Sunday 31 May 2015

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden - Zangetsu & Baron

Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden Zangetsu & Baron

If there's one thing that both Toei and Bandai like doing it's making money. So if a particular series has proven especially popular and/or profitable, you can bet that the two will milk it for everything that it's worth. In terms of Kamen Rider shows you only have to look at the slew of Kamen Rider Den-O movies or the Kamen Rider W Returns Accel and Eternal movies to realise that. And now it seems fair to say that Kamen Rider Gaim officially falls under that category too. Though the series didn't break the overall ratings decline that has plagued both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai for many years now (although many will argue that those don't amount to all that much anymore), the series struck a chord with the older fanbase and this combined with good merchandise sales was enough for a Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden V-cinema project to go ahead. This straight to DVD release is split into two side stories, with the first focusing on Kamen Rider Zangetsu and the second on Kamen Rider Baron. Along with it came a few new pieces of web exclusive merchandise, and more recently the announcement that a second release focusing on Kamen Riders Duke and Knuckle is in the works. Looks like Gaim has plenty of life in it yet.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Drive Type Speed

Sengoku-era fruit armour is so last year, now it's all about the cars. Although Kamen Rider Drive has turned heads by having its lead character drive a car instead of riding of motorcycle, the addition of two extra wheels hasn't diverged it too far from the heart and spirit of any other Kamen Rider show. The show itself may have started way back in October, only now are Bandai Tamashii Nations kicking things off in their S.H. Figuarts toy line. And what better place to start than at the beginning, with the base form of the titular Rider - Kamen Rider Drive Type Speed. Much like Kamen Rider Gaim before it the next few releases in the line will be of some of the other Riders/Rider-esque characters that appear in the show before things move onto the Drive's various forms, but for now let's check out what is likely to be most people's priority figure from this year's addition to the Kamen Rider family.

Saturday 23 May 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Darth Vader

S.H. Figuarts Darth Vader

Ever since Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and started giving the merchandising rights out like  no tomorrow, everyone's wanted to get in on that surefire money printer. In the last year alone we've seen Revoltech, Good Smile Company and Bandai Tamashii Nations get in on the action - the latter even giving the iconic characters a brand new twist with their Movie Realisation line. But as soon as it was discovered Bandai would be hitting up the franchise S.H. Figuarts were what everyone was waiting for...and now the wait is over! Kicking things at the end of April was the release of the standard Stormtroopers and the Sith Lord himself - Darth Vader. Based on the character's appearance in Return of the Jedi, many expected this to put Hasbro's own 5" Black Series figure to shame. Did it live up to the hype? Read on to find out!

Monday 18 May 2015

FEATURED: Power Rangers Dino Charge at MCM London Comic Con

It's been a few months since Power Rangers Dino Charge landed in the US (in fact the show has come and gone for the time being as that long and painful hiatus kicks in), but over here in the UK we're still patiently waiting for the latest Power Rangers instalment to launch. That time however is almost upon us and Bandai UK will be kicking things off in style at the London MCM Comic Con this coming weekend (22nd-24th May), which will be taking place at the Excel Centre at the Royal Victoria Dock. If you're heading down to the event, read on to find out some the great offers and previews they'll have down at the show all weekend.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kikaider 01

S.H. Figuarts Kikaider 01

There's a lot to look forward to in the S.H. Figuarts line in 2015. There's the new Kamen Rider Drive range which looks to uphold that made last year's Kamen Rider Gaim figures so great, the Juuko B-Fighter lineup will be completed later this month with the release of the G-Stag/Reddle 2-pack, and the Metal Heroes franchise as a whole is about to add another entry with the release of the Megabeast Inspector Juspion. Not to mention all the Star Wars line and the continuing success of the various anime properties Tamashii Nations have inducted into the line over the years. Me though? What I've been looking forward to most is more Kikaider figures. Getting sucked into the franchise late last year seemed like almost perfect timing, as Bandai have churned out the cast at an impressive rate. After covering the original Android Kikaider series last year, now it's the turn of its sequel - Kikaider 01. And what better way to start than with the titular hero himself, older brother of Kikaider/Jiro and defender against the forces of SHADOW.

Like the rest of the Kikaider figures, Kikaider 01 is a Tamashii web exclusive and was released at the end of April 2015.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Kuuga Mighty Form

S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Kuuga Mighty Form

The Shinkocchou Seihou sub-line is the next big thing in S.H. Figuarts. What started out with a particularly fancy renewal of Kamen Rider Kabuto has now become it's own beast separate from the main Figuarts line - filling out some rather notable gaps in the Kamen Rider roster as well as creating new versions of characters that leave the old versions well in the dust. Kamen Rider Kuuga Mighty Form is the third release from this already highly-acclaimed line, and it couldn't have come at a much better time given that the first Heisei Era Rider celebrated his 15th anniversary earlier this year. What better way for Bandai Tamashii Nations to celebrate a show with the tagline "A New Hero, A New Legend" than with a brand new figure. A new Kuuga...a Nuuga if you will.

(Yes, that was terrible but I make absolutely no apologies for it.)

Monday 11 May 2015

Custom Figure: 66 Action Kamen Rider Ryuga & Dragblacker

Custom 66 Action Kamen Rider Ryuga & Dragblacker

Bandai's 66 Action Candy toy isn't just the new big thing with fans looking for cheap articulated figures of their favourite tokusatsu heroes - it's also seem to have struck a chord with customisers as well. Just a quick browse on Twitter or the internet in general will bring up some of the incredible custom figures fans have produced - ranging from minor repaints to brand new sculpted pieces to build characters the line hasn't even touched yet. While I fully admit I don't have anywhere near that level of skill to bring such an ambitious projects to life, a spare Kamen Rider Ryuki amongst my Kamen Rider wave 5 case did give me a good idea for a quick and easy repaint. There's a sore lack of evil Riders in the selection right now, so the addition of Kamen Rider Ryuga and Dragblacker couldn't be more perfect.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Anime REVIEW: Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers

Among the long lists of anime series that begin each new season, you'll always find a handful that have a certain goal in mind - selling toys. Of course this strategy isn't exactly uncommon on either side of the globe, but in Japan's case these are the year long-running shows that Westerners don't seem to pay a whole lot of attention to, and are eventually forgotten as soon as their last episode has aired. However last year revealed one that everyone immediately paid attention to, as Marvel Comics announced they would be partnering with studio Toei Animation for a brand new animated venture - Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. With the pairing of Marvel and Toei having previously brought the world the wonderfully wacky 1978 Japanese Spider-Man series, many were eager to see what would happen when the comics giant teamed up with Toei's animation department instead. The result was not quite what any expected, and a series that could quite easily be summed up as a Japanese kids' show through and through. And with those all important toy duties being handled by Bandai, this doesn't look like a show that'll be officially stepping outside of Japan at any point either.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider V3

Kamen Rider V3

Nowadays getting a new Kamen Rider series each year is something of a given, but back in the days of the original 1971 a sequel must have been a pretty huge deal. After 2 years on the air and an incredible 93 episodes, Riders 1 and 2 stepped back in 1973 to introduce a brand new hero on the scene - Kamen Rider V3. And with that move, what was once just a popular long-running series became a multi-installment franchise that's still going on today. So while the original might be the one that started it all, you could say that V3 is where things really began to kick off. The series would also be the first of many key tokusatsu roles for lead actor Hiroshi Miyauchi - going on to play Aoranger in Himitsu Sentai Goranger, Big One in JAKQ Dengekitai and the titular hero in Kaiketsu Zubat. Quite the resume don't you think?

Sunday 3 May 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Shuriken Sentai Ninninger Minipla Shurikenjin

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger Minipla Shurikenjin

Traditionally individual Super Sentai mecha tend to fall into one of two categories - animals or mecha. Sometimes you'll get the occasional series that mixes the two (Go-Busters doing this in a particularly clever way by providing both in the same component) but most of the time it's one of the other, which means the combination will either be entirely made of animals or entirely made of vehicles. This year Shuriken Sentai Ninninger has thrown that completely out of the window by mixing things up while homaging various mecha from the franchise's long history. Shurikenjin has proved to be an interesting and unique mecha design in a number of ways, so it's very interesting to see how it has translated to Bandai's more affordable line of minipla candy toys.