Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser

S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 9900 yen

While modern Ultraman series tend not to see an extensive amount of releases in the S.H. Figuarts line, one thing that can be said about Bandai Tamashii Nations is that they do make sure the essentials are all covered. This doesn't just mean alternate forms either, because Ultraman always needs at least one other character to partner with or face up against. And in the S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser, Ultraman Decker rather conveniently has both. The second Figuarts release from Ultraman Decker and its first Tamashii web exclusive, the Terraphaser is a giant robot created by the TPU to assist GUTS-Select in battle against both rampaging kaiju and the Sphere. However in reality it's true purpose was to be a super weapon created by Agams - an alien who had travelled back in time to enact his revenge against humanity for bringing their conflict against the Sphere to his planet. 

Friday, 8 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Shokugan Modeling Project Daidenjin

SMP Daidenjin 01

Release Date: December 2022
RRP: 6600 yen

One of the great joys about the Shokugan Modeling Project (the line formerly known as Super Mini-Pla) is that it's producing it's fair share of classic Super Sentai mecha in addition to just the post-Zyuranger ones that most of the world is more familiar with. For example, immediately after going all-out with Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger it jumped a further 21 years back in time to visit a different landmark Sentai series - 1980's Denshi Sentai Denjiman. The fourth instalment in the franchise, this was the second to be co-produced with Marvel Comics and the only series to receive a direct sequel in the form of the succeeding show Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan. Shokugan Modeling Project Daidenjin is the first of two SMP releases from Denjiman, the second Super Sentai series its covered since its rebranding.

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7150 yen

Although we get a new Ultraman every year simply through the mainline series, it didn't make one being introduced through the ongoing Ultra Galaxy Fight web series any less exciting. After being teased at the end of The Absolute Conspiracy, Ultraman Regulos made his full debut in The Destined Crossroad – a space martial artist with a history with Ultraman Leo and Astra, as well as a rivalry with the Absolutian Absolute Diavolo. This year's Ultraman Regulos prequel expanded on his origins further, revealing him as an amnesiac Ultra who trained in the Cosmo Beast Style martial arts. It seems as though Tsuburaya Productions have some big plans for him, which is all the more reason why S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos has joined the Ultraman range as one of its latest Tamashii web exclusive releases.

Monday, 4 September 2023

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Gotchard

Kamen Rider Gotchard

If there's one way to make a franchise surrounded by collectible toy lines somehow even more collectible, it's to add trading cards. Between randomly assorted booster packs, rarities and art variants, Kamen Rider collectors are in for an expensive year because this is the direction franchise has gone in with its fifth Reiwa era series (and 34th overall) Kamen Rider Gotchard. Replacing Kamen Rider Geats alongside Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger in the current Super Hero Time line-up, the series will be co-written by Keiichi Hasagawa and Hiroki Uchida – both of whom have served as regular writers for both Kamen Rider and Ultraman.

Saturday, 2 September 2023

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Geats

Kamen Rider Geats

As the Kamen Rider franchise continues to confidently move forward into the Reiwa era, there are certain commonalities between the most recent shows that could now be considered as franchise staples. As well as the more obvious prominence of one or more female Rider, the number of Kamen Riders in general per show seems to have increased exponentially - with the most recently completed series boasting the largest number of all. Kamen Rider Geats is the 37th show in the overall franchise, following on from Kamen Rider Revice as the fourth entry in the Reiwa era. Written by Kamen Rider veteran Yuya Takahashi (of Ex-Aid and Zero-One fame), Geats draws inspiration from the current popularity of survival games - from the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends to Kaiji and even Squid Game, to create an all-new spin on the "Kamen Rider Battle Royale" - a concept first introduced in Kamen Rider Ryuki all the way back in 2002.

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Blue Ranger Vs. Psycho Silver Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Blue Ranger & Psycho Silver Ranger 01

Release Date: October 2021
RRP: $41.99/£45.99

While Power Rangers in Space might be the series with the most figures in the Lightning Collection outside of Mighty Morphin, collecting them all is certainly no easy task. Between the single box releases, deluxe figures, double packs and even multi-figure sets the price can add up quite quickly – and that even applies when only picking up the core team itself. The Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Blue Ranger Vs. Psycho Silver Ranger set was initially the only way to get T.J. (however he has since been also made available in a deluxe set with his Galaxy Glider), as well as the second In Space Ranger to be part of a double-pack. The set pays homage to episode 34 of Power Rangers in Space, where Silver Ranger Zhane disguises himself as a sixth Psycho Ranger to confuse and defeat the evil ranger team.

Tuesday, 29 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman -First Contact Ver.- (Shin Ultraman)

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman -First Contact Ver.- 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7700 yen

With Shin Ultraman proving to be a hit in every sense of the word it's no surprise that Bandai Tamashii Nations have jumped on it when it comes to S.H. Figuarts releases. Even with a limited number of characters in the film there's plenty of ground to cover when it comes to variants, with one such example being S.H. Figuarts Ultraman -First Contact Version- (Shin Ultraman) . This Tamashii Web exclusive release is based on Ultraman's initial appearance in the film when he first arrives on Earth and battles Neronga (prior to merging with Shinji Kaminaga).

Sunday, 27 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Clone Commander Jesse

Star Wars Black Series Clone Commander Jesse 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: $27.99/£29.99

If there's one thing Hasbro will never run out of when it comes to Star Wars figures in both the Black Series and Vintage Collection, it's clone trooper variants. And while they've certainly been pumping them out over the last few years (particularly since they have an all-new body to work with), it's been nice to see some of the named troopers from Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as the different coloured battalions. One such example is clone trooper CT-5597 aka Jesse - an ARC Trooper lieutenant that served as part of 501st Legion. Fighting many battles alongside Anakin Skywalker, Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano, sadly Jesse was one of the troopers that succumbed to Order 66's brainwashing - turning against Ahsoka before perishing when their ship crashed into a moon. Black Series Clone Commander Jesse was released as a Walmart exclusive in the US and via the Hasbro "fan channel" in other territories.

Friday, 25 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider 1 (Old Version)

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider 1 (Old Version) 01

Release Date: November 2022
RRP: 8250 yen

A lot of the time Tamashii Nations event exclusives can be fairly predictable. For example, if there's an all-black form in a series it's more than likely to show up here. But sometimes Bandai Tamashii Nations like to throw fans absolute curveballs, and much like Kamen Rider Diend back in 2019 the Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou entry for 2022 is a bit of a head-scratcher. Very nearly coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the franchise, it's fitting to go all the way back to the beginning with S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider 1 (Old Version), but surely this is something that would have sold like hotcakes as a retail or standard Tamashii web exclusive? This figure is based on the first appearance of Takeshi Hongo as the original Kamen Rider, from the very first episode of Kamen Rider back in 1971 all the way up until its 13th episode.

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Absolute Tartarus

S.H. Figuarts Absolute Tartarus 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7700 yen

If you've been following the Ultra Galaxy Fight web miniseries/specials for the past few years you'll know that the Ultras currently have their hands full fighting against the Absolutians - a race of powerful aliens looking to subjugate the Land of Light and turn it into their new home. Their story first kicked off in Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy, and has continued on into The Destined Crossroad, Ultraman Trigger, Ultraman Regulos and more. With how much of a presence it has in current Ultraman continuity, it was only a matter of time before the release of S.H. Figuarts Absolute Tartarus. The fact it's also a retail release just shows how much confidence both Bandai Tamashii Nations and Tsuburaya Productions seem to have in it.