Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Freyja Wion

Release Date: July 2017
RRP: 5940 yen

"Junbi wa iinka ne?"

After years of wishing, waiting and seeing prototypes that get release on show at various Tamashii Nations events, the idols of the Macross franchise are finally getting some love from the S.H. Figuarts line. After kicking the Walküre girls off with Mikumo Guynemer, Bandai are continuing the line with their second Macross Delta release – S.H. Figuarts Freyja Wion. The idol from Windermere and newest Walküre member is another retail release for the line, with the fates of Kaname, Makina and Reina still unknown. With their releases quite likely riding on the success of Mikumo and Freyja, these figures need to count if we ever want to see more Macross Figuarts in the future.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Custom Figure: TV21 Dalek Comics Menoid Master Mechanoid

The Menoid Master is the leader of the Mechanoids in the TV21 Dalek comic strips, which told the story of Dalek history and conquests in world outside of Doctor Who. Whereas the Mechanoids that appeared in The Chase were simply robots that were abandoned on the planet Mechanus, the Mechanoids of the comics were a different story. As the Daleks began their plans for conquest across the cosmos, the Mechanoids were among their earliest opposition – warning them to stay away from their territory. War was narrowly avoided thanks to the efforts of the Zerovians, but the Mechanoids were still wary of the Daleks and continued to consider them enemies.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Movie REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Returns: Give Me Your Life! Earth Champion Tournament

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Returns: Give Me Your Life! Earth Champion Tournament

It's amazing how fast time flies. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger's big 35th anniversary bash was a whole six years ago, which means now Super Sentai's 40th anniversary has now passed us as well. That said, Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger still has a few last hurrahs left in it - not just presumably from next year's vs. series movie but also their obligatory epilogue movie, Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Returns: Give Me Your Life! Earth Champion Tournament! When we last left the Zyuohgers quite a lot had changed for planet Earth, and we rejoin Yamato, Leo, Sela, Tusk, Amu and Misao as part of this brave new world.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Link Breath of the Wild Ver. DX Edition

 Release Date: July 2017
RRP: 4167 yen (Standard Edition), 5370 yen (DX Edition)

Continuing in their goal to seemingly make a new Link figure for every Legend of Zelda game going forwards, Good Smile Company are back again with Nendoroid Link: Breath of the Wild Ver. in both standard in DX Editions. While some are surely thinking “do we really need yet another Link figure?”, when it comes from one of the most popular Zelda games of all time and is based on a design that’s a significant departure from the usual one the answer is most definitely yes. Breath of the Wild Link is the third Link Nendoroid (following on from the Wind Waker and Majora’s Mask versions) and the sixth overall including the three Figma releases. It’s also the second to be released in 2017, coming only a few months after the release of Figma Link Twilight Princess Ver.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla GaoGaiGar Set 02

Release Date: June 2017
RRP: 3078 yen (3 boxes)

As anyone who's bought Bandai toys in the past can attest to, one is never enough. So when Super Mini-Pla GaoGaiGar was released earlier this year, it was inevitable that the model kit was going to be followed up with either upgrade parts of another robot from The King of Braves GaoGaiGar. Lo and behold a few short months later we have Super Mini-Pla GaoGaiGar Set 02, an upgrade set which includes GoldyMarg, Stealth Gao II and the Gatling Driver. With Super Mini-Pla GaoGaiGar now in possession of what's arguably his signature weapon, it's hammer time.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Anime REVIEW: One Punch Man

One Punch Man

Every so often there comes an anime series that you just can’t escape from even if you aren’t watching. In 2015, that series was undoubtedly One Punch Man. ONE’s webcomic turned manga turned anime series was a worldwide hit, prompting all sorts of discussion, images and debate about whether its hero could beat up Goku in a fight. With studio Madhouse now confirming that a second season will be arriving in 2018, now is the time for the uninitiated (i.e. myself) to catch up and experience one of the most talked-about shows of the past few years.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Series REVIEW: Ultra Q

Ultra Q

Back in 1966 before the days of Kamen Rider, Super Sentai or even Ultraman, there were still kaiju. Thanks to the success of the original Godzilla in 1955 and the subsequent films that followed, giant monster fever was about to hit an all-time high. While continuing his work on the Godzilla films with Toho studios, special effects legend Eiji Tsuburaya and his company Tsuburaya Productions teamed up with the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) to create Ultra Q, an episodic fantasy series pitched as Japan's answer to The Twilight Zone and The Outer LimitsUltra Q was the very first entry in the long-running Ultra Series, with the original Ultraman starting only two weeks after it's 28-episode run. The rest of course is history. 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange

Release date: June 2017
RRP: 6480 yen (Japanese Edition), $84.99/£99.99 (Western Edition)

Bandai Tamashii Nations' journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with the release of S.H. Figuarts Doctor Strange! Although coming quite a while after the release of the character's film debut last year, the figure does time nicely with the growing hype for Avengers: Infinity War next year when the character (as played by Benedict Cumberbatch) will interact with the rest of the MCU for the first time. As well as releasing as a Tamashii web exclusive in Japan, Doctor Strange was released officially in the West as part of an exclusive set which also includes a number of flame effect parts.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Mikumo Guynemer

Release Date: June 2017 
RRP: 5940 yen 

Bandai Tamashii Nations have given the Macross franchise a lot of love in the past few years, but in the usual fashion that love is usually reserved for the various Valkyries and other mecha that feature in the show rather than the characters themselves. However that's all about to change, as poseable Macross figures finally become a reality with the release of S.H. Figuarts Mikumo Guynemer. The first of the five Walküre girls to appear in the line, the "Mysterious Venus" of Macross Delta was a mass release figure - with Freyja Wion following suit in July. While there's still no word on the release of Kaname, Makina and Reina, prototypes at the very least have been produced so hopefully one day the group will be complete. But for now, it's time to see what the Kumo-Kumo has to offer.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts King Joe

Release Date: June 2017 
RRP: 7560 yen 

Ever since the Ultra Series found its new home with S.H. Figuarts the line has gone from strength to strength, limited not only to the Ultramen themselves but also aliens, kaiju and even an alternate version of the original Ultraman suit. This year marked the line’s jump to Ultraseven, with Bandai Tamashii Nations’ third release from the show adding another staple opponent to the ever-growing line-up of Ultraman creatures. To Ultra fans King Joe needs no introduction, originally making its debut in episodes 14 and 15 of Ultraseven before going on to reappear (albeit sometimes in different colours) in Ultraman Max, Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle, Ultra Galaxy Legend, Ultraman Ginga S, Ultraman X and more.

Monday, 24 July 2017

First Impressions: The Reflection

The Reflection
The Reflection is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

Surely the combination of Stan Lee, Studio DEEN and director Hiroshi Nagahama (Mushishi, Detroit Metal City) is a recipe for success right? This summer anime fans will find out with the release of The Reflection, a new collaborative effort between Studio Deen and Lee’s own Pow! Entertainment. This isn’t the first time Stan Lee has dived into the world of anime, but with an increase in superhero shows thanks to the success of Tiger & Bunny, One-Punch Man and My Hero Academia the competition is pretty stiff these days.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Anime REVIEW: Atom: The Beginning

Atom: The Beginning
Atom: The Beginning is available in streaming form via HIDIVE

Astro Boy is a name synonymous with manga and anime. Even if you’ve never read a single chapter, watched a single episode of the various iterations spawned over the years or even heard of its legendary creator Osamu Tezuka odds are that the seminal series has influenced your favourite shows in some way. Since 2014 his son Makoto Tezuka has collaborated with Tetsuro Kashara and Masami Yuki on Atom: The Beginning – a prequel manga which tells of a time before the creation of Mighty Atom (aka Astro Boy). In 2017 the title was adapted into a 12-episode anime series, created in collaboration between studios OLM, Inc., Studio I.G. and Signal.MD.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Toybox REVIEW S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Accel

Release Date: June 2017
RRP: 6480 yen

Last year the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou line made its first foray into villains and secondary Riders with the release of N Daguva Zeba and Kamen Rider Gatack, but as expected both figures came as Tamashii Web exclusive releases. However with S.H. Figuarts premium offshoot now covering the immensely popular Kamen Rider W, Bandai Tamashii Nations are shaking things up a bit. S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Accel is the first secondary Rider in the line to be released at retail, with Kamen Rider Skull arriving later in August as its first movie Rider.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Zelda Twilight Princess Ver.

Release Date: May 2017
RRP: 5556 yen

Figma Twilight Princess Link is a fantastic figure, but there are sure to be collectors out there rolling their eyes at the prospect of another Link variant. And understandably so – in five years of Legend of Zelda toys from Good Smile Company we’ve had five different Links across two toy lines (three Figma and two Nendoroids) but only one Zelda Nendoroid. However the wait is finally over, as Princess Zelda has finally joined the Figma line as she appears in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. This release has been a long time coming, and finally offers Figma/Zelda fans something other than Link as well as another entry in GSC’s growing Nintendo range.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Link Twilight Princess Ver. DX Edition

Release Date: May 2017
RRP: 5093 yen (Standard Edition), 6000 yen (DX Edition)

Between the two Figma and two Nendoroid figures released over past five years, it’s fair to say that Good Smile Company know that a Legend of Zelda Link figure will usually go down pretty well. So it’s no surprise to see that 2017 will see a new variant in both lines, with Figma opting for a Twilight Princess version spurred on by the game’s HD remake last year. Much like the A Link Between Worlds version this Link also comes in standard and DX editions, however unlike before this DX Edition isn’t limited to just the GSC and partner stores. On top of that it also released the same month as the long-awaited Figma Princess Zelda, making May 2017 a particularly special month for Zelda fans.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

First Impressions: Ultraman Geed

Ultraman Geed
Ultraman Geed is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

The last few years have seen a big return to form for Tsuburaya Productions and the Ultra Series, and with the help of Crunchyroll's simulcasting across the globe the success of both Ultraman X and Ultraman Orb were more far-reaching than ever. Now Tsuburaya are pushing forwards with another instalment in the long-running franchise - the hotly anticipated Ultraman Geed. As well as introducing a brand new Ultra hero, this series continues the struggle between Ultraman Zero and his nemesis Ultraman Belial previously seen through Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends The MovieUltraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial and Ultra Zero Fight.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Amazons (Season Two)

Kamen Rider Amazons Season 2

There are two reasons why a second season of Kamen Rider Amazons was inevitable. Obviously the popularity of the Amazon Prime-exclusive spin-off (which later even received an edited television run) was a factor, but more importantly there was no way that Toei were going name each episode beginning with a different letter of the alphabet and then just stop at 13. So yes, Amazons is back for another 13 episodes of downbeat, colour-filtered gore and savagery – kicking things off with a hefty time skip, new protagonists and a few other surprises as well.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Series REVIEW: Power Rangers Dino Force Brave

When an image of the Kyoryugers in slightly altered suits turned up online last year no one quite knew what it was. Some thought V-cinema, others thought it might be part of the next Super Hero Taisen release and some simply brushed it off as a high quality cosplay shoot. What no one expected though was it to be a sequel the 37th Super Sentai series, spurred on by the success of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger in South Korea (where it was released as Power Rangers Dino Force). Produced by Sentai’s Korean distributor Daewon Media (who despite the Power Rangers banner have no affiliation with Saban) and filmed in collaboration with Toei, Power Rangers Dino Force Brave is a 12-episode series featuring an all-new cast and modified mecha designs. The series was also released in Japan under the name Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger Brave, with Shigeru Chiba, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Haruka Tomatsu and Ai Orikasa returning to reprise their roles as the narrator, Torin, Canderrilla and Luckyulo respectively.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

First Impressions: Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ

Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ

It’s that time again as everyone’s favourite group of armour wearing, weapon-wielding singing girls are back again for a fourth season. That’s right – Senki Zesshō Symphogear has returned! With each previous season having continually refined the formula and constantly upped the ante in terms of action and spectacle, Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ should hopefully suggest big things and comes on the back of plenty of fan anticipation. The anime and music franchise from Satelight and Encourage Films has built a firm following over the past five years, elevating it from a show that could have very easily been a one-time thing into something to always look forward to.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x12 - The Doctor Falls

Doctor Who 10x12 - The Doctor Falls

After 12 (mostly) fantastic weeks, but the time has finally come for Doctor Who series 10 to come to an end. Along with that comes goodbye to Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, Michelle Gomez as Missy, Steven Moffat as showrunner and quite likely Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas as Bill Potts and Nardole too. Well, this is true for some of those anyway as we already know Capaldi and Moffat will both be returning for the Christmas special before handing the reins over to new showrunner Chris Chibnall and the currently unknown new Doctor. But regardless regeneration is in the air, and following the sheer horror of World and Time Enough there's two Masters, a newly born army of Cybermen and Bill's transformation into a Cybermen to deal with as The Doctor Falls...

Friday, 30 June 2017

Anime REVIEW: Little Witch Academia (Series)

Little Witch Academia
Little Witch Academia’s first 13 episodes are currently available via Netflix. The remaining 12 episodes are set to follow later this year.

The rise of Little Witch Academia has been one of anime’s great success stories from the past few years. Beginning as a short film produced by the then-new studio Trigger for the 2013 Young Animator Training Project for Anime Mirai, its popularity led to sequel film The Enchanted Parade – where a Kickstarter to extend its running time was funded in a mere six hours. Both OVAs have since been added to Netflix worldwide, and arguably stand as one of the site’s flagship anime offerings. Now four years since its debut Little Witch Academia has returned once again, this time as a full 25-episode television series. Creator Yoh Yoshinari returns once again as director, joining forces once again with Enchanted Parade writer Michiru Shimada.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Alien Mefilas

Release Date: May 2017
RRP: 6480 yen

Ultraman has enjoyed a successful range of retail S.H. Figuarts releases so far, but with the line now also moving onto Ultraseven it was inevitable some would eventually be Tamashii web exclusives. The previously released Alien Baltan 3-pack was an obvious choice from the very beginning, but now the line moves into new moulds and monsters with S.H. Figuarts Alien Mefilas. Making his first appearance in episode 33 of the series (The Forbidden Words) and recently appearing in Ultraman Orb as the Planet Invasion Union leader Don Nostra, Mefilas is the fourth alien/kaiju to be released in the Ultra Series Figuarts range.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x11 - World Enough and Time

Doctor Who 10x11 - World Enough and Time

It's been a fun ten weeks, but now the end is finally approaching. It's time to begin bidding farewell to Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, Michelle Gomez as Missy, Steven Moffat as showrunner and potentially Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts too. As Doctor Who series 10 draws to a close we begin the two-part finale with World Enough and Time - written by Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay, who previously directed the two-part finales for both series eight and nine. As well as bringing back the original Mondasian Cybermen to screens, World Enough and Time also features the much-publicised return of John Simm as the Master, making this the first multi-Master story put to screen.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legends LG-42 Godbomber

Release Date: May 2017
RRP: 7560 yen

When TakaraTomy revealed that their version of Titans Return Powermaster Optimus Prime would be heavily remoulded to match the original toy and released as Super Ginrai, Transformers fans immediately speculated that a Godbomber wouldn’t be too far behind. They were of course correct, and now the originally Japanese-exclusive Super God Masterforce character (who was eventually released in the West as “Apex Bomber”) has returned with full compatibility with Super Ginrai to form God Ginrai. Transformers Legends LG-42 Godbomber is current only available through the Legends line, with an American release still unconfirmed even though the Super Ginrai mould is being brought over as “Magnus Prime”.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Anime REVIEW: Attack on Titan Season 2

Attack on Titan Season 2
Attack on Titan season 2 is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

Back in 2013 you couldn’t get away from Attack on Titan. Studio Wit’s adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s manga series about humanity fighting back the onslaught of grotesque giants seemed to be one of those shows that surpassed the popularity of your average anime series. But without a second season in clear sight even two live action films, two compilation films and a comedy spin-off couldn’t stop the franchise from falling into a state of limbo. However four years later and the series is finally back, as Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi and the rest of the Survey Corps return for a further 12 episodes of Titan-slaying action.

(This review contains spoilers regarding character identities. You have been warned!)

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x10 - The Eaters of Light

Doctor Who 10x10 - The Eaters of Light

Doctor Who has never been one to shy away from a real-life mystery. After all, anyone who's seen The Chase will know that the crew of the Mary Celeste disappeared after the Daleks landed on it while chasing the Doctor through time and space. So this week it's tackling the real fate of the Ninth Roman Legion, which mysteriously disappeared and is thought to have been defeated by Celtic tribes in the north of Britain. The Eaters of Light is also a particularly notable episode because of it's writer Rona Munro - the first person to write for both the modern and classic iterations of the show, having previously written the show's "final" episode Survival in 1986.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Gavan Type-G Space Squad Ver.

Release Date: May 2017
RRP: 6480 yen

Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, but on occasion I’ve looked back at some of my older reviews and been too generous in the past. The original S.H. Figuarts Gavan was definitely one of those times, as I originally failed to truly highlight the off proportions and incredibly flimsy wrist joints which broke shortly after publishing the review. However four years later it seems Tamashii Nations also felt they could do the original Space Sheriff better too, releasing a brand new S.H. Figuarts Gavan Type-G ahead of the release of the Gavan/Dekaranger crossover movie Space Squad. This Gavan will also be followed up later this month with an updated version of the original, coming as part of a web exclusive 2-pack with the Saibarian. Like all Metal Heroes Figuarts thus far, both are Tamashii web exclusive releases.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x09 - Empress of Mars

Doctor Who 10x09 - Empress of Mars

The most highly anticipated Doctor Who episodes are usually the ones that feature the return of classic monsters, so it shouldn’t be any surprise to hear that Empress of Mars was particularly high up on series 10’s most hotly tipped offerings. After making their long-awaited modern debut in 2013’s Cold War, Mark Gatiss brings the Ice Warriors back on their home soil as well as making a brand new addition to the Martian hierarchy.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Uchu Sentai Kyuranger Minipla RyuTeiOh

Release Date: May 2017 
RRP: 1890 yen (1 complete figure, 5 boxes), 3780 yen (Full case: 2 complete figures, 10 boxes) 

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger may have started as a series that teased nine legendary heroes taking back the galaxy, but it only took the series a mere nine episodes to throw that number aside. With the introduction of Ryu Commander and then Koguma SkyBlue the follow episode, Kyuranger now boasts an impressive total of eleven rangers with more still to come in the future. But in the meantime new rangers means new mecha, with the third wave of Bandai’s candy toy minipla model kits introducing RyuTeiOh into the mix. This set contains a total of five different boxes – three for the Ryu Voyager and then one each for the Koguma and Sasori Voyagers.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Alien Metron

Release Date: April 2017
RRP: 5940 yen

While the release of the Ultra heroes themselves may be coming at a slow and steady pace, the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts line has been filling out rather nicely with range of aliens and kaiju on offer. The original series has already seen Baltan and Zetton released with Mefilas and Gomora still to follow, and now 2017 continues its venture in Ultraseven with S.H. Figuarts Alien Metron. The second retail release from the series, Metron’s initial announcement was timed well with the race’s appearance in Ultraman Orb and now its release comes just ahead of Kaiju Club – the Ultraseven “making of” drama series where Metron is already looking to play a regular part.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x08 - The Lie of the Land

Doctor Who 10x08 - The Lie of the Land

With Bill having bargained with the Monks for the Doctor's sight at the end of The Pyramid at the End of the World, Earth is now theirs for the taking as the Monks Trilogy reaches its thrilling conclusion in The Lie of the Land. This part of the story takes on a new writer yet again, having been penned by Toby Whithouse in his first (and only) series ten episode. He's certainly no stranger to Doctor Who though, with the likes of School Reunion, The Vampires of Venice, The God Complex, A Town Called Mercy and Under the Lake/Before the Flood among his writing credits.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Daizyujin

Release Date: March 2017 
RRP: 4968 yen 

Not content in being confined to the realms of classic mecha anime, Bandai’s Super Mini-Pla line has now branched into the world of tokusatsu and Super Sentai with Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger’s Daizyujin – perhaps better known around the world as the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Megazord. Conveniently timed alongside the release of Tamashii NationsSoul of Chogokin version, this candy toy model kit offers fans a smaller, cheaper alternative that is both still fully transformable and articulated. As with previous Super Mini-Pla releases, one case holds one whole figure so that collectors can pick up the whole with ease and without ending up with any duplicates on their hands.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Toybox REVIEW: DC Collectibles Batman The Mask of the Phantasm Set

Release Date: January 2016 
RRP: £39.99/$39.99

If there’s one thing DC Collectibles’ range of Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures figures can’t be faulted for, it’s scope. Although the line has suffered severely from QC issues, delays and most recently an insistence on releasing over-priced sets, the line has done a good job of covering these two landmark series – not only featuring the obvious characters but also welcome surprises like Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Firefly or Talia Al Ghul. In 1993 Batman: The Animated Series spawned The Mask of the Phantasm – a feature-length film that’s not only earned cult status but widely considered among the best animated films ever. So of course DC Collectibles were going to mark this entry in the line somewhere, releasing a special two-pack including both Batman and Phantasm figures.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x07 - The Pyramid at the End of the World

Doctor Who 10x07 - The Pyramid at the End of the World

After receiving a warning from his virtual self in last week's Extremis, the Doctor must now prepare for the incoming monks invasion in the real world - all while still keeping his blindness a secret from companion Bill. The Pyramid at the End of the World is the second part of series 10's "Monk's Trilogy", co-written by Steven Moffat and Peter Harness. This is the fourth story Harness has penned for Doctor Who, following on from series eight's Kill the Moon and series nine's Zygon two-partner The Zygon Invasion and The Zygon Inversion (the latter of which was also co-written with Moffat).

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legend Riders

Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legend Riders

Kamen Rider is a franchise where the weird and wonderful is commonplace, but when Toei revealed that Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and Kamen Rider Ghost would be facing off against Pac-Man in their annual crossover movie it was clear this was going to be something really special. Ex-Aid is a video game-themed series after all, so they’d be fools to make use of their links to Bandai Namco properties! Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legend Riders is a 45th anniversary Kamen Rider project, dropping the usual “Movie Wars” title but falling under the same banner as those films. As well as reuniting Ex-Aid and Ghost following the latter’s final episode, the film also features Kamen Riders Drive, Wizard and Gaim to celebrate the last five years of Kamen Rider history.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Movie REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger vs Ninninger: Message from the Future from Super Sentai

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger vs Ninninger: Message from the Future from Super Sentai

Due to the precedent set by Gaoranger, Boukenger and Gokaiger’s anniversary celebrations, there was the expectation that Doubutsu Sentai Zyohger might celebrate Super Sentai’s 40th anniversary with a special “Vs Super Sentai” movie – featuring guest stars from all across the franchise’s long history. However much like the show itself Toei instead seemed to opt for a more subdued celebration, continuing the standard line of versus series movies with Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger vs Ninninger: Message from the Future from Super Sentai. As well as featuring the return of preceding team Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, this movie also features the first appearance of the Uchu Sentai Kyuranger.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x06 - Extremis

Doctor Who 10x06 - Extremis
Note: Extremis is an episode almost impossible to review without discussing spoilers, so this review will be particularly spoiler-laden. You have been warned!

Last week’s episode Oxygen raised the stakes pretty significantly when not only was the Doctor left blinded during his adventure aboard a deep-space mining system, but the TARDIS medical systems were also subsequently unable to cure him. Now not only is the Doctor left vulnerable, but he’s also determined to keep his condition a secret from Bill. Blindness won’t slow down though, and it’s business as usual in Steven Moffatt’s Extremis – the first episode in a loosely connected “Monks Trilogy”.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraseven

Release Date: March 2017
RRP: 5940 yen

2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Ultra Q and 2016 that of Ultraman,   which means 2017 marks the same milestone for the third (and arguably more popular) instalment in the Ultra SeriesUltraseven. Although technically his birthday isn’t until October, Bandai Tamashii Nations have timed their release of S.H. Figuarts Ultraseven perfectly, moving forwards with their new range of Ultraman figures while the Ultra-Act line slowly becomes a distant memory. This line/scale change has already proven to be polarising among collectors, so can Ultraseven help prove that S.H. Figuarts is a good home for the franchise?

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Uchu Sentai Kyuranger Minipla KyurenOh Set 02

Release Date: March 2017 
RRP: 2268 yen (1 complete figure, 6 boxes), 4536 yen (Full case: 2 complete figures, 12 boxes) 

The first Uchu Sentai Kyuranger set got this year’s Super Sentai minipla line off to an amazing start, but with only five of the nine main Voyager mecha represented in the set Bandai almost immediately followed it up with a second KyurenOh set. As the core component of the Kyuranger mecha this wave includes a re-release of Red’s Shishi Voyager, along with the Sasori, Tenbin, Hebitsukai and Washi Voyagers of the remaining four Kyurangers – Sasori Orange, Tenbin Gold, Hebituskai Silver and Washi Pink.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x05 - Oxygen

Doctor Who 10x05 - Oxygen

If there’s been one thing wrong with series ten of Doctor Who so far it’s that there’s been a distinct lack of Nardole. Matt Lucas’ character from The Husbands of River Song becoming a series regular came as a surprise, but since then the mystery surrounding him has only heightened as we discovered he was tasked with keeping the Doctor grounded on Earth. Thankfully this time he’s joining the Doctor and Bill on their latest adventure, in the series’ fifth episode – Oxygen. This episode was written by new fan-favourite Jamie Mathieson, who previously penned Mummy on the Orient Express and the excellent Flatline as well as co-writing The Girl Who Died with Steven Moffat.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Movie REVIEW: GARO: Divine Flame

GARO: Divine Flame

While the GARO franchise has grown exponentially in the last few years, the anime side of things seems to have been met to a more mixed reception than the tokusatsu elements. The Carved Seal of Flames (released in the West simply as GARO: The Animation) got off to a slow start but eventually developed into a very strong series, however the second instalment - The Crimson Moon, failed to match its the worst of its predecessor even when it was at its best. However following the conclusion of Crimson Moon the cast of the original series returned once more in GARO: Divine Flame - a feature film once again animated by studio MAPPA and released as part of the franchise's 10th anniversary celebrations.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Myethos 1/8 Scale Nia Teppelin Wedding Dress Ver.

Release Date: March 2017
RRP: 11,800 yen

As a figure collector I’ve fallen victim to many different rabbit holes in the past – Transformers, Figma, S.H. Figuarts to name a few. But scale figures is one thing I’ve avoided for the longest time, not just due to their lack of articulation but also the price and space they command. However when Hong Kong-based company Myethos announced they would finally be releasing a 1/8 scale Gurren Lagann Nia Teppelin Wedding Dress Ver. figure (seen for many years as a garage kit at various conventions) as a mass release item, an exception had to be made. What better way to celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary than with a high-end figure of my favourite character? I may have been celebrating, but my bank account sure wasn’t.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x04 - Knock Knock

Doctor Who 10x04 - Knock Knock

After a trip to the future and a quick jaunt to the past, it's now time for Doctor Who to do the other thing that it's managed so well at in the past - good old fashioned present day horror. The fourth episode in series 10 of the modern era is Knock Knock - written by series newcomer Mike Bartlett and guest starring the legendary David Suchet, perhaps most famously known for his role as Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie's Poirot. Following the episode's original airing a special "surround sound" edition was also released by the BBC, giving the viewer even more immersion into it's creaky wooden house setting.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Snipe Shooting Gamer Level 2

Release Date: March 2017 (3-pack), April 2017 (Individual) 
RRP: 15,768 yen (3-pack), 5184 yen (Individual) 

Joining Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and Kamen Rider Brave as the final figure in the S.H. Figuarts Mighty Action X Beginning Set is Kamen Rider Snipe Shooting Gamer Level 2 – aka genius radiologist Taiga Hanaya. After losing his medical license after failing to save a patient, Taiga initially battled against the Bugsters alone – collecting Gashats along the way as he believes as the only one with nothing to lose, he should be the only one to fight. As well as being part of this special Kamen Rider Ex-Aid 3-pack, Snipe also received an individual release shortly after the set’s initial release. Interestingly this figure’s individual price is slightly higher than that of Ex-Aid or Brave’s, possibly due to the cape driving the cost up.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Brave Fantasy Gamer Level 2

Release Date: March 2017 (3-pack), April 2017 (Individual) 
RRP: 15,768 yen (3-pack), 5184 yen (Individual)

Part two of this S.H. Figuarts Mighty Action X Beginning Set review continues with genius surgeon Hiiro Kagami – aka Kamen Rider Brave Fantasy Gamer Level 2! Using the Taddle Quest Gashat, Hiro fights as part of CR to help contain the Bugster outbreak – working alongside Emu Hojo/Kamen Rider Ex-Aid (albeit begrudgingly at first) as well as sharing a heated rivalry with Taiga Hanaya/Kamen Rider Snipe following the events of Zero Day. Like both Ex-Aid and Snipe, Bandai Tamashii Nations initially released Kamen Rider Brave as part of this special mass release 3-pack before an individual release the following month.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Action Gamer Level 2

Release Date: March 2017 (3-pack), April 2017 (Individual)
RRP: 15,768 yen (3-pack), 5184 yen (Individual)

Bandai Tamashii Nations have made some rather unexpected decisions with the mainline Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts lately. Not only was there a surprising lack of Kamen Rider Ghost figures, but seemingly obvious mass releases like Kamen Rider Drive Type Trideron ended up as web exclusives. When it came to announcing Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Figuarts Tamashii Nations had even more surprises up their sleeve, revealing that Kamen Riders Ex-Aid, Brave and Snipe would initially be released as a 3-pack set going by the name of the S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Action X Beginning Set. Those not interested in buying all three need not panic though, as individual releases were announced to be following shortly afterwards. 

This overall review of the set begins with the title character of the 18th Heisei Era Kamen Rider series (27th overall) – S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Action Gamer Level 2.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who 10x03 - Thin Ice

Watch Doctor Who for long enough and you'll inevitably start to see patterns forming, but even then this current season definitely feels like a throwback to when the show first returned back in 2005. Not only is Bill Potts probably the closest proxy there's been to Rose Tyler since her departure, but now her experiences with the Doctor are pretty similar so far as well. After their initial meeting on present day Earth, both were flung off to the far future before returning to Victorian England for their third adventure. Thin Ice (not to be confused with the Big Finish audio story of the same name) was written by Sarah Dollard, who made her Doctor Who debut last series with Face the Raven.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Toybox REVIEW: 52TOYS Beast Box BB-01 D10 (Police Colour & Neon Blue Versions)

Release Date: March 2017 (Japanese release)
RRP: 1512 yen

Although there may only be two different characters in 52TOYS Beast Box line thus far, that hasn’t stopped the Beijing-based company from maximising their product with the one thing every transforming toy embraces – repaints! In addition to their BB-01 D10 and BB-02 Ghost Dog releases, 52TOYS have also released Police Colour and Neon Blue variants of mascot character D10 – bringing this first wave of Beast Box toys up to the healthy number of four. By the looks of it a few other colourations have been released in China as well, but these were the ones deemed worthy enough to be included in line’s long-awaited wider distribution.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Masterpiece MP-36 Megatron

Release Date: March 2017
RRP: 24,840 yen

It’s been a long time since TakaraTomy released the original Transformers Masterpiece MP-05 Megatron way back in 2007. In that time the line has gone through quite a few changes – a new scale, a closer adherence to cartoon accuracy and a dive into the worlds of Beast Wars and Japanese-exclusive G1 characters. With Optimus Prime having been redone in this new scale way back as MP-10 in 2011, it was high time that the leader of the Decepticons had the same treatment. There may have been a number of third-party “Masterpiece” style figures over the past few years – Xtransbots’ Apollyon, DX-9’s Mightron, Maketoys’ Despotron (all of which I won’t pretend to know anything about because I’m not a third-party person), but the MP-36 Megatron is the real deal. An official, cartoon-accurate, transforming G1 Megatron. That’s the stuff that dreams are made out of.