Monday 29 December 2014

Anime Review: Kikaider 01: The Animation

Kikaider 01: The Animation

In the live-action tokusatsu version of the Kikaider franchise, Jiro's story ends with the defeat of DARK and Professor Gill - with his older brother Kikaider 01 taking up the fight against the revived Hakaider and the forces of evil organisation SHADOW. However Shotaro Ishinomori's manga series takes a different approach to things, with Jiro remaining the main focus of the story as he meets his brother and fights against this new threat. The four-part OVA sequel to Kikaider: The Animation continues Jiro's story in the same way, however like the live-action sequel switches the name to Kikaider 01: The Animation to mark this new instalment in the story.

Friday 26 December 2014

Reviews in Time & Space: Last Christmas

Doctor Who 2014 Christmas Special - Last Christmas

The annual Doctor Who Christmas special has been a staple part of the UK (and many other parts of the world) festive season, but despite this arguably each year the offering can be of varying quality. Since the show first returned in 2005, we've had everything from fun snow-filled romps to big game-changing stories introducing a brand new Doctor. This year's instalment comes after a pretty dramatic season finale for the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald, which saw them separate on rather ambiguous terms. However proving you can never keep a good pairing down they're reunited for this episode, which goes by the name of Last Christmas. Wham song reference purely coincidental I'm sure...

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Anime REVIEW: Psycho-Pass 2

Psycho-Pass 2

Psycho-Pass has been one of the bigger anime hits of recent years, and 2014 seems to have been the year that its creators took that success and used it to full advantage. Not only did the original series receive a special edition rerun, but also a sequel series and a feature-length movie due for release in early January 2015. But before that we have this season's Psycho-Pass 2, which was quite different to its predecessor in quite a few ways. Not only is it considerably shorter (running for a mere 11 episodes), but also featured an almost entire staff change (possibly due to Gen Urobuchi and Production IG being preoccupied with the movie). Tatsunoko have taken over animation duties, with Tow Ubukata (Ghost in the Shell: Arise, Murdock Scramble) heading up writing.

Monday 22 December 2014

Anime REVIEW: Android Kikaider: The Animation

Android Kikaider: The Animation

While the Android Kikaider tokusatsu series wowed audiences onscreen in the early 70s, on paper creator Shotaro Ishinomori took the series in a darker direction with the accompanying manga published in a variety of children's magazines. In 2001 the manga was brought to life as a 13-episode anime series, straightforwardly titled Android Kikaider: The Animation. Animated by Studio OX and the now defunct studio Radix, the Kikaider anime even received an English dub and aired as part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. So for many American fans, this is perhaps the Kikaider that they are most familiar with.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Custom Figure: The Christmas Tree Dalek

Custom Christmas tree Dalek

It's been a while since I last did a custom painted Dalek - not so much because I've had no desire to do one but more that the much nicer to paint 5" figures are becoming harder and harder to find cheap. However after being linked to a custom Christmas Davros figure over on Facebook, my girlfriend suggested to me the idea of making my own Christmas Dalek as a present for her mother (a fellow Doctor Who fan who I have many a discussion with). So that got my brain ticking on how I could successfully mash Daleks and the holiday season, and here is what I came up with...

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Femme

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Femme

The Kamen Rider Ryuki figures have been among the best ever produced in the S.H. Figuarts toyline, but after three years of steadily releasing its vast array of Riders it's time for Bandai Tamashii Nations to move on to new things. Well, it would be if there weren't numerous Contract Beasts still absent (as well as a Blank Form Ouja for all you hardcore completists out there), but as far as the actual Riders go we've reached the end of the line. And what better character to end with than Kamen Rider Femme, the first officially named female Kamen Rider and exclusive character to Ryuki's alternate universe movie Episode Final.

While many have been chomping at the bit Miho Kirishima in Figuarts form for a while now, truth be told my love for this character/design has very little to do with Ryuki. She never really grabbed me as a particularly interesting character in Episode Final and with that being her only prominent role she felt all too fleeting. However Kamen Rider Dragon Knight (which I fully recommend if only to see how wildly different a toku adaptation can be) featured the suit in a prominent (and in my opinion, better) role, under the name Kamen Rider Siren. But no matter which version you prefer, the important thing is that no one can resist a badass swan-motif Rider.

Monday 8 December 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2

With an alternate colour version of the New Cyclone motorcycle coming out in October 2014 to accompany the Rider 1/New Cyclone 2-pack, the trifecta was going to look rather incomplete without a re-release of Takeshi Hongo's comrades in arms. So also making a return that month is a reissue of the original S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2 figure, based on the "Shin" version of the character that appeared later in the original series and then any subsequent crossovers. This Rider's real identity is freelance photographer Hayato Ichimonji, who was captured by Shocker and transformed into a cyborg in an attempt to defeat the original Kamen Rider once and for all. However before the brainwashing could be completed, Hongo manages to save him and the two have fought alongside ever since.

When Hongo leaves Japan to fight Shocker overseas midway through the series, Ichimonji becomes his successor and defends Japan from Shocker's evil schemes. Eventually Hongo returns to Japan, with the two continuing the fight alongside as the Double Riders.

Thursday 4 December 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 & New Cyclone

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 & New Cyclone

The S.H. Figuarts line is getting closer and closer to releasing all of the main Kamen Rider heroes, so in order to keep the line going strong and steady Bandai are also going back and revisiting some old favourites to fill in some gaps. And in terms of the Showa era Riders, the biggest of these gaps is of course their motorcycles (after all, they are Kamen Riders). But rather than just release the bikes for those collectors clamouring to make their collection more "complete", Tamashii Nations is also giving fans a second chance to get these classic characters with two-pack releases with their respective Rider or reissues to accompany those single pack bike releases.

Now I'm not usually one to collect the bikes - there's a whole lot of Riders out there and I simply don't have room for everything. But when it came to a 2-pack of Kamen Rider 1 & the New Cyclone, I just simply couldn't pass it up. If any Kamen Rider figure in my collection deserved his motorcycle, it's the original.