Remember in every Transformers cartoon ever how the robots magically change in mass during their transformation from their alt mode? Well, MP Buzzsaw does that. I swear! Or at least it looks like he does. Either it’s a great bit of design, or Hasbro actually enginnered a toy that invokes the Banach-Tarski paradox. I don’t think there’re enough tiny panels for that, though. Maybe on a movie-line toy.
I didn’t really care about getting MP Soundwave or the other tape guys. I already have G1 Soundwave and Classics Ravage, and they’re good enough for me. But my G1 Buzzsaw has a missing leg, and the MP Laserbeak mold looked so enticing. So I found someone who only wanted Blue Frumble from the Takara 2-pack, and he sold me his Buzzsaw! I mentioned in my email what hamfisted Incredible Hulks Australia Post can be as a request to make sure Buzzsaw was packed with enough bubblewrap, and what the guy did blew me away. Not only was the parcel solid bubblewrap, but he scratch-built a custom triangular parcel for structural integrity. That is so far above and beyond the call of duty it is ACTUALLY CRAZY.
Buzzsaw looks really great in tape mode; you can view him from any angle and he pretty much just looks like an orange cassette tape. I can only judge from pictures of them, but he seems more than any of the other MP Cassettes to be fulfilling the “in disguise” part of his series’ pitch. Laserbeak ties for that by default I suppose; but then he doesn’t look like a Weiss mango bar, so I think Buzzsaw is still winning overall here. The transparent purple cassette case he comes with is a bit strange, though. It does its job, but it opens up completely differently from how cassette cases actually open(ed) up, and less logically so. It’s hard to describe, but you have to get him out sort of upside down and backwards, and because of where the support pegs are he kind of hovers inside the case. It’s not a complaint, though, just a headscratcher.
The transformation sequence is a lot of fun, even if the stiff neck joint means I have to use a little more force than I’m comfortable with (pretend I made a joke about chiropractors here, haw haw haw). But this part is where the magic happens: you push two tiny flaps around and Buzzsaw’s back cannons are somehow transmogrified instantaneously out of the aether; I don’t know if I should credit this to darke alchemical magicks or alternately to divine loaves-and-fishes mitosis. Anything to avoid crediting Takara/Hasbro, apparently. The rest of the transformation is a lot of fun too, if not quite so thaumaturgical.
Buzzsaw is perfect in robot mode. Any time we get anything resembling a parrrotformer I go nuts, and while Buzzsaw is more raptorial, it’s only because he’s his G1 cartoon character model in physical form (seriously, he even has a tiny little flip-out camera in the top of his head). As far as I’m concerned, that’s two itches scratched. Buzzsaw’s articulation is phenomenal, too: his neck is double-jointed, his wings can fold forward so he’s roosting (or swooping), and his feet can be folded back and side-to-side, meaning he can either duck-waddle or perch smugly like a cormorant. You can also flip them back so they disappear entirely for flying poses, but it’s the perching and roosting that does it for me. I think it appeals to my love of putting fantastical villains in mundane situations. Buzzsaw chilling out and having a nap is all the more appealing because of Buzzsaw flipping out and killing Omega Supreme.
I wish they’d been able to make Buzzsaw’s wings foldable backwards, so he could raise them in a flapping pose, but that wouldn’t be feasible with the transformation as slick as it is, and really, given the choice between flapping or roosting, I’ll take roosting any day. If you only get one Masterpiece Cassette: get whichever one you like the best, because I don’t own the others and therefore am in no position to judge. But Buzzsaw is absolutely rad.
I am about one thousand percent done with Tony Abbott and his continuing persistence in… well, in being Tony Abbott. This is one of those times where we laughed at the lowest hanging fruit and grabbed for it without shame. Which is great, because I don’t want to talk about Tony Abbott today, I want to keep talking about asylum seekers.
I am by no means an expert on the history or politics of Papua New Guinea, but since we’re doing comics about the PNG solution I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try my best to become one.
The history of any place is inherently interesting by way of inevitably being in some way fundamentally different from the places you are used to inhabiting. It’s the same type of fascination that draws me into worlds like Middle-Earth or the Star Wars expanded universe that attracts me to things like the economic history of Japan, or the order of US Presidents, or the first-century Middle East. There are certain sets of patterns and forms that are woven into narratives, be they manufactured or historical, and figuring them out so they make sense is like suddenly being given power over immense distances of time and space: you can connect up the dots, and something constantly and unremittingly human is revealed between them. I’ve been reading The Epic of Gilgamesh lately, and that feeling seems to hit me every few stanzas. It’s so ancient. It’s so alien. But it still fits together with that same sensation of fitting.
This history of Papua New Guinea is fascinating, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. But I’ll try and share with you the structure of the thing, as it relates to the current tensions within the PNG solution, as best as I can figure it. Like I said, I’m not an expert; but I do have some notions which I am eagerly looking to refine.
It’s pretty clear that the Papua New Guineans on the street do not, as a general rule, want refugees settled in their country – especially Muslim ones. I wanted to understand why this seems to be the case, other than a blanket ‘racism’ (arguably accurate but not particularly useful as an answer in this circumstance). And I think it comes down to the politics of West Papua, and a not insignificant portion of good ole’ human fear.
You’re going to have to bear with me here, and try and get your head around the idiosyncratic taxonomy of the way that the relevant places are named.
West Papua is one half of the island of New Guinea. The other half of New Guinea is a country called Papua New Guinea. West Papua, which itself consists of a mostly arbitrary split into ‘Papua’ and ‘West Papua’, exists in a state of quantum geography. Which is to say that if you ask an Indonesian who owns West Papua, they will tell you Indonesia, but ask a non-Indonesian West Papuan who owns West Papua, they will tell you ‘not Indonesia’.
This came about through complex reasons that stemmed from Indonesia wanting to stick it to the man – in this scenario, the man was apparently Holland – which ultimately ended in West Papua being given to Indonesia by the UN, with the ultimate goal being to let the West Papuans decide, once the situation had cooled off, whether they wanted to stay part of Indonesia or go off and be their own thing. That was back in the early sixties. And it turns out that Indonesia kind of wanted to keep West Papua, as they haven’t yet deemed the situation cooled off enough to let that choice be voted on yet. And it also turns out the West Papuans aren’t too happy about that.
What else they’re not happy about is Indonesia resettling as many Indonesians as they can there over the intervening fifty years – I should point out that West Papua as well as Papua New Guinea is a predominately Christian country, which will become important for reasons in a moment. And their suspicion is that Indonesia are sending as many Indonesians – who just happen to be Muslims – to West Papua as possible, so that when the time comes to choose between staying with Indonesia or becoming their aforementioned own thing, there’ll be enough resettled Indonesians there to tip the vote in Indonesia’s favour.
Now, switch to the point of view of Papua New Guinea, the country that takes up the other half of the island shared with West Papua. Australia has started sending our refugees – many of who are Muslims, or at least that’s the perception – to go and live there. Is this sounding familiar? It really isn’t, but it sounds like it is, and therein lies the problem.
Indonesia is sending Muslim Indonesians to West Papua, perhaps to tip a vote to remain part of Indonesia, but who can say. Australia is sending Muslim refugees to Papua New Guinea, and there’s fear that one day they might tip a vote to make Papua New Guinea part of Indonesia as well, if such a motion were to be suggested at the right strategic time. I don’t know why refugees would vote for that simply because they’re Muslims – out of much needed solidarity previously lacking in their lives under persecution, I guess? But that’s where the fear comes into it. Fear isn’t rational, and that’s why a lot of racism is borne by it. I guess being an asshole isn’t rational either, and that’s where a lot more racism comes from in general. But of those two sources in this specific instance, I feel like the former may be the more compelling tale.
You may have noticed a lack of bolded external links which usually proliferate these comic annotations. That’s because, for a change, I’m not just reporting news as I see it. This is the synthesis of a wide and scattered array of reading material I’ve devoured on the matter, mixed with a healthy amount of personal conjecture. Most of the connections I’ve drawn might be complete bunkum. But it’s like I said at the start: there is something very satisfying about a narrative that seems to fit once you get it. The difference is that this is a narrative that is still ongoing. We can’t step back and look at all the pieces yet, and arrange them with accuracy. We’re in the thick of it.
Whenever my friend Suri posts me a parcel full of action figures, he tends to toss in a bunch of extra stuff just cos he’s an awesome guy. One time, he gave me the SOTA figure of Ibuki from Street Fighter, who came with a little toy tanuki. I unpacked the parcel in my office, so I put the tanuki on my desk and kept unpacking the other stuff. The tanuki is still there today.
That parcel arrived about five years ago.
All the toys on my desk get rotated and swapped around fairly frequently, but that tanuki has always remained a constant. Heck, when I got a new desk, the tanuki went onto the new one before my computer did. When I’ve worked away from home for any length of time, the tanuki has come with my in my suitcase. He’s about two inches from my keyboard while I’m typing this sentence right now, and he’s probably still two inches from my keyboard whenever you’re reading this. He’s even showed up in comics.
So, when I wanted something for constant size comparisons to other action figures, he seemed like the obvious choice in terms of immediate availability at any given moment. But I realise that not everybody has a tanuki on their desk all the time (we can’t all be so lucky, I guess). So, for reference, here he is next to a 375ml soft drink can and a standard 4×2 Lego brick.
If you want an actual review, I think he’s really nice and you should get one if you can, especially if you’re a fan of tanukis.