Friday, 25 May 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Alien Zarab


Release Date: April 2018
RRP: 5940 yen

It's been nearly two years since the release of S.H. Figuarts Ultraman and since then the line has moved onto the casts of Ultraseven and The Return of Ultraman (in addition to covering newer shows like Orb and Geed), yet by way of miracle Bandai Tamashii Nations still seem dedicated to the original Ultraman series. The latest invader to join the ever-expanding line is deceptive Alien Zarab, who first appeared in episode 18 "Brother from Another Planet" and is notable for being the first alien to actively intimate an Ultra hero after deducing the identity of SSSP member Shin Hayata. S.H. Figuarts Alien Zarab was another Tamashii web exclusive release, which is likely to be the fate of any original series character as the Figuarts line moves forwards into future franchise instalments.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger Minipla Lupin Kaiser


Release Date: March 2018
RRP: 1980 yen (1 complete figure, 5 boxes), 4536 yen (Full case: 12 boxes)

This year the Super Sentai formula has truly been shaken as police and thieves go head to head in Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger, but from a collectors' perspective two teams appearing simultaneously can only mean one thing - more toys! This year of minipla candy toys first yield two four-piece main mecha sharing the same core component, starting with the Lupinrangers' own Lupin Kaiser! This is the combination of the Lupinrangers' three signature Dial Fighters, together with the GoodStriker - a sentient piece of the Lupin Collection that's happy to align itself with both sets of heroes. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Soul of Chogokin GX-77 Gipsy Danger


Release Date: February 2018
RRP: 27,000 yen

When Bandai Tamashii Nations announced that they would finally be getting their long-deserved shot at the Jaegers of Pacific Rim, they certainly didn't take any half measures. While the cast of sequel film Pacific Rim Uprising are getting the highly affordable, highly articulated treatment from the Robot Damashii line, the originals are getting the premium treatment they've long deserved. That's right - Soul of Chogokin Gipsy Danger is finally a reality. At 27,000 yen it's not the most expensive entry in Bandai's "best of the best" mecha line, but it's still certainly one for those whose wallets run pretty deep. Gipsy is currently the only Jaeger released in the line, but with a Crimson Typhoon already on show at events it may only be a matter of time before the rest of the kaiju-busting robots join her.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending - Kamen Rider Genm vs Lazer

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending – Kamen Rider Genm vs Lazer

First Kamen Riders Brave and Snipe had to face the revival of Lovelica and Saki. Then Para-DX and Poppy fought back against a mysterious Parado clone and the revenge of Dr Pacman's daughter Saiko Yaotome. Now the grand finale of the Kamen Rider Ex-Aid V-Cinema trilogy arrives with Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending – Kamen Rider Genm vs Lazer. Not only have the previous two films been building up to this confrontation, but Genm vs Lazer (for the time being anyway) also acts as the final chapter in the Ex-Aid story. As well as sharing a long and chequered rivalry, both Riders have also previously held the title role in their own spin-off specials. The Kamen Rider Genm special showcased the Legend Rider Gashats whilst also acting as a prequel to Heisei Generations, while the Kamen Rider Lazer Hyper Battle DVD saw the Bakusou Bike Rider return once more prior to his permanent resurrection by Kamen Rider Cronus.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending - Kamen Rider Para-DX with Poppy

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending – Kamen Rider Para-DX with Poppy

After casting the spotlight on Kamen Riders Brave and Snipe in its first instalment, the Kamen Rider Ex-Aid V-Cinema trilogy now turns its attention to CR's benevolent Bugsters in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending – Kamen Rider Para-DX with Poppy. While this is the first time Poppy Pipopapo has received her own title story in the series, Parado more recently featured as the star of the show's second Televi-kun Hyper Battle DVD. The DVD also acted as a lead in to the Another Ending trilogy – not only being referenced in the films but also concluding with Kuroto's escape from his digital prison.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending - Kamen Rider Brave & Snipe

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Another Ending: Kamen Rider Brave & Snipe

When Toei said that "the game is forever", they sure weren't joking around. Not content with just ending Kamen Rider Ex-Aid through the series itself and the True Ending movie, the 2016-2017 Kamen Rider series has returned once again for a trilogy of V-Cinema releases – rather appropriately titled Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Another Ending. Like previous post-series V-cinema entries these movies each focus on a pair of Riders from the show's expanded cast rather than Ex-Aid himself, however unlike the others these three films also tie together into an overall plotline. Kicking off the trilogy is Kamen Rider Ex Aid: Another Ending – Kamen Rider Brave & Snipe, featuring arguably the two most prominent of the show's other Riders. This isn't the first time either Rider has had the spotlight either, with Brave previously taking centre stage in the Let's Survive! Revival of the Beast Rider Squad! special and Snipe's back story being uncovered in the Episode ZERO prequel miniseries.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Robot Damashii Obsidian Fury


Release Date: March 2018
RRP: 3564 yen

When Bandai Tamashii Nations announced that they would be producing figures for Pacific Rim Uprising, they certainly didn't mess around in releasing them at a steady pace. Three of the six main Jaegers preceded the film's release in February 2018, with the remaining three coming the following month just as Uprising landed in cinemas across the globe. As well as receiving a global release, one of the biggest appeals of these Robot Damashii (aka Robot Spirits) figures was a significantly lower price point - with Gipsy Avenger leading the charge at an incredible 2484 yen. Although the price of its fellow Jaegers such as Obsidian Fury here a slightly higher 3564 yen, they're still far more affordable than your average Robot Damashii figure. A mysterious rogue unit that attacks the PPDC council meeting in Sydney, Obsidian Fury is a Jaeger that's not just a force to be reckoned with but also houses a dark secret - revealing that humanity's battle with the kaiju and their alien Precursor masters isn't over yet.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Anime Review: GARO: Vanishing Line

GARO: Vanishing Line
GARO: Vanishing Line is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

Over the past few years GARO has gained some real traction in regards to Western recognition, an achievement that's certainly partly thanks to its spinoff into animated media. No longer the niche franchise known only among the tokusatsu fanbase it once was, the GARO anime are simulcast, dubbed and (in the US at the very least) released on physical disc – with the live-action series now following suite thanks to a number of Blu-ray releases by Kraken-Releasing as well as streaming on Hi-Dive (again, unfortunately US only). Last year saw the franchise return for its third anime outing – GARO: Vanishing Line. Like previous shows The Carved Seal of Flames and The Crimson Moon, Vanishing Line is a completely standalone series – starring an all-new cast and moving the action to a modern city setting.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Alien Guts


Release Date: March 2018
RRP: 6480 yen

Bandai Tamashii Nations' impressive dedication to the Ultra Series and its inhabiting creatures continues with the release of S.H. Figuarts Alien Guts! Undoubtedly one of the most iconic aliens from Ultraseven, Alien Guts also hails from some of its best episodes – the two part story "The Seven Assassination Plan". After carefully analysing Ultraseven and his human disguise of Dan Moroboshi, a squad of Alien Guts were able to successfully defeat, capture and crucify the hero. It was only thanks to the efforts of the Ultra Garrison that Seven was eventually freed and able to defeat them. More recently the race have also appeared in the Ultraman Orb movie, as well as being a key character (albeit in a VERY different form) in the second season of moe monster girl spinoff anime Kaiju Girls.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Anime REVIEW: Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is available in streaming form on Netflix

With the world's biggest streaming platform now with anime firmly in its sights, 2018 is set to be a big year for Netflix anime content. As well as kicking things off in a big way with the release of Devilman Crybaby, Netflix is also making waves with Violet Evergarden – the latest series from Haruhi and K-On! maestros Kyoto Animation. Based on the (Kyoto Animation award winning) light novel series by Kana Akatsuki, the series immediately garnered attention through its strange release pattern – simulcasting weekly in some territories but then surprisingly being held back in the US until the series was complete. But wherever you may reside its now here for you, complete with a selection of different language options. Being an anime fan has never been easier.