Sunday 29 March 2015

Anime REVIEW: Gundam Reconguista in G

Gundam Reconguista in G

With last year heralding the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise's 35th anniversary, it's shouldn't be any surprise that Bandai and Sunrise had plenty of projects in store to celebrate. Gundam Build Fighters returned with a brand new sequel series (signalling a range of new custom model kits), and popular manga series Gundam: The Origin is also in process of being adapted into a series of OVA releases. But perhaps the biggest news for longtime fans was the arrival of a brand new series entitled Gundam: RecoNguista in G - written and directed by Gundam creator himself Yoshyuki Tomino. His first Gundam project since Turn A Gundam back in 1999, G-Reco returns fans to the main Gundam universe in a timeline that follows on from the original Universal Century.

Saturday 28 March 2015

Anime REVIEW: Kantai Collection

Kantai Collection

Unless you've spent the last year or so living under a rock when it comes to otaku culture, chances are you'll have heard of or at least seen something do with Kantai Collection. What started out in 2013 as a free-to-play web browser game where you control moe girl anthropomorphisms of famous Japanese World War II battleships has now turned into a fully recognised franchise - storming Japan with figures, manga, light novels and of course more games. However 2015 marks the year KanColle (as it is often abbreviated to) takes the leap into animation, with a full 12-episode series from studio Diomedéa. With the game still currently only properly available to play in Japan, the show's simulcast streaming on Crunchyroll marks a big step in Kantai Collection's bid for a global takeover.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 3.75" Gold Supreme Dalek

What do you do when you've released almost every Dalek variant in a particular scale? Release them all over again in another one of course! After kicking things off with a standard grey Dalek drone from Genesis of the Daleks (which other that the original 1963 version was definitely the right place to start), the 3.75" scale Doctor Who figures now have a whole paint chart of repaints to choose from. And to start things off Character Options have decided to go back in time a few years to 1972, releasing the Gold Supreme Dalek from the classic Third Doctor story Day of the Daleks. This particular variant also went on to appear in Frontier in Space the following year, and more recently graced the cover of the (spectacular) Eighth Doctor Dark Eyes 4 audio boxset from Big Finish.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Movie REVIEW: Ressha Sentai ToQger vs Kyoryuger

Ressha Sentai ToQger vs Kyoryuger

The beginning of a new year - and arguably the most important time for the Super Sentai franchise. A years' worth of adventures for one team reaches it's explosive conclusion while a brand new ones' begin (along with all the wonderful new toys that come with it). But before either of those happen, it's time for the annual versus series team up movie. Ressha Sentai ToQger vs. Kyoryuger sees the cast of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger return for one last roar, teaming up with the ToQgers against a rather large story thread left hanging from their own show.

Friday 20 March 2015

Toybox REVIEW: 66 Action Kamen Riders Wave 5

66action Kamen Rider Wave 5

It's a brand new year for the 66 Action range of candy toys from Bandai, and with the line going from strength to strength with each passing release I can't wait to see what 2015 brings. Despite humble beginnings as simple a range of cheap, poseable Kamen Rider figures it's now extended into a number of other franchises as well as growing a sizeable fanbase. January saw the launch of the 66 Action Ultraman line, and now the Riders return for an impressive fifth wave. This time the selection includes Kamen Rider Drive's Mashin Chaser, Kamen Rider OOO Tajador Combo, Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Black.

Monday 16 March 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 3.75" Asylum Dalek

Doctor Who Asylum Dalek figure

It's almost a given now that any Doctor Who figure wave is going to feature at least one Dalek, and as far as I'm concerned it's deservedly so. They're easy to produce as there's so many variants, and a sure seller to both children and collectors alike. Wave 3 of the relaunched 3.75" scale Doctor Who figures was even lucky to have two Daleks as part of it - one heralding from the classic era of the show, and one representing the relaunched version. Of course a standard bronze Dalek had already been released as part of wave 1, and both the BBC and Character Options seem quite easy to forget that the New Dalek Paradigm was even a thing. Cue a simple but effective repaint, battle-damaging things up to get an Asylum Dalek from the season seven opener Asylum of the Daleks. Which for the record I absolutely hated, but that's a different rant entirely.

Saturday 14 March 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Side Machine

S.H. Figuarts Side Machine

S.H. Figuarts vehicles - one of those things I'm sure many collectors wish they owned more of, but often don't have the space or funds to buy them on top of the constant flow of figures. The recent Kamen Rider-1 & New Cyclone set was my first foray into the world of Figuarts bikes despite nearly four years of collecting, and while no means a regrettable purchase not quite enough to persuade me to add them to my constantly growing want list. When it comes to the Kikaider franchise though, that's a different story. Joining the Kikaider and Hakaider Figuarts are their respective vehicles - the Side Machine and White Crow, to round off the releases from the original Android Kikaider series before moving onto sequel Kikaider 01. This review takes a look at Kikaider's Side Machine, which was released as a Tamashii web exclusive at the end of November 2014.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Movie REVIEW: Space Sheriff Shaider: Next Generation

Space Sheriff Shaider: Next Generation

After a prolonged period of silence following the Space Sheriff Gavan revival movie, Toei's Metal Heroes franchise has returned once again in a pair of V-Cinema (direct to video/DVD) releases breathing new life into the second and third entries in the Space Sheriff trilogy of shows. With Space Sheriff Sharivan: Next Generation sowing the seeds for a much bigger case, its time for Shaider to take the reigns in the second part of this new adventure - Space Sheriff Shaider: Next Generation. Like Sharivan, Shaider also has a new face behind the mask that many tokusatsu fans will surely recognise. This time it's actor Hiroaki Iwanaga, who previously portrayed fan favourite Date Akira/Kamen Rider Birth in Kamen Rider OOO. While this is technically Iwanaga's third outing as the new Shaider, it's the first time he's gotten top billing and a chance to really strut his stuff in the role.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Movie REVIEW: Space Sheriff Sharivan: Next Generation

Space Sheriff Sharivan: Next Generation

The revival of the Space Sheriffs and Metal Heroes franchise hasn't been the smoothest of sailing. Although Gavan managed to crash two different Super Sentai series before going on to star in his own relaunch movie, things have been rather quiet for his immediate successors Sharivan and Shaider. Sure all three also appeared in Super Hero Taisen Z shortly afterward (along with a few other Metal Heroes cameos), but it was mostly about Gavan there as well. However now is the time of the other Space Sheriffs, with two V-cinema (aka direct to video) releases specifically dedicated to them. First up is Space Sheriff Sharivan: Next Generation, which sees Gekiranger star Riki Miura return once again the play the second generation Space Sheriff.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Gaim: Great Soccer Battle! Golden Fruits Cup!

Kamen Rider Gaim: Great Soccer Battle! Golden Fruits Cup!

There's always been two types of Heisei era Kamen Rider summer movies - those set in parallel worlds separate from the main canon, and those that actually tie into the series. The pre-Kamen Rider Decade films mostly fell into the former category, while the post-Decade ones fell into the latter. Kamen Rider Wizard cleverly tried to avoid these categories with a film that had the show's fall into a parallel universe, but Kamen Rider Gaim took it even further with a parallel universe movie which tied into the show itself - twice! But that's not all there is to Kamen Rider Gaim: Great Soccer Battle! Golden Fruits Cup! - in the summer of 2014 Japan (along with the rest of the world) was firmly in the grips of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, prompting Gaim to do a very unlikely bit of cross-promotion. If you thought fruit-armour samurai was weird enough, this is a whole different ball game.

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider V3

It's no secret that Bandai Tamashii Nations is running out of Kamen Rider figures to do. Despite having a plethora of movie-exclusive characters still to do as well as various other bits and pieces from across the franchise's 44 year history, in terms of titular Riders there's only a handful left to go. And so to draw out their main cash cow even further, the S.H. Figuarts line has turned its attention toward the numerous bikes that are still left - particularly those from the Showa era of the franchise. Most of these have come in form of web exclusive sets, but some of the more popular ones have managed to escape that and return to retail release once again (in the form of both two-packs and separate reissues). The end of 2014 saw Riders 1 and 2 receive this treatment, so it's no surprise to see their direct successor Kamen Rider V3 reissued to accompany his bike - the Hurricane