Thursday 26 October 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Uchu Sentai Kyuranger Minipla Gigant Houou

Release Date: August 2017
RRP: 2150 yen (Single figure – 6 boxes), 4536 yen (Case – Two figures, 12 boxes)

The days of Uchu Sentai Kyuranger feeling crowded for having nine rangers now feel like an eternity ago, as it didn’t take long for the cast to continue to expand with ten, then eleven and now twelve Kyurangers in total. But Houou Soldier marks the arrival of the show’s “sixth” (a title that’s becoming more and more redundant every year) ranger, bringing with him a modified suit, a new transformation device and of course his own mecha. The fourth wave of 2017’s Super Sentai minipla range is Gigant Houou, a three-piece robot made from the Houou Voyager, Houou Station and Houou Base components. Gigant Houou is unique in that it’s Kyuranger’s first wholly independent mecha, with the limbs completely incorporated into the design rather than utilising the limb-swapping gimmick present in the previous releases.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Dragon Caesar

Release Date: August 2017
RRP: 3780 yen/$45.00

When it comes to giant transforming robots, there’s no way Bandai can ever stop at one. So when Daizyujin was added to their Super Mini-Pla line earlier this year, it was only a matter of time before Dragon Caesar and King Brachion would be joining him. Super Mini-Pla Dragon Caesar is the both the second Super Sentai and Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger release in the line, releasing at retail as a single candy toy model kit rather than being made up of individual components. Like Daizyujin, Dragon Caesar has also been made available in the West via Bluefin Tamashii Nations – giving them new gunpla style packaging as well as of course rebranding them as the Megazord and Dragonzord respectively.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Anime REVIEW: The Reflection

The Reflection
The Reflection is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

Between Marvel and DC battling it out on the big screen and the popularity of anime such as One-Punch Man and My Hero Academia, superheroes are all the rage wherever you look. However one series that promised to bring both sides of the pond together was The Reflection – which combined the talents of Studio DEEN (Patlabor, Fate/Stay Night) and director Hiroshi Nagahama (Mushishi) with Marvel Comics maestro himself Stan Lee and his POW! Entertainment company.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Anime REVIEW: Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ

Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ

I say this every time I write about it, but it’s still hard to believe that Senki Zesshō Symphogear hasn’t just stuck around for four seasons, but a fifth one is pretty much a certainty. But here we are, and everyone’s favourite song-powered armoured girls are back and have added another letter to the title with Senki Zesshō Symphogear AXZ. Expect more explosive battles, more music, more shipping and more girls kicking all kinds of ass. The tagline for this season is “By shedding many tears, the reality you face is…”, which just as gloriously ridiculous as ever.

Friday 13 October 2017

First Impressions: Infini-T Force

Infini-T Force is available in streaming form on Viz Media (US Only)

Tatsunoko Production love a good anniversary, and what better way to celebrate their 55th birthday than with a crossover of some of the many superhero shows they've produced over the years? Infini-T Force brings together the likes of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Hurricane Polymar, Neo Human Casshan and Tekkaman in one universe-spanning CGI action series, co-produced with production company Digital Frontier (whose previous works include the likes of the Appleseed movies, live-action Death Note movies as well as an impressive resume of video game cut scenes).

Tuesday 10 October 2017

First Impressions: Time Bokan: The Villains' Strike Back

Time Bokan: The Villains' Strike Back
Time Bokan: The Villains' Strike Back is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

One of the weirder additions to the history books last year was Time Bokan 24 - the newest instalment in Tatsunoko Productions' popular Time Bokan series of shows. And while the show ended in March with confirmation that a second season was indeed in the works, it has now returned under the new title Time Bokan: The Villains' Strike Back. So prepare for twenty-something more episodes of time travelling shenanigans with famous figures from across the ages, only this time something feels different...

Monday 9 October 2017

First Impressions: Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2

Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2
Love Live! Sunshine!! is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

Though the Love Live! hype train certainly hasn't shown any signs of stopping over the past few years it's time for it to hit full steam once again as the second season of Love Live! Sunshine!! is finally upon us. When we last left the girls of Aquours they still weren't any closer to saving their school from closure, but they had gotten their first taste of the stage at the regional qualifiers as well as realised that they need to forge their own path instead of simply following in μ's' shadow. Now we're back for another 13 episodes of seaside song times, as Chika, You, Riko, Dia, Kanan, Mari, Yoshiko, Hanamaru and Ruby continue their path to idoldom.

Sunday 8 October 2017

First Impressions: GARO: Vanishing Line

GARO: Vanishing Line
GARO: Vanishing Line is available (in selected territories) in streaming form on Crunchyroll

Even though Zero: Dragon Blood only finished it's run back in April, it feels like it's been an eternity since the last GARO series was airing. That just goes to show how widespread the franchise has become in the last decade, going from a tokusatsu that aired a new season every couple of years to a full-blown franchise spanning multiple timelines and even branching into animation. And speaking of the latter, it's now back for a third anime season - GARO: Vanishing Line. Once again animated by MAPPA, the latest instalment of GARO: The Animation is another standalone series featuring a brand new Golden Knight as well as its own unique setting.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Spider Man

Release Date: August 2017
RRP: 6264 yen (Japanese Edition), $99.99/£99.99 (Western Edition)

S.H. Figuarts may have released an impressive number of Marvel Cinematic Universe figures over the past few years but there’s always been one character collectors have been clamouring for. Rival lines Revoltech, Figma and Mafex have all done him in the past, but now with the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming it’s time for Bandai to finally take a crack at everyone’s friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler. S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man is the newest mass release figure from the MCU range, not only retailing in Japan but also arriving in the West as part of a special DX set akin to Bluefin Tamashii Nations' previous Iron Man Mk III and Doctor Strange releases.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Nappa

Release Date: August 2017
RRP: 7560 yen

The S.H. Figuarts line is full of prototypes that never saw the light of day and the Dragon Ball line is no exception. The series may have recently hit a sweet spot where new releases are coming in at a better rate, but that doesn’t change the fact that the whereabouts of Kid Buu, Maijin Vegeta, GT Goku and Jaco the Galactic Patrolman are still unknown. But arguably one of the most anticipated among these was Nappa. First appearing way back in 2012, Nappa immediately faded into the unknown until the Dragon Ball line got a new lease on life – and with that Nappa also got a brand new figure. The new and improved S.H. Figuarts Nappa is now on par with the newly released Saiyan Saga Vegeta figure, with Nappa himself released as a Tamashii web exclusive in Japan as well as the usual wider release in the US via Bluefin Tamashii Nations.