Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series The Mandalorian (Carbonized Collection)


Release Date: October 2019
RRP: $20/£20

This year’s Triple Force Friday was a particularly special time for Star Wars collectors because not only did it debut product from the forthcoming Rise of Skywalker film, but also the Jedi: Fallen Order video game and Disney+ series The Mandalorian. With anticipation for all three instalments at an all-time high, Hasbro knew exactly how to entice fans and produced a number of different variants of the new Black Series figures. As well as being available in both standard and First Edition versions, a select few were also released as part of the Carbonized Collection - sporting metallic paint jobs and premium foil packaging. Undoubtedly the most anticipated of them all, the Star Wars Black Series The Mandalorian (Carbonized Collection) figure was released exclusively at Target stores in the US and through StarActionFigures in the UK. Today, on the US release of the Disney+ and the premiere of The Mandalorian, we take a look at this mysterious new bounty hunter with no name.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Movie REVIEW: Lupinranger vs Patranger vs Kyuranger

Lupinranger vs Patranger vs Kyuranger

When an Uchu Sentai Kyuranger and Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger crossover film was passed on last year in favour of the second Space Squad instalment, some fans thought the worst about the future of the Super Sentai franchise's annual tradition. However some traditions don't die so easily, so of course the Versus Series returned in 2019 in triple-threat format with Lupinranger vs Patranger vs Kyuranger. This V-Cinema (now known as V-Cinext) release brings the Kyurangers out of their parallel universe once more, this time teaming up with the rivalrous teams of Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patranger – together with a few more surprises along the way.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Nebula


Release Date: September 2019
RRP: 6480 yen

The S.H. Figuarts line may have been tackling the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a good few years now, but when it comes to character diversity there’s still a lot of untrodden ground. On the one hand who can blame them when Iron Man continues to be Bandai Tamashii Nations’ golden goose, but on the other it would be nice to see a bit more variety among the releases. But every so often a new character finally manages to slip through, with S.H. Figuarts Nebula finally joining the line this year as a Tamashii web exclusive release. The second daughter of Thanos is the fourth Guardians of the Galaxy character to be released but definitely one of most overdue, and although the figure is based on her Infinity War appearance with her significantly expanded role in Endgame this figure couldn’t have come at a better time.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Gridman (Primal Fighter)


Release Date: September 2019
RRP: 6296 yen

There seems to be plenty of options out there when it comes to SSSS.Gridman toys, but which one is the perfect choice isn’t as obvious as you may think. Megahouse kicked things off with a fully transforming, but small and somewhat overpriced release with their Acti-Builder version. Then Good Smile Company went bigger with their DX Full Power Gridman set, but their 90s style design came with a whole bunch of problems. Meanwhile Bandai got in on the action with the Super Mini-Pla line, but their similarly high price point also came with the condition of having to build the thing yourself. Finally there’s the Nendoroid - a perfectly well-made but super deformed style figure. But if that wasn’t enough choice, Good Smile are back with a third go with Figma Gridman (Primal Fighter). Produced by Max Factory, this version of the titular hero makes up for the lack of combining capabilities with superior articulation and poseability.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Boba Fett


Release Date: November 2015, September 2019 (Reissue)
RRP: 9680 yen

If there's one regret I have as a toy collector, it's taking until 2019 to get into the Meisho Movie Realization line. Bandai Tamashii Nations' Super Imaginative Chogokin-esque reimagining of iconic Star Wars characters styled like warriors from feudal-era Japan was a stroke of genius, and judging by the price some of these figures command on the aftermarket collectors seemed to think so too. The third release in the line way back in 2015 was Meisho Movie Realization Ronin Boba Fett, and much like any limited run figure based on the original (though no longer canonically) Mandalorian bounty hunter it's one that will cost you a pretty penny on the aftermarket. That is until four years later however, when a surprise reissue was announced for Western territories such as the US and UK. This was a particularly unexpected move on Bandai's part, since there's no sign that the figure ever received the same treatment over in Japan. But as an opportunity to own a figure I regret not picking up all those years ago for a price not too far off Japanese retail, I certainly wasn't going to question it.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Monsterarts Gamera [1995]


Release Date: August 2019
RRP: 10800 yen

It isn’t very often we see something that isn’t Godzilla related in the S.H. MonsterArts line these days, but every so often Bandai Tamashii Nations creeps something through that reminds fans just how much untapped potential the line has. One of the most pleasant surprises in 2015 was S.H. MonsterArts Gamera [1996], based on the titanic turtle’s appearance in the second of the Heisei era Gamera trilogy - Gamera 2: Attack of Legion. Though sadly an accompanying Legion figure never came to fruition a version of Gamera based on the 1999 instalment Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris eventually arrived in 2018, and now in 2019 the trinity is finally complete with S.H. MonsterArts Gamera [1995]. Based on the monster’s appearance in Shusuke Kaneko’s epic Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, this is the only of the three Gamera figures to have been a Tamashii Web exclusive.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Anime REVIEW: Beast Wars Neo

Beast Wars Neo

Beast Wars and the wider Beast Era is largely considered one of the best (if not controversial) periods in Transformers history, but over in Japan there's much more to the story than some fans might realise. During the long delay between the release of seasons one and two of the original series, Japan took things in their own direction with two of their own 2D animated Beast Wars series – 1998's Beast Wars II and 1999's Beast Wars Neo. Now 20 years later, once again thanks to the work of Karyuudo Fansubs Beast Wars Neo: Super Lifeform Transformers joins its predecessor in being fully available with English fansubs. With its own cast of exclusive characters and the return of one of the most iconic figures in Transformers history, is Beast Wars Neo everything fans had hoped for?

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures Darth Vader

Release Date: October 2019
RRP: $10/£10

Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures is an ongoing series of Youtube shorts that takes key moments from across the Star Wars universe and reimagines them with stylised animation. Though the series has had an accompanying toy line for some time, previous waves have simply been re-releases of other lines done up in new packaging. For 2019 though Hasbro are going all in on the animated aesthetic, relaunching the line with a brand new 5" range that fully embraces the look and feel of the series. Additionally figure also has its own unique gimmick – truly putting the "action" back in action figure. Among the first wave of figures to debut at this year's Triple Force Friday is of course none other than the mighty Sith Lord Darth Vader, and as a huge sucker for stylised figures like this I knew that I just had to check the line out and see what it has to offer.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Toybox Review: MAFEX Iron Spider


Release Date: July 2019, August 2019 (Reissue)
RRP: 7800 yen

After beating off the likes of Revoltech and Figma, Bandai's S.H. Figuarts line ruled the roost for a good while when it came to collector-grade Japanese figures in 6" scale. However in the last few years they've begun to face some stiff competition from Medicom and their "miracle action figure" MAFEX line - directly challenging them with their own versions of characters from Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and more. Discussions of inconsistent quality prevented me from buying into the line for some time, but as it begins to extend further into both comic and movie-based properties I've found myself more and more interested. While other lines are now turning their attention to Avengers: Endgame, Medicom are still trailing behind covering Infinity War – and among their releases this year was the MAFEX Iron Spider figure. But despite coming nearly a year after the S.H. Figuarts version, Medicom's edition of Spider-Man's hi-tech suit still got plenty of attention – not just selling out on release but also getting a reissue only a month later.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Woz


Release Date: July 2019
RRP: 6050 yen

IWAE! Whether he is in the service of the overlord Zi-O or the saviour Geiz, the mysterious retainer from the year 2068 arrives in the S.H. Figuarts line! S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Woz is both the third Rider and third general release figure from the Kamen Rider Zi-O range, though as far as the latter is concerned he’s also likely the last figure from the show Bandai Tamashii Nations will give such treatment. Though Kamen Rider Woz and the Miridewatches were introduced with the arrival of the alternate future White Woz, the powers were later taken by the main timeline’s Black Woz and continued to be used by him after his counterpart’s erasure.