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.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Belial Atrocious


Release Date: June 2017
RRP: 6480 yen

When S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Geed Primitive was released earlier this year, there was only one character Ultraman fans were waiting for. Well two to be precise, but the most important thing is that you can't have the son without the father. The second Ultraman Geed figure to be released in the line is none other than S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Belial Atrocious - the fallen Ultra's new Fusion Rise form harnessing the powers of the Dark Lugiel and Alien Empera along with the Alien Sturm abilities of Kei Fukuide. Rather predictably for a form that only appeared in the final episodes Belial Atrocious is a Tamashii web exclusive release, however with the absence of any other retail Geed releases after Primitive it's a little disappointing that Bandai Tamashii Nations have jumped straight into exclusives. Nevertheless, Belial himself has finally arrived on Earth and he's here to conquer!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Twin Tail


Release Date: June 2018 
RRP: 7560 yen

With S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Jack now on the market it's time for Bandai Tamashii Nations to continue their journey through The Return of Ultraman with some monsters! While this series might not have quite as many recognisable faces as Ultraman or Ultraseven do, the fourth instalment in the Ultra Series still has a fair few monsters and aliens just crying out for a figure. Bandai are kicking off right at the beginning of the series with episode 5 "Two Giant Monsters Attack Tokyo" and the release of S.H. Figuarts Twin Tail! A prehistoric monster reawakened in 1970s Japan, Twin Tail not only faces off against Ultraman Jack but its eternal rival and predator Gudon. The pair of kaiju have gone on to appear in a number of Ultra shows, with their rivalry particularly paid homage to in Ultraman Mebius.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Blood Stalk


Release Date: May 2018 
RRP: 5184 yen 

Every so often Bandai Tamashii Nations will make some baffling choices when it comes how they choose to release S.H. Figuarts, and more often than not these can be put down to how characters can be perceived at the very start of a series. In its early episodes Kamen Rider Build featured Night Rogue as its main villain so he subsequently gets a mainline release, followed by Blood Stalk arriving later as a Tamashii web exclusive. Fast-forward some episodes later, and the Night Rogue suit has all but vanished from the series and Stalk has been revealed as the true mastermind – with that suit hanging around far longer until its eventual upgrade/replacement. But the important thing here is that the wait for S.H. Figuarts Blood Stalk wasn't a long one, nor is it a typical one – with the figure also coming packaged with some rather nifty Tamashii Effects steam cloud effect parts.