Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Reviews in Space & Time: Doctor Who 12x09 - Ascension of the Cybermen

Doctor Who 12x09 - Ascension of the Cybermen

The end is almost upon us, and in the finale of Doctor Who series 12 the 13th Doctor must once again battle against an enemy that's taken so much from her in the past - the Cybermen. Following on from the surprise appearance of the lone Cyberman in The Haunting of Villa Diodati, the race towards the end continues in Ascension of the Cybermen - written by show runner Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Magnus Stone. Interestingly Ascension is also the fourth two-part finale in modern Doctor Who to feature the Cybermen, following on from Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, Death in Heaven/Dark Water and of course World Enough and Time/The Doctor Falls. But despite now having more finale appearances than even the Daleks, many have said that the Cybermen lost their lustre a long time ago. Could this be the episode that finally brings it back?

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Zangetsu Kachidoki Arms

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Zangetsu Kachidoki Arms 01

Release Date: December 2019
RRP: 6480 yen

Getting a Kamen Rider Zangetsu stage play five years after Kamen Rider Gaim's final V-cinema release was surprise enough, but for it to also debut a brand new form that received an official S.H. Figuarts release just goes to show that Kamen Rider really wasn't messing around in 2019. Kamen Rider Zangetsu -Gaim Gaiden- saw Yuki Kubota reprise his role as Takatora Kureshima, as he stumbles into an underground city deep below Zawame City. The play also sees Takatora receive a new Lockseed and unlock a brand new form - a form that also makes a brief but very welcome cameo in Kamen Rider Zi-O the Movie: Over Quartzer. ather unsurprisingly S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Zangetsu Kachidoki Arms was a Tamashii web exclusive release, its arrival at the very end of the decade a sign that just when you think you have them worked out Bandai Tamashii Nations can still be full of surprises. 

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Jawa (40th Anniversary Packaging)

Star Wars Black Series Jawa 01

Release Date: May 2017
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

Much of Star Wars success in regards to toys comes down to just how iconic some of the designs the franchise spawned are, but another reason that it has dominated the action figure market for so long is simply because of how expansive it is. No matter how long they appeared in the films, there was a time when seemingly everyone received an action figure at some point - leading to toy lines filled all manner of alien species. But the most popular ones will always be the ones that had some integral role in the films, and when it comes to screen presence few races are quite as memorable as the Jawas. Tatooine's junk-hunting, droid-selling nomads led to R2-D2 and C-3P0 falling into the hands of Luke Skywalker, and so the adventure began. Because of this the Jawas have more than earned their place in Hasbro's Black Series line, and as one of the first characters released in Kenner's original Star Wars toy line the Black Series Jawa initially came as a somewhat special release.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Reviews in Space & Time: Doctor Who 12x08 - The Haunting of Villa Diodati

Doctor Who 12x08 - The Haunting of Villa Diodati

Doctor Who and Mary Shelley - a match made in heaven? One might think so given the amount of times the two have crossed paths, with the 19th century writer having previously crossed paths with the Tenth Doctor in the Battles in Time comic strip and been a fully-fledged companion to the Eighth Doctor in a series of Big Finish audio adventures. But without arguing just which of these are considered canon, it’s time for a new first encounter with Doctor 13 in The Haunting of Villa Diodati. Edging one step closer to the two-part series finale, this episode from writer Maxine Alderton and director Emma Sullivan promises to be the injection of gothic horror series 12 has lacked thus far.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Meisho Movie Realization Akazonae Royal Guard

Meisho Movie Realization Akazonae Royal Guard 01

Release Date: May 2016
RRP: 8856 yen

While Bandai Tamashii Nations' Meisho Movie Realization line seemed like a brilliant idea right from the get-go, the fact it's managed to last so well over the years is a testament to just how perfect samurai versions of iconic Star Wars characters really is. Admittedly the line so far has been particularly villain-heavy, but when those are the designs that lend themselves to best to that aesthetic who can blame Bandai for sticking to the bad guys. The ranks of the Galactic Empire have been filled out rather nicely with two versions of Darth Vader and a legion of Stormtrooper variants, but for real prestige look no further than the Meisho Movie Realization Akazonae Royal Guard. "Akazonae" translates to "blood-red armour", and specifically refers to the crimson armor worn by famed Sengoku era General Sanada Yukimura. The perfect reference for Emperor Palpatine's elite bodyguards, which are among the figures in the line to have been released as a Tamashii web exclusive.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Series REVIEW: Inazuman

Inazuman

The early 1970s saw a boom in the popularity of live-action superheroes shows on Japanese television, spurred on by the success of series such as Kikaider, The Return of Ultraman and of course Kamen Rider. In 1972 Daisuke Ban had already become tokusatsu royalty for his portrayal of Jiro in Kikaider, and the following year he not only reprised that role in Kikaider 01 but also took the lead in another Shotaro Ishinomori creation. Running from October 1973 until September 1974, the psionic-powered Inazuman is notable for having its story split across two distinct "chapters". Whereas the first 25 episodes were simply released under the name Inazuman, for the subsequent 23 it was renamed Inazuman Flash – featuring a brand new villain and a slightly darker tone. That first half also saw significant success in Hawaii alongside both Kikaider series and Kamen Rider V3 – all of which have since been officially licensed by the Honolulu-based JN Productions (aka Generation Kikaida). In subsequent years Inazuman would go on to cross over with Kikaider in both manga and animation, made a cameo alongside other Ishinomori heroes in 2011's OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Rider and then finally a reimagined version teamed up with Kamen Rider Fourze in 2012's Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie Wars Ultimatum.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who The Sontarans Collector Figure Set

Doctor Who 'The Sontarans' Set 01

Release Date: August 2019
RRP: £19.99

Summer 2019 was a big season for Doctor Who toys. After years of multi-pack repaints (with the odd new figure) exclusive to B&M stores that largely slipped under the radar, Character Options came out with a huge new range that injected some energy back into the once great line. There were Big Finish-inspired Dalek sets, there were TARDISes and there were of course more three-packs. Among these was The Sontarans Collector Figure Set, which not only paid homage to one of the show’s most popular monsters but also gave collectors the one thing they’re always crying out for - another companion. Included in this set at Commander Linx from 1973’s The Time Warrior, Field Marshall Styre from 1975’s The Sontaran Experiment, and popular Fourth Doctor companion/Royal Navy Surgeon-Lieutenant Harry Sullivan.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Reviews in Space & Time: Doctor Who 12x07 - Can You Hear Me?

Doctor Who 12x07 - Can You Hear Me?

We’re moving into the final stretch of Doctor Who series 12 now, and while many fans are already looking forward to the mystery of the Timeless Child being solved with its two-part finale there’s still time for a few more one-off adventures before then. Can You Hear Me? is adventure spanning multiple locations (this time across time and space), directed by Emma Sullivan and written by the combined efforts of Chris Chibnall and series newcomer Charlene James. The next episode preview following the end of Praxeus suggested a good old fashioned dose of Who-brand horror, but if there’s anything that this series has proven so far it’s that looks can often be deceiving.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Jet Garuda

Super Mini-Pla Jet Garuda 01

Release Date: June 2019
RRP: 6480 yen

When it comes to Japanese toy lines collectors often have to wait a few months between releases, but it seems Bandai have got themselves into a nice little groove with their Super Mini-Pla range. Retail releases are often paired up with a related Premium Bandai exclusive, which has resulted in a nice little double whammy of primary and secondary mecha releases on the Super Sentai side of things. So when it was finally Chōjin Sentai Jetman's turn, Jet Icarus was of course paired up with a Super Mini-Pla Jet Garuda release. Of course that Premium Bandai exclusivity does mean this release goes for a slightly higher price than it's counterpart, but as you'll soon see there's more than enough on offer here to ensure that Jet Garuda justifies it.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Reviews in Space & Time: Doctor Who 12x06 - Praxeus

Doctor Who 12x06 - Praxeus

While audiences may still be reeling from the shocking events of Fugitive of the Judoon, the Doctor herself doesn’t have time to process the fact that everything she thought she knew may be a lie. The mysteries of the Timeless Child and an unknown incarnation of the Doctor take a back seat this week, as Doctor Who returns to its usual episodic shenanigans with Praxeus. Kerblam! writer Pete McTighe returns to pen the episode alongside Chris Chibnall, with the episode directed by series 12 staple Jamie Magnus Stone. It’s time to put those revelations to the side for now, because Earth is in peril once more.