Pro Wrestling Crate December 2018 Unboxing / Review



Here’s part two of my wrestling box double header – The December box From Pro Wrestling Crate.

Pro Wrestling Crate always gives some of their proceeds to charity and this month is no exception. This time They donated a huge box of Micro Brawlers to Toys for Tots. The ever popular Marine Corps. charity has been delivering hope and joy to children in need for over 80 years. Pretty awesome guys!

If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers. If you’d like to get your very own Pro Wrestling Crate USE THIS LINK and use the coupon code “Home” to get 20% off your first crate.

This month’s theme was:


Spoiler Card


Shirts: Cody and Young Bucks

Very colorful shirts, The Cody one is pretty solid assuming it’s a He-Man reference as I suspect – shame Cody’s title run wasn’t very long 😦


Okada Micro Brawler

One of the more colorful Micro Brawlers, love the attention to detail. 


The Elite Christmas Tree Ornament

pretty nice quality – solid wood for that rustic feel. 


Zack Ryder Autographed 8×10

Woo Woo Woo – nice autograph.


Boone: The Bounty Hunter film DVD

Boone the Bounty Hunter follows Boone, America’s favorite reality-show bounty hunter and his crew, Kat, Denny and Jackson, as they ‘Boone’ the crap out of delinquent celebutantes. Although Boone is a talented parkour practitioner, he’s a bit naïve as to how his skills translate in the real world. No matter. If you’re a celebrity and you break the law, you’re gonna get Boone’d!

After the threat of his reality TV show getting cancelled, Boone looks for a case that will be ratings gold. A friend that works at the DEA owes Boone a favor, and gives him a tip of a mysterious drug that can’t be traced. Boone and his crew think that capturing the perpetrator could save their show and they begin investigating. It’s only when they come toe-to-toe with a dangerous Mexican drug cartel do they realize they’re in over the heads and are trying to save their own lives instead. In an epic battle royale, Boone and his crew learn what sacrifice, honor and trust really mean.

The stunts alone make Boone the Bounty Hunter an American classic. This fast-paced, electrifying story is captivating and compelling. Boone is our modern-day vigilante, bent on justice at any price. A whore house! People fighting to the death! Killing bad guys and whoopin’ ass! Drug dealers, Celebs and corrupt cops beware.

America, you’re welcome.

http://www.boonethebountyhunter.com/

Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels Collector’s Pin


The Verdict – Not a bad box, just a tad weaker last Month overall – While I like Cody and the Young Bucks, the art on the two shirts is not my favorite, and shirts are usually my #1 item in these things. I think my favorite thing might be the Johnny Mundo DVD or the Okad Micro Brawler. 

Next Month, the theme is:

Pro Wrestling Crate November 2018 Unboxing / Review

I’ve had two crates sitting on my table for too long, so I’m now behind on these! So what does that mean? That’s means everyone is getting a double dose of fine wrestling swag from the fine ladies and gentlemen over at Pro Wrestling Tees.

Pro Wrestling Crate always gives some of their proceeds to charity and this month is no exception. This time some of the money has gone to the Leukemia Research Foundation. This is, of course, very timely considering that not too long ago Roman Reigns came out to the fans with the bad news that he once again was fighting a tough battle against an old opponent – Leukemia. 

If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers. If you’d like to get your very own Pro Wrestling Crate USE THIS LINK and use the coupon code “Home” to get 20% off your first crate.

This month’s theme was:


Spoiler Card


Shirts – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Terry Funk

I remember when I first got into hardcore wrestling during the VHS days of the attitude era / Monday Night Wars period. I had a buddy that used to get FMW tapes featuring Terry Funk, and immediately became enamored with this crazy old dude that didn’t care what anyone thought and kicked ass despite being like 54 at the time. I noticed he always had this awesome “Funk U” shirt that seemingly was never on sale anywhere so I figured that was that. That is until now! The Austin shirt is pretty slick as well. Amazing shirts this month.


Eddie Guerrero Micro Brawler figurine


Dustin Rhodes – Goldust Pen

Pretty cool that it actually has gold leaf (or a reasonable facsimile) floating inside it.


ACH autographed 8×10


Booker T’s Best of Reality of Wrestling DVD

At one point, Booker T was constantly on a ton of wrestling podcasts hyping up Reality of Wrestling, so having a DVD of some of their matches is going to be fun. 


Booker T collector’s Pin


Lance Archer: Killer Elite Squad Sticker


Promos


Pretty solid box as always! For me, the highlight was easily that Terry Funk shirt, but everything in here was pretty good. 


Next Month’s Theme is

It looks like Lucha Loot is no more :( …. For now at least

Well poop…. It seems that another mystery subscription box provider is having issues and will no longer be producing crates for the foreseeable feature. I just received an E-mail from the company that produces Lucha Loot, a box that I have prominently featured on here before, signaling that there will be no more for a while. A least it appears that the box is going away for a good reason – the company is getting bigger, but not big enough for the two guys that ran it to keep running it at full-force.

I’ve been speaking the past few month’s about my dealings with Loot Crate and their seemingly inevitable death spiral that they have started – They are exactly 4 boxes behind on Star Trek mission crate, for instance :/ It almost seems like these boxes basically hit some sort of peak saturation point at one point, and have sadly started to slip away across the board. 

Assuming it never comes back, I will remember Lucha Loot for being one of my favorite boxes that I would get each month, easily beating the much bigger boxes like WWE Slamcrate hands down. I basically started collecting Lucha masks because of this crate, and gained insight into a branch of professional wrestling that I admred for nearly my entire time as a wrestling fan despite no cultural connection to the product whatsoever. 

Here’s the E-mail in it’s entirety R.I.P.


Lucha Loot Subscribers,

I want to apologize for the delay here.  As many of you know by now, we use a system called Cratejoy to manage Lucha Loot and we thought an email went out to all of our members a few weeks ago, but apparently, it did not.

For a number of reasons, we have decided to put Lucha Loot on an 
indefinite hold.

As many of you know, all things Masked Republic are essentially run by Ruben and Kevin, and that is it.  Thankfully, they have help when it comes to some of the company’s larger projects like Expo Lucha, The Luchaverse, and LuchaCentral.com, but as they continue to try to grow the company – and bring lucha libre fans more officially licensed products and new entertainment world possibilities, their time has become extremely limited.  And, not wanting to compromise the quality of what is put in the crates or want to cause issues with delays to packages, we feel this is the best thing to do for the time being.

So, what does this mean for our “current” members?

If you were on a month-to-month or every-two-months plan, you will notice that you have not been charged since early September for the crate you received previously.  There will be no more charges made to your credit card in the future either.  When the time comes to Lucha Loot restarting in the future, you will be emailed and have to opt-in again.  We will not automatically charge your card again.

For many of you, you still have crates on your account due to 
pre-payment or signing up toward the end of one month and getting charged twice before your first crate arrived.

We are working on a few special crates to get you what you are still 
owed on your subscription.

Part of the reason we have not been able to send them yet is because of delays in manufacturing beyond our control.  We normally don’t like to spoil what will be in crates, but, we can tell you that we are waiting to be able to include our forthcoming Super7 Legends of Lucha Libre ReAction figures in crates.  The figures were ORIGINALLY supposed to be out much earlier this year, but delays caused them to finally be arriving to Super7 later this month and to us in January.  Getting one of the figures in a crate will be the ONLY way on the planet to get them at a discounted rate (by being in your crate) as we are expecting these to sell very quickly much like the MUSCLE figures.  Though, these figures will retail for about 3 times the cost of the MUSCLES and probably sell out just as fast.

So, those of you with crates still owed, sit tight, and we’ll be back to 
you in January with more details on what will be a really awesome crate or crates yet to come your way.

If you have any questions, feel free to write us back here and we’ll get back to you within 2 business days!

Sincerely,
Looty The Pirate

E-mail from Lucha loot

WWE Slam Crate November 2018 Unboxing / Review

If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers.

The theme this time was: Legendary


Spoiler Card / Poster etc

Here is the typical little booklet that always comes with this box, This time we have an interview with Randy Orton and a huge “Legends” poster that is actually pretty cool.


Ric Flair T-Shirt

Fun, simple Ric Flair shirt. 


Jake “The Snake” Roberts Bag

If you get a few of these crates, you have without a doubt, WAY too many of these cheap bags that they always seem to include – these and beer coozies – way too many beer coozies…


Razor Ramon Toothpick holder / dispenser

Much like the various money-clips I’ve received from this, I can’t really see myself carrying this around too much, but I suppose it’s interesting.


Degeneration X side-plate pins.

This is the standard pin that always comes with this crate – I’m actually pretty bummed we didn’t get another title belt pin like usual instead we get these pins designed to look like side-plates for current WWE title belts.


Ultimate Warrior Figure

I’ve discussed my general dislike for The Ultimate Warrior on here before, and how I’m not a fan of his ret-conning into a corporate symbol of hope and dreams despite being a huge douchebag in real life. That said, this figure is really cool, and if you can somehow separate the man from the character, I suppose it’s not too bad.   


The Verdict:

This is without a doubt one of the weakest boxes we’ve had yet. It honestly seems like this box was put together in a manner pointing towards a cost-cutting venture. I’m not expecting a ton, but I at least expect these things to be better than some of the independently run boxes that always seem to have unique quality items. 

The stand-out item was probably the figure as it’s one of the better ones they’ve done so far. 

Concert Review: OhGr / Lead Into Gold / Omniflux 9-23-18

To kick off my “I saw too many concerts these past few weeks” series for the next few days, I wanted to play catch up on a show I actually saw at the end of September, but haven’t had a chance to blog about quite yet. The main draw for me was the band OhGr, a side project for Skinny Puppy front-man Nivek Ogre featuring a lot of the same touring band members of that band. I remember getting into OhGr way back in 2001 when I first started working for a now defunct big box music/book/video chain called Hastings

I was wandering around the music department after work and saw a new CD with a crazy looking cover for a band that promised to be “from the same mind that brought you Skinny Puppy”. I bought the CD sight unseen and immediately fell in love with it. it’s weird juxtaposition of industrial and pop music was something you never hear normally, and since I was coming down from my “Nu-Metal Phase” and getting into much heavier metal and strange music like this, I very findly remember this time period as the time when my real musical taste “clicked” after I drifted from what Mtv told me to like (yeah the sort of played music then).

I’ve missed seeing both OhGr and Skinny Puppy a few times and did NOT want to miss this show since a new album just rolled out and I had some friends going. I never went ahead and did any research on the other bands, and was VERY pleasantly surprised.


Omniflux

Up first was a solo trip hop / industrial act called Omniflux with is the stage name of Mahsa Zargaran a prominent member of the band Puscifer and a ton more. I mentioned I had no idea what the other bands were and was really surprised to see her both her and Paul barker at the show, and instantly felt dumb for not realizing what either band was before I walked in.

Omniflux’s music was pretty awesome minimalist trip-hop with her on vocals and a sampling machine of some degree. It was a short set and I belive she basically played all or at least most of her new album Aquarelle, but I am not 100% certain since I had not heard the music prior to the show.

I wish I had an opportunity to take a picture with Omniflux as she was selling her merch and talking to everyone that wanted to stop and say hi. By the time I decided to roll over there and buy my vinyls she needed to get ready for being on stage and I didn’t want to keep her. She seemed awesome though.


Lead Into Gold

PAUL EFFIN BARKER! I saw the guy when I came in and was immediately like “oh crap!” – I mean not only is he like 6 foot 6 or something, but there was the guy that basically made Ministry awesome back in the day! I can sadly admit that I have been ignorant to much of his solo output post-Ministry aside from Puscifer, a fact that I need to rectify soon. and considering that I’m now in possesion of both his new album and Omniflux, I have some listening to do (both autographed vinyls BTW).

Lead Into Gold was Paul on vocals and bass guitar for a lot of his set with a back tack, until Omniflux joined him and played some additional guitars for the second half of the show. If you want to know what his sound is, it’s basically Ministry during the 90’s albeit a bit more washed out and trippy.

Needless to say, great show!!


OhGr

Now it was time for the main event – OhGr. Hot off the heels of the recent release of the band’s newest album TrickS, I was excited to hear some of the new material, as well as some of the classic tracks that got me into the band in the first place. The band did not disappoint all, playing a large portion of the new material as well as pretty much any big hit from previous albums. Of course the biggest hits were some of the standout tracks from Welt.

Donning a grotesque mutated rabbit/sheep mask as far as I could tell, Nivek Ogre definitely has the stage presence down that you’d expect from a guy that’s been making awesome industrial jams for the last 30 years. A few highlights included a politically charged segment featuring Mr. Ogre donning a Donald Trump mask while doing some basic sleight of hand card magic while performing and the encore which featured the band in a bit more relaxed state bantering about the reappearance of a bass guitar that many of the band members apparently hated that had been recently fixed.

All-in all this show was well worth every dime I spent to attend, which gladly wasn’t a whole lot considering most shows at this venue end up being around 25-30 dollars at the most. For the level of access to the artists (granted I did not throw money down for VIP which would have been even more awesome) and the somewhat intimate nature of the performances, I wish a lot of bands did stops in similar ways. If you’re a fan of industrial and any iteration of these bands come through, do yourself a favor and go see them – hell I bet Skinny Puppy will have a new tour soon, might be time to watch venue sites!

Lucha Loot September-October ’18 Treasure Chest Unboxing / Review

I mentioned this weekend that I was behind on these boxes, and here we go – yet another box review. This time it’s the quarterly Lucha Loot Crate that I subscribe to. 

If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers.


Spoiler Card



Best of the Best Mask Assortment – L.A. Park mask

It looks like they did something interesting this month and assembled packages with mask and shirt combos – I’m not sure who was available, but I got one of my favorite Lucha Stars in LA Park aka the Original La Parka. As you can see I’ve adopted it as my new look!


Best of the Best Shirt Assortment – L.A. Park Shirt

I received a flag with this same design in one of the very first boxes I got, glad to get a shirt of this as the design is VERY cool, and you really can’t go wrong representing the Chairman himself.  


Lucha “Perler Bead” Style Keychain

It looks like this was another randomized item, this time I got Tinieblas!


Lapel Pin: El Mesias Ricky Banderas

This is the same design as a shirt I received a few boxes ago – great large full colored pin. 


Comic Book: The Masked Republic Luchaverse: Lucha Brothers #1 Variant Cover

NICE! I haven’t had a chance to read this yet, but this is actually the limited edition cover version of this comic – funny thing is I received the normal one in my Pro Wrestling Crate two crates ago, so I’m all set! Be ready for my review very soon! 


Destino Negro Autographed 8×10


Lucha Libre AAA Sticker Pack

I remember these sticker albums like this from when I was a kid – you’d see these at supermarkets and would involve picking up an album and buying sticker packs to go through and fill the album in. cool to see stuff like this still going around, just wish the sold these here!


This was a solid box overall, If I were to rate them I’d say that of the three boxes that I ended up with in October, this is easily the best one due to me being such a big fan of LA Park and getting a mask and shirt of him. I’m surprised to see designs getting re-used, but it was done in a good way, and it’s not like I got duplicate items or anything.

Considering the comic alone with the shirt could easily be the price of the entire box, I’d say that this was well worth the cash. If you’d like your very own box like this, please go here. 

This isn’t an ad or anything as I purchase these with my own cash, but here’s what they’ve done in the past…

Pro Wrestling Crate October 2018 Unboxing / Review

Here we go again! yet another month and yet another set of crates to dig into! This week I have a Pro Wrestling Crate and Lucha Loot that I’ve been sitting on, time to stop being busy and get these reviewed! 

Pro Wrestling Crate always gives some of their proceeds to charity and this month is no exception. This time some of the money has gone to Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, in his attempt to save his home. It appears that he was in dire need of some help as he was sitting on $10k worth of debt and was about to lose his house. Fans stepped in and he is (hopefully) all good now. 

If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers. If you’d like to get your very own Pro Wrestling Crate USE THIS LINK and use the coupon code “Austin” to get 20% off your first crate.

This month’s theme was:


Spoiler Card


Ultimate Warrior Shirt


Guerrillas of Destiny Shirt


Papa Shango Micro Brawler


Lucha Mask for Dr. Wagner Jr.


Marty Scurll autographed 8×10


War Machine Pin


Glacier Shoot Interview DVD


This was all around one of my favorite boxes in a while due to me being a fan of Dr. Wagner and Bullet Club, and getting a Lucha mask is always a plus. I was honestly worried we’d get a ton of Ultimate Warrior stuff, which despite his legendary status, I was never a huge fan of nor did I enjoy some of his post-wrestling antics and political views. what we did get was pretty subdued and decent enough for me to consider wearing.

For this being one of the more vague themes, I feel like it was put together well, and I always love getting more micro brawlers – which reminds me that they have single figures up for sale now!

And now, here’s next week’s theme:

Concert Review: Tom Bailey / B-52’s / Culture Club 9-7-18

life tour 2018


I have Been meaning to post this for over 3 weeks now, better late than never i suppose! I rarely take off work to go to concerts, not because I’m a huge work-a-holic or anything – it’s simply because I have a position in which taking a lot of tome off can result in me getting severely behind in work. This results in me missing out on most of the shows I want to really see in any given year. This is especially true with metal shows as they ALWAYS seem to be at random times on Wednesday nights for some ungodly reason around here. I work a weird late shift, and when most people are out doing cool stuff, I’m usually sitting behind a desk doing endless reports and slinging papers.

There are a few exceptions to this, like that time I saw The German electronic legends themselves,  Kraftwerk, on their first foray into Kansas City in nearly forty years, or another time when I played hooky to see Dave Wakeling’s force of nature that is The English Beat.  For today’s topic, I will be discussing another concert like this – one of my “bucket list shows”. These are bands and artists I want to see before I die or they break up or stop performing altogether. Both The B-52’s and The Thompson Twins are in my top ten of favorite 80’s new wave bands of all time, and I like culture club quite a bit so going in I knew I was in for a treat..  


The Venue:

From Wikipedia:

Starlight Theatre’s history began in the 1920s when the Kansas City Federation of Music Clubs advocated the construction of a theatre “under the stars.” Fundraising began with the 1926 visit of Queen Marie of Romania, who had helped secure her country’s support for the Allied forces during World War I. Romania had recently opened its oil fields to America’s Standard Oil Company, so the queen’s tour of the U.S. carried considerable diplomatic significance.

In her six-hour visit to Kansas City, Queen Marie joined President Calvin Coolidge as an honored guest at the opening ceremonies for Liberty Memorial, which was dedicated to the remembrance of World War I. Later that evening, she enjoyed a music concert held at the American Royal Building where thousands of visitors paid admission fees for the chance to see her as well as the organized festivities. The proceeds of $7,000 were earmarked for the construction of an outdoor theatre in Kansas City.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlight_Theatre_(Kansas_City,_Missouri)

Starlight+Theater kansas city

I haven’t been to Starlight Theater in like 20 years or something – I know I attended a production of “The Music Man” there with my parents when I was a teenager (96-97 I believe), but haven’t been back since for reasons of me not paying close attention to most venues, and the fact that I did not drive until I was well into my twenties. That was until recently since I started using a site called Jambase to see all the shows going on around me. That sounds like an advertisement, but it’s really just me hyping a solid website.

Not visiting Starlight more is a shame since I want to say that this venue was one of the more pleasurable concert experiences I’ve ever had. That is saying a lot since the day of this show was a rainy one, and we all had to bust out ponchos in order to avoid being completely drenched for the duration of the show. It was bad enough that Boy George even remarked during his set that they weren’t sure the show was actually going to happen until right before the gig started. Most venues would be insanely opportunistic and charge and arm and a leg for ponchos, but thankfully the vendors were selling some for a buck each. Yeah, they were basically glorified trash bags, but they kept me mostly dry. Had I wanted, I actually could have stood under covered roof area in the back, but I was lucky enough to get fourth row seats, so that simply was not an option.

Here’s a bad picture of my vantage point made hazy due to the rain and my phone not working well together.

FB_IMG_1537773443912

When entering, the staff of the venue were exceptionally nice, greeting every attendee and wiping their seats dry as we filed in. Had I decided to get up, I know there was food and beverages available, but I didn’t want to do the climbing over people and coming back thing that I absolutely hate others doing. If anything the staff and general vibe of this venue are a 180 degree departure from the vomit and booze soaked venues I’m generally used to, where a “good show” is one where you leave with your hearing intact and have successfully avoided being groped by drunk women, or punched by their Pantera-shirt clad boyfriend. Metal venues can be nice sometimes, but not like this, this is a different experience altogether.


Tom Bailey

Opening the show was Tom Bailey, the former lead singer of the popular 80’s band Thompson Twins. While this was not a Thompson Twins show per se, most of the songs performed were in fact by that band with the title track from his newest album, Science Fiction, tossed in to help show that he has some new material out there and to help promote it. I have, in fact, purchased and listened to his new album, and plan to review it on here very soon – maybe even this week!

While a few new songs wouldn’t have made me sad, I was beyond happy to hear all of the hits that made the Thompson Twins one of my go-to 80’s bands for all these years. Getting to hear songs like Lies, Lay Your Hands on Me, Doctor Doctor!, and Hold me Now live as something I would have never expected to do considering the break-up of the band and it looking like they will never get back together.Mr. Bailey hasn’t lost anything in his energy or singing ability – had I not known he was in his 60’s one could assume he was much younger. It was a short set, but I am very glad to have seen the show.

Here is the set-list of the show:

  • We Are Detective (Thompson Twins song)
  • Love on Your Side (Thompson Twins song)
  • Science Fiction
  • You Take Me Up (Thompson Twins song)
  • Lies (Thompson Twins song)
  • Lay Your Hands on Me (Thompson Twins song)
  • If You Were Here (Thompson Twins song)
  • Doctor! Doctor! (Thompson Twins song)
  • Hold Me Now (Thompson Twins song)


The B-52s

I was unable to ignore seeing the B-52s as I’ve been a fan of their odd punk/new wave sound for a LOOOONG time. I fell in love with their music in that resurgence they had in the late 80’s / eary 90’s when songs like Love Shack got big with help from MTV back when it was watchable. I had to miss a previous concert up here a few years before for personal reasons, and with the age of the band getting higher and higher I always see these opportunities as possible “last chance” affairs. I believe half of the band members are over 70 years old at this point, but you would never know that based on this concert – all of the zany stage presence and amazing songs sounded exactly like what everyone wanted to hear and nobody has missed a step.

I’m always a sucker for the song Rock Lobster, so hearing that live was truly awesome – I was also happy to hear some deeper cuts get thrown in there – Roam and Love Shack were both welcome to my ears as well. Fred Schneider had some pretty funny banter during the show, but a lot of it was based on the overall political climate going on at the moment – urging everyone to vote and to try to end the GOPs stranglehold on the government. The crowd was receptive to this aside from minimal boos when Fred mentioned Claire McCaskill which is a divisive figure in local politics right now. Other-wise one would imagine a concert for these bands would lean somewhat blue, so my general fear of a Red State backlash was unfounded.

And just like that it was all over, and amazing. Here is the set-list:

  • Planet Claire
  • Dance This Mess Around
  • Mesopotamia
  • Private Idaho
  • Funplex
  • 52 Girls
  • Roam
  • Party Out of Bounds (Party Mix.)
  • Give Me Back My Man
  • Love Shack (with Low Rider snippet.)
  • Rock Lobster

Culture Club

Seeing Culture Club was the big surprise for me at this show – I would say that I enjoy their music, but they aren’t really my favorites. To me, the fact that they have reunited was my biggest surprise, even though they do that from time to time, since they seem to be staying together this time, and even have an album lined up to be released soon (maybe I’ll review that as well – we’ll see).

One cannot downplay the might that is Boy George as a front man, he simply holds the audience in the palm of his hand and despite his age and previous issues with drugs and other issues has not lost anything that made him a worldwide megastar all those years ago. I’m no fashion guy, but the entire band was decked out in awesome suits, and it really gave the vibe that I was seeing something truly special. The band mostly played their hits with a handful of pretty solid cover songs mixed in including a quite solid version of David Bowie’s classic Let’s Dance.

The band’s musical spectrum ranges from vaguely ska-based songs, R&B music, and straight up pop rock songs so there was something there for everyone. If anything, I left this show knowing that I was able to see a musical legend back in his prime after a few stumbles and a solid cap to a great night.

As with the other two, here’s the set-list.

  • Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover)
  • It’s a Miracle
  • I’ll Tumble 4 Ya
  • Let Somebody Love You
  • Time (Clock of the Heart)
  • Runaway Train
  • Everything I Own (Bread cover)
  • Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? Different Man (with gospel coda)
  • Miss Me Blind
  • Church of the Poison MindEncore:
  • Life
  • Addicted to Love (Robert Palmer cover)
  • Karma Chameleon (followed by mash up of Aretha’ s Chain of Fools sung over Led Zep’s Heartbreaker (Band Intros))

  • If any of these bands come to your area, I would definitely recommend checking them out, and for those that live in the Kansas City area – do yourself a favor and see a show at Starlight – very solid venue and amazing staff.

    Deadpool Club Merc Fall 2018 Unboxing / Review


    Good Lord, I’m buried in subscription boxes this month! Just had notification that my Lucha Loot crate for this quarter was also on it’s way, so stay tuned for that if you enjoy these – I know some of these reviews end up somewhat popular so there you go!

    Today, we’re looking at Deadpool Club Merc, a box that (so far) has mostly been on time, and features easily my favorite comic book character of all time,  Deadpool! I was honestly worried about this crate a bit due to the tendency for new / meme Deadpool fans only really knowing about the character from social media and assuming he’s just a dude that runs around yelling “CHIMICHANGA!” constantly, like he’s a sitcom character. I’m not gatekeeper by any means, but this take on the character sort of annoys me and is a shell of how layered the character actually is.

    I went ahead and paid for a year-long subscription, which likely makes me a sucker in a ponzi scheme if Loot Crate goes under due to the many issues I’ve mentioned in my coverage of Star Trek Mission Crate, but I’m a sucker for ‘Pool merch, and wanted that bonus gift.

    was my investment worth it? Let’s find out.


    If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers.

    If you’d like to check this out, head on over to Loot Crate and search for the Deadpool Club Merc page HERE.

    For the next week, you can save 25% on your order by using the code “NYCCLOOT2018”.

    Or use coupon code SAVE10 to save 10% on your subscription if you’re reading this from the future.


    This quarter’s theme was:

    You gotta STAY SHARP, kid! Hone your wits and your katanas with this collection of Deadpool gear that’ll help promote “strong mental focus.” Yeah, yeah, we see the irony.


    The Box

    While I never care about the box for these (nor the fact that they are often blamed for shipping delays) but figure I ought to share a pic of the packaging for those that want to get the full effect.


    Spoiler Card / Small Art Print

    Deadpool Club Merc oct 2018 (1)

    Deadpool Club Merc oct 2018 (9)

    This print is a weird size, but I’m sure I can find something to put it in, I absolutely love art prints as evidenced by the fact that my very own “man cave” looks like some sort of comic shop, and this would look great somewhere.

     


    Deadpool Turnaround T-Shirt

    Deadpool Club Merc oct 2018 (5)

    Solid shirt design from the recent Duggan / Posehn comic run, I will likely have to wear this on casual Friday at work this week.

     


    Deadpool Sketchbook

    This is where we start to see the theme materialize here, I doubt I’ll actually use this to draw in since it’s so cool looking, it  fun idea for a crate item. I’m not sure if you can see it well, but the faux-leather cover is absolutely gorgeous.


    Deadpool Pencil Sharpener

    When you want to draw in your new sketchbook, better have some sharp pencils! If only I had some of those laying aro…

     


    Deadpool Dialogue Pencil Set

    Deadpool Club Merc oct 2018 (14)

    -Oh hey!


    Deadpool Corps #1 Art Print

    Deadpool Club Merc oct 2018 (10)

    This is an awesome print, it’s done in grey-scale, but appears to be some sort of sparkly ink, almost making it look even more like a legit pencil sketch. it’s yet again a weird size I have no frames for (8 1/2 x 12) but I’ll see what I can do.


    Deadpool Knifed Pin

    Deadpool Club Merc oct 2018 (12)

    Enamel pins are pretty standard now for crates, and this is a pretty fun one to have.


    BONUS: Deadpool Club Merc Challenge Coin

    This is a NICE coin! it’s really heavy and has great art on both sides – featuring Headpool on one side, and Dogpool on the other.


    The Verdict:

     

    It might be the addition of the coin for this box, but I really enjoyed this crate despite the fact that many of the items are a glorified stationary set. It’s better curated than most WWE Slam Crates tend to be, and has some really cool items that I actually enjoy a lot. Even the fact of having some nice art on the back of the spoiler card making it the first spoiler card that doesn’t instantaneously end up in my recycling bin.

    If I had to choose one item that made my day, the pencil sketch was awesome, and I hope stuff like that keeps up in the future.

    Is this one worth the cash? I’d say yeah, but I’m a huge mark for Deadpool and the print and shirt are easily the price of the crate.


    Next time:

    Deadpool Club Merc oct 2018 (6)

    Pro Wrestling Crate September 2018 Unboxing / Review

    If you thought last week’s WWE Slam Crate was all for this week, YOU WERE WRONG, BROTHER!

    Pro Wrestling Crate always gives some of their proceeds to charity and this month is no exception. This time some of the money has gone to the Tracy Caddell Funeral Fund, the father of Impact Wrestling star Trevor Lee. Caddell passed away unexpectedly in July. He was the co-founder of the OMEGA promotion in the early 90’s and he played a big role in launching the careers of Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, and Hurricane Helms.

    If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers. If you’d like to get your very own Pro Wrestling Crate USE THIS LINK and use the coupon code “Warrior” to get 20% off your first crate.

    This month’s theme was: pro wrestling crate best of indies 4


    Spoiler Card


    AJ Styles Shirt

    20180927_021918_resized

    Another sort of retro-styled shirt,  surprised they could do one for a currently contracted WWE guy. 


    Wrestling for Free Speech, Colt Cabana Shirt

    20180927_021843_resized

    After Colt finished off his recent, widely publicized, legal trouble with the WWE – I’m glad he can keep going and help make sure others don’t get nearly sent to the poorhouse due to another man’s ego. 


    Zack Sabre Jr. Micro Brawler Figure

    20180927_022026_resized

    I’m not a huge fan of ZSJ, but this is a solid add for my collection of Micro Brawlers. 


    Luchaverse: Lucha Brothers #1

    20180927_022343_resized

    Last time, I reviewed the Rey Mysterio comic and it was pretty cool, since the Lucha Brothers are two of my current favorite wrestlers, I’m excited to see where this one goes!


    Dalton Castle Autographed 8×10

    20180927_021953_resized  

    Another big get for these guys in the autograph game! usually you rarely get any main-eventers in these, but PWC always steps it up.


    Bruiser Brody DVD

    From the back: 



    “Wrestling’s Last Rebel” is the definitive look at the life and career of Bruiser Brody told by the people who knew him best. Bruiser Brody was the most unpredictable and charismatic wrestler of all time. Independent, blood, guts, and box office, no one matched Bruiser Brody. Many have tried but there will never be another like him.

    From becoming a star in the United States to an international mega-star in Japan, Bruiser Brody marched to the beat of his own drum and did things his way. With a rebellious spirit running through his veins, Brody carved out a niche as an independent wrestler before the indies ever existed.

    In this documentary you also get to learn of the other side of this complex man as his wife and closet friends talk about what Frank Goodish, the man who portrayed Bruiser Brody, was really like outside the ring as a friend, husband, and father. For the first time you get to see and understand one of wrestling’s most explosive personalities.

    Bruiser Brody was tragically taken from his family and wrestling fans in Puerto Rico in 1988. But with this 3 Disc Set full of matches, interviews and more, you get to learn and know that Frank Goodish or Bruiser Brody was so much more than his final day.

    “Wrestling’s Last Rebel” is the story of one of wrestling’s most well known names, Bruiser Brody, and this documentary puts his place in wrestling history into perspective.


    Flip Gordon Pin

    20180927_022117_resized

    After his awesome match at last month’s All In Pay-Per-View I’ll have to check Gordon out more, he really impressed me, especially his lead up to the show in Being the Elite. Another solid pin for my collection.


    PWI 500 Magazine

    20180927_022401_resized

    This is awesome, I used to read PWI all the time as a teenager, but haven’t really picked it up in absolute ages. what a solid pack-in – kind of hope this keeps up in future crates.


    Yet again, PWC blows WWE Slam Crate out of the water – while both are good crates, this one is always curated in such a way that you definitely feel like you are getting your money worth, I’d I’d definitely recommend it to everyone. This month’s MVP item was probably the comic or magazine, but I’m always a sucker for that sort of stuff. 


    Here’s the spoiler for next month, not sure of the whole crate is Warrior themes or if it’s just a big item, but here goes!

    warriorpwcpop.png

     

    WWE Slam Crate September 2018 Unboxing / Review

    wwelootcrate_3x2

    Alrighty folks! It’s once again time to take a trip down to the mailbox and get all that wrestling goodness that I get each quarter! Today, we’ll be looking at yet another edition of WWE Slam Crate, and this one was largely on time after The last few Loot Crate boxes have not been so lucky. After ranting a bit last time, I’ll keep this short and sweet and jumped to the point.

    If you’d like to see more reviews of the various subscription boxes I get, please head right on over HERE and check out the spoilers.

    The theme this time was:

    20180922_200635_resized

    They’re big, they’re bad, and they don’t mind letting you know it. Bow down to the supreme Superstars who think they are BETTER THAN YOU! Celebrate the big egos of the WWE Universe with items featuring Alexa Bliss, Elias, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and The Miz!


    Spoiler Card / Alexa Bliss Interview

    This time the large pull-out includes your standard spoiler card and a large magazine style article with multi-time WWE Women’s Champ Alex Bliss.


    Elias T shirt

    20180922_200510_resized

    Elias has one of those characters that really doesn’t have to do much to infuriate the crowd, this undoubtedly always cracks me up a lot so this shirt will be a proud addition to my shirt rotation despite it being a “wrestler’s face on a shirt” styled shirt that I don’t like as much as simpler ones.


    WWE Slam Stars Alexa Bliss Figure

    I always talk about how much I enjoy exclusive merch like these Slam Star figures, and I’m really glad that you really can’t get these anywhere else.


    Miz Embroidered Patch

    20180922_200608_resized

    I have a vest that I wear to metal concerts, but have amassed a decent amount of wrestling patches to a degree that I might have to make a “wrestling vest” one of these days. Maybe I’ll start a new trend at wrestling shows, who knows.


    Bret Hart Vs Shawn Michaels Pillow

    To commemorate one of the most notorious feuds in all of wrestling history, Slam Crate tossed a small decorative pillow in this box. I’ll hand it to Loot Crate, they always keep me guessing as to what goodies come in here, and it’s usually a pretty diverse assortment from month to month.


    WWE Women’s Championship Pin

    20180922_200657_resized

    My biggest gripe with this is that there are apparently two randomly inserted pins this month. I know that this will eventually mean they will both be available on Loot Vault, Loot Crate’s online store, at some point. I just wish they weren’t at the point of going for a cash-grab on these for people like myself that try to collect stuff like this. Hopefully, this isn’t a new normal for this. Otherwse solid pin, and a great addition to the collection.

     


     

    The Verdict:

    This crate is hard to review as it’s pretty diverse from other crates, as mentioned earlier, but doesn’t really have a great stand-out item. To be honest, The previous crate was a bit better. That doesn’t mean this was bad, and believe me, I’ve had some bad crates from this company in the past – most notably from the anime line that I briefly dabbled in. It was just sort of there. I guess if I’d have to choose, I’d say I like the Elias shirt the most.


    For Next time: A spoiler –

    20180922_200826_resized

    Cyborg 009 VS Devilman (2015) OVA Ep 3

    cyborg009 vs devilman

    If you missed my recap/review of ep 1 – check here

    If you missed my recap/review of ep 2 – check here

    So here we go, the finale episode and crushing climax of Cyborg 009 vs Devilman, and what a finale it is! For the most part this episode is very battle-filled including a battle bewteen 009 and Lilith, The good cyborg team vs the bad cyborg team, Devilman Vs Atun, and more – it’s like Dragonball Z levels of battling here.

    I mentioned Atun, which is basically the “final boss” of this show. Created by the nefarious Dr. Adams – a Black Ghost scientist, Atun is the ultimate in demon creation – taking the power of a cybernetic body and infusing it with a demon possession – basically combining the powers of both Devilman and 009 all in one convenient package.

    cyborg 009 vs devilman atun

    In the demon’s past, Atun knew of, and was a contemorary of the demon Amon (Devilman’s demon side). However, never able to prove himself stronger, Atun bore a grudge against Amon. Many years after the demons reappeared on Earth, Atun came into contact with Dr. Adams who was trying to create more and more powerful cyborgs after the failure of the Mythos line of cyborgs. With the Cyborg Daemon project, Atun could grow more powerful than before, hopefully being able to best his rival and perhaps gain even more power.

    so of course Atun gets his comeuppance and all is right in the world leaving the characters to once again part ways. Looking back on the interactions between characters, I really wish they worked together a bit more since they sort of acted independently until the absolute end of the series, but there’s always hope for another season at some point, especially seeing that we are graced with not one, but two stingers for a continued story.

    cyborg 009 vs devilman lilith

    I haven’t really mentioned at all here the quality of the English dub, which is pretty good. considering this was a Netflix exclusive they got the likes of Johnny Yong Bosch as 009, Wendee Lee as Lilith and Spike Spencer as 002. The rest of the cast is pretty familiar, but it’s been a while since I’ve kept up with anime dub studio stuff, so some of the names are ones I’m not super familiar with. As many of you know I actually don’t mind subs or dubs in many situations, but prefer dubs if I have a choice since I sometimes like to multitask while I watch movies and TV. This isn’t like the best of the best or anything, but it’s good and sounds good.

    • Akira Fudo/Devilman: Bryce Papenbrook
    • Joe Shimamura/009: Johnny Yong Bosch
    • Ivan Whisky/001: Christine Marie Cabanos
    • Jet Link/002: Spike Spencer
    • Francoise Arnoul/003: Stephanie Sheh
    • Albert Heinrich/004: Michael Sinterniklaas
    • Geronimo Junior/005: Keith Silverstein
    • Chang Changku/006: Joe Ochman
    • Great Britain/007: Tony Azzolino
    • Pyunma/008: Steve Staley
    • Dr. Isaac Gilmore: Dave Mallow
    • Miki Makimura: Cristina Valenzuela
    • Ryo Asuka: Chris Smith
    • Edward/0014: Kyle McCarley
    • Eva/0015: Lindsay Torrance
    • Abel/0017: Dorothy Elias-Fahn
    • Seth/0018: Griffin Burns
    • Dr. Adams: Michael McConnohie
    • Lilith: Wendee Lee
    • Apollo: Doug Erholtz
    • Helena: Christine Marie Cabanos
    • Jinmen: Jamieson Price
    • Sacchan: Erin Fitzgerald

     

    cyborg 009 vs devilman seth atun

    So was it perfect? always coherent? a masterpiece? the answer to all three of these are a resounding no, but it is VERY fun, entertaining, and exciting enough to spend a few hours with on Netflix especially if you just finished Devilman Crybaby and want to quench your thirst for that character yet again. I’m happy that both franchises are represented so well, seen as equal and complimenting each other – and I’m glad this lead to even more anime in BOTH franchises.

    Netflix has again and again proven itself to be one of my more favorite anime licencors as of late due to their risk-taking and choice of shows that would have been deemed a stupid idea to bring over in the past. Funding all sorts of cult-classic stuff like Devilman and Cyborg 009 and somehow making them very popular franchises after years of being dormant shows it’s power in the TV industry. Now I really wish they’d get behind some other classic stuff like Harlock or Gundam, that would be awesome!

    Definitely, check this out!

    Devilman-september

    Click HERE to see what you missed!

    Cyborg 009 VS Devilman (2015) OVA Ep 2

    If you missed my recap/review of ep 1 – check here

    While the last episode of this three part OVA basically introduced us to the characters of both the Devilman and Cyborg 009 franchises, eventually pushing the two groups into battle, this episode is a sort of “breather” that steps back and introduces the villains of the adventure as well as setting a plausible way for everyone to eventually team up. When we last left our various groups of heroes, both Team Devilman and Team Cyborg mistook each other for their opposing groups (Demons or the Black Ghost organization). A fierce battle was had, and both characters got beat up pretty bad – Devilman getting what would normally be a mortal wound on his arm, and 009 having to jettison his arm because it nearly blew him up after a fierce attack.

    So, technically the duel between 009 and Devilman ends in stalemate since both of them lost consciousness. Ryo swoops in to grab Akira’s body and bring him home, while 009 and 003 are rescued by the cyborg airship. Back in his home, Ryo searches information about Black Ghost organization after 003 previously asked whether Ryo and Akira are affiliated to Black Ghost. Meanwhile, 002, 004, and 008 stumble into the den of a new group of Black Ghost operatives – new cyborgs two generations newer than the original 00 series cyborgs – an evil plan involving cyborg demon/hybrids is unveiled and the scene is set for the thrilling climax.

    Another major villain appears in this episode from the world of Devilman, but she is actually an entirely new creation made for this OVA – Lilith. When we first saw her, she was devouring a bunch of high school delinquents, now she appears in her full snakey-flower form. Her main ability seems to be something similar to that of a siren from Greek Mythology – she can use hallucinogenic pollen to alter reality around people making them see things that make them happy. Since most of the cyborgs suffered losses of major loved ones prior to being experimented on by Black Ghost, most of them were put face to face with former lovers, parents, and even children.

    Lilith is such a cool character because she seems to basically be very much in-line with something Go Nagai would have created for Devilman. Apparently the people involved with this production went to great lengths to use characters inspired by other Nagai and Ishinomori works as Easter eggs for fans. I enjoy this a lot as it reminds me of how many works related to Leiji Matsumoto are handled today – while he usually gets top billing, other directors are usually adapting much older works and flesh them out using his art style to mimic the way he did things.

    As I stated before, the animation in this is really good, albeit not too flashy. It preserves both of the art styles of the two franchises without creating a bizarre rift like some of these crossovers often do – imagine Family Guy and Simpsons meeting for example. Perhaps my only issue for this is the pacing as it rushes its way through the plot like many cross-overs do.

    Characters are often seen doing incredibly convenient things like finding out the entire history of a clandestine scientific weapons manufacturer on the internet on order to plot along. Granted, going to much into the whys and hows of how this all fits together would be a waste of time and annoying, so leaving this sort of “fluffy” retains the special nature of this series.

    What I really wish we had available in the US is the manga and light novels that were also produced for this, because they apparently flesh things out a bit and add to the story in the very same way that I would enjoy. Maybe I need to start searching fan translation sites if those are still a thing…

    All-in-all another solid and fun episode, all leading up to what is shaping up to be an awesome final battle.

    Click HERE to see what you missed!

    Devilman: The Birth (1987)

    Today we have a change of pace for Devilman Month, as I am reviewing a pretty bad film – one that I originally watched back in the VHS days and haven’t seen since. I’ve seen far worse anime, stuff so crudely constructed that one is often confused within mere moments of gazing at it on screen. In my “Hall of Shame” I have a collection of Hong Kong “bootleg” anime that I need to review on here one of these days that was literally cobbled together from stolen anime cels from a dumpster, but this is somehow almost as bad. It’s not an ineptly made product, it just is the perfect lightning storm of bad decisions all rolled into one complete misfire.

    I remember being sort of lukewarm about it back then, but now I can honestly say it’s a true classic, but not for a good reason.

    Akira is just another normal kid in modern-day Tokyo, until an old friend of his, Ryo, shows up and turns his world upside down. Akira learns that there is an upcoming war of demons on humanity and he has just been enlisted for a major tour of duty. But the only way to fight a demon is with their power, so Akira and Ryo risk a dangerous ceremony in an attempt to create humanity’s only hope: the powerful Devilman.

    devilman OVA 1

    The most notable thing about this somewhat forgetable first OVA (especially to Youtube) is the notoriously bad English dub, which is how most westerners became familiar with the franchise. One can immediately tell that the production must have been done by inexperienced and/or cheap voice actors – lines are delivered in an almost elementary school play quality with weird inflections and lingering pauses for no explicable reason. I’ve read a bit of the original manga at this point, and there are whole sections here drawn from the books in which something really intense and dark happens, but that same material falls hilariously flat in this due to the voice acting – the infamous “WHYYYYYY GOOOOD” scene comes to mind immediately. I guess part of this can be chalked up to this being a UK production with most actors trying to suppress accents, but boy is it awkward.

    But don’t worry folks! What the films lacks in actual acting ability and good writing, it sure makes up for it in the foul language department! Just like most late 80’s and early 90’s anime releases, this film has the same amount of curse words as your typical Tarantino film for no other reason than to make it seem cool. After the success of Akira, most anime was marketed to the west as an in your face, edgy new type of entertainment that only badass guys in leather jackets watched. How can you tell it’s for badasses? You gotta say the F bomb at least once a minute.

    Here’s a 90’s commercial telling you like it is about anime:

    Those commercials used to be on all the time on The Science Fiction Channel back when they would randomly play things like Vampire Hunter D on weekends.

    Don’t believe me about the dub, check this nonsense out:

    (warning NSFW)

    Can I really recommend this as a good introduction to the world of Devilman? Absolutely not – watch Crybaby. Is it hilarious in an almost MST3K way? very much so! In fact, if I wasn’t watching this in English I bet I wouldn’t be half as entertained as I am now, as the actual film isn’t very well made. Yeah, it has it’s fair share of some solid “better than TV” animation and interesting synth music for the soundtrack, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s paced oddly, with sections of the film overstaying their welcome and other making little to no sense without having a passing knowledge of the characters.

    Since I’m a glutton for punishment, and a connoisseur of bad films, I’ll be watching the second OVA next which is represented a bit in the above video, and it seems just as amazing.

    Click HERE to see what you missed!

    Cyborg 009 VS Devilman (2015) OVA Ep 1

    Around the time I had just started college, I fell in love with an anime on Toonami Midnight Run called Cyborg 009. At the time, I was oblivious to the age of the property or that it was held in the same regard in japan as something like The X-men, but I loved it. It had a great soundtrack, awesome retro art-style, and felt different than most anime on at the time. Then, Sony refused to do anything with the licence, released a single DVD and that was that – I never got to finish the show. It was not until 2015 when Netflix randomly tossed this cross-over anime onto it’s streaming service that I saw some new content with the characters. And as a bonus, I got Devilman, which at the time I had only ever seen the older film, so that was a bonus!

    NOTE: Discotek is going to re-release the show soon…YAAY!

    I know cross-over stuff like this is usually silly, and makes almost no sense most of the time, as a huge fanboy I absolutely love it. Even when Star Trek crosses over with stuff like Transformers or Planet of the Apes, I’m 100% on-board. Apparently, this cross-over is not as random as some might believe as before Go Nagai became the author of Devilman, he worked as an assistant to Shotaro Ishinomori, drawing backgrounds for the Cyborg 009 manga. It was reported in Sankei Sports that he wished to do a collaboration with Ishinomori. Sadly, Ishinomori has long since died, but this crossover lives on.

    cybirg vs devilman jinmen

    Our story here starts on some sort of active volcano with a ancient Greece theme, Cyborg 009 and his comrades are battling the Mythos Cyborgs which appears to be ripping the whole area apart Frieza Vs Goku style. Now that I’ve seen this short snippet of the battle with Apollyon, I really want to see these guys in action more. I’m aware they are crazy cyborgs that believe that their mission is to destroy Earth so they may end war and rebuild the world with themselves as the ruling Gods, but I’ve never seen those episodes, so this was awesome.

    Simultaneously in Japan, Devilman kills Jinmen after he eats Akira’s longtime childhood friend  Sachiko. This scene is terrifying and honestly the best version of the battle with Jinmen I’ve seen. The art is this stark black and white style with only red peering through the monochrome field similar to how a manga page would look. This was gorgeous and I honestly wish there were more scenes like this.

    cyborg vs devilman4

    Next thing you know, Demons start popping up everywhere which draws the characters from both franchises together in order to fight the shared threat. well let me back up in this episode they are very much fighting each-other since they see the other as a demon that needs to be vanquished. For the brief time we see 009 and Devilman actually fight, we are shown that they are fairly evenly maatched with Devilman getting the slight edge.

    Wile this episode basically just sets everything up, you really do get a sense of where the show is going and how plausibly both universes fit together.

     

    009_Team_2015

    I mentioned a bit tat I enjoyed the art direction behind the short Devilman segment at the beginning of the show; this extends to just about everything else as well. In particular, I love the look of the cyborgs in this show, as many modern interpretations seem to be obsessed with downplaying the art style of a few of the characters. Granted Pyunma, or Cyborg 008, is basically a racist architecture of a black man in his earliest versions, changing the rest of the characters to look “more modern” is always annoying to me. I especially like that both Chang Changku (006) and Jet Link (002) have the zany body proportions that they should have like Jet’s huge nose and crazy hair.

    Great start to this show, here’s hoping this momentum can be kept up for the next episodes. Watching this also makes me want to look over what Cyborg 009 stuff I can find and have a marathon.

     

    Click HERE to see what you missed!

    Devilman G: Grimoire Vol 1 (2012)

    While Netflix audiences were shocked in 2018 to find a brand-new, shiny Devilman Reboot on their TV, it’s far from the first time that the nearly 50 year old franchise has been repackaged. Today, we will be looking at the first volume of a manga series called Devilman G: Grimoire to see where it stands.

    “IT TAKES A DEVIL TO KILL A DEVIL!

    When Miki attempts to summon a demon on the roof of her high school, things don’t go quite as planned. Not only does she instigate a vicious massacre, but her friend Akira gets possessed by the legendary demon Amon the Uneater, who annihilates his own kind. As Tokyo’s streets grow bloodier by the day–thanks to invaders from Hell–a demonic demon slayer might be the city’s only hope for salvation.

    A modern, ultra-violent spin on the devilish classic by Go Nagai!”

    One thing that immediately jumps out at you is that this manga is not a faithful translation of previous versions of the story. For all intents and purposes, this is a sort of an alternative universe using some of the same characters – sort of like the Marvel Ultimate Universe from around a decade ago. In many ways this is refreshing, as it doesn’t seem as dated as something as old as Devilman is can seem, although it also falls victim to a lot of the tropes of manga from 2012 that I was not a fan of – namely the juxtaposition of seemingly juvenile dialog and characters in a manga full f intense gore that was definitely NOT meant for kids.

    But before I get into that, I wanted to talk about some stuff I did like. I absolutely loved the idea that the whole concept of the show has origins with the Demon wrangling of Good old King Solomon who is said to have built an enormous temple by enslaving hundreds of demons using a relic called the Ring of Solomon (emblazoned with the seal of Solomon of course). I have yet to read the original manga (yet, as it just got released in English), so I assume this is a new addition. It’s cool to see something like this reference The Ars Goetia as it seems like the concept would go hand-in-hand with something like this, much like how it does when referenced by Shin Megaami Tensei games.

    Another thing is that the other characters have been far more fleshed out. Miki, for instance, has been given a lot more to her character than simply being a love interest that eventually gets killed in order to move the story along. She might still end up getting killed for all I know, but I hope that after a complete overhaul, this manga avoids the “fridging” trope that characters like this and Gwen Staacy can never seem to escape. Although, by having Miki 100% tied to the creation of Devilman instead of being somewhat unaware of his connection to Akira – the relationship between the characters has been altered.

    By doing this, the series sort of removes the “Doctor Jekyll / Mr. Hyde” secret identity thing from the story-line and instead goes towards a vibe that reminded me of shows like Cardcaptor Sakura or even Parasyte – where a super being is directed by somebody else to fight stuff – this time a novice magic user of sorts.

    I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t a fan of some of the dialog in this comic, and a lot of that is because the tone of the writing seems to completely be at odds with the content of the comic. Some of the characters, especially MIki, have this anime trope “DO YOUR BEST!” mentality that I suppose exists in Japan, but comes across really fake and like something you would see in Sailor Moon. Right after this, somebody would get disemboweled in grave detail in such a way that you are both shocked and repulsed. Rui Takato seems particularly obsessed with showing intestines falling out of corpses and female nudity, so be ready for that.

    Had this been either a straight superhero comic or a straight horror comic, I think the two sides would have fit better, but there are more volumes ahead so hopefully it falls into place eventually. In saying this, I do like shows like Kill la KIll from Studio Trigger that are vaguely similar in nature to this, so perhaps seeing this in motion would have sharpened the whole thing up for me. Otherwise, who knows, the translation could be wonky to meet demands of comics from that time period.

    All-in-all this is a competent comic, but it’s not great….yet. I can see myself warming up to this as it goes, and assume that if I wasn’t already familiar with the franchise, I would enjoy it more. I enjoyed the world building and nods to the classic comics and shows, but wasn’t a huge fan of the dialogue and “tropey” way in which the comic moves.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that I absolutely LOVE the retro art-style. While it’s not exactly a 1970’s style, and is different than Go Nagai, it still feels nostalgic and “old school” which is the style I prefer.

    Stay tuned for more Devilman goodies this month as it DEVILMAN MONTH on Arcadia Pod!

    Devilman-september

    Click HERE to see what you missed!

    Joey Ryan: Big in Japan (2017)

    Another Day, another foray into my stack of wrestling comics I’ve obtained in the past few years but woefully neglected to read for some reason. In the past, and especially in the days when I was a really heavy comic reader, I never really got into wrestling comics simply because they would usually take things far too seriously or end up like the infamous Ultimate Warrior comic book where he ….emmm….does something to Santa Claus. Nowadays, it seems like wrestling comics are thankfully way more fun, much like today’s topic.

    Today, we’ll be looking at a comic that came from one of my boxes from Pro Wrestling crate, although I think it was originally produced by Chido comics as a follow up to their successful line of Lucha Underground comics via Kickstarter. You might remember Chido comics was also the company behind the Rey Mysterio comic I’ve done on here in the past.

    For those completely unfamiliar with the rise of Joey Ryan’s unique brand of comedy wrestling, I’ll try my best to fill you in a bit. Ryan has had something of a sleazy 70’s pornstar gimmick for a while – he comes to the ring rubbing oil allover his hairy chest while sucking on a lollipop in a suggestive way showing that in his mind at least – he’s a sexy guy that all of the women in the crowd all going to swoon over. But since he’s actually presented like the anti-Rick Rude, it’s mostly people cringing at how creepy he can be.

    A few years back, a short clip surfaced online of Ryan using his penis (not really, wrestling’s silly) to flip someone over after they attempted to harm his downstairs neighbor. This, of course, went incredibly viral due to the silliness and absurdity of the “move” and basically changed Ryan’s entire career. Now, he’s managed to even land a sponsorship from a popular online porn company.

    Here’s the move in action:

    In this post-Kayfabe world of pro wrestling, where despite heckling by diehard MMA guys (You know it’s fake right brah!) – everyone knows exactly what wrestling is, and a gimmick such as this can flourish. In fact, lately it seems like wrestling things that go viral are almost always something intentionally ridiculous, and make somebody what I assume is a pretty good living. they might even get popular enough to appear on National TV wrestling brands such as Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground, or even get their own comic book!

    “Joey Ryan was pro wrestling’s king of sleaze – until five years ago, when a match gone wrong left his tag team partner crippled and one of his opponents dead. Now he spends his days looking for answers at the bottom of bottles in Tokyo bars. But when he hears that his old nemesis is back in town, he decides it’s time to get back in the ring.”

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    This comic is basically a Dark Knight Returns sort of alternate future affair for Mr. Ryan as it’s not a tale of him at his prime vanquishing evil-doers, but a story of a washed up and grizzled Ryan who has abandoned the business due to a horrible tragedy and how he gets back into the ring. It seems that five years prior to this comic, Joey Ryan and his tag partner Candice LeRae (who is not named) were involved in some sort of match where a wrestler was killed and LeRae was horribly injured, Ryan obviously blames himself and has turned into a miserable drunk.

    Joey runs into an old friend that has news of his arch nemesis, a huge guy called Butch Satan, and that he has issued an open challenge – Ryan initially refuses to even contemplate wrestling again since the last time, his penis killed a man, but is swayed by promising to do a serious match with no silly gimmicks. Ryan tries to fight a clean fight, but soon realizes that he must use Dong Style one more time to win…

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    This comic is pretty silly, it both takes itself almost too seriously at times, and veers into absurdity at others. it’s because of this that the comic actually reminds me a LOT of a Deadpool book, especially some of the more serious ones before folks thought his catchphrase was “Chimichanga!” which it isn’t you guys. I mean when you have a guy getting advice from a sentient Gummy Bear, which is something that happens in this book, you know it’s a crazy comic. Jamie Jones provides a solid art style and coloring for the book, and you can follow the action very easily.

    My only quibble is that it’s a bit too short, if this only exists as a one shot it’s a shame as I’d love to see more comics like this. Thankfully Chido Comics will be masking a series of Lucha Libre comics soon, but they are all looking like one-shots as well – fingers crossed that changes.

    La Mano del Destino #2 (2011)

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    La Mano del Destino is a six-issue story which tells the tale of a once-champion Luchadore – who, after being betrayed, agrees to a Faustian bargain in order to exact revenge upon his betrayers. Mesoamerican myth and high-flying, Lucha Libre action converge to tell this story of vengeance and destiny.

    In issue 2 of the La Mano del Destino six-issue story, we learn the harrowing history of the man who became La Mano del Destino – a familiar tale of sibling rivalry, but with a tragic twist. We see what drove our hero to become champion and why the loss of his title and mask were an unbearable indignity.

    After reviewing the Rey Mysterio comic book a few weeks ago, I remembered that I’ve actually received a few more wrestling comics in various boxes I’ve ended up with. Forgive me for not remembering which one, but one of the very first Lucha Loot packages I got contained a random issue of a comic called La Mano del Destino by J. Gonzo. For some reason, I tossed this book into my swag box and forgot about it until I went in looking for a Joey Ryan comic I also plan to review. Published by a small independent publisher called Castle and Key Publication, La Mano del Destino is planned  to be a six issue series of which I believe five have been released. My main question is – can you jump into this at issue 2, or would it be a bad idea? we’ll see!

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    Luckily, this issue is entirely a flashback issue and has little of what came before. It’s basically a stand-alone tale of a pair of brothers trying to survive after the death of their father in the early 1940’s in Mexico. The boys are sent to live with a military general that basically only agreed to bring them in because he respected their mother. One brother, nicknamed “Monchi” is seen a s a strong boy, so he is to work in the fields with the other laborers, he basically lives outside and sleeps in a barn – a rough life for a young man.

    This is all while “Petey” becomes a house-servant of some sort – living a life of relative luxury when compared to his brother. Monchi apparently has a gift for leadership and agitation and leads a servant revolt right up to The General’s doorsstep – Petey tries to stop tragedy from happening, but ends up accidentally accidentally shooting his brother in the hand before the General basically fires all of the servants and they both get tossed in prison. More tragedy leads to Petey deciding to become a luchador once he gets out, to atone for his past.

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    The art in this comic is definitely something unique, it’s somewhat exaggerated and angular while being vaguely reminiscent of classic “Silver Age” books from artists such as Jack Kirby especially in the coloring. This gives the book an odd vibe where it looks modern, like some sort of street art, but also VERY retro – looking like a screen-toned book from the past. This brash coloring scheme can lead to some things I did not like, such as a lot of expeditionary test bubbles being a bright pink color that are harder to read than most comics.

    Despite a few typos here and there, this is a solid comic, but it flies by wayyyy to fast in order to meet the 25 page max limit. I wish we could have seen more of Monchi’s path into becoming a rebel leader of sorts, or more with them interacting with The General in any way, but what’s there serves its purpose and flows well. I might have to try to get more of this, or perhaps I will see if a trade eventually comes out.

    To read more about this comic series, check this out.

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    DEVILMAN Crybaby (2018)

    Click HERE to see what you missed!

    Almost out of nowhere, Netflix has started to become my go-to location for watching new anime – even over Crunchyroll. This is largely because instead of simply streaming properties that were made in Japan, Netflix has been funding original content and taking huge chances in an industry that has been going through various stages of stagnation for a number of years. After last year’s Castlevania, a witty, dark adaptation of an old NES game, the company has set to dip into the more brutal side of anime yet again with DEVILMAN Crybaby.

    DEVILMAN Crybaby is based on the legendary manga and anime by Go Nagai – author of other popular series such as Cutie Honey and Mazinger Z. The property had an odd, almost simultaneous release as a  39-episode anime series which was developed by Toei Animation in 1972, and as a manga in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine barely a month before the anime series started. The series has since spawned numerous OVAs, manga, novels, and films. Today we will be talking about a BRAND-NEW remake of the franchise in DEVILMAN Crybaby, the surprise hit of the year in the anime world.

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    When I started watching this, I was immediately enthralled by the opening theme song and video which is a bizarre, simplistic electronic dance song that basically just has the lyrics “MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN HUMAN MAN MAN MAN MAN MAN HUMAN HUMAN!” playing against a trippy background reminiscent of watercolor inkblot tests. I’m not sure why, but this song, perhaps in it’s simplicity, is a total earworm and gets stuck in your head immediately. Whenever Netflix would try to skip the intro I was like “OH HELL NO!” in the same way that I always must watch both the Doctor Who and Game of Thrones intros to completion.

    In DEVILMAN Crybaby Demons invade humanity after being frozen in ice for millions of years. Akira, a timid boy, is tasked by his friend Ryo to merge with one of these demons in order to be able to fight back against them for the sake of humanity. Akira has been chosen because, as the title would suggest, he is very very emotional – sobbing uncontrollably at the drop of a hat. It’s this susceptibility to extreme empathy that makes him the perfect candidate to become a demon as he can control the impulses that usually turn people into inhuman creatures of pure impulse.

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    Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, a man that is perhaps my favorite surrealist anime director considering I LOVE his films Cat Soup and Kick Heart, which the latter was reviewed here from back before I merged my blogs together. He is one of those guys that usually makes short films rather than long-form pieces such as a full-on TV series, but I’m glad he is branching out and trying things like this. I’m not sure how much Netflix has to say about funding decisions such as this, but I feel Japan would have likely skipped on something like this on their own since it won’t sell body pillows.

    I think I was sold on DEVILMAN Crybaby towards the end of the very first episode where Masaaki Yuasa finally steps forward and unleashes his signature weirdness that I was wanting to see. Not since Gantz, an anime that I was able to watch the premiere of at an anime convention and stayed glued to the seat due to how messed up it was, have I been able to not stop watching something as if it’s a crazy car crash.

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    At one point our titular hero, just minus his devil powers, finds himself being forced to go to a full-on rave / orgy full of drug-addled women of various states of undress waving all sorts of body parts around. Suddenly Akira’s friend Ryo starts attacking strangers (which should be a hell of a red flag) to add the smell of blood to all of the other debauchery and summon demons to the club. Suddenly, people are ripped into pieces or transformed into other demons themselves, including our boy Akira.

    I’m not being facetious when I say – this is perhaps the most violent, gory, and raunchy anime Netflix has and perhaps we can extend that to the rest of the anime world in the last five years outside of actual pornography. But the weird thing is, it never feels wholly gratuitous; it somehow stays artistic rather than going down the road of juvenile T&A shows like Prison School or Queen’s Blade. Its use of grandiose sexual and violent imagery are a tool used to peer into the overindulgent, sometimes disgusting nature of being human. Because, in the world of DEVILMAN Crybaby becoming a demon is basically taking your most base animalistic tendencies and amplifying it to the point of absurdity.

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    In most versions of Devilman, a relatively minor villain named Jinmen encapsulates this very well. He has fully fallen into being a demon and shows no human side whatsoever. Even other long-time antagonists such as Sirene show some sort of humanity poking though as small as the sliver is. Jinmen is arguably one of the most depraved, repulsive and perverse villains in all of Devilman.

    He is a complete sadist, who revels in the suffering of human beings and enjoys tormenting them psychologically, as evidenced by his macabre habit of keeping their still-living faces on the back of his shell after eating them. Jinmen would compare the faces growing off of his back to the tattoos which human beings paint on their bodies and happily flaunts them in front of his adversaries. This was part of Jinmen’s scare tactic; by having his enemy cower in fear at the sight of his kills, or in the case of Akira Fudo cause reluctance in fighting Jinmen out of concern towards the several humans attached to the demon turtles body.

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    As you can see from the pictures on here and my descriptions, the art style in this show is extremely trippy – not at all the “norm” for modern anime in 2018. Everything is exaggerated in just about every manner causing an almost unsettling juxtaposition between scenes of light-hearted banter, sex, and grim violence. A lot of the art reminds me a lot of French comics books, the sort of stuff that would eventually end up in Heavy Metal magazine in both their loose grasp of human anatomy and their use of trippy colors and shapes.

    This is a hallmark of Masaaki Yuasa’s many works of art and shows up in most of his films. I have come to expect this from him, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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    Earlier on, I stated that DEVILMAN Crybaby was a surprise hit for me. I honestly assumed this show would go seemingly unnoticed outside of anime fans such as myself (pretentious snob guys LOL) and might a few honorable mention lists at the end of the year. Instead it has become a force of nature in social media and just about every major anime podcast, magazine, and website. We all know that Netflix rarely releases data on how much their shows get watched, but judging solely by the amount of buzz it generated, I’m almost certain it is considered a big success. I have also seen reviews that mention random facts like the soundtrack completely selling out in Japan which is unheard of for anime OSTs. I’ve even seen this get mentioned on lists of things to watch on Netflix that basically say “you need to watch this even if you don’t like anime” implying that it has crossed into the mainstream film community.

    Yeah, the show can be seen as over-hyped and I bet there are tons of “I hate stuff because it’s popular” guys out there whining about how they don’t understand the love for the show, but screw them honestly. DEVILMAN Crybaby has the markings of a modern classic like FLCL and Cowboy Bebop by getting non-fans watching anime – and that’s never a bad thing gatekeepers be damned.

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    Valkyria Chronicles 4 Demo – Multiplatform (2018)

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    It is the year 1935 EC.

    The continent of Europa is engulfed in the flames of the Second Europan War between the Atlantic Federation and the Autocratic Eastern Imperial Alliance. Although the Federation struggles valiantly against the Empire’s forces, the relentless imperial military machine threatens to consume them. With victory slipping away, the Federation executes Operation Northern Cross: a last-ditch attempt to capture the imperial capital and end the war.

    Commander Claude Wallace and his loyal childhood friends in Squad E are sent to fight for the desperate operation’s success, but they will have to endure harsh bone-chilling elements, waves of imperial soldiers, and the terrifying Valkyria… and unravel a grave truth that will shake them to the core.

    One of the very first PS3 game I ever bought was Valkyria Chronicles, and I immediately fell in love with it. I absolutely adore tactical RPGs and it had been a while since I played one that tipped the “instant classic” box that games from Quest Corporation or Square Enix used to make. But here came Sega with something truly special – only to sit on the franchise basically for over a decade. Yeah, there were sequels, but they jumped to the PSP and were ignored totally in the west (VC was never released here!) since the games basically were being used to promote a TV anime in Japan. There was an ill-received spin-off recently, but Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the first true return to form for a Loooong time.

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    To celebrate this, Sega has decided to drum up interest in the game by releasing a demo showcasing the beginning of the full game. I don’t normally review things like demos, but I was pretty excited about this and only just found out about it when I was checking on my pre-order for the full game. When it’s all said and done, think of this as the first part of my review for when I eventually do the full game, and it’ll all come together.

    This demo isn’t a meager one level affair like so many others, it contains three full chapters of the game (a prologue plus 2 main chapters) plus the ability to transfer any progress from the demo to the actual game upon release. It also has two skirmish maps, a bonus map that is ONLY available in the demo, and some unlockable things that can be done, giving this demo a surprisingly large amount of replay time if you like grinding. Each chapter is divided into small segments arranged in a scrapbook-like grid with pages that are turned to access the next segment. usually, each page contains 5-6 story segments and a battle – for fans of the original Valkyria Chronicles, this is exactly the same set-up as the first PS3 game from ten years ago (which was released later on PS4).

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    One of the things that I enjoy most about this series is that it has a humanity to it that most war media is completely devoid of. Instead of a “kill them all, America F Yeah! – Hoo-rah” vibe one gets from 99% of military shooters like your Call of Duties, or Battlefields, we have a story of regular people being thrown into a war to save their homeland from an encroaching enemy. An example of this is a powerful scene where Claude remarks that the field they are standing in is now completely empty of the beautiful flowers that were just there before Imperial shelling began in the area.

    Keep in mind that one of the more lauded aspects of the first game in the series, was it actually had the cajones to actually address the Holocaust in an interesting way in that it introduced an ethnic minority of characters (Darksens) that were blamed for the misfortunes brought on by a previous war and were rounded up and put in camps and persecuted. One of the main protagonists HATES Darksens at the beginning of the game, so much that she comes across as fairly unlikable once her racism shows through. Yeah – that was in this game, heavy stuff for a fantasy game with water color art.

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    In a lot of ways, this game is a step back from some of the stuff aadded into the series on the handheld games, it does not include the branching classes or “school simulator” aspects from Valkyria Chronicles 2, or the fantastical characters found in Valkyria Chronicles 3, but that isn’t to say there isn’t any innovation at all. In fact, this is perhaps the most well-balanced game of the three I’ve played – some character classes have been tweaked such as allowing more movement for snipers, or less CP usage for tanks. There is also an entirely new character class this time around known as the Grenadier, who can fire mortar rounds at enemies. They can sort of stay behind the scenes and lob mortars at far away enemies if any team member can see somebody on the map – it’s a cool character class so far despite the small amount of time I’ve been messing with this demo.

    Another addition to the game is something called “The Brave system”. When an allied soldier is downed and is nearly dead, players can consume 1 CP and increase the stats of allied units with the “Entrust” skill or can restore 1 AP with the ability to move and attack while being invulnerable for one action with the “Stand Up” skill. Considering how many times I had to restart battles in the previous games due to my unwillingness to accept perma-death of characters, this sounds like a godsend. I have not messed around with this too much, because I have been playing on “Easy” in order to leisurely take in the demo, but when I do my main play-through I will definitely be excited for the opportunity to save my soldiers necks if need arises.

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    For some reason, I have played this demo for like 10 hours, mostly because I decided to try to get all of my characters up the the rank of Corporal for no other reason than to be a total over-powered bad-ass once I start playing the full game, but it came be played in like an hour most-likely. All-in-all this is really fun and looks like I will have plenty of fun this fall returning to the country of Gallia. Here’s hoping this game finds success now that it’s out on multi-platform and we get things like a Valkyria Chronicles 5 and even a Valkyria Chronicles 2-3 HD remaster!

    Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Sega. It was released in Japan for the PlayStation 4 in March 2018, and is scheduled to be released worldwide in September 2018, in addition for the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows.

    Jump onto everything but the PC, and grab that demo, and let me know what you think in the comments!