Friday, 25 November 2022

Special REVIEW: Kamen Rider Saber Spin-Off: Kamen Rider Sabela & Kamen Rider Durendal

Kamen Rider Saber Spin-Off: Kamen Rider Sabela & Kamen Rider Durendal

With Kamen Rider Saber having as many Riders as it does it was perhaps a bit of a surprise when V-Cinext movie Trio of Deep Sin decided to focus on the core three Riders, but nevertheless it remains a series rife with Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub spin-off potential. As two of the last Riders to join Saber's line-up of legendary swordsmen, Reika and Ryoga Shindai are two characters that particularly felt like they had more to give. Toei obviously felt so too, given the surprise announcement of Kamen Rider Saber Spin-off: Kamen Rider Sabela & Kamen Rider Durendal as the latest entry on their streaming platform. This special marks the second time the Shindai siblings have broken away from the main Saber cast, having previously represented them in the Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger portion of the Saber/Zenkaiger crossover episodes.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pudgy Pig

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pudgy Pig 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: $57.99/£58.99 (PulseCon Exclusive Edition), $33.99/£35.99 (Standard Edition)

The first wave of Power Rangers Lightning Collection deluxe figures with met with cheers from fans – finally we were getting larger, more articulated figures of classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers monsters with (Hasbro's words) premium paintwork. Then their release came and we soon found that they were far from perfect, suffering from being a little TOO big and sporting not-so-premium paintwork. The fact poor old King Sphinx and Pumpkin Rapper (who is actually still a VERY good figure) ended up discounted everywhere speaks for itself. However Hasbro persevered, diversifying the deluxe range with ranger/vehicle sets as well as more familiar monsters. And as far as iconic Power Rangers monsters go, a Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pudgy Pig was inevitable. This figure was initially available in a special Hasbro PulseCon set before being made available at general retail, the latter of which is what is reviewed below.

Monday, 21 November 2022

Top 5: Tamashii Nation 2022 Reveals

Top 5: Tamashii Nation 2022 Reveals

This weekend saw the Bandai Tamashii Nations 2022 event take place in Tokyo, and as usual it was an exciting few days of brand-new reveals to look forward to over the coming years. 2022 saw big moments such as the grand return of One Piece S.H. Figuarts, the continuation of the Super Sentai range, Metal Heroes gain new life in the Chogokin line, a strong return for S.H. MonsterArts as well as the usual impressive displays from the likes of Kamen Rider, Gundam, Ultraman, Macross and more. So today I'm looking back on my five favourite reveals from the event, all of which I simply can't wait to preorder…providing these aren't more examples of figures that revealed and immediately end up in Bandai purgatory that is.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Knightfall Batman

MAFEX Knightfall Batman 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: 8800 yen

The 1990s were a strange time for comics, particularly as it seemed like everyone's favourite superheroes were suddenly getting replaced with new versions. Over in Gotham City the Knightfall storyline saw Bruce Wayne crippled at the hands of Bane, with the antihero Azrael (real identity Jean-Paul Valley) taking the mantle in his absence. As Batman, Valley decided that Bruce's tactics were obsolete – donning enhanced battle armour and dealing with criminals in a far more merciless manner. As his Azrael conditioning continued to make him more and more erratic, Bruce is forced to engage him in battle to reclaim the mantle of the Bat. Now Medicom pay tribute to this pivotal Batman story with the release of MAFEX Knightfall Batman, showing off Valley's armour in all its 90s glory.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Dark Trooper

Star Wars Black Series Dark Trooper 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: £33.99/£36.99

While the old Legends canon may have been thrown out with Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, slowly but surely some of its more popular elements are slowly creeping back into continuity. As well as bringing several animated characters to live action, season two of The Mandalorian also saw the return of the Dark Troopers – third generation battle droids utilised by Moff Gideon in his capture of Grogu. Able to withstand blaster fire, flamethrowers and other projectiles, these Imperial Troopers proved a difficult opponent to the Mandalorian Din Djarin. The Black Series Dark Trooper is one of the latest deluxe releases from Hasbro's six-inch figure line – initially slated for a 2023 release but arriving considerably earlier whilst Hasbro's shipping projections continue to be in disarray.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Top 5: Tamashii Nations Reveals That Never Happened

Top 5: Tamashii Nations Reveals That Never Happened

We're only a few weeks away from the annual Tamashii Nations event, where Bandai Tamashii Nations reveal a whole bunch of forthcoming releases from their various toy lines. But while these events are always a big source of excitement for collectors as they see all the newest figures to add to their wish lists, they can also be a time of frustration as many of the figures on display never make it past the prototype stage. So in the lead up to the event I've decided to put together my top five reveals that have happened at Tamashii Nations events over the years, which have then never come to fruition. Reader beware – this list contains a whole lot of "what could have been", and if you've been following these events for some time are likely to drum up some painful memories of Bandai prototype hell. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: 7700 yen

The 50th anniversary of Ultraman was a pretty significant time as far as toys were concerned, as Bandai Tamashii Nations finally said goodbye to the old Ultra-Act line and integrated the franchise into S.H. Figuarts. To commemorate the occasion, Bandai released a lavish 50th anniversary set which included a number of unique accessories as well as an exclusive Option-Act Building Set. Five years and multiple variants and re-releases later, the franchise is celebrating his 55th anniversary and it's time for Ultraman to level up once again. This time, the original giant of light joins Bandai's premium Figuarts range with the release of S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman – the second Ultra to have this honour after Ultraman Tiga. But with Tiga turning out a somewhat troubled release, would this Ultraman show off the same high quality the Kamen Rider releases have been enjoying for years?

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: SV-Action Peni Parker & SP//dr

SV-Action Peni Parker & SP//dr 01

Release Date: June 2022
RRP: 13750 yen

While it seems that MAFEX have given up halfway through the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse cast, thankfully Sentinel arrived to pick up the slack and see the main Spider crew through right to the end with their aptly-titled SV-Action line. Starting things off simply with figures of both Miles Morales and Peter B. Parker, Sentinel then threw a bit off a curveball - not going the predictable route by doing Gwen next but instead surprising everyone with SV-Action Peni Parker & SP//dr. Given that even Hasbro haven't touched this pair with the Marvel Legends range, it certainly shows their dedication to the critically-acclaimed film.

Friday, 28 October 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Death Watch Mandalorian

Black Series Death Watch Mandalorian 01

Release Date: April 2022
RRP: $24.99/£23.99

If you ever want confirmation that Mandalorians are a sure seller right now, look no further than the Black Series Death Watch Mandalorian figure. While this splinter group of Mandalorian extremists played a massive role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, their role in The Mandalorian has been far more limited – appearing in a flashback that revealed how foundling Din Djarin was rescued from a Super Battle Droid attack. However this all too brief appearance debuted a new live-action look for the Death Watch armour, which Hasbro have now added to their collector figure lines that'll surely entice the army builders among us.

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 2022 Centenary Special - The Power of the Doctor

Doctor Who 2022 Centenary Special - The Power of the Doctor

"It's the end, but the moment has been prepared for." After four years and 31 episodes, the time of Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall has come to an end. Combined with the celebration of the BBC's centenary, such an exit deserves an extra-special episode of Doctor Who. The Doctor's greatest enemies converge on her in The Power of the Doctor – a feature length special clocking in at an incredible 90 minutes. As teased following the credits of Legend of the Sea Devils, the episode brings back classic companies Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) – along with several other familiar faces that were kept top secret ahead of the episode airing.

(This review contains major spoilers, make sure you've seen the episode first!)