Sunday 31 January 2016

First Impressions: Power Rangers Dino Supercharge

Power Rangers Dino Supercharge

Although technically this site won't be featuring a review for Power Rangers Dino Charge until the end of the year (despite it being split into two seasons, it covers one Super Sentai adaptation as such my preference is to treat it as one), the premiere of its second half - Power Rangers Dino Supercharge, isn't something that should go unnoticed. While Samurai's second half simply felt like a continuation and Super Megaforce moved onto an entirely new set of powers, Dino Supercharge sits comfortably between those - introducing a brand new villain and new rangers as the team continue their search for the final two Energems. Welcome to When Evil Stirs...

Friday 29 January 2016

Anime REVIEW: Mobile Suit Gundam

Mobile Suit Gundam

It would be pretty hard to be anime fan without ever having heard the words “Mobile Suit Gundam”. Far more than just being the Bandai’s ultimate action figure and model kit (gunpla) cash cow, the original 1979 series from Sunrise and creator Yoshiyuki Tomino helped define the mecha genre and ushered in the subgenre of “real robot” anime. In 36 years Gundam has expanded into numerous series, films and novels spanning various continuities, but this is the point where it all began – the Universal Century. Gundam’s main timeline, and for many fans still considered the very best.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kylo Ren

Ever since Bandai Tamashii Nations first announced that they would be adding the Star Wars franchise to their ever-expanding S.H. Figuarts toy line, it was both obvious and inevitable that this would lead to figures from The Force Awakens. The timing was just too perfect for it not to, and as soon as the merchandise juggernaut was beginning to hit the globe Bandai revealed the first two figures that would be joining the collection – Kylo Ren and the First Order Stormtrooper, both released alongside the film’s near-worldwide release mid-December. For good reason Kylo Ren’s identity was shrouded in mystery until the film’s release, and while you won’t find any big spoilers in this review I will say that I found him to be one of the most fascinating characters the films have produced so far. His Darth Vader-inspired look was enough to sell me on preordering, but the film really made me want it.

Thursday 21 January 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Super Saiyan Vegeta -Premium Color Edition-

One of the biggest problems of the Dragon Ball Z range of S.H. Figuarts is that most of them have been Tamashii web exclusives. This essentially means that most of the cast has been limited to one initial run, and the constant reissuing of the lines few early retail releases (Super Saiyan Goku, Gohan and Piccolo) are enough to make up for this. Characters such as Vegeta and Trunks fetched ludicrous prices on the aftermarket, so Bandai Tamashii Nations decided to get in on the action themselves with new Premium Colour Editions. While basically re-releases of the original figures, they have also been given a more accurate colourscheme to get around the usual “one and done run” of web exclusives. First up is Super Saiyan Vegeta, which was originally released back at the tail end of 2011. Trunks is set to follow in January 2016, with Super Saiyan 3 Goku seen at events and Perfect Cell also rumoured to make an appearance again sometime this year.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Super Saiyan Son Goku Super Warrior Awakening Ver.

The S.H. Figuarts line’s humble beginnings may have started with tokusatsu and the Kamen Rider franchise but as the years gone by it has expanded further and further – delving into both anime and live-action film. Arguably one its most popular anime sub-lines has been the Dragon Ball Z range, which despite being mostly limited to Tamashii web exclusives in Japan has proven to be a huge success in the West and constantly has new prototypes appearing at events. With Dragon Ball back in the hearts and minds of Japanese viewers full-swing thanks to the recent movies and Dragon Ball Super series, Bandai Tamashii Nations have released their first mass release Dragon Ball figure in since 2010 with Super Saiyan Goku Super Warrior Awakening Version. This figure is based on Goku’s climactic battle with Freeza on Planet Namek when he first tapped into his Super Saiyan abilities.

Thursday 14 January 2016

Toybox REVIEW: DC Collectibles "The New Batman Adventures" Robin

DC Collectibles line of animated Batman figures had a rather interesting year in 2015. After the hotly anticipated figures burst onto the scene at the end of 2014, they quickly received criticism for their fragility – leading the designers to take a step back and look at the how they could improve the builds for future figures. This led to delay after delay for the majority of the line planned throughout 2015, until they all seemed to hit in rapid succession towards the years’ end. Among these delayed figures was the subject of this review – The New Batman Adventures’ iteration of the boy wonder himself, Robin. Taking place after Dick Grayson had moved on to take up the mantle of Nightwing, this version of Robin is instead Tim Drake – considerably younger looking than his predecessor and sporting a rather different origin to his comics counterpart.

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Movie REVIEW: Shuriken Sentai Ninninger the Movie: The Dinosaur Lord's Splendid Ninja Scroll!

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger the Movie: The Dinosaur Lord's Splendid Ninja Scroll!

It's still a few weeks from it's finale, but at this point it seems fair to say that in general Shuriken Sentai Ninninger is a series that hasn't resonated all that well with Super Sentai's English-speaking fanbase. But why exactly this is the case is a subject left for a review of the series as a whole, so for now let's cast our minds back to summer 2015, when Shuriken Sentai Ninninger the Movie: The Dinosaur Lord's Splendid Ninja Scroll! was released in Japanese cinemas alongside Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Future. 

Saturday 9 January 2016

Series REVIEW: Shin Kanpai Senshi After V

Shin Kanpai Senshi After V

In 2014 tokusatsu fans were treated to a low-key parody series by the name of Kanpai Senshi After V (or Cheers Squadron After V if you prefer), which lampooned Super Sentai and various other superhero tropes through the exploits of the team Treasure V and their infamous after work drinking sessions. Though hardly revolutionary, the series came with its own unique charm and humour as well as a clear love for the genre it was mocking. Clearly its audience thought so too, as the series returned again in late 2015 for a second season - this time under the banner of Shin Kanpai Senshi After V. So for those on the lookout for more laughs and show that will make you want to hit the bars in Japan like no other, the further (mis)adventures of the Golden Warriors Treasure V are here to satisfy you. Cheers!

Thursday 7 January 2016

Series REVIEW: Ultraman X

Ultraman X

2015 played host to a number of great tokusatsu shows over the year, but very few of them feel quite as important as Ultraman X did. As Tsuburaya Productions gear the Ultra Series and its titular hero up for their 50th anniversary this year, X stormed screens with a 22-episode (not counting a handful of clip episodes) series that was far more than just a delight for Japanese viewers. With staple anime streaming website Crunchyroll steadily adding Ultra Series instalments to its back-catalogue over the past few years, this year it went one step further by announcing the simulcasting of Ultraman X to the rest of the world at the same time as its Japanese airing – making it the first show of its kind to do this. While Japan’s premier superhero might feel like he’s been lagging behind the likes of Kamen Rider and Super Sentai in recent years, it’s fair to say that X brought the franchise back with a bang.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

First Impressions: Macross Delta - Preview Episode

Macross Delta

Is there a better way to kick off a new year than with a brand new Macross series? After a four year absence, the idol-infused sci-fi mecha franchise makes its grand return in 2016 with a brand new entry going by the name of Macross Delta. Creator Shōji Kawamori returns to handle chief writing, directorial and mecha designer duties, backed up director Kenji Yasusda and writer Toshizo Nemoto. Finally the series is produced jointly by Studio Nue and Satelight, which has been the case for all new Macross instalments since Macross Zero way back in 2004. Now technically Macross Delta isn't set to hit Japan until the Spring, however Kawamori and co spoiled Japanese audiences to a sneak preview of the series on New Year's Eve. This special preview featured a near-complete draft of the first episode, going by the designation of Mission 0.89 - Prologue on the Battlefield.