18 hours ago
Hello one and all, and welcome to the last episode of the Calibur arc of Sword Art Online II. Let's get right into the recap.
In our last episode, our party of heroes made their way to Thrymheim in order to remove the blade Excalibur and restore this underground world that was created by the Cardinal Program. You know, the one that helped to create Yui from the original SAO? Yeah, turns out, ALO has the full thing and made this quest by taking random bits of mythology and putting them all together. The problem is that the quest it created was a no win scenario as it just started Ragnarok for our heroes, so even if they defeat the frost giants, they have the fire giants to worry about, and they will burn the world tree. Fun times.
Still, one thing at a time, so our party of brutes go in and find rather quickly that not having a mage is a rather bad thing, having issues with the second floor boss because of it's physical resistance. However, thanks to an update made to the game some time before this arc, sword skills have magical properties, so thanks to some liberal use of loophole abuse, our heroes are able to make it past the second floor boss.
Then after a hell of a battle with the third floor boss, our heroes make their way to the final room where Thrym awaits. Along the way, they run into a captured NPC named Freyja. While most of the party is suspicious, Klein, our lovable love maniac, falls for this NPC (not that I blame him, because damn!). The others are suspicious of her, but they decided to have her join on a trial basis. And luckily for them, she's a mage with a ton of MP, who, before the final room, doubles the HP of the heroes. They should try to learn that skill.
With that, they confront Thrym, and after some back and forth banter (and finding out that Freyja was captured to be the frost giant's bride), it's time to get this battle done! But the clock is ticking for the jewel around Leafa's neck grows dark with each passing second. Will our heroes succeed in time? Let's tune in and find out.
-Our episode begins with battle already joined. Thrym has already taken some damage, but not much. Yui, the groups little cheat sheet, warns the front line of two incoming punches, allowing them to dodge the attacks. Sinon gets a few shots in with her sword allowing Klein to come in from behind, followed by Leafa getting a few shots in on the leg. As she's coming down, Kirito is coming in, but thanks to his eyes changing, Yui can see that Thrym is about to use Ice Breath. As she counts down, Thrym fires his laser... er, Ice Breath, but the heroes dodge it in time. Freyja, who is sick of this shit, starts forming her own magic spell and hits Thrym dead on, bringing his first life bar to the red. And you guys thought she was a trap. With the king weakened, Kirito, Leafa and Klein move in to do some extra damage. Cue that opening.
-Uh, speaking of the opening... did it change? I feel like it changed. At least, the song feels different to me for some reason.
-Tonight's episode is titled Excalibur. When we return, Leafa just got in an attack while Kirito and Klein dual tech him. Apparently somebody has been playing Chrono Trigger lately. As the attacks continue Thrym loses his first life bar, but it's an indicator that the attack pattern is changing. Leafa takes this moment to look at the jewel and sees only three clear spots left. She asks Kirito if he can't cheat his way through this like he did with the second floor boss, but as Thrym has two full life bars, the answer is "I'm not a cheater! Also no, it won't work when he has that much health." He is a raid boss, after all. You need the extra people just to keep you alive.
-As Thrym screams, he sucks in a lot of air before releasing a massive Ice Breath attack. It takes out the buffs and freezes the area around them, turning everybody that was in it's range into icicles. Then he does a shockwave attack, hitting pretty much everybody, doing massive damage to them. Asuna goes back onto healing duty, but says to pull back quickly. As Thrym goes in for another attack, he gets shot in the face with fireballs. It's Sinon putting her sniper skills to work, because this is what she does, even if she traded in a gun for a bow.
-So now Thrym is pissed at Sinon and is going straight for her. Kirito tells their sniper to keep the boss busy for about thirty seconds while everybody recovers and starts buffing up. This sounds like a case of "Not my job!" But Sinon takes it in stride as she easily dodges Thrym's attack, then kicking him in the nose. Surprisingly, it does little damage. Meanwhile, Kirito is being told by Freyja that if they keep this up, they're probably not going to win. But she wouldn't come up to him if she didn't have a plan. Somewhere in this massive treasure room is the treasure of her people, which is their only hope in defeating Thrym.
-Kirito asks what it looks like. Freyja puts her hands about shoulder apart from one another and says that it's this big. Uh... anything else? Yes! It's a golden hammer. Geez, I wonder what weapon they're talking about here? While Sinon is busy dealing with Thrym, Kirito takes a look at the pile of treasure and you can tell he's going "What did I get myself into?" Leafa, realizing what the weapon is, tells him that he can find the weapon with a thunder-type skill. Kirito goes "really? It can't be that easy." But he's going to try anyway. After a flip, because he needs to look cool doing it, Kirito activates the skill and hits the treasure. The lightning rides the pile until one piece shines, indicating where the hammer is. Kirito heads to that spot and starts digging, soon finding the golden hammer.
-Yay, now Kirito will pick it up and... uh, Kirito seems to be having some problems picking it up. Come on, boy! Use that strength of yours? No? Still not moving? Guess you aren't worthy. Either that or you really need to work on that strength stat of yours. He is somehow able to throw the hammer towards Freyja, who catches it with ease, holding it like it weight a pound. I guess she was worthy.
-But after a moment, her eyes grow wide as lightning rides all over her body. Klein is concerned, but buddy, you have other things to worry about. So the power is overflowing through Freyja, who turns gigantic and manly. Hope you like your women with muscles, Klein... and beards... and distinct, sharp looks to their facial features. Kirito and Klein are surprise to see that Freyja is actually a man, but in Kirito's point of view, the name changes from Freyja to Thor, God of Thunder, Son of Odin!
-Just an FYI, but yes, in one of the original tales of Norse Mythology, Thor did dress as a woman named Freyja. I had to look that up just to confirm it. So for people who knew the Norse Myth, when Freyja was called a trap, they were laughing because, yes, Freyja was a trap. But a different kind of trap. The trap that takes a hammer to the face of the King of the Front Giants!
-So Thor comes in, wielding the mighty Mjölnir, and decides that he's taken enough crap from Thrym. As he comes in to strike, Thrym creates an axe from his breath, blocking the attack, but just because he has a hammer doesn't mean Thor can't hammer Thrym across his face with something else. Mainly, his fists. Thrym returns the favor and is pissed for being deceived, because dammit, Freyja was hot!
-With the two mighty giants facing off in this epic battle, Sinon realizes that Thrym is distracted, so they go all out in attacking Thrym. Asuna makes sure to get in on the attacks as well. With a combination of attacks, they are able to bring Thrym to his knees, but they aren't done yet as they keep the pressure up, taking out the second life bar. This allows Thor to come in with the killing blow, smashing Thrym in his face, destroying his crown. The king only laughs as he's slowly covered in ice, telling them to enjoy their victory while they can, for if they put their faith in the Aesir... and Thor stomps on his head, causing him to explode. Thor hates those dying monologues.
-With Thrym defeated, Thor turns to the party and thanks them for returning Mjölnir and avenging his disgrace. So how about a reward? He gives them, specifically Klein, a version of Mjölnir, telling him to use it righteously. And in a golden light, he leaves, and with that, victory! Yay! As for Klein, hey, you got a legendary weapon, aren't you happy? Turns out, he isn't, because he has no hammer skills. I wonder if you can respec in ALO?
-Oh, and as is typical of final boss rooms, the dungeon starts collapsing. Or at least, the room is. Leafa takes a look at the jewel and sees that there's only one spec of light left. Despite defeating the final boss, the quest itself isn't over yet. They remember the win condition was to take Excalibur. Yui tells them that a stairway has appeared behind the throne room. Without hesitation, our heroes take the long way down, soon finding themselves in front of Excalibur. Finally, this will be all over soon.
-But before we can do that, we need a flash back back to ALO. Remember when Kirito was facing off against that guy who's name I can't remember but apparently wanted to do terrible things to Asuna? You know, with said terrible things including tentacles? Yeah, him. Well, in that battle, thanks to some Deus Ex Machina from Dr.-I'm-An-Artist-Dammit, Kirito was given admin rights, which included generating the legendary blade, Excalibur. Which looks like the exact blade sitting in front of him. Kirito takes it in hand and begins to pull at it, but apparently it has a worthiness requirement, too, as he's having a tough time pulling it out. Not feeling worthy today, Kirito?
-The girls provide some words of encouragement, with Klein and Pina joining in. After taking a breath, Kirito pulls more, cracking the ice and finally freeing Excalibur. This one act starts to produce roots and begins to destroy Thrymheim. So it was a delayed collapsing. With Yui telling them the obvious, it's time to escape. Sadly, the roots take out the stairs and basically replace the pillar with their own roots. And this is why you don't make everything in your ice dungeon out of ice. Klein attempts to go in for the rescue, but sadly, he is unable to reach the root before it snaps. He falls as the last bit of Thrymheim begins it's descent to the ground.
-Well, it's a long way down, but hopefully they won't die a horrible death. Leafa looks at the jewel and sees that, yes, the light is still shining, which means they've done it in time. Kirito wastes no time in trying to claim Excalibur, but apparently the quest isn't finished yet, so no claiming yet, much to his disappointment. That's when Leafa hears something, then starts looking around for the noise. Said noise? It's John! And he's on his way to rescue the party! Good flying Cthulhu Elephant. Klein and Kirito are the last ones, though Klein needed a push, but almost misses, but gets saved by John. And you hated flying Cthulhu Elephants, Klein.
-As for Kirito, well, remember when I joked about that whole being worthy thing? Yeah, that wasn't really a joke. Kirito can't weird Excalibur, citing that it's too heavy, so despite going all this way to claim this legendary weapon, he throws it away before jumping onto John. He looks back towards it as it begins falling into the abyss. Sinon looks over at it, though, measures it to about two hundred meters, then draws and fires a magical lasso, hitting it dead on and allowing her to drag it onto John. Nice shot, Sinon, and the rest of the party agrees.
-Kirito is happy and Sinon will give it to him, but on one condition. That condition is that, every time he draws the sword, he has to think about her. And she says that right in front of Asuna, too. Hello, the rest of the ladies aren't too pleased with that. That girl has guts! Speaking of, the girls are all giving him a death glare of death, but as Klein goes into have his own fun, he gets kicked in the face before completing his sentence. Kirito, realizing he's screwed either way, agrees with the condition. Sinon smiles, giving a wink in return. Oh, Asuna is so going to take it out on him later.
-As John takes the party away, all that remains of Thrymheim falls, much to Liz's disappointment. They only got one quest to do in the ice dungeon and now it's gone. What a waste of a dungeon! But as the last of the ice falls into the abyss, water begins to spout out of it, filling it up. This has an almost immediate effect on the land as the snow goes away, with the world tree putting it's roots into the newly formed lake. And then, suddenly, trees everywhere! And waterfall! Looks like Jotunheim has returned to normal. John wish happy, and wouldn't you know it, more of his kind start appearing, too. Like death is going to keep them down for long.
-Of course, with this sudden change in the environment, everybody that was going out of their way to kill the flying Cthulhu Elephants drop their weapons, probably realizing that they were on the wrong side of this quest. On John, Leafa drops to her knees and pets him, since it's all going well. Urd appears, smiling as her realm is returning to it's former glory, thanks to the party. Oh, and hey, her sisters want to thank them, too. Verdandi and Skuld appear, thanking them. The three sisters then give their quest rewards, with Urd presenting Excalibur to Kirito. And with that, the quest is complete! Rock on!
-We then see the three sisters start to leave, but Klein jumps on John and calls to Skuld, asking for her number. Uh, she's an NPC, dude. Still, she smiles and waves at him, covering him with some glitter of sorts. I don't know what it is but it seems to make him smile. Liz likes this look, for while he may be a dork, he has heart.
-Sometime later at the Dice Cafe, Kirito, Shino and Suguha are in front of a computer, apparently hosting Yui. She can apparently see and hear Kirito, but Shino asks what this is all for. Well, he explains that he's making quasi-3D images for Yui, which is shown with a camera on the ceiling, and if it's working right, his dear daughter will feel like she's flying in it as we speak. Hey, remember that joke we made in the other thread about how Kirito could have been an intern working under Akihiko? Why do I get the feeling that is actually the case here?
-We see Yui flying in the screen with Shino being pretty impressed by it. Suguha explains that her dear brother is working in the field of Mechatronics, and in that class they needed to come up with a project, so why not take an intelligent, if adorable AI and give her a chance to fly around in a real space inside of cyberspace? Though she thinks that Kirito is just spoiling Yui. And our little AI agrees.
-And it's time for the end credits and the after quest party! Kirito goes over the rewards. First, he got the main reward, the legendary sword, Excalibur. Klein, for love and being noble, receive the legendary hammer, Mjölnir. Happy New Year! As the group eat, Shino asks why is the sword in ALO called Excalibur, since in other media it's called Calibur. Never have I once heard of such a thing before. Usually, when Excalibur shows up, it's called Excalibur. Nobody really knows the answer, but Suguha is more surprised that Shino would read those kinds of fantasy novels. She admits that, during middle school she pretty much lived in the library and read a lot of King Arthur books, and in it the holy sword was referred to as Calibur. Oh, I see what she means.
-Asuna chimes in that the sword went by a lot of names back in the time, with Shino adding that it depended on the spell of the celtic language. Though she thinks "caliber" is cool, since it's what you call the diameter of a gun barrel. Oh, and it's also how you measure a person's capacity, which she says while staring at Kirito. Liz, paying attention, says that the person who wields Excalibur must be an exceptional person, right? Well, usually it's meant to be wielded by the one true king, who built a kingdom that promoted peace and prosperity, so I would say you aren't far off. Of course, since Kirito has the weapon, he wouldn't mind paying for dinner with that money he made from his short term job some time ago.
-On the spot, Kirito has no choice but to say "yeah, totally! I mean, I was saving the money for a surprise, but sure, I can pay for dinner." What a nice guy you are, Kirito! Our episode ends with a group shot of our party on top of John, with Kirito wielding Excalibur and Klein wielding Mjölnir. End episode.
-Next time, The Forest House.
While looking mostly like a filler arc, the Caliburn arc was a rather fun three episode breather from real world death as the heroes only had to worry about the in game death of ALO. Honestly, thinking on it, this doesn't seem like your typical SAO episode set. Kirito, despite getting the weapon, didn't really shine all that much except for showing off his loophole abuse skills. If anything, it was an NPC that Klein freed that got the final blow. So, technically speaking, Klein was the real hero of this tale. Rock on, Klein!
Also, looks like Sinon is enjoying her time in ALO, but is making it very clear of her affections for Kirito, even openly declaring it in front of the other girls pining for him, as well as the girlfriend. Kirito, you're blessed, but at the same time, cursed with magnificent luck. Overall, a rather enjoyable set of episodes.
Next week, if I'm understanding this correctly, is the last animated arc of SAO, featuring a new character with Asuna apparently taking over the spotlight here. What adventures will await our heroes this time? We'll have to tune in next week to find out.
Until next time, remember, when you have a chance to show off your awesome sniping skills to get a legendary weapon, always make sure to be humble about it, but then demand said person who will get the weapon to always think of you while drawing it, even if your romantic rivals are in the same party. All's fair in love and war, as they say.
2 days ago
Just so you know, I posted up new images, including a brand new commission artwork.
Hello and welcome to Day Four of Torchbearer week, and today we got a two for one special going, for we'll be taking a look at the Legend and Voyager class figures that belong to this set.
We'll start with the legends figure. May I present to you the smallest member of the team, Rust Dust!
Rust Dust is a straight repaint of the Combiner Wars Legends class Groove. There are no new parts here. Not even a new head sculpt. Still rolls rather well and is pretty well balanced in the alt-mode.
Getting up close you can see the Cybertrionian markings on the windshield. Here's the right side.
And here's the left side. I'm debating whether that mark in the middle is a marking or a crack in the windshield. Anyway, time for the comparisons.
Here is Rust Dust with Groove. With the coloring, Rust Dust's windshield looks larger, but they're the same size.
For another comparison, here is Rust Dust with Iron Factory's Windsaber, just to show off another legends figure.
And lastly, here is Rust Dust with Reveal the Shield Hot Rod.
In regards to transformation, if you have Legends Groove, you know how to transform her. And it gives you...
Rust Dust in her robot mode. I honestly like how the arms are painted, giving her a very sharp look to her. But that's basically it, as the figure is a straight repaint, so there is nothing new here.
A little closer to the head sculpt. One thing to note is that Rust Dust is very back heavy, so she won't stand on her own without support. Like Groove. Speaking of...
Here is Rust Dust with Groove, showing how it's pretty much the same figure.
And lastly, here is Rust Dust with Windblade. So, yeah, nothing really to add here.
Which is why we're moving on to the leader of the Torchbearers, Prya Magna!
Prya Magna is a repaint and slight remold of the Combiner Wars Protectobot Hot Spot. Unlike the other members who were a mix of green and red, Pyra Magna is predominately red, which probably works out better for her, with the green reserved more for accenting parts of the figure.
And like before, Prya Magna has cybertronian symbols, though they're a little harder to notice because of the silver stripe. Here is the right side.
And here's the left side. And before you ask, yes, like Hot Spot, that ladder can move.
Speaking of Hot Spot...
Here is Prya Magna with Hot Spot. You can see that the immediate differences are with the wings on the back of the latter and the bucket on the front. We'll get into more detail with the combined mode later.
For another Voyager comparison, here is Pyra Magna with Combiner Wars Optimus.
Now, technically speaking, like the rest of the Torchbearers, Prya Manga can wield any weapon in the set, but her weapon is some pickaxe weapon, which can be stored in the alt-mode.
I prefer it this way, to show that she's just trying to catch something.
And with that out of the way, let's transform her and see how she looks in robot mode.
So here we have Prya Manga in her robot mode, which has the same transformation as Hot Spot. One thing to note, at least for my figure, is that the thigh swivel on my version of the figure is incredibly tight, as in "this is going to snap on me" tight. So just fair warning if that happens to you.
You can see that there's a little more green here. The red color is still the major color but is broken up better this way.
Up close you can see that Pyra Magna is sporting a new head sculpt, though it seems to take a bit from Prowl's sculpt with the wings on the forehead. The chest plate is also new for her, so no copying of Hot Spot there.
Here's a close up of the hands, which are sporting the more open or resting position than the closed position more of the other bots have. It's just an interesting thing to change, really.
Being a remold of Hot Spot, Prya Magna can pose the same ways as her. Here, she plans to knock you out, for the glory of Primus!
But just in case that doesn't work, Prya Magna will just stab you with her weapon instead. It's interesting that none of the Torchbearers have been given projectile weapons. Even the mold that would, Skyburst and Stormclash, don't have them. I wonder if that's a religious thing for them.
Finally, we'll finish this up with a comparison between Prya Magna and Hot Spot. No Windblade comparison for today, but I have another one in mind for her.
But basically, Prya Magna has hte same problems as Hot Spot with it's mold. Mainly with the knees and how that was just a poor design, in general. Otherwise, in alt-mode, she rolls really well and the robot mode has a good silhouette going for it. In my opinion it's certainly not the weakest member, but not the strongest, either.
And that takes care of the individual members. Tune in on Saturday when we finish up this set and take a look at the combined form properly. Until next time.
3 days ago
Hello and welcome one and all to Day 3 of Torhcbearer week, for today we take a look at the next figure of the all-female combiner team. May I present to you the other speedster of the group, Jumpstream!
Jumpstream is a recolor and slight retool of the Combiner Wars Stunticon Breakdown. Not my favorite Stunticon mold but has been used one other time.
While I don't mind the color scheme, the near solid green body doesn't do it for me.
As before, Jumpstream also has the Cybertronian symboles. Here's the left side.
And here's the right side. My figure, for whatever reason, doesn't want to lock in properly in some places, so the gaps are more visible.
Now, as before, any of the Torchbearers can use whatever weapon, but in the instructions, Jumpstream gets a shield.
The twins must have terrible aim. Now, normally I would use the original mold for comparisons, but I didn't feel like using it, so for this entry, I'm using the only other first party release for this mold.
Here is Jumpstream with Combiner Wars Sunstreaker. Same alt-mode aside from the different colors. And no hand/foot gun.
So, let's transform her and see how she looks in robot mode.
Compared to the others, Jumpstream doesn't have a lot of changes going for her. Only her head, chest piece and hands are different. The rest are the same as Breakdown and Sunstreaker.
Still, those changes are rather good, and Jumpstream has an interesting head sculpt going for her. She's the tough one of hte group, obviously.
See how tough she is? She's got hte same poseability but there's somehing with the legs. They don't lock in well so she's unbalanced as a result. And yes, she can equip the shield.
I like her holding it this way as it looks like she's actually holding a shield. Now let's move on to the comparisons.
Here is Jumpstream with Sunstreaker, showing the differences in the mold.
Right now, honestly, Jumpstream, aside from the head, is my least favorite of the bunch, with the major issue being the mold. But it's not like she had other mold options to fit with the team. But one can hope that they'll learn their lessons for other future sets.
Tomorrow it's another two for one entry as we look at the legends and voyager figures for this set. Until next time.
4 days ago
Hello everybody and welcome to Day two of Torchbearer week, where we take a look at a brand new combiner team that was recently introduced to the Transformers universe.
Today, we're only looking at one figure in the line up, so without further ado, may I present to you, from the Sea of Rust, the Transformers female Autobot, Dustup!
Sporting the same red and green as her allies, Dustup is a recolor and slight retool of the Stunticon Dead End. Yes, not a retool of Streetwise, but of Dead End. I've always liked the Dead End mold so it's nice to see it get more versions, especially without the out of place light bar on some figures, like on Smokescreen.
And like Skyburst and Stormclash, Dustup also has Cybertrion text on her alt-mode.
Here it is on her left side.
And here it is on the right side. And as you can see, the markings are very different from one another.
Dustup looks great, and the color scheme works, though I'm thinking they should have gone with a different green color or maybe a teal color. I would have worked better for this alt-mode, I think. Now, like before, Dustup can use any of the accessories that came with this set, but the instructions have her with one particular tool, which can be stored on her alt-mode.
It's some weird double axe weapon, which, when placed here, looks like a spoiler of sorts. Anyway, time for the comparisons.
Here is Dustup with mold buddy Dead End. You can see that the shells are hte same between the two molds with no real difference outside of the paint. This will be common for the rest of the set.
For another comparison, here is Reveal the Shield Hot Hot, who is slightly bigger than Dustup in alt-mode. Now, let's transform her and see how she looks in robot mode.
Right away you can see that Dust up is going to be different in regards to her upper body. Her chest piece is more... er, slanted, but she's also sporting new hands, forearms and a new head sculpt.
Here's a closer look. I guess Dustup is the ninja of the group. Being the same mold as Dead End's skeleton means she has the poseability that he has.
Though the new forearms make it look like she's sporting a mini shield on her arms. And yes, she can hold her double axe weapon, too.
I'm sure there's an official name for it but I have no idea what it is. The instructions have Dustup holding it this way though she does have options. Now let's show her off with Dead End to show off the differences.
As you can see, aside from the legs, Dustup is using different pieces than Dead End, though I don't think they had to go out of their way too much to make Dustup appear more... er, feminine. She is a ninja after all.
And, of course, here is Dustup with Windblade.
For most of the rest of the set you'll be seeing differences like this. New chest plates and other new stuff, but you won't see any major changes with the alt-mold shells, so if you liked them, you'll have no problems here.
Tomorrow we'll see to ride the Jumpstream in the hopes of clear skies and a safe arrival. Until next time.
5 days ago
Just a reminder that I posted new images, if you care for that sort of thing.
Hello and welcome one and all to another Combiner Wars theme week. This week we'll be taking a look at another combiner team, and as you saw from the first line, this will be from the Combiner Wars Line.
Last week you saw me review the Botcon exclusive Predacus set, which was made by a second party company who was given the official license from Hasbro. This week we're going first party, but looking at a set of brand new characters.
...Just to get this out of the way, not new molds per say, but actual brand new characters. What makes these character special is that they were "created" by the fans. Though it was more of a fan vote that influence the set that would come to be.
And what is this fan-built combiner?
Collective known as the Rust Renegades or the Torchbearers, the combiner we'll be looking at this week is Victorion, an all female combiner team. As the Combiner Wars line is reaching it's end, the combiners are all basically getting gift sets, which is the only way you can get this combiner team.
Here are the members of the team who are part of this set. Pyra Magna, Dust Up, Jumpstream, Skyburst, Stormclash and Rust Dust.
And on the back a preview of the combined form. But we'll get to that later. For now, let's check out this group.
Unlike the Predacus set, which had hte whole foam thing going, here is the typical factory stuff of keeping all the figures together.
One other neat thing that this set comes with isn't a card, but an actual poster. The artwork is very nice, as well as showing off the entire team except for Rust Dust, because we must discriminate against the small robots.
For now, let's begin this week by taking a look at two figures within this set, Skyburst and Stormclash.
Okay, I fully admit to cheating here, mainly because these two figures are essentially the same mold, but with some differences. But they are being billed as twins, so I'm a little more forgiving here.
Anyway, Skyburst (left) and Stormclash (right) are two twin helicopter members of the Torchbearers, who are repaints and remolds of the Combiner Wars Alpha Bravo, who's basically been used for anything resembling a helicopter in this set.
Though in this case more work was done with the paint job as there are differences between the two in that regards. There are also more minute differences between the two figures.
Every member of the Torchbearers comes with lines of Cybertronian text on the alt-modes, and they are all different from one another.
Here the text on Skyburst.
And here's hte text on Stormclash. One other difference you can see between Alpha Bravo and the twins is the arms. Mainly, the forearms are new, dropping the rockets for fins, though it does give visible hand syndrome.
Now, while every member does get their own weapons, the instructions don't really imply that one set goes to another, but the pictures provide a different tale. In the case of the twins, the get swords, which can be stored on their alt-modes.
But it interferes with the rotors, so that's a problem.
Anyway, time for comparisons. First here are the twins with their mold buddy, Alpha Bravo.
As you can see, the major difference is in the arms. Otherwise, no real changes between the two molds.
Next here are the twins with Reveal the Shield Hot Rod.
And for a size comparison, here are the twins with Combiner Wars Optimus Prime. I don't plan to do any of these size comparisons and mostly will stick with the mods the figures are linked to. For now, let's transform these two ladies and see how they really look.
So here we have Skyburst and Stormclash in their robot modes, and here is where you can see the difference between the two. Skyburst will have her emblem on her right while Stormclash will have her's on her left. You can twist the fins how you like to help tell them apart. And they are also sporting differences in the head sculpts.
Here's a close up of Skyburst.
And here's a close up of Stormclash. As you can see, the major difference in the head sculpts is the eyes, which is striking when you have them in person.
In regards to poseability, they're basically Alpha Bravo in their skeleton, so there is no difference there.
Sisters going to kick your ass!
To show off the differences in the mod more, here is Alpha Bravo with the twins. You can see that the chest plates and head sculpts are different. One other difference that I only noticed now is the hands. The twins have a more open hand thing going while Alpha Bravo is closed up. Just something I thought was interesting.
Next up, here are the twins with Windblade, the bot who first found them. Expect to see her a lot more in the coming week.
In regards to accessories, there are no hand/foot guns, but I'll explain that later when we get to combined mode. Instead, there are the individual accessories that have another purpose that we'll also get to for combined mode. More now, here you can see the twins armed up and ready to slice up the unbelievers, all in the name of Primus!
There are no issues with the joints as they're all very tight, so clearly the QC was there. The paint job is excellent and you can tell that there was care taken to make sure it was done properly for the twins. They could have easily given them the same paint and kept the differences in robot mode, but that isn't the case here. Sure, the differences in the paint are minor, but just because it's minor doesn't mean it's something minor to change.
Tomorrow we're going back to looking at the figures individually, but we'll need to clear up the Dustup first. Until next time.
6 days ago
Episode 25: The Spotlight is On
Hello everybody and welcome to another exciting edition of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky. Today we’ll actually move on with the main story as we have no other side quests we can complete at this time. Unless there are hidden quests involved.
For you see, in this episode, our heroes finally arrive to the Jenis Royal Academy, the place where Kloe goes to school when she isn’t spending time at the orphanage helping them out. And wouldn’t you know it, our heroes are there on the job as Kloe has asked for help from Estelle and Joshua.
Though they apparently have something special in mind for Joshua. So sit back and relax and let’s see what terrible idea they have in store for him.
So, first things first, we need to see the Dean. He’s on the first floor of I’m guessing the main building.
This map doesn’t help me at all. But yes, that building in the center is the school building. Once in there we take a right and go all the way to the end of the hall to find the Dean’s office. Once there a cutscene plays, with Kloe telling Dean Collins of her return.
The Dean, who has a portrait, welcomes her and asks who the other two kids are. Estelle and Joshua introduce themselves to him as members of the Bracer Guild. After commenting on how young they are, but then asks if they’re here in regards to the fire at the orphanage.
Well, partially. Kloe explains the situation to the Dean. After hearing that, he wishes there was more he could do, deciding that the best option is to cheer up the children. Kloe agrees with this sentiment and says that she’ll work with Estelle and Joshua on the play. The Dean then asks the kids to do what they can to help.
What a low opinion you guys have. Dean Collins then says that he’s letting Jill, the head of the student council, handle the play. Since she’s been in charge, she’s the one to talk to about getting more information. In the mean time he’ll set up dorm rooms for Estelle and Joshua, much to their surprise.
Collins explains that the campus festival is nearly upon them, and with the kids working hard and rehearsing every day for long hours, they’ll need a place to sleep. Because that just makes the most amount of sense. Also, given how monster infected the road is, I imagine there aren’t a lot of commuters going to this school.
Suddenly, the bell rings indicating that lessons have concluded for the day. Collins suggests meeting with Jill. Kloe says that they would need to go to the student council room next, which is to the right of the main building, the second floor of the clubhouse.
Turns out, I only have to go left after exiting the dean’s office to get to the clubhouse. This place sells some food, including a lunch, so we eat and learn the recipe before heading upstairs.
In the Council Room...
Well, there is a festival on the way. Jill is going over the paperwork one more time and making sure the invitations got sent out, so all that’s left is the play. Hans, I’m assuming the vice president, says that they need to fill out the last two roles or else they will have to fill them.
It can’t be that bad. Kloe then enters, leading Estelle and Joshua with her. Jill immediately asks Kloe if she’s alright, what with the fire and all. Hans asks about the matron and the children, but Kloe assures them that they’re fine. Sadly, the orphanage was burnt to the ground. When Estelle finds that person, they’re going to wish that Agate was the one to find them.
Jill says that the best thing they can do in this situation is to make a play the children can enjoy, and with Kloe’s help, she’s certain the play will turn out fine. That’s when she notices Estelle and Joshua and asks who they are. After introductions, Jill immediately recognizes them as the ones Kloe has been talking about. Apparently this was all part of some plan, though apparently Jill didn’t think they would arrive.
Well, it’s not like they could say no to you after what happened. Jill is relieved to hear this, then mentions that she’ll be directing the play. Hans, who is a vice president, introduces himself as well. After a moment, Jill looks over the kids, then decides on something for the play.
Besides, the family agreed that Estelle isn’t allowed sharp objects anymore after the escapades in the kitchen. But as far as Jill is concern, this helps out in the play.
Kloe assures Estelle that it’s for the play and not an actual sword fight. Jill says that the scene is a duel between the two knights at the climax of the play, citing that it’s a powerful scene and perfect for the final act. Apparently they were sorely lacking in girls who could use a sword well enough to keep up with Kloe.
That is rather impressive. Jill adds that Hans was her final opponent, which he was not happy to be reminded of. What, was it that much of a one-sided fight? Though Kloe says that she’s only an amateur, and in her opinion, wouldn’t be a match against a professional like Estelle. Right.
Estelle just likes Kloe that much. Joshua seems excited by the idea of a duel between two female knights, noting that it is rather unique. Hans seems confused by the statement.
I think I can see where this is going. Joshua, of course, is confused by the statement, but Jill continues, saying that our resident swordsman has no role at the moment.
That is a smile Estelle would give when she’s being sneaky. Hans plays along with the “crucial role” part, causing confusion from both Estelle and Joshua. He decides to bite the bullet and asks what kind of play is he stuck helping with.
Like the name of the chapter. Jill says that it’s a famous story, set in a time where there are nobles and commoners. How is that different now? Though she goes on to say that a princess is courted by both a knight of royal blood and a commoner. Despite the differences in social classes, the three have been friends since childhood, which leads to a nice love triangle. Though there is a happy ending, so there will be no tragedy.
It does, doesn’t it. But Joshua himself still has a question.
Hey, anything to spruce up a common tale, right? Just reverse the gender roles. Estelle is surprised the teachers would support this, but Jill chimes in.
I’m actually surprised that argument actually worked. But Jill gives her real reason for doing this.
At least she came up with a good reason aside from “because it’ll be fun!” Kloe calls her incorrigible but Hans says that another title comes to mind.
In either case, Estelle is so in.
But Joshua, poor, dear Joshua, doesn’t like where this is heading. When he asks what crucial role they need him to play, they don’t answer him. Instead, Jill and Hans are happy to get extra help.
After a fade out, it’s to the stage to being a costume test. Here we see Kloe and Estelle in their knight costumes. Kloe is sporting a blue ensemble while Estelle is going with red. Estelle wonders why they aren’t armored up, but Jill has the perfect rebuttal.
A good reason. As a result, Jill decided it’d be best if the knights were dressed as Royal Guardsmen. Estelle can’t help but compliment on how well it looks on Kloe.
I do admit, they both look good in their respective outfits. Speaking of, Estelle asks why they’re dressed in different colors. Kloe fills in this one. She’ll be playing the Azure Knight, Oscar, while Estelle plays the Ruby Knight, Julius. Color coded for your convenience. But then we have the most important question to ask.
Oh, this should be good. Hans leads out Joshua, who’s resisting the entire way through, but soon we get to see him in his glory.
No, I think it speaks for itself. Estelle tries to find the right words, then comes up with the best ones possible.
That’s what a good makeup artist is for. Hans decides that needling Joshua is the best part.
Though Joshua isn’t quite as thrilled as the others.
Though apparently this is what Jill wanted. As far as she’s concern, the casting was perfect. She says that they’ll make this play the best one ever!
Hey, who knows, Joshua. If being a bracer doesn’t pan out, maybe you’ll have a career in the theater.
After another fade out, we’re told that Estelle and Joshua slept in their respective dormitories. Looks like Estelle is rooming with Kloe and Jill. She comments that the two of them must be close since they are roommates, but Kloe adds that they’ve been close ever since they first started here at the academy. Jill adds that, since they became roommates, they’ve been inseparable. But then Jill gives Estelle a proposition.
No pressure or anything. Estelle accepts without hesitation, but as long as Kloe isn’t superseded, she will allow this to happen. They’re a best friend trio after all.
Hooray for new friends! And no worry about boys trying to sneak peeks on them. Kloe calls Jill’s line of thought dirty, but then she fires back that Kloe is just an innocent little lamb.
Not her precious sweets! Estelle is a trooper, though. She has no idea what’s happening but she’s rolling with the punches. Kloe and Jill note that she’s just staring, but Estelle has her own problems.
I think they have a treatment for that. Jill asks what Estelle means, so she says that she has friends back in Rolent, but the most they ever did was have sleepovers.
This gets Jill and Kloe to talk to themselves, wondering why Estelle would be jealous of their random antics, apparently being insulted by that. Mainly because of her traveling companion.
...Oh, they’re talking about Joshua.
Estelle counters that, at most, Joshua is a big brother to her. It’s a sibling thing, really. Jill doesn’t buy it.
Given his types have been Josette and Kloe, I think we already know the answer to that question. Though Jill goes on, thinking that Joshua has something else on his mind.
There’s no denying that Estelle is a pretty little thing. Especially with her hair down, but that’s just me. Kloe decides that Jill has teased enough and puts an end to it. She apologizes to Estelle for letting it go on as long as she did, but this only redirects Jill’s line of attack to Kloe.
Kloe holds the ultimate weapon against Jill. The lack of sweets. Estelle is still reeling on the whole “Joshua the hunk who you should totally hook up with” line of thought.
Kloe stops Jill yet again. Deciding to avoid her wraith, Jill takes the opportunity to give the daily report to the teacher, escaping as soon as possible. This leaves Kloe and Estelle alone, but with bed time nearly upon them, she offers the bracer her own set of pajamas. But she’s still kind of hung up on the whole Joshua comments. Snapping to, she agrees to take them, fading out.
Fading back in...
The game has now become a high school drama! In our next scene we see Kloe up and awake, trying to get Jill and Estelle up. She’s successful with Estelle, but as soon as she works on Jill, Estelle goes right back to sleep.
The next fade out states that the kids would go to school, just like any other student. This is shown in a classroom where Estelle and Joshua are in the front row. They don’t get uniforms, and in said scene, Estelle gets asked a question she doesn’t know, but Joshua does. Poor Estelle.
The next fade out says that, throughout the morning, they would attend lessons with other students, with a scene showing Estelle having lunch with Jill and Kloe, shortly being joined by Hans and Joshua. During this scene...
Well, he might look very nice in them. After that there’s a scene of practice, with Kloe and Estelle going over the stunt work. The text adds that rehearsals lasted late into the night. No wonder Estelle and Jill had problems getting up. Still, everyone was having so much fun that time seemed to fly by.
Oh, we’re seeing the play in action. I kind of wish I was recording this. Screenshots would make this long episode already longer, so I’ll just go with a script format here.
*Scene, our two knightly friends, Julius and Oscar, having realized their love for they Princess, face off in a duel to determine who takes her hand*
Ruby Knight Julius (Estelle): My Friend...I fear that this was inevitable. Perhaps fate always intended for us to meet in so base a fashion.
*Julius then draws out his sword, facing Oscar*
Julius: Speak, that we may both be unburdened! If nothing else, for our beloved princess!
Azure Knight Oscar (Kloe): We would cleave a path through fate with our own hands... But at this moment, my words and her smile seem lost...
Julius: Has fear clutched your heart, Oscar?!
Oscar: But what is this passion that pierces me to the quick? Though I have no wish to fight you again, it would seem that I am left with little choice.
*Oscar draws out his own blade in response.*
Oscar: Before this storm, by the name of revolution, should claim us both... Take up your sword, and we shall let fate decide!
Julius: Yes! And may the Goddess above see our spirits as they truly are! Come, then! Let if be done!
*The two clash with all their might, leaving all their emotions bare.*
So... yeah, probably better than any of the plays I took part in. The two are tired, but Estelle is happy to have finished the scene.
And just in time, too. Kloe was impressed with the performance, but Estelle responds that she has nothing on her counterpart. Kloe says that she’s been familiar with the script longer, but says that she was learning it at the same rate as Estelle. Still, she appreciates Estelle taking the trouble to rehearse.
Estelle is thankful for Kloe, though, who has been her guide through all of it, adding that her friend would make a great bracer. The camera pans out, showing chairs in the audience. Tomorrow is the real thing, and let me tell you from experience that opening day is when I’m a nervous wreck. Even if I have no lines, I feel like any mistakes I make would be bad for the production.
Anyway, Kloe hopes that Matron Theresa and the children will enjoy the play. Estelle comments that, with how Kloe speaks of them, they’re like her own family. Kloe doesn’t respond to that, causing Estelle to apologize quickly, not certain what she did wrong. Kloe states that she didn’t do anything wrong. If anything, she’s right, since they were the ones who taught her the real value of family.
Kloe remarks that her parents died shortly after she was born, but wasn’t sent to an orphanage. Instead, she says that she was left in the care of an affluent relative. She never wanted for anything, but she had no idea what having a family was like. That was until ten years ago, when she met the matron. This, of course, was set during the Hundred Days War.
At this time, Kloe came to Ruan. Everybody she knew scattered, trying to escape the Imperial forces. That’s when Matron Theresa and Joseph, her husband, took her in and cared for her. After the war, they waited several months for word to come of her relatives, but during this time, the two were so kind to her, and that’s when she came to understood that this is what it must be like to have a mother and father and how it must be to have a family to be with.
Wow, what a tragedy if heartwarming backstory. Kloe apologizes for rambling, but Estelle doesn’t mind at all, If anything, this makes her more determined to make this play the best play ever. Estelle comments that Jill and Hans worked hard on this play, but Kloe adds that Joshua was the biggest help so far. Apparently, he does have a career for the theater if being a bracer doesn’t pan out.
Kloe does ask if Joshua has experience in theater, but Estelle states that she doesn’t know much of his past before coming into the family, as it’s something he’s never really wanted to talk about. And there was that one conversation you two had that basically said “No matter what happened in the past, we’re still family.” Or something to that effect.
Kloe apologizes as it seems like she’s prying, but Estelle says not to worry about it. Besides, Joshua’s been the type to be good at whatever he does, which includes dressing up and acting as a spoiled princess. Estelle adds that while he’s also calm and collective, but when he gets flustered, that’s when he’s really cute.
I just imagine that as being a refined, cute giggle. Though after a sudden awkward moment of silence, Estelle asks what’s wrong? Apparently, Kloe thinks that their roles should be reversed. Estelle is confused so Kloe states that she was talking about the roles of Julius and Oscar. It’s of her opinion that Oscar would have been a better fit for Estelle.
Estelle isn’t quite certain what Kloe means. Sure, Julius is the son of a noble and she doesn’t know anything about that, but that isn’t what Kloe meant. It’s more about the ending of the play. Apparently, Oscar gets the girl, though the game doesn’t try to spoil that part. Estelle brushes it off as nothing, but seems rather insulted that Kloe wouldn’t want to kiss Joshua!
Please, my high school plays did that when it was involved. Nothing risqué about it at all. Estelle is confident that Joshua only sees her as a little sister, but Kloe questions that.
If siblings aren’t driving you nuts, then somebody is doing something wrong. But Estelle is adamant that there is nothing going on between her and Joshua. Kloe decides to drop it. And speak of the devil, here comes Joshua.
And sorry, folks. No Pretty Princess Joshua here. Joshua and Hans show up, commenting on how the two are still practicing despite rehearsal being over. Joshua asks if they’re ready for the big dual scene. Estelle shows off how confident she is.
Totally confident. Joshua can’t wait to see it, but Kloe then asks what the boys are doing here. Turns out, today is the last day Estelle and Joshua will be staying in the dorms with them, so Hans thought that they should all have a big dinner to pump themselves up.
Estelle is behind any idea that involves food. Kloe goes along with it, as well. Before that, Joshua asks where Jill is? Apparently Dean Collins called her away some time ago, so Kloe is going to go check on her, but Estelle will go with her, telling the boys to go on ahead to the cafeteria. They leave after some banter of their own, leading Estelle to comment on how well they’re getting along.
Estelle questions the chuckle but Kloe doesn’t add to it. With that, the girls change, since it’d be embarrassing to wear the costumes outside of the auditorium, and after a fade out, we’re in the dressing room, our girls in their normal outfits. And with that, we’re back in control.
And sadly, as much as I don’t want to, I have to end it there. I was expecting a long scene but not that long, so today we’ll have to be a story episode. Sorry if you guys were expecting any gameplay. Hopefully next week will change that.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, I think it’s pretty clear that this was planned for Joshua from the very beginning. Or at least, he’ll be the odd man out and be forced to play a female role. Still, he looks adorable as a pretty princess.
I think the stand outs are Kloe and Estelle, though. Given the work required to make the new sprites, I’m hoping we get a sell out performance from those two. I’m honestly hoping that things don’t go horribly wrong and we’ll see those scenes and the ending without sudden changes or a sudden attack. Just once I would like that to happen normally.
And with that, we’ll end it here, so thank you all once again for taking the time to reading this very long entry. And until next time, remember, instead of telling your potential leading man what role they’re playing, you should take them to get dressed instead, so that all could be surprised to see.
6 days ago
Hello everybody and welcome to our final entry in our Predacus week, where today we take a look at the combined form itself.
First, as a reminder, new images have been posted. Yay!
Let's start things off by showing off the team in it's entirety. Too bad there weren't any three bot combiners, but still, we got some good bots. Though they do seem to lack uniformity like the other combiner teams do.
So, without further ado, Predacons! Transform and combine into Predacus!
Tarantus, Ravage, form the feet!
Sea Clamp, form the torso!
Cicadacon, Ramhorn, form the arms! Behold! Precacus awakens!
So, Predacus is the big bad combined form of the five Predacon members. Now, I didn't mention this before so I will now, but included in each box set is a comic explaining why the Predacons do not have beast alt-modes. In this same comic they are members of the Decepticons and haven't broken off into the new faction yet.
Now, this is a pretty good looking figure, and the chest piece colors are done very well, in my opinion. Let's get a little closer...
A face only a mother can love. While the other members are predominately red, Predacus mixes in a lot of black for the chest piece, and I think it helps separate it more into it's own unique form.
Taking a look at some of the limbs, here's Ramhorn as the left arm. The concept art has the turret section up more but it does some weird things to the arm as a result.
Here's Ravage as the left leg.
Tarantulus as the right leg.
And Cicadacon as the right arm.
Now, I have an issue with the limb molds they used. They're all mostly made for being legs, and that's mostly true with Cicadacon and Ramhorn's molds more than anything else. They look better as legs, to be honest, but then you have to bring up Tarantulus and Ravage, and only the mad scientist would look good as an arm. I wish they made Cicdacon a Firefly mold. That would work better.
Anyway, Predacus does come with the Superion gun.
As is the case for all Silverbolt molds. Speaking of...
Here is Predacus with Superion, showing off how they compare to one another.
For another, here is Predacus with Leader Class Combiner Wars Megatron.
And lastly, here is Predacus with Masterpiece Ramjet.
Here's the thing, and I do have to be honest. This set did not wow me as it did originally. I think it's the way the molds were used and now, aside from some excellent paint jobs on some of the figures, individually, there's no real stand out.
That said, Predacus comes out well on his own, and thanks to being a Scramble City combiner, I can mix and match the limbs to whatever I want it to be. But I think getting a new combiner recently made me thing less of this project.
I doubt I'll keep it long. Might end up selling it, and as it's a Botcon exclusive I may get quite a bit for it, but we'll see.
And with that, Predacus week concludes. But we aren't done with the theme weeks yet, for next week, we take a look at that combiner team I was talking about. Next week, we become Rust Renegades!
Until next time.
1 week ago
Hello and welcome to Day Five of Predcaus week, where today we'll take a look at the finale member of this exclusive Botcon set. Then, sometime later today, we'll take a look at the combined form.
But for now, may I present to you the third and final member of the Tripredicus council, Sea Clamp!
Sea Clamp himself is a repaint and slight retool of the Combiner Wars Scattershot, who himself was a heavy retool of the Combiner Wars Silver Bolt. Geez, if Cyclonus' mold started with an S, we'd have nothing but S names for this mold.
But anyway, yeah, repaint of Scattershot. And to be honest I did like what they did for Scattershot, even if he didn't look like his old G1 self. With Sea Clamp you can claim it as a new alt-mode for the predacon, and honestly, he looks good.
Here's a side shot of Sea Clamp.
And a rear shot. I should note that Sea Clamp's alt-mode does not contain any Predacon markings for whatever reason.
Now, as you can see, Sea Clamp comes with the standard Silverbolt gun and shield which is stored up front, though for this mold it seems odd given that the nose cone is also a gun.
A close shot if you're interested. So, with that, let's go straight to the comparisons.
Here is Sea Clamp with Scattershot, where you can see that Sea Clamp uses a much darker read for most of it's plastic parts. I do like the design of the cockpit/nose cannon, though.
Next, here is Sea Clamp with fellow mold mate Combiner Wars Cyclonus, just to show off the differences between the molds.
And lastly, because I could, here is Sea Clamp with Masterpiece Tracks, just to show off the size difference.
Now, if you have owned any of the Silverbolt molds, you already know how to transform Sea Clamp.
Unlike his alt-mode, Sea Clamp has a lot more silver in the robot mode, mainly around the chest area, to help contrast with the dominate grey on the figure.
A closer look at the head and you can see it's a new head. One thing to do about the transformation is that, with Sea Clamp, due to the size, you have to turn the head ninety degrees to tuck it away. It will not fold back as is without turning it.
"I am the true leader of the Predacons!"
As a Silverbolt mold, Sea Clamp basically has the same poseability. This also includes ratcheted arms, which is related to the combined mode. The joints are very tight, though, which means it takes a bit to get them to move. Luckily they aren't "Oh my god am I going to break this" tight, but enough to keep him steady.
Here is Sea Clamp with the gun and shield, typical of all figures using this mold.
Now for some more comparisons!
Here is Sea Clamp with Scattershot. Here you can effectively see the color differences between the two, though I do wonder why they couldn't use the Cyclonus mold for Sea Clamp.
It also just occurs to me that the Silverbolt mold as been effectively retooled three times, with similarities between the three being more related to the alt-mode. No other mold in this line can say that.
Here is Sea Clamp with Combiner Wars Off Road, to show how he compares to other deluxe figures.
And lastly, here he is with Rattrap.
All and all, while I won't call Sea Clamp the best figure of the bunch, at the very least, he'd be the second best of the bunch. The Silverbolt mold has always been a good mold and is put to good use here. My only complaint is related to the head and it's unusual size. Aside from that, tight joints and a good look made this an excellent figure.
Tune in later to see the combined form, where you will come to fear the name of Predacus. Until then.
1 week ago
Hello everybody and welcome to our next episode of Sword Art Online II and the middle of a three part arc. Because our heroes are tried of real world drama for a change and just want to have fun. Yeah, well screw that, says a central AI governing the MMO worlds, we're going to put ALO in danger because we can!
Which basically sums up the last episode. But because I'm good to you guys, here's a recap of what happened. Going back to the ALO arc from the first season, Kirito and Suguha discuss a dungeon that they discovered by accident and saving a Flying Cthulhu Elephant named John (actually called Tonky, but seriously?) from a four armed giant. As a reward, they're shown a golden sword high in the sky of this new dungeon, but as they're busy doing other things, they don't worry about it until much, much later.
Much later being a kill quest where most of the ALO players are killing the Flying Cthulhu Elephant monsters. Which is bad because they're really such sweet monsters. According to Urd, the quest giver for Kirito, Thrym, King of the Frost Giants, basically moved in using Excalibur to cut off branches of the world tree, taking away it's graces and turning the place into a frozen tundra. She has tasked Kirito and his party with taking Excalibur from it's resting place, for without it, the World Tree will return it's graces and drive out the Frost Giants.
Oh, but they're on the clock. You see, if the other players succeed in killing John's buddies, including John himself, then they're boned as Urd will lose her power, leaving Thrym to attack the surface world. With no time to waste, Kirito and his chosen party, Asuna, Yui, Leafa, Klein, Liz, Silica and no member Sinon travel to take Excalibur and save the Flying Cthulhu Elephants. Will they succeed? Let's tune in and find out.
-Our episode begins with our party of misfit heroes stepping towards the entrance of Thrymheim, the dungeon in the sky. Kirito sees that Yui is distracted, so when he asks what's up, our adorable AI tells them that she suspects something else is going on here. Oh, I should mention that Urd is apparently an AI or linked to the Central Intelligence governing the Seed. Because we just need another case of an AI being bored.
-Yui explains that, while all of the other VRMMO worlds created by the Seed are using a stripped down version of the Cardinal system, ALO is using the real deal. Or more specifically, using a full-spec version of the system. The original didn't go over the system very much, but my understanding is that it was essentially running the game while Dr.-I'm-An-Artist-Dammit was actually playing in the game. Yui was created from that system, but pretty much by accident. Anyway, this is important because the original system also had the ability to automatically generate new quests, like what's happening with Urd. I suspect the reason that there's a full spec version for ALO is because it was essentially a copy-n-paste hack job of SAO, but with new trimming. And since the party is playing on essentially the same game, they're getting the same system. Oh what fun.
-One thing you may be wondering is why we're mixing clearly Norse and Arthurian myths here. Yui explains that the Cardinal system searches the net for new stories and myths, take the data and adapt it into new quests, hence the mixture here. I should note is that, while Yui is explaining this, the anime is showing basically a series of tubes with lights flying through them. During this images of various myths were shown, and, of course, a Friday the 13th scene. Yeah, I can only imagine what kind of quest the Cardinal system would make using that as a reference.
-...Actually, that might be pretty cool. Kirito asks if this quest is the result of Cardinal mixing and matching stories together. Yui highly suspects that to be the case, but this may be a problem. Yui states that the quest will end the same way the myth does, no matter what the heroes do. Yui explains that it isn't just the Frost Giants that want a piece of their world, but so do the fiery realm of Muspelheim. They basically burn the world tree to the ground. Because hey, since the world is ending, why not end it in the biggest bon-fire the world has ever seen?
-So, yeah, basically, it's Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods. Leafa says as much and basically can't believe the system would want to destroy it's own maps for the sake of the story. At least it's taking it's story rather seriously, but to add to that, Yui states that the Cardinal system has the authority to destroy world maps. She knows this because in SAO, the system's final task was destroying Aincrad, the floating castle, which we saw in all it's glory at the end of that arc. So, yeah, if the Cardinal system wanted to, it could destroy the world maps. There's also the bigger implication that, even if the party succeeds in stopping the Frost Giants, they have the Fire Giants to contend with. Basically, no matter what the heroes do, the World Tree is doomed to burn and their world doomed to fall. They take it about as well as you expect them to, which is, not at all.
-Liz is upset that she'll lose her shop, Pina is upset because Silica is upset and Klein is upset because he'll never find his soul mate. I'm not even going to touch that last one. Actually, the only person not upset by this is Sinon. She states that, even if the world is deleted, wouldn't they just be able to restore from a backup? Yui states that, while the Cardinal system does have a backup system in place, it only saves player data, not field data. But then, suddenly, Klein has a brilliant idea! He goes through his system and... doesn't have the brilliant idea anymore. Basically, he tried to contact the GM, but it turns out, it's after hours, so it's a no go. What a great time to not be available. Stupid GMs taking the holidays off.
-Oh, while you guys were bickering about how screwed the world is, Leafa shows Kirito the gem they got from Urd. It's half black, which is bad because it means they're running out of time. Even if they're doomed to fail, they're going to make those Giants work for their apocalypse, dammit! Time for an old fashion dungeon raid!
-Tonight's episode is titled The King of the Giants. Inside the dungeon the party is engaging a monster that is constantly healing while another monster is meditating and keeping it going. Sinon tries to shoot the medic but the fighter blocks the arrow. Leafa notes that the attack, a golden monster, has some high physical resistance, which is bad when they're all basically physical attackers. Klein notes the lack of a mage in their party, with Liz nearly face faulting from him making the comment. She points out that the medic monster has high magic resistance and would move up as a result. At least it would stop healing the golden monster. Yui gives them advance warning of a skill attack, allowing them all to dodge. They learned that lesson well.
-A point of view shot shows that everybody is hurting, so Asuna works on healing up everybody, but she's running low on MP. Kirito blocks the golden monster's attack, but Leafa doesn't help matters by telling him that the gem is two thirds dark. If they fall here they won't have enough time to come back from a save point. So he suggests using sword skills with magic attributes, but doing such a thing will leave them open, but since they're on the clock, it's one of those do or die measures. Everybody is in, so they start with Silica commanding Pina to use her Bubble Breath Attack. Since when did he become a pokemon?
-The attack stuns the golden monster, allowing the others to attack with their sword skills. Klein comes in with a flaming sword attack, followed by Leafa coming in with a wind based attack. After that, Liz attacks with a lightning (or light) based attack, followed by Silica's water attack. Sinon follows up with a head shot of an ice attack, I think, with Kirito finishing off the monster with a flaming sword attack on his right hand sword. Except he doesn't as the monster has quite a bit of health left. Klein tries to engage but because of the attacks they're unable to move, so Kirito, being the cheater that he is, uses his off-hand sword attack, using... I guess a light based attack, allowing him to move and cut right through the monster. No, wait, it's an ice based attack. After that attack Kirito activates his dominant sword fire skill and comes in with more attacks, but as this happens the other party members are able to attack.
-After the initial strikes from Kirito, Klein comes in with a Iaijutsu strike. This is followed by Leafa's wind based attack, with Silica, Liz and Sinon getting in their own shots. I should note that Sinon went point blank with her shot. Kirito ends the team attack with his own flaming strikes from his off-hand attack, bringing the golden monster's health down to a sliver of what's left. Well, that didn't work out. As the monster comes in for the attack on the paralyzed party members, Asuna comes in with her light attacks, finishing off the monster. I was wondering when she was going to join in on this multi attack?
-This apparently wakes up the medic monster, who grabs his own axe and is about to attack Asuna, but the golden monster dies at this point, giving him pause. Klein is all smiles as the party kills the medic monster with ease. Yay, victory! Wouldn't it be funny if that was the first room boss? So, anyway, time to call out Kirito on doing something that shouldn't be possible in the game. Klein demands answers, so Kirito points out that it's a command called skill connect. This is something that came in the last update, though they didn't get any unique skills like dual welding or the divine blade. Klein points out that Kirito is dual-wielding right now. Kirito, however, says that he's technically not dual wielding, at least as far as the system rules could tell. He states that he was only doing single sword skills, one in each hand, and because of this, he can avoid the lag time from magical sword skills for up to four attacks. Talk about abusing the system.
-Liz and Silica seem amazed by this, with Sinon being nonchalant. Asuna, however, is less than amused, though she calls it deja vu. Why? Well, the series happily gives you a flashback to Klein wanting to know the new skill Kirito picked up and it basically going like that. Kirito tells her not to pop a blood vessel before telling the rest that it's time to get a move on. He turns to Leafa, who says that, at the rate the gem is turning dark, they have about another hour. Fun. Kirito turns to his little cheat, Yui, and asks how big the floors are in this dungeon. She explains that the floors get smaller the higher, or lower, you go, with the fourth floor being just the boss room. Well, at least it isn't a hundred floors.
-Kirito says that, based on absolutely no information at all, to defeat the final boss it'll take them thirty minutes. Which means they only have thirty minutes to get to the room. Well, Liz isn't keen on waiting around, so she gives Kirito a good smack and says that they should get going. Kirito is all for it, and after getting up says that, as soon as everybody is healed up, they'll tackle that third floor. So they were in the second floor then. Well, at least they don't have too much left to do.
-Twenty nine minutes later, the party is facing off against the third floor boss. It's a centipede monster, because why not? The group has it nearly defeated, but it takes a distraction job form Pina and two attacks from Silica and Kirito to finish off the beast. And with that, they run towards the final boss room. Along the way they pass by a cell made of ice, and inside a beautiful woman sits there. Klein is immediately smitten with this beauty as she pleads to be let out. As he makes his way to her, Kirito grabs hold of his headband to stop him. He, followed by Liz and Sinon, say it's a trap. Klein isn't so certain, so they'll turn to their little cheat for an answer. Yui says that this character is an NPC and is linked to the Language Engine Module, like Urd. Except for one small, not necessarily important difference. This captive has an HP gauge.
-Kirito is basically "Yup, flag. We'll probably have to fight her." Asuna, Silica and Leafa all agree that it's a trap. Pina squeaks, which I assume is baby dragon talk for "Man, that Klein is so totally going to get killed from this trap." So, yeah, because of that uncertainty, Kirito tells Klein that they just can't afford to let her out, since the clock is ticking after all. As the other's leave, the NPC begs to not be left behind. They don't get very far, though, as Klein, accepting that this is likely a trap, refuses to let behind somebody that needs help, even if it means they fail the quest and Arun gets destroyed. Sure, you safe a beautiful damsel in distress, but if the world dies as a result, would it really be worth it?
-Please, we all know Klein has ulterior motives here. He runs back and cuts open the ice bars, freeing her. She's happy to have been freed and smiles at Klein, who is playing his heroic role for all it's worth. Of course, the others are just looking at him, thinking what an idiot he is. I should note that, despite having an HP gauge, she's still in chains, so I'm of the opinion that this being a trap is somewhat low. Not impossible, but just low. Klein, continuing to play up the hero role, tells his damsel that the exit is pretty far and asks if she can manage on her own.
-Our NPC could, but she can't, as she's there to take back a sacred treasure that Thrym stole and wishes to go to the throne room with them. Asuna thinks this is fishy, which Kirito won't argue against, but Klein does look to him for permission. Kirito can say no to a lot of people, but surprisingly enough, Klein is not one of those people. It's because he's mastered the puppy dog eye look and Kirito can't refuse him if he gives that look. So, yeah, even if there's a chance that this is a trap... it's also possible that this is a requirement to fulfill some hidden condition to delay Ragnarok.
-Still, with permission from Kirito, Klein is ecstatic, telling the rescued NPC that they're in the same boat together now and that they should get we together. Who the hell wrote that line? As the NPC gives Klein a close hug, much to his amusement, Kirito, being the good father and noting the hidden meaning behind the line, tells his daughter to delete it from her memory. Suddenly, a message appears in front of Kirito that an NPC wants to join the party. He accepts because he wanted Klein to feel important and we soon learn her name. Freyja. Oh, then she shouldn't be a trap, then, since she's an enemy of the Frost Giants. Unless the Cardinal System is acting all screwy and somehow makes her out to be Loki.
-Kirito notes that Freyja's MP gage is really high, making her a mage, something their party sorely lacks. As Kirito turns to Leafa, who looks less than pleased by this arrangement, Kirito looks at the gem on her chest and sees that it's nearly dark. Time to get moving, but Kirito leaves some last minute instructions. As they'll be facing the final boss, he'll be the toughest monster in this dungeon, so during the first phase, everybody will be on the defensive and not attack until he gives the order. After that, should the HP gauge change to yellow or red, the attack patterns may change, so give them fair warning when that happens. Kirito has learned the lessons of SAO and kept them close to his heart, even if he isn't in a death game anymore.
-Alright, let's go murder this boss! The party soon approaches the door to the final room, which opens to allow them entry. A gust of cold air blows as Asuna buffs the team. Freyja does the same, giving the party a boost to their maximum HP. And you guys wanted to leave her behind. With preparations done, the party enters the long corridor, lined with treasure. Klein and Liz are eyeing it up, but before they could, a voice calls out, demanding to know who left the door open. They let flies in!
-Said voice makes his way towards the party, saying that he'll crush them before they become any more annoying. The party soon gets a good look at their final boss, a monster so tall they can't even make out his face. Must be Thrym. He seems annoyed that Urd would send the party against them, but hey, he's a reasonable guy. If they tell him where Urd is, he'll give them all this treasure. Sound good? Klein walks up to Thyrum and goes "Ha, ha, ha, no." He and the rest of the party draw out their weapons, but while Thrym eyes the party, he spots Freyja in the back. He's happy, because apparently our king was trying to court the Lady Freyja. There are betters ways to ask for their hand in marriage than "lock them in a cell until they agree to my demands."
-Well, apparently Freyja came willingly to be Thrym's bride, but the night before the wedding he caught her in his treasure vault, so to punish her, he locked her in a cage of ice. Apparently Leafa read this story, but there was something else important that she can't recall. Doesn't matter as Freyja yells at Thrym that she will not become his wife. They're going to mess him up instead! Also, give back her treasure, okay? Thrym is all excited by this, calling Freyja a noble woman, likening it to the phrase that the more noble the flower, the most satisfying it is to pluck it. So after he kills everybody but her, he'll shower her with extra affection. Did you really need to use that term?
-Klein, still running on his heroic deeds from earlier, says that it'll be a cold day in hell before Lord Klein lets Thrym lay a hand on Lady Freyja. Well, Niflheim is technically hell, and it is rather cold out there...
-Not hat it matters. Thrym is going to celebrate the conquest of Jotunheim by killing everybody in the room. Except for Freyja. With that, battle is joined. Kirito reminds everybody that nobody attacks until Yui says so, giving her mission control status. With that, Thrym comes in with the first attack, aimed right for Kirito. It gets in real close, right into his pupil, then the screen turns to black. Cue credits!
-Next time, Excalibur.
That seemed like a really short episode for some reason. The time shows that it was a full episode, but I can't help but think that it ended faster than it should have. We got a couple of battles, one that was truncated to the final battle, as well as the lead up to the final battle, but aside from that, the big part was basically our heroes rescuing the NPC Freyja, who Klein immediately falls for. Poor, dumb Klein. Though given the reaction of the final boss room, it's unlikely that she is a trap. Unless it's all an elaborate ruse.
Poor, dumb Klein.
With time counting down, will our heroes defeat Thrym and claim Excalibur? Or will they be too late in restoring the once peaceful land. And then there's the fire giants to contend with later, if that happens at all. Just another day in ALO, it seems.
Until next time, remember, when you find a random NPC in a cell just before the final boss room, think very hard and carefully about interacting them, lest it be a trap. Unless the NPC is drop dead gorgeous, then you should go ahead and rescue her immediately.
1 week ago
I posted some new images if you want to check them out.
Hello and welcome to Day fourof Dawn of the Predacus week, where today we take a look at the fourth member of the team and a member of the Tripredicus council, General Cicadacon!
Cicadacon is a straight repaint of the Combiner Wars Skydive, which shows in the alt-mode. What also shows is the design they used for this figure. Lots of red, but also the paint done on the wings.
Here's Cicadacon's side profile.
And from the back. and like the other Aerialbots and those using those molds, they have visible arm syndrome. Anyway, one of the more striking appearances for Cicadacon is the paint on the wings, to give them an insect like look, being a homage to his Beast Wars self.
Being a straight repaint of Skydive, Cicadacon has the same accessories, like the twin barrel gun and the hand/foot gun.
And yes, they can be stored on the wings, or with the peg on the back, on top of the fighter itself.
Death in so many ways. To show off the figure, here is Cicadacon with Skydive, his mold mate.
Same style but vastly different paint jobs.
For another comparison, here is Cicadacon with Generations Megatron.
And lastly, here is Cicadacon with Combiner Wars Optimus. Now, if you have Skydive, you already know how to transform Cicadacon, giving you a robot mode...
That looks a lot like Skydive, only with more silver. One thing to note that is a problem with my figure is that the shoulder connections for the right shoulder are loose, coming off easily. This may be a problem with others or just me, but I wanted to let you guys known in advance if you ever get this set.
Like Skydive, Cicadacon poses the same way. Praise thee Predacons! Now, like before, he can carry Skydive's accessories since he's a repaint, but the coloring is different. If you saw before, the twin barrel gun is gray.
And the hand foot gun is red.
Now for the robot comparisons. First here is Cicadacon with Skydive.
And as you can see, pretty much the same mold. Even down to the head sculpt.
Next, here is Cicadacon with Alpha Bravo.
And lastly, here he is with Voyager Roadbuster.
Overall, the Aerialbots always had good molds to them, but this one has given me some issues. Unlike the other figures which had tight joints, even the Ramhorn mold, Cicadacon suffers from poor joints and loose connections. It doesn't break the figure but is certainly lower in quality.
Tomorrow I'm back for more Sword Art Online II, but Saturday I'll return for the look at the final member of the team and review of the combined form. Until next time.
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Gravity Rush images go here.
Final Fantasy XIII
All things Final Fantasy XIII
So much eye candy...
Art from Persona 3, 4 and Arena here.
Tales of Graces
Here is your Tales of Graces love
Selvaria Bles Album
You know why you're here.
Hayate the Combat Butler
The place for the ladies (and guy) of this series.
Something for everybody!
All Fate/Extra stuff here (and then some)
The Wheel of Fate is Turning
These people are guilty for not wearing a crown
For the popular strategy RPG
You know why you're here. If not, you need new glasses.
Your cosplay action here.
Love for a great game with great art.
Even horrible creatures of the night need love
The most messed up pretty girls you've ever met.
The Devil is a Part-Timer
And now has it's own part time album.
Date a Live
Crazy girls going crazy for a guy who's treating this like a dating sim because if he doesn't the crazy girls go insane and start blowing stuff up. It's that kind of show.
Cosplay Gallery number 2
We liked it so much we made it twice.
The console war done with cute girls.
Because Hajime needs her own album.
Cosplay Gallery the third
Because you can never have enough
Rooster Teeth's first ever anime, it's images go here.
The Familiar of Zero
The one anime where I absolutely hate our two main protagonists.
High School DxD
Angels and Devils do battle while getting naked for no apparent reason.
Is This a Zombie?
No, they are hot vampire ninjas and magical girls.
Not that kind of Golden Time, though, but the anime.
Persona: The Second
For all the stray ones.
Cosplay thread IV
Like Saints Row, only sexier.
It's about a bunch of kids in the afterlife playing with guns.
Where being sexy will always forgive you for wanting to kill your sisters in bloody ways.
I couldn't become a hero...
...So I made this album instead.
Knights of Sidonia
Because we always make a folder for these shows
It's about a guy trying to become the Magic King and have his own harem
The Shantae Folder
The place where we put our magically sexy half-genie in all her glorious glory.
The Irregular at Magic High School
Where the protagonist can kill you just for annoying his sister.
Cosplay Gallery the Fifth
You know the drill.
Anime Screen caps
Because anything can be taken out of context when anime is involved
Because I'm watching it, that's why.
No Game, No Life
A preview for Sunday
Also, what a lazy fairy.
C.C. is quite the demon
Which is something I'm sure Lelouch can attest to.
Sheena and Judith
The fan service characters from their respective Tales Of games.
Kate is looking pretty for her night on the town
My monthly commission from Phil. I decided that I liked how Blue looked in her evening gown and decided to request the same for Kate. It also looks like Kate fancied up her hair a bit, too.
We have Leonmichelli, Millifiore and Couverte. Party!
Arnice's best friend. Poor cook and clumsy maid. Still adorable.
Wants a bridal gown unique to her. Which translates into skin tight and with chains.
Want a ride?
I'm sure Sona from League of Legends will help. Just make sure you wear your helmet. Once again done by Felox08.
Judith the Waitress
She's showing off a lot of leg.
C.C. is such a tease
Curse you and your revealing clothing!
Just another day for Arnice
It's weird when she and Lilysse are fighting. She doesn't like that at all.
At your service
If you didn't know any better
Mumei looks prepared to fight Titans in a different era.
Samus is hunting minsters
The artist is Felox, the same guy who did my Mitsuru and Shantae commissions. He does some very nice work.