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What Kristina Is Up To: Getting musical photo
What Kristina Is Up To: Getting musical
by Kristina Pino

Oh hey, I'm back! And the weather is still pretty much gloomy and rainy in Japan, even though we're in July. The humidity is up, which is nice - my skin is amazing right now. But my students are getting frustrated because we're only a couple of weeks away from the end of the term, and they're just plain uncomfortable.

My schedule has been kind of hectic this school year, a big difference from last year's easy going, perfectly evened-out roster. So I've been getting home more mentally exhausted than anything else, and my usual downtime activity (reading) hasn't been relaxing me all that much during the on hours.

The solution? I turned to music.

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Upcoming Walgreens-exclusive Boba Fett looks all-white photo
Upcoming Walgreens-exclusive Boba Fett looks all-white
by Scarecroodle

Walgreens is surprisingly getting yet another exclusive figure, this time in the form of a 6-inch Star Wars Black Series Prototype (white) Boba Fett.

While I'm still baffled by the fact that companies are giving Walgreens all of these exclusives (which includes a Marvel Legends Agent Venom and Funko's Game of Thrones Legacy Collection Tyrion in his Hand of the King outfit), at least I've stopped thinking that these announcements are typos. Given that Boba Fett is the most sought-after figure in Hasbro's Star Wars Black Series figures *and* the outfit is a simple repaint, it's a logical exclusive.

The figure is based on the original concept for Boba Fett which would have made him a super trooper (ie, on the Imperial payroll) rather than the bounty hunter (ie, outside contractor) that we've come to know and love. The design has received a lot of attention in recent years, going from a design that most fans have never even heard of to something at least a few of them own between the 1/6-scale Sideshow Collectibles version of the character and Hasbro's mail-order Vintage series one.

There's no word when he'll be released, but StarWars.com reported something about pre-orders opening at SDCC. I haven't managed to grab the normal Star Wars Black Series Boba Fett yet, but I imagine I'll be keeping an eye out for this version.

[ via Toyark ]

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SDCC-exclusive ArtFX+ Hulk is more than good, it's GREY-T!! photo
SDCC-exclusive ArtFX+ Hulk is more than good, it's GREY-T!!
by Scarecroodle

Kotobuikya may have a few good exclusives going to SDCC, but only one is so good that he's grey-t: the ArtFX+ Grey Hulk! This Grey-test of exclusives will be sold at the Treasure Island Sports booth (#5030) during the con. Can't make it? The company seems to have at least a few available for pre-order on its site (unless it's an order online, pick up in person deal).

The ArtFX+ Grey Hulk is a redeco of Kotobukiya's Marvel Now! Hulk, the first figure in the ArtFX+ Marvel Now Avengers line (which one of our community members reviewed). It was a pretty neat sculpt although not everybody was pleased with the shade of green used for the paint. As such, the Grey Hulk might appease any naysayers.

This 1/10-th scale figure is limited to 2,000 pieces and will sell for US$75.

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Lord Zedd is bringing the evil to SDCC photo
Lord Zedd is bringing the evil to SDCC
by Scarecroodle

Lord Zedd, the self-proclaimed "Emperor of Evil", is being brought back to life in Bandai of America's 5-inch Power Rangers Legacy line and will on sale at the Entertainment Earth booth (#2343) during SDCC. For those who can't make it to the con, Lord Zedd will also be available to order from the Toys "R" Us site starting July 24th.

While I'm sure that a lot of fans may prefer that a different Bandai would produce this character for a different line (despite being a U.S.-only character), it's still really awesome that we're getting him at all. Sure, he's not going to be as joint-y as a SHF, but the sculpting looks decent enough and he's about the right size to stand SHF Power Ranger figures.

Although the American Toys "R" Us site has yet to specify a price, the Canadian counterpart has him listed for CAD$17 so I'd guess that he'll probably go for around US$20 or US$25 (because, even though the Canadian Dollar is only worth 94 cents to the American dollar, Toys "R" Us enjoys gouging Americans). Another interesting side-note is that the Canadian TRU site currently has him listed for a July 1st release.

Given that the 1989 movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are also on that list of SDCC items, I suspect that it might be a matter of Lord Zedd being released first at SDCC before getting a wider release (unless the movie turtles have been switched to an exclusive).

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What Scarecroodle Is Up To: Adventuring with Ratonhnhaké:ton photo
What Scarecroodle Is Up To: Adventuring with Ratonhnhaké:ton
by Scarecroodle

I recently went for a hike and took McFarlane Toys' Ratonhnhaké:ton (Assassin's Creed III) along for the ride... err, walk. Then I took a bunch of photos. Some of those photos even turned out okay.

Check the gallery for some highlights.

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Mega Blaziken is the next Pokemon S.H. Figuarts photo
Mega Blaziken is the next Pokemon S.H. Figuarts
by Scarecroodle

A wild photo of a S.H. Figuarts Mega Blaziken has appeared! Mega Blaziken, of the Mega Evolutions introduced in Pokemon X/Y, will be the second Pokemon character in Bandai's merged S.H. Figuarts line (four Pokemon figures previously appeared in the D-Arts line) and is the first Pokemon that we've seen since Lucario went up for pre-order in February.

Mega Blaziken is an interesting choice and was possibly picked because Nintendo had an early promo giving away a Torchic with Blazikenite (the item needed for Blaziken's Mega Evo) although the upcoming Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire remakes could have influenced the decision as well. Blaziken has long been one of my favorite Pokemon (since about 2003) although I've yet to actually use its Mega form in the games... having lost interest in Pokemon Y some time after the first gym. While I would have preferred the normal Blaziken, I'll most likely wind up grabbing this version.

As noted in my speculative "What's Next for the D-Arts Pokemon Line?", Blaziken (and his Mega counterpart) have a good body type for a super-articulated figure besides being a seemingly more agile character. Mega Blaziken's large legs (or feet?) should provide great natural balancing which would allow for kicking poses without needing a stand.

Pricing is currently unknown but the SHF Mega Blaziken is apparently slated for an October release.

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What Kristina Is Up To: Bookmarks for summer photo
What Kristina Is Up To: Bookmarks for summer
by Kristina Pino

Summer is almost here, which means that students are almost off on break. Well, many students are, anyway. Some elect to do summer school (or are forced to by their parents), and end up missing out on that glorious month of vacation.

It's a small consolation, but students at the school I work at will be getting some handmade bookmarks and other things during the summer session, and a huge chunk of those are made by yours truly. Check out some of my designs below.

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Tomopop Review: Devil Survivor 2's Hibiki Kuze Nendoroid photo
Tomopop Review: Devil Survivor 2's Hibiki Kuze Nendoroid
by Rio McCarthy

"Everybody's weak. That's why we rely on others. We live by helping one another. We can say, we need one another. I've been able to survive because I have you and the others."
— Hibiki Kuze, Devil Survivor 2 The Animation

Pop on that bunny hood, and let's listen to some tunes, shall we? Hibiki Kuze is the main character of Devil Survivor 2 The Animation, also just known as the protagonist from Devil Survivor 2 the 3DS game. I'm a pretty big fan of Shin Megami Tensei and their numerous projects, so I was excited to get this guy in my hands.

Take a peek after the jump to see if that excitement still stands after playing around with him a bit!

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Tomopop Review: Kotobukiya's Marvel Bishoujo Spider-Woman photo
Tomopop Review: Kotobukiya's Marvel Bishoujo Spider-Woman
by Tianxiao Ma

Kotobukiya must have hit a winning formula with their Bishoujo figures because they're cranking them out like nobody's business. Well they're cranking them out like it's their own business, because it is - ah you know what I'm trying to say.

This time we go back to the first property to get the Bishoujo treatment: Marvel Comics. I'm sure you're all aware of Bishoujo Spider-Woman by now. From the promo shots, the figure looks like it has a lot going for it. Naturally I was excited to have a sample in my hands.

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Tomopop Review: Bandai's Figuarts Zero Sailor Moon photo
Tomopop Review: Bandai's Figuarts Zero Sailor Moon
by Brian Szabelski

So far, Bandai's put the Sailor Moon license to good use on their S.H. Figuarts line, as they've been very busy churning out the entire cast (sans Tuxedo Mask ... really, guys, come on). However, it's been years since we've seen a new scaled Sailor Moon figure, which makes the release of Figuarts Zero Sailor Moon all the better

My past experiences with the Figuarts Zero line have been relatively positive, but does the first Sailor Senshi from Bandai hold up to those expectations? 

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Tomopop Review: Square-Enix's Play Arts Kai Helena Harper photo
Tomopop Review: Square-Enix's Play Arts Kai Helena Harper
by Scarecroodle

Resident Evil is one of those franchises you'd assume a horror fan would be into, but it's never quite caught on with me. The zombies and assorted monsters are cool, but I've always been turned off by all the convoluted conspiracies (and, at times, also the gameplay). However, I've enjoyed a few of the games and I like many of the character designs like Resident Evil 6's Helena Harper. As such, I was happy to see Square-Enix give the character the Play Arts Kai treatment.

Full review after the jump.

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Tokyo Toy Show: Samurai Darth Vader photo
Tokyo Toy Show: Samurai Darth Vader
by Scarecroodle

Tamashii Nations has unveiled a S.H. Figuarts samurai version of Darth Vader at Tokyo Toy Show '14. An accompanying poster depicts the samurai Darth Varder in front of a group of Samurai Troopers (or Storm Samurai, both of which sound like incredible super sentei shows. I'll have to e-mail Saban later.) with the Death Star in the distant background.

While Bluefin notes that this is currently an Asian markets exclusive (and probably a Tamashii web exclusive at that), this concept looks hilariously awesome (even keeping in mind the franchise's inspirations which included some Akira Kurosawa films). I might not necessarily be able to justify dropping US$50 or US$60 for a normal S.H. Figuarts Darth Vader (well, assuming it's not a Tamashii web exclusive at which point that price goes up a bit) when Hasbro is releasing a perfectly good 6-inch version for US$20, but this is almost something of a "shut up and take my money" moment.

I'm also looking forward to seeing what else they might do with the concept. The "Movie Realization" title implies that this could be a new sub-line.

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