Friday, 3 April 2020

Series REVIEW: Ultraman Taiga

Ultraman Taiga

The Ultra Series has been on an upwards swing for some time now, but 2019 truly was the year that Ultraman made its bid for world domination. Finally emerging triumphant in their long-running legal battle with Chaiyo, Tsuburaya Productions wasted no time in establishing the franchise on a global platform - both through fully-subtitled Blu-Ray releases of the show's back catalogue and partnerships with leading brands such as Marvel Comics. But back in Japan business also continued as usual, with the seventh entry in their New Generation Hero lineup arriving in the form of Ultraman Taiga. The 31st Ultra series overall and first to premier in the Reiwa era, though much like previous series Ultraman R/B Taiga was not simulcast worldwide the speed of Mill Creek's current home video releases suggests that it won't be long before the son of Ultraman Taro is legally available to a wider audience.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Marvel Legends Doctor Doom

Marvel Legends Doctor Doom 01

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

Despite being Marvel's first family, the Fantastic Four haven't had much luck in the modern age. Three middling to terrible films, a lessened presence in the grand scheme of Marvel Comics and a Marvel Legends figure wave exclusive solely to Walgreens stores (and thus, more difficult for worldwide collectors to find). But the times are changing, and with a new ongoing Fantastic Four comic series since 2018 the team are finally once again getting the respect they deserve. In fact, Hasbro's 2020 string of Marvel Legends figures has kicked off with a mass-retail wave of Fantastic Four figures featuring a Super Skrull Build-A-Figure. Among the assortment are all four members of the team and (She Hulk), but no wave would be complete without their greatest enemy - Doctor Doom. Consider one of, if not the greatest villain in the Marvel Universe, the King of Latveria has been long desired by collector's in Hasbro's premier collector line.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ankh (Arm)

S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Ankh (Arm) 01

Release Date: January 2020
RRP: 3960 yen

If there's one Kamen Rider series S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou looks as though it's going to go all out on, it's Kamen Rider OOO. Much like how Bandai Tamashii Nations previously showed the same dedication to Kamen Rider W, between all the combos already teased OOO looks set to rule the roost for some time. But it's not just the titular Rider taking centre stage, with Bandai also recovering old ground with the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Ankh (Arm) set. This is the third time the disembodied arm of rogue Greeed has been released – originally appearing as a first-run bonus with the original TaToBa figure before receiving a better quality accessory set version. The new edition takes notes from that second version – releasing in a very similar fashion but with added Shinkocchou Seihou quality.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Beast Morphers Gold Ranger

Lightning Collection Beast Morphers Gold Ranger 01

Release Date: August 2019
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

While its variety and attention to the 27 year history of Power Rangers has attributed to the success of Hasbro's Lightning Collection, for the brand to survive it's important that the line pay as much attention to the new as it does the old. While naturally a brand new range is almost always going to focus on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first and foremost, the currently airing Power Rangers Beast Morphers has also seen fair representation in this collector-orientated line on top of its own series-specific range. This all kicked off in wave two of the line, which didn't just include the obligatory Red Ranger but also a Lightning Collection Beast Morphers Gold Ranger figure. Coming some months after Nate Silva's debut as the Gold Hercules Beetle Mantis Ranger on the show itself, this particular release also helps fill a significant void left by the now-defunct S.H. Figuarts Super Sentai line. Though the core trio of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (and their respective Buddyroids) may have also received figure, Beet Buster/Jin Masato and Beet J Stag/Stag Buster sadly did not.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who Reconnaissance Dalek

Doctor Who Reconnaissance Dalek 01

Release Date: March 2020
RRP: £12.99

When the 13th Doctor was introduced back in 2018 it brought about a whole rebranding of Doctor Who. There was a new head writer, a new Doctor, new companions, even a new logo. What there wasn't however was a new toy line. Series 11 only brought about a handful of general retail toys, and with the 5.5" figure line mostly living on life support as B&M exclusives the Doctor herself was the only new figure to see the light of day. However 2019 saw Character Toys taking steps to reclaim some of the line's former glory, and with the conclusion of series 12 we're now seeing Doctor Who figures finally return in proper fashion. The current 2020 assortment includes a new 13 variant, companion Graham O'Brien, the Judoon Commander and the 13th Doctor's TARDIS. The star of the wave though is undoubtedly the Reconnaissance Dalek, complete in its makeshift casing from last year's special Resolution.

Monday, 16 March 2020

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

Doctor Who 'The Two Doctors' Set 01

Release Date: August 2019
RRP: £19.99

2019 saw the Doctor Who figure line truly start making steps towards a comeback. Daleks were back in new Big Finish-inspired two packs, sought after figures were finally getting much-needed reissues and we even got a brand new companion figure in the form of Harry Sullivan. Sure they may be slight retoolings at best and still exclusive to B&M Stores, but the variety of characters and hype around them suggested Character Toys were finally getting serious again. Among the 2019 offerings was a three-figure set based on 1985’s The Two Doctors, once again bringing new variants of popular characters as well as a whole new character. Included in this set are Sixth Doctor companion Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown, the Androgum-spliced Second Doctor and Group Marshal Stike of the Ninth Sontaran Battle Group.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

First Impressions: Mashin Sentai Kiramager

Mashin Sentai Kiramager

Mashin Sentai Kiramager has arrived, and although technically the series already began with the special prequel Episode ZERO movie it just wouldn't feel right to welcome in the 44th Super Sentai series without also giving some early impressions on its first proper episode. So strap on your Kiramai Changer and prepare your Kiramentality, because this episode wastes no time in jumping into the main action. The series is being written by tokusatu veteran Naruhisa Arakawa (Kamen Rider Kuuga, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and so much more) and directed by Kyohei Yamaguchi - a regular to Kamen Rider but a relative newcomer to Sentai.

Toybox REVIEW: Hero Action Figure Inazuman

Hero Action Figure Inazuman 01

Release Date: January 2020
RRP: 9680 yen

Once upon a time Bandai Tamashii Nations were releasing S.H. Figuarts from a wide variety of tokusatsu properties, including Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Super Sentai, Metal Heroes and even Kikaider. But as time went on and Bandai began chasing a wider range of properties, that variety has largely dwindled to just Rider and Ultra. Step in Evolution Toy, whose Hero Action Figure line specialises in some of the smaller names in classic tokusatsu. Since 2018 the HAF line has spawned the likes of Red Man, Mirror Man, Zone Fighter, Iron King, Jumborg and more. Now they're beginning to delve into some of Shotaro Ishinomori's legendary back catalogue, starting with Hero Action Figure Inazuman. A brand new figure of the 1973 henshin hero has been long overdue, particularly with the character having kept up appearances in recent years through both cameo appearances and a reimaging in a number of Kamen Rider movies.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Movie REVIEW: Mashin Sentai Kiramager Episode ZERO

Mashin Sentai Kiramager Episode ZERO

Once again the time has come to debut the brand new Super Sentai series, but this year Toei is doing things a little differently for the long-running tokusatsu franchise. Prior to the series following on from the conclusion of Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger, the 44th Super Sentai series Mashin Sentai Kiramager took to the big screen in a special Episode ZERO prequel film. Released alongside Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger vs Lupinranger vs Patranger as part of the Super Sentai Movie Party, this is the first time a new Sentai team has been debuted outside of either their own series or their predecessor’s VS movie.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Movie REVIEW: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!

With Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger being the fourth time around for the whole dinosaur Sentai thing, it's gotten to the point where there's naturally going to be some repetition no matter how different the stories are. Two things are almost certain – there's going to be a brand new reason for the dinosaurs' extinction, and at some point the team are going to come face to face with these prehistoric creatures. For Ryusoulger both these things are revealed in their summer movie, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!. Released as part of the annual double-bill alongside Kamen Rider Zi-O: The Movie: Over Quartzer, Ryusoulger's first big screen outing is one with little bearing on the series as a whole but a nice little addition to the history of the Ryusoul Tribe.