Monday, May 30, 2011

Toy Review: Transformers Reveal the Shield Prowl

Review: #10
Name: Prowl
Brand: Transformers
Allegiance: Autobot
Line: Reveal the Shield
Year of Release: 2011
Size Class: Legends (Wave 2)
Variations: None


Prowl transforms into a little white police car, that take a lot of design cues from his Universe (2008) deluxe incarnation (particularly the hood). That said, he's not a bad little car, albeit the aesthetics are not really to my tastes, it's just something about the wideness coupled with his thinness that irks me.

He features a good number of paint applications, with a lot of black paint, the front, sides (tracing the outline of the word "POLICE" on both sides) and windows. If you look carefully, you will see that the side windows on the back aren't painted, but they're hard to pick up and is no biggie. By far the most notable flaw would be the weird hollow back, granted they are needed for transformation, and they even sculpted rear lights on the side as well, but it just stands out (forgivable for such a small toy).

Being part of Reveal the Shield, he features a rub sign on the hood, rubbing it will reveal an Autobot shield. I tend to find that the smaller rub signs (with a silver border) on Legends and Scouts to be harder to heat up than the larger ones. I guess the final complaint that I have would be his light bar, it just sticks up too much such that it looks unnatural.

Probably due to the proportions, but I tend to find Prowl a bit smaller than previous legends in the past, however, putting them next to Stealth Bumblebee (from Revenge of the Fallen) shows that they are of the same length.

Not much more I can ask for such a tiny toy, good paint applications, pleasing to the eye, and very nicely sculpted (I especially like the spoiler), a good vehicle mode.


As expected, a really simple toy, it feels like they've rehashed the transformation from Universe (2008) Legends Jazz or even ROTF Bumblebee, it's just that similar, although granted, they might have to save on the engineering costs. Nevertheless, it works at this scale, and is a fun little figure to transform back and forth, a very easy conversion which adds to his playability.


You can't expect any gimmicks of a toy this size, so all of Prowl's fun would be his (limited) poseability and the easy conversion. He looks great in robot and this was the mode that sold me on the figure. He looks really good and evokes Prowl a lot, his head is proportionally bigger than his body, but it's only noticeable from head on.

He has hinged feet (for transformation) and heel spurs, but yet he's hard to balance properly, and needs some fiddling, a tad bit annoying but what can you do. His arms only look good from the front, as you can easily see that they're only panels from other angles (that irks me quite a bit to be honest).

I don't think he can be improved anymore, maybe they could have fitted in tiny shoulder launchers but it would have very hard. All the black you see on the toy is paint, he is molded completely from white plastic, thinking about it, he's got a lot of paint for him. Some silver on his abdomen would be awesome (the details are there), but all the important bits are already painted.

Head sculpt is great by the way. Oh, I just found another thing they could have improved on, hinges on his door-wings so it can swing out, THAT would have been so awesome (although easy to break). His poseability is standard legends range, but he gets a bonus of hinged knees.


A great little legends toy that is really fun to play with, and still displays well, with few liberties taken that is all so common at this scale. Definitely recommend him as you're getting a good deal for such a cheap price, especially if you found him on clearance like I did. And if you're as big a fan of legends toys as I am, this is surely not one to be missed, he might be a bit hard to find, but is worth the search.


Here is's gallery of the same toy.

Credits: some pages linked to has been used.

Remember to check out other reviews of Transformers toys!!!

Book Review: Rowan and the Travellers

Review: #73
Title: Rowan and the Travellers
Series: Rowan of Rin - 2nd book
Author: Emily Rodda
Read Before: yes
My Comments: Another great book in the Rowan series, and probably my favourite one as well. Its story is probably one of the best that I have ever read, with a lot of twist and turns, and a finally revelation that is very surprising and clever. Surprisingly it has a pretty complex and dark plot that works very well. Reading it, you wouldn't really expect the hidden enemy was who it was, yet once you find out, its fits really well and you can see where the author was going all along, she has planned it very well and executed the story really well too. The mystery and suspense starts immediately and gradually builds up, again with the weak titular protagonist saving the day, showing that weak can triumph where the strong cannot. It introduces some more supporting characters and expands the world of the series, which is great. The overall plot is just so freakily good that it captures you imagination and mind, and lets you think about the possibilities, the fact that this enemy had also been encountered and lost to in the series’ history was a really nice touch. The rhyme was constructed much better than the ones in the first book and carries a lot of meaning, just a brilliant brilliant book that wows you with its ingenuity.
Rating: 8.5/10
Rereadability Factor: 8/10

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Futagami Double

The concept of the story is quite interesting, too bad it is only a one-shot, I wouldn't mind reading more about Futagami. At one point it was actually pretty freaky, and gave me the chills (it just had to touch on something I really hate and am afraid of), although the first half of the chapter had a lot of information to absorb.

It would be really nice if we could find out more about that world, still a lot of questions and so much potential. The story is quite good, but the art, the characters look so similar to some other characters in other manga, although that could just be the art style of the artist.

The ending event was great, although it is one of the more typical tricks where the protagonist manages to tap into a large amount of hidden power that he never knew he had it in himself.

Surprisingly enjoyable, its fun to read, interesting, and exciting, definitely recommend this one-shot manga.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mayoi Neko Overrun! Vol. 2

VOL. 2
5 – Swimsuits and the First Kiss

Another average chapter, sometimes I get lost amongst all that is happening (or not happening?) and feel that I don't know where the chapter is going.

It gets a bit boring, and the chapter story isn’t that interesting, we get to see another character, Kaho, being a bit mischievous, and playing around with the jealousy of Chise and Fumino.

There are a few good jokes and moments, but the rest is very plain and uninspired, I think it’s too ‘normal’.

5.5 – Why Test of Courage

One of those half chapters (with half the normal page length, so it’s only 20 pages long), it’s the standard quality that we’ve been getting (that is, not bad, but not great either).

I think I know what the problem is around here, we get introduced immediately in the manga three girls who like the main guy, without many reasons on why they like him, so there is no feeling or closeness. Their love feels artificial and weak.

Anyway this chapter is about a test of courage and walking through a forest, blah blah blah, a typical storyline, not done as great though. By this time, I’m not holding out much hope for the series.

6 – The First “NO”

Probably one of the better chapters so far, it was quite interesting (and quite funny). We learn a little bit about Nozomi, and why she is like that, quiet and mysterious. The chapter story is a lot more defined, and the events didn't stray too far from it. Nozomi also admits that she loves Takami, so now there is officially three girls loving him.

For some reason, I still feel all the back-stories for the characters seem lacking a bit, and it’s hard to feel like you know them personally. There are an abundance of To Love-Ru cameos here (as well as references to other manga like Black Cat), probably the most in any chapter to date, with appearances of Magical Kyouko, Run, Mikan, Haruna and Oshizu.

There were a lot of good hidden meaning jokes throughout the chapter and that’s what made this chapter more enjoyable, that and the fact that the story was actually better than normal make this chapter one of the better ones. The title refers to Nozomi disagreeing for the first time, since she had always agreed to what anyone said before.

7 – Public Bath x Battle!?

At first I thought it was one of the typical public bath chapters that is filled with ecchi (like the To Love-Ru chapters), and it was like that for the first half. Near the ending however, something relating to Nozomi’s past is threatened to be revealed, which made me wanting to read the next chapter.

There’s another To Love-Ru cameo, Yami this time, as a bath-goer, would have been cool if the cast was walking around and they see Yami chasing Rito, that would be a way more awesome cameo. I feel that it’s finally starting to get more interesting and I hold out the hope that the next chapter shall not be a disappointment, as it shows some promise.

This chapter however, is basically just a fan service chapter, but Kaho is shown is having a secret second motive, so it would be intriguing to see how that plays out as well. This is the first chapter where I thought the Harem finally starts to work well, with the three girls starting to fight it out…

8 – Cake and Smile and Finale

A decent chapter, it fulfilled it promise from the last chapter that it will be interesting, and it was. I really enjoyed this chapter, there were a few things going for it, the content was interesting, the characters seem to do what you would expect them to do, and the conclusion was interesting.

I wasn't sure how the story was going to work out, because Nozomi ran away from an academy, a person came to take her back, but of course, she didn't want to go, and the whole chapter was about this. Kaho seems a bit like the bad guy, but we still don't know too much about her yet. I guess the chapter focuses on a ‘friendship’ and ‘family’ theme, but at least it’s not overdone.

The situation at the end of the chapter seems so similar to To Love-Ru though (and speaking of which, there’s a cameo from Lala in one of the frames), with a transfer student (in this case Kaho) and then these girls clinging onto Takami, with him seemingly unaware of their affections, still, quite funny. With this chapter, the manga has become a bit more fun to read.


Better than the first volume, that is for sure, a few of the chapters stories are more interesting than before, which makes it less of a chore to finish it.

EDIT: can't believe this is the last volume that will be released, what a disappointment that it ended so quickly, with only 8 full chapters and 3 side chapters.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mayoi Neko Overrun! Vol. 1

VOL. 1
1 – It’s Not Like I Asked to Be Taken In!

An ok chapter, but the story and characters don't hold the same appeal to me as Sgt Frog and To Love-Ru did. It’s not captivating enough, and there is nothing that stands out or is remarkable. There are still some funny moments, but the rest of it is fairly dull and average, I couldn't really make myself get into it, coz it seems quite boring and doesn't show as much promise.

I know this is adapted from a very popular light novel so it’ll probably get better. The highlight for the first chapter would probably be the cameo of Mikan and Celine from To Love-Ru, which is a sad thing really when you think about it. From just this chapter alone, I honestly cannot recommend it.

2 – The Melancholy of the Wolf Girl

Well, knowing a little bit on what to expect, I braced myself, and it wasn't as boring as I had feared. It had finally started to get interesting, but the characters themselves don't really stand out and isn’t that appealing. Chise for example, seems like a random character that has the stereotypical personality of a spoiled rich kid (for a lack of better term), they seem… ‘cardboard’.

At least the story is starting to get better, but I am not sure where this is heading towards yet, and the chemistry between the two main protagonists Fumino and Takami is quite well played here and I enjoyed watching it, and learning more about them (that’s pretty much the only saving grace of this chapter). Nozomi is very mysterious with little revealed, and I like the cameos of To Love-Ru characters. All in all, a better chapter than the first one.

3 – Rich Girl Overrun?

The chapters are getting better, and I enjoyed this one, there are a lot of comedic moments (and can it be possible? No ecchi scenes?), and most, if not all, of them work. We get to see into the life of Chise and what she thinks, the rich girl, and she’s not as annoying or seemingly having a lack of character in the chapter (we also get a cameo of Saki, Aya and Rin in one frame and Mikan in another).

There’s some deeper meaning to the story than usual, and I’m finally starting to get a bit interested, maybe it’s because I can recognize the characters now (they were a bit hard to remember who was who before).

4 – And the Name Is the Stray Cat Association

An average read, nothing really interesting happens here, but club that Chise had set up from the last chapter finally takes shape and form. Becoming the Stray Cats Association, still not too sure of what they REALLY do though. I honestly cannot get myself captivated into the manga, it seems quite boring, and there’s nothing special about the plot.

It’s filled with references to other popular manga, and that’s where a few of the jokes come from. More To Love-Ru cameos, and even a name mention, which was the source of a fairly funny situation at the end. If this doesn't pick up, I may just lose interest in it and not finish the whole series (once they get released). Nozomi is a really weird character, and we still don't know much about her, unlike Yami from To Love-Ru, she is not mysterious enough to be likeable.


Don't feel the love for this manga, it seems so boring, and if it continues like this, then I would lose interest very fast.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: Rowan of Rin

Review: #72
Title: Rowan of Rin
Series: Rowan of Rin - 1st book
Author: Emily Rodda
Read Before: yes
My Comments: One of the best adventure books I have ever read (Deltora Quest 3 is another series by the same author that is also really good). The rhyming clues/riddles interspersed throughout the book is great, and you marvel at the hidden (or sometimes, the literal) meaning of them. The world the author has created is very rich, and there are hints placed throughout the book that links to the latter books in the series. The adventure, fantasy and mystery elements in the book are really well formed. The best part of this book is, the main character is nothing special (relative to the reader anyway), he is not strong or courageous, just a timid shy boy, and the author has written the story in a way that shows that even someone like him, can succeed where others who are strong and brave have failed. She has shown that in many situations, even those supposedly bad qualities are very useful and preferred. I guess the only thing missing from this is a romance (although, I think there was a potential one in the fourth book) to add to the ‘sweetness’. You can tell that it is a very well thought out book, and the ending is very satisfying unlike a lot of other similar books.
Rating: 8/10
Rereadability Factor: 8/10

To Love-Ru Darkness Vol. 1

VOL. 1
0 – Prologue

I… ummm… don't know what to make out of this, begins like any other To Love-Ru chapter, not being serious and filled with laughs. From what I can gather out from this Prologue, is that it’s centred more around Lala’s sister, Momo now, the ecchi has really gone up a notch, to the point where it’s too much, it ruins the story (writer has gone out of their way to put it in…).

Anyway, hopefully it becomes better but I’m not holding up too much hopes, as now that I think about it, the ending of To Love-Ru wasn't so bad… not enough to warrant a sequel just for the hell of it.

1 – Continue

A long chapter (three times the normal length at around 60 pages), but it isn’t really any better than others. I am positive that the ecchi aspect has become too much, it’s ruining my enjoyment of the manga.

The attempted story (and I do think this series might actually have an ongoing storyline) does not hold any interest for me (Momo creating a Harem for Rito, errr, no thanks, I’ll be alright…).

Not to mention that the writer seems to have favoured ecchi over comedy, which is disappointing, makes it seem more like a perverted manga rather than a carefree one. I won’t condemn it that much this early in the manga, unlike To Love-Ru, “Darkness” does not look promising at this stage.

2 – Doubt and Dish

I see currently it is focusing on two characters, first is the aforementioned Momo, and the second, it took me a while to pick it up, is the focus on Yami (I thought it would solely focus on Momo). The story surround Momo is lame and I don't like it, it feels awkward and very forced (creating a Harem for Rito, it’s one thing for it to ‘naturally’ happen in the story, but it’s another when one characters ‘artificially’ creates one), plus, when the chapter’s focusing on her story, it’s usually more ecchi orientated than anything.

The story focusing on Yami, on the other hand, which is more about her past, is a lot more interesting and mysterious. This chapters ends with a good revelation, and one that made me want to read the next chapter (which hasn't been the case with the previous two chapters). At last, a good chapter that is worth reading, and is able to create some questions for the reader to brood about. Like it’s name, To Love-Ru Darkness seems a lot darker and more serious (focusing a lot more on a story) than it’s predecessor and you can see that in this chapter.

3 – Each Speculation

An interesting chapter, it’s finally getting on its feet, and a lot of things are put forward. Furthering Yami’s story, there’s some mystery involved, who this girl, Mea is, and what her master’s plans are. She has transformation powers and is potentially even more powerful than Yami. I still don't like the weird Harem plan on Momo’s side of things, and she seems even more, evil, or seductive, I can't find the word, than To Love-Ru, like she’s just gone overboard. Anyway, the story is tighter than before, and for that, it makes it a bit more enjoyable on one side of things, but in the other, sometimes it’s a bit too serious (but then again, that is the tone set in this series), an above-average chapter.

4 – Exciting Squall

Regardless on what the title suggests, this chapter isn’t exciting. The content of this chapter is completely related to Momo’s storyline, although it’s not as bad as the previous time. There’s less ecchi and more other things happening so I’m happy (you can only put up with so many of one thing), and the events happening are fairly interesting.

It’s about Rito and Kotegawa’s relationship, which hasn't been fully explored before, although Kotegawa doesn't really seem to be her own self, she kept a lot of things to herself… Anyway, I expected worse, but the atmosphere seems so much more depressing, at times, even too serious.

Setting a completely different tone than To Love-Ru, Darkness seems to promise an actual story, and is a lot more serious and “dark”. Depending on your preferences that can be good or bad. It’s awesome that I see the cast again on some new adventure, but the story that is created; I have some doubts about it. Changing the main female protagonist to Momo and Yami was a bit of a surprise, I would rather Lala be kept and Momo was still just a side character.
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