Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mazinger - Jumbo Machinder NEO

After too much time away from the blog, this entry had to be good enough to compensate those of you who have been checking in on the blog during this news-barren winter.

Fortunately, the big-sized package that has arrived today in the mail made my entry choice very easy, as the package that came from the other side of the world contained no other than the updated version of one of the most popular toys during the 70s, the JUMBO MACHINDER (also known as "SHOGUN WARRIORS" in the United States).

For those of
you who have never heard about the JUMBO MACHINDER, let me tell you that they are small-scale reproductions (although big in size) of several robots that appeared in Japanese anime series.

It was 37 years ago when the first robot of the series came out, and it was none other than our beloved Mazinger Z. Some years later they came out in the United States (distributed by Mattel) and also in some European countries, Spain amongst them (this time by Nacoral -with the exception of the infamous "Fist-launcher Mazinger" by B.R.B Merchandising-). These toys, that were articulated and threw missiles and all kinds of stuff, became cult collector's items for a whole generation of kids who are now in their forties.

Apealling to nostalgia and hoping to get new recruits -taking advantage of last year's Shin Mazinger series broadcasting-, Bandai brings new life to the JUMBO MACHINDER brand -now with the NEO suffix- (ジャンボマシンダーNEO マジンガーZ), with a fantastic toy for kids of all ages.

With a 60 cm. height, more articulation points allowing to recreate the famous "breast fire" posing, a pilder with abatable wings to make it fit into the head and a Shin Mazinger-based new image, there's not much more than can be asked of this new rendition of Nagai's robot (except for a bigger house to put it in).

I hope you enjoy the
pictures I uploaded for you and that you can forgive these past few months of absence.

Jumbo Machinder NEO, Mazinger Z at Hobby Link Japan.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shin Mazinger - The Blu-ray in detail (II)

(Continues from previous post)

The booklet continues with a diagram that shows the relationships between the characters in a way that, with just a glance, we can figure out which are the main groups and the character affiliations. Then, we have a full color presentation of the main characters in different situations and attires. A short explanatory text accompanies all these images.

Once the characters have been introduced, it is time for the robots to get into the spotlight, with special attention on the mechanical beasts, whose images are showed with accompanying rough drawings from the 70s by Nagai and Ishikawa.

Lastly, there’s the locations (the coastal town of Atami, Bardos Island, etc.) and sites (the Photonic Energy Research Institute, etc.) that appear in the series.

The booklet closes with an interview with the voice actors for Kôji Kabuto, Sayaka Yumi and Jûzo Kabuto and technical credits for the 9 episodes included in this first box.

Moving onto the technicalities:

Each Blu-ray (there’s 3) includes 3 episodes. From the main menu we can access the “regular” version (the longer one) or the on TV version (the one broadcasted on TV, edited and shorter) of each one of the episodes. When the last of the episodes of the third Blu-ray finishes, we can access to several Shin Mazinger related merchandising ads (Chôgokin, music, etc.). These ads were the ones used on TV, but this time they are presented in HD.

Image quality is really good (1080p) with vibrant colors and blacks showing no compression at all. The sound, in Linear PCM Stereo, is delightful and very clear.

Remember also that with this first Blu-ray box you’ll find a coupon. This coupon can be exchanged for a 25 cm. Zeus figure, exclusive to this edition, although you’ll have to add an extra 1500 ¥ (for shipping, I guess). This promotion is only available in Japan, and there’s no shipping overseas, since this edition is exclusive to Japan. (Special thanks go to Kozue Nakano on this matter)

In conclusion, this is a pretty nice edition, although it misses some more extras, since the inclusion, as nice as it is, of the on TV version of the episodes adds nothing to the package as they are nothing more than shorter and edited versions, specially if you consider the price of the box (18900¥), which is going to make having the whole series, divided in 3 boxes, a 625 $ affair.

In any case, the quality of the source material is without question and I strongly recommend this edition to all the fans of the series.

Remember you can buy this Blu-ray box at:

Shin Mazinger Blu-ray at Play-asia

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shin Mazinger - The Blu-ray in detail (I)

With a certain delay, I'll introduce you today the first volume of the new series Blu-ray.
The volume is presented in a sober but elegant box, showing an image of Mazinger on the front and one of Koji on the back, both of them over a scarlet background. What you see on the lower part of the box is the obi, usually attached to Japanese editions, that gives us information on the contents of the product. The box is about the same width of a DVD but a little bit lower (like the individual boxes for Blu-ray) and contains the three discs with the same slevees that will be featured on the DVD edition. It also contains a 32-page booklet, a coupon to gain points at EMOTION FAMILY CLUB (we can later exchange them for other Blu-ray or DVD) and another coupon that we will use to get our hands on the desired Zeus figure, a limited gift with the first edition of this Blu-ray.

If you fully open the full-colored booklet, the cover and backcover show an image of Mazinger's face as you can see in the picture below.

Once inside the booklet, the first two pages show us an interesting comparision between images from the original manga and from the new TV series.

The similitudes are certainly striking, and these homages are without doubt a gift to the older fans, since they hadn't been forced into the series.

In the next entry I will show you more about the booklet and other aspects of this edition.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mazinger - The manga through time

Still waiting for more specific news on the continuation or not of Shin Mazinger (the web page that I mentioned last week contained only a survey which I guess will serve as a test on people's interest).
To make the wait more bearable, I'll start posting today about some of the shopping that I did while in Japan so you can see some curious items or at least, see them in more detail.
I'm going to start with a little book that I mentioned briefly on June 21's post, which dealt with Shin Mazinger ZERO's manga and the magazine where it is being published.

As I already told you, the magazine was accompanied on issue numbe
r 8 (on sale in June) by a special booklet with illustrations by the 3 most famous illustrators of the super-robot. It is actually a 130-page book reprinting 3 old stories from the Mazinger saga, each one of them illustrated by Go Nagai, the late Ken Ishikawa and Gosaku Ota respectively.

The story by master Nagai belongs to the Mazinkaiser series and it was already published in a single manga volume dedicated to this robot. In Ishikawa's one, we have the first appeareance of the mechanical monster GARADABURA MK01 and the brain-like warrior organism EBA (which appeared in Shin Mazinger as KEDORA). Finally, Ota illustrates the origin of Dr. Hell in a classic story which was published for the first time in 1974 and that can be found in the manga volumes dedicated to what was known as the TV series adaptation, written by Nagai himself but drawn by the skilled Gosaku Ota.

This is a special volume that does not offer new material, but because of its condition as a special gift, could end up being a pretty sought-after item.

(The images show the cover and backcover of the

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shin Mazinger - The end?

Hello again everybody. I would like to apologize first to those who follow the blog on a regular basis for not updating it during this last month. These past few weeks coincided with my busiest work period of the year first and my holidays later. Fortunately, I spent my vacations in Japan for 15 days where I was able to buy some stuff related to the series (Blu-ray, books...) that I will try to show you on next entries. A little bit of pacience, please.

A lot of you will probably now that today is last-episode-day for the new Mazinger series. For six months we enjoyed this new version to the fullest, but unfortunately the end is near. Or not. The official blog posted that today at 00.00 AM (it will already be Sunday, in fact) we'll have some more information about what is going to happen next year.

Those of you who can not wait to know what's going to happen from now on, click on here at 00.00 (Japan local time, check your time zone differences) and then on the red underlined word in the fourth line from the bottom. Let's cross our fingers!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shin Mazinger - Robot fashion

Bandai, through its Bandai Fashion Net website, is selling three different models of t-shirts with Shin Mazinger-related motifs.
Far from the flashy colors that most of us would associate with the series. Bandai opted for sober designs, putting the main design in the back in some cases.

The t-shirts are on sale for 2940 yen and they come in different sizes.

If you are into rainbow colors, you would probably prefer any of the two models of caps offered by the same company, this time at a 3150 price.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shin Mazinger - Energer Z

Years and years ago, Go Nagai, who was at the time dedicating himself completely to Devilman, was coming home from his studio and got himself caught in a traffic jam. At that moment he thought, "If my car had legs, I could avoid the others easily and get home pretty soon." From that idea came the early designs for what was to become Mazinger Z, but on those first designs, the name of the robot was Energer Z and even if its looks were quite similar, there still were some differences (as you can see on the first image) from what ended up being the final design. The most important one was the pilot -at the time called Susumu Kaze- who docked into Mazinger without a pilder. He did it using his own motorbike, running up a ramp located on the back of the robot. In the end, the ramp disappeared, the pilot name changed to Koji Kabuto and the motorbike gave way to the now famous pilder. Even so, the basic design for Energer Z was used on Sayaka's second robot, Diana A, obviously with a more feminine look.

Energer Z itself was never used in any of the Mazinger series ever shown on the small screen...until some weeks ago.

Shin Mazinger, Energer Z is the prototype of Mazinger created by Kenzo Kabuto (Koji's father) and piloted by Tetsuya Tsurugi (Great Mazinger's pilot in the old series). Both of them seem to have died in an incident at Bardos island in the past, but Energer Z appears in the present piloted by Kenzo himself and fights Mazinger, matching his power level. It seems that all the Z robots can achieve their maximum power level (although it would seem, by also putting themselves in danger) by means of the Koshiryoku Meltdown (Nuclear melting of the Photonic Energy?) as the color of their bodies changes to metallic scarlet.

It is this last Energer Z model that will go on sale as part of Bandai's collection Soul of Chogokin, in this case the GX-47. The official blog uploaded some pictures.

This version will go on sale today at 6300 yen.

Soul of Chogokin GX-47, Energer Z at Hobby Link Japan.