In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, Anchor Bay Entertainment’s Manga brand is set to release one of the most highly anticipated animated films. “Redline” will have a limited theatrical run in Los Angeles starting December 2nd and in NYC starting on January 6th. On January 17, 2012, “Redline” will be released on Blu-ray™ and DVD.
“Redline” won the Audience Official Selection Award for Animation at Fantasia and the Outstanding Achievement in Feature Filmmaking – Animation Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival. It has received rave reviews even from those admittedly not anime fans.
“Redline” is a racing film created by studio Madhouse (Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars). “Redline” is about the biggest and most deadly racing tournament in the universe. Only held once every five years, everyone wants to stake their claim to fame, including JP, a reckless dare-devil driver oblivious tospeed limits with his ultra-customized car – all the while, organized crime and militaristic governments want to leverage the race to their own ends. Amongst the other elite rival drivers in the tournament, JP falls for the alluring Sonoshee – but will she prove his undoing, or can a high speed romance survive a mass destruction race?
Check out the trailer, this movie looks gorgeous and very creative. I can not wait to see the full version, and you can count on an in-depth review once I do!
Cartoon Network has been producing many great cartoon shows in the past few years for kids of all ages. One of their longest running franchises in recent times is “Ben 10,” the story is about young Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen, and their grandfather Max who discover a mysterious watch-like device called the Omnitrix during a camping trip. Like all 10 year old kids, Ben realizes the only course of action is to battle aliens and right the wrongs of the universe by transforming into aliens. It’s only logical.
It was not long before toys had to be made, and Ban Dai has been producing these figures since the show first debuted in 2005. Now, over six years later, the characters have all aged in real time and star in “Ultimate Alien,” where Ben now uses the Ultimatrix and transforms into even bigger and cooler aliens. Today, we look at one of those aliens.
“Ultimate Swampfire” is part of Ban Dai’s “Ben 10: Ultimate Alien” line, and first premiered on episode 53 in the episode, “Ben 10 Returns.” Hailing from the planet Methanos, Swampfire has pyrokinetic powers, a rotten scent, and a nasally voice, making him the Woody Allen of aliens. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at this figure.
Packaging – Nothing too out of the ordinary here. Swampfire comes on your normal blister card, which is a very compact nine inches tall. There are no frills here, as it’s very economic packaging. Since these toys are intended for kids who are going to rip them open immediately, the main event is the figure itself which is given the most space on this box.
The back of the box features a look at the other figures in this line, as well as the “Disc Alien Ultimatrix,” which we will talk a bit more about later. A character bio would have been nice to see on the back, but again, being for younger kids (many of whom probably can not read yet) there is not much of a huge need for that. It’s pretty straight forward, and it serves its purpose of being a window for a child to see and scream “GIMME GIMME GIMME!”
Taking him out of the package was very easy too. No twisty-ties or rubber bands, just one plastic case that he pops right out of easily. The plastic is pretty thin, but the figure is well-protected and snug in his molded coffin.
Sculpting – Swampfire captures the style of the cartoon dead on. He could practically pass for a model that the animators would use for reference. The character design reminds me of “Holocaust” from Marvel Comics (remember him), but unlike that character, Swampfire is a more balanced looking figure. For someone like me who knows Ben 10 only in passing, I can still enjoy this unique looking creature, and can figure out what he is all about just from looking at him.
He might not be the most detailed figure compared to more realistic lines, but this is a cartoon which focuses on style more than realism. There is no variety in the texture of the figure other than some indents on the muddy section of his body, but the figure seems to be more about the color combinations than it does about fancy sculpting. It accomplishes what it sets out to do, and looks good doing it – simplicity, and some times, there is nothing wrong with that.
Paint – As I said above, I think this figure is more about color than it is about detail. One look at the cartoon show will tip you off to that, and this figure is very accurate in terms of its color. At it’s core, it’s a blue and green color scheme with black highlights, and it works together in unison very well.
I am happy to report that there is no slop around the edges or any blotches. The paint is smooth all over the toy and gives it that feel that it came right out of your TV screen.
Accessories – Swampfire comes with only one accessories, a mini-disc thing with his alien symbol. This disc goes into the Ultimatrix accessory that your child (or you, I’m not judging) wears on their wrist, where it then lights up and spins into action.
To use it, you nestle the character down into the disc, then release it to see him and his arms pop out. The disc looks nice enough on its own, but without the Ultimatrix, this accessory does nothing except get lost when you put it down.
Playability – Swampfire has nine points of articulation, many of those joints hidden nicely, while his knees do have blatantly visible pins. At four inches tall, this figure is great for a kid and will fit in with most other action figures in that scale like Star Wars or the upcoming four-inch Thundercats figures.
The toy is made from sturdy plastic and feels pretty solid, so I would not be worried about your youngling dropping it and smashing it into trillions of pieces. If they own the Ultimatrix, they will have tons of fun roleplaying with it, making the single accessory great for kids, not so much for collectors. Then again, how many collectors are hoarding Ben 10 toys?
Final Verdict – When I asked how many collectors hoard Ben 10 toys, I did not mean that in a negative tone. Far from it, as Ben 10 really is intended for kids to play with. I wish there were more toy lines like this, since it seems nowadays companies are more interested in the adult collectors than they are in entertaining children.
Ban Dai keeps the integrity of the franchise as well as a high play factor for kids. They are still great for collectors too, but this is a toy that was meant to have fun with. So if you buy one, make sure to get yourself one to take out of the package too.
Check out the gallery below to see more photos of “Swampfire”
Coming out in Spring 2012, Ban Dai will be continuing their popular Thundercats figures in an all new way!
The Cartoon Network characters will be adding a new line of stylized mini PVC figures to their already growing line of figures. The first wave features Lion-O, Panthro, Cheetara, Tygra, Mumm-Ra, and Slithe, and comes with a diorama style packaging. The figures will not be articulated, but you can get their other figures with a ton of joint mobility in their other lines.
This product will retail for around $24.99 when it hits stores in the spring. Check out hi-res pics of these mini figures below!
Recently on Yahoo! Movies and Moviefone, Marvel debuted two web banners bearing four members of “The Avengers” on each image for Joss Whedon’s upcoming take on the legendary comics team.
The first horizontal banner features Captain America, Bruce Banner, Iron Man unmasked as Tony Stark, and Thor. The second banner has Nick Fury, Loki, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow, looking sultry as ever.
The film stars Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, and Scarlett Johansson, and is set to premiere in theaters nationwide on May 4.
I am a classic video game fanatic, but classic video games are not a fan of me. A retro video game is like a fine wine, aging with grace and dignity, and typically getting better with time. Their consoles, however, are more like that relative you locked up in a senior center and only visit on the day before major holidays (since why waste a holiday on a person who can’t even remember what year it is).
The frustration of attempting to play an old Nintendo game on its system knows no bounds. You can blow as much as you want in the cartridge, but if the system is just too old to work, you are wasting your breath. With older video game technology copyrights going up for grabs in the past few years, many “clone consoles” have popped up that offer you the ability to play older games on them, often two systems in one like the RetroDuo.
Then along came the retron 3, which offers not one, not two, but THREE different consoles in one! With this contraption, gamers can relive their favorite NES, SNES and Sega Genesis games in cartridge form. Many of its predecessors were mediocre, so how well does this system rank? Hit the jump and find out in the full review! Continue reading Review of Retron 3 NES/SNES/Genesis Triple Game System→
Are you a fan of “Super Smash Bros” but wanted to enjoy it as a side-scroller rather than just a fighter? I have, and now we have the chance, courtesy of I-Mockery‘s upcoming flash game, “Abobo’s Big Adventure!”
Starring everyone’s favorite baddie from “Double Dragon,” Abobo must rescue his son from the clutches of an evil group of classic gaming jerks, and battle his way through so many video game references, it will make your head spin.
No release date is official, but you can expect it very soon. You can play it for free on the game’s official website once it is out.
Frank Miller is a polarizing character in the world of comics. With the release of his latest graphic novel, “Holy Terror”, Miller has raised more eyebrows than before with this controversial piece.
Originally slated to be a Batman book (titled “Holy Terror, Batman”), DC Comics quickly dropped the book when its scandalous nature was revealed. Miller did not have to look far to get a new publisher, and the book has come out with much intrigue surrounding it, with many critics unhappy about Miller’s perspective on Muslims and the religion of Islam. In an interview with Newsarama, Miller had this to say about the creation of his book and a bit more on his political views:
“I’m not hearing from a lot of people that are telling me they are not afraid of trouble from abroad and homegrown trouble. The issue here is a message of killing. It’s not a religion. I, for instance, was born Catholic, and I can tell you very little about the mysteries of Catholicism but I can tell you a fair amount about the Spanish Inquisition. By the same token, I can tell you squat about Islam, I don’t know anything about it, but I know a Goddamn lot about Al Qaeda and I want them all to burn to hell.”
Many critics have noted that while Miller maintains his position that this book is not necessarily against Islam but against terrorism, the two topics seemed to meld together in his work with no difference between the two. At the end of the day, “Holy Terror” is a very personal and cathartic work by Miller that may not have been ready for the politically-correct public eye.
Miller also said that it was his choice to pull away the cowl of Batman for this book, since it became more about the conflict against Al Qaeda and became “unrestrained”, something the Bat is not suited for. Due to that, he rewrote the entire script, however certain pages of the actual comic seem lazily cropped to pull elements of the Batman costume out of certain scenes.
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