Monday, 25 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Integrated Suit) -Final Battle Edition-

S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Integrated Suit) -Final Battle Edition- 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 9350 yen

Even though S.H. Figuarts is a collector-orientated line first and foremost, Bandai Tamashii Nations certainly aren't opposed to getting things out in the name of timeliness either. This is particularly true for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years, with figures often being released to coincide with the films rather than some months later. The unfortunate result of working off of concept art (rather than the finished product) however is that sometimes these figures will get details wrong, which means Bandai end up releasing a better version those few months later anyway. This is true of the lengthily titled S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Integrated Suit) -Final Battle Edition-, the second of Spider-Man: No Way Home's three Spideys to be released as a Tamashii web exclusive. Following some technical issues with the Amazing Spider-Man, Peter 1 was pushed back from his original March release date to May – which is a pretty appropriate month to release a Spider-Man figure when you think about it.

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser

S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 9900 yen

While modern Ultraman series tend not to see an extensive amount of releases in the S.H. Figuarts line, one thing that can be said about Bandai Tamashii Nations is that they do make sure the essentials are all covered. This doesn't just mean alternate forms either, because Ultraman always needs at least one other character to partner with or face up against. And in the S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser, Ultraman Decker rather conveniently has both. The second Figuarts release from Ultraman Decker and its first Tamashii web exclusive, the Terraphaser is a giant robot created by the TPU to assist GUTS-Select in battle against both rampaging kaiju and the Sphere. However in reality it's true purpose was to be a super weapon created by Agams - an alien who had travelled back in time to enact his revenge against humanity for bringing their conflict against the Sphere to his planet. 

Friday, 8 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Shokugan Modeling Project Daidenjin

SMP Daidenjin 01

Release Date: December 2022
RRP: 6600 yen

One of the great joys about the Shokugan Modeling Project (the line formerly known as Super Mini-Pla) is that it's producing it's fair share of classic Super Sentai mecha in addition to just the post-Zyuranger ones that most of the world is more familiar with. For example, immediately after going all-out with Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger it jumped a further 21 years back in time to visit a different landmark Sentai series - 1980's Denshi Sentai Denjiman. The fourth instalment in the franchise, this was the second to be co-produced with Marvel Comics and the only series to receive a direct sequel in the form of the succeeding show Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan. Shokugan Modeling Project Daidenjin is the first of two SMP releases from Denjiman, the second Super Sentai series its covered since its rebranding.

Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7150 yen

Although we get a new Ultraman every year simply through the mainline series, it didn't make one being introduced through the ongoing Ultra Galaxy Fight web series any less exciting. After being teased at the end of The Absolute Conspiracy, Ultraman Regulos made his full debut in The Destined Crossroad – a space martial artist with a history with Ultraman Leo and Astra, as well as a rivalry with the Absolutian Absolute Diavolo. This year's Ultraman Regulos prequel expanded on his origins further, revealing him as an amnesiac Ultra who trained in the Cosmo Beast Style martial arts. It seems as though Tsuburaya Productions have some big plans for him, which is all the more reason why S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos has joined the Ultraman range as one of its latest Tamashii web exclusive releases.

Monday, 4 September 2023

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Gotchard

Kamen Rider Gotchard

If there's one way to make a franchise surrounded by collectible toy lines somehow even more collectible, it's to add trading cards. Between randomly assorted booster packs, rarities and art variants, Kamen Rider collectors are in for an expensive year because this is the direction franchise has gone in with its fifth Reiwa era series (and 34th overall) Kamen Rider Gotchard. Replacing Kamen Rider Geats alongside Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger in the current Super Hero Time line-up, the series will be co-written by Keiichi Hasagawa and Hiroki Uchida – both of whom have served as regular writers for both Kamen Rider and Ultraman.

Saturday, 2 September 2023

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Geats

Kamen Rider Geats

As the Kamen Rider franchise continues to confidently move forward into the Reiwa era, there are certain commonalities between the most recent shows that could now be considered as franchise staples. As well as the more obvious prominence of one or more female Rider, the number of Kamen Riders in general per show seems to have increased exponentially - with the most recently completed series boasting the largest number of all. Kamen Rider Geats is the 37th show in the overall franchise, following on from Kamen Rider Revice as the fourth entry in the Reiwa era. Written by Kamen Rider veteran Yuya Takahashi (of Ex-Aid and Zero-One fame), Geats draws inspiration from the current popularity of survival games - from the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends to Kaiji and even Squid Game, to create an all-new spin on the "Kamen Rider Battle Royale" - a concept first introduced in Kamen Rider Ryuki all the way back in 2002.

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Blue Ranger Vs. Psycho Silver Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Blue Ranger & Psycho Silver Ranger 01

Release Date: October 2021
RRP: $41.99/£45.99

While Power Rangers in Space might be the series with the most figures in the Lightning Collection outside of Mighty Morphin, collecting them all is certainly no easy task. Between the single box releases, deluxe figures, double packs and even multi-figure sets the price can add up quite quickly – and that even applies when only picking up the core team itself. The Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Blue Ranger Vs. Psycho Silver Ranger set was initially the only way to get T.J. (however he has since been also made available in a deluxe set with his Galaxy Glider), as well as the second In Space Ranger to be part of a double-pack. The set pays homage to episode 34 of Power Rangers in Space, where Silver Ranger Zhane disguises himself as a sixth Psycho Ranger to confuse and defeat the evil ranger team.

Tuesday, 29 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman -First Contact Ver.- (Shin Ultraman)

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman -First Contact Ver.- 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7700 yen

With Shin Ultraman proving to be a hit in every sense of the word it's no surprise that Bandai Tamashii Nations have jumped on it when it comes to S.H. Figuarts releases. Even with a limited number of characters in the film there's plenty of ground to cover when it comes to variants, with one such example being S.H. Figuarts Ultraman -First Contact Version- (Shin Ultraman) . This Tamashii Web exclusive release is based on Ultraman's initial appearance in the film when he first arrives on Earth and battles Neronga (prior to merging with Shinji Kaminaga).

Sunday, 27 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Clone Commander Jesse

Star Wars Black Series Clone Commander Jesse 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: $27.99/£29.99

If there's one thing Hasbro will never run out of when it comes to Star Wars figures in both the Black Series and Vintage Collection, it's clone trooper variants. And while they've certainly been pumping them out over the last few years (particularly since they have an all-new body to work with), it's been nice to see some of the named troopers from Star Wars: The Clone Wars as well as the different coloured battalions. One such example is clone trooper CT-5597 aka Jesse - an ARC Trooper lieutenant that served as part of 501st Legion. Fighting many battles alongside Anakin Skywalker, Captain Rex and Ahsoka Tano, sadly Jesse was one of the troopers that succumbed to Order 66's brainwashing - turning against Ahsoka before perishing when their ship crashed into a moon. Black Series Clone Commander Jesse was released as a Walmart exclusive in the US and via the Hasbro "fan channel" in other territories.

Friday, 25 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider 1 (Old Version)

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider 1 (Old Version) 01

Release Date: November 2022
RRP: 8250 yen

A lot of the time Tamashii Nations event exclusives can be fairly predictable. For example, if there's an all-black form in a series it's more than likely to show up here. But sometimes Bandai Tamashii Nations like to throw fans absolute curveballs, and much like Kamen Rider Diend back in 2019 the Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou entry for 2022 is a bit of a head-scratcher. Very nearly coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the franchise, it's fitting to go all the way back to the beginning with S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider 1 (Old Version), but surely this is something that would have sold like hotcakes as a retail or standard Tamashii web exclusive? This figure is based on the first appearance of Takeshi Hongo as the original Kamen Rider, from the very first episode of Kamen Rider back in 1971 all the way up until its 13th episode.

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Absolute Tartarus

S.H. Figuarts Absolute Tartarus 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7700 yen

If you've been following the Ultra Galaxy Fight web miniseries/specials for the past few years you'll know that the Ultras currently have their hands full fighting against the Absolutians - a race of powerful aliens looking to subjugate the Land of Light and turn it into their new home. Their story first kicked off in Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy, and has continued on into The Destined Crossroad, Ultraman Trigger, Ultraman Regulos and more. With how much of a presence it has in current Ultraman continuity, it was only a matter of time before the release of S.H. Figuarts Absolute Tartarus. The fact it's also a retail release just shows how much confidence both Bandai Tamashii Nations and Tsuburaya Productions seem to have in it.

Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man

S.H. Figuarts Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 8800 yen

The Multi-Verse is set to play a big part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forwards, but arguably it's already peaked by bringing together three different eras of web-slinger together in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The climax of the film saw both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's iterations of the hero join Tom Holland in a battle against Spider-Man's enemies from across the Multi-Verse, renewing interest in both actors and their respective films. Of course it also means brand new merchandise too, with Bandai Tamashii Nations among the first to announce all three versions as part of the S.H. Figuarts line. Kicking off with the original, S.H. Figuarts Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (also dubbed "Peter 2" in the film) was released as a Tamashii web exclusive.

Sunday, 6 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 'The Regeneration Set' Two Figure Collector Set

Doctor Who 'The Regeneration Set' 01

Release Date: January 2023
RRP: £29.99

The Power of the Doctor saw Doctor Who fans bid farewell to the 13th Doctor (as played by Jodie Whittaker), with her incarnation of the iconic Time Lord regenerating and the 14th Doctor mysteriously taking the face of his tenth incarnation (both of course played by David Tennant) once more. This mystery will soon be answered in the forthcoming 60th anniversary specials due to air later this year. Character Options were even able to mark the occasion with an extremely quick announcement of 'The Regeneration Set' - a special two figure collector set made available exclusively on their website. This marks the first release from newly released episodes of Doctor Who in some time, as well as Character working closely with Russell T Davies and the production team behind the series to release the set on such a quick turnaround and ahead of the 14th Doctor's full debut.

Friday, 4 August 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Gokai Red

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Gokai Red 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 9350 yen

The return of Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts in 2023 was exciting enough, but the news that the franchise would also be joining the prestigious S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou range was proof enough that Bandai Tamashii Nations might be dedicated to bringing them back as a full-time thing (even if there's no sign of a full team in sight). While its release comes a little late to celebrate the show's 10th anniversary, given both the popularity of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and its place within the franchise there seemed no better choice for Sentai's first Shinkocchou Seihou outing. S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Gokai Red was a mass release figure, initially teased back in 2021 when the line returned with the release of Zenkaizer.

Monday, 31 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider (Shin Kamen Rider)

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider (Shin Kamen Rider) 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 7700 yen

The 50th anniversary of the Kamen Rider franchise brought along plenty of new exciting projects, but arguably the biggest of them all was the announcement of the next instalment in Hideaki Anno's series of unrelated "Shin" films - Shin Kamen Rider. A retelling of the original 1971 series, the film has not only found success in Japan but also worldwide - receiving a number of limited screenings across the US before releasing worldwide on Amazon Prime earlier this month. But moving back to the film's initial Japanese cinema release in March, Bandai Tamashii Nations were on the ball with the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider (Shin Kamen Rider) to coincide with it. Despite technically being a figure of Kamen Rider 1, with Takeshi Hongo as the main character of the film the figure simply been billed as "Kamen Rider" - the first hero to adopt that name.

Saturday, 29 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Soul of Chogokin GX-37R King Joe (55th Anniversary Ver.)

Soul of Chogokin GX-37R King Joe (55th Anniversary Ver.) 01

Release Date: February 2023
RRP: 14850 yen

While Bandai Tamashii Nations might have defied expectation by not announcing a S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Ultraseven, they are however celebrating the 55th anniversary of Ultraseven in a different way. In addition to the metallic coloured variant of the original S.H. Figuarts release, the Soul of Chogokin line got in on the action with a long-awaited re-release of its take on one of the hero's most iconic enemies. The Soul of Chogokin GX-37R King Joe (55th Anniversary Ver.) is a fully transforming version of the alien robot, which first appeared in episodes 14-15 of Ultraseven ("The Ultra Guard Goes West) before continuing on into numerous instalments of the Ultra Series. The original version of this figure was released all the way back in 2007, which was then followed by a "King Joe Black" version (based on the robot's appearance in Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle) in 2008. 

Thursday, 27 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Dyna Flash Type

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Dyna Flash Type 01

Release Date: April 2023
RRP: 8250 yen

With 2022 marking the 25th anniversary of Ultraman Dyna, it was fair to assume that Bandai Tamashii Nations would celebrate the occasion in the same way they had for Ultraman Tiga's anniversary the year before. While it took a little while for them to confirm, Bandai did indeed pull through to expand the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Ultraman range with S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Dyna Flash Type. The third character to be released (and fourth overall), Dyna's 2023 release may mean he's coming a little later than his actual anniversary, but with last year providing a new version of the original Ultraman instead we have been getting at least one general retail Ultraman Seihou a year – and more Ultraman is never a bad thing no matter what pace it comes at.

Wednesday, 26 July 2023

Special REVIEW: Yodonna 3: Yodonna's Valentine

Yodonna 3: Yodonna's Valentine

The Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub has provided some pretty strange specials over the past few years, but there are few quite as weird as Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna. Bringing back the fan-favourite villain from the 2020-2021 Super Sentai series is one thing, but place in this strange adult-orientated special full of violence, cosplay and very obvious titillation is another. However it was clearly a success with its target audience, because a few years later and she's back once again in Yodonna 3: Yodonna's Valentine. Once again the Yodonheim general brings with her some familiar tokusatsu alumni in a story that just has to be seen to be believed, written by Tete Inoue and directed by Koichi Sakamoto.

Sunday, 23 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pink Ranger & Zeo Pink Ranger

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pink Ranger & Zeo Pink Ranger 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: $41.99/£45.99

With one team member from Power Rangers Zeo left to release, one would think that Hasbro would just get them out as part of an upcoming wave to complete another team on collectors shelves. Of course this isn't how Hasbro operate, and why give you one figure you want when they can bundle it up with one you probably don't? Though to its credit, the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pink Ranger & Zeo Pink Ranger set is a clever idea for a two-pack release - channelling the rise of the team's second Pink Ranger Katherine Hillard whilst also releasing yet ANOTHER version of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Pink Ranger into the wild. This set was initially released in the US as a GameStop exclusive, however was also made available via Hasbro Pulse in both the US and the rest of the world.

Friday, 21 July 2023


ULTRAMAN Final is available in streaming form on Netflix

While the success of Ultraman's recent bid for global recognition is largely attributed towards the main series and Shin Ultraman, it would be remiss not to give some of the credit to Netflix's adaptation of Eiichi Shimuzu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi's ongoing manga series as well. It's a very different kind of Ultraman, but the accessibility of Netflix combined with the exposure its received through merchandising and other means have made it something of a surprise hit in the Ultraman arsenal. All good things must come to an end though, and while the manga is still going strong for now the same cannot be said for the anime version. After a strong first season and a good-yet-troubled sequel, Production I.G. and Sola Digital Arts return for the show's conclusion with the aptly titled ULTRAMAN Final.

Wednesday, 19 July 2023

Special REVIEW: Ultraman Regulos: First Mission

Ultraman Regulos: First Mission

Following on from his appearances in Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad and the Ultraman Regulos miniseries, the story of the latest Ultra hero continues in Ultraman Regulos: First Mission! Releasing on both the Tsuburaya Productions YouTube channel and Ultraman Connection only a few weeks after his titular miniseries, this two-part special brings Regulos' story up into the current timeline - charting his trajectory following his release from the Absolutians' capture. As with many of the recent Ultraman projects, it has been released worldwide with an English dub as well as in its original Japanese with multi-language subtitles.

Monday, 17 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom

S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 8800 yen

If you ever needed further proof of just how popular Ultraman Z is, look no further than the amount of S.H. Figuarts releases Bandai Tamashii Nations have done for the series. Despite long past the days of them release both the Ultras and multiple kaiju/aliens for each series they cover, years after airing we're still getting new Z figures. And not just of the titular Ultraman either - following the release of both SC-1 Sevenger and SC-3 King Joe there was one huge gap in the collection that needed to be filled. S.H. Figuarts SC-2 Windom is the last of S.T.O.R.A.G.E.'s Special Airbourne Armour robots to be released in the line, once again as a Tamashii web exclusive. The second robot to join their arsenal in the series, despite being built on Earth it shares a striking similarity to the Windoms that once assisted Ultraseven and Ultraman Mebius many years ago.

Wednesday, 12 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Shadowmoon

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Shadowmoon 01

Release Date: April 2023
RRP: 8250 yen

With S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Black Sun releasing to coincide with the series debut on Amazon Prime back in November last year, the big question was how long it would take him to be joined by the other Century King. Shadow Moon received quite the overhaul for Kamen Rider Black Sun, most notably of all finally being recognised with the title of "Kamen Rider". Five lengthy months later, and S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Shadowmoon was released as a Tamashii web exclusive to usher in a new age for Gorgom and kaijin alike.

Monday, 10 July 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Twokaizer

S.H. Figuarts Twokaizer 01

Release Date: January 2023
RRP: 7700 yen

"Yo-ho-hoy- yo-ho-hoy- yo-ho-hoy-hoy! Hey! I am a World Pirate. In pursuit of treasure, I go from sea to sea! I am a pirate. In pursuit of freedom, I travel from world to world! I'll get my hands on it no matter what! And now I'm an S.H. Figuarts! Yo-ho-hoy!" The Super Sentai franchise returns its grand return to the S.H. Figuarts line with its second release from Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger - S.H. Figuarts Twokaizer! In the absence of the rest of the core team World Pirate Zocks Goldtsuiker joins Zenkaizer as a Tamashii web exclusive release, the first for Super Sentai Figuarts in some time.

Saturday, 8 July 2023

First Impressions: Ultraman Blazar

Ultraman Blazar

While the "New Generation Series" era of Ultraman has been pivotal in helping Tsuburaya Productions re-establish the franchise as a major player in both Japan and the rest of the world, there's no denying that it's lost the lustre it once had. While the overall quality of the shows remain high, the look and feel of the shows have become formulaic. Even shows like Ultraman Trigger and Ultraman Decker, both of which were supposed to harken back to Ultraman's return in the 1990s, didn't feel all that removed from their recent predecessors. Clearly TsuPro have recognised this themselves as well, which is why for the 2023 instalment of the franchise they seem to be going back to basics. Ultraman Blazar has arrived, with fans worldwide once again able to watch the series legally via TsuPro's official YouTube channel or the Ultraman Connection website. Additionally for the very first time, the series will be available with an English dub released simultaneously with the original Japanese audio.

Wednesday, 5 July 2023

Special REVIEW: Geats Extra: Kamen Rider Tycoon Meets Kamen Rider Shinobi

Geats Extra: Kamen Rider Tycoon Meets Kamen Rider Shinobi

He may be a year and half late, but finally the real Kamen Rider of 2022 has returned. In a parallel universe somewhere, Rider fans have been enjoying the adventures of Kamen Rider Shinobi for some time now and his series is reaching its endgame. Over in this universe however, we've been left in the lurch after first meeting him in Kamen Rider Zi-O and then an all too brief introduction to his story in Rider Time: Kamen Rider Shinobi. It's been a long wait, but now he finally returns in Geats Extra: Kamen Rider Tycoon Meets Kamen Rider Shinobi! The second of the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub's Kamen Rider Geats spin-offs unites our current ninja-themed Rider meet the alternate world hero, along with other ninja Riders from across the franchise.

Friday, 30 June 2023

Miniseries REVIEW: Ultraman Regulos

Ultraman Regulos

Even among the pantheon of lesser-known Ultras brought to the table during Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad, Tsuburaya Productions still found the time to introduce fans to a brand-new Ultra hero as well – Ultraman Regulos. This martial arts-based Ultra debuted with very little backstory within the web series, but showed clear links to both Ultraman Leo and Astra as well as similarly new villain Absolute Diavolo. With Tsuburaya seemingly taking a break from the Ultras ongoing battle against the Absolutions in 2023, instead they're finally shining some light on this new hero with an Ultraman Regulos miniseries. Running for a total of six episodes, this web-series debuted on both the Tsuburaya YouTube channel and Ultraman Connection with both Japanese and English language audio (as well as a multitude of subtitle languages) – once again showing their dedication to spreading the word of Ultraman across the globe.

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legacy Armada Universe Starscream

Transformers Legacy Armada Universe Starscream 01

Release Date: October 2022
RRP: $34.99/£32.99

After several years of War for Cybertron trilogy toys that were for the most part modern updates of the classic Generation One toys, the subsequent Legacy line is a breath of fresh air for fans of the wider Transformers universe. While this line continues to cover all those familiar G1 faces, it's also branched out into other areas of the franchise – including other cartoons and comic instalments. Among those is of course 2002's Transformers: Armada, and it didn't take long to get one of its most popular characters with Transformers Legacy Armada Universe Starscream. Unlike most versions of the treacherous Decepticon, this Starscream was fiercely loyal to Megatron only to have that loyalty rebuffed at every turn. After seeing how well Optimus Prime treated his team in comparison, Starscream briefly switched sides before returning to the Decepticon fold and eventually sacrificing his life so that Optimus and Megatron would join forces against Unicron.

Monday, 26 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geats MagnumBoost Form

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geats MagnumBoost Form 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 4400 yen

Let the curtain rise on another Desire Grand Prix! It's that time again where S.H. Figuarts unveil a whole new series of Kamen Rider releases, and with a series as big as Kamen Rider Geats Bandai Tamashii Nations certainly aren't going to run out ideas any time soon. But the best place to start is always at the very beginning, and the release of a new titular Rider also brings about another Bandai tradition – the cheaper entry point figure. This year it's the turn of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geats MagnumBoost Form, giving fans an all-round version of Ace Ukiyo to kick things off sporting his two most commonly used Raise Buckles.

Saturday, 24 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Live Bat Genome/Jackal Genome

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Live 01

Release Date: February 2023
RRP: 8250 yen

With S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Evil having been quickly rushed out the door for the Kamen Rider Revice range, it's been a surprisingly long wait for what many would consider to the the series' "true" secondary Rider. But nearly a year after S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Revi and Kamen Rider Vice hit shelves, the Igarashi siblings are finally complete with the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Live Bat Genome/Jackal Genome as a Tamashii web exclusive.

Thursday, 22 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Revoltech Zurg (Toy Story)

Revoltech Emperor Zurg 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 11,880 yen

Even without appearing in the first Toy Story movie, the name "Emperor Zurg" immediately latched onto me. In amongst all the other fantastic things going on in the film I wanted to know more about Buzz Lightyear's sworn enemy, and when he finally appeared in Toy Story 2 I was not disappointed. That love continued on with the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command cartoon (where he was brilliantly voiced by Wayne Knight) and the Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin Disney Parks ride. Not so much 2022's Buzz Lightyear movie, but the less said about that the better. However despite this love I've never owned a good Zurg toy, so naturally Kaiyodo made my dreams come true when they announced Revoltech Zurg (Toy Story) would be joining Woody and Buzz as part of the Revoltech line. Despite releasing not too long after Buzz's solo movie, this figure is based on Zurg's original appearance as the sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance.

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Movie REVIEW: Avataro Sentai Donbrothers vs Zenkaiger

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers vs Zenkaiger

With Super Sentai being on a bit of a roll lately the annual crossover movies have become that little bit more exciting, and the combination of two shows which helped shake up that all-too-familiar template definitely felt like something to take note of. The 45th and 46th Super Sentai series clash in Avataro Sentai Donbrothers vs Zenkaiger, the 29th instalment in the long-running VS series. Head writers Junko Komura (Zenkaiger) and Toshiki Inoue (Donbrothers) both return to guide their respective series alongside director Katsuya Watanabe, with the film taking place following the conclusions of both shows.

Monday, 19 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legacy Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection Robots in Disguise 2000 Universe Scourge

Transformers Legacy Velocitron RID Scourge 01

Release Date: August 2022
RRP: $55.99/£54.99

Transformers fans have developed the skills to immediately work out what figures are going to be retooled/repainted into what, so when it was announced that the Legacy line was going to be covering the various eras of the franchise AND that a new Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime would be amongst the first selection of figures…it really didn't take long to work out what else would be coming eventually. As one of the most popular exports from the 2000 Robots in Disguise series (known as Car Robots over in Japan), Scourge is EXACTLY what most people from a Laser Prime mould. Fans didn't have to wait too long either, with Transformers Legacy Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection Robots in Disguise 2000 Universe Scourge arriving before the year was out. The Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection is a subset of Walmart-exclusive figures (also available via Hasbro Pulse), focusing on characters taking part in a race on the planet Velocitron from Transformers: Cybertron.

Sunday, 18 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: THE GATTAI Infinite Combining Gurren Dan Lagann

THE GATTAI Infinite Combining Gurren Dan Lagann 01

Release Date: December 2022
RRP: 24000 yen

2022 marked the 15th anniversary of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and as one might expect the popular Gainax series received plenty of new merchandise in celebration. While a lot of these announcements were certainly nothing to scoff at (a new transforming Riobot version from Sentinel, a long overdue articulated Kamina figure from BUZZmod), it was Good Smile Company that truly thought out of the box to mark the occasion. Teaming up with the production staff behind the series (including director Hiroyuki Imaishi) they came up with THE GATTAI Infinite Combining Gurren Dan Lagann – a brand new combination that incorporates nine mecha from Team Dai Gurren. Raw raw, fight the power.

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

Special REVIEW: Geats Extra: Kamen Rider PunkJack

Geats Extra: Kamen Rider PunkJack

Kamen Rider Geats is a series with a lot different Riders (and given there's still a few months of it left, potentially more to come), so when it comes to the various spin-offs Kamen Rider fans are treated to it makes sense to get a head start on covering the essentials. The first of the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub's Geats-centric specials is Geats Extra: Kamen Rider PunkJack, which aims to fill in some additional information about the Desire Grand Prix as well as add some additional context behind the Rider's return in episode 35. The special consists of one 27-minute episode, and was announced alongside the forthcoming Geats Extra: Kamen Rider Tycoon meets Kamen Rider Shinobi.

Friday, 2 June 2023

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider X

Kamen Rider X

Following the success of both the original Kamen Rider in 1971 and then Kamen Rider V3 in 1973, the series had easily reached franchise potential. As such a third series was put into production, with the 35-episode Kamen Rider X launching on 16th February 1974 - immediately after the conclusion of V3. With original conception once again from Kamen Rider creator Shotaro Ishinomori and a screenplay from writers such as Hideka Nagasaka (Android Kikaider and Kikaider 01) and Masaru Inoue (father of Toshiki Inoue and he himself a tokusatsu writing legend), Kamen Rider X sought to further expand the concept of Kamen Rider with new innovations, new characters and a new villainous organisation.

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Miniseries REVIEW: Kamen Rider Juuga VS Kamen Rider Orteca

Kamen Rider Judge VS Kamen Rider Orteca

On top of it being the 50th anniversary series, the sheer number of Riders that appear in Kamen Rider Revice made it clear that there was plenty of spin-off potential to be mined from it. While more obvious candidates got their shot at the spotlight either during the actual run of the series or in the more prestigious V-Cinema release, there's always the post-series Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub exclusives to think of as well. Of course, these are also an opportunity to add even more Riders to the mix as well. Kamen Rider Juuga VS Kamen Rider Orteca just happens to do both - putting series mainstay and Kamen Rider fanboy George Karizaki in the spotlight as he fights off against former Deadmans member Orteca as he finally takes on his own Rider form.

Friday, 26 May 2023

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

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja Red Ranger 01

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

And just like that, another Power Rangers Lightning Collection team is completed! Although admittedly this isn't one fans had to wait all that long for, given that all six Mighty Morphin Ninja Rangers were released in 2022. That said, the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja Red Ranger did come a little later than most of his teammates, joining the Yellow Ranger as a June release whilst all the others hit in January. Though by this point the Red Ranger wasn't the leader of the team it does feel somewhat fitting for Rocky to be the one to round off the team, gaining new Ninja powers from the Ape Power Coin.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Toybox REVIEW: NECA Reel Toys Charred Chucky

NECA Reel Toys Charred Chucky 01

Release Date: August 2022
RRP: $39.99

With the way that the Chucky franchise has evolved into the titular character having multiple variants of himself, NECA are sitting on an untapped gold mine when it comes to toys. But that isn't to say they haven't dabbled in the realm of variants just yet, with them going all the way back to the original 1988 Child's Play for the NECA Reel Toys Charred Chucky figure. Based on his appearance at the very end of the film after Karen and Andy Barclay have managed to trap him in the fireplace, the figure was released exclusively through Shout Factory's website to coincide with their 4K releases of the original Child's Play trilogy. The figure was available both as a standalone release, and together in a special set with the three films.

Thursday, 18 May 2023

FEATURE: Damiensaber Xenopixel Xeno3.0 Lightsaber Review - Use the Force with Bluetooth control!

Damiensaber Xenopixel Xeno3.0 Lightsaber 01

As I much suspected to be the case with high-end lightsabers, it's impossible to just stop at one. After being so impressed with their "Luke Saber Force FX Heavy Duelling" Lightsaber earlier in the year, I absolutely jumped at the chance to take a look at what else Damiensaber had to offer in the way of replica RGB lightsabers. This time we're looking at the cream of the crop when it comes to duelling sabers, with a Damiensaber Xenopixel Xeno3.0 Lightsaber review! This is the very latest in their run of impressive Xenopixel lightsabers, which now combines the fully LED blade with both bluetooth and mobile app functionality - letting you use the Force to control your lightsaber like never before.

Saturday, 13 May 2023

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

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Ninja Yellow Ranger 01

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

While the bulk of the Mighty Morphin Ninja Ranger team were released by Hasbro in one fell swoop, the last two members came a few months later. Why this was is anyone's guess given how crazy Hasbro's release schedules have been over the last few years, but nevertheless getting the whole team in a matter of months is still a pretty crazy achievement. The Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Yellow Ranger joined the Red Ranger as the final two releases from this "wave", representing second Yellow Ranger Aisha Campbell as she gained her new ninja powers from the Bear Power Coin. "It's time to boogie with the bear."

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Dinobot Sludge

Transformers Studio Series 86 Dinobot Sludge 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $54.99/£55.99

So far the Transformers Studio Series 86 line has delivered hit after hit, but undoubtedly one of the most exciting aspects of it has been the opportunity to get a full set of official Dinobots that match up to their size and stature on the cartoon itself. Since Hasbro only release so many leader class figures a year it's a bit of a slow process, but at least fans were able to round off 2022 with the original trio of these fan favourite Autobots. Studio Series 86 Dinobot Sludge is the fourth leader class figure from the Transformers: The Movie 35th anniversary range, following on from Grimlock, Slug (Slag) and Coronation Starscream.