Monday, July 09, 2018

MY WEEK IN ANIME: Hataraku Saibou Episode 1

Leave it to the Japanese to turn red blood cells and platelets into something absolutely adorable.

The new slice of life-inside-the-human-body anime Hataraku Saibou (Cells at Work) just aired its first episode, and my calm exterior belies my complete weebing out as I type this.

The main character is a Red Blood Cell, except it's a cute girl in shorts because of course it is. Her job, as is the job of any actual red blood cell, is to bring oxygen to parts of the body that need it. In the anime, it's represented as a UPS delivery of sorts, and some of the episode's best moments are in the adorable ways the newbie Red Blood Cell (I don't think cells have actual first names) gets lost trying to find the address of the consignee of the package in her care.

The anime does a great job of breaking down the cells into their common characteristics. We're introduced to characters like the White Blood Cell, a cold-blooded Terminator who stops at nothing to kill any invading bacteria, and Killer T-Cells, buff and burly SWAT-types deployed for more dangerous work. We're also introduced to some areas of the body and its personified inhabitants (the spleen, in particular, is one I'm excited for ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ), and I'm excited to know what adventures they'll have over there. It's part anime, part biology lesson, and as someone who loved biology class in high school, this anime is pushing all the right buttons for me.

I love how descriptions of the human body's functions aren't dumbed down at all. I didn't know anything about Pneumococcus bacteria, but Hataraku Saibou does its best to not only tell us what dangerous stuff they do, but also weave it into the whole personification thing of the anime in an interesting way.

I mean, this is an anime that made me squee for goddamn platelets. Platelets.

The episode is pretty much a monster-of-the-week, with Red and White Blood Cell in a race against time to stop a runaway Pneumococcus bacteria from wreaking havoc in the human body world. There are some exciting moments, and the animation is pretty much at par with what you'd expect from studio David Production. I can't really talk more about the episode without being spoilery, but I have a feeling they're keeping better stuff back for later episodes, so if you're expecting something mind-blowing for the first episode, I don't think that's how you anime.

Hataraku Saibou grabbed my interest when it was previewed a few months ago, and I'm glad to know it was worth the wait. I don't give a shit if the next 20+ episodes are just human body shenanigans. When the best girl and your possible future waifu is basically a red blood cell you know Japan has ya hooked. Consider this a keeper.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Transformers Studio Series Ironhide Toy Review

As much as we give Michael Bay's Transformers beef, I can't deny how much I loved the first movie's robot designs. And as a red-blooded male who loves himself some big guns, I had a soft spot for movie Ironhide. No longer the G1-era red van, movie Ironhide was now the badass black pickup truck with goddamn cannons for arms. What's not to love?

So as a toy collector, I wanted a figure of Ironhide for my collection. But through the years, Hasbro seemed to have a hard time putting out an Ironhide toy that didn't completely look like shit.

Until now, when I got my hands on the new Transformers Studio Series Ironhide toy which I will review today!

Standing at around 6 inches tall, Studio Series Ironhide is short for a Voyager-class figure (do they still do those scales?), another victim of the rising cost of plastic. It's unfortunate that his size makes him out of scale with most of his Autobot brethren currently available, and you'd have to really fudge it to find that sweet scale spot. But then again, Bayformers aren't really known for scale!

It looks damn good for its size, though. For all my peeves about his scale, Studio Series Ironhide is the most accurate-looking Ironhide toy to date. From the "correct" chest transformation, accurate face sculpt, to the fine details all over this toy, Studio Series Ironhide looks damn badass, and a home run screen-to-toy translation. Would it have killed Hasbro to find a way to minimize that unsightly bumper kibble, though?

And as much as I harp about accurate sculpting, the paint leaves a lot to be desired. A dab or two of silver paint in the places it needs it most (like the "ab" piece that should be silver/gray, as well as some parts of the legs) would have kept Ironhide from looking like one whole chunk of black plastic.

Studio Series Ironhide has a basic amount of articulation, though most of it are often hindered by the sculpt. The arms can only go forward and up so far before being stopped by his enormous chest. The hinged knees have okay range of motion, but the feet are just one big chunk of plastic with no articulation, making it hard for him to put in poses other than feet flat on the ground. Ironhide's ball-jointed head can only look left and right. No waist swivel, too. The price we pay for an accurate sculpt, I guess?

But the one reason why I forgive most of this toy's shortcomings is because Ironhide has finally been given what's due to him for so long: screen-accurate arm cannons! The cannons peg into holes in his elbows and don't hinder articulation at all. For the life of me I don't know why Hasbro put off giving Ironhide the cannons he's known for for this long, because Studio Series Ironhide proved they could do it and do it well. The sculpting is spot-on and I love the silver paint they used to accentuate all the little details. Finally, the Autobots' resident weapons specialist lives up to his title!

Converting Studio Series Ironhide from robot to truck feels satisfying and everything pegs into place really well. Ironhide converts into a GMC Topkick pickup truck, and fans will enjoy all the loving detail they put into it. We actually feel his Voyager-ness in truck mode, as it's large enough that it wouldn't look out of place beside most of the Deluxe-class movieformers in car mode.

You can clip Ironhide's cannons to the truck "bed" so as not to lose them. So much for "robots in disguise"!

A cardboard backdrop is included with the toy, which, in Studio Series Ironhide's case, is an image of war-torn Mission City where the final battle in the first Transformers film took place. There's no assembly required, and there's even a platform you could stand your toy on for a museum-type display. What a neat inclusion!

For this Ironhide fan, Studio Series Ironhide is a very welcome update that finally gives justice to a fan-favorite movie character. It may not be in-scale with most of his fellow Autobots, but as its own toy, Ironhide holds his own. I don't know if all of this is worth the $43USD I paid for it, but I'll take a win like this anytime.

It's out in malls in the Philippines now, and judging from how well they made this fig, I won't be surprised if he becomes hard to find!

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