An Open Question To Plex

Hey there, Plex.

Remember when you guys created Victory Mars or Ryuuseioh? Do you have any recollection of intricacies that ignited the fantasies of the kids everywhere (in Japan)? Because lately, now more than ever, I’m curious as to whether or not you’ve any idea what you’re doing anymore with these Super Sentai mechs. Especially when seeing this latest contraption for Goseiger….

….and realizing that, holy Tezuka, you’ve truly sunk to the bottom of the barrel: You’re actually ripping off of yourselves.

There have been people who believe that Goseiger is just a buffer year for Toei, flying under the radar just enough to make money for next year’s series. That would make sense, given its incredibly bland presentation, but look at Go-Onger‘s utter travesty of mech design, or Shinkenger‘s Samurai Haoh (which ultimately got spammed and took away from my initial excitement in its appearance). This isn’t just a case of bad execution; there’s no challenge anymore. No innovations. Nothing to make them more than lumps of interlocking plastic that you’ll eventually sell off on eBay. The art of Super Sentai mech design has dumbed down.

The sad part isn’t that Plex and Bandai are going to get away with this, nor is it that there’s really nothing I can do about it, save me getting a job within their ranks. It’s the fact that once again, there’s something that used to be creative and awe-inspiring that has been simplified where it didn’t need to be. I know it sounds dramatic, but I do sort of feel bad for the future in that case.

Rather than the inner child who grew up playing with the likes of the Galaxy Mega and Oh-Blocker, it’s the aspiring designer in me that just wants to know, “When the hell is it going to get fun again?”

High in (Samurai) Spirits

The first promo for Samurai Sentai Shinkenger just aired. Here it is in glorious Youtube HD:

For once, I actually dig the designs of both team and mecha and find myself wishing for a great series, now more than ever. Then again, if Kamen Rider Decade is a gigantic trainwreck, it won’t even matter how bad Shinkenger is…..

Can you feel your wallet-I mean cosmos burn?!

This has to be the most beautiful toy I’ve seen all year.

What you’re looking at is the Seiya Pegasus God Cloth figure from the Saint Seiya Cloth Myth series. To reveal its origins would spoil the hell out of the finale but damn if it isn’t just gorgeous. According to Collection DX, this sucker has a good portion of it made out of die-cast metal. If that wasn’t sweet enough, the thing comes with a mail-in offer to get the Cloth Myth Athena figure!

…No, I’m not being paid by Bandai to go on about this! This figure is just that damned amazing looking! Don’t believe me, check out the Collection DX view review here:

…then get your ass over to your toy store of choice and throw the money down on the table, Saint Seiya fans, because this sucker’s going fast!

Retrospective In Print

With the death of Newtype USA fastly approaching, I’ve been in something of a nostalgic mood. It really kicked into overdrive when I was in the middle of dismantling Christmas here at my place and I rescued a couple of old magazines along with my slightly warped Guyver models.

See, when I was a kid, there were two Japanese print magazines that I always kept up with until their respective demises. Oh and one from Canada. I think. Meh, I’ll look into some other time. Back to what I was saying, these two mags were always on my shopping list and with the death of Newtype, it got me thinking about them again as I read through them again. So, seeing as how I keep going on and on about them and because I’m sure you guys are just dying to know what the hell I’m even talking about, I figured a good ol’ fashioned retrospective is in order.

DISCLAIMER: No I am not an expert on the full history of each mag. I’m going off of what I can translate off of Wikipedia and personal memory. If I fudged up anything, email me at r5centralATgmail.com and call me on it.

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1.) B-Club – 1985~1998
The short version: Any and all things Bandai with a lower page count than Newtype but with all the informational content of several Wikipedia pages on a monthly basis

I had a quasi-subscription to this when I was a kid. By that I mean whenever a new one came in, I’d be the first to go for it at the local anime shop. Think of it as Newtype…but with Anime, Tokusatsu, Gunpla, Doujinshi reviews done in a Giant Robot staff review style, two page Illustration Page art spreads, Red (Freaking) Masoleum by Keita Amemiya (some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen in a mag), illustrated editorials and a freaking Karaoke column.

This could very well be the predecessor to Newtype THE LIVE with its Tokusatsu focus at the time, second only to Uchusen Quarterly (which I’ll get to in a sec). B-Club was where the epilogue manga to Chojin Sentai Jetman was first published back in 1996. Before that, B-Club ran a side story manga to Shaider revolving around his assistant, Annie, and her adventures around the world.

(Sadly, to my knowledge, that manga can’t be found anywhere in collected form. However, the Jetman Epilogue is available in a single volume. Click the previous link for a translation and synopsis)

The magazine ended in 1998 where it then turned into Dengeki B-Magazine which then made the transformation into Dengeki Hobby Magazine some time later and has remained so ever since. God I miss it. Especially because we got such gems like this fan drawing that shows what would have happened if Hiroshi Miyauchi had been a proper member of Ohranger.

(Scan forthcoming)

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2.) Space Magazine Uchusen Quarterly (aka Uchusen) - 198?~2005
The Short Version: Japanese equivalent of Starlog

This was the first Japanese print magazine I ever bought into back in 1994. Rather large format with features on Japanese and American Science Fiction, Tokusatsu, Special Effects, and Indie Productions. Yes that’s right, a whole section in the back dedicated to indie productions. Right down to that original Kamen Rider flick that only a select few remember seeing and Line The Barbarian…..

…Yeah, the rest of that episode is just like that opening.

How ironic that the anime shop that I bought this from ended around the same time that Uchuusen ended its run in 2005. I still treasure those few issues that I managed to get my hands on to this day and wish I could have gotten more. You can find back issues on eBay and around the net but they’ll most likely go for a pretty penny depending on the feature. (I wish I could scan some stuff in but I don’t have the room to keep the issues stacked permanently -_-).

Apparently though, some staff from Uchuusen made their way into Hobby Japan if the Japanese Wikipedia entry is right so the legacy sort of lives on. It’d be nice if they just did the Yearbooks at the end of the year again. Le sigh.

Highlights to speak of: Eight issue Gerry Anderson review, Indie production index in the back along with reviews, and that really creepy make up FX school add that had that guy who had his face made up like something was trying to climb out of his cheek.

Yeah. You’re not getting a scan of that one.