Friday 31 August 2018

Anime REVIEW: Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

Good things eventually come to those who wait, and given that fans have been waiting nearly 13 years it's fair to say they were long overdue a new season of Full Metal Panic!. The military-charged mecha series by Shoji Gatou finally returned to television screens in 2018, for a new 12-episode season entitled Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory. But despite all that time away it seems very little has changed for the franchise (other than some sharper animation and CGI mecha designs) - animation duties may have now moved from Gonzo and Kyoto Animation to Xebec, however the original cast have all returned to reprise their roles.

Monday 27 August 2018

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders

Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders

It's only a matter of days until the premiere of Kamen Rider Zi-O, the latest Kamen Rider series that marks both the 20th anniversary and the end of the Heisei Era in the franchise. But when it comes to their movies, Toei perhaps jumped the gun a bit when it came to the last entry in the annual Movie War series. The 2017 crossover between Kamen Rider Build and Kamen Rider Ex-Aid was titled Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders, and as the name suggested also brought along a few older faces. Also returning for this movie (complete with their original actors) are Kamen Rider Ghost, Kamen Rider Gaim, Kamen Rider Fourze and Kamen Rider OOO.

Friday 24 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge

Release Date: July 2018
RRP: 5940 yen

S.H. Figuarts release patterns can be confusing at the best of times, but every so often Bandai Tamashii Nations will go and do something truly baffling. After announcing the first Kamen Rider Cross-Z suit as a Tamashii web exclusive, S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge was almost immediately revealed to be a retail release. At the time this made sense given that the first Cross-Z suit was quickly replaced as Ryuga Banjou traded his Build Driver up for a Sclash Driver, but in hindsight makes a lot less sense as the Charge suit was quickly sidelined for good as the original Cross-Z returned - eventually being replaced by the Great Cross-Z and Cross-Z Magma suits (both of which are also web exclusives). But all that aside, Kamen Rider Cross-Z shows up in Kamen Rider Build as the action heats up and the war between Touto, Seito and Hokuto begins. Utilising the experimental Sclash Jelly, Ryuga finds his reason to fight - but will this be enough to overcome the dangerous side affects these new powers are having on him?

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: 52TOYS Megabox MB-01 Alien

Release Date: May 2018
RRP: $29.99

52TOYS' Beast Box line has been going from strength to strength with its own fantastic cube animal designs, but now that the line has gained some traction it's also turning its attention toward some more iconic figures in popular culture. Enter Megabox – an offshoot of the Beast Box line which so far has revealed to be covering the likes of the Alien franchise, Predator and even Getter Robo. The first release in this line is known as both a Xenomorph or the Big Chap, but to most of the world is probably just best known as the Alien. Based on the design from the first Alien film, the Megabox MB-01 Alien kicks off 52TOYS foray into licensed designs in a big way.

Monday 20 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: Beast Box BB-05 Delta

Release Date: July 2018 (International)
RRP: 2678 yen (Japan)

Not so long ago Beast Box was simply this charming but obscure little selection of robot dinosaur figures most collectors would simply come across on Chinese social media posts, but thanks to a wider release on both Japanese and American website 52TOYS fun little range of transforming animal cubes has gathered quite the fan following. We've had a dinosaur, a gorilla and a mammoth, and now it's time to go back to the age of the dinosaurs once again with the release of BB-05 Delta. The fourth mould in the Beast Box line, Delta is initially available in his standard blue and white colourscheme, a TRON-line neon deco and an orange rescue repaint named Vanguard.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: DC Collectibles "Batman: The Animated Series" Zatanna

Release Date: August 2016 
RRP: $25.99/£22.99

Of all the Batman: The Animated Series characters you'd expect DC Collectibles to release in their highly anticipated yet also highly repeatedly delayed and widely criticised line, Zatanna probably wasn't one of them - until you remember just how much of a fanboy Paul Dini is when it comes to her. What's perhaps stranger though is the fact Zatanna was a single card release, while far more characters and designs would later be shunted off into highly overpriced collectors' sets (looking at you especially B:TAS Mr Freeze and Poison Ivy). Still, one of the main charms of this line has been some of the more left-field choices there's been when it comes to releases, and Zatanna is definitely one of the best among them. Appearing solely in the episode "Zatanna", this version of Zatanna has no apparent magic powers (until her reappearance in Justice League Unlimited that is), but goes back a long way with Bruce Wayne/Batman. Or as she knows him, "John Smith".

Saturday 4 August 2018

Anime REVIEW: FLCL: Progressive

FLCL: Progressive

When an anime studio announces that it's going to make a sequel to a cult classic 18 years after its release and without the assistance of one of the key studios originally involved, that's bound to create some skepticism. But that's exactly the case for FLCL: Progressive, the first of two 2018 sequels to the modern classic from Production I.G. and Gainax. Production I.G. have gone solo for these two instalments, co-producing them with both Toho and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. As a result of the latter's involvement, the show made it's premiere as part of the programming block - with the dub airing throughout June. The Japanese audio version will follow in September, with both FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative receiving theatrical screenings across Japan.

Thursday 2 August 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Garo (Saejima Kouga)

Release Date: June 2018
RRP: 9990 yen

The 2014 Tamashii Nations Event was notable for announcing the long-awaited return of GARO to the S.H. Figuarts line, but while the releases of both the Ryuga and Leon figures followed fairly swiftly there was one key figure that took much longer to show up again. However after nearly four years of waiting S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Garo (Saejima Kouga) has finally arrived - the first figure in the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou line that doesn't hail from the Kamen Rider franchise. As the name suggests this is the armour worn by Kouga Saejima, the first Golden Knight from the franchise and lead character of both the original series and Makai Senki. S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Garo (Saejima Kouga) was released as a Tamashii web exclusive, and at 9990 yen is certainly one of the most expensive standard sized Figuarts released thus far.