Friday 24 February 2017

Wishlist: Top 5 Most Wanted Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts

Kamen Rider Figuarts

Some time ago I wrote a small feature on the top five tokusatsu figures I’d like to see made in the S.H. Figuarts line. Since then a whopping ZERO of those characters has been produced, which just goes to show that Bandai Tamashii Nations’ priorities obviously aren’t quite the same as mine. But due to my love of lists like this I thought I’d have another stab at one, this time focusing specifically on the Kamen Rider franchise. After all, while the line may have expanded exponentially in the last few years Figuarts always comes back to Kamen Rider to provide the heavy hitters. This time I’ve also set myself out a few rules to make things more interesting, which are; 
  • No “renewal” figures
  • Nothing that’s already been on display at an event
  • Nothing from the most current series (since we don’t know what’s already planned) 
Now I’m not going to argue that my choices are particularly “deserving” of figures over others, but these are the ones I would absolutely 100% drop money on in an instant. So if you’re interested to see what my choices are, please read on!

Sunday 19 February 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider J

Release Date: January 2017
RRP: 5940 yen

Congratulations S.H. Figuarts, a milestone has been achieved. Kamen Rider Kiva may be nowhere in sight to fully complete the lineup, but with the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider J fans can at the very least complete their Showa era lineup. Much like his fellow 90s movie rider Kamen Rider ShinJ was a Tamashii web exclusive figure that needed to be ordered directly from Bandai's webstore or via a middleman - making Kamen Rider ZO the only one of the three to be lucky enough to make mass release status. The 1994 film was Kamen Rider J's only appearance as the titular Rider, though he also teamed up with ZO in the eight-minute Kamen Rider World film as well as returning for future multi-Rider crossovers.

Friday 17 February 2017

Toybox REVIEW: The LEGO Batman Movie Set 70920 Catwoman Catcycle Chase

Release Date: January 2017
RRP: £19.99/$19.99

The LEGO Batman Movie minifigure range may seem like the easiest/cheapest way to pick up some of your favourite characters, but of course many of the best ones have also been reserved for the larger sets too. So while the blindbags can fill your Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon needs quite easily, the same can't be said if you're looking for them specifically as Robin and Batgirl. However fans should look no further than set 70902 Catwoman Catcycle Chase, which offers an affordable way to pick up both characters along with one of Batman's most iconic villains - Catwoman. This set is not to be confused with the previously released 6858 Catwoman Catcycle City Chase, which was released as part of the DC Super Heroes range back in 2012.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger Minipla Cube Whale/Dodekai Oh

Release Date: October 2016
RRP: 4536 yen per case
Case Breakdown: 12 boxes per case, 2 complete sets

One of the biggest arcs of Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger was the arrival of the alien Megabeast hunter Bunglay, who came to the planet in search of a legendary Megabeast. After a fateful encounter with the Gokaigers the Zyuohgers discovered the identity of this beast was Cube Whale, who fought a fearsome monster in the past alongside the Whale Zyuman Cetus. Though initially hostile toward the Zyuohgers, Cube Whale eventually accepted them as comrades, battling alongside them with its fearsome robot mode Dodekai Oh! Cube Whale is the fifth wave of the Zyuranger range of mini-pla candy toy model kits, and despite being the biggest so far is also the only one to be comprised of a single animal.

Monday 13 February 2017

First Impressions: Uchu Sentai Kyuranger

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger

After 40 years and a noticeable decline in both ratings and toy sales, the Super Sentai franchise is long overdue a shakeup – and 2017’s Uchu Sentai Kyuranger could be the series to give it exactly that. Not only is this space-themed series notable for introducing an impressive nine team members from the very beginning, but it also turned heads when it wasn’t just announced that TV-Asahi would be taking a closer interest by appointing one of their staff as chief producer, but also that Bandai of America participated in its early design stages – marking a closer relationship between Super Sentai and Power Rangers than ever before.

Sunday 12 February 2017

Toybox REVIEW: The LEGO Batman Movie Set 70900 The Joker Balloon Escape

Release Date: January 2017
RRP: £14.99/$14.99

The LEGO Batman Movie has just been released in cinemas worldwide and it comes highly recommended, whether you're a LEGO fan, a Batman fan or someone with just a passing interest in either (or someone who's just into really good films). Of course being a LEGO movie there's also plenty of kits coming out to go with it, making 2017 truly the year of the bat. With the whole minifigure wave under my belt, I'm now turning my attention towards some of the larger construction kits - starting with set 70900 The Joker Balloon Escape. Like most of the sets released so far this appears at the very beginning of the film, and has featured rather heavily in the trailers and promotional material so even if you haven't had a chance to catch it yet.

Friday 10 February 2017

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider 555

Kamen Rider 555

The early Heisei era was a pretty grim time for Kamen Rider. Not in the sense of the franchise’s popularity, but in terms of the amount of death and destruction going on in them. Kuuga had the Grongi racking up enormous body counts on a weekly basis, Agito saw the Lords come up with new and grotesque ways to kill their victims and every Ryuki rider was at constant risk of being eaten by their own contact monster. This then continued in 2003-2004 with Kamen Rider 555, the fourth entry in the show’s Heisei era and 13th series overall. It was written by tokusatsu veteran Toshiki Inoue, his second time as a Kamen Rider showrunner following his work on Kamen Rider Agito.

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Series REVIEW: Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger

There are some themes and motifs that Super Sentai will always come back to. In 2013 the long-running franchise turned to dinosaurs for a third time with Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, and more recently it also did ninjas for a third time with Shuriken Sentai Ninninger. With that in mind, it seems almost fitting that the 40th anniversary Toei would revisit yet another popular (but usually secondary) motif – animals. 2016-2017 was the year of Doubutsu Sentai Zyohger, the 40th team in the Super Sentai series and released as part of Toei’s “Super Hero Year” anniversary celebrations.

Monday 6 February 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legends LG-35 Super Ginrai

Release Date: December 2016
RRP: 9180 yen

One of the most anticipated 2016 releases from TakaraTomy’s Transformers Legends line also happened to be one of its last. Over in the West the year saw Hasbro’s Combiner Wars come to its end, replaced with the Headmaster-inspired Titans Return. Kicking things was a new version of Powermaster Optimus Prime, however simply giving the figure wasn’t enough for Takara. In Japan there was no Powermaster Prime, with the figure instead becoming the entirely new character of Ginrai – an ordinary human with the power to join with a lifeless Transformer body, eventually becoming the Cybertron leader in Transformers: Super God Masterforce. As a fitting way to mark the stark differences between the new characters, Transformers Legends Super Ginrai is an extensive remould of Hasbro’s figure – boasting an all-new face, chest, arms, feet and more.