Friday, 29 March 2019

Series REVIEW: Ultraman R/B

Ultraman R/B

With the Ultra Series having firmly established itself as an annual franchise once more, Tsuburaya Productions have finally been getting the traction they needed to go stand by side with its closest rivals once again. Merchandise revenue is on the up, and with both Tsuburaya's victories over Chaiyo in court and interest in bringing Ultraman to a global platform the state of the series is looking pretty great right now. The Ultraman New Generation continued in 2018 with Ultraman R/B – the 30th entry in the franchise overall and the last that will be produced during Japan's Heisei era. Sadly this is also the first series since Ultraman X to not be simulcast with English subtitles via Crunchyroll, with the relationship with the streaming service and Tsuburaya seemingly having come to an end for at least the time being.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Zero


Release Date: February 2019
RRP: 5940 yen

Ever since the Ultra Series was integrated into the S.H. Figuarts line back in 2016, Bandai Tamashii Nations' pattern of releases has been fairly predictable. Each year has progressed coverage of the classic shows one by one, and then in the last few years it's also split off the cover the newer Ultraman series as they're released – with both Ultraman X and (soon) Ultraman Ginga coming later to round off the "New Generation" Ultra releases. While there's no indication of when all the things in between the two will be covered, there's one key hero that was just too important to wait for. Appearing throughout the New Generation Ultra Series as well as having a key supporting role in Ultraman Geed, S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Zero has been released in his original form. This is actually the second release for the son of Ultraseven in the line, with Ultraman Zero Beyond having previously been released among the Geed range.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Magma


Release Date: January 2019
RRP: 6480 yen

Once upon a time the thought of a secondary Kamen Rider getting more figures than the lead character was unthinkable, but if the last two years have proved anything its that just because your name is the title of the series it doesn't mean your the most marketable character. Just as Bandai Tamashii Nations have produced more Kamen Rider Genm figures in the S.H. Figuarts line than they have Ex-Aid, it's Kamen Rider Cross-Z that seems to be enjoying the most releases from Kamen Rider Build. With the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Magma at the beginning of this year, all four of Ryuga Banjou's main in-series forms have been released in the line. Admittedly all of them with the exception of Cross-Z Charge have been Tamashii web exclusives, but since that's the way most things seem to get released these days that's still a pretty impressive track record.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

First Impressions: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger

If there's one thing Toei feel they can always rely on to save the Super Sentai franchise when it's in a pinch, it's dinosaurs. Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger was there to raise toy sales after Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters failed to meet expectations, and now after Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patranger struggled to leave a mark they're hoping that Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger will do the same. Ryusoulger will be the fourth series in the franchise to utilise a dinosaur motif, and the 43rd entry in the franchise overall. Ryusoul Black and Ryusoul Green previously made cameo appearances in the four part Super Sentai Strongest Battle special, which bridged the gap between this series and its predecessor.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Miniseries REVIEW: Super Sentai Strongest Battle


After running consecutively for over 40 years, it isn't all that surprising that the release pattern for Super Sentai has become fairly predictable by now. So when Toei do decide to do something that deviates from the norm, it feels like a pretty big deal. The first big shock of 2019 was from the news that Kaito Sentai Lupinranger vs. Keisatsu Sentai Patranger wouldn't immediately be followed with Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger, but rather a four part crossover special celebrating the legacy of Super Sentai. Super Sentai Strongest Battle (aka Super Sentai Saikyo Battle) brings together previous cast members in an all-out battle royale, as well as featuring the debut appearance of the fourth dinosaur Sentai team.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Todoroki


Release Date: January 2019
RRP: 7020 yen

Though it often feels sidelined due to its mid-series retooling or simply how different it feels to the other Heisei era Kamen Rider shows, it's nice to see Kamen Rider Hibiki getting the love it deserves as far as the S.H. Figuarts line is concerned. It's crazy to think that nearly five years have passed since Bandai Tamashii Nations released the titular Rider as part of the Shinkocchou Seihou line, but in their usual display of "better late than never" 2019 will be the year the show's core line up will be completed in figure form. Last summer saw the release of Kamen Rider Ibuki, and now Bandai are kicking off the new year with the release of S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Todoroki. As was the case with Ibuki this is another Tamashii web exclusive release, and as you can probably guess Kamen Rider Zanki will be following in similar fashion in the coming months.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: NECA Bride of Chucky Ultimate Chucky & Tiffany


Release Date: December 2018
RRP: $58.99

It's no secret that the Child's Play/Chucky series is my all-time favourite horror franchise, and while NECA's Ultimate Chucky figure from 2017 certainly scratched my itch for a good quality action figure, I was still left wanting more. Because as great as the original Child's Play films are, my all-time favourite instalment in the series is 1998's Bride of Chucky. It's completely trashy and its follow-up film is something that should never be spoken of again, but damn is it a fun movie. So I was ecstatic to hear that NECA would be continuing their popular toy line with a Bride of Chucky Ultimate Chucky & Tiffany 2-pack – bringing the Lakeshore Strangler's murder-fetish girlfriend into the fold alongside a new version of Chucky that reflects the major changes to his design brought about in the film.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

First Impressions: Power Rangers Beast Morphers

Power Rangers Beast Morphers

After shaking the Power Rangers fandom with the news last year that the franchise would be leaving the hands of both Saban and Bandai of America and joining the Hasbro family, the true dawn of the Hasbro Era is finally upon us. This fourth chapter in Power Rangers history kicks off with Power Rangers Beast Morphers, a show that becomes even more interesting when you consider the Super Sentai series it was adapted from. Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters was originally released all the way back in 2012, having previously been skipped over following the completion of Power Rangers Super Megaforce in favour of the supposedly more marketable Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (Power Rangers Dino Charge). But given that Go-Busters features transforming (in addition to combining) mecha as part of the teams arsenal, Beast Morphers seems like the perfect series for Hasbro to kick off their Power Rangers tenure.