Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The New Age Of Fighting Reborn

The greatest video game of all time in which one can have Tron Bonne and her Servbots fighting against War Machine and Cable is being made available once again. Marvel vs Capcom 2 is coming the X-Box 360 Arcade and Playstation Network. The game is receiving a graphical upgrade and will be made in widescreen. There will be customizable music options but anyone who wouldn't prefer to listen to "Wanna Take You For A Ride" constantly doesn't deserve to play the game. I love Marvel vs Capcom 2 and I really wish Capcom would continue the series in some other form. There are so many possibilities.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Zeon And The Unicorn

Sunrise has announced today that the upcoming Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series will receive a worldwide simultaneous release something that has become quite a common occurrence lately. Presumably this means Gundam Unicorn will be made available online with subtitles in different countries soon after its Japanese TV broadcast. Of all the series to get this treatment none intrigue more than this one being a Gundam series.

Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn is interesting for more reasons than just it's distribution method though. The series takes place in the original Universal Century timeline, only three years after the events of Char's Counterattack in fact. I’m not sure I like the idea of going back to the U.C. well once again. There’s even an extremely Char-like antagonist named Full Frontal (*snicker*) complete with a mask and red uniform. Personally I’d be fine with declaring this era of Gundam off limits for future storylines. I suppose it wouldn’t be a big deal if it was set far enough into the future like with Victory Gundam. I just don’t want them to recreate or even retcon some of the earlier stories. Of course Sunrise has revisited this timeframe before, notably with The 08th Ms Team which was pretty good despite creating some continuity issues. Still Gundam 00 showed how they’re still able to create Gundam stories in a refreshing new light.

There’s also supposed to be a Gundam SEED movie that’s been in production for awhile now. I wonder what’s going on with that. Is it still coming out? If it does than Sunrise is going to be juggling multiple timelines at once.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Takahashi & A New Quadruped

  • Viz has the first chapter of Rumiko Takahashi's newest title Rin-ne on their new website The RumicWorld. Viz is making each chapter available online for a limited time while the series is running in Japan. We've seen a lot of this type of simultaneous distribution for anime recently but I think this is the first time it's been tried with manga. I can't judge Rin-ne based on the single chapter I read but I could imagine reading this story for the next decade or so. Takahashi's past work is not known for their brevity. So far it feels a bit like a shojo Bleach.

  • More Rumiko Takahashi news, Viz is accelerating their release of the InuYasha manga to one graphic novel a month starting in July.Better still, the early volumes of InuYasha are being reprinted as part of the VizBig line that collects three graphic novels into one and sold for a reduced price. Even better than that, both the regular and VizBig formats will be printed in the Japanese right to left format preseving the artwork as it was originally drawn. InuYasha was one of the few manga I know of that was still being released in flopped left to right format. It's good that they finally changed that. I never considered collecting InuYasha before but I'm thinking about it now. I did watch the anime and I'd like to read how the story concludes.

  • Behold the glorious artwork of Skottie Young. Tony has to run from the ladies. Peter just runs. Fantastic.

  • Here's another example of movie merchandise prematurely giving away aspects of the movie's plot. Here's an upcoming action figure of the new Eva Unit-05 from Evangelion 2.0 You Can [Not] Advance. It's not the same as the Mass Production Evas seen in End of Evangelion. In fact it's quite different from any previous Eva Unit. Spoiler: you've been warned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade: Indiana Jones

Next month several of the more anticipated films of the year will be released in theatres including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Terminator Salvation and Star Trek. The toylines for these movies are already on the shelves. It remains to be seen which, if any, of these will be a hit.

Walking around a toy store you can still find plenty of merchandise for last year's major films. There doessn't seem to be any major connection between a film's box office success and how much merchandise is sold. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the second highest grossing film of last year but it's 3.75" figure line was being clearanced for as little as a dollar each in some places. The line didn't meet expectations and there are a few items that were never released and probably more that were still in the planning stages.

One of the contributing factors of the toyline's low sales was the underwhelming quality of some of the earliest offerings. Still the figures improved as the line continued but the later, better figures were never all that widely available. There was one assortment that was shown but never released. It's a Raiders of the Lost Ark wave with Indy in German uniform, Marion in her white dress, the German Mechanic, Toht and Alfred Molina. Those are some classic characters and they look like they would have been the best figures in the line. Who wouldn't love a melting head feature?

The 12" line didn't fare any better. The first few that saw wide distribution are probably still available at your local retailer. Some of the later ones are popping up at discount shops in low quantities. There's at least one figure that doesn't seem to have been released at all and that's this Indy from Temple of Doom. The figure is pretty much the same as the Whip Cracking Indy figure that was released. All they changed was his shirt and they replaced the whip with a machete. It's a clever reuse though and I think it looks better than the first version.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Someone Needs A Dentist

Click on the thumbnail for some full sized "kicking Optimus in the face" action. BTW Blackout is alive apparently.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cool New Stuff From Viz

I'm really liking some of the LE pack-ins that are coming with some of Viz's upcoming season sets. The seventh and final season of InuYasha comes out April 28th. The limited edition comes with an action figure of Inuyasha himself. The figure appears to be the same as one released as part of Toynami's InuYasha toyline but with a tweaked accessory. The Tetsuaiga that comes with the DVD set is in its Adamant blade form. It's minor thing but I think it makes it stand out from the original release.

On July 7th Viz is releasing the third Bleach boxset. The limited edition comes with Ichigo's Hollow mask. I think it looks pretty freaking awesome. I'm sure it's just a desk piece and that's perfectly fine. Still the only thing that could make it better was if it was wearable.

Friday, April 17, 2009

End of the Week Roundup

  • This is the best thing I've read in possibly ever. I hope the author posts more later. Some of the commentators mention they would buy a book of such content and so would I. I would love to attempt something similar but I'm not sure I have the right figures and I know I can't pull off the same level of quality photography.

  • The long awaited G.I. Joe Resolute miniseries has finally made its debut. It's really entertaining. So much so that it seems like it'll easily outshine the live action movie. You can watch episodes one and two by clicking on this link. [adult swim] will add more videos to their website throughout the week. The full length program will air on Saturday, April 25th.

  • Speaking of [adult swim], the network will be premiering two new episodes of Bleach tomorrow night. It's the start of the Arrancar story arc. The previous filler story arc wrapped up last week. Now we're finally back to the stories based on Tite Kubo's original manga. That's exciting in of itself but now there will be twice as many episodes a week. It's a great thing considering how far the U.S. broadcasts have fallen behind the Japanese.

  • In Burbank last Tuesday Warner Bros. unveiled a new mural dedicated to their animated characters. I find the strange character selection really fascinating. The mural features many DC superheroes but from very different source material including Batman: The Brave & the Bold, Teen Titans, the recent different straight to DVD movies, and Batman: The Animated Series. They also squeeze in some Looney Tunes and Scooby-Doo.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Judging a Blu-Ray By Its Cover

One of the major Blu-Ray releases coming later this year is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The art for the boxset is a little dull. It's just the movie's logo encircled by the elvish writing taken from the One Ring. You know what would've been cooler? If the logo was encircled by the actual One Ring instead. Here's hoping the artwork for the individual movies is more impressive. There's a whole lot of different directions that they can go with.

The Ghostbusters Blu-Ray uses the same basic image as the current DVD artwork, which is incredibly simple to begin with. The only thing they did to change it up was that they replaced the background of green slime with blue slime. Because it's a Blu-Ray disc! Get it? Yeah.

Sweeet. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is coming to Blu-Ray with all new artwork. This is the movie's third release in Region 1 and this is the best artwork they've used yet. They're calling this the "Complete" edition but that's not entirely accurate. They're not porting over all of the extras used in the "Limited Edition Collector's Set" DVD. Most notably absent is the Last Order anime OAV.

The Spaceballs Blu-Ray reuses the same cover as the DVD Collector's Edition with some changes. The DVD Collector's Edition artwork was made to be a parody of the Star Wars prequel DVDs. For the Blu-Ray release they replaced the golden hue with a blue tint. It looks a lot better and helps the movie stands out on its own. Everybody got that?

I really like when studios change up the artwork for a catalog title. I don't belive Fox has used this particular full body shot of the Predator before for an earlier DVD. The one thing that really makes it stand out from past releases though is the cool bluish tint. I think it's safe to say the name of the format is having an influence on the style of artwork being used for it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chaos Giggity

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gomer Pyle Would Dig This

The Fwoosh has pics of an upcoming Mattel online exclusive collection of Captain Marvel figures for the Justice League Unlimited line. I don't collect the JLU figures but these almost make me want to change my mind. I can't believe they made a Wizard Shazam figure, and he looks great! Mary Marvel looks even better. She's the best female figure they've produced for this line, not that that's saying much. The icing on the cake would have been a Tawky Tawny figure though. Captain Marvel and Black Adam are characters popular enough that they could have easily been given a mass retail release.

Now for something completely different, let's take a look at the Cyberdyne Assault Minimates boxset which is yet another Comic-Con exclusive. As you can plainly see this collection of Minimates recreates the memorable scene in Terminator 2 when the Terminator, Sarah Connor and Miles Dyson go to Cyberdyne to retrieve the severed robotic arm from only for it to regenerate into an entire Endoskeleton. Yeah, who could forget that classic moment?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The New Bots

A few of the CG designs for Transformers Revenge of the Fallen appeared online today. Included among them are some returning favorites such as Ratchet, Ironhide and Starscream. I'm mainly interested in these new characters though.

We've seen Devastator in toy form before. Plus there's some concept art floating around the internet. Still this is the closest that we've come to getting a glimpse of what he'll look like onscreen. I like Devastator's design but this particular image does a poor job of conveying his intimidating size. I hope Devastator doesn't spend the movie crawling around on the ground.

Ravage here stands as a pretty stark example of the failings of the live action movies' aesthetic. I suppose it's somewhat recognizable as a feline, but it looks more like a twisted jumble of barbed wire. Nothing is lamer than forced edginess.

Meet Mudflap and Skids. They're destined to become the franchise's equivalent to Jar Jar Binks. I'm not sure why their heads look like they're melting. I guess melted heads are supposed to be funny. I fear these characters could end up being little more than fuel for jokes about stereotypes of the mentally challenged. That sounds harsh but I'm not sure that Bay and company are above that sort of thing.

Sideswipe is an awesome design. His card mode seems like a cool one and he seems to have a samurai thing going on that he shares in common with some of the classic Transformers. I just have one major quibble and it should be obvious as to what that is; the tire feet. So is he just going to be constantly rollerskating? Maybe it's just an optional form and he's capable of walking with normal feet.

The big bad of the movie is The Fallen. His movie look doesn't quite match with his appearance in The War Within, most notably in the way that the movie character isn't on fire. Still I like the design. He obviously has an ancient Egyptian motif going on. He's even standing on what appears to be a pyramid. I expect the movie's plot to involve some Von Daniken type shenanigans. Hey it worked for the last Indiana Jones movie right?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Few Anime To Be Seen In a New Light

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can [Not] Advance now has a set release date of June 27th. That's in Japan of course. Those of us on this side of the Pacific will have to make due with the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie having various limited showings across the country. You can see the trailer for the second movie by clicking on this link, but e warned it should open automatically likely in whatever your default video player is. I'm reaching a point where I'm actually eagerly anticipating new covers of "Fly Me to the Moon".

It seems to be a growing trend that a lot of my favorite anime series of the last couple of years are getting reimagined and updated in different ways.

Like the Rebuild of Evangelion series the Eureka Seven movie is a true remake using the same characters but with a reworked plot. It's also worth noting that like Eva and unlike some other anime remakes the Eureka Seven movie seems to maintain a visual consistency with the TV series except of course with a bigger budget. Eureka Seven: Pocketfull of Rainbows will open April 25th in Japan.

Renton and Nirvash are going to have to do battle with Simon and the Gurren at the Japnese box office because on that same day the second Gurren Lagann movie opens. The first Gurren Lagann movie was released last September and was a compilation of the first fifteen episodes of the series. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Ragan-hen will be a compilation of the rest of the series.

When the final episode of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 aired just over a week ago it ended with a title card announcing an upcoming theatrical version coming in 2010. There's no further details yet but given the franchise's past I wouldn't be surprised if it's a compilation film made up mostly of footage from the television series. Incidentally I recently finished watching the series' first season and I think it's pretty great.

Not all of these anime reimaginings are headed for the big screen. The first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood premiered on Japanese TV this past Sunday. The series is re-adaptation of the original manga. What's more it's already been licensed for North American release by Funimation. They'll have professionally subtitled episodes available for free viewing on their website as well as other video sharing sites starting this Thursday. The anime industry sure is taking some large strides to changing the way they operate.

The barrage of anime updates go beyond the world of two dimensions however. Mandaly Pictures has picked up the rights to produce a live action Full Metal Panic! movie possibly with Zac Efron to star. (No! Zac Efron is clearly meant to Light Yagami dammnit!) Warner Bros. has picked up the rights for a Ninja Scroll movie with Leonardo DiCaprio producing. He's also still producing the live action Akira assuming either of them ever come out. Oh and let's not forget that there's a little film that's also these same lines opening in theatres this Friday.

Lastly to tie it all back to Eva and demonstrating again why Japan is just better at this, as part of an April Fools joke Yahoo asked people to vote for who they'd like to see in a live action Evangelion drama series. Apparently TV Asahi has decided to go through with it but as a promotional clip instead of a full TV series. Think of it as an officially sanctioned fan film. I don't know who most of these actors are but they all physically look like they would suit the character they would be playing, except for the guy voted to play Shinji. However I hope they actually get these actors because I would love to see Hiroshi Abe as Gendo Ikari. I've seen him in Dragon Zakura and Trick and I'd watch him if he was playing Pen Pen.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Jumping On The Blogwagon

Alet Nerd has posed a question to the blogosphere; what are your "nerd sacred cows"? That is to say what specific aspects or status quot do of the particular fiction(s) of which you consider yourself a fan of do you strongly prefer to a near irrational extent? After some quick thinking here's what I came up with for myself.

  • Uncle Ben is dead. Norman Osbron is dead. Gwen Stacy is dead. Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn never had rapidly aging babies. Peter Parker and Mary Jane are, at the very least, a couple.

  • Venom looks exactly like black costumed Spider-Man except more muscular and with a mouth. He is not purple, blue, eight feet tall, three headed, or a goopy blob creature. Ideally he's also Eddie Brock but a Mac Gargan is fine too.

  • Clark Kent is cool and confident but also humble and non-confrontational. He is not a bumbling foppish buffoon. Oh and he's married to Lois Lane.

  • Batman is Bruce Wayne (or rather Bruce Wayne is Batman). Nightwing is Dick Grayson. Robin is Tim Drake. Jason Todd is dead. Barabra Gordon is paralyzed. Catwoman is delightfully morally ambiguous.

  • Angel's story ends with "Not Fade Away". We should never know what happens after that.

  • This is kind of an odd one to try to explain. The Aliens (or Xenomorphs if you prefer) should never reach Earth, at least not in any time period that predates the first three Alien movies. I can accept the AvP movies and even enjoy certain aspects of them but I take issue with their general premises.

  • Adrian Veidt kidnapped artisans and geneticists from all across the world to engineer for him a giant Lovecraftian squid creature. He then had those people murdered and used the creature to fake an alien invasion that destroyed much of New York and its citizens which effectively ends the Cold War. He does not point and say "Doctor Manhattan did it".

  • Actually a former scared cow: Whether or not Boba Fett escaped the Sarlaac. I think I like the idea of Fett being alive out there somewhere but seeing how little interest I've shown for post-Return of the Jedi fiction I'm not sure it matters either anyway.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Perils of Exclusivity

One of the myriad of aspects that's contributed to the San Diego Comic Con's surging popularity is the practice of toy companies offering special items for sale solely at the convention. These items are usually tailored specifically for the hardcore fanbase and the after market prices typically skyrocket soon after the convention. Yet the prices eventually drop off once fans move on to the next big thing. The practice has become so common that it's become standard for the companies to later offer the exclusive via the internet so that people unable to attend the con can have a chance to own them. It's a great gesture even if it does sort of dull the point of having an "exclusive".

Mattel is trying to change things with their Wonder Twins exclusive for the 2009 convention. The Super Friends was before my time but of course I've heard of the Wonder Twins, Jayna and Zan. They're the happy pair of heroes created specifically for the cartoon and meant to appeal to kids. It makes sense to have them as a con exclusive. They're probably not well known enough to sell in the mass market and they make more sense as a set than individually.

The problem? If you want their monkey sidekick Gleek then you're going to have to buy it in person at the con. Only the twins themselves will be made available for sell online. Mattel's reasoning is to reward the people who made the trek to the convention as opposed to the people staying at home and ordering the exclusive online. Yet out of the number of other exclusives Mattel will be offering only this DC Universe set has any type of incentive like that.

Fans are considerably upset about not being able to buy Gleek online. I've got no interest in this set either way but I understand why Mattel is doing this. I just don't think it's neccesary. If you make something people want to buy then not selling it to them is foolish. Now the fandom is now knee deep in GleekGate 2009.

Then there's the issue with the Justice League Unlimited exclusive set featuring Green Lantern Hal Jordan without a mask. The uproar over that is so silly but "Hal Jordan" and "silly uproars" seem to go hand in hand.

The other major toy company Hasbro has yet to officially announce all of their convention exclusives but a few are known like the one for Transformers. It's a reissiue of Soundwave from the original toyline. That's a great idea for an exclusive. It's something highly fan oriented but not crucial to one's collection because in this particular case it's not something new. In fact Hasbro had already reissued Soundwave as a Toys R Us exclusive just a few short years ago. This new one should be the same with the only difference being the addition of a third transforming cassette, Ratbat. I wanted the Toys R Us release but never found one. I was happy to have another chance to own this classic character.

Then I found out it's going to cost $50. Seriously.

That's convention exclusives in a nutshell. Complicated to obtain. Expensive. Never quite to fan's expectations. Not usually worth it. And people buy 'em in droves anyways. Not that I'm one to judge. I'm seriously tempted by this.

What makes this an exclusive? The packaging. That's it. But good lord man, look at it!