Video Post: Transformers Gacha Arms Micron blindbags

Addaltmode open Gacha Arms Microns

We’re making good on our new year blogging resolution to try the occasional different post formats over the coming year, so here’s our very first video post! In it we are opening and discussing some Gacha-pod style blindbags containing more of those funny Japanese Arms Micron Transformers with which we seem to have a bit of an obsession here on Addaltmode! Did we manage to expand our collection with some of the toys we wanted, or — as is so often the way with blindbags — do we now just have a clone army of just one character? Check out our video and see…

So yeah, we’re not going to win any Oscars are we? But if we did, our speech would thank our pal Sadie B who helped us film and edit it, and of course the good and very witty Ashens whose YouTube channel we love, and whose hands-and-sofa ensemble style we ripped off, uh, homaged.

Book Review: The Stories of Ibis by Hiroshi Yamamoto

Robo Reads

Title: The Stories of Ibis
Author: Hiroshi Yamamoto
Translator: Takami Nieda
Published: (Kindle Edition) 2011

Quotation: Why were there so many stories about robots and humans fighting? Did they only exist because that was how mankind had always lived? Did we simply see ourselves in these humanoid machines?

The Stories of Ibis presents a sequence of five short stories and two slightly longer ones, each exploring human relationships with artificial intelligence, or with other humans in a technologically-enabled world. Hugely diverse in setting, the subjects include the following: a group of bulletin-board users collaboratively imagining the adventures of a Star Trek-like fictional space crew (“The Universe on my Hands”); a tale of told by artificially intelligent space station on the edge of a black hole that provides a final stop-off for the adventurous and the suicidal (“Black Hole Diver”); there’s even a bubblegum anime-inspired world populated by powered up AI school-kid fighters (”A World Where Justice is Just”). Each tale stands alone, but scaffolded by an introduction and series of intermissions in which characters reflect on the story they have just heard, the stories combine to offer an impressively original exploration of the possibilities and perils of humans creating artificial life.

Kindle Edition cover

Kindle Edition cover

The creation of autonomous robots and the consequences of this for humanity as a species is a topic to which sci-fiction returns time and again. Yet Yamamato’s work never feels stale precisely because of the extent to which it recognises this fact. Artificial intelligences like the titular Ibis – the female AI who narrates each of these wide-ranging tales, rather like a robo-Scheherazade – are not simply the product of technical advancements, they are also born from stories and fictions that first imagined them. More concerned with language and psychology than engineering, this collection acknowledges the creative power of story telling, particularly those yarns spun about robots…

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Toy Review: Takara Tomy Legends Slipstream

“Hotly anticipated” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Before this review goes any further I really ought to raise my hand and confess to every kind of bias and vested interest there is going. Since I started planning my Slipstream cosplay project back in January 2015 I dread to think how many hours I’ve spent thinking about this particular Transformers character. I’ve watched those few episodes of Transformers Animated in which she appears, scrutinised screenshots, fanart, over-thought her colour-scheme, her composition and behaviour, and I’ve cosplayed as her 5 times now for various events and had the time of my life doing so. A bit part player in the TF canon she may be, but this Decepticon femme has become a firm favourite and a weirdly huge part of my life. I don’t know whether these factors will predispose me to write a ridiculously positive review (because OMG guys it’s Slipstream, right here in plastic) or whether I’m more likely to be overtly critical (because she is my main woman and I need this figure to do her justice). I guess we’ll find out, but either way be aware I’m hardly coming at this from a neutral perspective…

Here she is: Takara's Deluxe Legends Slipstream

Here she is: Takara’s Deluxe Legends Slipstream

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Criminally Underrated Geek-Inspired Bands Part 1: Urusei Yatsura

New feature alert! Introducing….

C.U.G.I.B.s

No it isn’t a Pokémon – although I’ll admit it sounds like it could be one one. It isn’t some Q*bert knock off homage either. It actually stands for:  Criminally Underrated Geek-Inspired Bands which is going to be one of our new occasional features here on AddAltMode. Don’t knock the acronym, I could have gone with Criminally Underrated Nerd Tunesmiths you know. Ahem.

There are loads of geek bands out there, from NEStalgic chiptunes acts through to full-blown Star Wars metal. As Geek Culture has gradually become more mainstream some of these bands have enjoyed a great deal of success, and that’s a good thing. But what about those bands who never really made it, not because they weren’t great but because they just weren’t quite in the right place at the right time? The force just wasn’t quite strong enough, and the loss is all ours. CUGIBs will celebrate some gone-but-not-forgotten bands from this category. It might be too late now to catch ’em all live but you can still enjoy their music, and I hope that you will. First into the CUGIB spotlight, it’s Scotland’s underrated low-fi sci-fi indie crew:

Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura band photo: source

Urusei Yatsura band photo: source

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