Monday, 5 December 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Demons Spider Genome

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Demons 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: 7700 yen

While Kamen Rider Revice may have been a series that pushed the story of family first and foremost, it wasn't just the Igarashi family that captured fans' hearts. Fenix commander Hiromi Kadota quickly established himself as a firm fan-favourite in the series, fighting as the first Kamen Rider Demons using the Vail-possessed Demons Driver. After going missing and presumed dead, he would eventually return to the fight against Giff leading Weekend's Demons Army. His popularity pretty much ensured the quick release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Demons Spider Genome, who joins the line as the fourth release in the Revice range and its second Tamashii web exclusive.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Evil Trigger

S.H. Figuarts Evil Trigger 01

Release Date: November 2022
RRP: 7150 yen

The Ultraman franchise has found a comfortable place in the annual Tamashii Nations event exclusives, although arguably the metallic repaints of the last couple of years have been nothing to write home about. For the 2022 event however Bandai Tamashii Nations have returned to the well of evil Ultras they originally started with back in 2018 with Ultraman Orb Dark, celebrating last year's Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z movie with the release of S.H. Figuarts Evil Trigger. Using the Ancient Sparklence, Zabil of the Ultra-Ancient Civilisation transforms into this shadowy figure, consumed by his desire to become a messianic figure for humanity.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice the Movie: Battle Familia

Kamen Rider Revice the Movie: Battle Familia

As the end of a Kamen Rider series approaches, the time of the summer movie is upon us. With more and more of these films featuring events that tie directly into the main series, the show becomes a careful balance of having to still be understood on its own terms whilst also making the movie feel like a vital part of the story. Double-billed with the Avataro Sentai Donbrothers movie, Kamen Rider Revice the Movie: Battle Familia takes the Igarashi siblings on a side story following the defeat of Giff and in the lead up to Karizaki's debut as Kamen Rider Juuga. The Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub special Birth of Chimera was also produced as an introduction to the film's story and characters.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Carmeara

S.H. Figuarts Carmeara 01

Release Date: August 2022
RRP: 7150 yen

With the number of alien and kaiju figures it has produced over the years the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts range certainly isn't short of villain material, however it's also particularly exciting when a main villain turns up in the line. In Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga the Giants of Darkness were an ancient race of beings that destroyed everything in their path, eventually arriving on Earth 30 million years ago in search of the Eternity Core. Sealed away after one of their own turned to the light, they awoke in the present day to seek revenge against their former comrade – Ultraman Trigger. The leader of the group was Carmeara, driven by her love for Trigger Dark and hatred toward Kengo Manaka for taking him away from her. S.H. Figuarts Carmeara joins the line as a Tamashii Web exclusive, and is notable for being the first female character to appear in the whole Ultraman S.H. Figuarts line.

Friday, 25 November 2022

Special REVIEW: Kamen Rider Saber Spin-Off: Kamen Rider Sabela & Kamen Rider Durendal

Kamen Rider Saber Spin-Off: Kamen Rider Sabela & Kamen Rider Durendal

With Kamen Rider Saber having as many Riders as it does it was perhaps a bit of a surprise when V-Cinext movie Trio of Deep Sin decided to focus on the core three Riders, but nevertheless it remains a series rife with Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub spin-off potential. As two of the last Riders to join Saber's line-up of legendary swordsmen, Reika and Ryoga Shindai are two characters that particularly felt like they had more to give. Toei obviously felt so too, given the surprise announcement of Kamen Rider Saber Spin-off: Kamen Rider Sabela & Kamen Rider Durendal as the latest entry on their streaming platform. This special marks the second time the Shindai siblings have broken away from the main Saber cast, having previously represented them in the Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger portion of the Saber/Zenkaiger crossover episodes.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pudgy Pig

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pudgy Pig 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: $57.99/£58.99 (PulseCon Exclusive Edition), $33.99/£35.99 (Standard Edition)

The first wave of Power Rangers Lightning Collection deluxe figures with met with cheers from fans – finally we were getting larger, more articulated figures of classic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers monsters with (Hasbro's words) premium paintwork. Then their release came and we soon found that they were far from perfect, suffering from being a little TOO big and sporting not-so-premium paintwork. The fact poor old King Sphinx and Pumpkin Rapper (who is actually still a VERY good figure) ended up discounted everywhere speaks for itself. However Hasbro persevered, diversifying the deluxe range with ranger/vehicle sets as well as more familiar monsters. And as far as iconic Power Rangers monsters go, a Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Pudgy Pig was inevitable. This figure was initially available in a special Hasbro PulseCon set before being made available at general retail, the latter of which is what is reviewed below.

Monday, 21 November 2022

Top 5: Tamashii Nation 2022 Reveals

Top 5: Tamashii Nation 2022 Reveals

This weekend saw the Bandai Tamashii Nations 2022 event take place in Tokyo, and as usual it was an exciting few days of brand-new reveals to look forward to over the coming years. 2022 saw big moments such as the grand return of One Piece S.H. Figuarts, the continuation of the Super Sentai range, Metal Heroes gain new life in the Chogokin line, a strong return for S.H. MonsterArts as well as the usual impressive displays from the likes of Kamen Rider, Gundam, Ultraman, Macross and more. So today I'm looking back on my five favourite reveals from the event, all of which I simply can't wait to preorder…providing these aren't more examples of figures that revealed and immediately end up in Bandai purgatory that is.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Knightfall Batman

MAFEX Knightfall Batman 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: 8800 yen

The 1990s were a strange time for comics, particularly as it seemed like everyone's favourite superheroes were suddenly getting replaced with new versions. Over in Gotham City the Knightfall storyline saw Bruce Wayne crippled at the hands of Bane, with the antihero Azrael (real identity Jean-Paul Valley) taking the mantle in his absence. As Batman, Valley decided that Bruce's tactics were obsolete – donning enhanced battle armour and dealing with criminals in a far more merciless manner. As his Azrael conditioning continued to make him more and more erratic, Bruce is forced to engage him in battle to reclaim the mantle of the Bat. Now Medicom pay tribute to this pivotal Batman story with the release of MAFEX Knightfall Batman, showing off Valley's armour in all its 90s glory.

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Dark Trooper

Star Wars Black Series Dark Trooper 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: £33.99/£36.99

While the old Legends canon may have been thrown out with Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars franchise, slowly but surely some of its more popular elements are slowly creeping back into continuity. As well as bringing several animated characters to live action, season two of The Mandalorian also saw the return of the Dark Troopers – third generation battle droids utilised by Moff Gideon in his capture of Grogu. Able to withstand blaster fire, flamethrowers and other projectiles, these Imperial Troopers proved a difficult opponent to the Mandalorian Din Djarin. The Black Series Dark Trooper is one of the latest deluxe releases from Hasbro's six-inch figure line – initially slated for a 2023 release but arriving considerably earlier whilst Hasbro's shipping projections continue to be in disarray.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Top 5: Tamashii Nations Reveals That Never Happened

Top 5: Tamashii Nations Reveals That Never Happened

We're only a few weeks away from the annual Tamashii Nations event, where Bandai Tamashii Nations reveal a whole bunch of forthcoming releases from their various toy lines. But while these events are always a big source of excitement for collectors as they see all the newest figures to add to their wish lists, they can also be a time of frustration as many of the figures on display never make it past the prototype stage. So in the lead up to the event I've decided to put together my top five reveals that have happened at Tamashii Nations events over the years, which have then never come to fruition. Reader beware – this list contains a whole lot of "what could have been", and if you've been following these events for some time are likely to drum up some painful memories of Bandai prototype hell.