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Happy New Year
January 3 2006
More Playmobil Previews

With a little moxie and elbow grease, we found links to lots of new, never-before-seen (by us and likely you too) Playmobil sets for 2006. New divers. New pirates. And a plumber. AWESOME.

5570 Female Diver with Shark (Target exclusive?)
5772 Pals Pirate Rico
3326 Jey Ski Racer
5768 Farmer's Tractor

We're VERY fond of the diver set, what with the fish, eel, and shark.

Also, six new specials are coming! These are: Cleopatra, Pirate with braided beard, Gladiator in blue armor, Indian with crest of feathers, Plumber, and a new Mermaid. Pieces of note: the plumber has a full tool set, a plunger, and a sink. Sounds like a good mix! There are also images of four Halloween specials. These include: Vampire, brown mummy, black ghost, and kids in costumes. We're VERY happy for the Dracula reissue.

We found what seems to be the complete 2006 French catalog on the German official site, which is easy to navigate. New things of note: a soccer (futbol) collection that seems to have individually articulated legs, as well as all the gardening and beach sets we reported earlier.

Finally, we're seeing a large number of reissues on eBay of various western sets from-- we think-- the '70s with some upgraded bits. We're confused, but are searching for more information. Just search on ebay for "western playmobil" and prepare yourself for a shocker, as these are obviously new packaged toys and not the originals. We're assuming reissues from Argentina, but still, wow.

--AP

Clearances at Target, Continued

While your mileage will vary, we noticed prices dropping more on clearance toys in the LA area. So you can find stuff for 50% off or more if you're clearance toy hunting, which is good, as we're cheap too. We're hoping Target stores will get in new product soon too, as the aisles we see are more or less completely empty. (No Star Wars, no Playmobil, no Transformers, no thanks.)

--AP

Technical Difficulties

Due to fun surrounding the new year and technical difficulties, we'd like to apologize to those of you who visit this site daily for your dose of amusing factoids of dubious value. We don't expect another outage in the near future, but then again, if people expected the unexpected outages that'd kinda defeat the point of unforseen technical difficulties.

Normal updates should appear the morning of January 6.

--AP

We Heart Post-Holiday Reset
January 6 2006
Review: Star Wars TransFormers Darth Vader

As we couldn't decide if it were best suited to Galactic Hunter as it's a Star Wars toy, or 16bit.com as it's a Transformers toy, we decided to split the difference and post it at both. Is the new merger of these two mega-brands all it's cracked up to be? Is it as bad as they say? We don't think so. But read today's review and see if we're full of it, as we find these to be nice little toys.

--AP

New Mass Market Playmobil A-Plenty

Oh, is it hunting season. Target stores are resetting, and in the process they're getting loads of new Playmobil. Some of it is brand new, some of it has been previewed here from eBay and elsewhere, and some of it is repackaged versions of crap you bought ages ago. On the left, you can see the new "5770 Diver with Shark", a nice set that'll set you back $6.99. You get a diver, and a shark. Oh, and some coral, an eel, two fish, and some other sea plant things. Ours is still in the box at press time but you get the idea.

There were also six new "Pals" available for $1.99 each. We bought three. From left to right: 5772 Pirate Rico, 4644 Dragon Warrior, 4673 Surfer. So far we have cracked open Pirate Rico and the Surfer, both of which are neat for different reasons. Pirate Rico is notable for having a clearly visible "Playmobil Funpark" tampo on his back, which we will show in a future update. Also we get a kick out of Dragon Warrior, namely because there are NO DRAGONS anywhere near the toy. That and it's named after a classic NES game. The other new Pals include 4639 Magnificent Lady, 4643 Brave Prince, and another one we not only forgot but neglected to write down. It's a girl on a pony but we don't have the name handy. (A Playmobil Pals checklist is a future project for the site.)

Many other new sets were available at Target as well, including a "Farm House" that takes the existing "Doll House" and "Christmas House" molds from 2005 and retrofits it into a complete Farm play area. It has the typical Farm swag and as such we did not find it to be especially appealing.

--AP

Bonus Cybertron Toys

Fans of Transformers are in for a treat as a number of bonus packs are out there clamoring for your dollars. In this corner, Wal-Mart's six new Mini-Con bonus packs. As reported earlier, for $9.96, you get a nifty window-boxed toy with a bonus tin and Mini-Con. Not as reported before, there's more to these than just a yellow-to-pink color swap-- these Mini-Cons are a dark purplish blue instead of grey, and just different enough to make you mad. Seeing as how both Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us are offering $9.97 or less double-packs of these and other deluxe Cybertron toys (through Wave 3, so anything pre-Armada remold), though, most customers will probably find these Mini-Con bonus sets to be less than a stellar value. As seen here, we snagged Thundercracker, and may snag a Dirt Boss as we have yet to get one. We very much like the packaging and figure if anyone gives a crap about Cybertron down the road, these will be neat items to have as they're boxed rather than carded.

Scout-size bonus packs with the entire line through wave 4 can be found at Kay-Bee (and reportedly elsewhere) for $9.99. As it goes through the Backstop/Brushguard/Street Speed Team/Wreckloose wave, many of you may find it worth your while to make an effort to track these down.

We're also having many sightings of the Alternators 2006 Wave 1, with Tracks, Sunstreaker, Skids, and Prowl. (More surprisingly, we're also seeing rogue Decepticharges here and there from last year's assortments.) As such, happy hunting!

--AP

G.I. Joe Sigma Six "Soldiers" at Target

While prices apparently vary, we spotted the Sigma Six "Soldier Assortment" (read: cheaper figures) the other night at Target for $11.99 per. (And last night too. They're around.) We purchased a Ninja B.A.T. and we're not quite sure if we like it or not yet-- for the price, leaning toward "no." It does have some mighty fine accessories, it's just the grapple-arm thing that bugs us. Still, it's Cobra, and we sure do like our Cobra figures.

--AP

Meet the new boss: LEGO Mindstorms Redux

Enthusiasm is infectious, and apparently, profitable. Over at Wired, there's an article about American Mindstorms fans paying their way to Denmark to work on developing this year's seemingly quite nifty Mindstorms revamp. It's called Geeks in Toyland, and despite the title it's a pretty good read. (As precious few fans get to go talk to toy companies at their HQ about their wares, and fewer still get to brag about it to the press.)

--AP

New Stuff at Entertainment Earth: Viper Lockdown, Battle of Coruscant, Mini-Cons

Do you want to see the breakdowns of all the Battle of Coruscant cases and then some? Well, you're in luck. Check these nasty suckers out, or skip it as you aren't here to buy crap.

HS85770C1, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 3 Rev. 1, $79.99
HS85770C2, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 3 Rev. 2, $79.99
HS85770C3, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 3 Rev. 3, $79.99
HS85770D, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 4, $79.99
HS85770D1, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 4 Rev. 1, $79.99
HS85770D2, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 4 Rev. 2, $79.99
HS85770D3, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 4 Rev. 3, $79.99
HS85770D5, Star Wars Saga Collection Action Figures Wave 4 Rev. 5, $79.99
HS85768B2, Star Wars Unleashed Battle Pack Wave 2 Rev. 1, $69.99
HS85772A2, Star Wars Transformers Wave 1 Rev. 2, $69.99
HJ61874C, G.I. Joe Viper Lockdown Action Figure Case, $299.99
HJ61874CC, G.I. Joe Viper Lockdown Action Figure Set, $21.99
HT81139C1, Transformers Cybertron Mini-Con 2-Packs Wave 3 Rev. 1, $71.99
HT81139C11, Transformers Cybertron Mini-Con 2-Packs Waves 2 and 3 Set, $41.99

Plus, Winter sale, blah blah blah take it Dave.

--AP

Pain, Thy Name Is Radio

Because we hate ourselves, we decided to listen to the two new morning hosts that rose up in the wake of the post-Stern FM markets, Adam Carolla (who we very much enjoyed on Loveline during High School and a little beyond), and David Lee Roth, who we enjoy for having some of the more amusing coked-up transcripts from the "Us Festival." In case you didn't know, you can stream Diamond Dave online, or download, stream, or whatever Adam Carolla. You may be asking yourself, "hmm, do I want to do that?"

Our expert advice would be to say "well, what else do you have to do today?" (Or "if you don't have NPR...")

--AP

They Just Love Goldfish
January 9 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. We start Q&A off with a bang-- the same 10-question bang you're used to!

--AP

New Cybertron Assortments, Double Clutch, Aaron Archer's Desk, & Credit Where It's Due

Over at The Allspark, you can see images of Doubleclutch-- aka Cybertron Override Repaint. (Of note, it gives us credit for announcing it-- we didn't really, it was actually posted at Entertainment Earth as one of many new assortments, see below for more on that. We did, however, post the assortments to Entertainment Earth, so you can thank us for that one.)

The guys at the wonderful site TFU.Info are posting several days of concept art from Aaron Archer's desk. It's cool. There's going to be 22 updates, and today you can see Cybertron Optimus Prime's flight mode concept drawing. Quite cool.

And of course, we posted new assortments to Entertainment Earth last week with new names and other new crap. Here are some highlights.

HS85772A2, Star Wars Transformers Wave 1 Rev. 2, $69.99
The Star Wars Transformers Wave 1 Rev. 2 includes four individually packaged figures: 1x Luke Skywalker Mech/X-wing Fighter, 1x Darth Vader Mech/Darth Vader's TIE Fighter, 1x General Grievous Mech/General Grievous' Wheelbike, 1x Obi-Wan Kenobi Mech/Obi-Wan Kenobi's Jedi Starfighter. (Subject to change.)

HT81328B2, Transformers Alternators Assortment 13, Rev. 2, $99.99
Transformers Alternators Assortment 13 Rev. 2. Includes 4 individually packaged 1:24 scale vehicles that transform into robots: 1x Jeep Wrangler "Rollbar", 1x Subaru Impreza "Ricochet", 1x Dodge Ram "Optimus Prime", 1x Dodge Viper "Sunstreaker." (Subject to change.)

HT80287E, Transformers Cybertron Voyager Wave 5, $99.99
Transformers Cybertron Voyager Wave 5. Includes 4 individually packaged Transformers: 2x Soundwave 1x Cybertron Defense Scattorshot, 1x Dark Crumplezone (subject to change).

HT80286F, Transformers Cybertron Deluxe Wave 6, $99.99
Transformers Cybertron Deluxe Wave 6. Includes 8 individually packaged Transformers: 2x Excellion (red car, Hot Shot redeco), 2x Doubleclutch (Override redeco) 2x 1x Downshift (green car), 1x Cybertron Defense Hot Shot (armored blue vehicle), 1x Brimstone (Pterosaur), 1x Crosswise (Black car), 1x Thunderblast (Boat). (Subject to change.)

HT80285G, Transformers Cybertron Scout Wave 7, $99.99
Transformers Cybertron Scout Wave 7. Includes 12 individually packaged Transformers: 2x Shortround, 1x Repugnus, 2x Scrapmetal (Red spider tank), 1x Lugnutz (Motorcycle), 1x Swerve (Red Car), 1x Swindle (Yellow Jeep), 1x Wreckloose (Lizard), 1x Backstop (Rhino), 1x Street Speed Minicon Team (Backtrack, Oval, Spiral), 1x Brakedown (Race Vehicle). (Subject to change).

--AP

Xbox 360: Zoids EX Neo

While not much new seems to be going on with Zoids toys this week, at least you can get an advanced look at the upcoming Japanese Zoids EX Neo over at The Magic Box! Two pages of screenshots should be enough to get your interest up, even if it doesn't seem to have tons of brand new toys used in the game. Of course, we'd just be thrilled to see a Geruder or Sea Panther as a playable character, but that's us.

--AP

Lick the toad
January 10 2006
New Cybertron Images: Excellion, Short Round, Double Clutch, Repugnus

Want to see 'em? Well, they're at Entertainment Earth, see below:

HT80286F, Transformers Cybertron Deluxe Wave 6, $99.99
Transformers Cybertron Deluxe Wave 6. Includes 8 individually packaged Transformers: 2x Excellion (red car, Hot Shot redeco), 2x Doubleclutch (Override redeco) 2x 1x Downshift (green car), 1x Cybertron Defense Hot Shot (armored blue vehicle), 1x Brimstone (Pterosaur), 1x Crosswise (Black car), 1x Thunderblast (Boat). (Subject to change.)

HT80285G, Transformers Cybertron Scout Wave 7, $99.99
Transformers Cybertron Scout Wave 7. Includes 12 individually packaged Transformers: 2x Shortround, 1x Repugnus, 2x Scrapmetal (Red spider tank), 1x Lugnutz (Motorcycle), 1x Swerve (Red Car), 1x Swindle (Yellow Jeep), 1x Wreckloose (Lizard), 1x Backstop (Rhino), 1x Street Speed Minicon Team (Backtrack, Oval, Spiral), 1x Brakedown (Race Vehicle). (Subject to change).

There's also word of some very interesting footage which is supposedly conceptual transformation animation from the movie. It's likely just a proof of concept thing, but still... it's neat.

--AP

Microman 2006 at Microforever.com

Microman Gamera! He is a friend of children! Read up on his upcoming plastic adventures and all the 2006 Takara offerings known so far at Microman Forever's latest update! A Black & White Godzilla is coming, too!

--AP

Marvel: Good Bye Toy Biz, Hello Hasbro

Color us shocked. Marvel (which is so in bed with Toy Biz it's the same company), as of yesterday, gave up the license to Hasbro. The Spider-Man 3 toys will be Hasbro items, and all 2006 product will, apparently, be sold through Marvel proper and not Toy Biz. We don't fully understand, but as far as business goes, we more or less prefer how Hasbro runs the show. So here's hoping these will rock, as Hasbro has yet to provide a top-notch movie tie-in that isn't Star Wars as of late. Fans with a good memory may recall this isn't the first time the Hasbro family screwed Toy Biz. In 1989, Toy Biz had the DC license. In 1990, Kenner swiped it for it's own "Batman: The Dark Knight Collection" line which was quite the hit and the beginning of the Bat-mania which lasted for years to come.

--AP

Payroll Warrant
January 11 2006
Transformers footage phony?

Transformers movie producer Don Murphy has said on his board that the very interesting footage from yesterday is fake. As we've been fanboys for a while and know that it's standard practice to call anything a fake that you can claim is a fake-- and have done it ourselves-- we're quite curious what the real deal is. (Although the "Property of ILM" stamp, in hindsight, does seem fakey.)

--AP

Tetris DS: THQ & Nintendo-themed online gaming; Densetsu no Stafi 4 Stuff

The very tiny group of Nintendo DS games you can play online just grew by 1. According to this Gamespot article, Wi-Fi Tetris is coming from THQ and will feature graphics with Nintendo properties. Like, Mario, Link, Metroid, the good stuff. No pricing or rating have been revealed, but the release date of March 20 is now a known, so we're quite looking forward to it, assuming it isn't as bad as we heard Tetris Worlds was.

Also, The Magic Box has more on Densetsu no Stafi 4. The Stafi games are kinda like an underwater Kirby game, but not. Read on if that makes you curious.

--AP

Whatever happened to the Cryptkicker 5?
January 12 2006
Custom: Playmobil Undertaker

A German fansite called "Playmo Town" made a full Western town set-up. Who cares? You do. Meet Mr. Fu, Your Undertaker. It's a custom figure made from a few other sets, but man, this was neat. If this were mass produced we'd pay whatever they asked. The fact there's a complete mortuary with a friggin' corpse is the icing on the cake.

Fun fact which you probably know: Chinese railway workers and a grave digger were abandoned Western toy concepts back when Playmobil still made new Western stuff.

--AP

Cybertron Menasor Revealed

For the first time in what appears to be final colors, it's Menasor over at The Allspark courtesy of some convoluted thing from TFAuctions, which we'd have linked to if we could find the article on their page too. Anyway, you get a look at Menasor and his Mini-Con companion in vehicle mode, so take a look-- Decepticons from the Giant Planet are far and few between!

--AP

Home Movies DVD Season 4

The guys at TVShowsOnDVD have some advance info, pricing, and a release date for the next season (and final season) of Home Movies to hit DVD. The show was formerly a UPN Squigglevision program and involved into an Adult Swim Flash-esque animated show. If it's not on Adult Swim the week the DVD comes out, you might be well-served to buy it.

--AP

Original Soup Crackers
January 13 2006
Nintendo DS Rockman A-Coming

Megaman fans, you're in luck. According to The Magic Box, Rockman Zekusa is coming to the Nintendo DS! There's one screen shot and no information outside Capcom having announced this game for a 2006 release. Beyond that, we're on our own-- but hey, good news, eh?

--AP

The Why of Dr. Who's DVD Delay

So word on the street-- everywhere-- is that Sci-Fi Channel picked up the new Dr. Who, so the North American DVD release will be delayed. As the set of episodes was close to $100, this is probably good news for anyone that has cable and doesn't pirate TV off of P2P networks.

--AP

LEGO Batman Sneak Preview

Want to see some sneak previews of the new LEGO Batman toys? Well, Brickshelf posted some images from Toyfare. You can see the figures, vehicles, and playsets all here. We're quite pleased.

--AP

Cybertron Deluxe Skywarp Revealed

The Allspark/TFAuctions/whatever posted a first glimpse at Cybertron Skywarp. No, not THAT Skywarp-- this is a repaint of Thundercracker! The new purple plane looks pretty awesome, and you should click on through to see the full image of the toy in robot mode!

--AP

Happy MLK Day!
January 16 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Woo-hoo!

--AP

New Beast Machines DVD Info

Over at TVShowsOnDVD.com, you can see updated information on the release date, cover art, and a wee bit more when it comes to the on-again, off-again DVD release of Beast Machines Transformers: The Complete Series in February. Read on for more!

--AP

Complete Planet of the Apes DVD Info

Over at TVShowsOnDVD.com, you can also see information on a big giant complete Planet of the Apes DVD Collection-- with everything! All 5 movies, the live-action and animated TV series, documentaries, and more are here-- click through for more!

--AP

All Toys 60% Off At Tower Records

It's an uncommon event, but Tower Records is holding a 4-day sale for 60% off all toys. The chain carries Star Wars LEGO sets at some locations, and tons of other action figures like McFarlane's Aliens vs. Predator and Mezco's The Goon, based on the awesomely great comic series of the same name. That's the good news. The bad news is the final day for the sale is Monday, January 16-- so happy hunting, while you can!

--AP

Plug: 16bit.com Trading Stash

As you may or may not know, we're big collectors as well as big reporters. There's a lot of items we're still looking to buy, but even more we're looking to sell or give away. If you're in need of certain toy exclusives or regular items from Star Wars, G.I. Joe, or other lines, please visit our trading stash and let us know if there's anything you'd be interested in-- as we'd very much like to have the space it occupies, or to fill the space not occupied by it as of yet.

This update: Over 30 new items from Titanium, the 2006 Saga collection, 2005 Revenge of the Sith collection, and Star Wars Celebration exclusives. (We're still going through 2004 and early 2005.) And if you got stuff to sell off, take a look, we might be interested...

--AP

Plug II: Entertainment Earth 2006 SW Saga In Stock, Winter Blowout Sale to end Tomorrow

Entertainment Earth added many new Saga Collection items, including preorders and images for the Coruscant wave of figures. Also, the Jabba's Palace wave is in stock now-- you can get a set of the first 6 figures for $44.99. Click through for availability.

Also, the Winter Blowout Sale will end some time on January 17-- check out the remaining super-clearance items here and enjoy the values that will expire while you wait.

--AP

16bit.com Podcast
January 16 2006

16bit.com Podcast: January 16, 2006

Happy (late) 2006! We're here this week to tell you about all the crap you should be seeing in stores if you aren't seeing it already, as well as sales around town, upcoming items, and our toy of the week-- which, this week, is 6 toys. We're progressive.

--AP

Contents

This week's segments:

0:00 - Welcome and blah.
1:00 - News
8:21 - Toy of the Week: Star Wars Carkoon Wave
17:00 - Rambling
19:04 - Goodbye!

How to sign up

For starters: You do not need an iPod to hear a Podcast. Podcasting is just a fancy word for "hack job internet radio show," which is exactly what we're aiming to produce here.

If you have iTunes 4.9 or above: You can subscribe to it for free. Just go to "Subscribe to Podcast" and paste in "http://www.16bit.com/podcast.xml". And you should be all hooked up.

If you're using an RSS reader: Subscribe to this feed: "http://www.16bit.com/podcast.xml".

If you are using Safari: click here.

A Podcast Archive page is in the works so you can just download it directly. But we advise you try out iTunes as it's a fairly efficient and useful free program. We also love Apple.

Stuff n' Things
January 18 2006
New Xtreme Ghouls n' Ghosts Screens

Lovers of 2D, it appears the PSP is your baby. The Magic Box has two pages of new screen shots of Capcom's Goku Makaimura, or Xtreme Ghouls n' Ghosts. This fairly beautiful looking game is turning out quite nicely, and the various 2D effects are shaping up to look quite nice. We're getting tempted to get a PSP now. (Although we wait for the mythical Xtreme Salamander from Konami first.)

--AP

Activision working on new Transformers movie's game?

In what may be one of the worst kept secrets since the development of the first Metroid for GameCube, we're hearing lots of reports that Activision licensed the next Transformers game which will, be surprised now, be based on the new movie which may or may not happen still. Over at GameSpot posted a rumor control article on just this topic and seems to think it's pretty much a sure-fire thing. As rumors go.

--AP

Star Wars Astromech Droids Update

We have it on very good authority that the special exclusive Astromech Droid Exclusives will begin arriving at the Entertainment Earth warehouses in the next 24 hours or so. (Inspecting and all of that will take a little bit of time, of course-- so if you have a backorder, don't expect it to show up tomorrow or anything.) As such, you may find it worth your while to get a short-term preorder in so you can get yours as they arrive. (They're awesome. Trust us, we picked 'em.) If you are interested in such things or take solace in the knowledge that a fellow collector is responsible for these things, kindly order a set and show your support. We thank you.

--AP

Overweight blobs of grease
January 19 2006
New Classic Transformers Info

Sort of. There's a couple of product ID numbers in Target's computer indicating that there's plans for some "Classic Transformers" assortments. Do we know what this means? Does it matter? The truth of the matter is that Hasbro inputs this data into some retail stores systems many, many months in advance and sometimes before an item is even finished. (Star Wars fans may recall a Wedge Antilles Flight Controller toy showing up in Wal-Mart's systems that was not only never released, but according to the designer, apparently never even fully prototyped.) So while we have no doubt that newish classicish Transformers are on the Hasbro radar, don't hold your breath just yet. There's still many moons to go left in Cybertron and Alternators.

--AP

In case you missed it: Sigma 6 Releases

In case you missed it, two new Sigma 6 figures are now available at numerous stores including Target. These include Cobra Commander and Long Range. More figures are, of course, coming, but for now that's it.

--AP

Revolution in 2006?

Apparently there's rampant speculation (through a speech from Nintendo's Satoru Iwata) that Nintendo Revolution is on track for 2006, which, if true, is very nice to hear. We're not what you would call "optimists" but it would be very nice to see. As the GameCube launched way back in September of 2001, we'd say it's about time for a new system-- but then again, delays happen, and there's plenty of nifty portable games on the way out of Nintendo...

--AP

Wild West Showdown, Woo
January 20 2006
Is it true? Dr. Katz DVDs?

TVShowsOnDVD.com was sent a scoop from The Sound of Young America regarding an interview with H. Jon Benjamin, best known for his... well, extensive voice work including that of Ben Katz on Comedy Central's Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. The long and short of it is that he confirmed that he recorded DVD commentary for season 1 of the show, which, if it isn't a joke, is good news indeed to all seven of the show's fans. (Two of which contribute to this site.)

In a correction to last week, a wonderful reader informed us that Dr. Katz' spiritual sequel Home Movies did not go from Squigglevision to a Flash-esque animation format, but it in fact was Flash. We apologize for the confusion it may have caused.

--AP

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Sells 1,000,000

The further adventures of Cloud Strife against three more Sephiroth clones hit DVD in Japan in 2005, and according to a report on the Magic Box, has just surpassed 1 million units sold on DVD and UMD (the latter being the PSP video disc format.) The film itself is almost 2 hours and is stuffed with battle sequences and great animation, along with what is most likely the best hair you'll ever see in a CG movie. The downside is that the plot more or less is an excuse for the aforementioned battles and the various cameos of characters like Zack or Marelene assume that a) you played through Final Fantasy VII and b) you have a good memory for an RPG from 1997.

We saw a subtitled version recently and advise that if you were a fan of the game, that you see this. But if you thought the characters were lame and the plot sucked, don't bother. As of yet there doesn't seem to be a firm release date. Amazon has it down for 2010. Wal-Mart has it up for a preorder with a release date of January 10-- and it isn't out yet. DVD Box Office.com has it for a "TBA" release date, which is a disease we donate a lot of money to fight. The title was originally scheduled for a pre-holiday 2005 release, and obviously, it ain't out.

--AP

Star Wars Astromech Droids Update, Again

It's no secret that if you preordered, you're getting these sent to you now. (Odds are your card was charged or is in the process of being charged. Units are still available, but not lots of them, so ordering = good.) They are sitting at the Entertainment Earth warehouses, but if you knew the quantity of units that arrived and the number of backorders, you'd probably be totally understanding of the fact that people would have to go without sleep to get these all out immediately. The employment of clones and/or androids may also be useful.

For those who don't know, this set of toys was the pet project of our staff upon moving to LA. Actually, we outlined it in Phoenix. The idea was to significantly multiply the quantity of Astromech droid models available in the Star Wars action figure world, and it started off as part of another exclusive. (R2-X2 was originally shoehorned into a different troop builder concept that in all honesty was pretty dull. So we asked Hasbro if we could try this other concept, and this is the end result.) You might be asking "why aren't you writing about this on Galactic Hunter?", "Will you do a podcast about these?", and "are you so high on yourselves that you still think we care?" The answers: Wait a few days, yes we will, and yes, we are.

For the short, quickie version of these droids and why you care, here's what you need to know. In the vintage line (1978-1985), Kenner produced only two Astromech droids. In the modern line (1995-present), Hasbro and Kenner made the same two-- Artoo-Deetoo and Arfive-Defour-- until 1999. At which point the door was kicked open for R2-R9, the Red Royal Starship droid, and in 2000, R2-B1. (And later, R2-Q5, etc.) Aside from R2-D2, Hasbro has produced a grand total of 13 unique "artoo unit" droids (inclues R2, R3, R4, and R5) and 1 R1 unit in the modern line. With this exclusive set from Entertainment Earth, the grand total grows by 10, making for 24 unique droids, plus the R1 for a grand total of 25.

As such, we're quite excited to have had the opportunity to grow the number of droids in the toy universe by several units and will be writing a big report on these guys in the coming weeks. We're easily pleased and naturally, we're hoping to see many more droids in the coming years.

(Don't like droids? Still mad we didn't do more clones? Don't rain on my parade. I got BoShek's droid sitting here and I ain't afraid to use it. [...in a diorama.])

--AP

I want to see her again
January 23 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Woo-hoo!

Read about issues of scale, lack of clones, why you need to get over the whole Jedi Master Points thing, and much more!

--AP

New Override GTS Images

While we've seen this toy's name on documents as various things, including "Doubleclutch," it appears the final packaged sample of Override GTS has appeared at TFW2005. Take a look!

Also, and perhaps more importantly, it appears knock-off artists are at it again, now producing bootleg versions of the original Generation 1 Optimus Prime toy in its original-styled box. Read more, again, at TFW2005. Vintage buyer beware!

--AP

Animated The Tick DVD Info

The hugely popular-- for its day-- The Tick is apparently in preproduction for DVD, so hints TVShowsOnDVD.com. The former Fox animated series can be seen today on ABC Family, and aired for about 3 seasons on Fox Saturday morning. The very funny show included supporting characters like Die Fleidermaus, American Maid, and the Little Wooden Boy. While the humor isn't as sharp as some of today's "adult" animated fare, it's quite good and if and when it hits, you may find it worth checking out.

The show spawned a video game tie-in and a not-especially-popular action figure from BanDai which also included one of our all-time favorite playsets, The Steel Box.

--AP

Rumble Roses XX New Images

It's late and we're not feeling especially well today, so have a gander at Rumble Roses XX over at The Magic Box. This new set of images from Konami's all-girl fighter is sure to set back the women's movement by at least 5 years, and awaken new levels of bodily insecurities in the world's already image conscious female population. It's also got them fighting in skimpy outfits. You know, because kids have to learn about fighting in skimpy outfits somewhere, and if Konami doesn't give them an outlet in the home, they're going to learn about it on the street. (Hey, we needed to post something while knocking back all this grapefruit juice.)

--AP

Plug: Entertainment Earth 2006 Winter Blowout Sale Extended

The Winter Blowout Sale will now run through January 31. Hundreds of items are still available (although about half of them sold out already) and at this time there are no plans for new additions. As such, there's a few good items left and a whole bunch of crap. We advise you give it a once-over on your lunch break and do your part to help the economy. (Consider buying some Astromechs while you're at it.)

--AP

I look like a troll
January 24 2006
New Heavy Duty Sigma 6 Variant

Apparently it's time for variations! The bane of your existence can now be found as part of Sigma 6, and you can read all about it on the Yo Joe Forums! It appears there's some new canister variation on Heavy Duty-- click through for a full discussion!

--AP

May 9: Dr. Katz DVD

TVShowsOnDVD.com was another scoop, indirectly, by way of DVD Planet. The site is reporting season 1 will be 1 disc and released on May 9, and apparently can be had for under $14.

According to many episode guides, season 1 is but 6 episodes-- which, to say the least, kinda sucks. (NewsRadio season 1 was also 6 episodes.) So, while it's better than nothing, surely, more is better, no? Season 2 is apparently 13 episodes, and all six seasons add up to 81 episodes.

--AP

Polysics "Now is the Time" US Release & Concert Dates

Fans of Polysics, take note-- their new album "Now is the Time" is coming to the USA, and they're touring to support it! You can find a full list of release on their English language page, which includes a number of West-coast venues such as the legendary Knitting Factory and the less than legendary Brickhouse in Phoenix. The site also says Polysics-related something will be on CSI: New York. No, we're not making this up.

We'd advise you go to the US label for Polysics, Tofu Records, for more-- but as of today, being up to date isn't on their to-do list.

As we're what we call "lucky," we recently got our mitts on a first-edition Japanese release of "Now Is The Time," which isn't nearly as fun as most previous offerings due to, we think, in part, a total lack of bad English. For better or worse, they appear to be doing more Japanese-language tracks, which is probably going to help them a lot in their native Japan and may help embiggen their cred with the Anime crowd, but dammit, we love bad English in our Devo-infused J-Rock. Nothing in particular stands out after a few listens so far, but seeing the band live tends to make a big difference. (It made "Kaja Kaja Goo" into the best song ever, for instance. Seriously, go see them live. Ten bucks well spent.)

--AP

Ness be back
January 25 2006
Mother 3: Finally

Originally announced for the stillborn 64DD add-on to the Nintendo64, it appears the new entry in what we ugly Americans call the Earthbound series is finally coming to Japan. Thanks to a tip from GameSpot, we heard that artist Shigesato Itoi announced that it will be released on April 20 in Japan. In Japanese.

The original Mother was never released in the USA, but a fully translated ROM has shown up on the collector market and apparently Nintendo got pretty close to releasing this game. Mother 2 was released for the Super NES (eventually) as Earthbound, and it included a full strategy guide in an oversized box. It was also widely clearanced, and some of us were lucky enough to find the game at Best Buy stores as low as $1.50. Both games were prepped for the GameBoy Advance, and, not surprisingly, are not available in English as of yet.

--AP

New Transformers Cybertron Releases

Around the web today, it seems to be great news if you're a fan of Cybertron! First up, there's a sighting at a Target in California at TFW2005 that says they've found Dark Crumplezone and Cybertron Defense Scattorshot. The same site has another sighting of new Deluxe toys, Downshift and Cybertron Defense Hot Shot. All releases are quite exciting and we know we'll be up for a big hunt starting tomorrow.

--AP

G.I. Joe Direct-To-Consumer Wave 4 Revealed?

Apparently this was posted a few places, but we saw word of DTC Wave 4 at Cobra Island. This Internet-only wave of Joes continues the-- we hear-- modestly successful range of toys, and while we'd love to say "click through for the scoop," well, OK, we'll just do that. New listings: 6 new Basic figures, 2 new comic 3-packs. Including more Oktober Guard. And Cobra Troopers. Oh, and the theme for the Convention set. It's a good post.

--AP

Star Wars Astromech Droids Now Available

They're in stock! All backorders have been processed, or are being processed, so now you can kindly order a set. As we're fond of shamelessly promoting this as it's one of our proudest moments in life, and our lives are just that sad, we had a big giant hand in developing this product and if you order through this link not only do you send our employers a message that we're geniuses deserving of a raise, but we also get a sliver of the sale. And you know you love us... right? (What do you mean, "no"?)

--AP

Track General Grievous in Style
January 26 2006
Toys "R" Us Clone Wars Republic Gunship

Fan-demanded since Episode 21 of The Clone Wars aired in 2005, it's finally coming! While not officially confirmed, Amazon is currently listing a Gunship exclusive and it seems this may be it! Don't forget to go click over to Galactic Hunter to see the ship, its packaging, and what may be a sneak preview of new pre-Revenge of the Sith style Clone figures!

--AP

New Transformers HBS Convoy/Prime at Amazon Japan... and more

Over at Amazon Japan, you can see tons of new images of the all-new tiny HBS-2 G1 Convoy! This new super-poseable, plastic, metal, and rubber release is nothing short of awesome-- and tiny, and expensive. Check it out.

Also, E-Hobby added what seem to be final images of the rerelease of Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime-- click through for a full look at the changes, and similarities!

Finally, new images of the Millennium Falcon Transformer and Alternators Rumble are up to see-- and pretty cool. Click over to The Allspark for images and more!

--AP

Street Fighter Alpha Anthology Coming

The entire Street Fighter Alpha series, and Pocket Fighter, can be yours for one low price-- and it's coming to the USA! Visit The Magic Box for more images and information.

--AP

More on New Heavy Duty Sigma 6 Variant

The other day we posted about a thread on Yo Joe!, and wouldn't you know it, the guy reads the site-- so reader Bobby wanted to add some more to the original news bit we posted.

"This variant has had me as well as others scratching thier heads. I have seen these at only one place (TRU) and really didn't pay it mind since I really don't hunt for variants and wanted to get more information on it before I bought it. Well...apparently no one else has seen this variant and I haven't been able to get any additional info on it so I picked up 2 out of the 4 they had. The main differences I can see are:
The cores and missles are colored and named different (proton and neutron)
The plastic sleeve as well as the text on the back cardboard insert (file card) reflect this change.
I carefully opened one up to see if there was any different paper work and he did not include the poster, but the instructions were changed to reflect the proton and neutron cores.
According to the date stamps (if I read them correctly), they were produced after the initial first wave, but before the second wave (Ninja Bat, Kamakura, etc)
From what I can tell, there is no difference in the cannon, or the figures paint or pants."

Thanks, Bobby!

--AP

The Power Of Independent Trucking
January 27 2006
Dr. Katz DVD Box Art

In case you care, you can see a nice big scan of the Season One Dr. Katz box art at TVShowsOnDVD.com along with the release date for this Spring. If you ain't seen it, it be new to you.

--AP

Downshift's at Entertainment Earth, New Transformers News from the Club

The gents at The Allspark have loads of news from the new collector club information. The new mag has shots of all-new molds for US releases of Megatron and Optimus Primal from Beast Wars, and some other new items as well. Posting images is, of course, frowned upon.

Also, Entertainment Earth has Downshift & Cybertron Defense Hot Shot in stock now. Not many units remain, and it's by the case-- but you can probably do worse. So if you need everybody in the case, hey, this is a good one.

--AP

Nintendo DS Lite: Nintendo's Apple Fetish

There's a lot of reports on this new, smaller, lighter redesign of the Nintendo DS, but we like The Magic Box as it gives the most info with the least amount of space. It costs more and looks more white. Check it out as part of the January 26 update.

--AP

Plug: 16bit.com Trading Stash Update

If you visit our trading stash we've added several new "wanted" and "for trade" items, including some Transformers. If you've nothing better to do, go take a look and let's make a deal.

--AP

Sugar an' Spikes
January 30 2006
Star Wars Q&A Updated at Galactic Hunter

Galactic Hunter has posted a Q&A column by yours truly. Woo-hoo!

Lots of fun this week, including why you should suck it up and buy something on eBay rather than whine until Hasbro reissues it! We've also completed writing a new toy review for the week, we just need to edit the photos for you at this point.

--AP

Aaron's Desk: Completed

Over at TFU.info, there's been a showcase of artwork from Aaron Archer's collection witch was purchased and is now being shared with the world. All 22 pieces of art are up, showing characters from Armada, Energon, and Cybertron. (Plus some other odds and ends.) If you've been watching this feature, you know it's quite the treat, and if you haven't, well, now's a good time to check it out.

Want to see something strange and mystical? A few sites have linked to a Chinese auction site, and you can see previews of three new toys there. They are:
Cannonball, Red Alert redeco with some vaguely Oingo Boingo-esque markings
Dark Soundwave, Soundwave redeco in black, currently not confirmed for a US release but this may be evidence
Skywarp, a Thundercracker repaint.

--AP

Gradius Portable New Images

It's coming to the USA and Japan on the PSP. It's Gradius Portable, and The Magic Box has two pages of images from this new 5-game compilation from Konami. It includes Gradius I, II, III, IV, and the GameBoy Advance title Gradius Gaiden. (All of which are fun if you like shooters, and you should, unless you're a commie pinko.)

--AP

Plug: Entertainment Earth 2006 Winter Blowout Sale Ends Tomorrow

...we think. After one extension, the Winter Blowout Sale is scheduled to end January 31, a Tuesday. At press time, 331 items remain in stock for the taking, including some really great deals-- many of which will shoot up in price come Wednesday. With this in mind, be sure to waste some time perusing the remaining stock and see if there's anything good. Highlights include... well, the same cheap stuff as before. $3 Star Wars figures, some cheap Xevoz, and a whole mess of odds and ends.

--AP

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