Thursday 31 March 2016

Anime REVIEW: Durarara!!x2


The grand return of Durarara!! was something many anime fans were eager for, and after a whopping five year gap the light novel series turned anime finally made its comeback – with the staff of the original now working under the banner of Studio Shuka. However this was no ordinary sequel series, as DRRR!! took its expansive and often complex storytelling to new heights with a rather elaborate airing format. Durarara!!x2 aired over the course of 15 months, split into three separate 12-episode cours airing every other anime “season”. Durarara!!x2 Shou arrived in January 2015, followed by Durarara!!x2 Ten in July. Finally, Durarara!!x2 Ketsu finally landed in January 2016 – one year after the season had started and bringing the story to its big conclusion.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Bandai Figmes Dragon Ball Z Minifigures

Ever since LEGO started delving into the world of licensed franchises everybody has something they would like to see the construction toy juggernaut tackle. Unfortunately the wait for Dragon Ball Z themed LEGO has proven rather fruitless, so Bandai have decided to take things into their own hands somewhat with a new candy toy line - Figmes. Whether exactly this is a one-off or a line Bandai has expansive plans with is yet to be seen, but looking at this set they've certainly started things off with a bang. Included in this set are Goku, Vegeta (in both normal and Super Saiyan varieties), Piccolo, Kuririn, Freeza and Cell. If you've ever dreamed of adding the Z Fighters to your LEGO collection, then this is one set of candy toys you won't want to miss out on.

Thursday 24 March 2016

Movie REVIEW: Love Live! The School Idol Movie

Love Live! The School Idol Movie

What do you do when you've created a successful anime franchise that's already spawned two seasons, CDs, manga, light novels, video games and more? End things with a movie of course! And that's exactly what Love Live! School Idol Project has done - ending it's final episode with the perfect lead in to a full blown cinematic feature. Going by the full title of Love Live! The School Idol Movie, this film is the swan song of μ's before the band go their separate ways and the group is retired to make way for a new group of super stars in Love Live! Sunshine later this year. Given μ's monumental success, it's only fitting that they be seen out in style.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Anime REVIEW: Love Live! School Idol Project

Love Live! School Idol Project

Every so often there comes around an anime franchise that seems almost impossible to ignore no matter how hard you try, and in the past three years Love Live! School Idol Project has definitely qualified as one. The idol-themed series from ASCII Media Works', music label Lantis and animation studio Sunrise has gone from strength to strength spawning not only an anime series but also a movie, multiple manga adaptations, light novels and a rather addictive iOS/Android game by the name of Love Live! School Idol Festival. Summer 2016 will see a brand group of idols take the reins in spin-off series Love Live! Sunshine, but for now we're looking back on the ones that started it all. The original Love Live! School Idol Project ran for a total of 26 episodes split into two 13-episode seasons, with the first airing late 2013 and the second following mid-2014.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.I.C. Hakaider (CR Kikaider S.I.C. Version)

Pachinko is a game Japan seems to take very seriously, and judging by the vast number of high quality and innovative machines produced starring various anime and tokusatsu franchises it isn’t hard to see why. Just one example among them is 2015’s CR S.I.C. Kikaider machine, which featured new interpretations of the Android Kikaider cast based on Bandai’s Super Imaginative Chogokin line. With Tamashii Nations releasing a brand new Kikaider figure based on that design at the end of 2015, it was only a matter of time until his arch rival Hakaider joined him. Released as a Tamashii web exclusive in February 2016, this new Hakaider figure brings the character into the modern era of the S.I.C. line – continuing onwards from the minimally articulated Kikaider figures that helped build the line at the very beginning.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Garo Ryuga Ver.

Once upon a time Tamashii Nations released three GARO figures in their S.H. Figuarts toyline – Garo himself as a mass release figure, and then Zero and Taiga as Tamashii web exclusives. Despite the Figuarts being the perfect upgrade to the old Equip & Prop figures and offering great likenesses of the in-show armours, the line suddenly came to a halt as Bandai instead pressed forward with their larger and more stylised Makai Kado figures. Years passed and no-one ever thought they would hear from GARO in S.H. Figuarts again, until the Tamashii Nations event in 2014 revealed it would be making a grand return. It’s been some time since that initial announcement, but kicking off 2016 in style is the release of S.H. Figuarts Garo Ryuga Ver. – based on Ryuga Dougai’s darkness-tainted version of the suit that appeared in the third GARO series, Yami o Terasu Mono (aka The One Who Shines in the Darkness). Though another web exclusive Garo Ryuga Ver. is a comeback nobody quite expected, making this release all the more special.

Monday 7 March 2016

Anime REVIEW: Kamen Rider SD

Kamen Rider SD

If there’s one thing you’ll constantly see Kamen Rider fans question it’s why the franchise has never received some sort of anime adaptation. Whether it be an adaptation of the popular Kamen Rider Spirits manga or something wholly new, there is definitely an eagerness to see what Kamen Rider could do without the limitations that come with a tokusatsu series. After all – if it worked for Kikaider it can certainly work for Kamen Rider too. What many people don’t mention however is that Kamen Rider HAS in fact received an anime version in the past – albeit not in the way many people would have hoped. Kamen Rider SD is a one-shot OVA from 1993, based on the manga series of the same name. As the name suggests, it stars comical super-deformed versions of the various Kamen Riders battling against a unification of their enemies working under the name ‘GranShocker’.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Captain Phasma

When the marketing for Star Wars The Force Awakens went into overdrive there were a select few characters who quickly became the subject of much discussion. The identify of mysterious new villain Kylo Ren was one such talking point, however eyes were also drawn to a Stormtrooper leader decked out in a cape and shiny silver armour. This of course is Captain Phasma, First Order Stormtrooper Captain and played by Gwendoline Christie. Due to Christie's acting experience in Game of Thrones and her generally badass look, Phasma was touted as being one of the things to look forward to most in the film with many people labelling her "the next Boba Fett". This unfortunately turned out to be more accurate than people hoped, with Phasma herself doing extremely little in the film and coming away feeling like a throwaway character more than anything else. Still, the design looked fantastic and so it's no surprise to see Bandai Tamashii Nations add her to their steadily-growing collection of Star Wars themed S.H. Figuarts - making her the third release from the newest instalment. 

Thursday 3 March 2016

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Agito

Kamen Rider Agito

Proving that you can't keep a good hero down for very long, after Kamen Rider Kuuga spearheaded the Heisei era revival of the Kamen Rider franchise it was immediately followed up with Kamen Rider Agito - a series that didn't just celebrate Rider's 30th anniversary, but the 50th anniversary of Toei as a whole. Kamen Rider Agito is particularly notable for not only being the first series to tackle a multi-Rider dynamic, but as an indirect sequel to Kuuga is also a rare example of continuity in the Heisei era. Finally Agito was also Toshiki Inoue's debut as a head writer for the franchise. Inoue previously had several writing credits on Super Sentai (the most notable being Chojin Sentai Jetman), with this series beginning the long (and perhaps turbulent) relationship he would go on to have with Kamen Rider.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

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

When Batman: The Animated Series made its transition to The New Batman Adventures, it brought about a lot of changes. The most obvious of these was the somewhat simplified art style, but also a time skip that changed the character dynamics of the Bat Family. Batgirl became a regular, Tim Drake joined the team as the new Robin, and Dick Grayson broke away from Batman’s shadow to establish himself as Nightwing. Despite playing a more limited role in the series, Nightwing was still a big part of it – appearing in the series logo while the more frequent Batgirl was inexplicably absent. Now DC Collectibles have added Nightwing to their new range of figures covering Batman’s main entries into the DC Animated Universe, completing the Bat Family in action figure form.