Thursday 30 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Akaranger

S.H. Figuarts Akaranger

Bandai Tamashii Nations has been doing some pretty neat things with the S.H. Figuarts line in 2014 by releasing a fair few figures that fans either assumed were never coming or ones that have been in the prototype stage for years. On the other hand, other fans have lamented the obvious decline in Super Sentai figuarts as the line seems to turn its attention elsewhere with so many teams left unfinished. So here's a release that's both been a long time coming and proves that the Super Sentai side of things isn't quite dead yet! While September/October is usually the time we'd be seeing the most recent Red (so in this case, ToQ #1), this year that slot has instead been taken by the original red ranger - Akaranger of Himitsu Sentai Goranger!

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Captain America

Figma Captain America

It was a long time coming, but after much hype Figma's Avengers lineup is complete! Well, sort of anyway - we know a prototype Hulk has been made but whether Max Factory are going to release it or jump into the realm of larger body figures in general is anyone's guess. There was Thor, then we had Iron Man and now finally we have the first Avenger himself - Captain America, as portrayed in film by actor Chris Evans. Being based on his appearance in The Avengers this is the blue modern-style suit he wears, rather than the WW2 era one that appears in both Captain America films. This figure was released in September 2014, the same month as Iron Man (who had been delayed from his proposed August release).

Sunday 26 October 2014

Reviews in Time & Space: In the Forest of the Night

Doctor Who s08e10 - In the Forest of the Night

Say, have you been enjoying the fact that because Clara and Danny now work in Coal Hill School that a lot of these episodes have featured children in some form or another? Because if you haven't, you really aren't going to like In the Forest of the Night. This week, rather than just one or two kids we have a whole class of them, as Clara and Danny navigate a class through a huge forest that has inexplicably grown all over the world overnight. Even the Doctor doesn't seem to have an answer for why this has happened. As humanity attempts to rid the world of these mysterious flame-proof trees, the Doctor seeks help from a young girl who seems to be seeing more than those around give her credit for.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Biorider

SH Figuarts Biorider

The S.H. Figuarts toyline seems to have been on a bit of a Kamen Rider Black/Kamen Rider Black RX kick over the last year, with the renewal Black swiftly followed by a renewal Black RX, and even a renewal Shadow Moon announced for early next year. But between then, Bandai Tamashii Nations have also treated Kotaro Minami fans to two other long-awaited figures that previously hadn't seen any form of release - Black RX's other two forms. First came the rather disappointing Roborider, and now it's been followed up with a Figuarts version of the 'Prince of Sadness and Prince of Flames' - Biorider. Some might also know this form as Masked Rider Super Blue from the Saban adaptation Masked Rider.

Monday 20 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Iron Man Mark VII

Figma Iron Man Mark VII

It's hard to believe its been over two years since Max Factory first announced that they would be adding the Avengers to their Figma line, but now three out of the four announced figures are finally available for collectors to get their hands on (whether we'll actually get Hulk is anyone's guess right now). Iron Man was originally meant to follow Thor in August 2014, but thanks to typical Good Smile Company delays was released in late September after Captain America (but because he's Figma 217 and Cap is 226, he gets reviewed first). Obviously this figure is modelled after Iron Man's appearance in The Avengers film, based off of the Mark VII armour he dons for the battle against Loki and the Chitauri. 

Sunday 19 October 2014

Reviews in Time & Space: Flatline

Doctor Who s08e09 - Flatline

Jamie Mathieson clearly had a good time writing last week's Mummy on the Orient Express, because the former Being Human writer is already back with another entry for Doctor Who - this time the episode going by the name of Flatline. This time the Doctor takes a bit of a backseat as he becomes trapped in a shrinking (well, on the outside anyway) TARDIS - it's power being siphoned away by an mysterious alien entity. It's up to Clara to take up the role of the Doctor and investigate, connecting it with the disappearance of a number of people in the estate they've landed in. After discovering that the threat is not of the third dimension - Clara learns first hand about what it's really like to play the Doctor.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kikaider

S.H. Figuarts Kikaider

The S.H. Figuarts line is in a pretty interesting state right now. We're a handful away from having every main Kamen Rider released, Super Sentai characters are becoming few and far between and Bandai seem to be showing an increasing interest in various anime properties. This doesn't mean that's it for tokusatsu characters though, as Tamashii Nations have finally turned their attention towards some of the other popular franchises Toei have spawned over the years. And what better place to start at than the beginning, with one of legend Shotaro Ishinomori's earliest henshin heroes - Kikaider of the 1972 series Android Kikaider. This figure was released as a Tamashii web exclusive at the end of September 2014.

Friday 17 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Jimber Lemon Arms

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Jimber Lemon Arms

Back in my Roborider review in August, I briefly mentioned how there were two Kamen Rider shows with figures being released this year where I was prepared to break my personal "only buying the Rider's base form" rule. One was obviously Black RX, and the other was of course Kamen Rider Gaim. With the series being as good as it was, there was just no way I could pass up some of the amazing designs they pulled off for the titular Rider's upgrade forms. The first of these was S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Jimber Lemon Arms (also spelt Jinba/Jimba, but I'm just going with Bandai's official spelling here), which saw the Arms designs begin to stray away a little bit from the straight fruit motifs the earlier ones had. This is also the only of Gaim's 'upgrade' forms to be released as Tamashii Web Exclusive, with the succeeding Kachidoki and Kiwami Arms coming as mass release figures. However Gaim Pine Arms will also be a web exclusive, making it likely that Ichigo (Strawberry) Arms will follow suit when it's announced.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Bravo Durian Arms

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Bravo

Kamen Rider Gaim may be over and done with in terms of the television series, but as far as the S.H. Figuarts line goes Bandai Tamashii Nations have still got plenty of ground to cover. September was a pretty big month for the series with a total of three releases - two web exclusive and one mass release. Well, two of them were Gaim forms so in reality there was only one character to get REALLY excited about. And that of course was none other than the ex-militant, master pastry that is Oren Pierre Alfonzo, aka Kamen Rider Bravo. One of the most memorable characters in all of Gaim, Bravo comes as the only Lockseed Arms he wore in the show - Durian Arms

Monday 13 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Ryuko Matoi

Figma Ryuko Matoi

It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since Kill la Kill first starting airing in Japan and there's been barely any poseable figure releases. Nendoroid Ryuko and Mako did fill in a little bit of the gap, but they're still a long way off a properly poseable release. So naturally the ones to fill that gap are Max Factory's Figma line, who released their version of the show's protagonist at the end of September 2014 (following a month delay). Unlike the Nendoroid this version of Ryuko Matoi in full synchronisation mode with her Kamui Senketsu. So as you can expect, it may be a little bit risqué for casual figure collectors...

Sunday 12 October 2014

Reviews in Time & Space: Mummy on the Orient Express

Doctor Who s08e08 - Mummy on the Orient Express

You know how last week I said I was looking forward to how the Twelfth Doctor was going to act in an episode that didn't feature Clara Oswald at his side? Well it seems I might have jumped the gun a bit on that assessment, as Mummy on the Orient Express picks up some weeks after the events of last week's Kill the Moon. Written by another Doctor Who first time writer Jamie Mathieson, this episode places the duo on a rather silly but appropriate setting for a good old fashioned murder mystery adventure.

Friday 10 October 2014

First Impressions: Psycho-Pass 2

Psycho-Pass 2

It's only been a few weeks since I wrote up my review of the "New Edit Edition" of the original Psycho-Pass, but we're finally back again for the brand new second season of the series - appropriately titled Psycho-Pass 2. It's been two years since the original first aired, and since then writer Gen Urobuchi has been a rather busy man so head writing duties have been passed on to Tow Ubukata (whose works include Mardock Scramble and Ghost in the Shell: Arise). Animation duties have also been handed over to Tatsunoko Productions, taking over from Studio I.G.

Thursday 9 October 2014

First Impressions: Garo: The Animation

Garo the Animation

Not content with keeping its ever growing onscreen presence to the realm of live-action tokusatsu, the GARO franchise has made it's first foray into the world of animation with Garo -Honō no Kokuin- (which translates as The Carved Seal of Flames). What's even more surprising is the show has even received licensing in the West, with Funimation picking it for simulcast as part of their subscription service. Simply dubbed Garo: The Animation here, the show will be completely unrelated to previous franchises entries and is written by Yasuko Kobayashi - a tokusatsu regular whose anime works also include the likes of Attack on Titan, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and Casshern Sins.

First Impressions: Gundam Build Fighters Try

Gundam Build Fighters TRY

If you'd told me just over a year ago that a series based around popular model kits and advertising them would turn around to be one of my favourites in recent times, I'd have probably laughed in your face. But then Gundam Build Fighters happened, proving to be an incredibly enjoyable experience for newcomers, casual fans and hardcore fans of the Gundam franchise as well as turning me on properly to the art of Gunpla and all the great kits Bandai have produced. Clearly 25 episodes wasn't enough to contain the awesomeness, as the show has returned again in the form of Gundam Build Fighters Try. This sequel series is once again part of the franchise's 35th anniversary celebration, and is being streamed for free with English subtitles on the GundamInfo Youtube channel.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Anime REVIEW: Space Dandy

Space Dandy

There have been quite a few extremely popular anime shows that have aired in the past year, but I don't think any have sparked off as much interesting conversation as Space Dandy. One of the latest ventures from prolific studio Bones, this show also features famed Cowboy Bebop (plus others) director Shinichirō Watanabe at the helm. But on top of those already pretty impressive credentials, Space Dandy is also part of that very exclusive club of shows that has received a simuldub. That's right - as the Japanese language version was being released, we Westerners were also getting a full English version via Funimation and Adult Swim. Now I'm usually a sub man myself, but considering this rather impressive venture I thought it obligatory I checked out the dub. And rather unexpectedly, that's also the version I ended up sticking with.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

First Impressions: Ai Tenchi Muyo!

Ai Tenchi Muyo!

It's something that hasn't really come up at all on this blog, but I'm a massive fan of the Tenchi Muyo! franchise. It was one of my first experiences with anime at I time where I was old enough to recognise Japanese animation as a medium, and since then has firmly remained one of my all time favourite franchises...even if I'm blasphemous in thinking that the Tenchi Universe TV series timeline is superior to the more-convoluted but canon Ryo-Ohki OVA one. So you can imagine my excitement when AIC announced that they would be working on a brand new Tenchi series, which will be the first since spin-off series Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari (Saint Knight's Tale or War on Geminar as it was later released in the US) in 2009. Ai Tenchi Muyo is set to run for an impressive 50 episodes, the downside being that they're only going to be five minutes long each. Boo!

Monday 6 October 2014

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Drive

Kamen Rider Drive

Motorbikes are so 1971, 2014 is all about cars! That's right, Kamen Rider Gaim is over and its time for a new Rider that does things a little bit differently. 2014-15's Rider goes by the name of Kamen Rider Drive, swapping out the franchise's signature motorcycle completely in favour of a car (yes Kamen Rider Black RX had a car, but he still had a bike at the same time). The 16th Heisei era Kamen Rider series and 25th overall sees Rider veterans Riku Sanjo and Ryuta Tasaki return as lead writer and director respectively - something they last did on 2009-10's Kamen Rider W.

Sunday 5 October 2014

Reviews in Time & Space: Kill the Moon

Doctor Who s08e07 - Kill the Moon

It seems like trying to kill Hitler wasn't enough for Doctor Who, as this week it comes back with the even more ridiculously titled Kill the Moon. Penned by Who newcomer Peter Harness, this episode also takes the action out of Wales for once for some filming in Lanzarote. With sadly no relation to 1984's Planet of Fire. Boo!

Saturday 4 October 2014

Series REVIEW: Power Rangers Super Megaforce

Power Rangers Super Megaforce

In a move that hadn't been attempted since the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers moved into its second season way back in 1994, Saban Brands surprised fans by announcing that the latest series celebrating the 20th anniversary of the franchise would be adapted from two different Super Sentai series. While the first half, Power Rangers Megaforce, would be based off of Tensou Sentai Goseiger, the second would adapt the following series Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. Titled Power Rangers Super Megaforce, this is arguably the "true" part of the anniversary celebration as the source was the 35th anniversary Sentai series and thus also suitably jazzed up for the occasion.

Friday 3 October 2014

First Impressions: Gundam Reconguista in G

Gundam Reconguista in G

2014 marks the 35th anniversary of the Mobile Suit Gundam, and as you can probably imagine one of (if not the) most iconic mecha franchises in the history of anime knows exactly how to throw a party. If the brilliant Gundam Build Fighters wasn't enough, we also have a second season of that, comedy shorts Gundam-san, Gundam: The Origin OVAs and (arguably the most important of them all) the long-awaited release of S.H. Figuarts Master Asia to enjoy/look forward to. But the main event is of course the brand new series, that goes by the rather wordy title of Gundam Reconguista in G, or simply G-Reco for short. But simply being made for the anniversary isn't the only big deal about this show, it's also the first one to be written and directed by franchise creator Yoshiyuki Tomino since Turn A Gundam back in 1999. THAT is a pretty big deal.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Ressha Sentai ToQger Minipla Safari GaOh

Minipla Safari GaOh from Ressha Sentai ToQger the Movie

200 toy reviews already? Wow, I clearly need to find better things to spend my money on.

Jokes aside, I'm kind of glad that my 200th toy review got to be a Super Sentai minipla/candy toy set, as they've become a favourite of mine to do over the last few years. Sure I do other toylines and the review count is predominantly S.H. Figuarts these days, but English minipla reviews aren't all that common so I like to pretend they're something a bit more unique to this blog. Either that or I'm clearly not looking in the right places.

Anyway, what we have here is Safari GaOh, the movie exclusive mecha for Ressha Sentai ToQger's summer movie - Galaxy Line SOS. As is the case most (but not all) of the time, the movie exclusive is a remould of the series' core robot, with ToQOh's components decked out with animal faces and various other new bits and pieces - including a new head for the robot.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Series REVIEW: Garo: The Makai Flower

Garo: Makai no Hana

2014 has proved to be quite the year for Garo, as its rise from adult tokusatsu oddity to full-blown franchise reaches new heights with a number of iterations hitting throughout the year. It started with the six-part Zero: Black Blood  miniseries and will next be jumping into its own anime adaptation as well as a follow-up movie for the cast of spin-off/side story The One Who Shines in the Darkness. But before those Zero was followed up by a proper 25-episode series named Garo: Makai no Hana ("The Makai Flower") which saw Garo creator Keita Amemiya return to the helm after a brief absence.