Thursday, June 28, 2012

For the Love of Bird Men

In 2011, Spinmasters foresaw the death of the Bakugon cash-cow, and set about creating a new one. What they came up with was Redakai, a lenticular card game. Apparently children think transforming marbles are the bee's knees but lenticular cards are just too damn silly, because now you can find Redakai lining the discount aisle. Normally I wouldn't pay any mind to these pretenders to the Pokemon throne, but they went and made a bird man. Fun fact: I can't say no to animal men.

First off let me say this: you do not have to give the remotest crap about Redakai to enjoy this figure. I certainly don't! When you get down to it, he's a big burly raven man with a sword, and that's never a bad thing. He's surprisingly articulate for a spinmasters toy, too, with lots of swivel hinges and ball-jointed hips. He even gets a nice sword that fits the feathery bird theme. Oh and in case you didn't notice, his wings are enormous! His wingspan is about 8-9" and they take up about 2/3 of his body mass. The only thing better than an angry crow man, is an angry crow man who can create cyclones with his enormous razor blade wings.

I just stumbled across this guy in the Target discount aisle for all of three dollars. With Battle Beasts getting not one but two reboots this year I've been all about the animal men lately, and his uncanny resemblance to the Xephos line ( R.I.P sweet prince ) won him a spot on the last life boat off of the sinking Redakai ship. Seriously, if you like what you see, just get him. He's dirt cheap and a figure this good doesn't deserve to be forgotten due to his dubious lineage. Oh, and apparently his name is Harrier. I'm totally okay with bird men with bird puns for names.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Metal Gear Guyver

Have you ever thought to yourself "Man, the first Guyver movie was terrible! If only there were more Solid Snake!" ? Well have I got a movie for you. 

That's right, David "SNAAAAAAAAAAKE!" Hayter in a tokusastsu movie. Oh my, yes. And not just any Toku film, the only good one to come out of America (suck it, Power Rangers the Movie!). The run down on Guyver is typical toku stuff: alien bio-armor, evil shape shifting monsters, terrorist organizations, the works. You should know by now whether men in rubber suits fightin' tickles your fancy. There are actually some nice story elements here and there, especially the connection between the Guyver suits and ancient humans and the symbioses there, but just like Godzilla it's all about the action.  Henshin!

 Let's talk about the most important element of Tokusatsu: the audio porn. Catchy theme tunes, swooshy kung fu noises, explosive finishing moves, it's all about the sound and Guyver 2 has it in spades. Literally every time Guyver moves a little electrical crackle goes off, which is like a gentle Asian masseuse's finger gently rubbing the happy spot in my brain. It's like catnip, I could listen to Guyver noises for hours.

The suits are surprisingly good, like really really good. The fish monster man above? He talks. Not only does he talk, he emotes. His entire face is rigged with hydraulics that move his lips, eyes, browline, everything. I've seen big budget modern movies that had worse creature effects. Considering this was a cheap follow-up to a failed first film, well freakin' done. While the other monsters and Guyver himself may not be quite as expressive, they're still better than 90 percent of Sentai and Kamen Rider monsters. Just sayin'.

Oh right, the fightin'. Yeah, there's plenty of it, and it's great. Lot's of punching, lot's of kicking, a few energy beams here and there. But what sets Guyver aside from his peers from Glorious Nippon? BLOOD. Lots and lots of it. Bug monsters getting decapitated and dismembered left and right. See, most Japanese Toku is targeted towards children. Guyver, not so much. You know the scene in Alien: Resurrection where the creepy fetus monster slaps the queen's face off? This movie tends to have alot of scenes like that: almost slapstick comical gore, and that's a compliment trust me. There's nothing more fun than a big monster man being ripped in half buy a robo-bug super-hero that crackles.

If you like Toku, David Hayter, or just men in rubber costumes flopping around in waist high water, give Guyver 2 a watch. It's definitely a gem in the campy Sci-Fi rough, and how often do you see a (good) American suit-mation movie?