At the time of this post, it's only 15 days until San Diego Comic Con. With time ticking down, you know that there'd be a ton of exclusive announcements and let me tell you, companies have definitely unleashed the floodgates....
Some things are beyond explanation. Fans of the clunky original Transformers Generation 1 figures have been wanting to see Hasbro give Blitzwing and Astrotrain a proper reissue for years now. We knew the molds were still...
So you say you want a figure of Gon and Killua's teacher Biscuit Krueger from Hunter x Hunter. Well, you've got two options: you can either track down Banpresto's cute prize figure from 2013 or you can get Premium Bandai's muscular Bisky coming out next May.
Yeah, that's right, the same people who brought us that unlikely gravity-defying Gon figure is now set to produce an almost equally unlikely figure of Bisky in full form. Sporting the physique of a male body builder this isn't the type of thing you usually see figures of and that's why Premium Bandai is so awesome. She's standing 135 mm (about 5.3 inches) tall and, gasp, she's also in scale with that Gon figure. Orders are now open until February 14, 2015 with the figure coming out sometime in May. Unfortunately if you want this buff Bisky you'll have to go through a proxy as PB won't ship outside of Japan.
Now let's see them do a figure of rapidly aged Welfin.
Everyone's favorite video game-console-turned-killer-robot Mega Drive Megatron from Takara Tomy is getting a limited makeover. Soon Megatron will be getting redesigned as a Sega Genesis and come complete with a matching mini Sonic the Hedgehog cartridge. But despite the Sega Genesis primarily being sold in North America only, this is going to be a Japanese exclusive to the Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. shop and limited to only 1000 pieces.
It's basically the same figure, but has had the the red replaced with purple which makes me wish this 'reformated' Mega Drive had a Galvatron head to match the new colors. Oh well, maybe they'll save that for a Saturn. Pre-orders are open now until January 8, though you'll have to get this through proxy from the Japanese store. He'll be seeing release in February which happens to also be the same month Playstation Optimus Prime is coming out. Coincidence? Probably not.
Oh, but that's not all! As traditional for many of the Autobot and Decepticon leaders, Mega Drive Megatron will be receiving a super limited Lucky Draw gold (chrome) plated lottery figure. Famitsu is reporting that anyone in Japan that buys a copy of Sega 3D Reprint Archives for Nintendo 3DS and fills out a survey between December 18, 2014 and January 31, 2015 will get a shot at one of five of these beauties. Notice that instead of Sonic he'll come with a cart for Bare Knuckle, the Japanese version of Streets of Rage. Nice, but not something any of us are likely to see in any of our lifetimes.
The corner booth at DesignerCon that housed Scott Tolleson, Lana Crooks, and Carson Catlin had a eye-catching combination of plushes and figures, both original and customized. It also had several tantalizing con-exclusives available for purchase to attendees. Scott's Kookie Glo Good (seen in the header) was a special glow-in-the-dark version of his Kookie No Good vinyl toy. Completing the lifecycle of the Deadbeet plush, an artist collaboration between Lana and Scott, is the Beetling, exclusive to DesignerCon.
While Carson did not have an exclusive for sale, his custom figures more than made up for it. He also had blind boxes of some of his Micro-Munny figures. There were even some extra prizes involved, depending on what figure was in your box. It was a really clever idea.
As is her wont, Flat Bonnie's DesignerCon booth featured flat stuffed critters lined up on tiered displays resembling a grassy knoll. I spotted several fan favorites, like Flat Suggie the Sugar Glider and Flat Dusty the Chinchilla, nestled amongst the faux lawn dressings. The big draw were the two con-exclusives, though. The first was the Winter White edition of Sparq the Baby Dragon. This colorway resembled what fans saw in teasers of this character prior to its debut release at San Diego Comic Con 2014. Following in the winter theme, the second exclusive is Jackalope - Frozen edition. I especially liked the Jackalope's forest-y feel, with the little pleather leaves on its arms and horns.
You can find more of Flat Bonnie's darling flatties on her online store.
I'm not going to lie; I have a soft spot for jellykoe's Tox City line. The series of plushes were a big success on Kickstarter and I adored their New York Comic Con exclusive addition as well. Kelly and J. Spencer Shull brought several Tox City citizens with them to last weekend's DesignerCon along with an extra-special one: Gillbert - Big Katuna Edition. The exclusive mutant came dressed in swim shorts and felt sunglasses, carrying a hand-painted wooden surfboard. He even comes in a different shade than the original Gillbert, as if he got a tan. As an added bonus, he can be dressed and undressed as you please. He was a riot!
In addition to the Tox City plushes, there was also a display of J. Spencer's paintings and custom figures. You can purchase and see more of jellykoe's work on their website.
TOUMA hit DesignerCon with a vengeance. His DCon exclusive Knuckle Bear Cosmic (US$55) looks crisp as usual, and I always love his designs. He also had little soft vinyl toys of Pico Mao Cat, Pico Hitch Bear and more, also showing that he now has LINE stickers available.
Where I'd really get in trouble are the Budog toys, especially the keychains. They're all so adorable and have such personality; I'd love to collect them all! He also had Gorelax, Astro Skullbot and more on had, which were especially colorful and bright. There were plenty of things for you to take with you if you stopped by his booth this weekend.
Another new year fast approaches and Hasbro is preparing their latest set of exclusive Transformers designed to represent the animals of the Chinese zodiac. 2015 marks the year of the goat and they're doing something a little different this year, going with a transparent and metallic color scheme. I'm no fan of translucent plastic and gold plastic tends to become very brittle over time so I'm not all that excited about these releases, but at least they picked some great figure molds to use.
First up is the surprising return of the G2 Laser Optimus Prime. The last time we saw this mold in North America it was repurposed as Scourge for the Robots in Disguise cartoon in 2000. Nothing has changed in the mold, but now comes in translucent, gold, silver, and black. Oddly enough he's lacking all of the stickers and paint that would have been on the previous uses of the mold except for his head which has a silver mouth plate and yellow eyes. His fuel tanker trailer still has a chrome tank, but in battle station mode they've made some of his parts inexplicably pink and light blue.
Second is as similarly colored version of Masterpiece Soundwave. He doesn't have quite as many colors as Optimus has, almost entirely made from clear and copper plastic save for a section of light gray plastic. Would have been better if they had used Prime's silver and some black to break things up. Only spot on his head with color is his red eye visor, opting to not paint his mouth plate like Optimus. What he does have going for him is that being a Hasbro release he does come with five tapes (Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Rumble, and Frenzy) in translucent plastic and all of his weapons including a mini brass and silver Megatron gun.
Both of these figures use good molds, but my dislike for the clear plastic kills my interest entirely. Had they replaced the clear parts with the proper respective red or blue opaque plastic, similar to the 2014 Optimus Prime, I would definitely want these. They've also once again missed a chance at using a Beast Wars mold, this time they could have used Ramulus. Either way, expect these to hit Toys R Us and Big Bad Toy Store by the end of this year.
Looks like golden Masterpiece Megatron isn't the only new thing coming exclusively to Transformers Asia. Announced today Asia will soon be getting the new MP-11SW Skywarp. This is Skywarp's third Masterpiece, previously released by Takara Tomy as MP-06 in 2007 and a Walmart exclusive from Hasbro in 2008, but this is the first time he's been released using the revised MP-11 Starscream mold. In fact he's only Takara Tomy's third figure to use the mold, the other being MP-11S Sunstorm, while Hasbro has used the mold three times to make the Toys R Us exclusive Thundercracker, Acid Storm, and Sunstorm once again. The figure looks great, very cartoon accurate and I'm actually glad Takara Tomy left out the coronation cape and crown on this release. If this wasn't an Asia release (and I didn't already have MP-06) I might want one, but not for the US$199.99 that some stores like Big Bad Toy Store and TFSource are asking.
But that's not all, Transformers Asia also has something big in store for movie fans. They'll be offering a special Human Alliance two pack featuring Barricade and the Dark of the Moon Soundwave figure that was never released in the US. As part of the HA series Barricade will also come with a mini Frenzy as he did in the original movie while Soundwave comes with little Laserbeak and Mr. Gould figures. Pretty fitting set considering Barricade was basically the prototype Soundwave character in the first movie while both off them have the distinction of getting their butts handed to them by Bumblebee. By the looks of it these are identical to their individual releases which can be a hassle to find now, especially Soundwave. At the US$144.99 that BBTS and TFSource are asking for them, working out to about US$72.50 each, they're a great deal when compared to most ebay auctions asking upwards of US$200 for Soundwave alone.
You've probably already heard by now, but the Naruto manga is now in it's final weeks, set to end at the beginning of November. Seems like bad timing for Bandai to be releasing Naruto figures, that might have a little something to do with Sasuke here being a Tamashii Web exclusive. But don't fret, Bluefin has us covered.
Over at the S.H.Figuarts blog they've posted a few more photos of Sasuke that, let's be honest, aren't incredibly flattering. Compared to the early photos his face and hair have lost some details. His hair isn't as pointy and now hangs over his eyes more. His facial features have gotten softer and in some shots almost translucent when compared to what was certainly a hand-painted prototype. Body sculpting still looks nice and despite the challenging legs they appear to be very well articulated so that's a big plus.
He won't be out for a few more months, late January/early February depending on where you go. Tamashii Web prices him at ¥5,184, but you won't be able to get it without some help if you aren't in Japan. On the other hand Bluefin has him priced at US$52.99 and if you go with, say, Amazon you might be able to get free shipping so that may be one of the better routs to take.
Jellykoe announced their con-exclusive for New York Comic-Con, which starts in just a few short weeks. Hailing from their Tox City line, meet the beefed-up rabbit-thing, Musclebuns! Standing an impressive 19-inches tall, he features weighted, articulated arms and, like all the Tox City plushes, has glow-in-the-dark eyes.
I was already a fan of Jellykoe's Tox City plushes and love their style. Musclebuns is definitely carrying on the fun, inventive look the couple is known for. I honestly adore everything about this guy but if I had to narrow it down to one thing specifically, I'd choose his face. The expression of carefree cluelessness with a pinch of "derpiness" is just so endearing. The dude was just mutated and he seems totally fine with it.
Musclebuns is handmade and limited to 10 pieces, which are available for purchase at Jellykoe's booth #413 at The Block. Who is planning on attending NYCC?
Aniplex+ is back again with another Madoka Magica girl clad in their best kimono. Joining Madoka and Homura is figure number three, Mami (Maiko edition) in a very cute pink kimono. The detail is quite exceptional with lots of bright and vivid colors, every piece covered in flower petals. Her hair has some very intricately sculpted and painted decorations and even her bright blue fan looks great! Just like with the other two this is certainly a figure made to impress. As if that wasn't enough she also comes with a little Charlotte figure laughing at her feet.
The figure itself is 1/8 scale and stands at 190 mm. She's expected to be released in April at US$119.98. As an Aniplex+ exclusive she's only available directly through Right Stuf or Akiba Anime. Pre-order cutoff to guarantee a figure is October 31, but both shops have ordered additional figures in the past to continue taking orders after the date, though you're taking a big chance!
Oh, and check the gallery for a preview of the Sayaka and Kyouko figures!