Thursday 30 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: The LEGO Batman Movie Set 70901 Mr Freeze Ice Attack

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

The LEGO Batman Movie has been out in cinemas now for a few months now and its fair to say that it's been a pretty big success. Once again, Warner Bros and LEGO have proven that just because a film is based on a toy line, doesn't mean that it can't be something more than a shameless advertisement. That said, the film did a pretty good job of roping me back into a state of brick mania, as can be seen by my rapidly growing collection of LEGO Batman sets. After rounding off the majority of the main cast through the Joker Balloon Escape and Catwoman Catcycle Chase sets, my attention was turned towards some of the other famous rogues available in the more affordable sets. Mr Freeze has always been a favourite of mine, and given the "upgrades" he's received in this movie set 70901 Mr Freeze Ice Attack was a no brainer.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Anime REVIEW: Fuuka

Fuuka is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

We live in a time where each anime season can debut anywhere between 20 and 30 new shows, and in the advent of simulcasting it can be even harder to choose which ones to take note of and which ones to ignore. This was my situation back in January, when I was looking for a potential new show to pick up alongside the continuations of Time Bokan 24, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and Dragon Ball Super. Enter Fuuka – brought to my attention via Twitter through a quick trailer on Crunchyroll. This 12-episode series from Diomedéa promised highschoolers starting a band, music, romance and an end theme by Megumi Nakajima (aka Macross Frontier’s Ranka Lee), so seemed like a pretty solid choice at the time. Sadly I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

Sunday 26 March 2017

Movie REVIEW: Power Rangers

Power Rangers (2017 Movie)

When Saban Brands bought back the rights to the Power Rangers franchise from Disney in 2010, the company began a push to recapture the widespread popularity the franchise had when it began way back in 1993. But increased exposure and merchandising was just a small part of it - the big news came in 2014 when it was announced that Saban would be partnering with Lionsgate to produce a brand new Power Rangers film reboot. On the 24th March 2017 Power Rangers was released, directed by Dean Isralite and starring Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin and Becky G in the roles of Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Zack and Trini respectively. The main cast was rounded out by Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5 and Bryan Cranston as Zordon - who had previously provided monster voices on the original series over 20 years ago.

Friday 24 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Ultra-Act x S.H. Figuarts Ace Suit

Sad news Ultra-Act fans – it looks like the line may truly be dead. Not only are the original Ultra Series characters now being redone in the S.H. Figuarts line, but the reveal of Ultraman Orb figures suggests future ones will be too. However Ultra-Act still quietly lives on in the form of the Ultra-Act x S.H. Figuarts crossover line, which so far has been solely dedicated to characters from the ongoing Ultraman manga series. The line’s fourth release (and third unique mould) is another Tamashii web exclusive – the Ace Suit (also known as Ultraman Version A), the third Ultra hero in series and heroic identity of Seiji Hokuto.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Anime REVIEW: Time Bokan 24

Time Bokan 24
Time Bokan 24 is available subtitled in streaming form via Crunchyroll 

Tatsunoko Productions are responsible for a whole host of classic anime, and in the last decade or so have done a pretty good job at reviving them. First Neo Human Casshern was given a darker twist with Casshern Sins, then Science Ninja Team Gatchaman got all political with Gatchaman Crowds, and then finally Yatterman threw the spotlight on the bad guys with Yatterman Night. The latter series also marked the 40th anniversary of Tatsunoko’s Time Bokan franchise – which encompassed a number of their series with similar themes/format. Now the studio have teamed up famed video game developers Level-5 for another new Time Bokan series, simply titled Time Bokan 24. Its mission: to seek out the history not written in the textbooks.

Sunday 19 March 2017

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment

Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment

The annual Kamen Rider summer movie: A chance to tell a standalone adventure with a slightly more extravagant budget than the series can allow. Sometimes it’s a chance to add additional characterisation or development to elements that the show didn’t have time for, and sometimes it’s a chance to tell stories in strange new worlds or parallel universes. And sometimes it can even be all of the above, which is certainly the case with Kamen Rider Ghost the Movie: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost’s Fateful Moment. Released as a double bill feature with Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger the Movie: The Heart-Pounding Circus Panic!, The 100 Eyecons is the third theatrical outing for Kamen Rider Ghost – preceded by Movie Wars Genesis and Kamen Rider 1.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Perfect Cell -Premium Color Edition-

Unlike retail S.H. Figuarts where the most popular releases might eventually be reissued, Tamashii web exclusives are a one-time deal. If you’re unable to purchase one on release, you’re stuck with the gamble that is aftermarket prices. However the Dragon Ball range has presented Bandai Tamashii Nations with a bit of a conundrum – as despite being made up of mostly web exclusives in Japan they has proved incredibly popular overseas. Fans are clamouring for reissues, so Bandai have come up with the “Premium Color Editions” – slight repaints of previous figures to give the illusion of an all-new figure. The range kicked off last year with new versions of Vegeta and Trunks, with the third now arriving in the form of S.H. Figuarts Perfect Cell – a figure previously released in 2012 and as one of Dragon Ball Z’s most popular characters, long overdue this treatment.

Monday 13 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: 52TOYS Beast Box BB-01 DIO

Release Date: Available now (China), March 2017 (Japan)
RRP: 1512 yen (Japan)

Created by Chinese company 52TOYS, Beast Box is a line that’s quickly taking Asian toy collectors by storm. Currently available in four different flavours (BB-01 DIO, BB-02 Ghost Dog and then DIO B.B.P.D. and Neon Blue variants), these cube-to-dinosaur transforming figures have become the subject of many stop motion videos online – catching the eye of collectors across the world. Although the line is currently only available from China, a Japanese release is coming at the end of March 2017 (with preorders already available via Amiami) followed by a possible US release in the near future. Eager to get my hands on one as soon as possible, I scoured the internet to bring readers an English language review of the line’s mascot figure, BB-01 DIO, just ahead of Japanese release.

Thursday 9 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Pint Size Heroes Yellow Ranger & Putty Patroller

RRP: £3 per figure
Where to buy: Available in the UK exclusively from Tesco

Now is truly the age of vinyl toys. What was once a somewhat unique niche even among collectors has now become a global juggernaut, thanks to the like of Funko and their multi-franchise Pop! Vinyl line. However Pops aren’t the only line the brand have on the market, and now the company are tackling blind-bagged figures with their Pint Size Heroes line. Thanks to the wonderful people are Underground Toys we’re taking a look at two figures in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers range, which given the imminent release of the new movie could not have come at a better time. 

Monday 6 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Movie 5" Alpha 5

Release Date: January 2017
RRP: £9.99/$9.99

With only a few weeks to go until the release of the new Power Rangers movie from Saban and Lionsgate, promotion and the accompanying toy line are in full swing. Between the figures, zords and roleplay toys available in addition to the usual Legacy and Ninja Steel lines Power Rangers fans have never been more spoilt for choice. Leading the line for children and collectors alike are the basic 5” figure range, which are widely available as opposed to the 6.5” Toys R Us exclusive Legacy figures. This review takes a look at the line’s Alpha 5 figure, who now sports a slightly different look to his 1993 counterpart and is voiced by comedian Bill Hader.

Saturday 4 March 2017

Game REVIEW: Weiss Schwarz Love Live! Trial Deck & Love Live! DX Vol 2/Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Boosters

RRP: £18.99 per deck, £4.95 per booster (8 cards)
Where to buy?: Available from your friendly local game shop!

Anime and trading cards are two things that have always gone hand in hand. From the card games (which on occasion are indeed on motorcycles) of Yu-Gi-Oh! to the classic Pokemon and Digimon cards, it seems all the biggest franchises come pre-bundled with some sort of highly addictive collectible card game. However in terms of sheer scale there's nothing that quite compares to Weiss Schwarz, the multi-franchise card game from Bushiroad that features characters from the likes of Love Live!, the Monogatari Series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Stay Night and more. As well as taking Japan by storm, an English-language version of the game was also released in the West to allow card gamers to battle it out with their favourite anime heroes.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Esdevium Games (the UK distributor for Weiss Schwarz as well as the Pokemon Trading Card Game, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Cardfight Vanguard and more) we're going to be taking a look at some of the game's latest English releases. Let the waifu wars begin as we get to grips with the game through the Love Live! School Idol Festival trial deck, as well as checking out some booster packs from the Love Live! DX Vol.2 and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei ranges!

Thursday 2 March 2017

Special REVIEW: Kamen Rider Brave: Let’s Survive! Revival of the Beast Rider Squad

Kamen Rider Brave: Let’s Survive! Revival of the Beast Rider Squad

The growth in Kamen Rider spin-offs in the past few years has allowed many secondary and tertiary Riders to have their moments in the spotlight, and this trend continued onwards into Kamen Rider Ex-Aid with the announcement of both Kamen Rider Brave and Kamen Rider Snipe specials. The first of these to be released is Kamen Rider Brave: Let’s Survive! Revival of the Beast Rider Squad, a webisode currently exclusive to Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub members but due for release on DVD/Blu-ray later this year (also for Fanclub members). The episode is notable for cameo appearances from past animal-themed Riders, including Beast, Sasword, Dark Kiva, Tiger, and Ouja. Ouja is a particularly special case, as it sees Takashi Hagino reprise his role as Takeshi Asukura for the first time since Kamen Rider Ryuki.