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September 2008 Archives

September 28, 2008

Transformers, Japanese Style

Filed in: Transformers.

Recently I've been catching up on the Transformers series which were created in Japan after the original 80s cartoon was canceled. Evidently the toys were still selling well enough there for Takara to commission further series.

The first of these is The Headmasters, which follows directly on from season 3 of the US toon (ignoring the three-episode season 4). As such, it brings back many of the characters from season 3 and introducing alternate versions of characters who were introduced in season 4.

While the Headmasters in the US version involve existing Transformers combining with smaller humans (or at least Nebulons, who are humanoid), in the Japanese version the heads are small robots who combine with large non-sentient robot bodies called Transtectors. They're pretty much the focus of the series, with many of the older characters barely appearing.

The second is Super-God Masterforce, which doesn't have any characters returning from the original series (although there are a couple of links to Headmasters). SGM introduces the concepts of Pretenders and Godmasters, the latter being the Japanese version of Powermasters. Like the Headmasters, the concept is switched around so that Godmasters are humans who combine with large non-sentient robot bodies. In fact, most of the characters in SGM are humans rather than robots, including their leader Ginrai (who's currently the featured article on the Transformers Wiki). And it all takes place on Earth, while The Headmasters was more spacey.

The DVDs for both series include a very dodgy English dub done in Malay. One episode in The Headmasters starts out by announcing that Mars is the fourth largest planet in the solar system and over 50% larger than Earth. I stuck to the Japanese soundtrack with subtitles, and I usually hate reading subtitles.

And now that I've watched those, there's still Transformers: Victory!

One amusing thing I noted was that both series had a trio of Decepticons who seemed to exist solely for the purposes of comedy relief. In Headmasters it was the three Decepticon Headmasters: Mindwipe, Weirdwolf and Skullcruncher. In SGM it was the three Decepticon Pretenders: Blood, Dauros and Gilmer. Similarly the Robots in Disguise cartoon (translated from the Japanese series Car Robots) had Slapper, Gas Skunk and Dark Scream. I'll be interested to see if Victory includes any comedy relief..!

Posted at 12:57 PM | Comments (5)

September 18, 2008

Space: 1899

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Having somewhat of a lackluster month blogwise, so here's a Youtube video!

Posted at 6:30 PM | Comments (1)

September 17, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Filed in: TV & Movies.

Much as when I went to see The Clone Wars, I opted to go to see Hellboy II on the weekend at the Ascot in Upper Hutt. And the same thing happened - there were unsupervised children constantly running up and down the stairs and chattering loudly during the movie.

As to the movie itself, it's a worthy successor to the first Hellboy movie. It's no Dark Knight, of course, because Hellboy is not about deep plots and symbolism, it's about Hellboy beating the tar out of things, but there was enough plot there to be fairly engaging and it even mostly made sense.

Of course, the area the film really wins in is character design and realisation, and the increasingly blurring line between CGI and physical effects. The creatures, and there are many, are all unique and well characterised. The behind-the-scenes features on the inevitable DVD should be quite interesting.

Johann Krauss is the coolest German ever. Can we keep him? Assuming there's a Hellboy 3 (and hopefully there will be!) of course.

Posted at 8:17 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2008

Kylie X

Filed in: Music.

So, here's the sequence of events: Kylie Minogue is doing a concert in Auckland. Naturally tickets sold out in 19 minutes and a second show was promptly announced.

Questions to ponder:

  • If the first show sold out in 19 minutes, why didn't tickets for the second concert sell out as quickly?
  • Wasn't it convenient how quickly and easily a second concert was arranged? You'd think the Vector Arena would be heavily booked in advance.

Of course, this appears to be quite common. Gee, you'd think the promoters would figure it out and put on two concerts to begin with...

Posted at 6:11 PM | Comments (1)

September 6, 2008

The Judoon Song

Filed in: Doctor Who.

Via TARDIS Television:

Posted at 11:12 AM | Comments (1)

September 4, 2008

Google Chrome

Filed in: Internet.

Current topic de jour is Google's new web browser. While I'm waiting for my extensions to upgrade themselves so I can switch to Firefox 3 without half of them being disabled, I thought I'd give it a try. The first thing I noticed was that it was blindingly fast. Firefox 3 is faster than Firefox 2, but Chrome is faster again. Impressively so.

But the main reason I'd switch to it is the whole separate-process-per-tab model. Too often I've had Firefox totally crash because I've opened a tab to a poorly-coded site. With Chrome, this is apparently no longer a problem - you only lose the tab containing the badly behaved site.

However I suspect they'll have more converts from Internet Explorer in the short term, as Chrome doesn't yet support extensions (I can't surf the web without some of them!). It's also only available for Windows at the moment. No doubt both issues will be addressed. I think this is going to signal another leap forward in web browser technology (are Microsoft so far behind at this point that they won't be able to catch up?)

The Google Webmaster suggestions group has been flooded with suggestions for Google Chrome - the group's supposed to be for suggestions about Google Webmaster Tools and says so clearly at the top - way to fail at simple comprehension, people.

You can get Chrome from the Google Chrome page. It's still in beta at the moment.

Posted at 8:44 PM | Comments (3)

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