Taikongzhans Dian Ying Ban Di San

I don’t really frequent Divisoria, a market district at the heart of Manila. It’s a maze of tiny, cramped alleys with thousands of vendors selling everything from cheap surplus clothes to semi-used sex toys (ok, maybe not used, but I’m sure there isn’t a woman on Earth who wants to buy a vibrator from a cart on the sidewalk). If I do go to one of the malls In the area, I try and go on a weekday, early in the morning. Weekend afternoons are awful for a guy like me (who’s anti-social tendencies border on agoraphobia), and it gets exponentially more crowded the closer we get to the holidays.

Every now and then, though, I make a Divi run to hunt down the odd knock-off Transformer that I just can’t get anywhere else. The Taikongzhans Dian Ying Ban Di San  is one of those toys.

Transformers: Prime Bumblebee

It’s sad that the programming you hear about online doesn’t always make it to Philippine network television. If it does, it’s usually several years after they series aired in the country of origin. Not only is this bad from fans of the big franchises, but it means that the chance that distributors will import merchandise based on these properties is just about nil. The G.I. Joe Resolute figures didn’t even see retail shelves and the new Thundercats figures can only be had through online stores.

Even though the newest Transformers show, Transformers: Prime, debuted more than a year ago on The Hub in the States, it still hasn’t seen local airwaves. It’s no surprise that the distributor’s orders for Wave 1 of the new toy line based on this series weren’t as large as they were for the Dark of the Moon movie line. Most stores are only getting two or three boxes of the figures, and they’re quickly selling out.

Transformers: Prime

I was initially rather skeptical about Transformers: Animated when it first was announced. Coming off the disgust I had for the first movie, I didn’t have much faith that the cartoon that Cartoon Network was fielding would be any better. For one thing, it used that same overly-exaggerated aesthetic that every show they had used so far, and it was obviously targeted towards a very young market. Happily, the series turned out really great, and I ended up liking it immensely. So much that I collected nearly all the figures from the show (or at least as many as were available locally).

When Transformers: Prime was announced, I again had my doubts that it would be worthy of the franchise I loved. This time, they’d dropped the Japanimation look and went back to the computer generated images that they’d used in Transformers: Beast Wars. While I love Pixar as much as the next guy, it’s not because they use CGI to make their cartoons. It’s because they write unbelievably good stories that are entertaining and heart-wrenching, and because they are awesome animators. Most shows that have used CGI for TV series have neither good stories, nor good animators.

Transformers: Prime has both.

BPI & Toys 'R' US Big Toy Sale

Glorietta Activity Center, November 24 to 26, 2011

Lego ▪ Nerf ▪ Transformers ▪ Bakugan ▪ Fastlane ▪ Hotwheels ▪ Matchbox ▪ Thomas & Friends ▪ Leap Frog ▪ Play Go ▪ Lisa Frank ▪ vtech ▪ Disney ▪ You & Me ▪ Barbie ▪ Bruin

Exclusive for BPI cardholders:
For a minimum single receipt of P2,000 using ANY of your BPI Card.
Choose from: 1 Fastlane Die-cast car or 2 tubs UOI Dough (5 oz. each)

Present your BPI Card (BPI Express Credit, BPI Express Teller or BPI Express Cash).
Present your original charge slip (minimum single receipt of P2,000) at the redemption area.

REAL 0% S.I.P. on a 3-month term using your BPI Express Credit

6th Christmas Toy Fair & 1st Philippne Die cast & Custom Car Show

6th Christmas Toy Fair & 1st Philippne Die cast & Custom Car Show
aka: The Christmas ToyCon

December 16-18, 2011
SM Megatrade Hall 1

MaxiCollector's Black Friday Sale

MaxiCollector's Black Friday Sale

Nov 25,2011
One day outdoor selling at Bonifacio High Street
Open from 11am to 12 midnight

(All stores will have the same Sale on Nov 25)

-Hundreds of items on sale (up to 50% off)
-Sideshow Exclusives will be up for sale
-Previously Sold out items will be up for sale

Vinyl + Splash: The Ultimate Collectible & Comic Convention

Vinyl + Splash: The Ultimate Collectible and Comic Convention
Saturday, November 26, 2011 at
TopShelf, 5F of Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street
Gates open at 10:00 a.m.
Admission is FREE!

For more information, visit www.fullybookedonline.com

Twilight: Breaking Dawn – A Rant

So someone suggested on Plurk the other day that the reason that critical reception and audience reaction to Breaking Dawn on www.rottentomatoes.com is so disparate (28% and 92% respectively as of this writing) is that the only people who actually go to see it are people who are fans of the popular series of romance novels by Stephanie Meyer. Other people have the sense to avoid anything having to do with the franchise like they would a fat, naked plague carrier with large, exploding pustules all over his body.

I am not one of those people.

Now I could say that I watched Breaking Dawn so that I could write about my ordeal and hence, warn others away from this awful example of the deteriorating collective intelligence of the human race, or say that I was forced at knifepoint into the theater as an elaborate form of torture designed to pry the location of that $100,000,000.00 in gold I stashed away after that heist in Singapore, but the truth is that I, like so many before me, went because my girlfriend wanted to see it.

Spider-Man & Captain Britain

One of my favorite comics back in the 90’s was Excalibur. I had started comics with the dark and heavy stories in Uncanny X-Men, but Excalibur’s brand of light-hearted humor, rollicking action and curvedly-lined artwork really drew me in. I started the title right around the time when Alan Davis returned to pencil and write with issue #42, and finding myself in love with the stories, collected all the back issues that I could.

After the epic Anti-Phoenix story-arc that concluded in Excalibur #50, Davis took a break and there were a few issues with some filler material. One was #53 by Scott Lobdell and James Fry.

Vote for GeekOut.ph!

Re-posting Bim's post from GeekOut.ph because we're all pathetic geeks at GeekOut who need the attention desperately!

Vote for us now! Then come back and vote for us in 2 hours! We'll give you candy! Click HERE to vote!

Power Man and Iron Fist

There’s something absolutely great about the B-list of the big comic book companies. Like those oh-so-bad-they’re-good B-movies, geeks love their B-list characters, often times trying to out-do one another on which geek has the most unheard of favorite. Oh, your character was only found in one story arc back in 1969 as a rookie sidekick of Captain Sledgehammer? Well, my character was a 1976 villain who only appeared on one panel of a special edition issue you could only get if you were able to cut out and complete proofs of purchase from 7 region exclusive comics! And one of those was only available in Tibet! I lost a toe to frostbite!

Thankfully, not all B-listers are that obscure.

Komikon 2011!

Obligatory write-up goes here.

6th Christmas Toy Fair

6th Christmas Toy Fair
& 1st Philippine Die Cast & Custom Car Show

December 16-18, 2011
SM Megatrade Hall 1

Daredevil vs. Bullseye

Oh, man!

The Marvel Universe Greatest Battles 2-Packs are the place to be these days if you're a 3.75" superhero collector!  They’ve come a long way in just a couple of years. Time was we were satisfied with the likes of the Thor & Enchantress, Hawkeye & Piledriver, or Storm & Nightcrawler sets from the first Secret Wars series. Hasbro suckered us into buying easy re-colors by including a re-tooled figure that represented a missing character in our Marvel Universe line up. Well, they’re still doing that, but damned if they aren’t doing it better!

We saw a drastic change in the toy designs from the last wave of Greatest Battles 2-Packs. Wolverine vs. Silver Samurai and Deadpool vs. Taskmaster were real works of art. Most of the figures were entirely new bodies, and even if Taskmaster re-used some parts, he was given enough accessories to differentiate him from everything that had gone before. Even the X-Force and Classic Avengers box sets didn’t hold a candle to those 4 figures.

Richwell Kidz Kraze Toy Sale

Tower Heist

In 1998, I was delighted that Jackie Chan star was rising in the American market. That rise culminated with his role in Rush Hour, a fun action-comedy with co-star Chris Tucker. The two stars had a chemistry that was almost as good as Mel Gibson and Danny Glover’s in the Lethal Weapon series, but a lot lighter. Rush Hour’s director, newcomer Brett Ratner, also shot to stardom and went on to helm two sequels.

After the success of that franchise, Mr. Rattner decided that he had the filmmaking chops to direct more serious movies. In 2002, he directed Red Dragon, a “prequel” to The Silence of the Lambs which was well received. However, his X-Men: The Last Stand, was pretty awful, especially having had the benefit of the momentum that Bryan Singer had given that franchise with his first two films. Rattner’s entry lacked any of the gravitas that Singer’s treatments gave the material and instead went for a quantity over quality approach, flinging more mutants, more action, and more special effects at the audience.

After that, I felt Rattner was a director to avoid.

Warriors of Virtue - Supporting Cast

Back when I lived in the States, yard sales were a big part of my weekends. My family was never well off and I honestly loved those Saturdays with my Mom cruising around the subdivision visiting neighbors who were trying to clear up some space in their homes, looking for things we needed around the house. Aside from household items and clothes, most of my toys came from these yard sales as well. I was always ecstatic when I found an almost complete Transformer or some G.I. Joe that was missing from my strike team.

These days, yard sales are pretty much a thing of the past; or at least the kinds of finds that I remember from back in the day are. Most people who want to sell things just do it on eBay. Collectables like toys are virtually gone from thrift stores now, since you can find a buyer willing to pay a much higher price for them online. I guess that’s why I enjoy toy hunting so much. It’s the only time I really get that same feeling I remember from when I was a kid.

Warriors of Virtue - The Rooz

I can’t say that I ever expected to buy these toys (I'd never seen the movie), but when Playkit brought them in at a price point of Php 50.00 (you read that correctly: a little over $1 US each), I could hardly ignore them. At Php 50.00 my perceived value of most any toy increases about 20 times.

Think about it like a character attributes in a role playing game. You have your basic toy attributes: popularity, sculpting, accessories, articulation, construction, paint applications, play value and cost. High end toys like those 1/6th scale beauties may score high on sculpting and paint, but low on play value and their cost is prohibitive for most of the population. On the other hand, discount toys may not be popular, and they may have crappy articulation, but that price makes them far more attractive to an average shopper.

This was evident last weekend when I stopped by the Toy Kingdom Warehouse Sale, where the Warriors of Virtue “Rooz” were flying off the shelf faster than the discount Transformers.

My Little Pony Happy Meal Toys

It would be something of an understatement if I said that I don’t normally review stuff like My Little Pony on this blog. Though I collect more action figure lines than most people, my toy runs don’t usually take me to the girls’ section of the toy store for some pretty well thought out reasons: girls’ toys suck.

This is not a new idea. I have a sister and I bet if I asked her she’d agree that I had the better toys as a kid. She used to borrow my Castle Grayskull all the time and G.I. Joe would often go out with Jem whenever Rio was out moping (size doesn’t matter to her apparently). It wasn’t really a mutual partnership though. There wasn’t much I could do with The Holograms (though Optimus Prime and the Autobots played several gigs with their accessories). About the only toys of hers that I occasionally borrowed were her My Little Pony figures (only the BOY ponies - you could tell them by their manly handkerchiefs) to use as horses for my Joes.

Batman: The Brave and the Happy Meal Toys

When McDonald’s released the Smurf set, I only picked up Papa Smurf. Since they gave up the Disney license (probably a good business move on their part, but it still sucks from my point of view), I just haven’t really liked any of the toys they’ve been fielding. Not even the recent Kung Fu Panda 2 toys really got me going. I just picked up two of them, Baby Po and The Balance of Justice set, only because you can never have enough panda in your life.

But when someone told me that they had Bat man toys, I dropped my lunch plans and bought myself a few Burger Mcdo sandwiches.

It was not worth it.

The Xavier Toy Convention 2011!

Nov. 12 & 13, 2011
9:00 AM - 6:10 PM
Ground Flr, Cortina Sports Complex (you need to walk ALL THE WAY around the school to the back.)
Xavier School, San Juan

For more information, please visit their facebook page: The Xavier Toy Convention or call 0917-819-2509


I came at Bunraku with only one preconception: that anything that starred Ron fucking Perlman has got to be worth an hour and a half of my time. The posters promised a mishmash of western, samurai, sword and sorcery and action genres. I’d never heard of this director, Guy Moshe, but if he’d put together this cast, it had to be for something good.

The name of the movie came from a traditional form of puppet theatre in Japan which inspired the highly stylized sets, which were meant to resemble paper cutouts. While I agree that they look highly stylized, and that they resembled cutouts, I wouldn’t say that the cinematic experiment was successful. All I could think about was where are the shadows? Where’s the texture? Kung Fu Panda 2 used simulated paper puppet animation for its flashback scenes and that shit was awesome. Nothing about this movie comes close to that description.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Disqus for Joint Junkie