Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Dead Lands

Review:  #355
Title:  Dead Lands
Series:  Lost Souls - 2nd book
Author:  Mel Odom
Read Before:  no
My Comments:  Quite an improvement over the previous book, I found myself engaged at what was happening throughout the whole time.  The mystery here of the character Mavis is much more interesting and you can’t wait until that mystery is resolved.  I like how the main character, Nathan, is building relationships and that you can see it grow (even though some of them are a bit cliché).  Some of the characters are less annoying and more likeable.  The purpose of Nathan’s quest this time actually feels meaningful, it was important to Mavis, and it was important to Nathan.  They both have something at stake, the friendship they built during this time is significant.  The thing is, Dead Lands feels more like a proper adventure than some generic story.
Rating:  6.5/10

Monday, July 29, 2013


An over-the-top movie, filled with many events that you can't help but question, "is that possible?!".  It's got a lot of special effects and explosive action scenes, yet there are some other, more dragged out, boring scenes, which creates some pacing problems in the first hour or so of the film.  It starts off quite well, diving straight into the problem, which I was surprised about, but once the main character, Harry, amasses his team, things bog down quite a lot.  Never in the film did we actually see them working cohesively as a team, which was disappointing.  The problems that crop up, those characters sure have a lot of luck on their side to get out of them.  It seems that from the beginning, odds were hugely stacked against them, and that everyone was relying on this one plan seemed a bit ludicrous.  The plot wasn't truly much more than plant a bomb on the giant asteroid, adding in some family issues (which were boring and out of place anyway).  Some of the characters were stupid, annoying and pointless.  I forgot the name of him, but the character who started going crazy on the asteroid was unneeded for, didn't add anything to the film.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Toy Review: Transformers Go! Ganoh (G03) with Gan

Review:  #141
Name:  Ganoh with Gan
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Transformers Go!
Year of Release:  2013
Size Class:  Voyager (Wave 2)
Variations:  none as of yet


Just like the other two, Ganoh comes with three bio cards, one for each mode, and just like the other two, the lack of print on the back of the cards make them look tacky and cheap.


Ganoh transforms into a fire truck (in the actual animation, he scans a fire truck with a model similar to RiD Optimus Prime, but he takes on a completely different model instead...).  All six wheels roll and he has a hose on top (which is his robot mode's weapon).

The back of the vehicle is terrible, the combined mode's fists are painfully visible, the designer didn't make any effort to hide it away or at least make the back more truck-like.

The sculpting isn't too bad considering that only the front of the truck is dedicated vehicle mode parts.  Ganoh is blocky in this mode and he lacks any transparent plastic (not essential, but would be nice).

If you're looking from above, there's a gap down the middle of the truck which the weapons tries to had (unsuccessfully).  Ganoh is also big and hefty, the quality of plastic used is pretty good.

You can attach the combiner kibble as a sort of gun.  You have to shift the weapon down the truck to fit it though, it would look better if the combiner head wasn't so obvious, jutting so far out above the truck.

And yes, it is possible to attach all of Ganoh's accessories at once.  His Arms Micron, Gan, can attach on the side of the truck, although being transparent red, he blends in making him harder to see.

It's a passable truck mode.  It has nowhere near the sculpted details of some other toys (even compared to the recent Generations line, let alone the Alternators and Movie lines) and more paint to break up the red would be nice.


Onto the Arms Micron partner, Gan (yeah, the name's so original).  Keeping in theme with the other Arms Micron partners in this yet, he's transparent red.

This guy is probably my favorite mold out of the three in this set since his robot mode is very strong, and his weapon mode isn't bad either.  He also feels more substantial.  The saw blade on his back acts as a third leg.

The head sculpt is fairly basic but Gan's a good partner to Ganoh, since Gan himself looks quite bulky, blocky and powerful.

Gan's weapon mode is a saw blade with the blade being able to spin.  He looks great in this mode and is one of the better weapon modes of all the Arms Micron molds.


Ganoh's transformation is pretty simple, however, I really like the way that most of the pieces you manipulate are large, solid pieces, which makes the transformation fairly fun and easy.  What basically happens is his legs fold down, arms fold out and head flips up.


Ganoh's robot mode is every bit as blocky as his vehicle mode, but this is a good thing as Ganoh pulls it off well.  It reinforces the fact that he's supposed to be the strong one in the team.

Ganoh's quite clean in terms of kibble, which is surprising.  His combiner fists (just like Jinbu) acts as heelspurs.  Granted, his torso is hollow when you think about it...

The head sculpt is good, and for some reason, it reminds me of Blaster.  It's only a swivel joint though so Ganoh can't look up.

Ganoh is tall and bulky, but just like Jinbu and Kenzan, he's 90% legs, at least part of it is covered.  I don't like how his arms have all these gaps in it, it makes his fists hard to pick out and generally look like rubbish.

As you may have noticed, Ganoh has big feet, or more accurately, feet that juts out thanks to him using the combiner feet as shin guards.

His combiner kibble forms a four-barreled blaster.

Which... doesn't look too well since it's situated too high thanks to the combiner head.

Another weapon is formed when you fold the 'hose' of the fire truck out to form his spear.  This weapon is still made of soft plastic but it's not soft to the point of warping, it's quite rigid.

Spear in name only since Ganoh holds it via a peg in the middle, it reminds me of a helicopter rotor blade...  So in the end, don't know exactly what weapon this is since it'll be an awkward weapon to carry into battle.

And last but not least, Ganoh can wield Gan in his saw form, which looks quite good and they make a nice pairing.

There are a lot of storage options, you can store the spear on his back in a v-shape (looks good from the front too).

Or you can store the combiner kibble on his back which bulks it up and blends in well.

You can put even store both at the same time which is a nice touch.  This means that Ganoh won't have any random pieces leftover that might get lost.

Articulation is decent although you'd wish that Ganoh's arms were more bulky as they look lanky compared to his legs.  A good robot mode and apart from the super long legs, there isn't anything else here that indicates he might be part of a combiner.


Ganoh has one of the more interesting transformations in the team.  This is because Ganoh collapses (hence the hollow torso) when going into head or leg mode.  Some of the ratchets are super tight  but overall, his head mode is pretty good.

Torso mode is effectively the fire truck with his legs hanging out, it's quite awkward and large.

Leg mode is probably Ganoh's best mode, he looks the best here.  It's basically his robot mode with everything collapsed as much as possible except for his legs.


Ganoh, Jinbu and Kenzan... combine!

In my opinion, the weakest combined mode of the set.  First of all, Kenzan's torso mode has a lot of stuff wrapping around the torso and behind it, this means that GoGanoh's arms are forced to jut out to the sides.  In the photo above, the arms are sitting as close to the body as possible.

This combination is also bad because Jinbu's leg mode isn't that great.  For some reason, his feet isn't as large compared to the other two combined modes, meaning that you'll have to bend the joints in such a way that he'll have a mild case of 'chicken legs'.  Couple this with the fact that Kenzan's torso mode have a lot of junk at the back, and GoGanoh's extremely backheavy.

That said, GoGanoh still looks reasonably well, a huge upper body with some lanky legs.  He looks powerful though.

GoGanoh's head sculpt is amazing.  Sadly, since it attaches on top of Ganoh's head, it has no articulation whatsoever.

Heading to the weapons, first, there's the Arms Micron combined mode weapon which... GoGanoh can't hold.  Why?  This is thanks to the fists being situated lower than the forearms, so the 'hilt' of the sword gets in the way with the forearms and the handle can't plug into his fists.  So sad...

Next is the combiner kibble weapon, which combines together to form a sort of forearm blaster.

Surprisingly, this works really well and GoGanoh looks awesome with it.  It's the best combiner weapon out of the three.

Don't forget about the awesome spear that's formed by the three component bots' weapons.

Combined with the bulky look, GoGanoh looks very powerful, especially when he's about to punch you.

As expected, GoGanoh is pretty big, but he's not as tall as GoKenzan.

GoGanoh has some spectacular kibble, from the huge feet pieces underneath his arms to 70% of Kenzan forming a backpack.  His torso flashes thanks to the electronic gimmick.

In terms of articulation, as mentioned, his arms are somewhat obstructed, and forget about posing the lower body, he's so incredibly back heavy to sustain any pose other than neutral.  Thank goodness to the super tight ratchets that let's him stand...

GoGanoh needs a bit more blue from Kenzan though (Kenzan himself is mostly hidden thanks to the armor).

A combined mode with some major balancing issues.  Thank goodness that this is not the only combined mode, otherwise it would have been very disappointing.  As a side gimmick, it's quite fun.


Ganoh is the only one that I may even give consideration to purchase on his one, with no major flaws that compromise the core robot.  Still, it's a simple design with only the combining gimmick making Ganoh  a much better toy.  Ganoh is fun and as a set, the Samurai Team provides heaps of play value.


Other Transformers reviews can be found here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Review: The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel

Review:  #354
Title:  The Red Pyramid:  The Graphic Novel
Series:  The Kane Chronicles - 1st graphic novel
Author:  Rick Riordan, adapted by Orpheus Collar
Read Before:  no
My Comments:  A faithful adaptation to the book and it speeds things up too, which is a bonus (the source material had things dragged out just a bit too much).  Unlike the Percy Jackson graphic novel, the art in this one is very pleasing to the eye.  It’s vivid, bringing life to the characters as they should.  If you didn’t like the original story, you won’t like it here.  Understandably, it can get boring at times and the plot can be confusing too.  One thing I noticed was the abundance of text.  Often, they would include text descriptions of what was happening… when they should have just conveyed that visually in the panels (that is the whole point of a graphic novel…).  There were a few scenes where you will think it is a bit monotonic thanks to the similar colors in every panel.
Rating:  6/10

Thursday, July 25, 2013


IMPOSSIBLE!!!!  That word kept cropping up as I was watching scene after scene of this movie.  You gotta suspend your disbelief in order to enjoy the movie or it'll ruin it for you.  While I have no experience with tornadoes, I just felt that if the tornado is powerful enough to fling trucks and cars your way, then it'll probably be powerful enough to at least influence the vehicle you're driving too.  Also in the final scene where they tied themselves to the pipes that run 30 feet down into the earth in order to prevent being sucked away, I would have expected the joints in the pipes to crack and break apart first.  I don't know if in real life these storm chasers are as crazy as this bunch, but it got a bit wearisome watching them in this movie.  It felt boring too, the plot wasn't too spectacular.  It just involved chasing one tornado after another in the hopes of putting these sensors into it.  Oh, and there's the relationship plot, which can be guessed what happens quite easily.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Toy Review: Transformers Go! Jinbu (G02) with Jin

Review:  #140
Name:  Jinbu with Jin
Brand:  Transformers
Allegiance:  Autobot
Line:  Transformers Go!
Year of Release:  2013
Size Class:  Voyager (Wave 2)
Variations:  none as of yet


Jinbu comes with three separate bio cards that shows off all three of his modes.  Too bad that these cards only have it printed on one side, the back is just plain old cardboard which really makes these look cheap and nasty.


Jinbu's alternate mode is a jet, yes, it's not the best jet in the world, there's just so many things you could list that sticks out as odd or is kibble with nowhere else to go in this mode.  It's fairly disappointing.

The back isn't any better, basically, the only jet-like features of this mode is the cockpit and the wings, they're the only dedicated pieces.  Everything else is just robot that tries to blend in and pass off as sections of a jet.

The whole underside is formed by his legs, it's pretty sad.  His robot weapon also plug in on top, trying hard to cover the gap between his legs near the back of the jet (similar to how Blitzwing tries to hide his gaps with his weapons).

Jinbu only looks passable from the front 45 degrees angle.  Look at him from any other angle and he's not too great.  He's feels really flat and lacking the smooth curves you'd expect of something that it supposed to be aerodynamic and symbolizing speed.  He's a decent size though, I grant you that (which makes his price a bit easier to stomach).

You can see how gappy Jinbu is in this mode.  Everything does peg in securely though.  You feel as if that the designer could have bulk up his arms in robot mode since there's just so much space here to fill up.  Jinbu also sports a retractable front landing gear, which is, to be honest, unnecessary and doesn't add anything.

You can also plug in the combiner kibble as a gun in jet mode.  It looks terrible and wrecks what few aerodynamic elements that Jinbu has.  It just feels like an unnatural growth that doesn't belong there.

You can also plug in Jinbu's Arms Micron in a few places.  So, this means that Jinbu can store everything in jet mode if you don't mind him looking odd.  At least this means that it'll be harder to lose his pieces.  A disappointing jet mode, his cartoon model looks way sleeker and cooler...


Jinbu's Arms Micron is called Jin, and he's a repaint of Smokescreen's one, done in translucent yellow, this makes it super hard to capture the molded details in photos.

I guess he has one of the best robot modes an Arms Micron has, only his arms swing out though as any meaningful articulation.

He has a ton of kibble on his back, but then again, most Microns do.

The head sculpt is surprisingly good, and I love how his Autobot logo is on his chest.

His transforms into a bow-like weapon, and the reason why he has such a good robot mode becomes clear...  He's basically a robot lying down with weapon stuff on his back, *sigh*.  My least favorite Micron mold out of the three.


Simple, boring, plain, unimaginative and all their synonyms plus a few more.  Seriously, Jinbu's transformation is a disappointment, just look at the jet pictures and try to imagine how he might transform in the simplest way possible, chances are, you've got it.  His feet flips down, arms flip out, head flips up and wings flip down, done.  There's nothing even mildly interesting here.  This may seem harsh, but it's true.


Onto the robot mode, so we've established that Jinbu has the worse jet mode out of the set, but what about the robot mode?  Sadly, Jinbu also has the worse robot mode out of the set.

Jinbu is 90% legs here, and while the other two toys are mostly legs too, it's much more obvious on Jinbu.  At least the other had hides a portion of their legs behind something, you can see Jinbu's hips begin just below his shoulders here...

Jinbu has massive legs that dominate the aesthetics and weedy arms.  As mentioned earlier, they could have bulked up those arms to make this mode much better but nup...

The head sculpt is amazing though and my favorite out of the three.  Jinbu looks like he's ready to roll and it seems like he is smirking.

Weapon's time!  The first one is the combiner kibble which tries to look like a gun.  It has a proper barrel but there's just way too much junk around it for it to look plausible.

The gun is too big for Jinbu to hold and pose properly anyway.

It actually looks better if you angle it like a shield.

But the best placement for this weapon?  Store it on Jinbu's back!  This has the added advantage of bulking up the figure (which feels very flat side on).

The second weapon is also the best weapon out of the set.  It's a long sword and looks wicked.  It's made of soft plastic though, which reduces it's charm.

Jinbu can hold the sword but he can't dual wield, he doesn't have enough joints (or the range) for that.  It's a missed opportunity...

If you don't like it, you can store it on his back at an angle, ready for a quick drawing of the blade.

Even if you already have the combiner kibble on his back, don't fret, as you can still store the blade there.

Articulation is okay, I say okay because in the official transformation, you're supposed to peg his legs together using the landing gear.  What this means is that his hips can't swing out, boo!  Not that it looks that good when you can use his hips anyway since they're situated so far up.  Bending the legs forward at the "normal" hips is okay though, since the designer added a dedicated joint for that.

Jinbu is quite big, Voyager sized, and he has the mass to back that up.  It seems that the quality of plastic used it higher than what is currently used in the other lines.

Don't forget that Jinbu can also wield his Arms Micron partner.  The first batch of Jinbu's have a mis-assembly error in that his thighs are swapped, luckily, it's an easy fix (just search online) - this helps the stability of GoKenzan.

On his own, Jinbu is a mediocre toy, luckily for us, Jinbu comes with two friends...


Transformation to head mode is okay, but with the combiner armor, he feels very empty and thin (most of the bulk went into the combined mode arms).  Very simple overall and easy to do, even with your eyes closed.

Torso mode is equally easy since you're basically transforming Jinbu into a block with his legs sticking out the back.

Leg mode is where Jinbu feels all stretched out.  While bulking in the normal robot mode, in combined mode, it feels too thin.  Overall?  Jinbu has a simple transformation for everything, and probably he looks best as a torso unit.


Cue the weird transformation music as heard in the OVA, Samurai Team combine!!  GoJinbu!!

GoJinbu ranks behind GoKenzan as far as combined mode goes.  He's less stable due to the footprint not being as large, and the legs sustain a lot of weight, the joints are really straining in this mode.

Then there's the massive kibble backpack on his back.  Thought GoKenzan's was bad?  You get the legs and arms of Ganou as well as the electronics and arms of Kenzan stacked there, that's why Kenzan's leg mode has such large heelspurs, GoJinbu needs it.

The way GoJinbu's samurai armor attaches is probably the mode interesting part, since it stretches down the whole body, GoJinbu feels the most consistent.

A lot of the bulk is shifted to the upper body, meaning that GoJinbu is extremely hard to pose as far as his legs are concerned. Once the legs are out of the neutral position, GoJinbu's prone to fall over.

As expect from a triple-Voyager combiner, GoJinbu is huge!  The electronics are now situated at his crotch (yes, and it still lights up, make of that what you will).

The head sculpt is good, I don't like the fact that his head kind of just meshes with the rest of the body like the head is an ugly growth.  Since the head covers Jinbu's normal head, it's unposeable, :(.

Let's have a look at the first weapon, which is the combined Arms Micron super sword.  Sadly, a problem with GoJinbu is that the fists are molded in such a way that the thumb and another finger juts out of the 5mm hole, make it smaller.  This means that any weapon you force into there will get damaged, you must shave a bit off, how disappointing.

Next is the two extra combiner pieces coming together to form a sort of gun.

Yeah... it's doesn't look that great either, better peg it somewhere else on the toy, it'll look better just about anywhere else.

Third and last, this is the best weapon of them all.  Made from the combination of the component's robot's weapons, it's a wickedly long spear.

I love the way the wings of Jinbu forms GoJinbu's shoulder pads.  It gives GoJinbu is really distinct and unique look.

Poseability for the arms are okay.  While the legs have the required joints, GoJinbu is just too top heavy for the legs to sustain a decent action pose.  Overall though, GoJinbu looks impressive as a combiner.


On his own, Jinbu is a write-off, with a terrible jet mode and a terrible robot mode.  He redeems himself somewhat with the ability to form three extra modes.  This adds a ton of play value and makes Jinbu much more worthwhile in my eyes.  GoJinbu isn't the best combiner with the top-heaviness but looks great as a display piece.  The mis-assembly and tight fist holes are annoying but both are relatively easy fixes.  An okay toy, and a recommend if you're into the combining gimmick.


Other Transformers reviews can be found here.

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