Friday, July 29, 2011

Shockwave > Megatron

Pretty much any Transformer with the name "Shockwave" is guaranteed to be awesome.

Granted, in the original cartoon he was a bit boring.

He just chilled on Cybertron, and only showed up when there were cheap plot devices storylines to be told on Cybertron. He was basically Megatron's loyal, trustworthy lieutenant (as opposed to Starscream, Megatron's... Starscream) who didn't get to do a lot.

In the comics, though, he'd implicitly been given the same post by Megatron, but... well, he apparently didn't care what Megatron told him, because he followed Megatron to Earth and was trapped under a landslide in the Savage Land (yes, the Marvel one) for a few million years, until he woke up recently and decided to beat the living daylights out of everybody. First, he took out the Autobots, who had just barely managed to defeat the Decepticons, and then when the freshly repaired Megatron attacked him for being treacherous (punching him out of a mountain and into a town that was miles away, with one hit, while still not entirely repaired), but Shockwave recovered from that hit with no apparent injury and beat him by splashing water on him. (The common theory is that Megatron still had unsealed circuitry from being in repairs, since splashing water on a Transformer to stop it is silly mindlessly stupid.)

That was the thing about comic Shockwave-he was brilliant, clever, and logical. He out-thought all the other characters all the time. He also invented the first combiners depicted in the story (the Constructicons) and decapitated Optimus Prime in order to use his Creation Matrix to manufacture new Transformers, convinced Megatron it was a good idea to kill himself, outfought enemies significantly more powerful than himself (and it should be noted he was able to trash the Dinobots by himself, and they were supposed to be really tough themselves), and was just generally pretty awesome.

Of course, the writer remarked that he was essentially a Decepticon expy of Spock, so it's little wonder...

Later versions of Shockwave are also pretty cool. (It should be noted that there was a long gap in Shockwave content, as Hasbro lost the trademark for the name for a while; a few semi-related characters, such as Tidal Wave and Shockblast, tried to fill in the gap, but were not as awesome. Tidal Wave, at least, did get to be awesome; just not as awesome. And I kind of like the idea of Shockblast, even if he wasn't very interesting as he appeared.) A later comic version of Shockwave had his logic-fu-based plotting powers extended to the point where he was responsible for virtually the entire plot of that particular series. One version was able to disguise himself as an Autobot and worked his way into the Autobot ranks, rising to one of the highest and most trusted intelligence positions on the Autobots' own side. And then there's this guy:

What's awesome about this Shockwave?

You know how trailers for the latest Transformers film show this big, wormlike thing that tears through skyscrapers and whatnot? (Or, if you've seen it, you know how there's this big, wormlike thing in the movie?)

(A good look at the wormlike thing starts at 2:09.)

It's this guy's pet.

In fact, there's only ever been one character named Megatron who could match any Shockwave's awesome levels or exceed them: Beast Wars Megatron.

Note that the reason he's awesome is because he's essentially Megatron and Shockwave at the same time.

He's even purple.

-Signing off.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Super Robots Enjoy Messing Guys Up

Here's Vaikanfu/Baikanfu, a super robot from one of Japan's Machine Robo (i.e. Gobots) anime.

Things that aren't clear from this clip alone:
-The robot's "pilot" is actually an android, and so is that chick who nearly falls into a crevasse, and so is the pilot's father (the spectral image who talks to him). For that matter, the cyborg dragon monster thing is probably a robot too.
-The hero's name is apparently Rom. (Obviously, no, not that Rom.)
-The "attack" that let Vaikanfu/Baikanfu rip out the heart of his enemy is actually a simple (albeit absurdly powerful) "martial arts move" instead of, well, something else, and Rom learned it from his father.

It's interesting to note that the earlier super robot, Gold Raitan Lightan used a similar "finishing move" and that the later and considerably more famous super robot, GaoGaiGar, would also use a variation on the idea (this time with two hands) to finish off its enemies.

The key difference with GaoGaiGar, and one that I think is brilliant, is that GaoGaiGar's "finisher" was actually what one might call extremely brutal (but still ultimately beneficial) intervention. How could ripping out an enemy's heart be helpful?

Because the enemy's heart (or core, in this case) is actually an innocent human being who needs to be rescued. (It's a bit of a long story. Short version: Innocent human beings get corrupted by magic metal from space, which transforms them into monsters called Zonders, who build bodies for themselves out of local machinery and structures. And the only way to stop these Zonders is with giant robots that tear their hearts out.) I even find that kind of touching, honestly.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Japanese Toy Commercials

The first of these commercials is for what we would call Rock Lords, an '80s Gobot tie-in toyline which was a subline of Machine Robo in Japan (hence dudes shouting "MASHEEN ROBO!" at the beginning).

I have to admit, I have always loved the "dishonest" Japanese toy commercials.

Here's another one, whose only special effects seem to be explosions.

I seem to very dimly remember seeing commercials for something like these way back in my childhood. (There were a lot of vaguely similar toys, admittedly.) This commercial, though, makes the toys look a lot better than most US commercials.

My point? Japanese toy commercials are frikkin' awesome.

...What, you were expecting more of a point than that? Sorry.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getter Robo Pilot Punches Humanoid Dinosaurs

When I mentioned in this other post that the original Getter Robo anime was much tamer than the manga it was adapted from, it was with the knowledge that other adaptations depicted one particular character, at least, in a much closer to source material fashion.

That character is Ryoma, who you probably won't even recognize as having been that brown-haired guy from the other clip.

Notice he took out more mooks with his bare hands than those other two guys put together took out with automatic rifles. And that last guy that he chased off? That guy can turn into a giant robot-sized monster, and he was scared to fight him.

Also, note that those dinosaur guys are just supposed to be dinosaurs-not "evolved" dinosaurs, regular dinosaurs that just happen to be smart enough and humanoid enough to do most things a human being can do.

-Signing off.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Smell Like a Decepticon?

I guess anytime I find a video like this, I have to post it.

At least, if it has pop culture stuff I'm familiar with, I do.

-Signing off.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Go Go... Power Violin?

Okay, this is pretty cool: The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers theme song with violin.

That it's being played by a cute chick in a Ranger costume is just kind of a bonus.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Great Mazinger's Pilot Is Bad

Presented without comment, because I can't think of a joke that I'm willing to make (i.e. because most possible jokes would be awfully dirty).


-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Game Reviews: Robots Vs. Zombies

Robots Vs. Zombies is a fairly dull slightly modified tower defense game.

The point of interest is that you control a mobile robot that can shoot the creeps (in this case obviously zombies). This robot is essentially similar to the tank from Tank Destroyer in terms of how you control it-i.e. nice, smooth and easy controls.

Obviously, you can also build turrets. There's not much variety, though. The upgrade tree has basically no interesting features that I can tell.

If an enemy reaches the goal area, it picks up one of your MacGuffins (sadly not brains) and tries to carry it back to the gate. If it dies before it gets there, it drops it in place, meaning the next zombie to get that far can get it sooner. It's a kind of interesting, but also very annoying, mechanic in my mind.

Why are you shut in this nearly indefensible room trying to hold off zombies, and why don't you just shut the danged door? Who knows?

A fairly boring and somewhat inferior tower defense game, although it's got pretty nice graphics. Unless you're looking to see huge puddles of blood on the floor where the zombies buy it, you're better off playing a more interesting tower defense game than this one.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Super Robot/Anime Profiles: Gun X Sword

Gun X Sword is an anime you don't hear much about, which is a smidgen odd, since it's available in both subtitled and English dubbed versions in an official release on YouTube.

It's about characters on a planet that resembles the Wild West, only there are giant robots.

(There's no proper introduction posting on YouTube, probably because the intro changed a little bit every few episodes, and was generally rather spoilery. That is the intro song, though.)

The first episode watches like a traditional western, with a mysterious drifter who shows up and rescues a kid (in this case, a fourteen-year-old girl) from a rough and rowdy roaming gang. It goes through typical story paces, with only oddities such as the drifter's weapon being a sword instead of a gun and the gang threatening the town with the impending arrival of an armor (i.e. a giant robot) setting it apart from something that could have been a traditional genre western.

Then the mysterious drifter summons a giant robot that falls from the sky (accompanied by fantastic music).

Aside from the fact that the series is, as noted about three times now, the wild west with giant robots, it's an exceptionally well-crafted series.

It also has one of the best main villains of all time. (There's a scene from the third-to-last episode that cemented him as such forever in my mind, but I can't explain it without majorly spoiling it. See, the villain's reveal is kind of a big freaking deal, and he works best if you're introduced to him by watching the series itself. I'll just say he probably won't be what you expected.)

I don't think there are any bad episodes (well, the beach episode was kind of dumb, and episode six felt mildly like filler, but the beach episode had a purpose and was kind of amusing, and episode six nearly caused my sister to die from laughter), but the last three were really good. Even if I'd thought most of the series was only so-so, those last three would have made it worth it. (Of course, all the fantastic things relied on things set up earlier in the series...)

There are so many threads woven together-almost every character of significance gets at least a second mention in a later episode, even the guy with the freaky mustache from the second episode (though not directly in dialogue). And yes, that will make sense in context.

One of the most interesting parts is the dichotomy that the series presents between the characters Van and Ray. Both men have similar motivations and goals, but in nearly every other way are different from each other (although it's implied that neither of them are prone to eating more than the bare minimum to sustain themselves). The compare/contrast between the two is one of the most defining aspects of the series, and is one of the things that helps make that third-to-last episode so great.

Be warned that there are parts, especially late in the series, that are pretty disturbing. Most of the villains are really messed up people, in one way or another. Some of the heroes aren't exactly well-adjusted themselves (particularly Ray and to a lesser degree Van).

All in all, though, it's a great series that blends elements together in a way that works fantastically. (I still get chills every time I hear the "Wake Up, Dann" theme. And yes, I know that's not the theme's name.)

-Signing off.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getter Robo Pilot Kills Snake In Unusual Fashion

From the original Getter Robo anime (Getter Robo is known for having the first ever combining robot, even though it actually didn't), which I've heard is rather tamer than its counterpart manga, we have this:

Yes, that guy just killed a snake by throwing his harmonica at it. And after a quick wash in a nearby body of water, he's willing to play it again.

Of course, the same guy also beat a dude to death with a soccer ball...

Wait, this was tamer than the manga?

(Considering what I've heard about the manga, yes it was.)

-Signing off.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Apparently This Kind of Thing Is a Common Occurence

There's a famous anime OVA (direct to video movie or miniseries, which has different implications in Japan) called Giant Robo which is loosely based on an old tokusatsu series.

Despite being ostensibly about a gigantic robot with a pharaoh headdress, the kind of thing that occurs in the following clip-superhumans using superhuman powers to fight giant mechanical stuff-seems to be more common than actually seeing the robot itself.

It's still pretty cool (if extremely silly, what with the pink/purple blood).

-Signing off.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Random Musings (In Which I Mention Warhammer 40,000, Five Star Stories, and Magic: The Gathering)

I was recently going through GEARS Online's excellent Five Star Stories pages, just about the only place to find information on this particular mecha franchise (which has beautiful mecha at a level of detail that is unusual). As I read aspects of the story, which included a human god called Amaterasu who became emperor of humankind, I realized that it sounded kind of familiar.

Warhammer 40,000, for instance, has pretty much exactly the same story, except it's much darker and grimmer (and grimdarker, I guess). And with aliens. (It's not just the god-emperor thing, either-there's a lot of parallels if you look for them. For instance, both series have genetically engineered people and psychics all over the place who are used mostly for making war, lost technology, and so on. Note that I'm not even invoking the fact that both settings use giant robots. ...Wait.)

On the really dark end of the scale, though, are the Phyrexians from Magic: The Gathering. The parallels become even more twisted here, but they're still there. Yawgmoth is pretty much the same thing as the other two's god-emperors, only even more exaggerated and in this case completely horrific. (Also, it turns out [LOL SPOILERS] he started as a doctor trying to cure a disease.)

Ultimately, the only differences are in the ways their universes work and the end results. (Well, that and Amaterasu being a girly guy, while WH40's Emperor of Mankind is now essentially a near-corpse in life support, and Yawgmoth is a giant spherical machine demon that may be about the size of a planet...)

-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I don't think I ever posted this; if I did, it was a long time ago. (It's obviously a meme video; it might be less obvious that it's from GaoGaiGar.)

Warning: Highly disturbing, or at least shrill and annoying.

I'm kind of mourning the previous YouTube flash interface; this new one's kinda stupid.

(I mean, moving that danged thing up over the "screen?" WHAT.)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Those Puns Leave Me Cold

This probably speaks for itself.

I should probably be punished for the title, actually.

-Signing off.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Super Robot Wars Random Video: Dark Brain's Ultimate Attack

Super Robot Wars attacks can be kinda hilarious.

A comment in response to this video was "Yo dawg we heard you like finishing moves so we laser punched you through [expletive deleted] eight planets." Another comment noted that the victim of the attack appeared to be perhaps the weakest enemy in the game, an enemy designed to help teach the player how to attack. "TIME TO OBLITERATE THE UNIVERSE!"

-Signing off.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Great Moments in DVD Cases (#4)

I've mentioned a He-Man DVD case with respects to its oddity before, but that was for the new series. Here, I'm talking about the original complete DVD collection of the whole '80s series.

(There's an odd case involving these DVDs that I'm not talking about, but it deserves brief mention: Here's a link.)

The old He-Man series came in a massive four-volume set, each of which held six DVDs with seven or eight episodes apiece (with the sixth disk reserved for special features). Such a huge series presented significant logistical problems which would require a fair amount of effort. The solution used was to make an enormous folding case. (A similar solution was used for the Beast Wars Transformers box sets released by Kid Rhino. Anything negative I say about this applies there twofold, because at least these guys had the courtesy to cram the whole mess into a convenient box, while the other was held shut by inertia.)

In and of itself, this actually works reasonably well, but there's a problem. If you handle them with anything less than the utmost care... the disks pop out on the inside, potentially moving around and getting scratched without you even noticing. Even with the Orko Approved stickers (see above), we still had to replace two of our boxed sets.

So there you go: Another great moment in DVD packaging.

-Signing off.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Super Robot Wars Facelift

I've posted videos from Super Robot Wars here from time to time (once, I did it quite regularly).

One of the issues with the games is that, while they have beautiful sprite work, they are pretty visually static overall.

A Wii game used CG graphics instead, which improved on the dynamism and created visually interesting maps that wouldn't be possible in the old system but took away because of the simplified models and other oddities, such as the graphically dull boss attacks in this video (I've posted Keisar Ephes' "End of the Galaxy" attack here more than once-it's known for being particularly egregiously long and silly-this goes too far in the opposite direction). Also, the character portraits flying in your face are more jarring here (and goodness knows, they could be pretty jarring already).

A more recent Super Robot Wars game features a new variation on the sprite-based system (although at least some of the sprites look like they were created with CG), and I think I like it pretty well myself.

Still repetitive, excessive, and silly, but I think I like the effect of the two robots being juxtaposed like that, and a lot of attacks make more sense from that angle. Perhaps it'd be best if some attacks appear from certain angles and some other attacks appear from other angles-map attacks use a different visual system anyway, so why shouldn't the animation system be a bit more flexible?

Blah blah blah fishcakes.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Game Reviews: Achievement Unlocked 2

(Word of warning: I had a moment of stupidity today and clicked on the advertisement at the top of the Google search instead of the first legitimate result while doing a Flash Player search. I got something that installed Flash, but had malicious subprograms and changed my homepage to a Microsoft page and my default search engine to Bing, which I've never used and will never use [admittedly, part of it was my fault because I was being lazy, though I fixed it]. Don't ever do that.)

Achievement Unlocked 2 is one of those odd high-concept games. Conceptually, I think it's more closely related to Epic Combo than anything else I've reviewed.

The whole point is to unlock achievements, and literally nothing else.

This is both stupid and clever.

I like it less than Epic Combo, I think, but you can probably have fun with it for a while.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


A bunch of H.P. Lovecraft aficionados have been making references to this lately-the "Commonplace Book" that Lovecraft put his thoughts and ideas down in has been put on

Number 8 is kind of amusing: "[Horror story.] 
Man makes appt. [appointment] with old enemy. Dies—body keeps appt." Reading a horror story boiled down laconic-style is pretty amusing, especially considering how H.P. Lovecraft would have written that particular story out. (That is, in the Lord Dunsany style, with at least eight uses of the words "flabby," "fungous," "fungoid," and "indescribable.")

("Painting of ULTIMATE HORROR" is idea #19.)

-Signing off.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Distracted By Anime (The Second)

Found another anime with an official posting on YouTube. This one's called Gun X Sword (I think I've heard that the "X" is silent), and it's essentially about the Wild West but on a distant planet with giant robots.

So you can guess why I'm distracted.

-Signing off.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Walter Walther Walzack and Serious Walther Walzack

In The Brave of Gold Goldran, perhaps the silliest Brave series (albeit the one with the coolest-looking lead mecha, Goldran), there's a completely inexplicable nation called Walzack whose royal family members act as the primary recurring antagonists. (Wikipedia actually remarks "There is no information on the origin or location of Walzack in the series.")

The first of these characters is perhaps the best character from the series, "Walter Zack" Walter, or more properly Walter Walzack. (I like to call him Walter Walther, for obvious reasons.)

Walter Walther's life is, despite his wealth and power, a long series of events that make him react something like this.

This particular face, by the way, is his reaction to his own fiance trying to kiss him. Yes, he's that much of a man-child. (He was apparently raised by his butler, Colonel Sangross [who is apparently a joke on Colonel Sanders-yes, really], and other servants, who as his employees apparently weren't very good at bringing up children.)

Apparently, aside from being Royal Prince of Walzack, Walter Walther is also his nation's ambassador to Japan (!) and also a world-famous movie director (!?!). Despite being first in line to his nation's throne, having what would be a cushy job for any other person, and also having another job that could probably make him all the money he could ever want, he's decided to embark on the highly expensive and arduous task of being a villain in a mecha series. (Fortunately for him, apparently his country developed really good escape pods, because they only failed to save him once that I've seen, and that time he wasn't injured because of the rule of funny-he actually swam away through the air instead. Also, to be fair, his family believed that if they could get all the MacGuffins [which naturally are the Pokeballs artifacts that contain the ultra-powerful Brave robots], they could rule the world, so...)

A big chunk of his troubles comes from the fact that he's trying to defeat super robots with relatively more ordinary mecha, but his solutions are often hilarious, such as using concrete to keep a mecha that magically rises out of the ground when called (even on other planets) from joining the battle, or using wheeled feet to retreat from a finisher attack with limited range. Eventually, he realizes that he's terrible at this, and so he eventually changes sides and allies himself with the strongest Brave robot from this series, Captain Shark (who is not only a robot that transforms into a spaceship that looks like a shark, but is also a pirate). After that, he tends to have a much higher success rate, and also dresses as Captain Harlock.

Then there's Serious/Sirius Walther Walzack, who as the name implies is a much more effective villain.

Serious kind of upsets me, because the character is drawn as a pretty person in an animation style that makes everyone look pretty much the same (kids and adults are nearly indistinguishable from each other), has a sexy voice actress, gorgeous long hair... and is a twelve-year-old boy.

You can imagine that, as I am an adult straight male, this kind of mixed signal is rather, well...

It makes me want to do a Walter Walther face, I guess I could say.

Honestly, I thought Serious was pretty cool when I thought he was an adult woman. (The character was apparently raised by robots, and is very, well, serious, and nearly emotionless. A female character like that can be interesting; it's certainly rarer to see someone like that in anime.) Now, I can't look at him for very long without pulling an Ackbar.

-Signing off.