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March, 2017:

Legion – Chapter 7 – Everything Coming Together…

So, some of my worry has started to get answered here.  We’re getting a lot of direct answers to a lot of questions, which is good because there is only one episode left for the season.  I’m not saying there won’t be a twist, but things are feeling pretty solid.  I’m starting to feel pretty confident about what is real and what is all in David’s head.

So, anyway, we have a name now for our demon parasite, in The Shadow King, Faruk.  Most of the episode follows the exploits of everyone trying to escape from the prison that The Shadow King has created for them, including David himself.  I’m kind of curious, maybe I’m forgetting something, but it’s not clear where Ptonomy is most of this episode.  He wakes up at the end with everyone else but he doesn’t show up at all in the Asylum, not that I noticed.

I’m still not sure how The Eye or Oliver fit in either.  The Eye bites it though, rather unceremoniously, so we may never get answers.  Oliver seems to have escaped with the others, but I’m not sure how he got trapped there in the first place.

Probably the most exciting bit, right near the beginning, we get a glimpse and a hint, of the wheelchair, the one used by David’s real father.

Review – Figma – Stand Alone Complex Motoko Kusanagi

Ghost in the Shell’s Motoko Kusanagi is kind of a hard one to pin down for a real “definitive look”.  Unlike a lot of anime, cartoon, or even comic characters, she has had a pretty wide array of styles over her various movies and shows.  There is a general theme of “tough” and “short purple hair”.  Aside from that there have been a variety of tactical suits, jackets, and various spandex sort of outfits.  This particular figure is based on the Stand Alone Complex Anime series.  Stand Alone complex is an alternate timeline version of the story from the popular movie and manga, Ghost in the Shell.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

There aren’t any particularly great figures of Motoko from the original series from what I can tell.  I haven’t really seen any of Stand Alone complex though I like the original movie and have read some of the manga.  Of the various versions of Motoko available, I felt this one more capture the essence of what I personally think of as the character, though this design feels “younger” and a bit more, anime, for lack of a better term, than I’d really prefer.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

It’s a decent design though and the sculpt and articulations are pretty clean.  There’s something a little funny going on with the articulation I can’t quite place though.  It works well enough for posing, but she kind of looks a little wonkey in some poses, like things don’t quite line up naturally.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

Motoko includes 5 sets of hands in various poses, a Figma stand, three faces (smiling, frowning, yelling), two hairs (one is “windswept”), a pistol, an assault rifle, and an extra set of boobs.  I’m not entirely sure about the boobs, I think one is slightly larger but they look really the same.  Several of the hands are pretty specialized around holding the weapons, in particular the special right hands for holding each gun.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

Figma Motoko has a problem I’ve encountered with the few Figma toys that I do have.  Her hair falls off way to easily.  If you lean her forward at all the hair has a good chance of slipping right off her face.  It’s a good sized chunk, so it’s easy to find if it falls, but it’s kind of a nuisance.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

So overall verdict, it’s an alright figure, like a lot of the line, but it’s not quite the version of The Major I wish I had.  I’m kind of hoping that the live action Ghost in the Shell movie will see a bit of a resurgence in merchandise and some more, better figures.  I’d love to get a Batou to go with Motko.  I am also kind of surprised there aren’t more SH Figuarts from Ghost in the Shell, considering Bandai makes Figuarts and owns the rights to GitS.  That’s probably one of those screwy “The media company is different than the products company” deals.

Figma Motoko Kusanagi

Marvel Legends – Dormammu Wave – Doctor Strange (Movie)

The Doctor Strange wave of Marvel Legends, the one with the Dormammu Build a Figure, is the perfect example of how awful and mismanaged Marvel Legends waves can get.    For starters, there was recently a boxed set for SDCC centered around Doctor Strange that included a Brother Voodoo, Astral Doctor Strange (Comic not movie, granted), and a Dormammu, non Build a Figure version.  So, ok, the SDCC sets are not the easiest to get, but there also aren’t a ton of Strange fans I imagine clamoring for these characters, so doubling up like this instead of making less overlap seems like it would have been a better route.  To add some additional insult, this wave also included a comic Doctor Strange that is essentially identical to the one included in the very recent Hulkbuster wave.  Then there’s the extremely mediocre Astral Movie Strange, which is a clear version of the normal version reviewed here, minus the accessories.  The Astral form strange, honestly, would probably have been better done with clear colored plastic matching his normal form, though I imagine the cost there would have been too much vs the basic transparent that we got.  More annoying is that we don’t get figure of Wong or The Ancient One, both characters who could have really used figures, based on how cool they were in the movie.

I’m not here to rant about this poorly done wave of figures though.  I have not, nor do I plan to pick up any more figures from it than I already have (3 total, one because it was on clearance).  Instead, I want to talk a bit about the Movie Doctor Strange figure.  This figure kind of feels like the end result of the price paid for that pretty lame Astral Doctor Strange.  Where Astral strange has no accessories and is all translucent plastic (and, incidentally, the same mold as this one), this figure has many accessories and a pretty well done paint job and sculpt.

The core figure is effectively Cumberbatch’s Dcotor Strange as he appears in his “final form”.  He’s in his complete robes, he’s wearing his cape, he’s got the Eye of Agamotto.  He comes with an extra set of hands for some more varied looks as well as a shield like magic effect.  The cape is removable, and even stands up on it’s own (if you’ve seen the movie you will know the cape kind of has a mind of it’s own.  The Eye of Agamotto is also removable.  Removing the came and Eye, give you kind of an early learner Doctor Strange.  The removable Eye of Agamotto is also useful given the nature of what the Eye is for, possible future options of posing and interaction with other toys.  Without going into too much detail.

A poseable cloth goods cape could would have been cool but that’s not really Marvel Legends’ way of doing things so it’s pretty forgivable.  At least the cape is designed to stand on it’s own well.  Where he could really use a bit of cloth goods is in his lower tunic bits, since the plastic limits the articulation he has in his legs,  Doctor Strange isn’t really a martial artist but he is pretty dynamic, and he does come from a monastery of martial artist monks.

The extra hands are nice, and while he doesn’t have a sling ring accessory, they work for making the sort of gesture shown to operate the sling ring.  Having one with the slink ring molded on would have been nice but that’s ML for you.  There are some problems, at least on mine with mold flashing.  I’m actually kind of ok with this problem, in this case, because it makes his hands look a bit dodgy and well, part of Doctor Strange’s origin was having his hands crushed in a car accident.  Spoilers I suppose but it’s a very early and moderately trivial event in the whole scheme of things.

The movie version of Doctor Strange is one of the better Marvel Legends we’ve gotten recently, and definitely is the winner of the wave as far as quality and parts.

Review – Movie – Logan (2017)

The latest and supposedly last outing for Wolverine, or at least, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Logan is one of the better comic book movies we’ve had for sure, though not totally flawless.  Most of my complaints with this movie however stem more from how sloppy Fox has been with the X-men universe continuity, and not so much with the film itself.  Much like the previous Wolverine movie, The Wolverine, this film pretty much exists in a vacuum from the other movies in the series.  There’s a vague underlying theme about how awful Logan’s existence is because, while he never dies, everything he cares about eventually does.  There’s also a brief mention of “The Statue of Liberty” which is a throwback to the original X-men when Hugh Jackman took up the role, but it felt more like an Easter egg than a plot point.

It also brings up the question of “Where does this fall in continuity”.  Is it the old time line or the new timeline?  If he mentioned the Statue of Liberty from the first X-men, that would imply this is old timeline, except there are a few little nods to the new timeline, like the return of the mutant Caliban seen briefly in X-men Apocalypse.   Or the point about how there haven’t been any new mutants in something like 25 years, which seems contradictory to X-men 3, which showed us some future where there were clearly some young mutants in the school.

Nitpicky continuity stuff aside, the movie starts off a little rough but ends up on a pretty good note overall.  It’s also worth noting that this movie, like Deadpool, is definitely rated R.  Where Deadpool was more R rated for it’s crude sexual jokes, Wolverine gets it’s rating for language, a lot of gory violence, and one moment of very, very brief, non sexual nudity.  I only bring this up really because it’s worth noting in case anyone wants to take their 9 year old to the film and because it kind of felt a little unnecessary.  I hate to sound like some sort of grump over language, but given the history of the X-men franchise and the character, adding in a bunch of “fucks” almost makes some of the characters seem out of character and all of the extra goriness on the claw slashing didn’t really add a lot to the plot.

It all also felt a bit out of place as the movie progressed and more and more of Laura and her backstory, the young girl tagging along with Wolverine, became the focus of the film.  It’s like hey, here’s a bunch of kids going completely psycho in the movie violent way possible because “Edgy cool”.

The whole film also does a pretty effective job of being a bit of an emotional roller coaster, as everyone around poor Logan seems to get harmed or killed by the people following them.  Not to mention Logan himself, who is not anywhere near peak form as the poisoning in his body from his Adamantium skeleton is finally getting the best of him.  He’s feeling a lot of pain, his claws don’t always work, and he isn’t quite healing as well as he used to.  It certainly helps give some urgency to the character.  The regular X-men movies usually managed to write off Wolverine when Magneto was around, since Wolverine can’t do anything to Magneto, The Wolverine had Logan under the influence of some poison that suppressed his abilities, I guess something needs to be done to make a guy who can’t be harmed interesting (see also The Hulk).

The core of the movie is about the interaction between Logan, Laura and Xavier as they run from a band of pretty bland bad guys.  They are involved in Laura’s past, but they are essentially just an extension, spin off or figure version of Alkali and Stryker’s band, that same old repeating thread.  There is also Weapon 24, who is the main baddie for Wolverine to battle.  It’s not super clear what makes this guy so special other than “He’s like Wolverine only extra feral” and ultimately is pretty much a throw away nobody who only exists as someone who can stand toe to toe with Wolverine and not get killed in 1 claw swipe.

Laura manages to be an interesting character, despite being mute for much of the film.  The aged Charles Xavier is also incredibly likable in this movie, though his purpose and point isn’t super clear to the big picture.  He’s basically become a super powered senile old mutant, he has some mysterious vaguely explained crisis from the past, and serves as a father figure to Logan who in turn serves as a father figure to Laura, which makes a fun dynamic, but also felt like there were some pieces missing to help explain, at the very least, why Logan hadn’t just put him out of his misery already.  I mean I get that they are old friends, but he really feels like he is suffering with no possible recovery, if Logan really cared he could have saved both of them a lot of trouble a long time ago by giving him a quiet quick send off.  I know that sounds cruel but in the context of the film world presented, it honestly isn’t.

But alas, now I’m getting off on a tangent, and running a bit long.  Logan really is a good film, it’s definitely the best of the Wolverine trilogy, though I’m not sure that it’s quite the best X-men film.  It’s also a nice send off to Wolverine while also serving as an origin story for X-23, Wolverine’s replacement.

Legion – Chapter 6 – The Mind Rots from the Inside

Things are actually finally coming together a bit.  Which is good because we only have two episodes left after this one.  Legion has been renewed for a second season however, which is good news, I suppose, though I kind of wonder where they could really go next.  This entire season seems to be all about, I dunno, freeing, saving David from his demons, I suppose.

And what a demon.  Demons?  That’s not super clear.  Aubrey Plaza as Lenny though was really great this episode.  There was also a bit of a brief glimpse that she is the fat ugly guy haunting David’s mind as well.  More specifically, being a parasite on David’s mind.  It’s still not clear on some of the other glimpses or characters.  Who is The Worlds Angriest Boy in the World who keeps popping up.  Is The Eye real and how does he fit into all of this?  Who is the diver, really, and why is Cary wearing his suit at the end?

Speaking of Cary, and Kerry, they got quite a bit of real development this round as well.  Cary went off and met with the mysterious diver and poor Kerry is being stalked by The Eye around the asylum.  Then there is Melanie, who didn’t do a lot in this episode but seems to have discovered the truth by breaking out tot he real world, though the question is, how can she save them from being shot?  I half expected her to just stand there and take the bullets thus saving David and Syd.

I feel like a broken record but I’m still not entirely convinced anything is real.  It’s essentially a battle between the good personalities of David’s mind and the evil ones, for control of the whole.

Also Lenny brought up David’s real dad again, though no reveal on who it was.  She did mentions something about “Playing the saint while giving up his son,” which really kind of does imply a particular character from the larger X-men universe.

Legion – Chapter 5 – Who is Behind the Face

So, I’m just going to run a bit here, with some mentions of the comic, or at least the comic as I under stand it from researching the background of Legion.  So, as I under stand it, Legion, David, whatever, in the comics, his core mutant power, is that he sort of absorbs the souls of dead mutants, for lack of an better description.  These other mutants become a part of his mind and personality, and they manifest, powers and all, sort of as needed.  This gives the projection of Schizophrenia, though it’s not really quite the same thing.  He also may or may not actually have psychic power, though for all intents and purposes, does.  I say may not, because the psychic power may just be the manifestation of an absorbed personality.

So if there is some angle along those lines going on here, this is part of why I question the reality of anything in this entire series.  It’s entirely possible that every character we’ve seen, including the ones in Division 3, are some manifestation of David’s many absorbed personalities, these people not realizing that they are in his mind, and not in the real world.  This would also explain the schizoid pace of the show.

The inner conflict presented in the show, is for control of the mind of Legion.  There are players outside the realm of “The good guys” like the big fat dude, Lenny and The Eye.  It’s possible that David, is a psychic mutant, but he is also simply new to the mind world.

I’m probably way off base here though.

Anyway, Kerry recovers from being shot and David heads out to rescue his sister, we don’t see it, but he obliterated Division’s army with no problem.  Everyone ends up at David’s childhood home where things start to get crazy and Lenny shows up as sort of the personification/projection of the evil of David’s mind.  Everyone ends up back in the asylum together as a set up for the next episode.  Things feel like they are moving along but there still isn’t a clear direction for the show unfortunately, which is probably the point.

Oh and David’s sister admits he is adopted, which will probably lead to the revelation of the true identity of his parents, we’ll just have to see if they follow the comics here or not.  I feel like there actually could be a fun cameo at some point if they do.

Review – S.H. Figuarts Sailor Mars

Coming in as the third member of the team, Sailor Mars adds some fire power, literally, to the Sailor Senshi mix.  Rei and her fire attacks make her a pretty heavy hitter on the team, and as a Shrine Priestess when she’s not Sailor Mars, she is one of the more capable members of the group even without her powers.

Figuarts Sailor Mars is much more of a departure in design than Mercury was to the original Sailor Moon. The core Fuku outfit is still there but she wears slippers instead of long boots.  She also has longer hair, which includes some neat articulated bits that allow it to “flare out” for dramatic effect.

She does start to get into a bit of reuse on the hands from Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury, though there are also several new unique hands.  Aside from hands and faces, her only other accessory is a tiny Ofuda paper charm.  It’s not actually made from paper, it’s plastic, but it’s a depiction of her paper slip she uses for some of her attacks.  She also includes a special hand to allow her to hold the paper between two fingers as she does in the media.

While it’s not an included accessory, the Flame Effects parts set which is a separate item from Bandai, makers of S.H. Figuarts, works extremely well with Sailor Mars.   Considering how little accessories these figures have outside of Sailor Moon, and how much parts reuse there is between them, it’s a bit disappointing they don’t come with even a single attack effect or weapon of any kind.  I imagine they are saving that for the eventual “Super Sailor Senshi” releases.

If Moon and Mercury were tricky to stand on their tiny feet, Mars’s actual heels make her almost impossible without the stand.  It’s doable, but it’s tricky and the ankles have a tendency to splay outwards when doing so.

Of all of the five core Sailor Senshi Figuarts, Mars is definitely the lightest.  She has the least amount of accessories at least.  I guess the budget all went into her hair, though Venus does a similar trick.  That’s not to say she is a bad figure, it just would have been nice to see a bit more, some sort of fireball part maybe.  Or better yet, Sailor Moon has her cat Luna, Venus has Artemis, why couldn’t Sailor Mars have come with her two crows Phobos and Deimos?  Even in a static pose they would have helped make her feel a bit less bland.

Review – Saints Row the Third (PC, Xbox360, PS3)

2011 – Volition – 1 Player (Campaign) Multiplayer (Online)
PC, PS3, Xbox360

The Good

  • Loads of fun Gameplay
  • Reminiscent of classic GTA
  • Amazing custom character creation with voices and interactions not just “faceless”

The Bad

  • The missions are kind of just a repetition of a handful of mini games
  • Kooky level may be too much for some people’s taste.

In Depth

Saints Row really has a comeback story behind it. The first game is apparently rather terrible. the second game is better but not great. It’s already saddled with being a “GTA knockoff” by default no matter what it does. Somewhere Volition has managed to get something really right because Saints Row the Third seems to be quite a hit among gamers. So much of a hit that THQ had decided to focus more on games like Saints Row over things like it’s failing Wii Tablet thing (U-Draw).

This thing is pretty long and image heavy, so you’ll have to click through to get the whole thing.

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