Friday, May 25, 2012

Great Mazinger Shogun Warrior by Mattel

(cartoons without subtitles, use your imagination)

The legend centers around the character of Tetsuya Tsurugi, an orphan raised by none other than Kenzo Kabuto. Kenzo is the once thought dead father of Mazinger Z pilot Kouji Kabuto. Kenzo Kabuto is the creator of the new and improved version of Mazinger by refining his father's Chogokin Z (Super Alloy Z) into a stronger form with better weapons to take on humanity's new enemy; the Mikenese Empire. This evil empire is led by the Great General of Darkness and his army of Warrior Beasts, which have little more than domination on their minds. Kenzo gives the Great Mazinger to Tetsuya to pilot, who is accompanied by a new token girl Jun Hono (an orphaned half Japanese, half black girl) in her female robot Venus A.
Both Great Mazinger's and Tetsuya's training are completed just in time to come to Kouji's aid as the Mycene Battle Beasts overwhelm Mazinger Z. With the original Mazinger destroyed, Kouji went to America to study space travel and left Japan's defense in the hands of Tetsuya and the Fortress of Science. Tetsuya battles the Mycene Battle Beasts and even their mighty generals, cumulating in a bitter final battle with the Mycene's Great General of Darkness; Ankoku Daishogun. After the Great General of Darkness' defeat, the Mycene forces are rallied by Dr. Hell (the villain from Mazinger Z) back under the guise of the Great Marshall of Hell.

(because every good intro credits deserves some kick ass end credits)

(I'm not sure what the fuck he just said but we better give him all of our money b/c that toy looks awesome!)

The series also includes some other cast members from the original Mazinger Z show like Shiro Kabuto (Koji's little brother) and comic-relief robot; Boss Borot. The show, unfortunately, wasn't as successful in Japan as the original and it was never aired in the United States. But as usual, good portions of South America and Europe got to see the show unedited and in its entirety ( like Mazinger Z, because the show we got here was watered down from it's original cuts).

My all time favorite Shogun Warrior, Great Mazinger. I always like him because of all the play features; firing finger missiles with racks of backup missiles on both legs and shoulders, removable swords that stowaway into the tops of the thighs and a removable “brain” ship. How can you not love a robot that can flip you the bird and then shoot it right at you! Of all the revisions done to this particular Shogun Warrior, this one is my favorite and I actually refused to buy anything but this version. From what I've found, this one would be considered revision one. Revision one had the raised red “V” on it's chest and the removable “brain” ship while later versions went to a flat “V” sculpted on the chest accented with a red sticker and a stationary “brain” ship.

Definitely a restoration piece, when I received it in the mail it required a considerable amount of cleaning and it was missing the missile firing hand. Luckily for me, I had found an missile firing hand a few months prior to purchasing this piece in a local collectibles shop for a very good price. When completing Jumbo Machinders, you learn to pick up extra and sometimes unnecessary pieces when you find them. Most of the time they are used for trade against stuff you do need down the line to complete robots in your own collection or to help out a fellow collector. But then again, some of that is the very nature of toy collecting in general. As you're reading this right now, I've already got reproduction swords and missiles on order and I'm waiting to find an original “brain” ship to complete my Mazinger. Looking forward to bringing everyone pictures of the final product.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Icon series Captain America from Marvel Toys/Toy Biz

Who doesn't know the story of Captain America? To explain the back story on Cap who be like rehashing the Superman or Batman origin, basically useless filler. He's the most iconic hero of the Avengers and not much has changed about him over the years (well, except for that unfortunate “death of Captain America” story that led us all into a really convoluted and boring series of comics that turned the whole Marvel Universe upside down). The Ultimates story brought us a really more well equipped Captain America, a more detailed costume that showed off a better designed utility belt full of just about anything a super soldier could need while taking on a Nazi stronghold or just simply paying for a $8 cup of Starbucks coffee. Marvel Select and Marvel Legends (ToyBiz or Marvel Toys) gave us their interpretations of Ultimate Captain America, but the Marvel Legends Icons version tops them all.

(What do you think the "A" stands for, FRANCE?)

Over the years, Toy Biz's Marvel Legends gave the collecting world some of the best figures we had ever seen. Also, they dropped the ball several times but they had far more wins than losses if you ask almost any collector. I'm a sucker for large scale figures if they are done well and the Icons series was no exception. Exceptionally detailed and painted 2 up scale figures of all the Marvel heavy hitters really appealed to the collector in me. My favorite from the line was Captain America, even after I sold off all my Marvel Legends I kept him because I felt it was the only version that had actually captured the iconic Cap'n. In my opinion they captured every pen stroke of the Ultimates Captain America, from the wrinkles in his boots to his stone hard look of determination across his face. The also succeeded where the 6 inch line had failed in my opinion by re-enforcing the joints with a ratcheting system that held the figure's pose, even under it's own weight. No detail was left out of his utility belt and the face sculpt is so life-like I almost wait for him to yell “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” I consider him a treasured piece of my collection and a must have for any Captain America fan.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ultraman's Jamila from Bandai

Jamila originally was a human astronaut who got lost in space while piloting a manned satellite. And believe it or not, Jamila is a woman! Crash landing on a distant alien world without water or air, she somehow not only survived but actually adapted. Pissed off to no end because her superiors hid the accident from the public and counted her as missing in action, Jamila returned to Earth in an invisible spaceship ( just hang with me on this, it's invisible because it's just moving way too fast. I'll avoid making obligatory female driver jokes.) to get her revenge by attacking a peace conference in Tokyo. Ultraman and his crew show up and engage the monster with common weapons (guns, flamethrowers, bombs) but they prove to be useless. I mean the monster looks like a walking herpes scab, I'd shoot some lotion on it.

(for your viewing pleasure)

Ultraman and Jamila do battle in front of the World Peace Conference and it's a fairly decent battle, both opponents are skilled fighters. It wasn't till the end of the episode when Ultraman was able to weaken Jamila enough that he could use his ultimate weapon, the Ultra-Shower (yes, I laughed uncontrollably for 5 minutes after reading that subtitle.). Anyways, Jamila falls to the ground but unlike other monsters that Ultraman fights, the team chooses not to obliterate her but give her a proper funeral and a plaque. A real honor to her memory (happy now, yeesh!).

Jamilla is one strange looking figure, but it captures everything the monster was in the show. Its a giant white monster that's body looks like the bottom of a fat person's cracked callused foot, no neck and low shoulders. Deep sunken eyeballs hiding in the sockets stare out at you glazed over without the hint of a pupil. When it comes to paint, sculpt and scale, Bandai doesn't disappoint. Honestly, Jamilla was the only Ultraman monster that scared me as a child. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because it looks like a circus sideshow freak and that if it had a voice it would probably sound like Billy Bob Thornton from Sling Blade.