Thursday 29 September 2016

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ghost

Kamen Rider Ghost

After the sheer insanity/genius of giving a Kamen Rider a car instead of a bike, it’s almost as if Toei went motif crazy in order to make the 2015-16 Rider seem just as innovative. Eyeball collectibles, hoodies, historical figures, a pirate ship that can transform into a giant iguana – these are just some of the facets that make up Kamen Rider Ghost. Spanning a total of 50 episodes, including a crossover with currently airing Super Sentai series Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger, the 17th Heisei era Kamen Rider series (and 26th in total) marks Takuro Fukuda’s debut as lead writer and stars Shun Nishime as the titular character.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Anime REVIEW: Love Live! Sunshine!!

Love Live! Sunshine!!

When you've created a juggernaut like Love Live! School Idol Project, you can't just end things when your idols retire. Although μ's seem just as popular as ever, their time in the spotlight is over as a new idol group takes to the stage in sequel series Love Live! Sunshine!!. Once again animated by Sunrise in a joint project with ASCII Media Works and Lantis, this new series takes place sometime after Honoka and co have gone their separate ways, paving the road for a swarm of prospective idols in the titular tournament. Forget about μ's, now comes the time of Aqours.

Monday 26 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: 4InchNel Mega Man

Although Capcom haven’t really been doing the video game series any favours lately, toy companies on the other hand have really jumped on the Mega Man (or Rockman as he’s known in Japan) franchise. Some of the more notable releases include Bandai’s D-Arts figure, Good Smile’s Nendoroid and Kotobukiya’s scale model kit. But now Sentinel are also joining the party – kicking off what is hoped to be a wide range of Mega Man figures in their 4InchNel line. As the name suggests this line features figures around four inches in height, with far more affordable prices than the high-end mecha figures the company have become known for. Also released at the same time was the 4InchNel Mega Man.EXE figure, but for now we take a look at the iconic gaming character in his original and most well-known guise.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Ultra-Act x S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Suit Ver 7.2

Ultraman may have scaled down and joined the S.H. Figuarts line but Ultra-Act is not dead quite yet – hanging on by a thread with figures based on the ongoing Ultraman manga series. However these are not straightforward Ultra-Act releases like some might expect, instead branded as a special Ultra-Act x S.H. Figuarts crossover. The second character to arrive (and third release in total) is Ultraman Suit Ver 7.2 – the Ultra suit worn by no-nonsense SSSP operative Dan Moroboshi. As the character’s name would suggest, this Ultra Suit is of course based on Ultraseven – reimagined in a more mechanical fashion. Unlike manga Ultraman who originally saw release at retail, Ultraman Suit Ver 7.2 is a Tamashii web exclusive figure.

Monday 19 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Whis

Despite boasting a lot of unreleased prototypes and a bit of a spotty period with few releases, it’s fair to say that Dragon Ball has remained one of the more consistent ranges S.H. Figuarts has on offer. With the arrival of Dragon Ball Super creating renewed interest in the franchise, the line has also experienced something of a renaissance – with new characters, “renewal” figures and premium colour editions all on offer. Earlier this year saw the release of popular new character and God of Destruction Beerus, and no long behind him comes his faithful attendant Whis. Unfortunately unlike his master Whis is a Tamashii web exclusive figure in Japan, but will undoubtedly see more widespread release in the US via Bluefin.

Friday 16 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Figma A Link Between Worlds Link DX Edition

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be drawing ever closer, but thanks to the slow process that is figure manufacturing Figma’s latest entry from the prolific franchise takes us back to 2013 and the release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS. Previewed at Wonderfests for years but only now finally seeing release, Figma A Link Between Worlds Link is the second Link from Max Factory and the fourth from Good Smile Company as a whole. This figure had the particular honour of being released in two different formats – in addition to a general release version a “DX Edition” with more accessories was also made available via the GSC Online Store as well as any of the brand’s partner stores across the globe.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider 1

Kamen Rider 1

With Super Sentai and Kamen Rider celebrating their 40th and 45th anniversaries this year, Toei have dubbed 2016 as “Super Hero Year” with very good reason. But while the former franchise might seem like it’s been slacking a bit on the celebration front, the same can’t be said for Kamen Rider. In addition to the Amazon Prime exclusive Kamen Rider Amazons series, a legendary hero has also made his return to the fold. Kamen Rider 1 sees Hiroshi Fujioka reprise his role as Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1, crossing over with the cast of Kamen Rider Ghost in a feature-length celebration. Fujioka himself was actively involved in the development of the film, writing it alongside prolific tokusatsu veteran Toshiki Inoue. While both Rider 1 and Fujioka have made various reappearances over the years, this film sees him once again in the leading role – complete with a brand new look to go with it.

Monday 12 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Minipla Cubes Condor, Kuma & Komori/Condor Wild & Wild Tousai King

The fourth wave of Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger minipla/candy toy model kits may seem small, but its components certainly add up to much bigger things. With Zyuohger the Movie: The Heart Pounding Circus Panic having recently hit Japanese cinemas, this wave introduces the film's exclusive cube animal Cube Condor, along with its combined form of Condor Wild. However just to make sure collectors don't necessarily skip over what could be considered an inessential mecha, Bandai have also snuck Cube Kuma and Cube Komori into the mix - the final two of the show's four auxiliary mecha. When combined with Zyuoh King, Zyuoh Wild and Tousai Zyuoh, these 13 animals can be brought together to form the mighty Wild Tousai King!

Monday 5 September 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Alien Baltan

Ultraman has finally made his move to the S.H. Figuarts line, but he isn't alone! The Ultra Series in general has always held its monsters and aliens in high regard, with many becoming almost as iconic as Ultraman himself. This also means that they get a good selection of toys (far more than you'll ever find with the likes of Kamen Rider or Super Sentai), from vinyl toys and articulated figures all the way up to bizarre moe girl gijinka statues. With Ultraman's Figuarts debut perfectly timed with the show's 50th anniversary, it makes sense that more would follow quickly afterward. The second Ultra Series Figuarts release and first Ultra foe to join the line is Alien Baltan, who made his debut in the second episode of the original Ultraman series and has gone on to become one of the franchise's most iconic villains.