Friday 28 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC EX Legend Rider Arms

As we reach the end of my planned Kamen Rider Gaim Arms Change figure purchases, we also reach the reason I decided to check out the line in the first place. Rider/Sentai movies are known for their exclusive power-up forms and mecha, and Gaim's first movie outing - The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle, is no exception. However rather than be four brand new fruits, here the core four Gaim riders draw on the power of the previous four "Neo-Heisei" era Kamen Riders - W, OOO, Fourze and Wizard. How could the prospect of riders wearing other riders as armour not be exciting?

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC05 Kamen Rider Zangetsu

Arms Change AC05 Zangetsu

Part four of my look into the first releases of Kamen Rider Gaim's highly popular Arms Change line is the final figure I'll be covering and moves things away from the "Beat Rider" characters of the story. This time it's the mysterious white armoured Rider Kamen Rider Zangetsu, whose real identity is Yggdrasil Corporation project overseer Takatora Kureshima. As the man behind the project issuing Beat Riders with Sengoku Drivers it seems at first he is a villain, but as the story is progressing its emerging that there may be more to him than was once thought.

Monday 24 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC03 Kamen Rider Ryugen

Arms Change AC03 Ryugen

Part three of my brief foray into the Kamen Rider Gaim Arms Change line logically takes us to its third entry (designated AC03) - Kamen Rider Ryugen. This Armored Rider, whose real identity is Mitsuzane "Mitchy" Kureshima, is of particular interest because not only is he the second rider of Team Gaim, but he is also brother of Yggdrasil project leader Takatora - who we'll be hearing more about in the next post. Anyone watching Gaim will known Mitchy is proving to be a fascinating character, as his cheery exterior hides a pretty dark manipulative side. 

Saturday 22 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC02 Kamen Rider Baron

Arms Change AC02 Kamen Rider Baron

After the Arms Change Gaim figure proved to be such a roaring success, I was very eager to check out more of the figures the line had to offer. However despite being the second release in the Arms Change line, Kamen Rider Baron is in fact the last figure I bought of the five I own. This was less out of preference, and more because he proved to be the hardest one to get at an affordable price (seriously, these things are reaching crazy prices). Next up is the second Rider to appear in Kamen Rider Gaim - Armored Rider Baron, aka Kaito Kumon - leader of the rival beat Rider team "Baron".

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC01 Kamen Rider Gaim

Arms Change AC01 Kamen Rider Gaim

The annual gimmick line isn't usually something I pay close attention to when it comes to Kamen Rider. They've been around for years now, Wizard's WAP (Wizard Action Please) and Fourze's FMCS (Fourze Module Changer Series) just to name a few - but with collector-orientated figures like S.H. Figuarts available why would I look at the kids' line? That's what a lot of collectors have probably thought in the past, but it seems things have changed with Kamen Rider Gaim. True the Figuarts for Gaim are coming later than usual (May rather than the usual February), but even ignoring that factor the Arms Change line has been a MASSIVE hit - apparently showing a 310% improvement in sales over the Wizard line and cementing itself as one of the most popular Kamen Rider toylines of all time. 

So naturally I needed to get in on the fuss. The result was coming away with four AC figures along with a little bonus that was what inspired me to get in on the line in the first place. For the rest of the month I'll be documenting my Arms Change experience (as I will unlikely be buying any more from the line for reasons that'll be clear in later posts) started with the obvious beginning - AC01 Kamen Rider (or Armored Rider if you'd prefer) Gaim.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

First Impressions: Ressha Sentai ToQger

Ressha Sentai ToQger

With Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger all said and done it's time to move on to a brand new year of Super Sentai. But how do you follow up such a popular motif like dinosaurs? With Japan's favourite mode of transportation of course! Hop aboard the imagination station with the train-themed Ressha Sentai ToQger (pronounced 'Tokkyuger'), a series which aims to appeal to the locomotive-obssesed collectors of Japan as well as kids.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Series REVIEW: Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger

It feels like only yesterday that I was saying goodbye to Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters and summing up my feeling of the show right here on this blog. However quicker than you know an entire year has gone past and here I am reviewing Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger - the succeeding Super Sentai series and 37th in the franchise overall. After the (in my opinion of course) sorely underrated Go-Busters went down as the least successful entry in the franchise yet, Toei had no choice but to opt for a back to basics approach. And judging by the toy sales, returning to the ever popular dinosaur motif was the right way to go...

Tuesday 11 February 2014

First Impressions: Power Rangers Super Megaforce

Power Rangers Super Megaforce

Power Rangers Megaforce has returned for its second half (although despite being only 20 episodes, its being treated as a separate season), truly celebrating the 20th anniversary of the franchise with Power Rangers Super Megaforce (brilliant naming strikes again)! This is a very special season adapted from the 35th anniversary Super Sentai season Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, and sees the rangers gain the ability to transform into the rangers of all the previous Power Rangers seasons.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Movie REVIEW: Garo: Lament of the Dark Dragon

Garo Soukaku no Maryu movie poster

As those who have been regularly reading this blog probably already know, I love Garo. Granted that all of the other tokusatsu series I tend to watch are made for children and this one isn't, but there's just something that really stands out here compared to the rest. So it's great that over the last couple of years Garo has made the jump from a standalone series to a full on franchise, with a recent spin off last year and another two coming in 2014, along with an anime series too! But before we welcome more new characters to the world of Garo we must first say goodbye to the chapter that started it all - the story of Kouga Saejima. Starting in the original 2005-06 series before carrying on through the Red Requiem movie and Makai Senki sequel series, Kouga's story ends here with the movie Soukoku no Maryu (which roughly translates as Lament of the Dark Dragon), released in Japanese cinemas back in February 2013.

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who "The Chase" Sound FX Guard Dalek

"I'm in The Chase, I swear"

After what feels like an eternity of waiting (I'm fairly sure they were first revealed back at Toyfair 2013, which was this time last year), the second wave of Character Options' sound FX talking Daleks have finally hit retail (albeit seemingly very limited at the moment). Possibly due to the decline of Doctor Who figures in the 5" scale, the wave has sadly been made much smaller than initially expected, dropping a number of Supreme Daleks to make up a wave consisting of:
  • Standard Dalek from The Dead Planet/The Daleks
  • Standard Dalek from Genesis of the Daleks
  • Guard Dalek from The Chase
  • Special Weapons Dalek from Remembrance of the Daleks
Once again the majority of these are variations that have been previously released without sound FX as part of various sets (not that I'm complaining - Dead Planet Daleks are ideal custom fodder), so this review will be looking at the one brand new variation - the Guard Dalek.

Monday 3 February 2014

First Impressions: HappinessCharge PreCure!

HappinessCharge PreCure

Toei's various superhero works have been the focus of much of my attention for a while now, given my now-religious following of both the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises. But there is one popular animated franchise often closely linked with the Super Hero Time block that I am yet to turn my attention towards. Pretty Cure is a long running magical girl franchise that has branched out into a number of various series, movies, manga, video games and toys (this is Toei after all!), and is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary with a brand new series - HappinessCharge PreCure! (which is actually the 11th show, but whatever). Since sampling franchises during their anniversary year seems to have become sort of staple for me, I decided that 2014 would be the year I take the plunge into an anime primarily aimed at young girls...