Tuesday, 19 March 2019

First Impressions: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger

If there's one thing Toei feel they can always rely on to save the Super Sentai franchise when it's in a pinch, it's dinosaurs. Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger was there to raise toy sales after Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters failed to meet expectations, and now after Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patranger struggled to leave a mark they're hoping that Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger will do the same. Ryusoulger will be the fourth series in the franchise to utilise a dinosaur motif, and the 43rd entry in the franchise overall. Ryusoul Black and Ryusoul Green previously made cameo appearances in the four part Super Sentai Strongest Battle special, which bridged the gap between this series and its predecessor.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Miniseries REVIEW: Super Sentai Strongest Battle

After running consecutively for over 40 years, it isn't all that surprising that the release pattern for Super Sentai has become fairly predictable by now. So when Toei do decide to do something that deviates from the norm, it feels like a pretty big deal. The first big shock of 2019 was from the news that Kaito Sentai Lupinranger vs. Keisatsu Sentai Patranger wouldn't immediately be followed with Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger, but rather a four part crossover special celebrating the legacy of Super Sentai. Super Sentai Strongest Battle (aka Super Sentai Saikyo Battle) brings together previous cast members in an all-out battle royale, as well as featuring the debut appearance of the fourth dinosaur Sentai team.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Todoroki

Release Date: January 2019
RRP: 7020 yen

Though it often feels sidelined due to its mid-series retooling or simply how different it feels to the other Heisei era Kamen Rider shows, it's nice to see Kamen Rider Hibiki getting the love it deserves as far as the S.H. Figuarts line is concerned. It's crazy to think that nearly five years have passed since Bandai Tamashii Nations released the titular Rider as part of the Shinkocchou Seihou line, but in their usual display of "better late than never" 2019 will be the year the show's core line up will be completed in figure form. Last summer saw the release of Kamen Rider Ibuki, and now Bandai are kicking off the new year with the release of S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Todoroki. As was the case with Ibuki this is another Tamashii web exclusive release, and as you can probably guess Kamen Rider Zanki will be following in similar fashion in the coming months.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: NECA Bride of Chucky Ultimate Chucky & Tiffany

Release Date: December 2018
RRP: $58.99

It's no secret that the Child's Play/Chucky series is my all-time favourite horror franchise, and while NECA's Ultimate Chucky figure from 2017 certainly scratched my itch for a good quality action figure, I was still left wanting more. Because as great as the original Child's Play films are, my all-time favourite instalment in the series is 1998's Bride of Chucky. It's completely trashy and its follow-up film is something that should never be spoken of again, but damn is it a fun movie. So I was ecstatic to hear that NECA would be continuing their popular toy line with a Bride of Chucky Ultimate Chucky & Tiffany 2-pack – bringing the Lakeshore Strangler's murder-fetish girlfriend into the fold alongside a new version of Chucky that reflects the major changes to his design brought about in the film.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

First Impressions: Power Rangers Beast Morphers

Power Rangers Beast Morphers

After shaking the Power Rangers fandom with the news last year that the franchise would be leaving the hands of both Saban and Bandai of America and joining the Hasbro family, the true dawn of the Hasbro Era is finally upon us. This fourth chapter in Power Rangers history kicks off with Power Rangers Beast Morphers, a show that becomes even more interesting when you consider the Super Sentai series it was adapted from. Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters was originally released all the way back in 2012, having previously been skipped over following the completion of Power Rangers Super Megaforce in favour of the supposedly more marketable Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (Power Rangers Dino Charge). But given that Go-Busters features transforming (in addition to combining) mecha as part of the teams arsenal, Beast Morphers seems like the perfect series for Hasbro to kick off their Power Rangers tenure.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Series REVIEW: Kami no Kiba: Jinga

Kami no Kiba: Jinga

Masahiro Inoue may have made his name among tokusatsu fans as the lovably dickish Tsukasa Kadoya in Kamen Rider Decade, but in the last few years he's been making just as a big of an impact as part of GARO as well. First appearing in Gold Storm -Sho- back in 2015 and then returning once two years later in Kami no Kiba, the Makai Knight turned Horror Jinga has gone on to become not only Ryuga Dougai's recurring rival but also one of the most engaging villains in the whole franchise. A character who was just perfect for a spin-off of his very own, and in Kami no Kiba: Jinga (Fang of God: Jinga) he finally has just that. But exploring Jinga's history as a Makai Knight prior to his son's death and fall to darkness would be too easy, as this 13-episode series takes a much more interesting approach to expanding the character.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Blu Aqua

Release Date: December 2018
RRP: 5400 yen

When you're marketing a superhero series that has two co-leads, the worst thing you can do is not release both characters at the same time. Clearly Bandai Tamashii Nations recognised this when they moved onto releasing figures from Ultraman R/B, with S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Blu Aqua arriving the same time as his big brother Ultraman Rosso Flame. Just why exactly these couldn't have been released as a two-pack I don't know (since not many people are going to be buying one without the other), but I guess that's just not the way Bandai roll anymore. Still, to get both figures before 2018 was out and on the same month no less is some pretty timely manufacturing on Bandai's part for sure.

(As this figure is largely identical to S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Rosso outside of sculpting and colours, this review will be mostly identical with changes only made where appropriate)

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Rosso Flame

Release Date: December 2018
RRP: 5400 yen

One of the biggest woes of being an S.H. Figuarts collector is seeing a cool design on a brand new show and knowing that you probably won't see a figure of it for months - and in many cases long after the series has come and gone. But in recent years Bandai Tamashii Nations have gotten better and better at releasing figures closer to the times the shows are airing, and as far as the Ultra Series goes they've got the closest they've been yet with Ultraman R/B. S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Rosso Flame arrived a mere week before the series finale aired in Japan, with his brother Ultraman Blu Aqua also releasing on the same date. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Series REVIEW: Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger

Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger

After 42 years doing roughly the same thing over and over, it's hard to not to agree that Super Sentai is in dire need of a shakeup. Not that there was ever fundamentally wrong with what the franchise was doing, but declining audience ratings and a varying results when it comes to toy sales speak for themselves. Toei threw a curveball into the formula by introducing a total of 12 rangers in Uchu Sentai Kyuranger to some success, but in order to secure the longevity of the franchise they also tried to think bigger. The result of that planning is Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger - the 42nd Super Sentai series that introduces not just one, but TWO different teams. Combining the ever-popular Phantom Thief motif with their law-enforcement rivals, Lupinranger vs Patranger doesn't just see the Sentai teams face off against an invading evil, but also against each other.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Kakure Daishogun & Tsubasamaru

Release Date: November 2018
RRP: 8100 yen

It's always nice when a Bandai toy line releases a consistent stream of retail items for collectors, but for the line to get really ambitious (as well as completist) any collector will tell you that eventually some of the best releases are going to be Premium Bandai exclusives. This is also true of Super Mini-Pla candy toy range, which has released a number of exclusives along its standard releases to quickly fill out the ranks of a particular series and ensure no design is left untouched. Previously Zyuranger's King Brachion and Liveman's Live Boxer have been released under the Premium Bandai banner, but as far as the Super Sentai range is concerned this is definitely the most exciting exclusive release so far. The Super Mini-Pla Kakure Daishogun & Tsubasamaru set complete the trifecta of key releases from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, releasing the same month as Muteki Shogun to provide fans with everything in one fell swoop. American fans may know these mecha better as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' Ninja Megazord and Falconzord, and given their popularity it's no surprise that these model kits were also distributed in the US by Bluefin under the Power Rangers banner.