Monday 29 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. MonsterArts Godzilla [1954]

Once upon a time the S.H. MonsterArts line looked to be the perfect answer to articulated kaiju toys, offering a variety of monsters from Godzilla's long and illustrious history with the usual high standard of Bandai Tamashii Nations toys. However more recently it seems like the line may have fallen into more difficult times, not only predominantly taken up with web exclusive releases but also toys of Godzilla himself - leaving many other popular monsters sadly unrepresented. However the truth is there are still plenty of Godzilla costumes left to do, and it is only now that Bandai are getting to possibly the most important of them all. The original 1954 Godzilla finally joins the line as its latest mass release figure, just in time to coincide with the release of the Shin Godzilla movie in Japanese theatres.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Minipla Tousai Zyuoh

One thing Super Sentai fans always seem to go nuts for is a good evil ranger arc. And though it was definitely a bit short-lived, Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger certainly had one of those. Eager to spice up his blood games, Dethgalian leader Genis kidnapped three Zyuman and fused their powers into one human - and thus The World was born! Beating the five Zyuohgers at every turn, Genis' brainwashing was eventually undone and Misao Mondo joined the team as Zyuoh the World! Armed with the animals Cube Rhinos, Cube Crocodile and Cube Wolf, Zyuoh the World has the power of three Zyuman and can combine these three animals into the mighty Tousai Zyuoh. Tousai Zyuoh joins the Zyuohger minipla candy toy line in its third wave, and despite only being three animals is undoubtedly the biggest set yet.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ant-Man

Of all the new media Bandai Tamashii Nations has dug into for the S.H. Figuarts line, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has got to be one with the most worldwide appeal. After working their way through Iron Man 2, 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the line has now began the tackle latest big event to hit screens - Captain America: Civil War. Following the obligatory new versions of both Captain America and Iron Man, relative newcomer Ant-Man has arrived as a surprise mass release figure! Although Civil War may not be the first movie outing for Scott Lang, his solo outing was overlooked by Bandai making this first Ant-Man in the Figuarts line and a much needed boost to Team Cap.

Monday 22 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman 50th Anniversary Edition

The Ultra Series has been particularly notable amongst the various tokusatsu properties covered by Bandai Tamashii Nations because its the only that's ever had the honour of its very own distinct toy line. For the past 16 years the Ultra-Act line has covered a wide range of characters from Tsuburaya Productions flagship franchise, but despite nearly approaching a total of 80 different releases it seems the line's time is finally up. Ultra-Act had slowly turned to renewal figures rather than unreleased characters, and a crossover between the Ultra-Act and S.H. Figuarts brand was shortly followed by the news that Figuarts was soon to have its own selection of Ultraman figures. This meant the same classic characters once again in a whole new scale, so it's no surprise that not every collector welcomed the news with open arms. For many however this was an exciting new direction for both Figuarts and the Ultra Series, and the timing couldn't be better with Ultraman celebrating his 50th Anniversary in 2016. Such an occasion meant not just one, but two releases of the new S.H. Figuarts Ultraman figure - a standard release and a special anniversary variant that also shows off Tamashii's latest offshoot - Option Act.

Sunday 21 August 2016

Special REVIEW: Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars

Gundam Build Fighters Try Island Wars

The Mobile Suit Gundam franchise may well be a multi-million yen space-faring epic about the horrors of war, but everyone knows that's only one side of it. The other half is all about how many model kits Bandai can sell at the same time, and the Gundam Build Fighters spin-off isn't one to shy away from fully embracing it. Though not the first gunpla-themed spin-off from Sunrise, Gundam Build Fighters captured audiences in a way its predecessors had failed to - not only showing the hobby off in a brilliant way but also proving itself to be worthy celebration of Gundam's long heritage. It was quickly followed by sequel series Gundam Build Fighters Try, and now its cast have returned for a one-off special episode entitled Gundam Build Fighters Try: Island Wars. Like both series this episode has been made available for free on Youtube via GundamInfo, welcoming audiences across the globe back to the world of Gunpla battle.

Friday 19 August 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legends LG-23 Galvatron

Transformers toys are currently in a pretty good place. The success of the Combiner Wars line has been followed by the revival of another classic Generation One gimmick - the Headmaster. Here, each robots head is in fact itself a smaller robot (or Nebulon partner, depending on your choice of fiction) - acting as a pilot or gunner when the larger body is in its alt mode. Over in the West this line is known as Titan Return, with Hasbro reviving several classic Headmaster characters while reimagining others using the gimmick. Meanwhile in Japan new figures continue to be implemented into their Transformers Legends line, which also encompasses various figures from Hasbro's Generations line. The 23rd release in this line is the new Titan Master version of Galvatron, the reformatted version of Megatron who acted as Unicron's herald in Transformers: The Movie and the new Decepticon leader for the rest of the G1 cartoon. With the last G1 Galvatron figure being a poorly received deluxe in 2008, not only is a new figure long overdue but with 2016 marking the 30th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie it couldn't have come at a better time.

Friday 12 August 2016

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Ghost & Drive: Super Movie Wars Genesis

Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Ghost & Drive Super Movie Wars Genesis

Just as the latest Kamen Rider is beginning to find his footing, his predecessor returns for one last goodbye as part of a Movie Wars crossover which has been a franchise staple for the past seven years. This time it's the turn of Kamen Rider Ghost, reuniting once more with Kamen Rider Drive in the time-travelling Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Ghost & Drive: Super Movie Wars Genesis. Other than boasting a "super" along with the typically lengthy title, Movie Wars Genesis throws one big format change into the works - making it a particularly notable entry in this popular series of crossovers.

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Movie REVIEW: Come Back! Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Ninnin Girls vs. Boys FINAL WARS

Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Ninnin Girls vs. Boys FINAL WARS

Though all Super Sentai series eventually come to an end, that doesn't mean that viewers have seen the last of that team just yet. While their final (save for the odd big movie crossover) appearance is usually reserved for the succeeding team's Vs. Series movie, the Returns V-Cinema release has also becoming something of an annual tradition in the past few years. These usually truly take place at the end of a show's timeline, acting as the end of their story while also throwing in a few new surprises as well. 2016 was the turn of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, returning in the heftily titled Come Back! Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Ninnin Girls vs. Boys FINAL WARS. While the general English-speaking consensus seems to be that Ninninger failed to impress, could one last outing be enough to turn some of that around?