Tuesday 30 January 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Nendoroid Ash Ketchum (Satoshi) & Pikachu

Release Date: December 2017
RRP: 4630 yen

Ever since Good Smile Company first released their original Red Nendoroid way back in 2014 it seems that there's finally a good selection of Pokémon trainer figures on the market. Nendoroid have continued to chip away at characters from all generations of the video games, Kotobukiya and Megahouse have the static figure side of things covered while S.H. Figuarts and Figma finally answered fans prayers for some articulated action figures. To celebrate their 800th Nendoroid release Good Smile finally made the leap from games to anime with a figure not only highly desired, but one that couldn't have been timed any better given the 20th anniversary franchise celebrations. To Japan it may be Satoshi, but to me (and certainly many others reading this review) it's none other than Ash Ketchum together with his partner and best friend Pikachu.

Saturday 20 January 2018

Movie REVIEW: Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver’s Counterattack

Even though it wasn’t released until December, 2017 was a year that was surrounded by Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hype. So much so that the film even unexpectedly showed up as a sponsor of Uchu Sentai Kyuranger as the release date drew closer. However that wasn’t the only link that could be drawn between the film franchise and the 41st Super Sentai series either, with Kyuranger giving it a few obvious nods in its summer movie – Uchu Sentai Kyuranger the Movie: The Geth Indaver's Counterattack. In typical fashion the movie was released alongside Kamen Rider Ex-Aid the Movie: True Ending in cinemas, taking place roughly between episodes 22 and 23 of the series itself.

Sunday 14 January 2018

First Impressions: Darling in the Franxx

Darling in the Franxx
Darling in the Franxx is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

Given that the studio was founded by the people that helped bring Gurren Lagann to life, it's amazing that only now Trigger are creating a full-length mecha anime. Maybe it's just that trying other things were higher up on their priority list, because Darling in the Franxx still isn't a straight production. Instead Trigger have teamed up with A-1 Pictures (The Idolm@ster, Aldnoah.Zero), bringing together a number of notable staff members. The show is directed and co-written by Atsushi Nishigori (The Idolm@ster) with Naotaka Hayashi (Chaos;Head, Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes) along with action directing by Hiroshi Imaishi (Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill) and mechanical design by Shigeto Koyama (Star Driver, Captain Earth). That's quite the list of talent straight off the bat.

Friday 12 January 2018

First Impressions: Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is streaming in selected territories on Netflix

There are a number of extremely strong offerings amongst the 2018 winter anime season, but undoubtedly one of the most hotly anticipated shows kicking off this new year of anime is Violet Evergarden – based on the light novel series by Kana Akatsuki. As well as being the latest show from acclaimed studio Kyoto Animation (Haruhi, K-On! and more recently A Silent Voice), the first episode has also been premiered across a number of anime conventions last year to drum up anticipation. Now with Netflix simulcasting the series across a number of different territories (but surprisingly not the US), the streaming service properly enters the anime game on the same playing field as its genre-specific competitors.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Anime REVIEW: Macross 7

Macross 7

Macross 7. Those words alone are enough to make a certain section of Macross fans shudder. Despite the six-part Macross II: Lovers Again OVA arguably being the black sheep of the franchise, it’s undoubtedly Macross 7 that has the most mixed response amongst its English-speaking fans. But in its home country the success of Macross 7 cannot be understated, spawning a 49-episode television series, three OVAs, 12 home release minisodes, a five-part sequel OVA, a ton of albums, manga spin-offs and even a movie created solely as an advertisement for the Blu-ray remasters. So if Japan love Macross 7 that much, surely the show can’t be all that bad can it?

Monday 8 January 2018

Series REVIEW: Ultraman Geed

Ultraman Geed
Ultraman Geed is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

After making a comeback in a big way over the past few years, Tsuburaya Productions continued the new generation of Ultra heroes in 2017 with Ultraman Geed, the newest entry in their signature Ultra Series. After briefly making his debut at the end of Ultra Fight Orb, Geed introduces the titular Ultraman properly to a worldwide audience thanks to the continued simulcast deal with Crunchyroll. The series also continues the fight between Ultraman Zero and Belial, which first began in Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends and continued through Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial and Ultra Zero Fight.

Sunday 7 January 2018

First Impressions: Pop Team Epic

Pop Team Epic
Pop Team Epic is available in streaming form subbed by Crunchyroll, Hi-Dive & (in Australia and New Zealand) AnimeLab, as well as dubbed by Funimation

If you've ever spent a prolonged period of time in the anime/manga circles on social media, chances are you'll have had some sort of encounter with Pop Team Epic (or Poptepipic as its also known by). The four-panel webcomic/digital manga by Bukubu Okawa quickly rose to the ranks of memedom, thanks to its surreal humour and references to various other anime/manga/gaming titles. Given its popularity it was only a matter of time before an anime adaptation was green-lit, with the show finally arriving as part of the 2018 winter anime season. Such is its popularity that the show has been made available on multiple streaming sites, with both CrunchyrollHi-Dive and (in Australia and New Zealand) AnimeLab simulcasting the show whilst Funimation tackle a simuldub.

Saturday 6 January 2018

First Impressions: Junji Ito Collection

Junji Ito Collection
Junji Ito Collection is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

A new year means a new anime season has begun, so over the next few days expect a number of first impressions pieces on some of the shows I've decided to dedicate my time to for the next few months. The first of these is the Junji Ito Collection - an anthology series based on the works of famed horror manga artist Junji Ito. While I am personally unfamiliar with the source material, I am aware of Ito's reputation among manga fans and the idea of a horror anthology sounds like an appealing prospect for a series. Junji Ito Collection is being animated by Studio Deen (whose extensive resume includes the likes of the original Fate/Stay Night anime, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? and more recently The Reflection) and is already confirmed to run for a total of 12 episodes and two OVAs.

Thursday 4 January 2018

Anime REVIEW: Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2

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

With the immense juggernaut that is the Love Live! franchise showing no signs of retiring any time soon, the reveal that Love Live! Sunshine!! would be returning for a second season was anything but a surprise. After all, why would ASCII Media Works, Lantis and Sunrise give up on their premier money-spinner while the story of Aqours is still only half-finished? With the show’s first season establishing the nine new girls as a group looking to follow in μ's footsteps, it’s the second that aims to take them beyond that and make a proper name for themselves.

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Deadpool [DX Ver.]

Release Date: November 2017
RRP: 8333 yen (DX ver.), 7222 yen (standard version)

After getting somewhat of a head start with their Avengers figures, Figma seemingly dropped out of the Marvel Comics game fairly quickly - leaving rivals S.H. Figuarts to tackle the Marvel Cinematic Universe while Kaiyodo played around with the comic designs. However Max Factory are back at it once again with their highly awaited Deadpool figure. First revealed at a Wonderfest some time ago, it's taken a little while for this figure to get off the ground - with some buyers continuing to hold out as similar scaled figures were released in different lines. But as has become a recent trend with the line, Figma have marked the occasion appropriately and released the 'Merc with a mouth' in two different variants - a standard edition as well as a slightly more expensive DX Version including additional accessories.