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.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge


Release Date: July 2018
RRP: 5940 yen

S.H. Figuarts release patterns can be confusing at the best of times, but every so often Bandai Tamashii Nations will go and do something truly baffling. After announcing the first Kamen Rider Cross-Z suit as a Tamashii web exclusive, S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge was almost immediately revealed to be a retail release. At the time this made sense given that the first Cross-Z suit was quickly replaced as Ryuga Banjou traded his Build Driver up for a Sclash Driver, but in hindsight makes a lot less sense as the Charge suit was quickly sidelined for good as the original Cross-Z returned - eventually being replaced by the Great Cross-Z and Cross-Z Magma suits (both of which are also web exclusives). But all that aside, Kamen Rider Cross-Z shows up in Kamen Rider Build as the action heats up and the war between Touto, Seito and Hokuto begins. Utilising the experimental Sclash Jelly, Ryuga finds his reason to fight - but will this be enough to overcome the dangerous side affects these new powers are having on him?

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: 52TOYS Megabox MB-01 Alien


Release Date: May 2018
RRP: $29.99

52TOYS' Beast Box line has been going from strength to strength with its own fantastic cube animal designs, but now that the line has gained some traction it's also turning its attention toward some more iconic figures in popular culture. Enter Megabox – an offshoot of the Beast Box line which so far has revealed to be covering the likes of the Alien franchise, Predator and even Getter Robo. The first release in this line is known as both a Xenomorph or the Big Chap, but to most of the world is probably just best known as the Alien. Based on the design from the first Alien film, the Megabox MB-01 Alien kicks off 52TOYS foray into licensed designs in a big way.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Beast Box BB-05 Delta


Release Date: July 2018 (International)
RRP: 2678 yen (Japan)

Not so long ago Beast Box was simply this charming but obscure little selection of robot dinosaur figures most collectors would simply come across on Chinese social media posts, but thanks to a wider release on both Japanese and American website 52TOYS fun little range of transforming animal cubes has gathered quite the fan following. We've had a dinosaur, a gorilla and a mammoth, and now it's time to go back to the age of the dinosaurs once again with the release of BB-05 Delta. The fourth mould in the Beast Box line, Delta is initially available in his standard blue and white colourscheme, a TRON-line neon deco and an orange rescue repaint named Vanguard.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: DC Collectibles "Batman: The Animated Series" Zatanna


Release Date: August 2016 
RRP: $25.99/£22.99

Of all the Batman: The Animated Series characters you'd expect DC Collectibles to release in their highly anticipated yet also highly repeatedly delayed and widely criticised line, Zatanna probably wasn't one of them - until you remember just how much of a fanboy Paul Dini is when it comes to her. What's perhaps stranger though is the fact Zatanna was a single card release, while far more characters and designs would later be shunted off into highly overpriced collectors' sets (looking at you especially B:TAS Mr Freeze and Poison Ivy). Still, one of the main charms of this line has been some of the more left-field choices there's been when it comes to releases, and Zatanna is definitely one of the best among them. Appearing solely in the episode "Zatanna", this version of Zatanna has no apparent magic powers (until her reappearance in Justice League Unlimited that is), but goes back a long way with Bruce Wayne/Batman. Or as she knows him, "John Smith".