Monday 30 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ankh (Arm)

S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Ankh (Arm) 01

Release Date: January 2020
RRP: 3960 yen

If there's one Kamen Rider series S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou looks as though it's going to go all out on, it's Kamen Rider OOO. Much like how Bandai Tamashii Nations previously showed the same dedication to Kamen Rider W, between all the combos already teased OOO looks set to rule the roost for some time. But it's not just the titular Rider taking centre stage, with Bandai also recovering old ground with the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Ankh (Arm) set. This is the third time the disembodied arm of rogue Greeed has been released – originally appearing as a first-run bonus with the original TaToBa figure before receiving a better quality accessory set version. The new edition takes notes from that second version – releasing in a very similar fashion but with added Shinkocchou Seihou quality.

Saturday 21 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Beast Morphers Gold Ranger

Lightning Collection Beast Morphers Gold Ranger 01

Release Date: August 2019
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

While its variety and attention to the 27 year history of Power Rangers has attributed to the success of Hasbro's Lightning Collection, for the brand to survive it's important that the line pay as much attention to the new as it does the old. While naturally a brand new range is almost always going to focus on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first and foremost, the currently airing Power Rangers Beast Morphers has also seen fair representation in this collector-orientated line on top of its own series-specific range. This all kicked off in wave two of the line, which didn't just include the obligatory Red Ranger but also a Lightning Collection Beast Morphers Gold Ranger figure. Coming some months after Nate Silva's debut as the Gold Hercules Beetle Mantis Ranger on the show itself, this particular release also helps fill a significant void left by the now-defunct S.H. Figuarts Super Sentai line. Though the core trio of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters (and their respective Buddyroids) may have also received figure, Beet Buster/Jin Masato and Beet J Stag/Stag Buster sadly did not.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who Reconnaissance Dalek

Doctor Who Reconnaissance Dalek 01

Release Date: March 2020
RRP: £12.99

When the 13th Doctor was introduced back in 2018 it brought about a whole rebranding of Doctor Who. There was a new head writer, a new Doctor, new companions, even a new logo. What there wasn't however was a new toy line. Series 11 only brought about a handful of general retail toys, and with the 5.5" figure line mostly living on life support as B&M exclusives the Doctor herself was the only new figure to see the light of day. However 2019 saw Character Toys taking steps to reclaim some of the line's former glory, and with the conclusion of series 12 we're now seeing Doctor Who figures finally return in proper fashion. The current 2020 assortment includes a new 13 variant, companion Graham O'Brien, the Judoon Commander and the 13th Doctor's TARDIS. The star of the wave though is undoubtedly the Reconnaissance Dalek, complete in its makeshift casing from last year's special Resolution.

Monday 16 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 'The Two Doctors' Collector Figure Set

Doctor Who 'The Two Doctors' Set 01

Release Date: August 2019
RRP: £19.99

2019 saw the Doctor Who figure line truly start making steps towards a comeback. Daleks were back in new Big Finish-inspired two packs, sought after figures were finally getting much-needed reissues and we even got a brand new companion figure in the form of Harry Sullivan. Sure they may be slight retoolings at best and still exclusive to B&M Stores, but the variety of characters and hype around them suggested Character Toys were finally getting serious again. Among the 2019 offerings was a three-figure set based on 1985’s The Two Doctors, once again bringing new variants of popular characters as well as a whole new character. Included in this set are Sixth Doctor companion Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown, the Androgum-spliced Second Doctor and Group Marshal Stike of the Ninth Sontaran Battle Group.

Saturday 14 March 2020

First Impressions: Mashin Sentai Kiramager

Mashin Sentai Kiramager

Mashin Sentai Kiramager has arrived, and although technically the series already began with the special prequel Episode ZERO movie it just wouldn't feel right to welcome in the 44th Super Sentai series without also giving some early impressions on its first proper episode. So strap on your Kiramai Changer and prepare your Kiramentality, because this episode wastes no time in jumping into the main action. The series is being written by tokusatu veteran Naruhisa Arakawa (Kamen Rider Kuuga, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and so much more) and directed by Kyohei Yamaguchi - a regular to Kamen Rider but a relative newcomer to Sentai.

Toybox REVIEW: Hero Action Figure Inazuman

Hero Action Figure Inazuman 01

Release Date: January 2020
RRP: 9680 yen

Once upon a time Bandai Tamashii Nations were releasing S.H. Figuarts from a wide variety of tokusatsu properties, including Kamen Rider, Ultraman, Super Sentai, Metal Heroes and even Kikaider. But as time went on and Bandai began chasing a wider range of properties, that variety has largely dwindled to just Rider and Ultra. Step in Evolution Toy, whose Hero Action Figure line specialises in some of the smaller names in classic tokusatsu. Since 2018 the HAF line has spawned the likes of Red Man, Mirror Man, Zone Fighter, Iron King, Jumborg and more. Now they're beginning to delve into some of Shotaro Ishinomori's legendary back catalogue, starting with Hero Action Figure Inazuman. A brand new figure of the 1973 henshin hero has been long overdue, particularly with the character having kept up appearances in recent years through both cameo appearances and a reimaging in a number of Kamen Rider movies.

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Movie REVIEW: Mashin Sentai Kiramager Episode ZERO

Mashin Sentai Kiramager Episode ZERO

Once again the time has come to debut the brand new Super Sentai series, but this year Toei is doing things a little differently for the long-running tokusatsu franchise. Prior to the series following on from the conclusion of Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger, the 44th Super Sentai series Mashin Sentai Kiramager took to the big screen in a special Episode ZERO prequel film. Released alongside Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger vs Lupinranger vs Patranger as part of the Super Sentai Movie Party, this is the first time a new Sentai team has been debuted outside of either their own series or their predecessor’s VS movie.

Monday 9 March 2020

Movie REVIEW: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!

With Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger being the fourth time around for the whole dinosaur Sentai thing, it's gotten to the point where there's naturally going to be some repetition no matter how different the stories are. Two things are almost certain – there's going to be a brand new reason for the dinosaurs' extinction, and at some point the team are going to come face to face with these prehistoric creatures. For Ryusoulger both these things are revealed in their summer movie, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger the Movie: Time Slip! Dinosaur Panic!!. Released as part of the annual double-bill alongside Kamen Rider Zi-O: The Movie: Over Quartzer, Ryusoulger's first big screen outing is one with little bearing on the series as a whole but a nice little addition to the history of the Ryusoul Tribe.

Saturday 7 March 2020

Series REVIEW: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger

Super Sentai isn't in the best of states right now. Though through all the speculation about falling ratings and declining toy sales the only ones who really know what it means are Bandai, Toei and TV-Asahi, it's at least fair to say it's place in the tokusatsu pecking order has changed somewhat. But it's been long since thought that when the franchise is trouble it always has the sure fire success of dinosaurs to fall back on, rolling the motif out for a fourth time might not bode a whole lot of confidence. Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger is the 43rd entry in the Super Sentai franchise, with the dinosaur theme having last been used back in 2013 with Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger. The production side of things also saw a something of a shake-up too, with plenty of faces new to Sentai brought on board to give it a fresh new feel. This series marks the tokusatsu debut of J-drama writer Junpei Yamaoka, and was directed by Kazuya Kamihoriuchi – a man who particularly caught the attention of viewers for his work on Kamen Rider Build.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Second Sister Inquisitor

Star Wars Black Series Second Sister Inquisitor 01

Release Date: October 2019
RRP: $20/£20

After a stagnant period of underwhelming entries, the Star Wars video game library finally managed to claw back some of its former glory with the release of Jedi: Fallen Order. Taking place during the great Jedi purge that took place in the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, the game was praised for its single-player storyline focus in a period in the Star Wars timeline still rife with storytelling potential. It's launch was one of the main focuses of 2019's Triple Force Friday, with Hasbro releasing several figures from the game in conjunction with its release - and among these was the Black Series Second Sister Inquisitor. The Second Sister is one of the main villains of the game, stalking Jedi fugitive Cal Kestis across the galaxy. Though the Second Sister is original to the game, the Inquisitorius have been a popular part of the new Star Wars canon for some time now - previously appearing in a number of comics and novels, and more significantly the Star Wars Rebels animated series.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Reviews in Space & Time: Doctor Who 12x10 - The Timeless Children

Doctor Who 12x10 - The Timeless Children

The time has finally arrived, and things will never be the same again. With the Cybermen back in full force, a long-awaited return to Gallifrey and the Master once again in tow, the stage is set for the Doctor Who series 12 finale – The Timeless Children. Showrunner Chris Chibnall brings his series-long arc to forefront of the episode, having planted the seeds for the eponymous Timeless Child as far back The Ghost Monument. Once again directed by series staple Jamie Magnus Stone, the episode follows directly on from the events of both The Haunting of Villa Diodati and Ascension of the Cybermen. “Everything you think you know is a lie.”