Friday 17 May 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Shokugan Modeling Project Dairenoh

Shokugan Modeling Project Dairenoh 01

Release Date: August 2023
RRP: 7920 yen

After a rather expansive run with their Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger assortment, Bandai move back to the 90s for another fan-favourite Super Sentai series in the Shokugan Modeling Project line. This time we're journeying back to 1993 with Gosei Sentai Dairanger - the 17th entry in the franchise and the basis for the mecha (as well as the White Ranger) in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' second season. Though a much smaller selection of mecha compared to Gaoranger, Dairanger's Mythical Qi Beasts continue to be among one of the most popular mecha designs in Super Sentai and a highlight of the amazing streak the franchise had in the 90s. Naturally the first release in the assortment is Shokugan Modeling Project Dairenoh, the core robot from the series. In Power Rangers this appeared as the Thunder Megazord following the destruction of the original dino Megazord.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Series REVIEW: Dogengers Metropolis

Dogengers Metropolis

If there was every any proof on just how much Japan loves its superheroes, you don't need to look much further than just how much the Dogengers series has grown since it began back in 2020. What started out as a fun little series about the local heroes (and villains) of Fukuoka has continued to expand across multiple seasons, each showcasing brand new heroes alongside its roster of established favourites. It certainly shows no signs of stopping any time soon as well, returning for a further 12 episodes of hijinks in 2023 with its fourth series Dogengers Metropolis. Continuing to spice up the format a little from previous entries, this entry pays tribute to Japan's long-standing love of police-themed heroes as it follows the newest member of the team - Special Duty Police Hyakutoban!

Thursday 9 May 2024

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Super-1

Kamen Rider Super-1

When the viewing figures for Kamen Rider 1979 weren't as high as hoped, a number of options to retool the series were considered. Among them was the introduction of "Kamen Rider V9", a space-themed hero that could either support Skyrider or even take over from him entirely. But Manichi Broadcasting seemed hesitant to the idea, and as ratings steadily improved these plans were shelved - but not forgotten about entirely. Instead Kamen Rider V9 was reimagined as Kamen Rider Super-1, the next instalment in the franchise which ran for a total of 48 episodes between 1980 and 1981. Unlike previous entries, Super-1 would only meet the veteran Riders in the accompanying Kamen Rider Super-1: The Movie.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who "Ruins of Skaro" Collector Figure Set

Doctor Who "Ruins of Skaro" Collector Figure Set 01

Release Date: April 2024
RRP: £39.99

Although the B&M stores exclusive range has been doing a lot of the legwork for the Doctor Who figure range for some time now, in the last couple of years Character Options have also been making a big impression with their online exclusive releases as well. Released in more limited fashion with a (very slightly) higher price tag, these releases are an opportunity to get new figures with significantly new parts and tooling - something the B&M range for the most part lack. Character already kicked off the year with a bang by releasing the Fugitive Doctor and her TARDIS in this manner, but for their second online exclusive they're heading back to the classic era with the Ruins of Skaro Collector Figure set. This three-figure set based on Destiny of the Daleks reissues a much sought-after figure in the form of the bomb/suicide Dalek, complimenting it with two brand new ones of one of the greatest threats to the Dalek Empire - the Movellans.

Friday 3 May 2024

Special REVIEW: Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna THE FINAL

If there's any concrete proof that literally anything is on the table when comes to Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club specials, it's the fact that for some unbeknownst reason there's been not just one but FOUR Yodonna spin-off episodes. What it is about the Mashin Sentai Kiramager villainess that warrants such bizarre adult-aimed specials isn't exactly clear (though it doesn't take much to guess), but whatever it is it clearly proved popular enough for them to continue into 2024. That said, as its name suggests Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna THE FINAL is set to be the last in the series – rounding off her new life on Earth having now learned about human emotions.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider The Winter Movie: Gotchard & Geats Strongest Chemy★Great Gotcha Operation

Kamen Rider The Winter Movie: Gotchard & Geats Strongest Chemy★Great Gotcha Operation

The annual Winter crossover movie has been such a staple of the Kamen Rider franchise over the last decade or so that it's now moving well beyond the usual Movie War tagline and incorporating it directly into the film's branding. The casts of Kamen Rider Geats and Kamen Rider Gotchard come together in the rather lengthily titled Kamen Rider The Winter Movie: Gotchard & Geats Strongest Chemy★Great Gotcha Operation - the 14th entry in this series of team-up films. Though written by Gotchard co-head writer Hiroki Uchida, this was with supervision from Geats head writer Yuya Takahashi so that the film would feel true to both series. Directed by Kyohei Yamaguchi (who has worked on nearly every Kamen Rider series since Gaim), it also features guest voice appearances from voice actress/singer Rie Takahashi as well as VTuber Shirakami Fubuki.

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla [1972]

S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla [1972] 01

Release Date: February 2024
RRP: 11000 yen

With the Showa era of Godzilla films all reaching their 50th anniversaries over the last few years it's been a particularly good time for the S.H. MonsterArts line. After years of mostly ignoring it, Bandai Tamashii Nations have been marking these milestones with long-awaited releases of classic characters, starting with Godzilla vs Hedorah before moving forward into both Godzilla vs Gigan and Godzilla vs Megalon. 2023 was particularly special as it saw the release of S.H. MonsterArts Gigan, but what good is one of Godzilla's most iconic foes if we don't have the proper Godzilla to go along with him? Hence the release of S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla [1972], the third version of Godzilla to be released from the Showa era (following on from 1954 and 1964) and the first from Godzilla's fully established time as a heroic kaiju.

Thursday 25 April 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Missing Link C-01 Convoy

 Transformers Missing Link C-01 Convoy 01

Release Date: February 2024
RRP: 15800 yen

2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the Transformers franchise, and a milestone like that certainly isn't going to uncelebrated. And part of that celebration is naturally looking back to where it all began with the original 1984 Optimus Prime toy. While there have been countless renditions and reissues of the Autobot leader over the years, none of them have been quite like what TakaraTomy have delivered here. Transformers Missing Link C-01 Convoy is an all-new rendition of the original Optimus ("Convoy" in Japan) toy, not only improving the deco and engineering but also giving it the one thing it lacks when stacked against modern toys - proper articulation. This properly poseable version really is a toy for the ages, exciting fans with a concept that's been dreamt of for decades. In addition to the C-01 toy deco edition, a slightly cheaper (9800 yen) C-02 Anime Edition was also released which more closely resembles Optimus' look from the original Generation One cartoon.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Toybox REVIEW: SJHU Project Shin Universe Robo

SJHU Project Shin Universe Robo 01

Release Date: January 2024
RRP: 21,000 yen

"There was an idea...The idea was to bring together a group of of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. To see if they could work together when we needed them to, to fight the battles that we never could." 
- Nick Fury, The Avengers

The Shin Japan Heroes Universe is a collaborative project between Toho, Studio Khara, Tsuburaya Productions and Toei that brings together the works of Hideaki Anno for all manner of merchandising and special events. During and following the production of his Rebuild of Evangelion film series, Anno went on to reimagine the tokusatsu juggernauts from his childhood in three critically acclaimed films - Shin Godzilla, Shin Ultraman and Shin Kamen Rider. As part of the project, Bandai unveiled one of most ambitious and bizarrest pieces of crossover merchandise you'll ever find. SJHU Project Shin Universe Robo - a Premium Bandai exclusive figure which takes Evangelion Unit 01, Godzilla, Ultraman and Kamen Rider and combines them in a classic style giant robot. As if the sheer insanity of the toy wasn't enough, further hype was built around the project with the production of a special web commercial directed by renowned special effects director Hiroshi Butsuda - showing off a full CG transformation sequence before showing off the robot in all its glory with a practical suit. Toys rarely get much stranger than this.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Geats: Jyamato Awaking

Kamen Rider Geats: Jyamato Awaking

If there's one important thing for a modern Kamen Rider fan to learn, it's that a series ending is never "the end". As finite as an ending may seem, between subsequent Winter crossover movie, V-Cinext releases and any other spin-off Toei might want to throw out in the not-too-distant future you can guarantee that all your favourite Riders will be back a good few times long after the final episode has aired. Kamen Rider Geats is no exception to this of course, with the stars of the Desire Grand Prix back once more for their first V-Cinext/epilogue outing in Kamen Rider Geats: Jyamato Awaking. Keeping things in-line with the show's continuity series head writer Yuya Takahashi returns once more to provide the story, with the film directed by tokusatsu veteran Koichi Sakamoto.