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Pirates & More
December 1 2003
Review: Upright Citizens Brigade Season 1;
New DVDs This Week

DVD fans, have your wallets open this Tuesday. There's a bunch of new releases as well as some reissues of great older titles, including...

Alien Quadrilogy
The Ben Stiller Show
Pirates of the Caribbean

There are also plenty of releases on sale, so be sure to check your local stores for pricing and availability.

Today, we're taking a look at the 1998 season of Upright Citizens Brigade on DVD. The cast features people you may have seen on Saturday Night Live, Late Night, The Daily Show, and a number of films and will probably please anybody who has seen Mr. Show and/or realizes that the bulk of the movies based on SNL aren't funny. Find out what you get in today's review!

--AP

Review: Star Wars Imperial Dignitary Janus Greejatus

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review Janus Greejatus, one of two Imperial Dignitary action figures coming from Hasbro this year. The first-- and only-- Imperial Dignitary figure was released in 1984 as part of the Power of the Force collection, and this new one is a completely different design from the original. As such, it's sure to delight fans of Imperials and Return of the Jedi. To find out what makes this figure tick, go check out today's review!

--AP

New Energon Megatron Gallery

In what may be the most staggeringly wonderful TransFormers photo gallery on the Web, you can find tons of photos of a finished Energon Megatron toy. This thread at TFclub has it all, providing so many pictures that this is almost as good as being able to reach out and touch it. There's even a few shots of the jet mode with some Minicons on it, so be sure not to miss it.

--AP

New Zoids Action Figures Revealed

In the haste of updating, we neglected to mention the new Zoids figures revealed on the two new releases' cardbacks. Included were a really nasty yellow repaint of the Sea Striker, a Matrix Dragon, a red Blade Liger and a few others.

--AP

Toy Shipments, Store Hours Increased

Despite being out of a few of their sale items on Friday, Toys "R" Us managed to replenish the stock on Saturday before the sales ended, meaning it's more than likely that their annual shift to a shipment each and every day has happened. Other stores tend to have frequent restocks this time of year as well, and as such it's a good time for toy runs.

Also, hours are extended now, so if you want to hit a store a little later than usual, it's a safe bet they're going to be open a little later.

--AP

And in other news...

In case you didn't hear, Berke Breathed's new Opus comic strip is not appearing on the Internet by Mr. Breathed's orders. As such, you'll need to check the papers or wait for the eventual strip collection.

--AP

Energon In AZ
December 2 2003
Found: TransFormers Energon in Phoenix

The Metrocenter area Toys "R" Us in Phoenix put out its first Energon toys today, with Optimus Prime, Ironhide, and Treadbolt hitting shelves. Our samples appear below. We will be reviewing them at some point in the coming weeks, although there's a lot more to Optimus than you might think, so photos might be light for him.

Early impressions: these are the most toylike TransFormers in a while, so if you can appreciate a toy for what it is, these are for you. Those wanting a giant mechanoid of death are going to be disappointed, as the colorful bots don't really seem to give that impression. Optimus was $40, the rest were $20. If you've got store credit or cash to spare, they aren't bad.

Meanwhile, the quest for the smaller toys continues.

--AP

Zoids Ultrasaurus In the USA

In two Phoenix Toys "R" Us stores, we spotted the Zoids Ultrasaurus kit. This appears to be the same one that was released in Japan and is a whopping $79.99. The kit's box is similar to Gojulas Giga and a little bit wider. We would provide comments on this kit, but our sample is still sealed in its Japanese box... but we'd wager to say it's a fun toy because it's a big reptile with six pilots and lots of guns.

--AP

Simpsons Main Street Playset Clearanced

The Toys "R" Us exclusive is now down to $29.98 at most if not all locations. The Main Street set includes two action figures and is compatible with most of the toys released thus far. We would point you to a review, but we don't have one of these at this time.

--AP

And in other news...

Homestar Runner updated with a new set of answering machine messages, which are more fun than they sound. If you're a fan, be sure to check them out. It has the only known reference to the Olympic Triplecast.

--AP

General Stuff
December 3 2003
More Energon, More Exclusives

Yet more Energon sightings in area Wal-Marts and Toys "R" Us stores today and some of the smaller ones showed up at Amazon.com. So if you're in need, check your local stores. Optimus seems to be an easy find.

Meanwhile, it appears some more older exclusives are reappearing, namely the Wal-Mart Dinobots. Keep your eyes peeled for these ones.

--AP

DVD Deals

If you're still in need of Pirates of the Caribbean, Target stores are charging pennies under $15 and most Wal-Marts appear to be doing the same. The Alien Quadrilogy set is cheapest at Best Buy at $75, with a few other stores hovering around $77. Lastly, The Ben Stiller Show is seeing fairly sporadic distribution, but is currently cheapest at roughtly $19.99 at Best Buy stores.

Also of note: the Ben Stiller discs are seemingly using both film and video as source material. While a full review is on the way, it should be noted that the film grain in the segments used to introduce the show's cast and staff is quite distracting and makes the show look much older than its 11 years.

--AP

Lord of the Rings Barbie, Ken

Now making an appearance at fine stores everywhere is Mattel's latest abomination, a two-pack of Barbie and Ken as Arwen and Aragorn, respectively. For about $80, it includes one of the better likenesses of Aragorn, but that of course isn't saying much. These have been spotted at several Suncoast stores but will no doubt be everywhere shortly.

--AP

And in other news...

The Onion is new today with quite a few fairly amusing stories. Be sure to check it out.

Also, Bitter Films is holding an auction for original Mike Judge and Don Herdzfelt artwork. Sketches from King of the Hill, Rejected, and other projects are up for grabs, and it's all for charity. Be sure to give it a look!

--AP

Yet More Release News
December 4 2003
Sword of Mana Released

Yesterday, most stores put out the new Square Enix adventure title Sword of Mana. Combining elements from both Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana, this GameBoy Advance title has graphics and sounds that seem from about the era of the Sega Genesis along with-- so far-- fairly compelling gameplay.

Both Best Buy and Target have it out for under $25, although Best Buy's computers list the street date as tomorrow, which is why many stores don't have it out unless you specifically ask for it and then point to the ad which listed it as available on Wednesday. If you have a GBA, this is one worth snagging.

--AP

Devil's Due's G.I. Joe vs. TransFormers #5 Released

The second-to-last issue of one of the year's most exciting team-ups has been released to stores yesterday with two variant covers. If you've been following the series, be sure to hit your local comic store and check it out.

--AP

Packaged Energon Basics Images: Wave 2

Seller Mimidog4428 posted numerous auctions for several toys, most notably in-package samples of Cruellock, Divebomb, Perceptor, and Signal Flare. Prices are shooting up for these soon-to-be-$6.99 toys, but if you're curious about how they turned out there's no better way to find out.

--AP

Yet More New Zoids Figures Released

Target Stores are receiving new holiday product this week, including new basic Zoids Action Figures. You can find the Fuzor Dragon and the Matrix Dragon, both of which are action figure sized versions of their larger Zi-Builders kits. Be sure to check them out if you're so inclined.

In case you missed the news, two other larger figures showed up last week. Fans of Gojulas Giga and Dimetrodon kids can now have them in action figure form. Like the two above kits, these include a new sound effects pack that appears to be activated by a glove that, still, doesn't seem to be available.

--AP

Review: Padme Amidala, Lars Homestead

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review Padme Amidala (Lars Homestead), a real oddity in that it's a Padme figure that actually turned out fairly well. Articulation is limited, but the sculpt is great and she has a ball-jointed neck so she can look around in all directions, or you can even pop her noggin right off if you're so inclined. Read more in today's review!

The final wave of Clone Wars basic figures-- as far as we know-- has hit, and the super posable and super awesome Clone Trooper was included. It's really slick, expect a review next week.

--AP

And in other news...

Are you a fan of Larry David of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm fame? If so, you might get a kick out of an article he did for the LA Weekly about how his wife went from his Ms. Perfect to an activist. If you aren't a fan of his work, though, give this one a pass.

MSTies might be interested in this interview with Michael Nelson. It focuses mostly on his new book, Death Rat, but it's surely delightful enough to check out if you're a fan of Mystery Science Theater.

--AP, thanks to EK

"Move Over, Kilborn, Sucksville Has A Brand New Mayor"
December 5 2003
Ben Stiller Show DVD Set Special at Target

In a bit of a total surprise, we spotted the two-disc set of The Ben Stiller Show on DVD for a paltry $14.99 at a local Target store. Odds are this sale is for this week only, so if you want it, go get it before the store closes on Saturday.

--AP

Energon Critical Mass

Absolutely enormous displays are in the aisles for Energon TransFormers at some-- not all-- Wal-Mart stores now. Literally hundreds of basic and deluxe toys are available, except it appears Rapid Run is absent from the just-unpacked Deluxe displays. Of course, if you were after Inferno and Hot Shot, they had more than you could possibly hope for.

Also available were the Omnicons Skyblast and Strongarm, the Minicon Energon Saber, and the Terrorcon Battle Ravage. While these were purchased mere hours ago, early impressions are extremely favorable-- especially for the smaller toys-- Hasbro will surprise you this time around.

The smaller sized toys were also spotted at a few Toys "R" Us stores in Phoenix today, although our local Wal-Mart seemed to have everything we've showed on the site thus far, and in huge numbers. From the look of things, if you hit your local Wal-Marts in the next few days, you won't have a problem getting any of the toys except, for whatever reason, it seems there aren't any Rapid Runs shipping with these large palettes of toys.

Next week, we'll be reviewing as many of these as possible so if you're wanting to see photos of the toys, the packaging, and the bundled tech specs cards, you're in luck. If you're hoping for our usual compliment of random plastic goodies, come back in a couple of weeks.

--AP, special thanks to EK

He-Man.Org Announces Micro-Busts, Store

He-Man.org has set up a store where they're selling new figures-- including the Snake Men-- for fairly low prices, only $47 per case of eight figures, or pennies under $8 each. If you're in need and have the money, this is a fantastic deal. Had we a use for the new versions of characters we had or duplicates (and lots of money), we'd totally order a few cases to fill out our stash.

(Of course, if anyone bought a case and needed someone to sell duplicates to, check our "contact" page and give us a holler.)

Also revealed are super-small Micro-Busts which you pretty much need to see yourself. These are much smaller than Mini-Busts and, we assume, are also cheaper.

--AP

And in other news...

The quote at the top of today's news was from last night's Jimmy Kimmel Live. There was a sketch in which Lenny Clarke got ahold of that night's Leno monologue, told Jimmy to read them, and he just sat there heckling him for a few minutes. Comedy gold, that.

Friend of the page Shaun has managed to find an interesting story that may intrigue some movie buffs in our midst. Coca-Cola has been running a fairly unfunny ad under the guise of a short film before films in several theater chains, and according to this article Itallian American groups deemed it offensive and it is, ironically, being given the boot. (Think about it for a minute.)

While we at 16bit.com are all for removing unfunny, annoying ads from theaters this particular advert really wasn't much more than yet another Sopranos-ripoff trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator. But hey, it's going away, hopefully it won't be replaced by a Nike ad showing seal clubbers.

--AP, thanks to SC

More Muppets
December 6 2003
Hasbro Reveals More Goodies

Hasbro made a big update with several new Energon items. You can see two new role-play toys with Megatron's Energon Saber and Optimus Prime's Energon Gun which, while neat, aren't as exciting as the other new additions of Arcee, Insecticon, and Mirage. (And yes, those are NERF darts you see in Optimus' gun.)

They also added some news, namely that they're going to be altering the faceplate of Energon Optimus Prime, that they'll be recoloring the 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime's gun in black, and lastly, that the Armada Wheeljack recolor isn't going to happen.

Lastly, there's an official date for the new TransFormers Energon cartoon series. It will debut on Cartoon Network on January 31, 2004. Mark your calendars, unless you don't buy your calendars until they're like half off, in which case you could leave a post-it note for yourself or something.

--AP

New Muppet Show Figures Available

The toy, game, and movie companies sure seem to be releasing a lot of their newest product right before the holidays this year and the latest Muppets figures are part of this recent deluge of releases. Now you can find Statler, Waldorf, Clifford, and more at your local Sam Goody or Suncoast stores, if you're so inclined.

--AP

Disney Randomness

A friend of the site pointed me to this story that says Wal-Mart is considering purchasing the Disney Store chain of Disney establishments.

Almost as odd is a rumor that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is being considered for the Disney board of directors. Interesting, no?

--AP, special thanks to ZB

Game News of Limited Interest

First, it's the 25th anniversary of Space Invaders, the classic Taito game. This story has a blurb about an upcoming arcade rerelease that's identical to the original, except now it takes two quarters to play instead of one. In addition to the USA arcade rerelease, there's also two Japanese PlayStation 2 versions coming as well, this limited edition and a regular version. Since Taito no longer has a business presence in the USA, Pac-Man developer Namco will be handling the manufacturing of these units, which are about $2400.

Shooter fans, rejoice. Irem's R-Type Final for PlayStation 2 is coming to the USA by way of Eidos, so says this article at Gameforms.

Lastly, the Pac-Man Vs./Pac-Man World 2 bundle is now showing up everywhere for GameCube. It includes the full Pac-Man World 2, and the new Pac-Man Vs., where up to three players can be a ghost and a fourth can be Pac-Man in a new party game. The price is under $20 at fine game stores everywhere.

--AP

And in other news...

One of my favorite Web comics, Pokey the Penguin, has added a new strip to its illustrious archive. Don't miss it!

--AP

More Joes
December 7 2003
Valor vs. Venom Figures Now Available

Wal-Mart stores are getting in cases of the newly packaged G.I. Joe Valor vs. Venom line in which the Joes face off against Cobra yet again. Brand new and very ornate packaging should grab your attention quickly, as the plastic clear bubble covers the entire front of the packaging and has tabs that reach around the back where it is sealed to the cardboard. This is very non-traditional for Hasbro and American toymakers, and is a welcome change of pace.

Several sets were available including new versions of Snake-Eyes vs. Stormshadow and Duke vs. Cobra Commander, and the series included several repaints as well as many brand-new sculpts. All in all, it's sure to please the Joe-fan in all of us.

--AP

Energon Jetfire at Amazon, Starscream Available?

As of now, Amazon.com has Jetfire from Energon for $19.99. Word on the street has it a few toy stores are getting them as well, although we have yet to make a sighting ourselves.

Also, a few reports around the Web seem to indicate Starscream may be shipping which is interesting, as none are on eBay and it seems Rapid Run hasn't even hit here yet. As such, even if you thought you were done with toy runs for a while, there seems to be plenty of new Energon making the rounds.

Due to all the names being tossed about, we'll be adding a checklist for Energon as part of 16bit.com Energon Week, more on that below.

--AP

And in other news...

Next week, we're taking a good long look at TransFormers Energon toys. Coming Monday is Strongarm, and we're also going to look at Battle Ravage, Optimus Prime, Skyblast, and more depending on what kind of time we have. Right now, it looks like 16bit.com will be attempting to cover as much of Energon as possible.

Meanwhile, Galactic Hunter will be getting reviews of the latest batch of Clone Wars including the super-posable Clone Trooper, the new Saesee Tiin, and the new Kit Fisto. As a bonus, we'll be reviewing the first issue of Return of the Jedi Infinities, so stay tuned for more on that!

--AP

Energon Week: Day 1
December 8 2003
Sale: 20% Off Any One Item at Toys "R" Us

In Sunday's paper was an advertising supplement for Toys "R" Us with a bundle of deals, the best of which (and really only notable one) was a coupon for 20% off any one item at the store-- excluding gift cards, video game hardware, diapers, and baby formula.

The coupon says it can be redeemed at the chain's Web site, but it appears they are limiting the 20% off discount to specific items, meaning if you were wanting a video game or a new Energon toy, you're out of luck. They do, however, have the Lord of the Rings Sauron available.

--AP

Review: Energon Strongarm;
Inferno, Ironhide Combo Photo

In the first installment of Energon Week we review TransFormers Energon Strongarm, a small jeep that changes to a robot and comes with a nice array of weaponry. It's a cheap toy, but it doesn't feel cheap. If such things interest you, be sure to check out today's review.

And for kicks, we decided to take the photo to the right to show you that the $10 Inferno does combine with the $20 Ironhide. The connecting pieces are the same on all Autobots that have the ability to combine, and as such, it would stand to reason that a lot of these toys have the ability to form a cybernetic freak as seen on the right. Also included in the photo for scale: Hasbro's Armada Powerlinx Hot Shot and Kabaya's Change Micron Bank.

--AP

Review: Clone Wars Clone Trooper

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review the new Clone Trooper, which may be the most articulated Star Wars figure ever. He has a single weapon, but can be posed to hold it in several different ways. Want to see more? Sure you do. To find out what makes this figure tick, go check out today's review!

--AP

And in other news...

Fans of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross were treated to the first of many joint appearances on Ron Howard's Fox sitcom, Arrested Development last night. They'll be on again next week, and probably some more after that. The show is amusing enough, so if you need something to watch on TV that is funny and not on HBO you might want to give this a try.

Tonight, an original movie entitled The Hebrew Hammer will be appearing on Comedy Central. Apparently it's Adam Goldberg as a Jewish hero out to stop the Santa Claus' evil son, portrayed here by Andy Dick. You might be asking "Why should I care?" Well, the movie itself isn't as interesting as the fact that the movie premieres on Comedy Central tonight... and opens theatrically in a couple of weeks. So if you're at home tonight with some time to kill, you can have the premiere in your own home, I guess.

--AP

Energon Week: Day 2
December 9 2003
New Joes

Yo Joe! added a bundle of new images from the latest releases of Valor vs. Venom. New figures and vehicles are now posted for your perusal, so you can see what kind of ninja action you've been missing out on.

--AP

Zelda Bonus Disc Arriving to Nintendo Power Subscribers

If you participated in Nintendo's Zelda Collector's Disc offer, you might have received a surprise in the mail today. Our copy of the disc arrived, and so far we've put in a few minutes in the first two NES Zelda titles. Except for one sound effect in the original game, these seem to be some of the most faithful ports I've ever seen from one console to another. It's most impressive, and as such, Zelda-philes should make it a point to snap this disc up post-haste. It's just that good.

--AP

New Bionicle Metru Nui Toys Released

Staying true to form, LEGO manages to sneak out more new releases just before the year ends.

You can find shots of the new figures, along with reviews and additional information, at Mask Of Destiny.

--AP

Hasbro Reveals Yet More Product

Due to unexpected illness, the review for Battle Ravage has been postponed. As such, you should go out and buy one as it's $7 well spent. As such, Day 2 for Energon Week is a bust.

Not surprisingly, Hasbro manages to sneak in yet another update at their Web site showing Alternators Silverstreak and Universe Skydive. For a couple of repaints, these aren't at all bad.

These weren't the only new images revealed today, as a tiger-stripe camo version of Ruination has showed up in the final packaging at TransFormers World 2005. It looks like more of the same, but fans of combining toys that haven't yet bought this set might enjoy the new paint job.

--AP

And in other news...

Things are a little sluggish at 16bit.com Central because, in a matter of understatement, I'm a little under the weather. As such, come back tomorrow for more features since today we were busy hacking up a lung.

So in case you were curious, The Hebrew Hammer is basically exactly as advertised-- low budget fairly decent Undercover Brother clone chock full of racial mirth. It may not be worth shelling out the scratch to see it in the theaters, but you do get to see Andy Dick for about ten minutes and a fairly funny gag in K-Mart. Oh, and Adam Goldberg passes around his own action figure at the top of the flick. Classy stuff.

Through vast research by way of the 16bit.couch, we discovered the fairly angry FOX sitcom Ned & Stacey is airing on the WE channel. It isn't Unhappily Ever After (and in all fairness, what is?) but it's a particularly odd sitcom that can be best compared to a train wreck, with lots of shouting and other awkwardness making it a surprisingly decent show to watch once in a while.

--AP

Energon Week: Day 3
December 10 2003
Review: Energon Strongarm;
Inferno, Ironhide Combo Photo

Our next Energon Week feature is the TransFormers Energon Battle Ravage. It's packaged in robot mode and turns into a nifty robotic jaguar. Check out the images in our review today!

Also, the final episodes of TransFormers Armada have been airing on Cart

--AP

Review: Clone Wars Kit Fisto

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review the new Kit Fisto, the first and so far only character from the Battle of Mon Calamari. To find out what makes this figure tick, go check out today's review!

--AP

Zelda: Four Swords Info

Been wondering what's happened to the in-limbo Tetra's Trackers and Four Swords GameCube/GameBoy Advance titles? Well, wonder no more, as GameSpot posted this article explaining they will be bundled together on a single disc to be released in Japan come February.

--AP

And in other news...

The Onion updated again today with its usual compliment of fun as well as reviews of some recently released comedy DVDs and a few other great features, so be sure to check it out.

Also, Scott Kurtz of PVP fame is doing a brief story for an upcoming issue of Star Wars Tales. A variety of eclectic cartoonists have contributed to this anthology series in the past, including Tony Millionare of Maakies and Sock Monkey fame. It's sure to be interesting, so stay tuned for that one.

--AP

More News And Stuff
December 11 2003
New Masters of the Universe Spotted

It appears Target stores that were not previously getting in Masters of the Universe are starting to carry the line again, with the likes of Shield Strike He-Man and the Ram-Man redeco indicating that one just missed a Roboto. As such, if you've been missing MOTU figures, now's a great time to go looking again.

--AP

More Super Link Images

TransFormers site Fan to Fan posted a bundle of images from the Japanese magazine Figure King with translated text explaining just who some of the characters that will appear in the cartoon are. If you want to see some of the characters that won't see plastic, be sure to check this out.

--AP

Nintendo Loyality Program to Launch

A story at GameSpot goes on detailing Nintendo's newest way to get into your wallets by offering free stuff. It also mentions on how the promotion went less-than-swimmingly in the UK, so be sure to check it out.

--AP

And in other news...

There was a mid-week update to Homestar Runner with a brand new Strong Bad email. Be sure to check it out.

Next, Comedy Central's The Daily Show will be having retired General Wesley Clark as a guest tonight. Apparently they figured out where the youth vote is.

Lastly, a report at Showbizdata.com indicates Jerry Seinfeld will be lending his voice to a character in an upcoming computer animated film about bees. Apparently insects are prime fodder for CG films, who knew?

--AP

New Turtles & More
December 12 2003
New G.I. Joe Bundles at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has a new bundle pack with two toys packaged together in a big plastic clamshell. This time, you get a 12" action figure and an extra accessory set for $9.96. It's a pretty good deal, if not for you, perhaps for a present for someone or even a toy drive.

--AP

Review: Energon Skyblast
Hasbro Answers Questions; Packaged Masterpiece Convoy

Our next Energon Week feature is the TransFormers Energon Skyblast. It's a vehicle of interstellar travel that turns into a robot that looks like the G1 cartoon character Skyfire. Check out the images in our review today!

Hasbro posted an Official Q&A yesterday responding to several fan concerns, such as if some Japan-only repaints are coming to the USA, and more on the future of Alternators. If you're interested, be sure to check it out.

Also, the infamous Remy has posted this preview gallery showing off the Japanese Masterpiece Convoy toy. It definitely sports a few differences from the American version, some of which may convince some fans to go the import route this time around.

Lastly, we made an update to our Energon Checklist that's been up for a few days now with the latest release information. If you haven't seen it, check it out, you may find it useful.

--AP

New Turtles Hit Wal-Mart

New armored versions of the green teens have hit Wal-Mart stores alongside a batch of transforming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There may be additional new product showing up as well, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these and other new releases.

--AP

Review: Clone Wars Saesee Tiin

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review the new Saesee Tiin, the second figure with pilot headgear from the Clone Wars and the only standard sized figure released this year with cloth parts. To find out what makes this figure tick, go check out today's review!

--AP

The Bots Just Keep On Coming
December 13 2003
Energon Releases Roll Out

A fine member of the 2005 Boards has posted boxed shots and a receipt of Scorponok and Tidal Wave, which is especially amusing as most people have yet to spot the first wave of Energon Ultra-sized toys which included Ultra Magnus and Tidal Wave. So, this means you also need to keep your peepers open for Starscream and all these other guys. Happy hunting.

We also picked up a sample of the Energon Saber and are quite pleased with it. Details to follow.

--AP

And in other news...

Welp, in the interests of writing something for both of our fine readers there was a nice extensive toy run tonight. And we didn't find jack. For the first time in a while, it seems there were actually no new toys in the stores. Fairly amazing, no?

More to come next week. We'll be doing an Energon saber review and because we're doing so many TransFormers, some other thing for a change. Not sure what. We'll probably post that schedule tomorrow.

--AP

A Hefty December Continues
December 14 2003
New Justice League Figures

DC Comics and cartoon fans will be happy to know that a newly packaged series of armored superhero action figures are starting to hit Wal-Marts around the country with yet another armored version of The Flash as well as other superheroes. Be sure to keep your eyes open for these as they are somewhat nifty.

--AP

Valor vs. Venom 12" Now Available

Individually carded large action figures of G.I. Joe and Cobra forces are now being released as part of the new Valor vs. Venom packaging scheme. The line seems to be entirely new releases so far, although not screamingly exciting ones.

Also, the 12" Snake Eyes vs. Stormshadow set is being bumped down at random stores, with most places charging under $18 and some under $15. For two large ninja toys, that's a fine deal.

--AP

Energon Jetfire at Target stores

Local Target stores in Arizona-- well, one really-- has started to receive the latest TransFormers toy line with samples of Jetfire and Ironhide on the shelves. As such, consider Target worth hitting on your toy runs if you haven't done so already.

--AP

And in other news...

This week, we'll be looking at the Energon Saber and the Playmobil Ghost Pirate, an oldie but a goodie. On Monday, we'll be reviewing the album Just Fred, a sort of an indie rock solo project from Fred Schneider of the B-52's and produced by Steve Albini.

Meanwhile, Galactic Hunter will be receiving reviews of Achk Med-Beq, R-3PO, and Imperial Dignitary Kren Blista-Vanee.

--AP

Just Fred
December 15 2003
New Tiny Tins TransFormers Mini-Cons

Cosmic Rust posted some shots of newly manufactured Mini-Con toys from the Hasbro/Tiny Tins partnership. This time around, though, it looks like we'll be getting some of the hard to get figures that were packaged with the Japanese Micron Legend DVDs which is sure to please the fans who didn't pay roughly $40 per disc/toy set. Of course, it also means that nothing is sacred in the world of exclusives, in case you already forgot that.

--AP

Review: Star Wars Kren Blista-Vanee

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review the second of two Imperial Dignitaries with Kren Blista-Vanee. This is an Imperial Dignitary from Return of the Jedi which, most likely, you wouldn't recognize as anything but some sort of purple robed Paul Revere clone. Regardless, if you're a fan of such things, you should go check out today's review!

--AP

Bargain Title, GameBoy Advance Game Sales

Toys "R" Us is marking a bunch of games down to $9.99 this week including the very popular Namco Museum and Pac-Man Collection titles, and even has a Konami Arcade collection and some other goodies too. If you need something to play while waiting in line for Return of the King or Trilogy Tuesday, this might be the thing for you.

Also, Target has a bundle of their $19.99 games down to $14. At the moment, we don't know if this includes the recently released Pac-Man World 2/Pac-Man Vs. disc. Various titles for Xbox, PlayStation2, and GameCube are marked down so if you need a cheap gift for somebody, there's a whole bunch to choose from here.

--AP

Dimetra Ptera Now Available

Zoids fans have yet another kit to be on the lookout for this holiday season, as we've spotted Dimetra Ptera at our local Wal-Mart stores. It's a nifty looking small set, which at the present time we are not opting to purchase for review.

--AP

And in other news...

After a brief break, today we take up another music review for the first time in months with a look at Fred Schneider's sophomore solo effort Just Fred. Producer Steve Albini lends a certain stream of indie cred to the pop icon's trashy-yet-unrefined pipes which are backed by a series of backup bands which include the folks who brought you the theme song to the comedy series The Kids in the Hall to members of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

The marathon screening of Peter Jackson's opus Lord of the Rings starts tomorrow at theaters nationwide, guaranteeing nearly 12 hours of sitting at wide-eyed awe and supposedly a surprise from New Line for those who made it to the screening. What could it be? Tasteful yet tacky shots of Arwen on a mechanical Warg? A guy in an Uruk-Hai suit and a santa hat who'll take fan wishes for the holidays? A restraining order? We'll find out for you when we go to the show on Tuesday!

--AP

New Leader of the Decepticons?
December 16 2003
Review: Energon Saber Mini-Cons Team

Our next Energon feature is the Energon Saber. This is the first of two known new sets of Mini-Cons to be released under Energon and is more or less a greatly revised version of 2002's Air Defense Team that was released under Armada. Want to know more and see some pictures? Check out today's review!

In a bit of a surprise, we found a Starscream over at a Toys "R" Us minutes before this update went up. As such, here's a quick preview. There were two at this store, along with two Inferno and two Hot Shot. A variety of other stores we checked with this assortment only received a giant store display with the two Autobots. No Rapid Runs are to be found it seems.

Lastly, we made a few more updates to our Energon Checklist. According to most valid sources on the Web, there are now a grand total of 16 products available under this banner with many, many more coming in the next few months.

--AP

G.I. Joe 12" Box Set at K-Mart

While it's news to us, it may not be news to you. K-Mart has a huge $60 set that includes 4 12" Joe figures and two vehicles for $59.99. This appears to be exclusive and as large as if not larger than the recent Gold Optimus Prime box. If you've got a kid to spoil, this would do the trick.

--AP

And in other news...

There's a new Strong Bad Email over at Homestar Runner. It's pretty cool.

--AP

Return of the King Opens
December 17 2003
Report from Trilogy Tuesday

Yesterday was Trilogy Tuesday where select movie theaters showed the entire Lord of the Rings series, without trailers, all in a row. While you've seen the first two films, rest assured the final one is a great ride and is sure to entertain with elements of a supernatural nature as well as scores of battles and even a flashback sequence to show the origins of Gollum. If you haven't bought tickets yet, go do so now.

For attendees of Trilogy Tuesday, a special collectible was handed out from Sideshow Weta Collectibles-- a little statue with three small frames of film in it. Since it's nearly 3 AM and there is work to go to tomorrow, pictures and a review will have to wait for another day, but rest assured it's a nice freebie and, at the moment, we are unsure if it's exclusive to the theaters showing the films.

--AP

Review: Star Wars Achk Med-Beq

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review the second of two faux-Republic officials with Achk Med-Beq. As a head swap of another figure, and just a cameo, it's a collector's-only toy. Since it's a good one, you should go check out today's review... even though this is the voice of Jar Jar Binks!

--AP

TransFormers Energon Scorponok, Alternators Silverstreak Photos

Cosmic Rust posted shots of the new Scorponok toy just now hitting stores, and Tformers.com posted some shots of Silverstreak from Alternators, otherwise known merely as Streak in Japan.

--AP

Trilogy Tuesday Collectible
December 18 2003
Review: Lord of the Rings Film Frame Collectible

While it was known New Line was handing out a freebie at the showings of all three LOTR movies this past Tuesday, nobody was really sure what it was. The Lord of the Rings Film Frame Collectible is the freebie this time around, and we look at it in today's review.

Each one is unique, as the film frames included are one-of-a-kind, or so we're told. The exact run of these pieces is unknown, but gosh darn it, it is neat.

--AP

G.I. Joe Extreme Archive Updated at Yo Joe!

Yo Joe! added a great feature on the old unproduced Extreme line. While the line itself wasn't exactly a fan favorite, this feature does shed some light on what might have been... but mercifully, wasn't. Apparently at least one of the unmade vehicles was released in the Funskool line from India, which is one of the many interesting facts you can find in this feature.

--AP

Energon Showing Up More

While we can only speak of stores around Phoenix, we're glad to report Target and Kay-Bee are receiving more Energon TransFormers. Also, it appears each Toys "R" Us is getting a single case of deluxe figures, which seems to mean two Starscream figures per case alongside three each of Inferno and Hot Shot. We saw what appears to be a complete case today alongisde several incomplete ones.

Many, many reports of Alternators Smokescreen are surfacing as well, but we have yet to see them in person.

Cosmic Rust posted shots of the new Energon Perceptor Mini-Cons set today, so be sure to check that out.

Lastly, Dreamwave's TransFormers G.I. Joe #4 came out today, so be sure to hit your local comic shop if you need to pick that one up.

--AP

And in other news...

With the film frame from Lord of the Rings we've delayed the Playmobil Ghost Pirate to next week. We'll also be posting a feature on Energon Starscream when we get some more time with it.

So apparently next week is ghost week, I guess.

--AP

Trilogy Tuesday Collectible
December 19 2003
Energon Rapid Run found at Target

While we've seen numerous Starscreams at Toys "R" Us stores, we haven't seen any evidence of Rapid Run here in Arizona until tonight where several were spotted at a local Target store. As such, extend your hunts accordingly.

The toy itself is a fairly ornate repaint of the Armada Sideways toy, although the packaging-- like many late 2003 TransFormers-- shows the original toy on the back, not the repaint. As an added bonus, the toy is mistransformed on the back as well.

--AP

Revision: Lord of the Rings Film Frame Collectible

Yesterday we reviewed the Lord of the Rings Film Frame Collectible and it seems 24 hours makes a big difference on the going rate of this item on eBay. We updated our review accordingly.

--AP

Zoids Energy Liger Now Available

Reader Richard wrote in today telling us not only that he spotted the new Energy Liger kit from Hasbro at his Target in Lakewood, WA, but also that there's an interesting price problem which we confirmed at a Phoenix store (partially.) The toy scans at $0.00. He asked his store clerks to verify this, and after checking it on their scanners he was sold the item for a nice low $7.48.

Thanks for the tip, Richard!

--AP

Review: Star Wars R-3PO

Today at Galactic Hunter, I review the first of many 2004 figures with R-3PO. Sure, it's a repaint with new arms, but it's a pretty fantastic looking toy that's sure to please fans of droids. Don't miss today's review... this is a great figure, folks!

--AP

Scorponok
December 20 2003
Energon Scorponok, Tidal Wave found at Target

The new Ultra assortment of Energon toys has hit Target stores around Phoenix, bringing two of the three toys to shelves. No sightings of the case with Ultra Magnus have been known to have been made locally.

Of particular note, the artwork on the packaging for Scorponok is colored like the Japanese release of this toy, Mega Zarak, and not like Scorponok. The Scorponok coloration seems to be how the toy will be colored, while the cartoon character, the posters of the character, and the Japanese toy will be colored the other way. If you absolutely must have the other version, which we must say is pretty darned nice, visit HobbyLink Japan. MSRP is 3980 Yen, which translates to about $37 in US funds.

More on these later.

--AP

Zoids Zi-Comm Glove Now Available

Now showing up at some Target stores is the Zi-Comm Glove, a device that you wear as a glove that interacts with select Zoids Action Figures. It includes a black and gold repaint of the Shield Liger and costs $14.99. At this time, it did not appear worth purchasing for review.

--AP

And in other news...

Satellite News is reporting that Mystery Science Theater 3000's own Mike Nelson will be contributing commentary to a few upcoming Legend Films DVD releases, including Reefer Madness come April 20. Little other information is currently available, but this has been confirmed a few places and seems like a neat idea.

Next week on Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Al Gore and Ian McKellen. Last night, Bill O'Reilly was on in a segment that's hard to describe, so catch the repeat on Comedy Central if you can. Note I didn't say it was good.

--AP, thanks to EK

Alternators Out
December 21 2003
Alternators Smokescreen found at Target

After hitting Japan a few months earlier with a variant, more paint, and die-cast metal, America's own Alternators Smokescreen has made it to America. There's one marked #7 and one #8 in Japan, and we got #8 for now, with word on the street saying the other version is due out in 2004.

The bottom of the box shows the next Alternators release, Sideswipe. While there are reports on the Web of his US release being available now, these are suspect. This sample was $19.99 at Target.

While I have not seen the Japanese version, I can safely say the US version is gorgeous and a nice piece at half the price of the import. There's a lot of metalized parts, opening doors, a pop-open hood with a visible engine, and more. Truly, this is a fine toy.

--AP

And in other news...

Boy howdy, it's been a good week for new stuff to write about. On Monday, we're looking at the Lord of the Rings Ringwraith minibust. On Tuesday, the Energon Starscream, and on Thursday, the Playmobil Ghost Pirate. (Not to be confused with the Halloween Ghost Pirate.)

Since it's a holiday week, we'll be cutting back our Star Wars output with one review on Monday, the Wampa. Be sure to check it out.

--AP

Week of the Dead
December 22 2003
TransFormers News Round-up

Looks like another sample of 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime has hit Asia. The American version was posted in and out of its box over at this thread at TFClub.com. Of note: the gun is still grey, Hasbro said it would be changed to black; the smokestacks are shortened; the toy has dirt (as promised) and yellow detailling (that was not as promised.) Be sure to check it out.

Last week, Hasbro posted another Q&A explaining reissues, the long-term availability of Energon Treadbolt, and some fun facts about the Alternators.

Another post at TFClub.com has dozens of shots of the unpainted Autobot Hound prototype from Alternators. Pretty. There's also a thread with many shots of Energon Arcee.

--AP

Review: Fellowship of the Ring Ringwraith Minibust

The latest arrival at the offices of 16bit.com, a Lord of the Rings Ringwraith Minibust which we decided you'd like to take a look at. Several images of the item and its packaging appear in today's review. While it has no moving parts and can't be played with, it does look most excellent on a shelf and is a very hefty, nicely sized item.

--AP

Review: Star Wars Wampa;
Toon Figures Found

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at the first batch of Ultra Star Wars figures with the marvelous Wampa toy. It's a brand-new sculpt and has a little display that connects to another figure, and offers a lot of fun play value at a fairly low price. And, more importantly, it's a figure that comes with some food. Don't miss today's review!

Also, in case you care, we spotted the animated Clone Wars action figures at a local Target store today. They are, of course, exclusive to the store and appear to be evenly packed in a case of 12. If you're looking for these, let the hunt continue.

--AP

And in other news...

On Tuesday, we're going to be adding another ghoulish item that's also holiday themed. You'll have to be here tomorrow to see it, of course, and our previously announced Tuesday feature has been bumped to Wednesday.

PVP Online, a great online comic, reprinted the out-of-print PVP Vol. 1 #4 to their Web site for your reading amusement. These strips were not part of the regular storyline, so if you don't own this particular book, these should be new to you.

--AP

"We Wish You'd Bury The Missus..."
December 23 2003
New Old-Style Godzilla Coming to DVD

Didn't get enough of Godzilla with Godzilla 2000? Well, new movies on the green lizard from Japan have been made in the land of the rising sun over the past few years in a barely updated version of the style that made the films famous nearly 50 years ago. Goofy dubs and cheesy costumes are still on the menu in 2001's Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack which comes to DVD in early January and, because we love you, we found you an early review at DVDReview.com.

--AP

Boxed Energon Landmine

The 2005 boards have gotten ahold of a boxed Landmine. It looks pretty iffy in the box, but hey, be sure to check it out.

--AP

Batman Kubricks in the USA

For $24.99 at your local Suncoast (or perhaps Media Play and/or Sam Goody) you can now find a five-back of Medicom's Batman Kubricks. You get Batman, Robin, The Scarecrow, Batgirl, and Mr. Freeze in a nice window box with a big flap. It seems to be a nice piece and a nice alternative to the blind-boxed toys that seem to be imported these days.

--AP

MTV Spider-Man Figures Available

We've spotted MTV Spider-Man figures at our local Suncoast store for $11.99 each. The Spider-Man comes in a huge package with a lot of extras, but isn't as posable as his cheaper movie- or comic-based counterparts. The sculpt is nice, though, and this seems to be a great piece worth checking out.

--AP

And in other news...

Because we hate ourselves, today we look at the Tales from the Crypt Christmas CD Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas. From Charlie McCarthy to Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, people have gone against their better judgment and purchased and/or listened to puppeteers do their craft without actually doing their craft, and this is one of those efforts that makes you wonder "why did they make this?" and, more importantly, "why am I listening to it?" If you still need a last-minute gift idea for someone you don't like, check out today's review.

If you haven't been by lately, go visit The Neurotic Eclectic. Our pals updated with some fairly amusing new content which is sure to delight and amuse at least two of you, so be sure to visit them today.

--AP

New Releases Keep On Comin'
December 24 2003
Review: Energon Starscream;
No Trailer for US 20th Prime

Today we look at the TransFormers Energon Starscream toy. Hasbro describes the character as an "Energon ghost," which his stats and a few things in his appearance hint at. How can a robot be a ghost? Well, it defies logic, but it isn't unprecedented, as most fans of TransFormers know. Read today's review for more pics and commentary!

The infamous Remy of Remy's TransFormers has purchased and posted shots of the American 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime toy. While the Japanese one has a cardboard trailer, it appears our version doesn't. Gentlemen, contact your importers and order at will.

--AP

New Doo

Many Target stores are receiving new Scooby Doo figure two-packs. Each set includes Scooby with a variant head and a new villain action figure in the smaller, 4" scale. Each set is about six bucks and yes, there is a pirate figure available.

Like previous releases, these are based on the cartoon designs and not that of the upcoming film. Which, no doubt, these exist to promote.

--AP

Seinfeld DVD News

Numerous stories around the Web today are talking about the upcoming DVD release of Seinfeld. The good news? There's a targeted release date, December 2004 for Season One. The bad? The three cast members who don't have their names in the title are opting out of participating in the extras, mainly because it seems they don't get a cut of the sales. Makes sense to us. Negotiations are apparently going to continue, though, early in 2004.

--AP

Spider-Man 2 Figures Available?

We're still looking for further information, but a reader has told us he found an 18" Spider-Man figure from the upcoming movie sequel boasting more articulation than we've ever heard a toy having before. Reportedly, it was at a Wal-Mart that broke street date, as it supposedly has a street date on the case it ships in. More as it develops.

--AP

More Pokemon Toys Coming

Also spotted at Target-- a trend today-- were two-packs of small figures from Pokemon Advanced. Some were very, very small... just like the audience for the show and the market for the toys. Check your local store for further information and availability.

--AP

And in other news...

We also spotted Knights of the Zodiac action figures from BanDai at a local Target today. We are not impressed, but they may appeal to fans of the show. The older figures seem nicer.

Yes Virginia, there will be an update tomorrow. Come back for more. In case you didn't know, it's quite common for there to be a lot of new toy releases right before and right after Christmas. Why? We don't know, but it's been happening for as far back as we can remember. Right now, we're jonesin' for an Energon Ultra Magnus.

--AP

Clearances Start Early (Oh, and Happy Holidays)
December 25 2003
Armada: Clearanced

As expected, Target stores are now clearing out a number of toy lines at 30% off. All TransFormers Armada toys are being blown out as of yesterday, and the one store we managed to visit was actually fairly picked over with only Mini-Cons and a number of Smokescreen toys remaining... at $6 and change, it's a decent enough toy to be worthwhile.

Selection and pricing will probably vary by store. We also saw a lone Alternators Smokescreen remaining, so it's a good time to go hunting.

Lastly, you can probably guess that Target will not be the only store clearing out the older toys. As such, keep your eyes peeled, and let us know if you find anything good. Some Wal-Marts knocked down their toys earlier, as we have personally spotted $10 toys marked down to $4 at one local store.

--AP

Zoids: Clearanced, Too

Target also appears to be marking down all their Zoids. Already marked down was the Gojulas Giga, and now it seems each and every product has joined him, including the brand new Dimetra Ptera kit and the Fuzor Dragon figure. Zoids fans, hit a Target.

--AP

Playmobil: Clearanced, Too, Also

Target knocked down the prices on numerous US-exclusive sets, bringing the prices down fairly cheap. If you're a fan, go and get some.

--AP

And in other news...

Our final entry in this accidental ghost week, the Ghost Pirate from Playmobil, will go up tomorrow. Why not today? Well, had to save something for Friday.

--AP

Avast
December 26 2003
Review: Playmobil Patch-Eye Pirate

We finish up our look at ghostly items this week with a glimpse at 1999's fantastic Playmobil Patch-Eye Pirate (a.k.a. Ghost Pirate.) As it's a Playmobil figure, you pretty much know what to expect but we find it amusing and clever as a toy anyway. Be sure to check it out in today's review!

--AP

X-Men: X2 Toys at Jack in the Box

While it may not be news, it was news to us. Jack in the Box fast food eateries are now offering X-Men 2 toys with their kid's meals. At this time, we were not able to locate a URL with additional information but if you live near one, you can probably find out everything you need to know by dropping right in.

--AP

TransFormers Super-Link Japanese Exclusives

While it was known that Japan would be receiving some of our toys with different paint jobs, it appears they're also receiving an exclusive clear Energon spear at a certain store. Find out more at Fan2Fan, which posted an image and additional information.

Also, the first toys were released in Japan, and Fan2Fan has more information on those, as well as some amusing differences between the US and Japanese releases.

--AP

And in other news...

It's the day after Christmas, which means it's a great day for toy runs. Be sure to hit a store if you're out today and see what you can find in the clearance racks!

Also amusing and notable, on Christmas Eve after our update, I hit a K-Mart and was surprised to see a large number of Valentine's Day items lining the shelves already. So for everybody saying it's Christmas that always shows up too early, it appears we now have yet another holiday attempting to steal that crown.

--AP

More Clearances
December 27 2003
TransFormers Clearance Report

The Target clearance prices seem to be the same everywhere, roughly 30% off of everything with most of the really neat stuff having long sold out with Mini-Cons and Smokescreen remaining. Of course, this is based on only a few stores in on state, your mileage will vary.

Wal-Mart, on the other hand, had many interesting things, including a surprise return of the Dinobots sets from earlier this year marked down to a fairly cheap $7. Also marked down: Optimus Prime (Superbases) $30, Supercons (Smokescreen, Hot Shot, etc.) $7, Mini-Cons $5, Maxcons (Scavenger, with or without bonus Mini-Cons, etc.) $15. Please note Wal-Mart clearance prices often vary by store, so a few miles down the road may be an entirely different story. Also, the available Unicron toys we saw were marked $42.76-- normal price for the store.

Case in point: roughly a month ago, one Wal-Mart had the exclusive Mini-Cons special value packs (2 3-packs of the toys) at $4, while tonight, the store we checked still had them at $9.96.

Fun Fact: The clearance tag for the Dinobots used a preproduction name for the toys, namely Slag and Slugfest. The actual release names for this set were Slag and Sludge, both of which were the same names used for classic Dinobot toys.

--AP

LEGO Markdowns

Both Target and Wal-Mart have knocked down their LEGO sets as well, with Target marking their clearance stock down about 30% and Wal-Mart at 25%. This, again, is based on only a few local reports so you'll be needing to check your local store(s) for selection and pricing.

--AP

Lord of the Rings Markdowns

Recently, Wal-Marts received numerous cases containing Return of the King Eomer, Gollum, Frodo in armor, Sam in armor, Eowyn, and more. At our local store, all of these are now marked down to an even $5.

--AP

Still More Clearances
December 28 2003
NewsRadio DVD Delay Explained

The fine folks behind TVShowsOnDVD posted this story explaining the delay. The short version: no confirmed date, but more extras are being added.

--AP, thanks to EK

More Zoids Markdowns

While Target seems to have their product marked down 30% or more, Wal-Mart is now apparently doing the exact same thing. Items are roughly 30% off, with the likes of Gojulas Giga down to $35 and some of the smaller toys marked down to fairly decent prices, too.

--AP

Spider-Man 2 Toys Definitely In Stores

While we didn't like the ones we saw enough to buy them, we did personally spot at least three assortments of toys based on the webslinger's sequel in stores. Included are the basic action figure assortment (just under $7 at Wal-Mart and Target), Spider-Man web shooter refill kits ($6.20 at Wal-Mart), and a large rotocast hollow plastic Spider-Man ($9.76 at Wal-Mart). So true believers, you best be checking the stores for these.

--AP

New X-Men Assortment Arriving

Also showing up at some local Target stores is a new X-Men assortment including a super-posable Wolverine, a Gambit, what seems to be a movie Wolverine, and a Cyclops. Price around $7.

--AP

Freak: Simpsons Clearance

It seems a few local Targets are clearing out their Simpsons action figures and playsets. This is particularly notable as the stores at which they were spotted didn't really carry these figures during the holiday season, and this was a slightly older assortment that included the likes of Stephen Hawking. If you've got holes to plug in your collection of our favorite family, now's a good time to go looking.

--AP

Yet More Lord of the Rings Markdowns

Target stores have 12" Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn in Return of the King packaging marked down on clearance. This is particularly interesting as 12" ROTK product didn't seem to be especially common this holiday season.

--AP

And in other news...

This week at 16bit.com, we'll be looking at a Star Trek bust of Gorn, the lizard alien Captain Kirk fought with on that one episode. We're also going to be looking at a wind-up toy Godzilla Egg from 1988. (It's cute.) Other items, if any, are TBA.

At Galactic Hunter, we'll be looking at the comic Star Wars Empire #15 which was released out-of-sequence, and also at the animated Clone Wars action figure for Anakin Skywalker. Q&A will return next week, questions willing.

The most surprising thing about this holiday clearance season-- especially compared to last year-- is that there isn't much to be had. For TransFormers, there's a lot of Mini-Cons and an army of unsold Smokescreen toys. There's far fewer LEGO items on the markdown pile, mainly because a lot were blown out in late Fall. It seems stores were a lot smarter with their ordering in 2003, and the empty shelves at the likes of Kay-Bee and Target stores in our neighborhood really seem to prove it.

Lastly, if you've made it this far, check your local Sears store for their clearance toy sections. Items are 50% off if any are left, and there were some pretty nice toys sent to the fairly small toy section including Star Wars, TransFormers, Batman, Lord of the Rings, and a lot more.

--AP

More Good Goodies
December 29 2003
Review: Clone Wars Animated Anakin Skywalker

Today at Galactic Hunter we look at the first batch of Animated Clone Wars figures with the marvelous Anakin Skywalker action figure. It's a little more expensive than other figures, but it looks quite striking and is sure to please even some of the most cynical collectors. If you're looking for something different and are a fan of Star Wars, don't miss today's review!

Also, we spotted the new Toys "R" Us Exclusive Jedi Warriors set today at an area Toys "R" Us. $19.99, 4 figures, one accessory, and not very exciting.

Target stores have their basic Star Wars and Clone Wars figures down to about $3.50, and some stores have the very newest assortments in great quantitity. If you're missing a few figures or feel like getting a few more, check your phone book and run to your local stores.

--AP

Energon Unicron (Not) Spotted

In a bit of a freak sighting, we saw five Energon Unicron boxes at a Toys "R" Us today. However, inside those boxes were Armada Unicron toys. The boxes looked relatively untampered with, and as such, it is not known if this is a common thing, a fluke, or a very good example of how someone has managed to steal a new toy from a store.

As such, we don't have a packaged sample to show you today, although this and the next news item are good reasons to carry around a digital camera at all times.

--AP

New Lord of the Rings In New Packaging

A real surprise tonight was a sighting of the new King Aragorn figure at Wal-Mart. The real surprise was that it was $4.96 and on a brand new, much smaller cardback that's far less ornate than previous LOTR toys. It's unknown if this new packaging, which is just a basic cardback and rectangular bubble, the kind you may be used to seeing on their current Spider-Man line based on the comics. Also notable: Aragorn had a painted beard, but unpainted moustache.

--AP

And in other news...

As it's a real oddity and from a favorite band, today we're going to review the soundtrack to Richard Elfman's Forbidden Zone. Featuring music from Oingo Boingo (headed by Danny Elfman) and featuring a number of older songs from the 1920's, this is a real oddity that fans of If you've seen the movie, or even if you haven't, you might want to check out today's review.

Mr. Show fans should be happy to know David Cross is going on tour yet again. At this time, we were unable to find a schedule of tour dates but he does seem to be making a few stops, so check your local comedy clubs for additional information.

--AP

Choose Your Prime
December 30 2003
Review: Star Trek Gorn Bust

Today, we present our very first review of a Star Trek product with this Gorn Bust. Why they made a Gorn bust, we can't be sure, but it looks like a really good replica of a crappy rubber mask from a 1960's sci-fi TV series, and this isn't meant as damning praise-- it looks really great. Be sure to check it out in today's review!

--AP

Japanese/US Versions of 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime/Convoy Available

Who says these choices are easy? Right now, you can order the US version of Optimus Prime which is confirmed as in stock for $74.99 plus shipping ($4.99) at Big Bad Toy Store. If you want the Japanese version, named Masterpiece Convoy, it's in stock for $98.00 plus shipping ($9 or more) at NCS. Other people have it too, but we don't get ads from anybody and frankly, NCS has been a good source for information on weird Japanese toys and games and stuff.

The US version, while cheaper, has shorter smokestacks and a dirty paint job. The Japanese one seems to have a cardboard trailer and a booklet of some sort that is not included in the US release. Aside from this, the toys seem to be identical, but we'll have more to share as either we or someone else reports on it.

We will be reviewing Masterpiece Convoy in the very near future. It may or may not be worth the $25+ premium, but for the cardboard trailer, we were curious enough to bite. (We're kinda stupid that way.)

For those keeping track, there have been three different Optimus Prime toys released since November in the USA, and three more in Japan that are each a little different than the ones we got here.

--AP

Justice League Bikes

Because Mattel wanted to prove the fanboys wrong, now they're releasing motorcycles for Justice League with non-removable figures. Now you can get The Flash, who is supposedly super-fast... on a motorcycle. Several others are available as well, and these are primarily hitting Targets right now.

--AP

More Spider-Man 2 Toys

Not only are action figures shipping, but some large action figures are showing up (as reported earlier) as well as plush toys and other typical Spidey novelties. As always, keep your eyes on Targets and Wal-Marts as they seem to be getting the most new stuff in first.

Of particular note is the new super-posable Spider-Man, which we haven't seen yet but we're assured it rocks. The $7 figure boasts 48 points of articulation. 48. Yowza.

--AP

More New Scooby-Doo

It appears the cartoon toy line is getting a virtual relaunch. Target stores are getting several new products, including a new "Mystery Solving Team" set with the four kids and a new version of Scooby with pop-out eyes, similar to the old Ghostbusters Fright Features toys. The set of five figures is a very cheap $9.99, but of course the van and villains will cost you extra.

--AP

Out with the old...
December 31 2003
Freaks and Geeks DVD Greenlighted

The show that featured talent from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and created by someone behind The Ben Stiller Show and Mr. Show is apparently now coming to DVD. The show's official site posted this letter to fans, and of course TVShowsOnDVD.com posted a report as well.

Why do we care? Aside from the fact it's an entertaining show, we also believe it to be the only prime-time show to reference the Micronauts. Previous reports on this series said it would be priced out of this world due to soaring music licensing costs, but at this time we were lazy and therefore unable to find a price to share with the rest of the class.

--AP

G1 Spychangers Available at (some) Kay-Bee stores

A number of smaller TransFormers molds known as Spy Changers (previously called Go-Bots during Generation 2) have been repainted and released as characters from the original series. As such, you can now find Optimus Prime, Hoist, Jazz, and others for about $4, and now in convinient Hot Wheels-sized packages. Note: all of these are repaints, and we have yet to confirm they're showing up ourselves.

--AP

Shatner's Back

Numerous outlets are reporting that William Shatner is recording and releasing a new album. Consider yourself either warned or informed... odds are we'll be covering this more as it develops. Reported guest musicians include Ben Folds and Henry Rollins... so this really is something for everyone.

At this time, we have no release date.

--AP

Don't forget...

As it's New Year's Eve, surely you're going to have a great time with friends and/or loved ones. But if you're spending a quiet night in with loved ones, or perhaps by yourself with your good friend Jack Daniels, there's a marathon of Adult Swim programming on Cartoon Network tonight. Check your listings, blah blah blah.

--AP

And in other news...

Kill Bill wave 1 figures from Neca are now confirmed to include: The Bride, Go Go, three Crazy 88 figures (variant heads), and O-Ren Ishii. Teaser images available at Neca Online.

Word on the street is that Wizards of the Coast is closing its retail stores of the same name as well as its Game Keeper stores which we've come to love at malls the country over for as far back as can be remembered. Apparently, it's hard to compete with the game and puzzle aisle of Toys "R" Us.

Come back tomorrow for whatever news we can dig up and an extended look at a nifty Godzilla toy that's about 16 years old. More would be up today, but the offices are currently experiencing problems with our wireless network and we hope to have that back to normal shortly.

For both of our readers, we'd like to extend a thank you for sticking with us and our four consecutive months of daily postings which, for anyone who's followed the site, knows this is a record.

--AP

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