Sunday 27 December 2015

Reviews in Time & Space: The Husbands of River Song

The Husbands of River Song

Christmas. A time for family, gifts, lots of food and of course the annual Doctor Who Christmas Special. These specials have ranged from festive romps featuring robot Santas to emotional goodbyes (and an energetic hello) to previous versions of the Doctor, comfortably asserting themselves as a staple of British festive television. The 2015 edition sees the return of an old face, as Professor River Song makes a surprise return in The Husbands of River Song.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Knuckle Kurumi Arms

Back in May 2014 when Bandai Tamashii Nations released the first of the Kamen Rider Gaim S.H. Figuarts figures, fans wondered just how long it would take them to get through the rather extensive cast. Just look at the similar sized Kamen Rider Ryuki for example, which had the first of its 13 Riders released in August 2011 but wasn’t completed until November 2014 (and still has a few Contract Monsters missing here and there). But although Gaim still has a few movie exclusive Riders, bit-part characters and monsters left untouched or without a release date, the main cast was neatly rounded off at the end of November 2015 with Kamen Rider Knuckle Kurumi Arms. Another Tamashii Web Exclusive, Knuckle returns Gaim to its roots with another standard armoured Rider, following on from the completion of the New Generation Riders with Kamen Rider Sigurd in the previous month.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Toybox REVIEW: LEGO Ideas Doctor Who Set

Ever since the LEGO brand started snapping up licensed properties left right and centre getting an official Doctor Who LEGO set has felt like a bit of a pipe dream. Things seemed less and less likely when Character Options started producing their own LEGO-esque sets and figures in the form of Character Building, but that didn't stop fans from hoping and various suggestions on the LEGO Ideas website from getting considerable buzz. Those prayers were finally answered in 2015, when a Doctor Who set was officially unveiled alongside the franchise joining DC Comics, Jurassic World, Portal, The Simpsons and more in the LEGO Dimensions video game. The Doctor has finally arrived in LEGO form, and while it may not be as a fully fledged range just yet this could easily be the start of something great.

Friday 18 December 2015

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden: Duke & Knuckle

Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden - Duke & Knuckle

Some people say that you can never have too much of a good thing. These people have clearly never seen Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden: Zangetsu & Baron. After the Kamen Rider Gaim series impressed audiences with its cleverly woven (though admittedly Urobuchi-trope ridden) storyline and fantastic characters, these V-cinema side stories came along feeling like a pure money spinner – offering weak stories that raised further questions while shoehorning in new Armoured Riders and Lockseeds derived from already existing suits. However both Bandai and Toei must have clearly got what they wanted out of this, because it wasn’t long before a second Gaim Gaiden was put into production and released – this time focusing on Kamen Rider Duke and Kamen Rider Knuckle.

So with zero expectations and extreme trepidation, I ventured back to Zawame City to see if these offerings were much of the same or whether they were able to once again capture what made Kamen Rider Gaim so engaging in the first place.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Mako Mankanshoku Fight Club-spec Two Star Goku Uniform ver.

Despite ties with Good Smile Company and proving to be a popular series on both sides of the world, Kill la Kill hasn’t had all that much luck on the articulated figure front. Two Figma and a handful of Nendoroids is about all that’s been mustered, and even scale statues have largely been relegated to ones of only Ryuko Matoi and Satsuki Kiryuin. However among these slim pickings were some real gems, and Nendoroid Mako Mankanshoku was one of them. GSC obviously agreed, since the character then made a reappearance in the line this year as their Summer Wondefest exclusive (although that title is less special now that GSC sell the figures at any cons they attend worldwide). This figure however is Mako Mankanshoku Fight Club-spec Two Star Goku Uniform ver., based on her appearance in episode seven of series where she fights against Ryuko in order to protect her family’s new found wealth.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Toybox REVIEW: The Night of the Doctor Eighth Doctor

Doctor Who may have unfortunately wrapped up for the year once again (although this year it’s only a matter of weeks between the season finale and Christmas special), but there’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to the toys. The 5.5” scale figures from Character Options and Underground Toys has been reborn in the form of a collector orientated toy line, and the releases of the Twelfth Doctor and Missy have been followed by a line of rereleases exclusive to Toys R Us and Forbidden Planet in the UK. But among these reissues is also a brand new figure – the Eighth Doctor himself as he appeared in 50th Anniversary prequel The Night of the Doctor. Once again portrayed by Paul McGann, this mini-episode featured a whole new look for this version of the Doctor before he boldly regenerated into the War Doctor.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider J

Kamen Rider J

Every time there's a big Kamen Rider crossover movie (and for better or for worse, that's annually these days) there's one Rider that definitely sticks out from the others. He never does very much and is usually beaten relatively quick should he manage to get a fight scene, but being giant sized is bound to get you noticed. This is Kamen Rider J, the star of the one-off 1994 movie of the same name. This film was released during the period of time where Kamen Rider was off Japanese television screens, and along with Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue and Kamen Rider ZO makes up a trilogy of films that neatly round off the franchise's Showa era (although all three actually came out during the Heisei period). Like ZO before it the film was directed by a pre-Garo Keita Amemiya, and is also notable for starring YĆ«ta Mochizuki in the title role - having previously portrayed Geki/Tyranno Ranger in Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Reviews in Time & Space: Hell Bent

Doctor Who s09e12 - Hell Bent

It's been an entertaining ride, but the end of Doctor Who's ninth series/season (I need to decide on a word and stick to it really) has come to an end. In true Doctor Who style though, that end will of course be with a bang. Finale episode Hell Bent sees the Doctor finally make his return his home planet of Gallifrey - an event that has been years in the making and (with the exception of a few little detours) a first for the modern iteration of the franchise. The episode also serves as our proper goodbye to Clara Oswald, with actor Jenna Coleman having stepped down from her role as companion after serving for an nearly three years. The episode was once again directed by Rachel Talalay, and of course written by show runner Steven Moffat.