the next few years:

  • Iron Man 2 - May 7, 2010
  • Spider-Man 4 - May 6, 2011
  • Thor - June 17, 2011
  • The First Avenger: Captain America* - July 22, 2011
  • The Avengers - May 4, 2012

The summer of 2011 is looking awfully crowded if you ask me. The only significant changes are that Thor and The Avengers have been pushed back a year. So i guess 2011 would've been crowded anyways.

Marvel have certainly been getting all their ducks in a row as of late. Jon Favreau is directing the Iron Man sequel and will be an executive producer on The Avengers. Kenneth Branagh will direct Thor. Joe Johnston will direct the Captain America movie. Sam Raimi and Tobey Macguire are coming back for another Spider-Man outing. Scarlett Johansson has been cast as the Natasha Romanov a.k.a. the Black Widow. Mickey Rourke has been cast as Iron Man villain Whiplash, or rather a version of Whiplash that incorporates elements of the Crimson Dynamo. I'd prefer it if he was just the Crimson Dynamo myself. Samuel L. Jackson has signed a deal that will have him playing Nick Fury in nine different movies. That's a lot of Fury. Most of those films will involve him as a minor chracter to be sure, but could a Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D movie be a possibilty?

Meanwhile what's going on with the movies based on DC properties? Green Lantern is set to come out in December of next year. That's cool. Also it seems very likely we'll get more Batman and Superman movies eventually. So, yeah.

*I still hate that title.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Play For Salvation


Playmates' Terminator Salvation toy line was oddly absent from news coverage of this year's Toy Fair. It's likely the line was on display at the convention, but the press weren't allowed to photograph any of it. Now it's a couple of weeks later Action-Figure.com has stepped up with an article on the toys. Besides pictures of the upcoming toys they provide a lot of peculiar details about the line. For one thing apparently the Endoskeleton prop given to the sculptors to use as reference had a faulty jaw. This resulted in all the Endoskeleton toys having a gaping mouth look. Playmates hopes to fix these before they ship to stores.


Playmates also had some issues in acquiring the likeness rights to Moon Bloodgood in time. As a result the early shipments of her figure will have a flight helmet covering her face. And Playmates still doesn't have permission to use Christian Bale's likeness. So the John Connor action figures will have their faces hidden by helmets and goggles. Apparently Bale hasn't been satisfied with past attempts to capture his likeness so he's been holding out. That's not f**king professional.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Japan: Making Technology Cooler

I've seen some attempts before to make USB flash drives more visually appealing but none of them compare to this set of memeory sticks coming from Japanese company Buffalo. They're little figures that fold open to reveal the USB connector.

I think the coolest part about them is the varied character selection that runs the gamut of Japanese popular culture. There's the first Gundam from the original series, Ultraman, Lupin the Third and Rei Ayanami from Evangelion; the the Evangelion@School version of the character to be specific. There's also Konata from Lucky Star and a character I'm not familar with from the recent Macross Frontier.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Final Wolverine Trailer



I'm starting to get a handle on what the plot will be about and I'm not too crazy about it. I won't say what I think it is but much of it should be apparent anyways.

Young Cyclops? Really? I guess I was right the first time. Wolverine really is the superhero version of Forrest Gump.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Images Of The Watchmen

Today is the day that everyone will finally be able to watch the Watchmen. Here's the ridiculous amount of movie posters that have come out during the film's long marketing campaign. Click on the pictures below to see them in a larger size. To conserve space some of the character posters are just provided as links.


Dr. Manhattan / Rorschach / Silk Spectre / Comedian / Ozymandias


Rorschach / Silk Spectre / Comedian / Nite Owl / Ozymandias

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Supaidāman Go!

Awhile ago I posted the opening of the Japanese tokusatsu TV series (loosely) based on Marvel's Spider-Man. Now in a surprising display of awesomeness Marvel is putting episodes of the show on their website complete with subtitles, although one could argue the show is more entertaining without knowing what's going on. At the very least North America is finally able to see Leopardon in action.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Zords That Never Were

I came across this image on the internet a few days ago. It's supposedly some preliminary designs of an alternate Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Megazord. It depicts what is basically a redesigned version of the Dinozords from the first season made to be compatible with a version of the White Ranger's White Tigerzord from the second season. I'm pretty fascinated by the idea of abandoned concepts so this is pretty intriguing to me. So what's the story behind these drawings? I don't know for sure but I have an guess.


Originally Power Rangers was only intended to be aired for a year or so but it ended up being an unexpected hit. However Saban had exhausted the footage of the Japanese series Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger they had been recycling for their U.S. footage. One of their solutions was to create some original characters, such as a new villain Lord Zedd. I once read that Saban even commissioned the Japanese production company Toei to create original footage specifically for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Maybe a new Megazord was going to part of that new footage. Instead they chose to use footage of the mecha from Gosei Sentai Dairanger as the Power Rangers' new Thunderzords. It was probably the most cost effective decision even though the Rangers themselves still wore costumes based on the Dinozords from the first season. We were kids at the time so I guess we didn't bother to question this. These unused Zords would've been a cool way to continue the Dinozord theme while still being able to add the new White Ranger to the team.