Friday, 18 June 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Victory Robo

Super Mini-Pla Victory Robo 01

Release Date: July 2020
RRP: 5500 yen

One of the great things about the Super Mini-Pla line has been the fact that you just don't know where in Super Sentai history Bandai are going to revisit next. Whilst the higher-end candy toy/model kit line has largely stayed within the post-Zyuranger/Power Rangers section of the franchise, there's been no set pattern in terms of which series is done next - giving everyone's favourites a good chance of showing up relatively soon. Following on from Sun Vulcan Robo and the rest of the Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan releases at the beginning of 2020, the second half of the year belonged to KyuuKyuu Sentai GoGoFive. As well as bursting out the gate with their Super Mini-Pla Victory Robo release, Bandai quickly set about filling up the show's line-up - with the enormous Grand Liner releasing the same month and Liner Boy and Victory Robo Black Version following shortly after (Victory Mars is still sadly outstanding). Super Mini-Pla Victory Robo was a retail release for the line, comprised of a total of five individual boxes - one for each of the five 99Machines.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Marvel Legends Carnage (Venompool Wave)

Marvel Legends Carnage (Venompool Wave) 01

Release Date: September 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

There are so many characters in the Marvel Comics universe that Hasbro could probably get away with brand new ones for each and every release and still not run out, but with new collectors joining all the time of course you’re going to keep all of the favourites in circulation. The psychotic symbiote and Spider-Man villain Carnage is one such character, having previously graced the line in 2018 as part of the Monster Venom build-a-figure wave and now having returned two years later in the Venompool build-a-figure assortment. A slightly different take on the classic character to the previous release, this Marvel Legends Carnage has also seen a re-release in 2021 - perfect for helping to generate hype in the lead up to Carnage’s cinematic debut in the forthcoming Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Saber Brave Dragon

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Saber Brave Dragon 01

Release Date:  February 2021
RRP: 3520 yen

In what’s basically become standard practice for Bandai Tamashii Nations now, every time a new Kamen Rider or Ultraman series starts the titular character will be released in the S.H. Figuarts line at a significantly lower cost, acting as an entry point/gateway drug for any new collectors looking to dip their toes in the long-running toy line. It’s a pretty clever tactic, because even the most thrifty of fans are going to struggle to pass up something like S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Saber Brave Dragon at the price of 3520 yen. The star of the second Reiwa era Kamen Rider series blazes into the S.H. Figuarts line with this reasonably priced release, quickly followed the month after by the more conventionally priced Kamen Rider Blades.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Bo-Katan Kryze

Star Wars Black Series Bo-Katan Kryze 01

Release Date: February 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

One of the highlights of The Mandalorian season two for many Star Wars fans was how it helped bridge the gap even more between the live-action and animated sections of the franchise, with many core characters making their leap to live-action after years of development in the animated series. One such character was Bo-Katan Kryze, the Mandalorian and former Death Watch operative who defied both Maul and the Empire before being presented with the Darksaber in a bid to unite Mandalore once more. When she appears in The Mandalorian (played by her voice actor Katee Sackhoff), not only is she instrumental in teaching Din Djarin that the ways of Mandalore are more flexible that he was taught, but has lost the Darksaber at the hands of Moff Gideon. She has been a key character in the development of the Mandalorians for many years now, which is why a Black Series Bo-Katan Kryze figure is LONG overdue.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider: The Next

Kamen Rider: The Next

After retelling the origin story of double Riders Takeshi Hongo and Hayato Ichimonji in Kamen Rider: The First, Toei decided to push on with the story of this cinematic reboot - releasing Kamen Rider: The Next in 2007. The film was once again written by Toshiki Inoue, with both Masaya Kikawada and Hassei Takano reprising their roles as Hongo/Rider 1 and Ichimonji/Rider 2 respectively. This time around though the film was directed by Ryuta Tasaki, a regular to the world of tokusatsu who continues to direct episodes of both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai to this day. As well as continuing the story of the double Riders, The Next also brings Shiro Kazami aka Kamen Rider V3 into the mix - portrayed by actor Kazuki Kato (Daisuke Kazama/Kamen Rider Drake in Kamen Rider Kabuto, as well as Blue in the Sentai parody series Kanpai Senshi After V).

Friday, 4 June 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 (THE FIRST Ver.)

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 (THE FIRST Ver.) 01

Release Date: September 2010
RRP: 2750 yen

Back in early 2008 Bandai Tamashii Nations started up a brand new action figure range with the tag line of “simply style and heroic action”. That line was S.H. Figuarts, and 13 years later it’s evolved and expanded far beyond what collectors dreamed of at the time. And to think it all started with figures from Kamen Rider: The Next. However it wouldn’t be for another two years that the reimagined double Riders would be reissued in their Kamen Rider: The First looks. The release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 (THE FIRST Ver.) was a very different time for the line - one where preordering wasn’t such a mad rush, and the figures themselves were far more affordable.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider: The First

Kamen Rider: The First

The 50th anniversary celebration of the Kamen Rider franchise may have revealed that Hideaki Anno's Shin Kamen Rider will be releasing some time in 2023, but all the way back in 2005 there was another attempt at retelling the original 1971 series story in movie format. Kamen Rider: The First was written by Toshiki Inoue and directed by Takao Nagaishi, starring Masaya Kikawada (who would later play Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger's Master Red) and Hassei Takano (Kamen Rider Ryuki's Miyuki Tezuka/Kamen Rider Raia and Ultraman Gaia's Hiroya Fujimiya/Ultraman Agul) in the lead roles of Takeshi Hongo and Hayato Ichimonji respectively. The film was followed up by a sequel, Kamen Rider: The Next, in 2007 and currently remains one of the only pieces of Kamen Rider media released on home video in the US. Media Blasters released the film on DVD in 2007, although sadly the title is long since out of print.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Asajj Ventress

Star Wars Black Series Asajj Ventress 01

Release Date: February 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

Given that the Star Wars Black Series has been running since 2013, it's amazing that there are so many key characters from Star Wars: The Clone Wars that still don't have figures. But with the raised interest in the franchise's television output thanks to The Mandalorian as well as Hasbro doing a little reshuffle of their main 6" collector line, it seems this is finally being rectified. As well as a whole wave of special exclusive Clone Wars releases in themed packaging recently, the main range is getting in on it too - the long awaited Black Series Asajj Ventress is finally here. After being saved from slavery and becoming a Jedi Padawan only to see her Master murdered right in front of her, Ventress eventually ended up in the employment of Count Dooku as his personal assassin. After being betrayed by him as well, Ventress returned to her home on Dathomir to join Mother Talzin's Nightsisters before eventually going it alone as a bounty hunter. Her path would eventually lead her back to the Jedi Order, fighting alongside Quinlan Vos on a mission to assassinate Dooku before eventually meeting her death at the hands of her former master.

Friday, 28 May 2021

Special REVIEW: Kamen Rider Saber x Ghost

Kamen Rider Saber x Ghost

If you created two core entries in the Kamen Rider franchise and had the opportunity to bring them together in one crossover special, of course you'd take that chance. Following on from Yuya Takahashi colliding the worlds of Zero-One and Ex-Aid in Kamen Rider Genms -The Presidents-, Kamen Rider Saber head writer Takuro Fukuda now brings his works together in Kamen Rider Saber x Ghost. Released through the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub, this (for now at the very least) one episode special also celebrates the fifth anniversary of Kamen Rider Ghost - with Shun Nishime returning to the role of Takeru Tenkuji for the first time since his guest appearance in 2018's Kamen Rider Zi-O.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Red Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Red Ranger 01

Release Date: November 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

With so many different teams and characters to choose from, one of the most exciting parts of new Power Rangers Lightning Collection reveals is when something from a previously untouched (by Hasbro at least) series is announced. The line began work on Power Rangers Dino Thunder with the exclusive White Ranger figure earlier in 2020, but it was with the announcement of the main line’s seventh way that work felt properly underway with the Lightning Collection Dino Thunder Red Ranger. Soccer player and student at Reefside High School, Connor McKnight bonded with the Red Dino Gem and leads the Dino Thunder Rangers - mentored by his teacher and Power Rangers alumni Dr. Tommy Oliver.