Friday, 5 October 2018

Anime REVIEW: Cells at Work!

Cells at Work!
Cells at Work! is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll 

Anthropomorphism – the one thing that will ensure that anime never runs out of ideas. From monsters and countries to guns and warships, the act of turning things into marketable moe has always proven to be particularly popular. Now 2018 has shown that won't be changing any time soon with the release of Cells at Work! (Hataraku Saibou), adapted from the ongoing manga series of the same name by Akane Shimizu. This time it’s the turn of the human body, turning the millions of cells inside of us all into a whole selection of memorable characters. Running for a total of 13 episodes and animated by JoJo's Bizarre Adventure maestros David Production, Japan's answer to Osmosis Jones might just be the series you didn't know you wanted but secretly have always needed.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Anime REVIEW: Gundam Build Divers

Gundam Build Divers
Gundam Build Divers is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll and Youtube 

Sometimes there's no shame in shameless consumerism, and with Gundam Build Fighters both Bandai and Sunrise seemingly found the perfect formula for creating a Mobile Suit Gundam entry that's thoroughly enjoyable despite being primarily created to shift boxes and boxes of gunpla. Following the sequel series Gundam Build Fighters Try in 2015 this specific subset of the franchise went pretty quiet other than a few OVA-style specials here and there, but in 2018 it came back in full force under the new name of Gundam Build Divers. The game may be a little different, but it's still business as always when it comes to building customised Gundams and battling them across a series chock-full of franchise references and homages. But does it manage to capture the same magic as the original Build Fighters?

Monday, 24 September 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Grease


Release Date: August 2018
RRP: 6264 yen

It's an unfortunate truth of the S.H. Figuarts line these days that no matter how much of a main character a particular Kamen Rider may be, the way Bandai Tamashii Nations release these figures its almost certain that someone will end up as a Tamashii web exclusive rather than a general retail release. Kamen Rider Build got off to its odd decisions pretty early with the standard Kamen Rider Cross-Z being an exclusive while the less prevalent Cross-Z Charge was a general release. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Grease is the latest Build character to join the line, with Hokuto's own Kazumi Sawatari kicking off what will most likely be a string of Tamashii web exclusives from here on out.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Movie REVIEW: Ultraman Geed the Movie: Connect the Wishes!

Ultraman Geed the Movie: Connect the Wishes!

Although for the most part heroes never fully retire in the world of tokusatsu, it can often be a bittersweet moment when one series comes to an end and the baton is passed onto a new hero. However there's always one last farewell in the form of a movie, and Ultraman Geed's story is no exception as the 2017 Ultra returns in Ultraman Geed the Movie: Connect the Wishes!. As per previous entires Tsuburaya Productions' latest Ultra Series film instalment also acts as a crossover with 2016's Ultraman Orb - a hero that has continued to stay in the spotlight since his original series thanks to an Amazon Prime exclusive prequel series, a biography-style recap series and more recently a dark version of the titular character's powers appearing in the currently airing Ultraman R/B.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Movie REVIEW: Engine Sentai Go-Onger: Ten Years Grand Prix

Engine Sentai Go-Onger: Ten Years Grand Prix

The realisation that Engine Sentai Go-Onger came out ten years ago might be making some fans pretty old right now, but there is one silver lining to this reminder of just how quickly time can pass. After both Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger and Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger reunited for special V-Cinema releases a decade after their original appearances, it's now time to go at full-throttle mach speed once again as the 32nd Super Sentai team return for Engine Sentai Go-Onger: Ten Years Grand Prix. So grab your Engine Souls and get ready to 'met on once again, as all seven team members are back for one last adventure.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Pandon "The Biggest Invasion in History" Set


Release Date: August 2018
RRP: 8100 yen

Although the latter half of 2018 will be going full force on modern Ultra Series releases with both the long awaited Ultraman X and Ultraman R/B figures, Bandai Tamashii Nations still have plenty of love to give to the classic era of Ultraman. This year may have seen the S.H. Figuarts line move ahead into The Return of Ultraman but there's still plenty of room for releases from both the original series and Ultraseven - with this particular one being extra special. The vanguard of the Alien Ghos and the final opponent of Ultraseven, the twin-headed monster has finally arrived! S.H. Figuarts Pandon "The Biggest Invasion in History" set celebrates the two-part finale of the 1967 series, arriving as a Tamashii web exclusive release.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Build

Kamen Rider Build

After the Kamen Rider aesthetic was taken a little bit off course in 2016 with Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, things fell back into a bit more familiar territory with the series that followed. The compound eyes make a natural return, and the hero's two-part red and blue costume wasn't just a callback to the similarly styled Kamen Rider W – the colourscheme also harked back to heroes like the Kikaider brothers and Metalder. Welcome to Kamen Rider Build – the 19th entry in the show's Heisei period run and the 28th series in the franchise overall. Notably written in its entirety by Shogo Muto and with Ryuta Tasaki as lead director, Build is also the first (and possibly only) of the post-Decade series to take place in a parallel universe.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Zi-O


The end of the Heisei Era has arrived, and to celebrate the 20th and final entry in this chapter of Kamen Rider a new king has risen who is heir to the power of all Riders. His name is Kamen Rider Zi-O, and 10th anniversary series Kamen Rider Decade his series will commemorate all of the previous Heisei Riders to date. This comes not only in the form of the Ride Watch gimmick line and Ride Armour forms, but also cameo appearances from past actors, Rider-themed monsters and more. Heading the writing and directing of the series are Kento Shimoyama (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, Kikaider REBOOT and most recently the Gorider miniseries) and Ryuta Tasaki (a man involved in nearly all of Heisei Rider, as well as both Super Sentai and Power Rangers) respectively. Its opening theme "Over Quartzer" is performed by Shuta Sueyoshi and ISSA – the former having previously performed "Climax Jump" for Kamen Rider Den-O and the latter "JustiĻ†'s" for Kamen Rider 555. Even before you get into the series itself, there's plenty of callbacks going on here.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Anime REVIEW: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

Good things eventually come to those who wait, and given that fans have been waiting nearly 13 years it's fair to say they were long overdue a new season of Full Metal Panic!. The military-charged mecha series by Shoji Gatou finally returned to television screens in 2018, for a new 12-episode season entitled Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory. But despite all that time away it seems very little has changed for the franchise (other than some sharper animation and CGI mecha designs) - animation duties may have now moved from Gonzo and Kyoto Animation to Xebec, however the original cast have all returned to reprise their roles.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders

Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders

It's only a matter of days until the premiere of Kamen Rider Zi-O, the latest Kamen Rider series that marks both the 20th anniversary and the end of the Heisei Era in the franchise. But when it comes to their movies, Toei perhaps jumped the gun a bit when it came to the last entry in the annual Movie War series. The 2017 crossover between Kamen Rider Build and Kamen Rider Ex-Aid was titled Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders, and as the name suggested also brought along a few older faces. Also returning for this movie (complete with their original actors) are Kamen Rider Ghost, Kamen Rider Gaim, Kamen Rider Fourze and Kamen Rider OOO.