Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Blue Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Blue Ranger 01

Release Date: March 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

The Disney era as a whole might be feeling a little under-represented in Hasbro's Lightning Collection but at the very least two Power Rangers seasons from that time seem to be getting plenty of figures. While Power Rangers SPD rapidly approaches completion, preceding series Power Rangers Dino Thunder also gains another key member with the release of the Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Blue Ranger in the line's eighth wave. The third release from the fan-favourite season, Ethan James is a skilled hacker and computer expert, using the powers of the blue Dino Gem to not only morph into the Blue Ranger but also found it could make his skin impenetrable.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3 (THE NEXT)

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3 (THE NEXT) 01

Release Date: February 2008
RRP: 2420 yen

In 2008 Bandai Tamashii Nations introduced a whole new line of Kamen Rider action figures - S.H. Figuarts, the spiritual successor to their previous Souchaku Henshin line. Originally the "S.H" in the name even stood for "Souchaku Henshin", but since then Bandai have also said it stands for "Simple style and Heroic Action - the motto which has accompanied the line since its very beginning. With S.H. Figuarts now having stretched far beyond Kamen Rider also all include a number of other tokusatsu, anime and Western properties, it's a little strange to think that it all began with figures from Kamen Rider: The Next. The 2007 sequel to Kamen Rider: The First had been released in Japanese cinemas just a few months prior, and so Figuarts launched onto the scene with a double bill of releases - S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3 (THE NEXT) and also the film's version of Kamen Rider 1. Either could feasibly be consider the very first release from the line, but there's just something fitting considering the next Rider to be the next step in Kamen Rider action figures.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange (Battle on Titan Edition)

S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange (Battle On Titan Edition) 01

Release Date: January 2021
RRP: 8800 yen

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Infinity Saga having finally come to an end, it seems that all of the toy companies that produce Marvel figures are having one last hurrah before moving onto the next phase - releasing the best versions of these beloved characters that they can. That can definitely be said for Bandai Tamashii Nations, whose S.H. Figuarts line moved into a number of "Final Battle" editions based on the climactic scene from Avengers: Endgame (it helps when you're releasing toys after the movie has been released, rather than just prior like they did initially). However with many key characters absent from Endgame for the most part there are plenty of iconic scenes to explore from Avengers: Infinity War as well, such as this S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange (Battle on Titan Edition) figure. 

Monday, 6 September 2021

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Revice

Kamen Rider Revice

Well we've made it, 50 years of Kamen Rider. Such a momentous anniversary doesn't go uncelebrated, and while both both it and Super Sentai commemorated their respective milestones earlier in the year with crossover movie Super Hero Senki, now that Kamen Rider Saber has reached its conclusion it's time for the main anniversary series to begin its run. Kamen Rider Revice is the third Kamen Rider series to debut in the Reiwa era, and the 32nd in the franchise overall. Its head writer is Hanta Kinoshita, a novelist and manga writer making his tokusatsu debut with the series. Other key production staff members include producers Chihiro Inoue, Kei Mizutani and Taku Mochizuki, directors Takayuki Shibasaki, Jun Watanabe and Hiroshi Butsuda, with music by Kotaro Nakagawa.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Cogs

Lightning Collection Zeo Cogs 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: $41.99/£49.99

Every new Lightning Collection announcement is exciting to some degree, but it's always the villain reveals that prove to be the most exciting - after all, heroes always need some bad guys to fight right? With the trio of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers foot soldiers suitably covered, Hasbro are now moving on to Power Rangers Zeo and getting a little bit robotic with the release of the Lightning Collection Zeo Cogs! Following in the same vein as the Putty Patrollers two-pack release from last year, the Cogs come as part of a Hasbro Pulse exclusive two-pack featuring both the standard silver and red variants of the Machine Empire foot soldiers. Despite the set initially being billed for a November release, Hasbro have uncharacteristically decided to show UK Power Rangers fans some love with the set making a surprise release on the UK version of Pulse two months ahead of the US market.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Green Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Green Ranger 01

Release Date: March 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

The Power Rangers Lightning Collection draws one step closer to completing another team as the eighth wave in the main line of releases brings us the Lightning Collection Zeo Green Ranger. Following the destruction of both his power coin and the Command Centre, Adam Park calls on the power of the Zeo Crystal to become "stronger than before" and defend the planet from the new threat of the Machine Empire. Although Adam first debuted in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season two and stayed all the way through until the cast changeover in Power Rangers Turbo, Hasbro have chosen his appearance in Power Rangers Zeo for their first release of this fan favourite character.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Saber

Kamen Rider Saber

Ending your series at the height of a global pandemic is difficult enough, but successfully starting a new one at the same time is another obstacle entirely. But it seems the show must go on, and this is the challenge Toei faced as the Kamen Rider franchise marched on into its second Reiwa era series (and 31st overall) - Kamen Rider Saber. As well as featuring a sizeable cast of Riders, the production staff saw a few familiar faces return to the franchise. The series was written by Takuro Fukuda and produced by Kazuhiro Takahashi, both notable for being the chief writer and producer team behind Kamen Rider Ghost. Kamen Rider Saber ran for a total of 49 episodes, a count which not only included an epilogue previewing succeeding series Kamen Rider Revice but also a special crossover with Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Pink Ranger

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Pink Ranger 01

Release Date: December 2020
RRP: $24.99

Hasbro may have gotten the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team out of the door in the Lightning Collection pretty quickly, but if there's one thing Power Rangers fans know it's that it doesn't take very long for them to show up again. With numerous different versions from both the screen and comics to tap into, the original Power Rangers team will remain a staple part of the toy line for some time.  In fact Hasbro showed their hand last year with the announcement of the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Pink Ranger figure, kicking off a new variation of the team based on the metallic armour the rangers don in season three to battle against Master Vile's enhanced Tenga Warriors. This Hasbro Pulse exclusive release also the marks the first release of a Katherine 'Kat' Hillard version of the Pink Ranger, with her having taken over from Kimberly Hart at this point in the series.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki 01

Release Date: March 2021
RRP: 5500 yen

The titular hero of a new Kamen Rider series being released at a cheaper price point is standard practice for the S.H. Figuarts line now, and for big multi-Rider shows like Kamen Rider Saber a good tactic to get collectors interested in completing the whole set. Phase two of the plan is to immediately follow it up with another retail release Rider at the more usual cost, in this case S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki. The second Rider to appear in the series, Rintaro Shindo was born into the Sword of Logos – fighting to uphold the organisation's values as the Water Swordsman. When the manipulations of the current Master Logos were finally revealed, Rintaro regained his resolve to fight and joined Touma against the real enemy.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts SC-1 Sevenger

S.H. Figuarts SC-1 Sevenger 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: 7700 yen

Ultraman Z was a great series that brought us a brilliant new hero with plenty of cool alternate forms, as well as bringing back fan favourites like Zero, Geed and even Ace. But despite the amount of cool Ultraman action going on in the series arguably the real hero of Z wasn't a giant from the Land of Light, but rather a rather determined robot that was always doing its best. Right from the very first episode Sevenger melted the hearts of Ultraman fans across the world, and even though he was eventually phased out in favour of other robots its grand return in the finale was nothing short of glorious. Such was his popularity that S.H. Figuarts SC-1 Sevenger was pretty much inevitable, but what perhaps wasn't was this Tamashii web exclusive release completely selling out of preorders in a matter of days. And this was just one in many Ultraman Z web exclusives selling out, making the Ultraman Figuarts line more lucrative and desirable than ever.