Friday 26 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: MegaHouse G.E.M. Series Jessie (Musashi) & Wobbuffet (Sonans)

If there's one big area of figure collecting that this blog has never touched upon before, it's statues. As someone who considers posing and articulation a big factor in how much I get out of a figure, static non-articulated statues (be they scale or non-scale) are usually something that don't particularly appeal to me. But not every property or franchise has the luxury of getting a wide range of figures, and sometimes statues are the only way to go. For some inexplicable reason, Pokémon is one such franchise. Recently the likes of D-Arts, Figuarts and Nendoroid have done some great work in the way of game-specific characters or just the Pokémon themselves, but the anime itself hasn't been so lucky. However MegaHouse have recently revealed that the cast will be joining their non-scale G.E.M. statue line, which is also currently doing a similar thing with the Digimon franchise. Each character is set to also come with at least one Pokémon, and first on the release schedule are Musashi and Sonans. However English speakers will know these characters far better as Team Rocket member Jessie and her trusted Wobbuffet.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Kirby

Between Good Smile Company, Bandai Tamashii Nations and Jakks Pacific, one thing collectors don't have right now is a shortage of Nintendo figures. After years of fans clamouring for plastic representations of their favourite video game characters, it seems that everyone is clamouring for the golden tickets that are Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda,  Pokemon, Fire Emblem and more. One toy line that's managed to tackle all four of those franchises is of course Nendoroid, and now it's adding one more to that already impressive resume. The puffy pink sphere known as Kirby first appeared way back in 1992 in the Game Boy game Kirby's Dream Land (Hoshi no Kirby in Japan), before progressing on into a franchise that is still going on strong today. Kirby has also been a staple character in every Super Smash Bros. instalment thus far, as well as starring in his own anime series and several manga titles. Not bad for a character that can barely talk.

Given his body Kirby might seem like an odd choice for the Nendoroid line, and upon his announcement many collectors wondered just how Good Smile Company would go about tackling a character that is quite unlike anything they usually produce for the line. Proportionally he might seem right at home here, but how have GSC made this figure so much more than just a great-looking statue?

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Figure Complex Movie REVO Stitch

It wasn't that long ago that Kaiyodo's Revoltech line was one of the most talked about and eagerly anticipated Japanese toy lines among collectors, providing a wide variety of mecha, anime girls, tokusatsu kaiju and Western movie characters among its various divisions. But times change, and as the likes of S.H. Figuarts, Super Robot Chokogin, Robot Damashii and Figma became more and more prevalent Revoltech figures started to die down a bit in popularity. However the line never truly went away, and has recently reinvented itself with a number of different lines all working under a "Powered by Revoltech" tagline. Among these is a new Figure Complex MOVIE REVO line seemingly dedicated to Western film properties, including Back to the Future and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The third entry however is a Disney character that's proven just as popular in Japan as he has in the West, going as far as to receive a long-running anime spin-off series that. He is of course Experiment 626, aka Stitch from Lilo & Stitch.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Garren Broken Head Ver.

In the last few years Bandai have cleverly begun to offer many of the Showa-era Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts as part of special two-packs with their bikes, giving collectors a second chance to pick up figures they might have missed while at the same time picking up both motorcycle and Rider in one fell swoop. However this marketing tactic didn’t begin with the Showa Riders, with the first Figuarts two pack instead being Kamen Rider Garren and Red Rhombus (and at mass release no less). Given that the other three Kamen Rider Blade Riders each received individual releases, this came across as a pretty odd decision met with woe by those who simply don’t have room for bikes to accompany to their figures. Now two years those people finally get their wish with the Kamen Rider Garren Broken Head Ver. – an individual release in a similar vain to last year’s Tamashii exclusive Kamen Rider Blade Broken Head variant.

Thursday 18 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Chaser

The sometimes unpredictable nature of S.H. Figuarts’ release pattern can be both a blessing and curse. On the one hand it means you can enjoy new releases from a series months after it has finished its run, but on the other it can also mean long waits for important characters or forms – with the chance of it being a Tamashii web exclusive getting ever higher. Kamen Rider Drive’s Kamen Rider Chaser is the perfect example of this – only releasing in January 2016 despite becoming quite the main form of the Roidmude Chase (aka Mashin Chaser and Proto Drive) in the final third of the show. The added cost a Tamashii web exclusive usually brings is likely a negative to a lot of people, but at the same time it usually ensures everyone has a fair chance of grabbing one while the preorder window is open. But enough rambling, it’s time to take a look at the newest hero to join in Drive’s fight against the Roidmudes!

Tuesday 16 February 2016

First Impressions: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Another year gone by, another Super Sentai series over and done with. However the wonderful thing about this franchise is that Toei never leave fans with too long to mourn (or celebrate, depending on how things have gone) the loss of the previous team as the next one is ready to immediately make their debut the following week. For its 40th anniversary celebrations the franchise has opted to put a new spin on the ever-prevalent animal theme with Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger, combining it with Rubik's cube puzzles and a pixellated video game-esque motif (perhaps inspired by retro gaming titles or the likes of the ever-popular Minecraft). 2016 is going to be the year of cubes - lots and lots of cubes.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Omegamon (Our War Game! Version)

2016 is set to be a another big year for the Digimon franchise. Its 15th anniversary last year has seen fans worldwide reliving their childhoods with the arrival of Digimon Adventure Tri - a brand new film series continuing the adventures of the original Chosen Children (or DigiDestined to those who like me grew up with the English dub), while more recently Digimon Cyber Sleuths arrival in the West currently has gamers engrossed. Of course Bandai are also taking full advantage of the renewed interest in Digimon too, with a variety of new figures and anniversary edition Digivices on offer. While the S.H. Figuarts line has maintained a slow but steady flow of Digimon figures over the past few years, they're back in full force with a new anime-inspired version of Omegamon based on his debut appearance in the Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! movie (or to dub fans, Omnimon from simply Digimon the Movie). This Tamashii web exclusive release isn't the first Omegamon figure from Tamashii Nations, with version based on the character's original card art having been released as part of the now defunct D-Arts line in 2011.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Series REVIEW: Shuriken Sentai Ninninger

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger

Super Sentai has been host to a wide variety of themes and motifs over the years, but there is a handful that in the past have proven so successful that they are worth revisiting again and again. Dinosaurs is one that immediately springs to mind, as are cars/vehicles and of course ninjas. Shuriken Sentai Ninninger marks the third time Toei have produced a ninja-orientated Sentai, previously used by Ninja Sentai Kakuranger in 1994 and then Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger in 2002. The 39th entry in the franchise ran from February 2015 to February 2016, weighing in at a grand total of 47 episodes.

Monday 8 February 2016

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

Although my relationship with DC Collectibles’ animated Batman figures has been rocky to say the least, there were always some characters I was going to by without question. And perhaps the biggest of those was Batgirl. Whether it’s her tenure as Batgirl (particularly in her utterly fantastic current ongoing) or assisting the Bat family and the Birds of Prey as Oracle, Barbara Gordon is undoubtedly one of my favourite DC Comics characters. So there was some considerable excitement when Batgirl was revealed to be joining the line, with a figure based on her black-costumed appearance in The New Batman Adventures – where she was promoted to main character and full-time member of the Bat family. As well as a new costume, Batgirl received a new voice actress in the form of Tara Strong – taking over from Melissa Gilbert and the late Mary Kay Bergman (who voiced the character in Batman: The Animated Series and Batman & Mr Freeze: Sub Zero respectively).

Sunday 7 February 2016

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Future

Kamen Rider Drive the Movie: Surprise Future

The Kamen Rider summer films have always been quite an interesting series. While most of the pre-Kamen Rider Decade films looked at their respective series in alternate universe scenarios, the arrival of Kamen Rider W brought along a closer connection between series and movie. More recently last two films, Kamen Rider Wizard in Magic Land and Kamen Rider Gaim: Great Soccer Battle! Golden Fruits Cup! have gelled the two together by taking the series' Rider and then throwing them into an alternate universe for most of the action. Kamen Rider Drive however decided to take a different route for its movie, drawing inspiration from a different beloved sci-fi trope - time travel! So strap yourselves in, because its time for Shinnosuke Tomari and co to find themselves with a Surprise Future.

Thursday 4 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: DC Collectibles "Batman: The Animated Series" Riddler

Although the supposed improvements to the sturdiness of the figures might meet up to everyone’s expectations, to their credit DC Collectibles have really been churning out their line of animated Batman figures from Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures lately. After months of nothing, the backlog of previously revealed figures came through one by one with plenty of new ones announced at the same time. Among the more recent releases was the B:TAS version of the Riddler – a character who appearances were few, but pretty notable in the series (by the time TBNA rolled around, he was reduced to near-cameo status and a horrible redesign). This version of Edward Nygma also holds a special significance to me as well, with the original 1992 version being one of the first action figures I ever owned. Will this new release provide a worthy update with a healthy dose of nostalgia added into the mix? Read on to find out!

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: DC Collectibles 'Batman: The Animated Series' Harley Quinn

When DC Collectibles first announced their range of screen accurate Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures figures, it seems to fair to say that Harley Quinn was one of the most anticipated. Not only is she arguably the DC Animated Universe’s biggest export, but thanks to the likes of the recent Arkham series video games, the forthcoming Suicide Squad movie and her own ongoing comic series her popularity is at an even bigger high right now. But right now we’re looking back at where it all began – the 1992 B:TAS episode Joker’s Favor and the iconic red and black jester costume that still remains her definitive look even to this day.