Thursday, September 29, 2011

Negima! Magister Negi Magi Volume 1

VOL. 1
001 – The Kid Instructor is a Magician!
The three main characters so far, from right to left, Konoka, Asuna and Negi.

I don’t know, it felt kinda boring and dragged out for too long at 72 pages, maybe if it was cut down a bit, killing some of the scenes it would have been nicer. Halfway through I was kinda waiting for it to either end or for something really awesome to happen. There was some good humour, which I liked, especially the mindreading scene. I’ll still reserve judgement until I read more chapter of this; it’s enough to get me to keep going. The background of Negi seems interesting enough, but not too sure on what to think of the story for future stories since it might go back to the stock standard plot elements.

Our first look at Class 2-A, later, Class 3-A

002 – Panic in the Library?!
Nodoka (or Honya to everyone else), the shy girl whom I think is the focus of this chapter

Although many plot elements are typical of this genre, I still had a good laugh at this chapter. The love potion, and then Asuna acting in a fashion that is typical of a tsundere type character is bit of worn. You can just feel there is a harem being set up, I mean, a guy… in a female only school, yeeeaaahhh. I still enjoyed this chapter though.

Negi (accidentally) works his magic, causing his whole class to like him...

003 – Bathhouse Rub
Another bit of magic being worked by Negi on an unsuspecting Asuna...

At first I thought this was going to be the usual obligatory fanservice chapter where everyone goes to baths and there’ll be nothing but fanservice. However, it was mildly amusing, and we get to learn more of Asuna, and I didn't expect what happened at the end, which was hilarious, the way that Negi worked magic on Asuna. Other than that, I didn't like how we got a huge selection of characters that are making their first appearance, makes it hard to keep track of who is who.

004 – The Dreaded Afterschool Session!
The "Baka Rangers", apparently appropriately named (awesome name though, it has a nice ring to it)

A few laughs dispersed throughout the chapter, and it’s an entertaining read as a result. Nothing spectacular happens just yet, and truth be told, the story is a bit of a bore right now. I do wished there were one or two close male friends of Negi to balance it out, otherwise, this is a fine chapter…

005 – Super Dodge Ball Competition!! Go Girls! (Part One)
Fight! Fight! Seniors versus Juniors!! (sadly, only in dodgeball)

The whole chapter sets up an a competitive match of the junior class (our heroines) with the senior class, a bit of a trivial quarrel, but then again, this do happen. Negi is a bit useless, as he is in pretty much all the chapters so far, and Negi’s sneezing gimmick (generating a huge wind as a result) is starting to feel strained and overdone.

006 – Super Dodge Ball Competition!! Go Girls! (Part Two)
A bit random here, the Seniors were the school's dodgeball team

This chapter isn’t half bad, all the sarcastic comments and shout outs were really funny (loved the “baka power” stuff). The junior class winning was pretty much a given, but I was interested to see how they would win, slightly disappointing in general. Honya was pretty cool when she pulled out her rulebook, and I was surprised that Asuna got eliminated in the dodgeball game. The fanservice/ecchi feels a bit forced, it was an enjoyable chapter.

A bit of randomness here is needed for the Juniors (and our heroines) to win

An okay volume, I still say that it isn’t anything special nor has it gotten me addicted to it (yet). I still like it, just not loving it, I think it’s because the protagonist is a ten year old kid… it seems you can't take him seriously, and no one in the manga can, which pretty much ruins it for me.


Decided to try out putting more pictures into my posts, so appropriately, I need to credit the sources for them...

Credits: due to it being faster and more efficient I just took these pictures from scans online instead of scanning the tankobons themselves. These were scanned by the group "Mahora"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers ROTF Mindwipe

Review: #48
Name: Mindwipe
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Decepticon
Line: Revenge of the Fallen
Year of Release: 2010
Size Class: Voyager (Wave 7)
Variations: repainted into Tokyo Toy Show Exclusive Dreadwing and Reveal the Shield Strafe


Mindwipe transforms into a stealth jet that is based on a F-117 Nighthawk, and this is a jet that I really like. It is one of the best looking jet Transformer I have encountered, with barely any kibble, there are two things that detract, the first is an obvious hinge right in front of the tail fins.

The second thing is that is there is a huge gap at the back, why they couldn't add in a panel or whatnot to fill it I do not know, as such, Mindwipe's not perfect, but still very good. He has a subtle colour scheme, primarily a dark charcoal in colour, he sports a few purple highlights and a red transparent cockpit.

It's when you look at Mindwipe from the side that you notice that he is no undercarriage kibble, a rarity among jet-formers. This makes for a great looking plane.

He features three-point landing gear, and the wheels do roll! They not solid plastic, this makes for a very nice change. All in all, a well tucked up robot and brilliant jet mode.

That's not all for play value though, if you have ROTF Skystalker or one of it's repaints (I have used Sunspot above) you can plug him in jet mode on top via two plugs.

Although a bit of an oddity on why in real life they would do that, I think this is adds a lot to the play value, and the value of a figure in general.

It would work better if you had Skystalker since their colour schemes are similar but the overall shape you get still looks good, plus, it's not like this compromises the engineering of the two figures, it's basically a nice little bonus.


Okay, Mindwipe has an awesome transformation, another aspect that I really like. The best part of it is the Mech Alive feature, as you fold his wings back, the tips automatically fold as well as little red spikes flip up, a really really nice touch. The transformation is solid, not too complex and a lot of fun to go through. I like how the fuselage rotates to form his chest, and then the tail fins push in to fill the gap that his head pushes through. All these nice little touches make Mindwipe pleasing to transform.


Okay, I just love Mindwipe's robot mode, the stature is great, from the bulky upper torso to the weirdly angled legs that is typical of the Movie figures, to the head, everything is awesome. The wings on his shoulders emulate a bat's wings (appropriate since G1 Mindwipe transformed into a bat). Proportion wise, he is a bit thin at the hips, making him not so great looking from straight head on (if you're viewing him from a higher angle, he looks great), and his ankles are really thin.

It is a very neat robot mode too, with not too many things sticking out at odd angles getting in the way. His feet can pivot so he can stand flat on the table at all times, which is a really nice touch. I just like the overall build of him, he has grown on me a lot, From the sides, his arms are oddly shaped and I don't like the hollowness of his forearms, but it is a necessary evil due to the way transformation works for his hands.

He has two knives that are formed from the cockpit, it works a little bit better than it sounds. Looks great from an inward angle, since it does look like a proper dagger.

It falls apart from it's got half a cockpit stuck on when viewed from the outer side, and it thickens up the blade so you doubt it will be able to slice through anything. These daggers can swing back and clip onto his forearms as a way to 'store' it, however, it is permanently affixed to his hands so there's not much point in doing so.

The head sculpt is really interesting in that you get two different expressions from it when viewed from different angles. From head on when you can see the eyes, you get a sense that he's staring at you with a hollowed look.

When the head is tilt down the transparent red visor (which I love) makes Mindwipe a lot more evil looking. Just an awesome head sculpt, very suitable for a Decepticon.

Poseability is great, the only hindrance you'd get is when you're angling the shoulders in such a way that the wingtips hit each other, but it's very easy to get around that anyway. A brilliant robot mode, that's very solid and great fun to play with and pose. All the elements such as the red spikes from his wings, the way they are situated, the daggers and chestplate make for a very good looking robot.


As you can probably tell, I really like this figure, initially I was completely uninterested in him, thinking he looks ugly. However, I got him due to positive comments from other fans, and I do not regret it one bit, even when I purchased it at full price. He is a brilliant figure, that has grown on me, from the solid transformation to two excellent modes, he is truly one of the best figures ever. My favourite Decepticon toy, and my second favourite toy (the first being Binaltech Tracks), I highly recommend Mindwipe, I've just had so much fun with him, he was outstanding and went above and beyond my expectations.


Additional photos can be found by clicking this link (at another site).

Credits: pictures and text is all mine, but I've linked a few pages to

Reviews of other figures can be selected from here.

Since it's not official, I shall put this section at the end of the review. Remember how there's a gimmick where Skystalker/Sunspot can attach in jet mode on top of Mindwipe? Well, there are unofficial combinations in robot mode between the two, which is worth a mention and attempt here, as it escalates Mindwipe's awesomeness, and it's produces a good result.

Basically you shove Sunspot into Mindwipe's chest section (and he fits in very snugly, in fact, it can be somewhat annoying to get him out again) and arrange Sunspot's arms and wings to form a chest plate of sorts. Admit it, it looks awesome, you can also attach Sunspot's axe weapons either in his hands (where they normally clip on) or on Mindwipe's shins, I wouldn't recommend doing the latter too often as it's not a proper C-clip joint, it'll stretch and loosen the clips eventually.

Sunspot's legs can then be arranged as a sort of rocket booster back pack, there are many ways to do it and this is just one of them. In this form, Mindwipe is a lot harder (but not impossible) to balance and stand up, but the formidable look more than makes up for it.

Negatives of this form is that Mindwipe's head is perpetually tilted down, and you can see Sunspot's head through the gap, so this combination only looks good from head on.

Meanwhile it's a mess from the side, the legs are situated much more forward (and they were already forward enough for Mindwipe), with a lot of bulk in the upper torso focusing on the back. I actually like the contrasting colours of Sunspot with Mindwipe, I know Skystalker's colours matched Mindwipe perfectly but this isn't a bad combination either, it brings out the 'enhancements'.

Mindwipe retains all of his poseability minus the head motion, the trick is just balancing him. You can also fold the wings of Mindwipe back out for an even more formidable look. Overall, a lot of options here, and it's really just a bonus if you have the two toys, definitely worth a try.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers Universe (2008) Drag Strip

Review: #47
Name: Drag Strip
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Decepticon
Line: Universe (2008)
Year of Release: 2008
Size Class: Deluxe (designated SE-03)
Variations: a repaint from Classics Mirage, this was also made into Movie Fracture


Drag Strip transforms into a Formula racing car, and a very sleek and well proportioned one at that. I loved the red hubcaps, and the red cockpit. The yellow paint is very obvious and does not blend in well with the duller yellow plastic, apparently the yellow paint can get sticky over time and rub off, this hasn't happened on mine yet... but might explain the different colour issue.

The back is not so nice since his joints are exposed, there are, however, four exhaust pipes (unpainted). For a repaint, there are a lot of paint applications, and he is really well done, the red highlights work very very well and it is a suitable mold to repaint as Drag Strip.

Due to the nature of the alternate mode, Drag Strip feels a tad bit smaller than normal Deluxes. All four wheels roll, as you would expect, but that's the only play value here. The spoiler is on two ball joints (one on each side) so you can angle it however you want.

No real negatives in racing car mode, it's very well done and I like it very much. The paint applications are clean and simple, making him visually appealing.


As you'd expect, the transformation is very simple and easy to do, enjoyable to go between the modes. One thing to note is that the swivel for his waist feels very thin and easy to break, a bit too fragile for my liking. Even after all this time, I'm still not too sure on how the chest works and how it folds back up into vehicle mode since it's three pieces of plastic on a joint. However, I still find myself to this day transforming Drag Strip back and forwards since it's so easy to do.


The only thing that goes against Drag Strip in robot mode is the thing waist, it just does not look great. All the other elements are great, from the spoiler as his feet, to the upper chest to the arms. The air dam as a gun doesn't work that well, mainly due to it still looking like an air dam (but the middle section is molded like a gun). Again, the paint placement is good, he doesn't feel like he's lacking any major details.

I really like the way how the back kibble (the front of the race car) sits at an angle out of his back, it adds much to his stature. Apparently you can store his gun at the back, but to this date, I have still not figured out how to do that (the instructions don't help), oh well, I'm content to let him hold his gun anyway. Drag Strip is really poseable with a lot of joints, most of this joints are required for his transformation, but it doesn't mean you can't use them to their full potential here.

Mass wise, he feels less than he should compared to other figures his size, and it really shows here with this thin stature. Drag Strip doesn't have any gimmicks going for him but he's great just to fiddle around and pose, very easy to balance.

The head is still clearly Mirage, but with no remolding, they did what they could here. One weird thing they did here was paint over the already translucent red eyes with... red, so he could and should have had a lightpipe but now it's neutered. Overall, a decent mold that's just fun by itself, and holds a certain charm.


A silent winner, this is a very solid figure that has enough going for him to be fun, and that you'll find yourself picking him up every so often just to fiddle around. He is not without his flaws, the waist being the major detractor (apart from not looking great aesthetically, the thin single swivel makes it a bit fragile) but they are easily overlooked. However, I would only recommend him if you like the character or the mold, I would not go out of the way for him (in truth, I only got him since I found him on clearance).


Other photos of Drag Strip can be found here.

Credits: everything is mine, except for the links to other webpages

As always, feel free to have a look at this page for more reviews if you're interested.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers C-20 Henkei (Red) Alert

Review: #46
Name: (Red) Alert
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Autobot
Line: Henkei
Year of Release: 2009
Size Class: Deluxe
Variations: a repaint of Universe Sideswipe (which itself was a retool of Universe Sunstreaker), and there is a latter repaint as Generations Red Alert


Red Alert transforms into a vehicle that resembles a Lamborghini Gallardo (but takes bits and pieces from other Lamborghini's and mashes it up). There's a lightbar on top, being the Japanese edition, it is a Japanese styled lightbar. One tiny gripe with this lightbar is that the white paint doesn't cover the middle section completely, you can still see the red from the bottom, feels lazy. Also, it rotates too easily on it's screw, I wished it was actually screwed tightly into place instead.

Being in the Henkei line, Alert features chrome, his spoiler and exhausts. The chrome is appropriate and looks great, adding nicely to the aesthetic. Alert has a really nice paint job that you love straight away (which is more than what I could say for the Generations version).

The license plate says "ALERT" (his name, obviously), I don't like these personalised plates too much, feels just a bit too contrived for my liking, but it's a super minor personal complaint.

Not only does the upper side look great, the underside is equally pleasing to the eye. Too often we get figures that have a lot of empty space on the bottom, this is not the case here, all space is used up to it's potential and you don't feel ripped off. Alert feels really solid.

Although the light transparent blue plastic used is great, it does show some bits and pieces inside, including an Autobot symbol. The frosted headlights are a nice touch (and beyond what you would expect) and the wheel rims are done really nicely.

Alert is a really sleek and compact car, he is supposed to be an emergency vehicle (hence the deco and lightbar), the shade of red paint used is brilliant and striking, but fades a bit too easily (mine has already started going pink). Another paint complaint is that the indicators are black instead of orange.

Decently sized, he is just a tad bit smaller than Movie Cliffjumper (which is my usual benchmark on how big a Deluxe sized toy should be). As you'd expect, all four wheels roll, but that's as much as you'll get for play value.

A fantastic vehicle mode that is visually appealing and no flaws at all, yes, I do not think I have found any flaws that ruin this toy for me, all of my complaints have been about the paint choices. Henkei Alert makes for an excellent display piece in this mode.


Not easy, but not complex either, but satisfying, and very solid. It is an innovative engineering, especially when you consider that with a simple rotation of the waist, you get a different chest formation (roof of car - Sunstreaker or hood of car - Sideswipe and Alert). Nothing is overly difficult, but the twisting of the shoulders can throw you off at first (and subsequent times if you're not paying attention). I loved the head reveal but rotating the roof of the car, it's fun and a nice gimmick. Going the other way can be slightly more difficult due to all the panels clicking into place, especially the sides of the car, he requires some 'massaging' of parts. A good transformation process though.


In robot mode, Red Alert's colour scheme is as striking and brilliant as the vehicle mode. The paint scheme is works well aesthetically, and the vehicular elements that are incorporated into vehicle mode is great. In this configuration with the hood as his chest, it does make the upper torso just a bit too proportionally wide.

Nothing special from the back, due to the way the legs are formed, there is a huge hollow space and gap that you can see from the side. I wouldn't mind so much but when you're viewing Red Alert from an angle, it really shows that his legs are hollow, and doesn't look all that great.

The lightpiping in the eyes is awesome. I'm glad they painted the head red since if it was left black, it would have looked too much like Sideswipe (even though it's toy accurate, I don't think it would have done Alert any favours).

In addition to being able to put his (chromed) gun on his shoulder, he can hold it in his hand as a hand gun, that's about the only 'gimmick' in this mode. Only complaint with the articulation is that the shoulders are limited in how far it can lift out to the side due to the design of the balljoint.

A stellar robot mode and an ingenious design, I would even go so far as to say this is the strongest robot mode in the whole Universe line, with no flaws and perfect as a display piece or collectible.


Red Alert does not skimp on anything, sure it might be a repaint, but it's a great repaint of a great mold. My favourite mold of the Universe 2008 line, with two solid modes, and a great transformation sequence, I really like this toy. It has grown on me since I had gotten him, and the bar he has set is so high that it makes a lot of current releases disappointing and subpar. I definitely recommend this toy, or just this mold.


A gallery of Red Alert can be found here.

Credits: everything is mine, except for the links to other webpages

As always, feel free to have a look at this page for more reviews if you feel so inclined.
Blogger Widget