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".

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Anime REVIEW: FLCL: Progressive

FLCL: Progressive

When an anime studio announces that it's going to make a sequel to a cult classic 18 years after its release and without the assistance of one of the key studios originally involved, that's bound to create some skepticism. But that's exactly the case for FLCL: Progressive, the first of two 2018 sequels to the modern classic from Production I.G. and Gainax. Production I.G. have gone solo for these two instalments, co-producing them with both Toho and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. As a result of the latter's involvement, the show made it's premiere as part of the programming block - with the dub airing throughout June. The Japanese audio version will follow in September, with both FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative receiving theatrical screenings across Japan.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Garo (Saejima Kouga)


Release Date: June 2018
RRP: 9990 yen

The 2014 Tamashii Nations Event was notable for announcing the long-awaited return of GARO to the S.H. Figuarts line, but while the releases of both the Ryuga and Leon figures followed fairly swiftly there was one key figure that took much longer to show up again. However after nearly four years of waiting S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Garo (Saejima Kouga) has finally arrived - the first figure in the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou line that doesn't hail from the Kamen Rider franchise. As the name suggests this is the armour worn by Kouga Saejima, the first Golden Knight from the franchise and lead character of both the original series and Makai Senki. S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Garo (Saejima Kouga) was released as a Tamashii web exclusive, and at 9990 yen is certainly one of the most expensive standard sized Figuarts released thus far.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger Minipla Wave 03 VS Vehicles


Release Date: May 2018
RRP: 3780 yen (1 case = 10 boxes, 2 complete sets)

The third wave of Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger minipla arrives has arrived, and with some time to spare until the debut of Lupin X/Patren X and his X-Emperor this selection is dedicated to the various Lupin Collection VS Vehicles both teams have picked up in the series so far. Spread over five boxes, the wave features the Cyclone, Scissor and Blade Dial Fighters as well as the Biker, Crane and Drill Trigger Machines.

Monday, 23 July 2018

First Impressions: Attack on Titan Season 3

Attack on Titan season 3
Attack on Titan season 3 is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll 

If there's one mistake the phenomenally popular Attack on Titan anime adaptation has made since its debut all the way back in 2013, it's probably the five hiatus there was between the first and second seasons. And then if there's two mistakes the show has made, the other would be the decision to cut that second season short at a mere 12 episodes (compared to the first's 25 episodes). It seems that Studio Wit are well aware of this fact, as not only does Titan's third season arrive just a year later than its predecessor but has already been guaranteed to run for a far more agreeable total of 24 episodes. After the big revelations that took place at the end of the previous season, what will this batch of episodes have in store for Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi and the rest of the Survey Corps?

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Anime REVIEW: Darling in the Franxx

Darling in the Franxx is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

After the success of shows such as Kill la Kill, Space Patrol Luluco and Little Witch Academia, anything involving studio Trigger usually comes along with some fanfare. But their first mecha outing, and one as a collaboration with A-1 Pictures subsidiary CloverWorks, was definitely one to keep an eye on. This is Darling in the Franxx, the first of Trigger's three original works teased at their Anime Expo 2017 panel. Running for a total of 24 episodes (along with three special "making of" episodes), the series was spear-headed by Atsushi Nishigori (The Idolm@ster, as well as involvement in numerous Gainax projects) with character designs by Masayoshi Tanaka (AnoHana, Anthem of the Heart) and mechanical designs from Koyama Shigeto (Star Driver, Captain Earth). Though the exact split in the workload isn't entirely clear, it's largely understood CloverWorks oversaw most of the visuals while Trigger's involvement mainly came from the action side of things as well as a few select episodes.

Friday, 13 July 2018

First Impressions: Ultraman R/B

Ultraman R/B

One of the best things about being an Ultraman fan in the past three years has been each new series simulcasting on Crunchyroll complete with official English subtitles, in addition to all the past shows from the franchise that have also been added to the site in this time. So you can just imagine the uproar when Ultraman R/B – the latest instalment in Tsuburaya Productions' long-standing tokusatsu series appeared absent after its Japanese premiere. Not to worry though, as the bilingual Ultraman fandom has banded together to create a user-created subtitle track for Tsuburaya's own YouTube stream, which will stay online until the next episode has aired (at which point a fansub will likely become available). It's not ideal, but credit to the amazing efforts of the fandom where it's due. Ultraman R/B is the 30th Ultra Series overall and introduces two new lead Ultramen – Ultraman Rosso and Ultraman Blu.

Update 15/07/2018: It seems Tsuburaya have now got rid of the YouTube subtitles and region-locked the stream, so discount most of that introduction. There are vague details of an English-language version "coming soon", so fans will just have to wait and see.

Monday, 9 July 2018

First Impressions: Cells at Work!

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

It's a widely agreed fact that Osmosis Jones is an often-overlooked piece of brilliance from the world of animation, so much so that you have to wonder why more creators haven't tackled the idea of depicting the inner workings of the human body in such a way. Cue the release of Cells at Work!, a new anime adaptation of the manga series of the same name by Akane Shimuzu. The series is being animated by David Production and directed by Kenichi Suzuki, both of whom are best known for their work on the various JoJo's Bizarre Adventure instalments. Given how absurd and frenetic that show can be at times, something as hopefully off the wall as Cells at Work! will be right at home here!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

First Impressions: Planet With

Planet With
Planet With is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

A new anime season is upon us once again, and for the first time in ages I seem to have found myself without any clear choices on what to follow for the next 12 or so weeks. So when all else fails I do the first thing that usually comes to mind - scour the list of newly airing anime and pick out the ones with a giant robot in the promo image. And it's this exact tactic that brought me to Planet With, the first anime work from popular mangaka Satoshi Mizukami (whose previous works include Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, Psycho Staff and Spirit Circle) and animated by studio J.C. Staff. Of course, for those (like me) unfamiliar with Mizukami's previous works these are just names. But don't let that put you off Planet With, because boy is this show a trip.