Dreaming of Dancing Burritos


Poorly suppressed power levels.
September 1, 2009, 12:22 pm
Filed under: awesome, fangirl, lolwut, office, toys

The T and I got around to comparing our workstations earlier despite our somehow busy workdays. Behold the signs of barely (if ever) suppressed power levels:

The pic on the left is T’s, the one on the right taken with a crappy camera is mine.

…goddamn, he has a Decadriver. In the office. ONORE DI–pffft, whatever.

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McFarlane Toys: The Matrix Sentinel Deluxe Boxed Edition review
March 14, 2009, 4:43 am
Filed under: awesome, Sentinel, The Matrix Sentinel, toy review, toys

DISCLAIMER: This post and the content that follows are written by Ryan and not the original owner of this blog.

Let me say this to start.

I love toys. I’ve always loved them since my parents gave me my first G1 Transformers when I was but a young lad who always mined gold in his nostrils. Now with me actually being a productive member of society, I’ve taken up the toy habit again. And I’m going to review one of them tonight, with Mai’s blessing.

Now, please bear in mind that I’m really not a toy ‘collector’ of any sort – I just buy toys because I like them and love to play with them – so I may not be able to give accurate comparisons of the toy I’m reviewing to other toys. So sorry about that. Also I tend to babble on a lot, but I’ll try my best to keep a lid on it and stop acting like a douche so much.

In any case, let’s get on with it with my first Super-Awesome Toy, The Matrix Sentinel by McFarlane Toys!


When I first saw this sucker on a window display en route to Wasabi I knew I had to get him. I’m a huge fan of huge toys (no pun intended) and a large, hefty figure of one of the best-looking robot monster designs ever is a proper treat for me. He was going for a price that’s well and above his original asking price, but we do have to keep in mind that McToys did release the Sentinel around in ’03, thus making it quite the antique figure. I’m not too sure if he’s rare or not, but hey, I wasn’t going to pass him up. I mean, come on, it’s a huge robotic octopus with fifteen huge fully-articulated tentacles – what’s not to like?

Now let’s get him out of that cardboard prison. To deal with the copious amounts of scotch tape sealing the edges, I’ve armed myself with a rusty box cutter, and sure enough I got them out of the way.

However, when I made to open the box, I realized in horror that I would have to do the unthinkable: DESTROY the box to get the Sentinel out. The actual ‘lid’ isn’t the roof of the box at all, but at the bottom, and hinged in such a way that it also forms the back wall of the box. To make matters worse, the lid itself is stuck to the bottom with a huge amount of…glue? Paste? Unthinkable sticky liquid perhaps? Whatever it was, it was set on not letting me keep the box intact. SO I DIDN’T. I tore that sucker open.


Smell that new toy smell. Well, old new toy smell. But still a glorious scent nonetheless!


And so this is the McFarlane Toys’ Deluxed Box Version of the Matrix Sentinel, unboxed and laid out in its full, coiled-and-ready-to-rape-anything-in-the-area glory. It’s bigger than it looks, and I’ll illustrate that in just a second, after we get the twisty ties out of the way.


Ho yes, there are twisty ties, but in a surprisingly SCANT amount. In fact it was a bit disappointing, until I realized that something more insidious barred me from traipsing into the land of Happy Fun Tentacle Time.


WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!

I can forgive the sadomasochistic box enclosure, I can forget the finger-wrecking twisty ties. But this is just going too far, now! This is the same type of tie they use for disposable handcuffs! And there was no other way to remove the dang thing but to cut it open, so I had to go at it with the rusty cutter from before.

After some careful, CAREFUL cutting…

Almost there…

COME ON MAN SERIOUSLY I JUST WANNA PLAY WITH MY TOY DAMMIT

FREEDOM!

Look at him! He’s so cute, all wrapped up tight like a ball! And with his inner claws like that it’s like he’s just waiting for a cuddle. I henceforth call this form Squidball!

But yeah, he’s out. Much rejoicing.

One thing you notice immediately when you take him out of the box is how freaking HEAVY he is. No joke – while I can certainly do with more exercise, I do find some objects that people consider as heavy to be ‘cartable’ – but Sentinel here weighs a ton(nothing wrong with that, that just says that it’s a solidly built figure and no mistake). After the weight you notice just how much of a big deal he really is, and despite his overinflated price tag, whatever you pay for him, you’re getting your money’s worth.

That’s because he is ridiculously DETAILED. When McFarlane Toys does Deluxe Toys, they really go the entire nine yars. Everything, from the eyes to the claws to even the small teeth-like ‘mini-claws’ on the underside of the Sentinel’s body is sculpted, a painstaking effort to make this piece of toy heaven as movie-accurate as possible. I can’t think of anything to criticize it with. It’s PURE FURY.


And then we get to the tentacles. Oh yes, the main star of this toy, the tentacles. Unfurled from their curled position, these babies measure almost two feet long, making the Sentinel my biggest (or rather, longest) toy to date. Each tentacle is fully poseable and bendable, and they will firmly hold whatever pose you put them in (that includes raised or lowered positions). One thing to note here though is that this is where the Sentinel drops a bit in movie accuracy: the original Sentinels had red piping on their tentacles. But seeing as those red markings were dropped in the sequels, I guess we could forgive it for that.

Each tentacle comes equipped with a four-pronged claw, and there are three variations of the claw: a permanently closed one, a permanently opened one, and an articulated one that you can freely switch between rape mode, grab mode and grope mode. Now this is where the packaging starts to get on my nerves: The box actually crushes the latter kind of claws into bent, unidentifiable pieces of plastic. This is easily remedied with the hot water process, but it just screams WRONG when an integral part of a toy’s appeal is deliberately compromised like that.

The Sentinel’s inner claws are pretty well-detailed as well, and you can pose them somewhat, seeing as they’re attached to the main body by balljoints. However, it’s pretty easy to have them fall off. Not easy like Revoltech Lazengann’s fists easy, but too much movement and they pop out. You can easily pop them back in, though, and they catch on tightly.

I’m really pleased with this figure. He’s got heft, he’s got poseability coming out of his ears, and out of the box he’s just one massive toy that is literally BEGGING to be played with. Of course, one of the tentacles did come off from the body after I started trying to pose it properly, but further investigation revealed that there was not enough adhesive applied to it. I fixed that with just a smidgin of Mighty Bond and it’s back on, stronger than ever.

Now, you might be wondering about the obvious – can the tentacles actually do what they’re supposed to do, when the schoolgirl figures come a-running? Yes, but sadly no. See, the tentacles themselves are thick, so while they’re poseable as heck, you can’t have them wrap around something as small as, say, a figma Asakura’s angle or arm. You can however wrap them around her waist, and the claws do allow for some grabbing/pinching/penetrating action if you know what I mean. Please do watch out for an upcoming gallery featuring female figurines interacting with The Sentinel. But it’s all going to be wholesome!

And now, to the scores:

Presentation/Packaging: 5
Costume and Expressions: 10
Sculpt and Paint: 10
Gimmicks/Accessories/Base: 7 (The Deluxe Boxed Set came with a Real World Neo that can attach to the base to form a diorama. It sucks but it’s considerate.)
Articulation: 10
Fun Factor: Posing and taking Photos: 10

AVERAGE: 8.6

If you’re a robot monster fan (even if you didn’t like the Matrix much) and you see this guy going for any price, get him. He’s fun, he’s cute, and he can be an awesome opponent for all your figmas and busou shinkis.

Thanks for reading!



My first hipster garbage: Adobe Creative Suite 3 Trexi
February 23, 2009, 2:41 am
Filed under: toys

I’m usually wary about vendors peddling their software in the guise of seminars, but I’m going to have to make an personal exception to Adobe Acrobat. In my current work I mostly deal with the company’s IT documentation (straightening out the grammar, making them more concise and dummy-proof), and it’s been hell updating outdated documents uploaded as image files.

It’s no wonder that I happily signed up for the Adobe Acrobat 9 seminar held in my office, despite the fact that I have several documents due soon. Very soon.

Then they gave me this cute item as a prize for asking a question that made the facilitator sweat buckets and stammer:

A limited edition Adobe Creative Suite 3 trexi figure.
Yeah, its one of those toys falling under the “hipster garbage” category that’s all the rage these days, alongside Bearbricks, Muggs, Qee, and other toy lines that are pretty much based on a basic shape repainted ad nauseum by “designers” and are also frequently used as product/IP advertisements.
Still, these kinds of stuff make for good handouts. I can see myself making time and actively participating in product seminars if they gave out more of these things.
Here’s a better shot of the toy:


Play-Asia shipment review (Part One): Dissidia soda, Castlevania "7 Alucard Figure, Gundam 00 wafers, Space Invaders headset (black), Lion Ramune Candy

Receiving a parcel notice from the local post is a moment for having mixed emotions. There is elation, of course, coming from the knowledge that YES MY LONG-AWAITED PACKAGE FROM PLAY-ASIA IS THERE AND IS WAITING TO BE PICKED UP IN THE POST. I apologize for my use of caps, but attempting to express my joy otherwise is an exercise in futility.

On the other hand, picking up the package means that I’m forced to go through one of the worst public transportation routes I have ever undertaken ever since I started commuting between my first (crap) job in Quezon City and my Las Pinas home, and that’s saying a lot.

The commute to the post office involves two uncomfortable tricycle rides where somehow 5 people magically fit in a single tricyle. Yes, that includes one of said people almost sitting on the lap of another. In addition to that, my trek to the post office somehow always take place on a scorching hot day; certainly not helping ease the fact that I have to walk on hot concrete for several minutes somewhere in between rides. It’s a modern-day Penitensya before the Easter Egg Hunt.

In any case, here’s what I claimed from the post a few days before my birthday:

Clockwise from top-left: Dissidia Final Fantasy Potion (Chaos), NECA Castlevania Action Figure “7 Alucard, Lion Ramune Candy and Mobile Suit Gundam 00 2nd Phase Character Card with Chocolate Wafer, Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Headset Black

I got sorely burned with this particular shipment. I guess I got too complacent with not getting taxed to hell and back with my local customs office (as it should be; I never order anything extravagant online and I make it a point not to let one package exceed $US 50) that I never thought they’d consider a pair of headphones as an electronics item. What happened? my US$ 34.80 package got taxed with “duties” worth 1,000. That’s an additional US$ 20. Burn.

On to the actual contents:

The Dissidia potion I got is decorated with Final Fantasy IV’s Cecil Harvey and the bad guy Golbez(a). I have no idea how it tastes, though I read somewhere that the soda is Muscat Grape-flavored. Having consumed a couple of other Final Fantasy-branded sodas before, I think I can forgo the taste test and safely say that this Dissidia drink is no different; most probably tasting like carbonated piss with a handful of ascorbic acid tabs thrown in.

Next up is the “7 Alucard by US manufacturer NECA. Figmafags will most likely scoff at me getting a US-manufactured figure, but the awesome detail lovingly applied onto this awesome piece of plastic (from the flowing hair, manly cravat, carefully detail coat buckles, and the maddeningly intricate embroidery in the underside of his coat) is nothing short of [insert synonym to “awesome” here, I’m out of words].

While I wouldn’t give too much props to a manufacturer for doing something that they ought to have done in the first place, seeing such loving attention paid to a part that wouldn’t see light of day impressed me immensely. Seriously, I wouldn’t have noticed the beautiful patterns if it weren’t for me trying to see if I could disrobe the figure (and maybe fulfill that ten-year-long fangirl urge ebbing within).

I’d take more pictures, but I’m stuck with a crappy celphone camera and thus images will just get fuzzy whenever I attempt to take close-up shots.

Then we go now to Morinaga’s Gundam 00 wafers (or as Ryan would call them, the trap wafers). I thought of ordering one solely for the novelty of it; as much as I loved what I managed to watch of Gundam 00, I’m now really lukewarm towards anything pertaining to the series with the exception of the beautiful Miss Sumeragi.

For each pack you get a big piece of hazelnut-flavored wafer, a transparent plastic card and cardboard backing. I made the big mistake of disregarding the wafer as something that’s just chucked into the package so the item can be classified as a consumable item…until I took a bite out of it. No mistake about it, the wafer practically tastes like something made by Loacker: densely packed with delicious filling and not too flaky at all.

The cards that come inside each pack are not too shoddily made either: each are made of transparent plastic, making them good, sturdy bookmarkers. I’m not too keen on the card I got from my first pack, though:

I never liked Nena Trinity.

Since Ryan managed to get a taste of the heavenly wafers earlier, here’s his own review:

The Gundam 00 wafer is a strange, strange product. You’d think that something about giant robots with androgynous, mentally-ill pilots would have nothing to do with foodstuffs, but as always, we are reminded that Japan does not roll that way – hence we have this piece of surprisingly palatable wafery goodness emblazoned with the Gundam name. A name long sullied by Gundam seed, but a name nonetheless.

The foil pack contains two things: the wafer itself, a thin cardboard backing to make the package less prone to snapping in half/crumbling into pieces, and the collectible card. Okay, that’s three things, but I doubt you’d be buying this little baby for the second item. Unless you’re like me and like cardboard a tad bit too much.

The wafer is edible, the cardboard backing and the collectible card itself unfortunately is not.

In any case, the wafer, despite its rather dubious branding and packaging, is actually one of the best-tasting wafers out there. It’s dispensed in a pretty big size, the same size as a trading card – and it’s solid. You’ll be biting through solid layers of wafer and filling – none of the feathery, airy stuff you get at local stores – and you’ll be relishing every bite. It’s crispy, it’s tasty, and you better bet that it’s awesome with ice cream. You do not want to order just one or two of these babies. Order an entire box. It’s worth the money and the wait.

You heard the man.

The last two items in the shipment are the Space Invaders 30th Anniversary headset (black) and a couple of sticks of Lion Ramune candy. The headset is noteworthy solely because it’s the main reason why I got taxed heavily for the shipment. But that aside, it functions just as well as its pink cousin.

..and the Lion Ramune candy? The lemony hard candy fizzes in the mouth. Careful not to consume too many at once, or in a row, though: you don’t want to desensitize your tongue.

That’s part one of this shipment review – I received a couple of boxes from Play-Asia earlier today, and I’m going to blog it when I’m finally able.



Gadget review: Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Headset (Pink) and Raglan Shirt (Pink)
December 17, 2008, 6:09 am
Filed under: appeals to the capitalist in you, gaems, review, space invaders, toys

(Author’s Note: This review, also written for Gamerblag , is actually way overdue; I’ve received the items the other week but was too caught up with work and other stuff until recently. Also, many, many thanks to Zuri-chan for letting us place this Play-Asia purchase on his credit card. You so rock, dude.)

It’s already apparent by now that I’m a big Space Invaders fan, but despite the glut of sweet, sweet Invader merchandise created to commemorate the franchise’s 30th Anniversary, its still hard to procure many of these items – Space Invaders alarm clock, pillow, Kitkat , etc – solely because I don’t live in Japan.

But we make do.

In any case, I was able to sniff out and pre-order the Space Invaders 30th Anniversary commemorative headset and Raglan shirt months ago in Play-Asia, and after a long wait (thanks to pushed back release dates), the Space Invaders care package was finally delivered to my doorstep by a Fedex guy wannabe.

Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Headset (pink):
QualityPros: The Space Invaders headset is solidly built and is made of lightweight plastic and faux leather for the padding. The pink paint on the actual ear pieces are thankfully not prone to scratching thanks to its top coat, which also seems to protect the black lettering and Space Invaders design from chipping off. The padding on the headband and the underside of the earpieces are extremely comfy; unlike my old Hesh Skullcandy headset, the Space Invader pair didn’t give me any sore ears after a considerable length of usage.

Another plus is that the headset can be folded to let you stow it without taking up too much space. However, the hinges are too loose, giving a floppy feel to the earpieces.
Cons: The white adjustable stems are made of plastic commonly used in cheap toys, and may not appeal to those prefer only high-quality material on their stuff. While the whole thing is sturdy and doesn’t look like it’ll break under moderate usage, the choice of material for the stems look somewhat flimsy. Also, what doesn’t appeal to me is the white-colored cord, which is dirt-prone and will never fail to turn grayish after weeks of usage despite proper handling and care.
Sound Quality: The sound quality that the Space Invaders deliver is nothing fancy, but nothing crappy either. Having owned a Skullcandy Hesh, I can safely say that they both have more or less similar sound output, and audio doesn’t crack as long as one does not crank the bass too much. A good benchmark that I use is Kajmaster Kajet’s Ninja Info Cards – if the sound doesn’t crackle in the middle of the track and has ample bass, then it’s good.

Packaging: The packaging for this item, while not in the least elaborate, is pretty cool-looking in its black-colored glossy carton printed with multi-colored happy little Invaders. The box window doesn’t show much of the merchandise, however, and the headset’s color (pink or black) is poorly indicated by a color dot on the box’s top flap. The cords placed smack in the middle of the box is conveniently hidden from plain sight by a circular piece of carton with a pink Invader printed on it (which I used as a deco sticker of sorts for my HP Mini).

Pricing: The headset is pretty affordable compared to most other headsets of similar build – and with this I mean those with huge earpieces – costing only US$ 20 or about 900 pesos. With the free shipping option in Play-Asia (available in selected countries), getting the Space Invaders headset is actually a cheaper and more awesome-looking alternative than getting…say, Sennheisers. If you’re into the Skullcandy brand, then this sweet headset would be right up your alley in terms of pricing and style.

Verdict: Space Invaders fan? Get this. Looking for a good yet affordable headset? Get this. Want only the best materials for your stuff? You may have second thoughts before buying this baby. Want to scalp something other than Hannah Montana tickets on eBay? Oh yes, yes, get this.

Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Raglan Shirt (Pink):


Quality: I may be a fan of the series, but that doesn’t mean I won’t call a spade a spade. Let me get this straight: the Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Shirts are poorly made. From the initial advertising months ago to the final product, the shirt I got is surprisingly disappointing.

Pros: It’s Space Invaders, and the design is love.

Cons: I pre-ordered the pink shirt months ago, but for some reason the one I got is…well, red. Sure, pink and red belong to the same family of color but what the heck, if I were in the US I’d sue Play-Asia or Taito for false advertising (as my item was put on pre-order and shipped to me immediately after they were stocked, not informing me of the color variation nor giving me a chance to change my order). Dammit, Taito.

The cotton fabric used for the shirt is also low-quality. One look at it and I knew that the fabric fibers will get frayed after a few washes, and that the design will easily fade after a short while *sad face*. I was advised to hand wash it instead of throwing it into the washing machine, though I’m not sure if it will help in making this shirt look good as new for several months.

Packaging: The packaging is similar to the one used for the headphones, and you can see the bottom half of the shirt design through the box window.

Pricing: Considering that my DJ Max Syriana shirt is cheaper by a couple of dollars and is of a much, much higher quality, I’m not so sure if this Space Invaders shirt is worth your US$ 20. If you’re a rabid fan of the franchise like I am, you’ll probably brainwash yourself into thinking that the price is justified, but since I’ve bought shirts of better quality for a fraction of a price, it’s mostly a guilty purchase.

Verdict: Rabid Space Invaders fan? Get this. For the others…it’s a nice novelty item, but not worth the money. Even those who buy this off eBay may feel cheated after getting the item, despite it being an official merchandise.



Good riddance. Not a well-deserved good riddance, but still good riddance.
December 8, 2008, 7:49 am
Filed under: appreciation, current event that I really don't care about, rage, toys

Taken from Associated Press :

Toy giant Mattel Inc., after a four-year legal dispute with MGA Entertainment Inc., touted its win in the case Wednesday after a federal judge banned MGA from making and selling its pouty-lipped and hugely popular Bratz dolls…The ruling, issued in federal court in Riverside, followed a jury’s finding that Bratz designer Carter Bryant developed the concept for the dolls while working for Mattel.

While I’ve already taken to rolling my eyes whenever I hear of the usual ridiculous lawsuit spawned yet again in the US (being pretty common in the gaming industry), I couldn’t help but breathe a small sigh of relief now that the infernal pouty-lipped dolls may most probably be taken off toy shelves and away from impressionable kids.

I wouldn’t launch into a longwinded rant against the Bratz line-up, and instead I’ll just tell you to look at Baby Bratz to see why I rage at it, so much:

I’m not so sure why the Baby Bratz dolls portray babies as total skanks, but there they are. I have nothing against babies who crawl or waddle about in spaghetti-strapped baby doll dresses or even butt-naked, but I sure am appalled at how Baby Bratz are made to look like hos with the impossibly adult pouty lips and eye liner that shouldn’t even touch a toddler’s pristine skin.

Don’t get me wrong; merely owning a Bratz won’t turn a young girl into a wanton prostitute, but there’s the fact that the doll’s target market are the mostly young, impressionable girls who’d most likely want to emulate the lifestyle that their favorite doll exhibits.

Okay, so playing around with lipsticks and eyeliner pencils are fine (don’t let your kid poke her eye out), but I don’t want my child acting out the characteristics that the Bratz dolls uphold: vapid, shallow…and yes, practically a Brat.

At the very least, I can rest easy knowing that I wouldn’t have my daughter-to-be throwing a tantrum over one of those creepy disembodied Bratz heads . If Mattel doesn’t decide to cash in on the IP, of course.



Priceless.
November 23, 2008, 1:40 pm
Filed under: appreciation, sentimental, toys

One of the things that I like about every holiday season is the abundance of bazaars held in World Trade Center (and now, Mall of Asia’s SMX). I’m usually claustrophobic – I hate crowded, noisy places, even anime cons – but when it comes to places like Divisoria and the aforementioned holiday bazaars, there’s no such thing as too crowded for me.

Not when the place is filled to the brim with free food tastes, as well as wonderful, unique, and hard-to-find items. Mostly items whose true worth can only be measured in terms of how much they weigh in the hearts of those who behold them. Items such as this one:

The Shokupan plushie opens into a book with soft cloth pages and a bookmark (right).

One of the booths in this weekend’s Christmas Celebrity and Charity Bazaar in WTC primarily sold original products imported from Japan. One of those items is the Shokupan-kun plush from Sanrio’s Pankunchi IP.

The small booth was crammed full with other ultra-cute things such as dolls, strange keychains and pencil toppers; as well as stationery and Sanrio-branded bags. The Shokupan-kun caught my eye immediately, however, and the booth’s attendant must have noticed me because she said “it has such an inviting smile, doesn’t it?”

I just smiled, and held Shokupan-kun as I browsed through the other merchandise. I’ve been always such a sucker for the Japanese brand of cute, especially when it comes to anthropomorphic representations of everyday items done the Japanese way, such as Tissue-san.

I decided in the end that apart from Shokupan-kun, everything else if of the usual fare for me – even the kigurumi octopus Hello Kitty pencil topper. The booth attendant gave Shokupan-kun for a mere pittance: 150 bucks.

She had a funny look to her face when she placed the plush book in a Hello Kitty plastic bag, and said something along the lines of: “you know, the only other Shokupan-kun that we have was already sold yesterday. I’m actually sad that we’re going to sell this, too. I like this so much.”

“Don’t worry, I’m going to take good care of it,” I said as she handed the toy to me, along with my change. I couldn’t help but notice the way she handled the package so reverently; it was as if she entrusted her child to my care.

Thinking about it, I don’t feel that Shokupan-kun is worth 150 pesos. The plush book – along with the booth attendant’s affection towards it – is nothing short of priceless. I only hope that my fondness for this special item would do it justice.

Speaking of priceless collectibles, Ryan managed to get an awesome Tron Bonne (variant) from the SR Yujin Namco X Capcom set in SM North about a week ago. He told me that he got it for two tokens instead of the usual three (you can tell if it’s priced at 300 yen), apparently because the set was getting ignored for quite some time now and SM decided to put it on sale.


Tron Bonne variant with a Kobun/Servbot as her chair instead of a bolt in the regular version. She holds a screwdriver, a detachable accessory (right).

Ignored? The Namco X Capcom set? I’m not really that surprised, since most of the characters are from PSX-era games such as Regina of Dino Crisis, Tron Bonne and Roll of Megaman Legends, as well as pre-MILF Sophitia of Soul Edge. Probably the only character instantly recognizable from this set is KOS-MOS. Shame, really.