Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ultraman's Pestar from Bandai

Pestar has appeared in 2 episodes of the Ultraman saga, this figure represents his debut in Ultraman: the Ultimate Hero or as it's referred to Ultraman Powered. The stories are fairly similar with only a few barely noticeable changes. In Ultraman Powered Pestar is an aquatic monster that's staked out a prime oil tanker shipping route as his home and has become very territorial and hungry for the sweet Texas Tea carried on those vessels. The WINR at first tried to pursue and the monster using a high tech submarine called the "Barricuda" but they didn't take into account how huge Pestar was and after a decent undersea battle, it escapes. The WINR warns the shipping companies of the dangers of that particular route, which is brilliant if they planned on luring the beast out of the ocean for round two.

(do forgive the awful song in the background. Feel free to leave hate messages on that person's youtube page, it's deplorable.)

The very next night Pestar shows up again and goes straight for an oil refinery to satisfy it's thirst for oil, but sure wasn't expecting Ultraman Powered to show up. Caught off guard, Ultraman Powered makes short work out of Pestar by tossing that big boy in the air and firing his Mega Spectrum Ray at the monster. Destroyed in true Ultraman fashion (e.i lots of cheesy sparkles and stock explosion noises) the ocean is safe again.
(Patrick's big brother heard you talkin' shit. Oh, you're awfully quiet now.)

Some of the main differences between the first introduction to Pestar and the Ultraman Powered version is the whole body has been redesigned. The edges of the body are covered in suckers and Pestar's head looks even more menacing, like a bat mixed with the Predator. Also the end fight is slightly better, as in the fight lasts a whole 90 seconds longer and Pestar actually gets a few good hits in.

(here at Raging Nerdgasm, we like big butts and we cannot lie.)

Pestar, to me at least, turned out really cool in figure form. Leaps and bounds better than the Marusan edition, Bandai really did an amazing job capturing how cool the character's design is. He's a big, bulky bastard and while he may not offer any articulation whatsoever, he makes up for it with sheer attention to detail and texturing. The paint job is spot on, even the light metallic flake on Pestar's backside does a great job at highlighting his bumpy exterior. Displaying a figure as wide as Pestar is becomes the only peeve, just because there isn't much room left on a shelf when he takes up residence. Originally, the figure was more expensive that other basic Ultraman figures upon it's initial release in Japan which has translated to an often higher price on the secondary market.

(I'm gonna eat your face!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

South Park's Satan from Mezco

(I've decided to start this blog with Saddam stroking a rubber phallus, yes it is very necessary.) 

With South Park's many seasons, there are many memorable characters but almost none more memorable than Satan. We were introduced very early in the series to Jesus, who had given up on his pilgrimage to travel the world and free mankind of their sins and took a prime time slot on Park County Public Access and occasionally fight Santa Claus in an officially sanctioned boxing match for supremacy over the Christmas holidays. Satan on the other hand was introduced to us as lord of the underworld, master of all sinners and......subservient boyfriend to Saddam Hussein? BRILLIANT! I mean say what you will about Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but those men are geniuses. They honestly said that the show doesn't pull it's punches when it comes to religion, and that goes for all religions equally. Throughout the show's run (and might I add it's still running and just as funny as ever), Saddam and Satan have had their share of lover's quarrels eventually leading to the demise of Saddam. But it's OK, he suffers a fate worse than death......being dragged off by a group of rabbid Mormons.

(suck on that)

Mezco's line of South Park figures are great, but limited places to buy them leaves fans feeling left out. It's not till recent history that Toys R Us decided in a bold move to start carrying them in their physical stores, which has led Mezco to do a general re-issue of the line. The first thing to know is the figures aren't in any particular scale. Satan here stands roughly 6 inches tall at the top of the horns but then again so does most of the adult characters in the line ( ie- Chef, Mrs Cartman, Officer Barbrady). In the cartoon, Satan towers over every character and probably should have been a deluxe figure but I'm sure budget constraints as well as limited retail support led to the size problem I'm left with here. To be honest, Satan is the only figure I own from the South Park line and I wouldn't own it today if I hadn't seen it on the counter of a smoke shop at the flea market that was selling McFarlane Toys and other adult collectibles.

(Is it just me or does Satan has some big ol' John Goodman sized bitch tits? Just look at them, I dare you not to!)

The figure isn't bad at all outside of the size issue. The matte paint on the figure really harkens back to the construction paper style of the show. The dark lord is only articulated at a pivot joint at the shoulders which is fine since most visuals from the show are of him from the waist up. The sculpt of the figure is perfect, not a single flaw I can tell. The sculpt is identical to the visuals of the show. I'm not sure if Mezco is planning a re-issue of this figure at the moment, so I would suggest tracking it down on eBay or at your local collectible toy or comic book store if you're interested.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ultraman's Gerukadon from Bandai

As seen in Ultraman: Towards the Future, one night an abandoned carnival was reactivated by mysterious circumstances (yep, it's already creepy beyond belief). When the local police arrived to check it out, the legendary monster Gerukadon affected the officer's minds. Completely overcome by fear, the officers fled the scene while Gerukadon gained power from the Gudis device hidden in the abandoned carnival. One thing leads to another, like in the case of all Ultraman episodes, and the monster finally arrives to stomp the crap out of buildings and bring about the appearance of Ultraman. The fight is quick and to the point, Ultraman blasts Gerukadon with his power beam and the day is saved by our silver and red friend.

(This show was the reason I became an insomniac at an early age. It wasn't very popular in my market which won it a 5am time slot on Sunday mornings.)

All in all, I'm not a fan of this episode. The story is weak, it's fairly boring and with this episode being Gerukadon's only appearance in the Ultraman saga makes him one of the more forgettable characters. Unfortunate since I rather liked the monster's design; giant lizard with a beak, four arms and bat wings. But so was the case with most of the characters from Towards the Future, great designs and poor stories.
(I am vengeance, I am the night.......I AM BAT-LIZARD)

I'm rather fond of this version of Gerukadon, I prefer him to the larger American release from Dreamworks (not the Steven Spielburg special effects company, but a short lived toy manufacturer). The colors are much more vibrant and the sculpt is more like the monster from the show. The only detracting point is the silver accents, I think they could be duller and do more to compliment the color scheme in my opinion. Articulation on this particular figure is rather plentiful; at 2 of the shoulders, hips, waist, neck and mid tail. In the end, he's one of my favorite one episode wonders.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bootleg Larva Mothra by unknown maker

Mothra has been one of Godzilla's most prolific “friend-emies” over the last 4 decades. Appearing in over 15 movies, we've been bombarded with several incarnations of Mothra over the years. We've had Mothra in her egg, larva stage, cocooned and the ever important final stage (hint, it looks like a moth). Always by her side are the twin tiny high priestesses, called the shōbijin (or small beauties), that translate and interpret the monster's every thought. When Mothra appears it's usually to be the savior of Earth; often doing battle with Godzilla, Battra, King Ghidorah, Death Ghidorah, Gigan, Dagahra, Monster X and the Sea Monster.
(who is Mothra? Why are we playing such suspenseful music? You'll have to watch this 3 minute trailer to find out!)

(sing little ladies, sing!)

This piece was acquired through Planet Retro Gallery out of St Pete, Florida. I was nothing but impressed with the selection and prices at the store, as well as the owner's knowledge. He admitted it was a bootleg he picked up in Chinatown in the late 90's and had sold all but this one and couldn't guarantee that it worked or not. I love a restoration challenge, and even if it never works it's still a heck of a shelf piece for a portion of the price of the original. You just rarely get that sort of honesty from a collectibles shop. It's a factor that keeps me coming back for his monthly sales.
(adult toy or sofubi?)

(ribbed for your pleasure)

The rubber used for the skin of Larva Mothra is very similar to the original release from Bandai, the only different thing is the color. The bootleg is a very light green with white slopped across to bring out the texture while the original is a light bronze with silver and black accents along the body. After some slight tinkering and cleaning, I was able to restore the mechanical crawling function. From a restoration point of view, the components I worked on were of a lower quality than I would expect to be in the Bandai version. With two AA batteries, the bug “crawls” along with the aide of a wheel underneath while rearing his head back and lighting up it's red eyes. A real achievement for my collection and my restoration skills.

(lookin' up Mothra's skirt)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kaiju Lagoon- mini jumbo sized King Joe by Bandai

King Joe was sent by the Pedan aliens as their main weapon to conquer Earth. Arriving on Earth in the form of 4 ships, the Pedan's ultimate weapon laid siege to a naval fleet until they garnered the attention of the Ultraseven crew. By the time they arrived to provide a counter-attack, King Joe was long gone and on to it's next target. As the four ships arrived at a U.N. Embassy they combined to reveal King Joe's full form, a giant frickin' robot with some strange protrusions (ie- giant electrode tits on his head, a rainbow window chest and what I can only describe as bongos on his ass and hips.) Even with the countermeasures hidden at the embassy, King Joe seemed near indestructible.

(pretty decent scenes)

Ultraseven soon showed up to save the day but couldn't seem to breach King Joe's Pedantic Armor. Soon after exhausting a good deal of his energy, Ultraseven found himself pinned to the ground and became the recipient of some absolutely viscious bitch slaps, courtesy of King Joe. At this point Ultraseven decides the best thing to do is pass the fuck out and hope this alien quits pummeling him.
As King Joe turns his back to Ultraseven, the hero lunges forward and knocks King Joe on his glorious golden ass. Incapable of getting back up again(most likely due to his bongo ass), King Joe splits into the four ships and flees with Ultraseven in pursuit.

It was then revealed that the reason for King Joe's attack on the Embassy was due to a scientist who had found a chemical that is highly reactive with Pedantic Armor, which also explained why the Pedan Aliens have come to Earth as well. King Joe returns, arriving in Tokyo Bay where it trashes a few oil tankers till Ultraseven shows back up. King Joe once again totally owns Ultraseven in a pretty decent fight, even though his weakness is getting knocked on his ass. But Ultraseven has a WMD full of that Pedantic reactive chemical which he shoots at King Joe, short-circuiting and destroying the robot once and for all.

King Joe is in my top 5 favorite Ultraman bad guys (in no particular order Baltan, King Joe, Dada, Pestar and Red King). As the Ultraman story evolves, so do his villains but this version of King Joe is my favorite. No techno cannon, no monotone paint scheme, just very true to the original design. Simple and slick looking with the perfect shade of gold on his suit and a rainbow effect through the “honeycomb” on his chest. The main thing I like about the figure is it's huge! Over 12 inches tall and with some serious weight to him, I've been impressed and desired this figure for years and was finally lucky enough to acquire one through Planet Retro Gallery care of my wife for Valentines day.