Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ Super Fan Event Screening (September 2015)

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Whilst the television, computer screen or even our handheld devices may be good options to check out television shows and movies , there actually isn’t nothing quite like watching a movie in the cinema.

On Friday 19th June 2015, Picturehouse Central made its debut. A luxurious cinema with a thousand seats and seven screens built where Cineworld Shaftsbury Avenue previously stood. Wednesday 23rd September 2015 marked the date that Picturehouse Central was used for the London premiere, and Super Fan Screening of Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ , an event held by Manga Entertainment UK, with sponsorship by the MCM Expo Group.

Entering the cinema we were instantly greeted with a love for film. Whilst being a relatively new venue, it felt like cinematic history was radiating from the walls of the venue, cultures of cinema from all over the world.. The signs for the movie were plastered everywhere. There were specific sections for food and beverages, the perfect stage for a Dragon Ball premiere.

Being that the event was a super fan event, you saw fans parading around in cosplay ranging from Master Roshi to Vegeta, flaunting their poses in true Dragon Ball fashion. Before the film had begun there were photo booths, photo backdrops and prizes being handed out to cosplayers, bringing the main spirit of Dragon Ball into the fold; fun.

For someone who was an avid fan of Dragon Ball Z as a child, this was very exciting for me. Dragonball Z was one of my gateway anime’s.  Since then, as I have grown and discovered other anime, I think it’s fair to say Dragonball Z wasn’t the most complex in terms of its storytelling, however it was visual pleasing, a pioneer for Shonen battle anime/manga as we know today, and just all out fun.

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Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ is the nineteenth feature film from the Dragon Ball franchise, and the fifteenth film to carry the Dragon Ball name. The film personally supervised by series creator; Akira Toriyama, follows the return of legendary villain Frieza as he decides to take revenge on the Saiyan’s of Earth, with his army of 1000 soldiers, and a new powerful form underneath his sleeve.

This film clearly has its target audience, those who have already been initiated into the franchise. Throwing at the audience oozes of nostalgia with characters we are familiar with, witty lines and beautiful animation. The artwork and animation stand out for the film tremendously, but that has always been one of the series’ main feats.

However diving a bit deeper, the film doesn’t seem to have much purpose other than having fans gush in pools of nostalgia. Famed characters such as Frieza and Goku make their appearances, with an appearance of the titular Dragon Balls. However many of the battles and action sequences within the film seemed to go on for longer than they should have, with sequences that felt very repetitious, alongside an anti-climactic ending. However did that dampen the fun? Of course not, not for a Dragon Ball fan, it was just pure fun. However when introducing the franchise, to those alien to it, this particular film, probably isn’t the best choice.

Originally Published: MCM Buzz

The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? – Interview With Jon Schnepp & Holly Payne (May 2015)

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photo by Exhibit 108

The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? has been making noise on the internet since director Jon Schnepp first announced he was working on a documentary about what happened to the 90s Superman movie that never was. At last October’s MCM London Comic Con, Schnepp and producer Holly Payne spoke about their research and revealed some exclusive preview clips from their movie. This May, the pair returned to London’s ExCel Centre for the European premiere of TDOSLWH, and MCM Buzz was lucky enough to catch an interview.

On a scale of 0 – Sweaty Nerd, how have you been?

JS: I’d say extreme sweaty nerd.

HP:  Yeah full sweaty.

JS: Never go half-sweat.

For those who don’t know, can you explain what The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? is?

JS: It’s a documentary about a film called Superman Lives which never actually got made. So basically it’s a story about the process of the creative road to make a film, because even if it gets shut down, a lot of work always goes in to it.

Can you both explain your roles?

HP: Well Jon is the director, it was his brainchild. He was fascinated with the subject matter for many years. I initially came on board to help with the crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter, but as the production developed, I became much more involved in the creative process. I was there for the interviews and was involved in culling the best part of them to construct a narrative that would be both emotionally effective and entertaining. So yeah, I’m the producer, he’s the director. We’ve got an editor called Marie Jamora, and our compositor and technical producer Christopher Graybill who did all the after effects shots for the concept art, and our executive producer Rob Pierce, but we’re a small team.

How did the documentary come to be?

JS: Basically I was interested in the artwork of Superman. The plug had already been pulled on the film, but in the early 2000’s some of the artwork was leaked online, and it just really struck me as interesting, unique and different. Then Superman Returns came out, and I was not into it. I actually fell asleep during that film, and it kind of made me think, “Boy, I wish we’d seen a different kind of Superman movie. I don’t want to see a Richard Donner version of Superman – I’d like to see anything else other than that.” So it made me think about the artwork I saw from Tim Burton’s Superman movie, which was at least different. Often that’s the most exciting thing about characters like Superman or Batman: in the comics, they are constantly being rebooted for new generations, but for some reason when it comes to film or television, people don’t like changes to the characters.

HP: He’s also precious, too.

JS: Precious too, but for example, they introduced Red Kryptonite in the 70s. There’s loads of these changes that the populists don’t know about, because most people don’t read comic books and that’s the truth of it. We live in a superhero movie world now, but it’s not a superhero comic-book world.

Do you feel the organic way the movie was created allowed for it to become a much smoother movie?

HP: I would say yes, absolutely. It’s only when watching it in the past two months that we felt like we had something really good here. After we got Jon Peters, the producer of Superman Lives, on board, that we found ourselves thinking, “Wow, this isn’t where we started, but boy are we happy with where we ended.”

What part of the documentary did you find most interesting to shoot?

JS: For me it was talking with the artists. After talking with Tim [Burton], he let us in to his Wizard of Oz, Raiders of the Lost Ark playground of art and everything he has ever worked on. Of course we could only look at theSuperman Lives stuff, but you know, after having been interested in the artwork after all these years, and thinking I must have about 95% of it, it turned out I had only seen about 3%. There was so much amazing, new and exciting artwork created by all these different artists and concept designers, that we spent like two full 14-hour days photographing art non-stop. I think about 70% is in the film. We couldn’t put all of it in, there was so much! Being a kind of fly on the wall to that creative process made me feel like this was something special.

Do you feel like the support from the fans on Twitter and YouTube helped you achieve your goals with the film?

HP: Well the support was palpable, and it was wide. They had no idea – still nobody has any idea – of what this film is going to be, but they all have their own thoughts and preconceptions about what Superman Lives could’ve been. What I’m most proud of about this documentary is that even people who go in thinking it would have been terrible end up leaving with their eyes opened to what could have been done. But yeah, the fans have been very supportive and very vocal. That’s why we’re here.

JS: I think one of the interesting things is that because my career has mainly been in animation, comedy, and some horror, lots of people thought I was going to make a farce out of it, but then when they see it, they find out that it’s actually a very serious take on the process of making a Hollywood film.

HP: But, but, this is a hilarious film! One thing we have been hearing from everyone is that it’s very funny. There are a lot of reasons for that, but it is very entertaining throughout, so you do get the seriousness of all the different graphic styles of all the different artists, and the sort of lamentations of it not working out, but you also get the high points of all these different interviews, and people’s ideas.

JS: There are always moments of levity.

Would you like to see a superhero movie directed by Tim Burton in this day and age?

JS: I think Tim would be great at doing something that had a magical, fairy-tale aspect to it. The superhero character is usually someone who is an outsider, or shunned, or someone who is on their own. It’s only recently that we’ve seen the celebrity superhero emerge, and it’s come out of the change in culture over the last twenty years. Before that, they always had secret identities and were always hiding. Batman was obviously perfect for Tim Burton, but I think he’s a talented visionary, so he could tackle any of these characters. But I think with a lighter touch, it would work really well with him, because he’s got a great sarcastic edge, he’s very funny and I think that’s important.

HP: There are other comics that have nothing to do with superheroes that I would love to see Tim Burton work with. From Hell has already been made into a film, but I would have loved to have seen Tim Burton tackling that.

How would you sum up the movie in one word? 

HP: What Happened? Well that’s two words.

JS: You say ‘what’, I’ll say ‘Happened’.

HP: What…

JS:  Happened.

HP: There you go.

For those eager to see the film, how would they go about doing so?

HP: It will be out on VoD, DVD and Blu-Ray on our website, which is www.TDOSLWH.com, from July 9th.

More information about The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened? can be found on the official websitewww.TDOSLWH.com, or by following the team on Twitter @TDOSLWH.

Originally Published: MCM Buzz

Interview with MCM London Comic Con’s Anime Guest of Honour: Hidetaka Tenjin (May 2015)

photo by Exhibit 108
photo by Exhibit 108

At MCM London Comic Con May 2015 we were lucky enough to get an interview with the Anime Guest of Honour, Hidetaka Tenjin. He has worked as an artist for Hellsing Ultimate, the Macross franchise and Gundam Evolve. Check out our chat with Hidetaka Tenjin down below.

How are you doing, how are you finding London?

Hidetaka Tenjin: It’s great! I love the architecture and the people walking around.

How did you first get into art?

Hidetaka Tenjin: I wanted to be all sorts of things. I wanted to be a pilot, I wanted to make robots, but in the end art is just where I settled.

You specify in mechanical, and sci-fi illustrations, how did you get to that point?

Hidetaka Tenjin: As a child I loved mecha, sci-fi, anything enormous, so I naturally started drawing those kind of things. I’m from the generation where we had Star Wars and Star Trek in the States, and those influence a sci-fi boom in Japanese anime as well.

I understand you majored in mechanical control systems. Did that inform your artwork?

Hidetaka Tenjin: Of course, I want to draw mecha that can actually move. Anime designs tend to be all over the place, but I like making them look like they could actually work in real life.

Some of your most popular work include the Macross franchise, Gundam and Hellsing Ultimate. Explain what you loved about all of these?

Hidetaka Tenjin: With Gundam it’s so huge and there’s so many people involved, especially with the box art for the model kits, there’s a huge tradition behind them. Being allowed to draw the box art for all of those was a big honour for me.

With Hellsing I was involved with the mecha design, and I really don’t like horror or gore. But it was set in London, and I did loads of research in to London and now I am here which is really great. Although I do feel that I need to apologise to the people of London for that kind of story.

Because Hellsing was obviously so different, what was the biggest challenge?

Hidetaka Tenjin: To be honest, it was part of my London research. It was really difficult to find out about the police in London. I tried to find out what the officers from Scotland Yard would wear, what shape the helmets were, what jackets they would have. It was really difficult to find that information online. Although yesterday I actually saw real life police officers for the first time. It was very exciting.

You do cover, and box art, explain how you feel creating them?

Hidetaka Tenjin: It’s really good fun, because it’s like drawing my own art.

Are there any games, anime or manga that you really enjoy?

Hidetaka Tenjin: Sidonia, Knights of Sidonia, and I am looking really forward to the new Star Wars.

What’s next for you in the future?

Hidetaka Tenjin: My next interview (laughs). Just kidding, I am working on the new Macross TV series right now. Also I am continuing to draw the box art for the series Star Wars model kit for Bandai that looks like it’s going to carry on for a while.

Originally Published: MCM Buzz

Interview with Daredevil’s Charlie Cox (April 2015)

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With the new Daredevil series picking up a lot of positive traction, press from across the UK were invited to London’s beautiful Corinthia Hotel to interview the man without fear himself, Charlie Cox. MCM Buzz were on hand to grab an intimate chat with Charlie.

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.

I remember you previously commenting on the role of Daredevil being given to a random English guy who didn’t grow up on comics.

Yeah, when I was auditioning for the role, and I was made aware they were interested in me for the part, I remember thinking that they were obviously open-minded about it, because I’m not your obvious choice, either physically or based on the fact that I come from London. So I thought, well, there’s no point in me trying to embody the Matt Murdoch from the early Daredevil runs where he’s a very large, tall, handsome, guy with wavy blonde-red hair. I thought I’d just bring my own take to it and hope that’s what they were looking for.

Why did you get the role then, do you think?

Obviously Marvel wanted to go in a different direction with Daredevil. They wanted to explore the idea of having a television show which is slightly more sinister, geared towards an older audience and dramatically and tonally more adult. I think along with that came the opportunity to cast someone slightly more against type. When I went into the auditions, I decided that my take would be to make the man without fear someone who’s actually very afraid, with ‘the man without fear’ title being something that the public have pinned on him from seeing what he does. What we actually see in the show is a man who is really struggling and battling with that, and hopefully that inner conflict around what he’s doing brings a real human element to the character, and makes things more engaging. It really works with Daredevil because he has no super powers.

CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”  Photo: Barry Wetcher © 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.
CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”
Photo: Barry Wetcher
© 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.

With the opening scene in the confessional box, we see that a big part of Matt Murdoch’s personality is his Catholic guilt. Can you emphasize with that yourself?

Well, I’m Catholic myself, so I was able to draw upon that. I also had the opportunity a few years ago to play a Catholic priest who became a saint in a film called There Be Dragons, so I spent a lot of time investigating what it is to grow up in a monastery and live with priests for that.

Did you get educated through a Catholic system?

I went to schools where they had Catholic services, but not like the kind of schools that my father might’ve gone to. I’ve been going to church my whole life, and I have a kind of interesting relationship with my religion. I would probably describe myself as a kind of relaxed Catholic, but it’s really interesting from an acting point of view, the idea that this character believes in God, in the divine order and God’s will, but at the same time he’s kind of playing God, going out at night and engaging in vigilante justice.

(L-R) CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK and ELDEN HENSON as FOGGY NELSON in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”  Photo: Barry Wetcher © 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.
(L-R) CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK and ELDEN HENSON as FOGGY NELSON in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”
Photo: Barry Wetcher
© 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.

Have any other characters informed your portrayal of Daredevil?

Well, that’s interesting. I remember Steven DeKnight said that the Matt Murdoch in our show is one bad day away from being The Punisher. So that was kind of helpful – reading some of The Punisher issues informed the character a little bit. We wanted to find someone who we sometimes describe as being a bit like an alcoholic: once he puts on the mask, he doesn’t know when he’s going to stop or how far he’s going to take it. He’s going out with the right intention, but he can’t guarantee that he won’t cross lines that he doesn’t want to cross. The very first fight scene ends with him pummelling Turk Barrett who’s clearly already out, and he can’t stop. There’s no one person that I drew upon that was like him.

Have you seen the 2003 Ben Affleck Daredevil film?

I have, yes. Honestly I quite enjoyed it. I think Ben Affleck did a great job as Matt Murdoch. If you isolate his performance, it’s bang on, but I think that the film suffers tonally. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but my opinion is that the show that we have made is tonally a better representation of some of the source material. Myself included, a lot of people really respond to the Bendis series, and our show is very heavily influenced by that series. I think Daredevil needs to exist in a more sinister world and needs to include very sophisticated, adult themes. Being on Netflix made us able to do that.

CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK and PAUL MANN as PIOTR in the Netflix Original Series ÒMarvelÕs DaredevilÓ  Photo: Barry Wetcher © 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.
CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK and PAUL MANN as PIOTR in the Netflix Original Series ÒMarvelÕs DaredevilÓ
Photo: Barry Wetcher
© 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did the fact that that film was slated ever give you second thoughts about the project?

Not really. As an actor, I’ve been lucky enough to be in work for quite a lot of my career, but I’ve also spent months and months unemployed looking for work. I’m not at a stage where, if I get offered a job like that, I can even consider whether I want to do it or not – it was just a no-brainer. It was potentially risky, but it was also a massive opportunity, so of course I had to take that risk. I’d also read the scripts, and I thought they were brilliant.

Netflix is now ready to make The Defenders, and a second season of Daredevil has been commissioned, which is another large risk for you, I suppose?

I suppose if it wasn’t well executed, if wasn’t very popular then there are potentially implications for that. For example, if you’re the lead of a show, and a show doesn’t work you have to take some of that responsibility, and other studios might think, “Well they gave him an opportunity to be the lead of a show and it didn’t work,” and you never get the chance to be the lead of a show again. There is burden that comes with it. It’s not always the case, though: you get people who get many chances, and eventually succeed after many failures. The other risk was if it was poorly executed but popular, which is also possible, and then you might be stuck doing it for five or six years and not feel very creatively fulfilled. You might not enjoy the work, or the writing, and that is important for me. I was lucky with this, because I thought the writing was spectacular right to the very end.

(L-R) CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK and DEBORAH ANN WOLL as KAREN PAGE in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”  Photo: Barry Wetcher © 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.
(L-R) CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK and DEBORAH ANN WOLL as KAREN PAGE in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”
Photo: Barry Wetcher
© 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.

Do you worry that you might end up being typecast?

Honestly, not really. Partly because there are aspects of this role that are very different to me, the obvious things being the blindness, and being American. I hope that the industry would be open-minded enough to allow me to go on and play other roles. I’m lucky enough that I’m not 20, and this isn’t my first gig. I’ve already had jobs and played lots of different characters, so I’ve got that in the bank. I think that as an actor, you’ve got to back yourself. When a show eventually ends, and you’re not doing anything, you have to try to find something different. As an actor, your life is so uncertain, and your job prospects sometimes seems so far away, that the idea of being concerned about being typecast because the show you’re in is a success is kind of an odd way to look at it. I’m so grateful to have a job. So when people ask me, “Are you worried that you’re on a hit show?” I’m like, “No, it’s amazing, it’s a joy – it’s what I’ve always wanted!”

Are you excited about the fandom that’s going to come with the role, and people noticing you?

I’m excited about the idea that the fans appreciate the show. I mean, when you take something like this on, you do feel an immense responsibility to the fans, and particularly with Marvel fans. They’re real, hardcore fans, and these characters are incredibly important to so many people – Daredevil particularly so because he also appeals to people growing up with a physical disability and is someone who has faced great adversity and triumphed anyway. So I was very anxious about that, and hoped that the fans would be pleased with our adaptation. If I’m honest, I’m also quite a private person and I get a little nervous about the idea of great great fame. But that’s part of the job: you’ve got to be grown-up about it and understand it’s part of your life, and try to be a good role model, and be generous with your time and spirit with the many people that ask for your autograph or your photograph or whatever.

CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”  Photo: Barry Wetcher © 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.
CHARLIE COX as MATT MURDOCK in the Netflix Original Series “Marvel’s Daredevil”
Photo: Barry Wetcher
© 2014 Netflix, Inc. All rights reserved.

Although you said you were very private, do you mind shedding some light on yourself and your interests?

I’m a big football fan. I’m a big Arsenal fan, so I’m going to the match (Arsenal vs. Chelsea) which I’m very excited about. I don’t go to nightclubs – I’m not a drinker, or a party animal or anything like that. I like watching movies, and I hang out with my friends, go to football. I also like to travel and see the world, and of course I love acting. It’s hard, because fame sometimes is a by-product of success. As an actor, a little bit inside of you wants the recognition, because it’s evidence of success.

You must be interested in language because your American accent is fantastic. How do you pull that off?

It’s hard work, but I’m a perfectionist. I work really, really hard, and I still hear mistakes in it sometimes, so I’m already gearing up to start making it better for the next season. I take my job very very seriously. I’m living the dream and I hope that I continue to get to do it.

Daredevil season 1 is now available to watch on Netflix

Originally Published: MCM Buzz

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D review (April 2015)

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Nintendo seem to have a knack for creating classic games, coupled with classic characters and consoles. Although when the ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ and the ‘New Nintendo 3DS XL’ were announced, there was a mixed reaction. One of the phrases going around was ‘What’s the point?’ Well the new consoles came coupled with hardware upgrades, which weren’t going to be completely evident until played in conjunction with games exclusive to these new consoles. Thus the first game was thrown into the ring; Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, the first exclusive title for the ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ and the ‘New Nintendo 3DS XL’.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a port from the 2010 Nintendo Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles. The story is set in a world which initially had endless seas, until two titans, Bionis and Mechonis, appeared and fought timelessly until with one last strike their bodies remained solidified and lifeless. As time passes on other lifeforms develop, and our main story follows Shulk, a ‘Homs’ (humanoid). The Homs fight for survival against an invasion of Machon, robotic warrior machines looking to claim the lives of every Homs. Shulk finds a weapon called the Monado; a legendary blade which enables him to cut through these robots and see into the future, and thus our journey begins with Shulk attempting to stop the robot invasion.

The concept of Xenoblade Chronicles is interesting, however if you are somewhat familiar with Japanese RPG’s it becomes obvious that the storyline is a tad generic. That being said, it does not stop the game from being enjoyable. It slowly allows you to build somewhat of a bond with these characters and enjoy their company. Whilst you may guess the direction the story will head, you are attached because you actually want to see it for yourself.

The storyline and mechanisms make the game feel similar to the Japanese light novel All You Need is Kill, which was adapted into the American blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow. However the darkness is toned down a bit, sharing similarities to Kingdom Hearts, although very different at the same time.

Where the game excels is its world, architecture and cut scenes. Beginning with an amazing cut scene of the two titans fighting, whilst I do find it very irksome and uncomfortable viewing games in 3D, on this occasion I decided to keep it on full anyway. It was beautiful, especially with the new mechanics of the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Although that can only be said for the cut scenes, when the 3D was put on for the remainder of the game, it looked sluggish and clunky. When the 3D is off the merits of the game’s world really shine. The world feels very spacious, and intriguing, which makes exploration feel enjoyable as opposed to a tedious task.

The combat in the game combines elements of the Monado sword into the fight, so Shulk’s sword essentially gives you a warning for heavy damaging attacks. The battle system works so that you have to undergo specific tactics for different types of enemies, so in a way it allows for the game to be more interesting. However, it does incorporate automated attacks, which is a bit disheartening, but doesn’t take long to adjust to.

While graphics and storyline are key, no game is complete without a good soundtrack. The soundtrack gained composition from Manami Kiyota, ACE+, Yoko Shimomura and Yasunori Mitsuda; a power which on paper alone can excite JRPG fans. The spectacular soundtrack certainly delivers, giving us an assortment of music to go with the various paces that the game introduces. Standouts include the soft and gentle ‘Main Theme’ by Yoko Shimomura, reminiscent of her ‘Dearly Beloved’ theme from Kingdom Hearts, although more progressive, and the fast and aggressive song ‘Crisis’, by ACE+ and the eerie ‘Uneasiness’ by Manami Kiyota.

The game incorporates the uses of Streetpass and amiibo to unlock 3D characters and models, which may be interesting or completely irrelevant depending on who you are.

Overall Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is very interesting, and it would have been even more interesting to see a port on the Wii U. However seeing as the successor, Xenoblade Chronicles X, is due out later this year, this offering almost feels like a taster as to what’s to come. Whilst Xenoblade Chronicles 3D does highlight the improvement of the New Nintendo 3DS, I don’t feel as if it is the game to highlight the greatness of the new console, but it is a step in the right direction. Just by playing Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, it’s almost as if you yourself have Shulk’s sword and can see the future potential of the console.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is available now on Amazon and is only available for the ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ and the ‘New Nintendo 3DS XL’.

Originally Published: MCM Buzz