Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Ultra-Act x S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Suit Ver 7.2

Ultraman may have scaled down and joined the S.H. Figuarts line but Ultra-Act is not dead quite yet – hanging on by a thread with figures based on the ongoing Ultraman manga series. However these are not straightforward Ultra-Act releases like some might expect, instead branded as a special Ultra-Act x S.H. Figuarts crossover. The second character to arrive (and third release in total) is Ultraman Suit Ver 7.2 – the Ultra suit worn by no-nonsense SSSP operative Dan Moroboshi. As the character’s name would suggest, this Ultra Suit is of course based on Ultraseven – reimagined in a more mechanical fashion. Unlike manga Ultraman who originally saw release at retail, Ultraman Suit Ver 7.2 is a Tamashii web exclusive figure.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Whis

Despite boasting a lot of unreleased prototypes and a bit of a spotty period with few releases, it’s fair to say that Dragon Ball has remained one of the more consistent ranges S.H. Figuarts has on offer. With the arrival of Dragon Ball Super creating renewed interest in the franchise, the line has also experienced something of a renaissance – with new characters, “renewal” figures and premium colour editions all on offer. Earlier this year saw the release of popular new character and God of Destruction Beerus, and no long behind him comes his faithful attendant Whis. Unfortunately unlike his master Whis is a Tamashii web exclusive figure in Japan, but will undoubtedly see more widespread release in the US via Bluefin.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Figma A Link Between Worlds Link DX Edition

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be drawing ever closer, but thanks to the slow process that is figure manufacturing Figma’s latest entry from the prolific franchise takes us back to 2013 and the release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS. Previewed at Wonderfests for years but only now finally seeing release, Figma A Link Between Worlds Link is the second Link from Max Factory and the fourth from Good Smile Company as a whole. This figure had the particular honour of being released in two different formats – in addition to a general release version a “DX Edition” with more accessories was also made available via the GSC Online Store as well as any of the brand’s partner stores across the globe.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider 1

Kamen Rider 1

With Super Sentai and Kamen Rider celebrating their 40th and 45th anniversaries this year, Toei have dubbed 2016 as “Super Hero Year” with very good reason. But while the former franchise might seem like it’s been slacking a bit on the celebration front, the same can’t be said for Kamen Rider. In addition to the Amazon Prime exclusive Kamen Rider Amazons series, a legendary hero has also made his return to the fold. Kamen Rider 1 sees Hiroshi Fujioka reprise his role as Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1, crossing over with the cast of Kamen Rider Ghost in a feature-length celebration. Fujioka himself was actively involved in the development of the film, writing it alongside prolific tokusatsu veteran Toshiki Inoue. While both Rider 1 and Fujioka have made various reappearances over the years, this film sees him once again in the leading role – complete with a brand new look to go with it.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Minipla Cubes Condor, Kuma & Komori/Condor Wild & Wild Tousai King

The fourth wave of Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger minipla/candy toy model kits may seem small, but its components certainly add up to much bigger things. With Zyuohger the Movie: The Heart Pounding Circus Panic having recently hit Japanese cinemas, this wave introduces the film's exclusive cube animal Cube Condor, along with its combined form of Condor Wild. However just to make sure collectors don't necessarily skip over what could be considered an inessential mecha, Bandai have also snuck Cube Kuma and Cube Komori into the mix - the final two of the show's four auxiliary mecha. When combined with Zyuoh King, Zyuoh Wild and Tousai Zyuoh, these 13 animals can be brought together to form the mighty Wild Tousai King!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Alien Baltan

Ultraman has finally made his move to the S.H. Figuarts line, but he isn't alone! The Ultra Series in general has always held its monsters and aliens in high regard, with many becoming almost as iconic as Ultraman himself. This also means that they get a good selection of toys (far more than you'll ever find with the likes of Kamen Rider or Super Sentai), from vinyl toys and articulated figures all the way up to bizarre moe girl gijinka statues. With Ultraman's Figuarts debut perfectly timed with the show's 50th anniversary, it makes sense that more would follow quickly afterward. The second Ultra Series Figuarts release and first Ultra foe to join the line is Alien Baltan, who made his debut in the second episode of the original Ultraman series and has gone on to become one of the franchise's most iconic villains.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla [1954]

Once upon a time the S.H. MonsterArts line looked to be the perfect answer to articulated kaiju toys, offering a variety of monsters from Godzilla's long and illustrious history with the usual high standard of Bandai Tamashii Nations toys. However more recently it seems like the line may have fallen into more difficult times, not only predominantly taken up with web exclusive releases but also toys of Godzilla himself - leaving many other popular monsters sadly unrepresented. However the truth is there are still plenty of Godzilla costumes left to do, and it is only now that Bandai are getting to possibly the most important of them all. The original 1954 Godzilla finally joins the line as its latest mass release figure, just in time to coincide with the release of the Shin Godzilla movie in Japanese theatres.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Minipla Tousai Zyuoh

One thing Super Sentai fans always seem to go nuts for is a good evil ranger arc. And though it was definitely a bit short-lived, Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger certainly had one of those. Eager to spice up his blood games, Dethgalian leader Genis kidnapped three Zyuman and fused their powers into one human - and thus The World was born! Beating the five Zyuohgers at every turn, Genis' brainwashing was eventually undone and Misao Mondo joined the team as Zyuoh the World! Armed with the animals Cube Rhinos, Cube Crocodile and Cube Wolf, Zyuoh the World has the power of three Zyuman and can combine these three animals into the mighty Tousai Zyuoh. Tousai Zyuoh joins the Zyuohger minipla candy toy line in its third wave, and despite only being three animals is undoubtedly the biggest set yet.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ant-Man

Of all the new media Bandai Tamashii Nations has dug into for the S.H. Figuarts line, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has got to be one with the most worldwide appeal. After working their way through Iron Man 2, 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the line has now began the tackle latest big event to hit screens - Captain America: Civil War. Following the obligatory new versions of both Captain America and Iron Man, relative newcomer Ant-Man has arrived as a surprise mass release figure! Although Civil War may not be the first movie outing for Scott Lang, his solo outing was overlooked by Bandai making this first Ant-Man in the Figuarts line and a much needed boost to Team Cap.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman 50th Anniversary Edition

The Ultra Series has been particularly notable amongst the various tokusatsu properties covered by Bandai Tamashii Nations because its the only that's ever had the honour of its very own distinct toy line. For the past 16 years the Ultra-Act line has covered a wide range of characters from Tsuburaya Productions flagship franchise, but despite nearly approaching a total of 80 different releases it seems the line's time is finally up. Ultra-Act had slowly turned to renewal figures rather than unreleased characters, and a crossover between the Ultra-Act and S.H. Figuarts brand was shortly followed by the news that Figuarts was soon to have its own selection of Ultraman figures. This meant the same classic characters once again in a whole new scale, so it's no surprise that not every collector welcomed the news with open arms. For many however this was an exciting new direction for both Figuarts and the Ultra Series, and the timing couldn't be better with Ultraman celebrating his 50th Anniversary in 2016. Such an occasion meant not just one, but two releases of the new S.H. Figuarts Ultraman figure - a standard release and a special anniversary variant that also shows off Tamashii's latest offshoot - Option Act.