Some Minor Updates, or The Big Three-Oh, Part 1.5 and Some Other Bits.

For a few days this past week I took a series of cracks at the first of those reviews I was planning and I just couldn’t break through the opening paragraph. I have a rough shape of the review in my head, but it’s been tricky, and not helped at all by the fact that I started to write this thing a couple of weeks ago and lost it. (I thought WordPress was auto-saving, since that’s a thing it used to do, but I guess the new post editor only saves drafts manually.) However, something happened this past week that I think gave me a better way in, so you should be seeing that next week.

I’m also still planning on doing that new episode of This Robotech Thing (I still have to shoot an intro, a news update, and an outro for it), but in the meantime I posted a series of photos of the second wave of Robotech 30th Anniversary product — the blind box figure assortment — to the Tumblr blog. Links to those posts follow. Continue reading

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The Big Three-Oh, Part 1.

This week ROBOTECH, that love-it-or-hate-it gestalt adaptation of 1982’s beloved classic SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS and two largely less beloved yet stylistically similar shows of a likewise similar vintage (1983’s GENESIS CLIMBER MOSPEADA and, my personal favorite, 1984’s SUPER DIMENSION CAVALRY SOUTHERN CROSS), officially turned thirty years old. Thirty is, the way I see it, the first nice round anniversary that’s celebrated mostly as a marketing thing. Ten feels like an accomplishment. When a series turns ten and you’ve got people excited to celebrate that anniversary it means that series has some kind of genuine staying power. Twenty is another decade and a whole fifth of a century — if we’re still talking about this show, then that staying power really isn’t ginned up. Then you celebrate twenty-five because that’s a QUARTER of a century. that REALLY feels like something, even though it’s just five more years. But five more years later? We made a big deal about this five years ago AND ten years ago. Maybe we can just cool it ’til fifty, if any of us are still in a mood to celebrate then. But no, in this particular case Harmony Gold completely failed to make a big deal during the twenty-fifth back in 2010, either rattled by the death of series visionary Carl Macek that same year or displaying the severe lack of planning ability that has characterized the current regime’s running of the franchise since around the release of their second major console video game, ROBOTECH: INVASION, so they seem rather intent on turning this into a thirtieth to remember to wash away the stench of that missed opportunity five years ago.

For their part, Toynami, ROBOTECH’s toy licensee for the past decade and a half, are likewise making up for missed opportunities with a full range of product, some of which I talked about right after the New York Toy Fair. Today we’ll be looking at what I believe to be the first product they’ve released with the cleverly designed ROBOTECH 30th Anniversary branding, a new production run of their venerable 1/100 scale VF-1 Valkyrie mold, released for the first time at mass retail under the ROBOTECH name. (While there was a convention exclusive “Stealth” redeco of the VF-1S bearing the ROBOTECH logo, previous mass retail releases have borne the Japanese SUPER DIMENSION FORTRESS MACROSS logo.) Continue reading

Vlog: Twin Shadows

I shot the previous two videos with the iSight webcam built into my MacBook Air; this one was shot on my old Sony camcorder that was used to shoot all my stuff from ’07 thru ’09. If I plan on shooting anything else without the aid of the webcam methinks I need to buy a new camcorder. The battery died after about seven minutes of shooting, and the resolution is a little ropey (though the same could be said for the iSight; then again, it’s a webcam, so it’s not like expect much out of it).

I also discovered two things while producing this video. First, my old copy of iMovie on my Mac Mini steadfastly refuses to send anything directly to YouTube if it’s over ten minutes or a certain number of megabytes (150, IIRC), which meant I had to export the video to a movie file and upload it through YouTube’s website. Second, in doing so I found that my YouTube account has been upgraded to the point where I can upload video over fifteen minutes — meaning I didn’t have to end THIS video quite as abruptly as I did. I didn’t have time to say much more than, “Yeah, Maia’s Shadow Fighter is cool, bye!” before signing off — and clearly that wasn’t what I planned on saying over that footage of me tossing the sensor over my shoulder. Next week’s video — which I’m honestly thinking won’t be Robotech-related — will be a little better paced, methinks.

Maia's Shadow Fighter & an REF Shadow Drone have some company.

Skull Leader and her Shadow Drone wingman have some company.

The answer to the question the video raises, by the way, is: if you find the idea of having either of these mecha as toys appealing, and you can find either of these in the sixty to seventy dollar range shipped, I’d go for it. Clearly the Toynami figure is the sturdier toy — despite the breakage I suffered, it still feels more solid in-hand and its different modes hold together better — but if you can find a way to tighten the Shadow Drone’s joints, that would definitely narrow the gap between the two. And really, the fact that the two appear roughly to be in the same scale should, if you’re even HALF the Robotech nerd/toy fan I am, make nabbing both a tres tempting proposition, especially since they’re both unique items. The three New Generation/Mospeada main cast fighters and the Shadow/Dark Legioss were produced by both Toynami and CM’s, but for these two designs, each manufacturer is the only game in town. Yes, each has those quirks and irritants that I detail in the video, but that doesn’t take away from the fun of posing them, transforming them, and having them team up to take on my Matchbox Invid.

Mind you, you might want to make sure if you go after a Masterpiece Collection Maia Sterling’s Shadow Fighter that you’re going after one from the second production run. I’m not sure if everyone selling Masterpiece Maia’s mecha swapped their bum run for the second run. I can only say that Entertainment Earth, where I got mine (on sale!), did. I can vouch for them. Everywhere else, though? Ask questions, and buyer beware.

Tomorrow starts the second week of Robotech, In Brief, so stick around for that. Also, two more weeks until new episodes of Doctor Who start airing, and I’m plenty hyped up for the big two-part premiere. Loved Matt Smith & Steven Moffat’s first season (seriously, the opener, “The Eleventh Hour,” jumped straight onto my “I can watch this over and over again and not get sick of it” shortlist with the 1986 Transformers: The Movie and “Boobytrap” and “Countdown”), and this looks like its gonna be loads creepier and weirder. I’ll surely be offering up some thoughts on that when the time comes.