Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Yellow Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Yellow Ranger 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: $22.99/£23.99

As the Power Rangers Lightning Collection continues to chug along comfortably, another fan-favourite team draws to completion. Following on directly from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers it isn't any surprise that Power Rangers Zeo is another series that Hasbro were quick to complete, with the Lightning Collection Zeo Yellow Ranger being the fifth member of the team to be released as part of the general retail waves. The only one outstanding was the Pink Ranger, who was released alongside yet another version of MMPR Pink in special two-pack set. Whether she'll join the others as a single release any time soon is anyone's guess, but it's nice to know the whole Zeo team is out there for those looking to grab them.

Monday, 26 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer

S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer 01

Release Date: May 2022
RRP: 6600 yen

It's been seven years since the release of the last Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts figure, and in that time fans and collectors alike refused to give up hope that they were gone forever. That hope was clearly not misplaced, because in celebration of the franchise's 45th anniversary Bandai Tamashii Nations surprised as all with the announcement that they weren't done yet. From 45th Super Sentai series Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger comes S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer – whose Himitsu Sentai Gorenger-inspired multi-colour design feels particularly appropriate for such a special release marking not only a landmark milestone for the franchise, but the grand return of Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Top 5: Most Wanted Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts

Top 5: Most Wanted Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts

We can all agree that while the Kamen Rider franchise is still a major part of the S.H. Figuarts brand, things aren't quite the same now as they were in the old days. With so many other anime, tokusatsu and movie titles incorporated into the line we perhaps don't see as many – or at least as many varied – releases as we used to. Nowadays even getting the final form of a titular Rider can be a struggle (poor old Kamen Rider Ghost Mugen Damashii). Nevertheless the wish lists for Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts remain as strong as ever, so for this month's top five feature I'm counting down the things I'd like to see most from Bandai Tamashii Nations. For the sake of ease I've decided to skip over anything that's had a prototype shown off but never released, since arguably those are the things that deserve to be released the most. We'll get that Kamen Rider Saga one day…

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader Concept Art Edition

Star Wars Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader Concept Art Edition 01

Release Date: August 2022
RRP: $55.99

Star Wars just wouldn't be Star Wars without the work of Ralph McQuarrie. Throughout the creation of the original trilogy and beyond, the artist designed the look and feel of the Star Wars galaxy that we are all familiar with. There might have been some changes as it leapt from paper to screen, but the influence is undoubtedly there. While Hasbro have paid homage to McQuarrie's original designs for these iconic characters in the past, the Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader Concept Art Edition set is the first time they are doing it in their premier six-inch collector figure line. Originally revealed at Star Wars Celebration 2022, the set releases as a ShopDisney online exclusive also available at Galaxy's Edge.

Friday, 16 September 2022

Miniseries REVIEW: Kamen Rider Jeanne & Kamen Rider Aguilera with Girls Remix

Kamen Rider Jeanne & Kamen Rider Aguilera with Girls Remix

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that the Kamen Rider franchise shouldn't just be considered the "boys' toys franchise" that it once was. Over the years the writers behind each series have made an increasing effort to bring the women of the franchise to the forefront, with lead female Kamen Riders particularly becoming more prominent in the last few years as things moved into the Reiwa era. With this fact being particularly true in Kamen Rider Revice and its focus on Sakura Igarashi/Kamen Rider Jeannne and Hana/Kamen Rider Aguilera, the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club has brought together (nearly) all of the heroines of the past few years in its latest three-part miniseries - Kamen Rider Jeanne & Kamen Rider Aguilera with Girls Remix.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Den-O Rod Form & Ax Form

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Den-O Rod Form & Ax Form 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: 9350 yen

When Bandai Tamashii Nations revealed that their first S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Den-O release would be a combination of both Sword and Gun Forms, it was immediately clear that a Rod and Ax Form figure would eventually follow. But Bandai being Bandai they certainly took their sweet time on this, and nearly two years and multiple other Den-O releases later S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Den-O Rod Form & Ax Form finally made its long-awaited debut. Unlike the other half of Den-O's core forms this was a Tamashii web exclusive release and coincided with a second release of Kamen Rider Den-O Plat Form figure – reworked to be compatible with the Rod/Ax parts much like the original was with the Sword/Gun parts.

Monday, 12 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers x GI Joe Megatron H.I.S.S. Tank & Baroness

Transformers x GI Joe Megatron H.I.S.S. Tank & Baroness 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $89.99/£89.99

Hasbro have been doing a lot of interesting Transformers Collaborative releases over the past few years – from the X-Men franchise to movies like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and even Top Gun. However there's one collaborative effort that they had never delved into properly before, which is strange given that it's one that's right at home for them. Given the overwhelming popularity of both franchises as well as the number of crossovers they've had in comics and other expanded media, the combination of GI Joe and Transformers should be obvious. While there have been various event exclusives and odd releases that have crossed over the two, for some reason a fully functioning GI Joe or Cobra Transformers figure has never been a reality – until now. At long last, these two titans of Hasbro toys meet in the Transformers x GI Joe Megatron H.I.S.S. Tank and Baroness set – combining a new spin on the Deception leader with Cobra's first lady of terrorism.

Friday, 9 September 2022

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Stronger

Kamen Rider Stronger

Following on from Kamen Rider Amazon, Shoraro Ishinomori and Toei producer Tohru Hirayama were unsure where to go next with the Kamen Rider franchise. While initially he presented the idea of a "Five Riders" series, production studio Mainichi Broadcasting were firm in the stance that "there should be only one hero" (this concept instead became the foundation of Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, and in turn the Super Sentai franchise). So instead they looked toward a more back to basics approach, and in April 1975 Kamen Rider Stronger burst onto Japanese television screens. However while the origins of Stronger were certainly more in line with the traditional Kamen Rider template, there was one fundamental difference – the addition of female sidekick, conceived after Hirayama and Ishinomori received fan letters from young girls who wanted a hero they could pretend to be when playing Kamen Rider with other boys. Though originally proposed to run for a full 52 episodes, low audience ratings resulted in it being cut short at 39 and at the time Stronger was considered to be the end of the Kamen Rider series.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' White Ranger

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' White Ranger 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $27.99/£26.99

Another team in the Power Rangers Lightning Collection comes to completion, although admittedly it is one that has already been completed a few times over already. Fans of the divisive Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season three power up rejoice as the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' White Ranger arrives to complete the original team of Power Rangers in metallic armour form. Like the rest of the team, leader Tommy Oliver is an exclusive release to Hasbro Pulse (where available).

Monday, 5 September 2022

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Geats

Kamen Rider Geats

With the 50th anniversary series over and done with its time to look to the future of Kamen Rider once again, as the franchise launches its fourth entry in the Reiwa era and 33rd series overall. Its name – Kamen Rider Geats. Returning once again to pen the series is Yuya Takahashi, who previously worked as the head-writer on both Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and Kamen Rider Zero-One. So without further ado, let's dive into the first episode and see just what this much-anticipated instalment in the long-running franchise has to offer.

"This game – The winner in the end is me!"

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice

Kamen Rider Revice

On April 3rd 1971 Toei launched a brand new tokusatsu superhero series from manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori, and a legend was born. Fast forward 50 years later and the Kamen Rider franchise is still running strong, celebrating this momentous anniversary with the third instalment in its Reiwa Era run (and 32nd series overall) – Kamen Rider Revice. Introducing a two-Rider duo that together make up the titular hero, the series was written by franchise newcomer Hanta Kinoshita. Though the series commemorates 50 years of Kamen Rider, Revice is very much its own show and not an "anniversary special" in the same vein as Decade or Zi-O.

Monday, 29 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid

S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid 01

Release Date: May 2022
RRP: 6600 yen

If anyone needed further proof of Ultraman Tiga's popularity, the fact it's managed to get so many S.H. Figuarts releases that aren't the titular character in such a short space of time is a fairly good indicator as far as merchandise is concerned. Hot on the heels of Golza and the GUTS Wings set earlier in the year, Bandai Tamashii Nations continue to expand the range with the series' first Tamashii Web exclusive item - S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid! Demon-like aliens who believed themselves to be the architects for both humanity and the planet Earth's future, the Kyrieloids battled against Ultraman Tiga before returning again on a parallel Earth to also face off against Ultraman Trigger - an event where Tiga and Trigger fought side by side.

Friday, 26 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Finster

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Finster 01

Release Date: January 2022 
RRP: $27.99/£31.99 

While the Lightning Collection does have a rather unfortunate focus on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for the most part, at the very least Hasbro have shown fans that they are prepared to do some interesting things within the confines of that original series. Rather than just getting the rangers themselves ad nauseum (although that isn't to say that isn’t a problem as well), we've also had our fair share of villains – from core characters to episodic monsters. But those episodic monsters are nothing without their creator, which the arrival of the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Finster was such a pleasant surprise. Rita's chief monster maker comes as a somewhat special release exclusive to both Amazon and Hasbro Pulse.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Shokugan Modeling Project GaoMuscle

Shokugan Modeling Project GaoMuscle 01

Release Date: September 2021 
RRP: 8250 yen 

When Bandai announced that they would be rebranding their Super Mini-Pla line as Shokugan Modeling Project, they also revealed that this new chapter in the line would be kicking off with Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger – easily the most ambitious Super Sentai series the line has tackled yet. With multiple combinations spread across numerous Power Animals, there was no way collectors were going to accept half measures with this – and Bandai didn't take long to show their dedication. Hot on the heels of SMP Gaoking's release came the range's first Premium Bandai exclusive release – Shokugan Modeling Project GaoMuscle, the second of Gaoranger's long line of mecha. In addition to GaoGorilla, GaoBear and GaoPolar, this set also includes GaoRhinos and GaoMadillo – also giving fans the option to build the GaoMuscle Striker combination.

Monday, 22 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Perceptor

Transformers Studio Series 86 Perceptor 01

Release Date: January 2022
RRP: $22.99/£22.99

While the majority of the principal cast of Transformers: The Movie were brand new characters, there were some previously established Autobots that were able to receive a significant role without dying in the process. The most obvious of these is of course the Dinobots, but in addition to them there was also Perceptor – who tended to Optimus Prime in his final moments before evacuating Autobot City alongside Ultra Magnus' team. Which is exactly why Studio Series 86 Perceptor is the perfect addition as the line (in tandem with releases from the War For Cybertron trilogy and Legacy ranges) draws ever closer to completing that principal cast.

Friday, 19 August 2022

Top 5: Tokusatsu Toei Should Subtitle For Youtube

Top 5: Tokusatsu Toei Should Subtitle For Youtube

It's been over two years since Toei launched their Toei Tokusatsu World Official Youtube channel and it's fair to say it's been a mixed bag at best. As far as English-speaking fans are concerned these days it's mainly used for dumping odd episodes (or movies) of Kamen Rider and calling it "worldwide distribution", but upon its initial launch Toei dumped a whole host of interesting titles from their rather extensive back catalogue. Sadly only the first two episodes were subbed, but the remaining episodes continued to be uploaded to the channel – making many of them the most accessible they've ever been outside of Japan. So for this month's top five I'm counting down the five shows I'd most like to see fully subbed on the channel. Don't get me wrong the channel is the perfect place for Kamen Rider to be shared with the world, but it would be amazing for these great shows to get some more exposure too.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Zōffy (Shin Ultraman)

S.H. Figuarts Zōffy (Shin Ultraman) 01

Release Date: June 2022
RRP: 5500 yen

Unless you're someone happy to dive into spoilers, much of Shin Ultraman remains a mystery for Ultraman fans outside of Japan. But given the film's overwhelming success in its home country merchandising has begun to ramp up - and with it come the spoilers. One such example was the release of S.H. Figuarts Zōffy (Shin Ultraman), confirming the character's appearance in the film as well as his wildly different appearance and (very slight) name change. The second Shin Ultraman Figuarts release from Bandai Tamashii Nations following on from Ultraman himself, Zōffy is a figure that may not look all that different to Ultraman but is extremely significant nonetheless.

(WARNING: Some text and images in this review will contain spoilers for the film.)

Monday, 15 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Asajj Ventress' Ginivex Starfighter

Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Asajj Ventress' Ginivex Starfighter 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $12.99/£12.99

With all the ships there are in the Star Wars universe Jazwares were hardly short of choice when it came to launching the Micro Galaxy Squadron line, which makes it all the more impressive that its launch wave isn't just made up of the obvious favourites. Perhaps to compliment the Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter release, Asajj Ventress' Ginivex Starfighter also comes as part of the assortment. Also known as "Fanblade starfighters", these Geonosian-built fighters were built for Separatist Agents during the Clone Wars.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Special REVIEW: OOO 10th Kamen Rider Birth: Birth X Secret Birth Story

OOO 10th Kamen Rider Birth: Birth X Secret Birth Story

If there's one thing I think we can all agree on about Kamen Rider OOO 10th: Core Medal of Resurrection it's how underused Kamen Rider Birth was. Despite both Shintaro Gotou and Akira Date appearing in both the film and a prequel net movie minisode, the characters largely fell to the wayside in the main story. This is even more surprising (or less so depending on how cynical you are about Bandai's toy shilling) considering Birth got a new form in the movie in the form of Birth X. But thankfully the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub is here to rectify the situation, with the story of OOO's secondary Rider continuing in OOO 10th Kamen Rider Birth: Birth X Secret Birth Story!

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja White Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja White Ranger 01

Release Date: January 2022
RRP: $26.99/£32.99

Even though the core Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team have been released about three times over by now, Hasbro certainly aren't going to be done with them any time soon. When their original Power Coins were damaged in battle against Rito Revolto, the rangers sought out new coins from the mysterious Ninjor – gaining new ninja powers in the process! Now the rangers' ninja forms – used in their countless battles against the Tenga Warriors, have arrived as part of the Lightning Collection. With the power of the falcon, the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja White Ranger is ready to lead the team in a brand-new chapter in the fight against Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Special REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice Movie Spin-Off Delivered Drama: Birth of Chimera

Kamen Rider Revice Movie Spin-Off Delivered Drama: Birth of Chimera

One of the obvious problems with summer Kamen Rider movies introducing new characters (most of whom are Riders themselves) is that they rarely have time to develop them in a meaningful way. But with the arrival of streaming services such as the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub, there's an opportunity to give them a bigger spotlight through prequel specials that can add a little more context to things. For example, just ahead of the release of Kamen Rider Revice: Battle Familia, the service launched (the rather lengthy titled) Kamen Rider Revice Movie Spin-Off Delivered Drama: Birth of Chimera – introducing fans to the characters that will be driving the plot of the film.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts SC-3 King Joe STORAGE Custom

S.H. Figuarts King Joe STORAGE Custom 01

Release Date: March 2022
RRP: 8580 yen

If there's a sure sign that a series is popular with fans, it's when Bandai Tamashii Nations continue to produce S.H. Figuarts releases for it long after the show itself has run its course. Given the way many of the releases sold out instantly it’s no surprise that the brand is continuing to push forward with Ultraman Z releases, with S.H. Figuarts SC-3 King Joe STORAGE Custom now joining the line as the latest Tamashii web exclusive release. Rebuilt from the remnants of the Alien Barossa's robot, King Joe became the third robot in STORAGE's defence force. The combination of four assault vehicles, this Earth-based King Joe wields a powerful array of Pedanium-powered weaponry.

Monday, 1 August 2022

First Impressions: Fuuto PI

Fuuto PI
Fuuto PI is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

It's almost hard to believe it, but after all these years there's finally an official Kamen Rider anime series. Despite the potential for an animated series based on Shotaro Ishinimori's premier tokusatsu hero as well as the numerous manga release ripe for adaptation there's been over the years, somehow 1993's Kamen Rider SD has remained its only anime offering - until now. Announced alongside Shin Kamen Rider and Kamen Rider Black Sun as part of the franchise's 50th anniversary celebrations, the story of Kamen Rider W now continues in Fuuto PI! Based on the ongoing manga series of the same name (marketed in Japan as Fuuto Tantei), the adaptation is being done by Studio Kai - a relatively new studio whose previous credits include Uma Musume Pretty Derby 2nd Season.

Friday, 29 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Teeka (Jawa)

Star Wars Black Series Teeka (Jawa) 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $27.99/£33.99

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series hasn't long finished but for once Hasbro are completely on the ball, with plenty of Star Wars Black Series figure announcements that not only coincided with the release of the series, but released shortly afterwards as well. Whilst a lot of the main characters are present and accounted for, there have also been a small number of more obscure characters as well – for example the Target exclusive (or Hasbro Pulse/fan channel exclusive in other parts of the world) Black Series Teeka (Jawa). The shrewd little businessman often traded with the estranged Jedi on Tatooine – even going so far to steal Kenobi's parts so that they could sell them back to him.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Fennec Shand

Black Series Fennec Shand 01

Release Date: March 2022
RRP: $24.99/£23.99

The true success of Star Wars: The Mandalorian can be seen in the number of iconic it's managed to produce in such a short time – with many rivalling (and arguably surpassing) those that appeared in the sequel trilogy films. Among those is none other than mercenary Fennec Shand, played by the legendary Ming-Na Wen. After seemingly meeting her demise in her debut appearance in season one of the show, Fennec returned alongside Boba Fett in the following season – becoming his new right-hand and trusted ally in The Book of Boba Fett. Her quickly established legacy doesn't make Black Series Fennec Shand an obvious addition to the line, but also the perfect way to kickstart a new chapter in Hasbro's six-inch collector line.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: ACT MODE Hibiki Tachibana

ACT MODE Hibiki Tachibana 01

Release Date: April 2022
RRP: 8500 yen

After years of complaining, campaigning and crying out after every Wonderfest, Good Smile Company have finally heard the Symphogear fandom. Years after the Figma range abruptly stopped with only two releases to its name, the popular franchise returns as part of GSC's ACT MODE line. This relatively new line combines both action figure and model kit elements, presenting buyers with a fully painted action figure and model kit-style accessories. It's a place where the armoured magical girl style designs of Symphogear can feel right at home, and after months of delays it's finally to see it truly arrive with the release of ACT MODE Hibiki Tachibana!

Friday, 22 July 2022

Movie REVIEW: Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger vs Kiramager vs Senpaiger

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger vs Kiramager vs Senpaiger

As if a Super Sentai anniversary series isn't special enough, the versus movie that (usually) follows is an excuse to do something extra special – and the franchise's 40th anniversary is no exception. This year the Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger met predecessors Mashin Sentai Kiramager, and brought a few extra friends along with them. However Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger vs Kiramager vs Senpaiger forgoes the usual "vs Super Sentai" tagline we've seen in the past, instead choosing something a little more unique that fits the whimsical tone of the Zenkaiger universe. The 28th instalment in the VS series, the film was written by Zenkaiger main writer Junko Komura and directed by Kyohei Yamaguchi (whose Super Sentai credits include numerous episodes of both shows).

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Top 5: Most Wanted Power Rangers Lightning Collection Figures

Since it first debuted back in 2019, Hasbro's Lightning Collection toy line has been an excellent way for Power Rangers and Super Sentai fans alike to collect their favourite characters from across the franchises. And although Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts may have made a return this year, there's no way that line will ever be quite as all-encompassing as this. We have rangers, we have villains, we have monsters of the week…we even have oddities like Boom! Studios comic characters including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossovers. But with a franchise quickly approaching its 30th birthday, there's still plenty of ground left to cover. So here are the five things I want to see Hasbro cover most in the Lightning Collection, and this time we're going big. Not just single characters this time around, but teams, villain factions…Hasbro have the resources, so let's see these things happen.

Monday, 18 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Vice Rex Genome

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Vice Rex Genome 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: 4950 yen

When a new series of Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts kicks off with a cheaper release, it doesn't take long for a fully priced one to come just to bring collectors crashing back down to reality. However the positive is that these are far more "complete" releases, and with a better number of accessories more indicative of what Bandai Tamashii Nations has to offer with the line. 50th anniversary series Kamen Rider Revice showcases a duo of lead Riders, and with Kamen Rider Revi taking that cheaper slot his demonic partner is left to take that more typical price point. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Vice Rex Genome however was released alongside Revi rather than the following month, giving collectors the opportunity to pick the duo up at the same time.

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Luke Skywalker's X-Wing

Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Luke Skywalker's X-Wing 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $16.99/£17.99

The launch of a new Star Wars toy line is always exciting, particularly when another company is getting on the action to challenge the stranglehold Hasbro has over it. This time it's Jazwares getting in on the action and they've got spaceships in mind - creating the Micro Galaxy Squadron line, a spiritual successor to the Micro Machines Action Fleet range which ruled the roost back in the 1990s. Joining Darth Vader's TIE Advanced as part of the initial launch lineup is Luke Skywalker's X-Wing - one of the most iconic vehicles from the Star Wars universe (perhaps second only to the Millennium Falcon) and an obvious choice to kickstart this brand new range.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Darth Vader's TIE Advanced

Star Wars Micro Galaxy Squadron Darth Vader's TIE Advanced 01

Release Date: July 2022 
RRP: $16.99/£17.99

There are plenty of companies out there making toys and models of the various ships from the Star Wars universe, but when Jazwares announced they'd be entering the fray with their Micro Galaxy Squadron line it certainly sparked a lot of interest. A spiritual successor of sorts to the Micro Machines Action Fleet line of the 90s, the line will feature scaled vehicles each with their own pilot figures. As someone who's always loved Star Wars vehicles but never bought into a dedicated line of them before, I was eager to give it a try and picked up the Micro Galaxy Squadron Darth Vader's TIE Advanced from the launch range to see if they're truly worth all the fuss.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Revi Rex Genome

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Revi Rex Genome 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: 3850 yen

50 years strong and no signs of slowing down, the legacy of the Kamen Rider franchise continues with Kamen Rider Revice! While admittedly it took a few months from the series' premiere back in September 2021 Bandai Tamashii Nations finally launched the Revice range in February 2022, kicking things off with a double team of Kamen Riders Revi and Vice! While a double-pack of the human/demon pair might have seemed the most logical release, Bandai have largely kept things to their usual pattern – with S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Revi Rex Genome arriving as a more affordable release whilst Vice comes at a more typical price point for the line.

Sunday, 10 July 2022

First Impressions: Ultraman Decker

Ultraman Decker
Ultraman Decker is available to stream on YouTube

Thanks to the revival of the Ultraman franchise as a worldwide brand, Ultraman Day has become an event that isn't just celebrated every July 10th (the day the "Birth of Ultraman" preview event was originally broadcast back in 1966) - it's become a week-long celebration of everything Ultraman. Much like the last few years Tsuburaya Productions have ensured that this celebration coincides with the release of the latest instalment in the franchise, and once again it's marking another big anniversary. Last year saw the 25th anniversary of Ultraman Tiga marked with the release of Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga, and with 2022 marking the same milestone for Tiga sequel Ultraman Dyna the story of Trigger continues in Ultraman Decker! In what has become a staple for the franchise, the series is available to fans worldwide subtitled in a variety of languages - with episodes remaining on Youtube for two weeks after their premiere.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Black Series Boba Fett (Tython)

Black Series Boba Fett (Tython) 01

Release Date: March 2022
RRP: $24.99/£23.99

There are plenty of iconic Star Wars moments that hail from the second season of The Mandalorian, but easily among the very best was the grand return of legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett in Chapter 14: The Tragedy. Revealed to have survived his apparent demise in the belly of the Sarlacc Pit, Fett tails the Mandalorian to the planet Tython where he demands the return of his armour. Following an attack by Imperial Forces, Boba is reunited with the armour and pledges to assist Mando in retrieving Grogu from the clutches of Moff Gideon. Hasbro have recognised this iconic return with the release of the Black Series Boba Fett (Tython) – a version that showed just how formidable a fighter Fett is even without his Beskar armour.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Special REVIEW: Twokaizer x Gokaiger ~June Bride is Tanuki Flavor~

Twokaizer x Gokaiger ~June Bride is Tanuki Flavor~

Given how Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger naturally coincided with the tenth anniversary of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, a crossover between the two was inevitable. But while Captain Marvelous does make an appearance in Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger vs Kiramager vs Senpaiger that clearly wasn't enough, and thus its up to the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub to provide a second meeting between the pirate Sentai and the Goldtsuiker family. Twokaizer x Gokaiger ~June Bride is Tanuki Flavor~ is a one-off special from Zenkaiger head writer Junko Komura that brings back Marvelous, Gai and Ahim once again, and in typical Gokaiger fashion has plenty to offer when it comes to transformations and the kind of ranger categorisation that'll surely cause debate amongst Super Sentai fans.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Top 5: Most Wanted Doctor Who Figures (Classic Series)

Despite some of the difficulties Character Options' Doctor Who toy line has faced over the years, thanks to the steady stream of B&M store exclusives it's regained enough strength that figure wish lists don't feel like a complete fantasy any more – particularly when it comes to the classic era. For this month's top five feature I'll be looking at the figures I'd most like to see come to the line, as well as giving brief reasons as to why. Some of these are pretty unlikely so truth be told I don't have too much hope of any of them happening, but even if one could become a reality that would be cause for celebration.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Toybox REVIEW: THE GATTAI DX Gridknight & Goldburn

THE GATTAI DX Gridknight & Goldburn 01

Release Date: November 2021 
RRP: 8800 yen 

Dynazenon may be a fantastic robot on its own, but as soon as SSSS.Gridman fan favourite Gridknight made an appearance in SSSS.Dynazenon fans immediately knew that a bigger combination was on the cards. Naturally it took a few episodes to happen, but the debut of Kaiser Gridknight in episode nine of the series certainly did not disappoint. And much in the same way – THE GATTAI DX Gattai Ryujin Dynazenon may be a fantastic figure on its own, but why stop there when you can have something even bigger? Enter THE GATTAI DX Gridknight & Goldburn, an add-on set that was released to coincide with the reissue of Dynazenon. Prior to its November release collectors who had previously bought Dynazenon were invited to take part in special lottery, with the prize being the opportunity to purchase and receive the set some months ahead of its official release. Unfortunately said official release wasn't quite as straightforward as Dynazenon's, with the set being made exclusively available through the Good Smile Company online store…plus any middlemen services that chose to carry it of course.

Friday, 3 June 2022

Toybox REVIEW: THE GATTAI Gattai Ryujin DX Dynazenon

THE GATTAI Gattai Ryujin DX Dynazenon 01

Release Date: May 2021, October 2021 (Reissue)
RRP: 22,000 yen

As beloved as SSSS.Gridman was by anime and tokusatsu fans alike, there's one thing that we can agree that wasn't so successful - the toys. Whether it was the price or quality control issues, the anime successor to Hyper Agent Gridman seemed to draw the short straw when it came the perfect version of Full Power Gridman - with the DX offering from Good Smile Company being the most notorious of all. So when sequel series SSSS.Dynazenon was announced by Studio Trigger and Tsuburaya Productions, naturally collectors feared the worst when it come to get a nice big combining figure of this impressive super robot. However it looks as though Good Smile learned from previous mistakes, even teaming up with popular high-end toy company Sentinel (who've released more than their fair share of incredible robot toys) to produce THE GATTAI Gateau Ryujin DX Dynazenon. Though originally announced as a standard DX release, prior to its release Dynazenon was adopted into THE GATTAI - a new range from Good Smile focusing specifically on high-end combining robots. Somewhere both Gridman and Dynazenon would feel right at home.

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Miniseries REVIEW: Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad

Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad
Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad is available to rent on (English dub only)

For Ultraman fans across the globe the Ultra Galaxy Fight series have become a rather special event. What initially seemed like a fun little battle-orientated miniseries like the Ultra Fight series of old have developed into so much more, drawing on every corner of Ultraman continuity in a galaxy-spanning adventure that puts the Ultramen (and women) themselves in the spotlight. After the story was left on a cliff-hanger in The Absolute Conspiracy, Tsuburaya Productions have now unleashed the next chapter with Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad. Supposedly boasting over 100 characters, the ten-episode miniseries has been made available in its entirely on the Ultraman Connection website (though at the time of writing sadly the English dub only) – boasting over two hours of hardcore Ultraman content.

Monday, 30 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Coronation Starscream

Transformers Studio Series 86 Coronation Starscream 01

Release Date: January 2022
RRP: $52.99/£55.99

Transformers: The Movie saw numerous fan favourites killed off in favour of brand-new characters that were about to hit toy shelves in 1986, but arguably some of them were able to get their most iconic moments in right before their deaths. The finally showdown between Optimus Prime and Megatron goes without saying, but there's also the untimely demise of Starscream – finally crowned as the Decepticons' new leader before being blasted to ashes by Galvatron. Decked out in full royal regalia, Starscream's new look has been fondly remembered by the franchise since, so shouldn't be any surprise to see Studio Series 86 Coronation Starscream as part of the film's 30th anniversary toy line. Although the anniversary may have been in 2021, as one of the first SS86 releases for 2022 Starscream shows that there's plenty of life in it yet, and Hasbro know it.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Miniseries REVIEW: Revice Legacy: Kamen Rider Vail

Revice Legacy: Kamen Rider Vail

With more avenues to expand its story the Kamen Rider franchise has moved much further into the realms of supplementary material in recent years, with much of it landing exclusively on the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club streaming service. Following on from Kamen Rider Revice: The Mystery the service released its second special from the 50th anniversary celebration series – Revice Legacy: Kamen Rider Vail, a five-part miniseries taking the story of Kamen Rider Revice back over two decades before it all began.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Black RX

Kamen Rider Black RX

While Kamen Rider franchise has always had some sense of continuity, direct sequels in a franchise that introduces a new hero each year is a rarity. But the popularity of Kamen Rider Black was that strong that in 1988 Kotaro Minami returned in a brand new form – Kamen Rider Black RX. The 47-episode series is notable for a number of other reasons as well, being both the final series in the franchise to have original author Shotaro Ishinomori involved but also the final entry in the Showa era period. Though the majority of Black RX may have technically aired at the beginning of the Heisei era, due to lengthy hiatus before the franchise returned in 2000 with Kamen Rider Kuuga it, along with movies Shin, ZO and J, are considered a much cleaner break.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Spider-Man (Ben Reilly)

MAFEX Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) 01

Release Date: November 2021
RRP: 7800 yen

The various Spider-Verse titles there have been in the past few years may have shown that there's much more to Spider-Man than just Peter Parker, but back in the 1990s when comic readers were introduced to a brand-new Spidey he wasn't that far detached from our original hero. Popularised during the infamous Clone Saga that ran between 1994 and 1995, Ben Reilly (combining Uncle Ben's forename and Aunt May's maiden name) is a clone of Peter Parker that originally fought as the Scarlet Spider before truly taking the mantle of Spider-Man in Peter's absence. His time as Spider-Man saw him bond with the Carnage symbiote as well as take part in the multiversal Marvel vs DC crossover, though Peter would eventually return when Ben took a fatal wound from the Green Goblin. Despite the Clone Saga's notoriety, the character's popularity makes him an obvious choice for Medicom's "miracle action figure" line. MAFEX Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) is the next in a long line of Spider-Man figures from the company, and it looks like they have no plans on stopping any time soon.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider: Beyond Generations

Kamen Rider: Beyond Generations

First came Heisei Generations, followed by Heisei Generations FINAL and Heisei Generations FOREVER. From there we moved into Reiwa: The First Generation, and now the Kamen Rider franchise is moving…beyond. After a year off, the winter Kamen Rider crossover movie returned at the end of 2021 in conjunction with the franchise's 50th anniversary celebrations. Kamen Rider: Beyond Generations sees the casts of Kamen Rider Revice and Kamen Rider Saber reunite once more (with the Saber gang having previously met Revi and Vice at the end of their own series) in a time-travelling adventure that looks at both the past and future of the Kamen Riders.