Sunday 31 August 2014

Reviews in Time & Space: Into the Dalek

Doctor Who Season 8, Episode 2: Into the Dalek

Poor old Daleks, they haven't had much luck in the new run of Doctor Who have they? After Rob Shearman showed just how powerful a single Dalek could be in the phenomenal 2005 episode Dalek, the Doctor's most feared adversary have gone on to be beaten by a poorly executed deus ex machina TWICE (Parting of the Ways and The Stolen Earth/Journey's End), gatecrash a Cyberman finale and then play second fiddle to Rose's long-winded goodbye (Doomsday), be turned in human hybrids (Daleks in Manhatten/Evolution of the Daleks), be rebooted in new cases that are instantly retconned (Victory of the Daleks) and finally put in a story where they get the Doctor to do something because they're too scared to do it themselves (Asylum of the Daleks). And that's without even getting started on the stone Dalek that appeared in The Big Bang...

With such a poor repertoire after such a strong introductory episode in the new series, its no wonder that fans are crying out for the Daleks to be retired from the show for a few years. Yet they still remain Doctor Who's most popular monster, and after some rather good minor appearances in Day and Time of the Doctor its time to wheel them out once again for their first face off against the 12th Doctor. Ladies and gentlemen, its time to go Into the Dalek...

Friday 29 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryugen Budou Arms

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryugen Budou Arms

Rounding off the four 'main' characters in Kamen Rider Gaim is the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryugen, moulded in his standard Budou Arms (or grape if you'd prefer). Despite being one of the less-seen suits in the series (replaced halfway through by the next Gaim figure due out), Ryugen is one of the earliest Riders to appear and the original suit of main character Mitsuzane "Micchy" Kureshima. And anyone who's watching Gaim will probably have quite a few words to say about that character.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Series REVIEW: Kanpai Senshi After V

Kanpai Senshi After V

Super Sentai and superhero tokusatsu in general are perfect for parody, especially the classic shows of the 70s and 80s. Not only are full to the brim with tropes, but there's so many unanswered questions or things that go on behind the scenes that you could build a whole series around just that. Toei had their own licensed go with Akibaranger, but plenty of other studios have done similar things in live-action, anime and manga. In 2014 it was the turn of a little series that goes by the name of Kanpai Senshi After V, which wasn't quite about the heroic exploits of the superhero team in question.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Reviews in Time & Space: Deep Breath

Doctor Who Season 8, Episode 1: Deep Breath

After a long and agonising wait, the much-hyped new series of Doctor Who is finally upon us. However season eight of the show brings along some big changes, placing an older actor in the title role for the first time since it returned to television screens back in 2005. Our new 12th Doctor comes in the form of 56 year-old Peter Capaldi, famous for his role as the foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in   The Thick of It and guest character on both Doctor Who and Torchwood (appearing in The Fires of Pompeii and Children of Earth respectively). After some brief teasing in both The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor, Capaldi's first time in the spotlight is in this 75 minute season premiere that goes by the name of Deep Breath.

Friday 22 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: 66 Action Kamen Riders Wave 3

66action Kamen Riders Wave 3

2014 has been a pretty fantastic year for Kamen Rider. Gaim is on course to be one of the best instalments of the franchise to date, and S.H. Figuarts have been doing wonders with the figures along with nearing completion of all the main Riders. However it's Bandai's 66 Action figures that have been consistently getting me really excited. The first two waves in this poseable candy toy line have been nothing short of fantastic, as well as incredible value for money. Wave 3 has finally hit, adding Kamen Rider Gaim Kiwami Arms, Kamen Rider Zangetsu Shin, Kamen Rider Fourze and Kamen Rider Eternal to the fold. A nice little mix of heroes and villains.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gridon Donguri Arms

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Gridon

Even though Kamen Rider Gaim is approaching its end as a series the S.H. Figuarts fever is still very much in full swing, as the first of the Tamashii Web Exclusive releases joins the group and begins the coordinated effort to get as much of the cast released as possible. In what was probably considered by most as a surprising move, the first web exclusive figure is the acorn-themed rider Kamen Rider Gridon, the armoured Rider alias of Team Invitto leader Hideyasu Jonouchi. While Gridon is largely a comic relief character who only played a small part in the beginning of the series, his role has grown since allying himself with Kamen Rider Bravo and now could be one of the key players in the series' climax.

Friday 15 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Thor

Figma Thor by Max Factory

Not content with simply dominating the market when it comes to poseable anime figures, Max Factory's Figma line has been expanding its horizons. Having previously tackled Japanese comedians, video game characters and even gay porn stars-turned meme (yes, really), Figma has now turned its attention towards Hollywood. And the most eagerly anticipated of these movie figures is undoubtedly The Avengers. Good Smile Company have been teasing the four main Avengers from the 2012 film for at least a year now, but last month thing ball started rolling with the release of the God of Thunder himself - Thor, as portrayed by actor Chris Hemsworth.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Anime REVIEW: World Conquest Zvezda Plot

World Conquest Zvezda Plot

If Pinky & the Brain taught five-year-old me anything, it was that watching someone try to take over the world was usually far more fun than watching someone save it. This is a mentality that's stuck with me throughout the years, even if series focusing on super villains are a bit few and far between. Thankfully A-1 Pictures decided to scratch my itch earlier this year with an original anime production that goes by the name of World Conquest Zvezda Plot (released in Japan as Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda).  

Saturday 9 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Lucario

S.H. Figuarts Lucario

Clearly the death of the D-Arts line wasn't enough to stop Bandai Tamashii Nations continuing what they'd started with the Pokémon franchise, branching out of the original generation of games to tackle some more modern monsters. From Kanto we now take a journey over to Sinnoh with the release of the fourth generation Pokémon Lucario, an ever popular choice for a figure thanks to his bi-pedal build and prominence in one of the movies. Of course, the fact this release is well timed with the lead of Super Smash Bros. certainly isn't going to also contribute to video game fans picking it up...

Thursday 7 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Roborider

SH Figuarts Roborider

With the amount of S.H. Figuarts there are and come out every month, there are a few rules I tend to follow in order to keep my spending habits in check. One is to (mostly) only buy figures from series/films I've watched or plan to watch by the time of release, and the other is to only buy the base form of a character. 2014 seems to be a bad year for that second rule though, as I find myself breaking it twice for two different Kamen Rider shows. One is the currently airing Kamen Rider Gaim, while the other is Kamen Rider Black RX. Roborider, the Prince of Sadness, is the first upgrade of Black RX - giving him a more robotic-like form along with enhanced strength and defense. In Saban's Masked Rider adaptation, this form was known as Masked Rider Super Gold.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who Dalek Patrol Ship

Dalek Patrol Ship from Character Options/Underground Toys

It's almost time for a brand new series of Doctor Who, so what better time than now for Character Options to spring a brand new selection of figures on us! However the contents of this pre-season eight wave is a subject for another review, as here we're going to be looking at something a lot more exciting - vehicles! And vehicles that aren't the TARDIS no less! The new 3.75" scale has already opened new doors with play sets and mini vehicles, but here is our first full-sized one. And Character have picked the perfect thing to start with - the Dalek Patrol Ship that first appeared in the 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Hibiki

Kamen Rider Hibiki

If there's any Kamen Rider series you're going to hear long and conflicting opinions about, it's more than likely going to be Kamen Rider Hibiki. Based on an early concept by original Kamen Rider creator Shotaro Ishinomori, this troubled series had its producer and writers replaced 29 episodes in - leading to a very significant change in tone and direction. Toei have never issued an official statement as to why the changes were made, but many fans have chalked it down to the main reason being low toy sales (which as we know, is the lifeblood of any Rider series these days). As such, the sixth Heisei era Rider series (fifteenth overall) is the point of much discussion and I thought it was time for me to find out why.