Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mark 45

Unlike the rest of Marvel's Avengers, Bandai Tamashii Nations are no strangers to Iron Man figures. In fact the character has been a pretty integral part of the S.H. Figuarts line since his first figure back in May 2013, prompting a number of different releases from both Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 - as well as a special black and gold release of the Mark 6 armour for the Tamashii Nations exhibition in the same year. Despite skipping over the first Avengers film Bandai have the character back in full force for Age of Ultron, joined by his main team mates for the very first time. While technically the Mark 43 armour was the first release from the film, as a repaint of Iron Man 3's Mark 42 it perhaps wasn't quite as notable as what followed. The Mark 45 on the other hand is a different story - a brand new mould and the latest addition in Tony Stark's ever growing hall of armours.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


It's been a pretty big summer for Power Rangers Dino Charge. As well as returning from a lengthy hiatus on US television, the latest instalment in the Power Rangers franchise has finally hit the UK in full force - currently airing POP, which is also currently the home of many other iterations of the show. The series has received a pretty big amount of promotion over here, with the rangers appearing at the London MCM Comic Con in May before going on tour across the country over the summer. It's fantastic to see a Power Rangers series gathering this much hype again, especially one that's as good as Dino Charge. You won't be seeing a full series review on this blog for a while yet, but believe me when I say it's well worth checking out.

But the big question is how are the toys? Thanks to the great team over at Bandai UK, this extra special post is going to answer that question! I was shocked to find this parcel waiting for me when I got home yesterday evening, and even more shocked at what I found inside. Curious? Keep reading and get ready to be charged up!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Reviews in Time & Space: The Witch's Familiar

The Witch's Familiar

Last week saw the premiere of Doctor Who's ninth season (or series, whichever you prefer to use) and boy did it start with a bang. After revealing the surprise return of a dying Davros, The Magician's Apprentice ended with the Doctor witnessing both Clara and Missy being exterminated by Daleks before the TARDIS is destroyed. In the very last scene, the Doctor returns to where he met Davros as a child and pointed a Dalek gun at him, claiming he is going to "save his friends in the only way he can". It was a pretty incredible first episode and has set the bar pretty high for it's second part, cleverly titled The Witch's Familiar. Odd sounding titles for Davros/Daleks may be, but pretty clever (at least in name anyway) when you realise what they are referring to.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Anime REVIEW: School-Live!


School-Live! is quite possibly the hardest review I've written so far. The fact that so much of my initial enjoyment of the series stemmed from going in there completely blind makes me hesitant to want to talk about it, as I genuinely believe the best way to experience the show is in exactly the same way. So if you've never heard of this 12-episode series (also commonly by it's Japanese name, Gakkō Gurashi!) from Nitroplus writer Norimitsu Kaihō and illustrator Sadoru Chiba, I advise you stop reading right now and go check it out before reading on. I'm quite happy to turn the concept of a review upside down and say in the very introduction that it's one of the best shows I've watched in years. However if you're already familiar with this manga-turned-anime and are just interested in my thoughts - please continue on...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Series REVIEW: Garo: Gold Storm -Sho-

Garo Gold Storm -Sho-

As the Garo franchise has continue to grow and now expanded into both tokusatsu and animated formats, fans have been treated to multiple different timelines each with their own unique Golden Knight.  While 2015 will begin and end with two different chapters of the Garo anime, the middle has been dominated by the return of the franchise's first divergence into a new continuity. Making their return from The One Who Shines in the Darkness are Ryuga Dougai and Makai Priest Rian in a new film and series project that go by the names of Gold Storm and Gold Storm -Sho- respectively. Garo creator Keita Amemiya is also involved in this newest project, marking it as his first series that doesn't involve one of the Saejima clan.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Reviews in Time & Space: The Magician's Apprentice

Doctor Who 09x01 - The Magician's Apprentice

Doctor Who is back for it's ninth modern-era season, and I don't think you could boast a much bigger premiere than The Magician's Apprentice. As if seeing the Doctor and Clara again after a year wasn't enough, this episode also marks the return of the Master (still under the guise of Missy, played by the ever wonderful Michelle Gomez), the Daleks and even a few other surprises. In the age of the internet where it's so hard to be surprised by anything, some of the best episodes of Doctor Who always turn out to be the ones where they've managed to keep something big under wraps. So if you haven't seen the episode yet, be sure to stop reading about it and go check it out as soon as possible. If you have seen it however, read on in the first of what should hopefully be another great year of weekly episode reviews.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 5.5" Scale Twelfth Doctor

To say that I’m not a fan of the current 3.75” Doctor Who figures would be flogging a dead horse at this point. I’ve bought a few and been pleasantly surprised by most of the Daleks, but I among many others long for the days when the 5.5” figures rule the roost again. This was the scale that produced some of the finest Doctor Who action figures ever, and sadly the sculpts of the smaller figures just don’t measure up. But while Character Options seem more preoccupied with the show’s younger audience, American distributor Underground Toys are tackling the collectors end of things. Over the past few years they’ve sprinkled a few great releases here and there (such as the War Doctor figure and Time of the Doctor 11th Doctor), but at long last comes their properly attired Twelfth Doctor 5.5” figure. Although this figure was originally slated for release in October, it was brought forward a month – coming just before Peter Capaldi returns to screens for the premiere of series nine. Perfect timing.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Anime REVIEW: Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade

Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade

One should never underestimate the power (or the wallets) of anime fans. When studio Trigger announced that they would be producing a follow-up to their extremely well received Anime Mirai 2013 short Little Witch Academia, fans rejoiced. However when they also announced that they would be launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to bring the sequel's run time up to 50 minutes, that's when things got interesting. Not only did the campaign meet its $150,000 goal in a mere five hours, but it also met it's $500,000 stretch goal to have a 'making of' documentary and audio commentary produced for the eventual Blu-ray release - finishing on a grand total of $625,518. Co-distributed with Good Smile Company and making its premiere at Anime Expo 2015, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade is arguably anime's biggest venture into crowdfunding yet.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Satsuki Kiryuin

When Kill la Kill first began to air in Japan I thought the one thing I could count on was for Figma to milk it to death. I wasn't necessarily expecting a wide range of characters, but at least two versions of both Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin along with a standard version of Mako Mankanshoku. But while Good Smile Company have arguably gotten their mileage out of the series with various scale statues and Nendoroid figures, Max Factory haven't done nearly as much as I was expecting. Ryuko was released in September 2014, and now a whole year later Satsuki in full kamui Junketsu battle mode is joining her as the second figure from the series. So while getting any more figures isn't really looking likely now, it's good to see that Ryuko still has a sparring partner this long after the series is over and done with.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Marika Peach Energy Arms

If their Kamen Rider Ryuki figures proved anything, Bandai Tamashii Nations are pretty good at providing fans with the main cast of a large Rider series. Of course fans will argue there are a few variants (and Contract Monsters) missing here and there and popularity also had a lot to do with it, but nevertheless you can’t argue with the results. Now it looks like Kamen Rider Gaim is going the same way, with the line ready to largely round off the main show cast by the end of the year as Tamashii web exclusives. August 2015’s offering is particularly special as it was the only female Rider of the show (Gaim Gaiden notwithstanding) – Kamen Rider Marika Peach Energy Arms. Don’t let the pink suit fool you – Yoko Minato is a hardened fighter quite unlike many of the other female Riders that have previously graced the show. The fact her actress Minami Tsukui also did most of her own stunts (in suit AND out) is just an added bonus.