Monday, 31 August 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Vulcan Shooting Wolf

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Vulcan Shooting Wolf 01

Release Date: April 2020
RRP: 6050 yen

Kamen Rider Zero-One has already kicked the Reiwa era off with a plethora of Riders to choose from, but in typical Bandai Tamashii Nations fashion it’s inevitable that most of the will end up as Tamashii web exclusives. Other than Zero-One himself, so far only one Rider has managed to escape this fate. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Vulcan Shooting Wolf is the second of the Zero-One releases in the line so far, and sees the figures returning to their standard pricing after Zero-One’s low price incentive. Debuting in the show as the captain of A.I.M.S., Isamu Fuwa had a hatred and vendetta against all Humagears. But as he began to spend more time with Aruto Hiden and saw how he fought for them, Fuwa was taken on a path of self-growth that lead him to chase a new dream.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Ranger Slayer

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Ranger Slayer 01

Release Date: June 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

While the Power Rangers Lightning Collection might have over 25 years' worth of television content to draw from, in the last few years the Boom! Studios comic universe has also developed quite the repertoire of original characters. Hasbro quickly showed an interest with the release of Lord Drakkon in wave three, but given Tommy's popularity (not to mention the need to truly stick it to Bandai of America) that seemed a given. It was where the line went next in regards to the comics that was really going to show how dedicated Hasbro are, and collectors didn't have too long to wait for the release of the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ranger Slayer in wave five. Another denizen of the World of the Coinless introduced in Shattered Grid, the Ranger Slayer is an alternate version of Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart – brainwashed to serve as Drakkon's enforcer. After breaking free of Drakkon's control, the Ranger Slayer has since gone on to lead a ground of time-displaced Rangers in Beyond the Grid, as well as most recently returning to her home dimension in an attempt to finally restore peace.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Anime REVIEW: BNA: Brand New Animal

BNA: Brand New Animal
BNA: Brand New Animal is available in streaming form on Netflix

Between the successes of Kill la KillLittle Witch Academia, SSSS.Gridman and most recently Promare, it seems as though studio Trigger can do nothing wrong. Their combination of mesmerising animation and easy to follow social commentary has gone down a treat with anime fans, leading them to be a studio where everyone is excited to see what they have planned next. Their latest offering comes as part of Netflix's ever-growing "Netflix original anime" lineup, taking viewers to a world of anthropomorphic animals in BNA: Brand New Animals. Written by Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren LagannKill la KillKamen Rider Fouze) and directed by Yoh Yoshinari (Little Witch Academia), BNA comes hot on the heels of BEASTARS - another Netflix-fronted anime starring anthropomorphic animals. Could this be the furry revolution that we all saw coming?

Monday, 24 August 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Putty Patrollers

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Putty Patrollers 01

Release Date: August 2020
RRP: $29.99/£29.99

While the Power Rangers Lightning Collection might be fairly lacking on the villain side right now, at least Hasbro are getting some of the more obvious ones out of the way quickly. And if “Monster of the Week” figures are off the table right now, there’s nothing like a good army builder to swell up those ranks - and what better army builder than the original Mighty Morphin Putty Patroller? While first released as a set with the Fighting Spirit Green Ranger, the Putties are now returning to the line as a Hasbro Pulse exclusive two-pack, giving collectors the chance to pick up two at a slightly discounted price.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Custom Figure: 2015 Skaro Dalek

2015 Skaro Dalek Custom 01

While the classic Dalek design has managed to make it back for a few new Doctor Who episodes, it's fair to say that the 2005 update truly rules the roost in terms of default design these days. However there was one particular variant of the classic casing that proved quite favourable with fans, so much so that it's surprising that Character Options have done an official figure themselves as part of their ongoing toy line. I'm talking of course about the 2015 Skaro Dalek, which appeared in the series nine premiere two-part story The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar. Taking the Doctor, Clara and Missy back to the Daleks' home planet of Skaro, the twelfth Doctor crosses paths with a dying Davros in a city filled with Dalek variants from across the years. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Series REVIEW: Dogengers

Dogengers

Local heroes are a huge part of Japan's superhero scene. From heroes that act on behalf of a specific company to heroes that represent cities or prefectures, these mascots are beloved across Japan - educating children and proving that being a hero goes beyond just what you see on television. Unfortunately they're also something many Western tokusatsu fans ever get a glimpse at. Even if you go beyond the obvious language barriers, the clue is in the name - many of these heroes act locally and thus their exploits are rarely seen on wider scale. However this year the various heroes of Fukuoka came together for Dogengers - a 12-episode crossover series which has quickly gained a cult following. The series was created with the intention of promoting "good health and wellbeing" and directed by Fumie Arakawa - notable for being the first ever woman director in tokusatsu, having worked on a number of Super Sentai series as well as last year's fan-favourite Tokusatsu Gagaga. The heroes featured in the series are Kitakyushu City's KitaQman, Ohga Pharmacy's Ohgaman, Yamashiro Gas' Yamashiron, the hero of Tengen El Brave and Fukuokalibur. Dogengers takes its name from "dogen", a phrase in the Hakata dialect similar to that of "y'all".

Monday, 17 August 2020

Custom Figure: TV21 Comics Dalek Drone

Custom TV21 Dalek Drone 01

Anyone who’s been following this blog will know I’m a HUGE fan of the Dalek comics printed in the pages of TV Century 21 (later simply TV21) during the 1960s and republished as The Dalek Chronicles. I’ve done a few custom figures over the past few years, even managing to source one of the rare Golden Emperor model kit. But with figures of the original 1963 proving quite pricey on the aftermarket, making any more has felt like a pipe dream. That is until Character Options announced the B&M Stores exclusive History of the Daleks sets. With the figures now back on the market, it’s time to fill up the ranks with a couple of Dalek drones. After all, you can’t have a proper Dalek hierarchy if you don’t have the ones at the bottom.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Toybox REVIEW: G.I. Joe Classified Series Destro

GI Joe Classified Series Destro 01

Release Date: April 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

Hasbro’s
continuing expansion of its six-inch figure lines continues with the return of one of its most iconic properties - G.I. Joe! Whilst as a British person who grew up in the 90s I may not have experienced the popularity of the franchise in the same way America or other parts of the world did, its reputation and legacy shouldn’t be understated. But then neither should the fact that G.I. Joe has definitely fallen on hard times in recent years, likely due to the middling response to the two live-action movies. Now in 2020 Hasbro are ready to try once more on both the classic 3.75 and 6” fronts - the latter debuting in the new G.I. Joe Classified Series line. Among its first wave are operatives from both the heroic Joes and the terrorist organisation Cobra, including the Scottish arms dealer James McCullen Destro XXIV, better known as simply Destro. Through M.A.R.S. (Military Armament Research Syndicate), Destro maintains a steady alliance with Cobra in order to reap the profits of war - however he’s also not adverse to turning against them if it’s better for business.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Plo Koon

Star Wars Black Series Plo Koon 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

There once was a time where pretty much any Star Wars character, regardless of screen time, was guaranteed an action figure. These days this is far from the case even in the beloved 3.75" lines, let alone 6" collector series lines like The Black Series. There even staple characters can take years to be released - the line began all the way back in 2013 but it took until 2020 to get a Count Dooku. Among some of the other Prequel Era characters just begging for release are the Jedi Council members, many of whom appeared in the films themselves but had their popularity cemented through Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Now Hasbro have finally begun to answer collectors' prayers with their latest wave of figures, featuring two prominent members of the council (that aren't Yoda or Mace Windu). The first of these characters is Plo Koon, the Jedi Master recognisable by the antitox mask he wears over his mouth and eyes. In The Clone Wars series, he was notable for working alongside Clone Commander Wolffe and the Wolf Pack Squad, as well as being the Jedi Master that discovered a young Ahsoka Tano.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #2 Set

History of the Daleks Set #2 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: £19.99

After the release of The Daleks in 1963, the UK quickly entered the phase Doctor Who fans affectionately know as Dalekmania. Given their popularity it's no surprise that the BBC quickly made plans for a follow up in the show's second series. That of course is 1964's The Dalek Invasion of Earth, a six-part story that truly cemented the Daleks' place in the series. The story is also notable for being the first Doctor Who serial to make extensive use of location filming, as well as being the last appearance of companion Susan Foreman. Now The Dalek Invasion of Earth is being celebrated by Character Options in their second History of The Daleks set, released as part of the 2020 B&M store exclusive assortment. This set features both a standard silver Dalek and the black Supreme Dalek as they appeared in the story, complete with enlarged fenders and energy collection discs on their backs.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #1 Set

History of the Daleks Set #1 01

Release Date:
July 2020
RRP: £19.99

Doctor Who toys took a huge step toward recapturing their former glory last year, as the now (for the most part anyway) B&M Stores exclusive range of figures from Character Options debuted a number of new figures that included both brand new characters and designs based on the Big Finish audios. While the figures are still mostly retools and repaints, the level of ingenuity going into them to create what feel like all-new pieces boded well for the future. The line has returned for a new assortment in 2020, and that faith was certainly not misplaced. Among a range of three-packs covering both the classic and modern series, the Daleks have also made a grand return in the form of new two-packs that chronicle their evolution across Doctor Who. History of the Daleks #1 takes us all the way back to 1963 with their debut story The Daleks, with a pair of the ruthless aliens in the original livery.