Thursday, May 31, 2012

Transfromers Prime - The Animated Series


After the Transformers Movie Trilogy we get the best next thing, or in my opinion better..... The Transformers Prime Animated Series and Toyline.  Now I don't know if everybody agrees, but TF Prime has a more stronger and solid story.  If everybody notices, its written and developed for television but the same guys who made story for the movie... but this time more liberated without Spielberg and Bay - and it's better!

This is initially a 5 part test mini-series to capture TF fans for future venture since the movie is about to close, indeed TF3: Dark of the Moon made tons of money in the box office but we were all disappointed story wise.  Definitely the absence of Megan Fox is a big loss, missing Twins (Skids & Mudflap) that made more screen time than sideswipe and others, this movie totally failed for me being a TF Fan.  Thank God for redeption - Transformers Prime proved to have hard core and solid stories and harked G1, Movie and current evolution in animation and storytelling revitalizes Transformers in a totally new perspective.

For me the most brilliant factor in why TF Prime is so awesome is because we get to hear original voices from the past Peter Cullen and Frank Welker proved once and over again that they own Prime and Megatron's voice.  Peter Cullen's majestic and heroic voice is fitting for Optimus Prime's nobility and leadership and a great contrast to Frank Welker's menacing and treacherous voice an perfect execution for a menacing leader. The result a worldwide hit that spawned hype even here in the Philippines despite there is no local airing of the series.  Its G1 all-over again in a different level, this time with better history.

It was awesome how the previous Transformers Animated provided great characters, animation and story for general audience but TF Prime is for the solid hardcore and who would want to be new fans of this genre.  Characters are pulled from the G1 line except for Bulkhead witch was a favorite in the Transformers animated series. The fact that this is a TV series it's in full CG, yes we had CGs before like the Beastwars series, combination on TF Cybertron, but this......I am in awe.

Character wise I love how this series keeps it to a minimum, no over-casting, no over exposure of characters, all is in balance.  This is true for both Autobots and Decepticons, even the human allies and villains are in good proportion, unlike the previous incarnations it either too much bots minimal human intervention or a lot of human intervention which is unnecessary.

Even for the Decepticon I must say, the concept of having Vehicon Drones are superb, it maintains the army and numbers of the Decepticon but focuses on distinct characters.

The Toyline is great....specially the FIRST EDITIONS.... it was something.  For the main line Robots in Disguise I was disappointed.  I expected better since this is the mass produced line by it didn't turn out that way. I got these Autobots for my personal collection.  I feel these lines which I have are the strength of the line.  I am contemplating on getting the Deceptions but only the main Characters.

Copyright njvelasquez 2012
All characters mentioned and shown are owned by their respective company.
 Transformers and related Characters owned by Hasbro/Takara Tomy and its subsidiaries.
No copyright infringement intended in the creation of this review.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman Preview

Now let's get things straight - Marvel started in the early 2000s the Spiderman Franchise by Director Sam Raime and Actor Tobey Magguire, It was a muti-billion dollar success from the Box Office to the movie merchandise.  This was also our first taste at Toybiz Marvel 6" lines that were top notch. Reboot?

Al lot has been skeptic about this reboot as may are fans of the three previous Spiderman films, for most of the fans they were great movies at they were. My personal favorite was Spiderman II with Doc Ock, storywise it was well written as well as effects, 3Ds and animation were great.  We all had a lot of fun in general with the three movies but were they perfect - definitely not!

I have a lot of high hopes for this one, I was also skeptic of the costume - but final outputs turned out great, the actor Andrew Garfield started as totally off to he might actually pull it off but after seeing this trailer, I'm sold.  THIS IS MY SPIDERMAN!

He is witty here, fast, agile and the web shooters - the first time I saw the web shooters I had goosebumps.  Nice re-interpretation of the Spiderman suit, I think It was taken from the Ultimates. I love the darker tone but still light and bubbly obnoxious web-head we all know from the cartoons and comics

Well, that's the second movie Marvel is giving us this year - no wonder he wasn't in the Avengers, he has a bigger budget for himself for his own movie... Hahahahahha!

Two thumbs up for this, from the preview alone I'm giving it 4/5 Avengers higher because of the total superhero geek mode.  Toys and merchandise are out, its something to look forward to and a movie to be hyped with.

Copyright njvelasquez 2012
All characters mentioned and shown are owned by their respective company.
 Spiderman and related Characters owned by Marvel/Disney and its subsidiaries.
Compliments to YouTube for the video.
No copyright infringement intended in the creation of this review.

The Transformers - More than Meets the Eye

The Transformers - Then and Now

Transformers I would say is the re-incarnation of Super Robot.  In the 70's I believe there was an anime "Macross" or "Revoltech" which featured planes that turn in to robot.  Not to mention the other piloted mecha.  What's interesting about the Transformers is that they are sentient beings... they had life, a mind of their own, set of principles between right and wrong.

I won't say I'm a big follower of all the Transformers franchise or all of the incarnations but G1 holds a special place in my heart.  Aside from the voice of Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime and Frank Welker as Megatron, I was truly amazed on story, the transformation from vehicle to robot and vice-versa. The ultimate catch point then was the toy commercials every episode.  My jaw would literally drop and droll as I wish I could own a toy like that. 

As a kid, I never owned a Transformer toy; we could not afford to buy one.  But like every kid who dreamed of a Voltes V or Superman Toy... I always wanted to have Optimus Prime.  He was up there with Superman, Steve, Keith and other cartoon leaders.

I was one of the poor kids who would put together match boxes and create a truck like Prime or be creative enough to put together an Optimus Prime robot with some glue and sticks; with a help of tons of imagination, I get to play with a Transforming box that I pretend to be Prime.

As I said, I never really followed all of the TF series but I was surely a G1 fan. Among my other favorites were Transformers Cybertron and Beast Wars, these two captured my attention due to the introduction of GCI Animation to TV in a series. It was for me a combination of good story and great animation.  Sadly during this time I have no means and resources to start a collection.  I was one who would frequent the mall's toy section specially when I'm stressed out to check out the new figures that would come out.  It was part of my stress reliever to frequent toys section specially when I was working.

Aside from these TF series, the Transformers movie is what really drove me back, somehow seeing prime in a live-action film had a lot of kick.

I heard a lot of rumor regarding this live-action movie.  It was a bitter sweet moment!  A lot of attention were made, the fuzz of redesign, the sense of being true to G1, even the name of the human counterpart Sam from Spike was an issue. Excitement filled in specially after the Teaser Trailer was released by yahoo. A lot were bickering about how much it changed, I was in awe on how they made the change.

During my childhood is was the amazement of seeing these transforming vehicles turn into robots, from the animation in the 80's to the CGI almost instructional graphics of transformation now a live action movie. During my early 20's i have always been a fan of the engineers that makes the toy.  Here is a cartoon I watch and here it is tangible, transformable and playable within my reach. It was like chess, rubic's cube and lego all together. It was putting together boxes as armor and dorming a vehicle mode when playing.  It was part of every boys childhood.

In the Transformers Movie, you gotta admit the amount of detail they put up with.  And as trend has it for every comic or cartoon inspired movie a toyline supports it, and Transformers did not fail to deliver.  Fascination grew when I was these new toylines, more intricate, more realistic and more complex. I get it, its different from the original cartoons on TV, changes were dramatic but also needed and with basis.

Now with the trend of Transformers growing back and the movie has proved and gave it more hyped for younger generations, I'm back into collecting and hopefully will continue to do so.  A friend once told me "What do you get with all this, its non-sense!" I smiled and said "It's me, i'm in-love with it. My toys is the source of my inner peace. Hahahahhaha....." I'm enjoying collecting with patience and now more focused and guided with direction.


God is truly gracious to those who strive and is blessed when there is patience.  My collection grew through time and by the grace that God has given for me to be able to purchase them one at a time.  Now, with the wide influence and impact of collectors, I may not be a key player... but I'm proud to say God has gotten me in the game.

Copyright njvelasquez 2012
All characters mentioned and shown are owned by their respective company.
 Transformers and related Characters owned by Hasbro/Takara Tomy and its subsidiaries.
No copyright infringement intended in the creation of this review.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Toys for the Big Boys - Super Robots

Super Robots - What makes them special?

"I wanna car, chicks dig the car!" Is one of the famous line in the 1997 movie Batman and Robin uttered by Robin in the opening scene. It made me think, "Wow, even superheroes are fascinated with cars, awesome tech you see them making robots or armor like Ironman.  The influence of having that kind of fire power at your side, to pilot, wear or operate is such a surreal dream we all got and was influenced by Japan's Mecca Mania. 

Who would even dare to say they don't know Voltes 5, Voltron, Daimos, Optimus Prime or the Power Rangers.

Growing up in the 80's and 90's is a lot of fun.  We experienced most of things kids nowadays would dream to experience. We had the chance to see how the Cassette Tape evolved into today's MP3, Betamax to BlueRay, Game and Watch to PSP or Nintendo DS, Attari to WII/PS3/Xbox.  we saw the world change right in-front of us.  It was not just defining to our growth but definitive to evolution.

Saturday morning cartoons was composed of Superheroes and Super Robots in an alternate time-slot. It was common to all kids back then to watch these cartoons.  I remember "Shaider - Ang Pulis Pangkalawakan" (Space Sherif) as the first Filipino dubbed sentai then.  Aside from Voltes V and Bioman kids would shout "Vabiloz!" or "Let's volt-in!" and sometimes the chant from Bioman's count "Red 1" and so on and so forth.

I learned from my Grandmother that during Marcos time Voltes V and similar themed anime was banned to be aired in national TV due to the story of rebellion to tyranny.  Since it was Martial Law any hint or related to rebellion is prohibited.

It was in the early 80's where in I watched the Superhero themed cartoons and Transformers, apparently that was about Good and Evil and doesn't invoke rebellion. (To kids - rebellion?)

Anyways, we all loved and wanted to be Richard, pilot of Daimos and have an angel Erika to be our special someone.  It was a robot that not only made you want to have your own robot but learn karate and be a ninja type of guy and have a robot copy all your action moves.

Of course the epitome of all Super Robot Collectors, VOLTES V.  We all wanted to e Steeve Armstrong,  pilot of Cruizer 1 and leader of the Voltes Team. Somehow, he was good looking, sounded great (thanks to the English Dubbed) and fearles.

We all wanted the Godaikin Voltes, we all wanted to have a piece of this toy, we all gathered around someone owning this kind of toy.  I think, aside from the Kenner Superman back then this was the next best thing for me. (Don't judge me guys, I said I was a fan).

We all know the weapons, somehow everything then was voice activated and kids in the neighborhood were shouting "Lazer Sword" then using a stick as a saber, when the tops came in, it was "Ultra Electro Magnetic Top!", man you gotta love our era. It was TV, imagination, Toys and back to imagination.

Now, 30 years later I learned that Voltes V was a rip off due to some company dispute from Combattler V.  I saw a glimpse from YouTube clips of this ancestor of the Voltes Team, I gotta admit, everything looks almost exactly the same with only minimal improvements in favor of Voltes V. Hey, Filipinos are known for being respectful, let's give due credit to Combatler V for paving the way for Voltes V.

Aside from Transformers (Needs a separate review) came Voltron: Defender of the Universe along with a narrator we all knew the voice and love; Peter Cullen. Voltron was an American based mecca with Japanese origins.  This time, its not ships, they were 5 giant robot lions and a story not based on Earth but from a distant galaxy; a different planet.

Simple story, simple action, very American-like animation where-in the narrator would explain the scene as it happens.  It was my first look at robot animals that combine and become one giant robot. And maybe because it was a trend of 5-man-team, this followed in the same tradition. It was the death of a member that captured my attention for this animated super robot aside from the awe in each part being a mechanical lion.

After all has been said and done, its been 30 years. All of these are great parts of my childhood, I would never have wanted to change anything. Everything was perfect the way it was.  God is very kind to have given me the chance to own these precious toys from my childhood.  Seeing them everyday seems like relief, it's like growing younger.  Having these as part of my collection is no status-quo or does not mean I have that luxury. I can never pay back the feeling of being refreshed and hearkened back to my childhood and be able to play and re-live memories.

It is through these toys that I have, I get to share my childhood to my kids. I get to be a kid and play with my kids.  It is through these toys my kids and I get bonded. A bond beyond comprehension, a bond made strong as our childhood collide.

Thanks for taking time in reading my blog.  Hope all of you can support and subscribe. God Bless us all and to God I give back the glory.

Copyright njvelasquez 2012
All characters mentioned and shown are owned by their respective company.
 Voltes V, Combatler V & Daimos and related character is copyrighted and owned by Toei Co and its subsidiaries. Toys are SOC copyright owned by Bandai and its subsidiaries.
Voltron and related Characters owned by Toynami and its subsidiaries.
No copyright infringement intended in the creation of this review.