Thursday 30 April 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Lord Drakkon

Lightning Collection Lord Drakkon 01

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

While the show itself might be continuing on strongly, for many older fans one of the more exciting Power Rangers projects to have come out in recent years is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic book series from Boom! Studios, adding in brand new stories of the original team whilst bringing it into a more modern setting. The comic's first big event was Shattered Grid, which saw all Rangers across time, space and dimensions threatened by Lord Drakkon - an alternate universe version of Tommy Oliver that continued on the path of evil. Though the comics have created more of their own rangers since Drakkon has certainly had the most impact on the franchise as a whole, so naturally fans quickly clamoured for fans of the evil Green and White Ranger fusion. Bandai of America released a figure at the tail end of their Legacy line, but as a Power Morphicon exclusive it quickly became scarce and expensive on the aftermarket as well as being prone to significant QC problems. Not long after Hasbro step in as the new owners of the franchise, and immediately begin asserting their superiority over their predecessors with their own collector line. Lightning Collection Lord Drakkon joins the ever-expanding range as part of its third wave, not only making it far more accessible to collectors than Bandai's version but also showing Hasbro's dedication to the ongoing comics as well as the shows themselves in the line.

Sunday 26 April 2020

Toybox REVIEW: NECA Aliens Xenomorph Warrior (Arcade Appearance)

NECA Xenomorph Warrior Arcade Appearance 01

Release Date: 2017
RRP: $29.99

If there's one thing NECA know, it's how to do a good repaint. While the company has produced a range of high quality horror and sci-fi figures through their Ultimate line-up, another particularly popular faucet of their repertoire has been video game-themed figures based on characters' appearances in retro console or arcade games. These releases have included the likes of Godzilla, Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Freddy Kruger, but the Aliens franchise has proven particularly lucrative. Whether its through their own games or the Alien vs Predator crossover, people can't get enough of Xenomorphs and honestly who can blame them. The Xenomorph Warrior (Arcade Appearance) figure is based on the classic 1990 side-scrolling arcade game from Konami, in which the player could choose from either Ellen Ripley or Corporal Hicks. Here the Xenomorphs took on bright neon colour schemes, with the warriors looking particularly garish in their pink and purple cel-shaded glory.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Thor [Avengers Endgame]

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 01

Release Date: January 2020
RRP: 6600 yen

Avengers Endgame’s moment in the spotlight has come and gone by now, but when you’re working on the kind of timeframe Bandai Tamashii Nations does it’s not surprise to see S.H. Figuarts being released months later. Unlike a lot of the other Avengers Thor was one of the characters whose design was kept completely under wraps prior to the release of Endgame, so not to spoil the big changes the character went through during the film’s five year time skip. So unable to join many of the other key characters in being released in the run up to the film, S.H. Figuarts Thor [Avengers Endgame] was finally released at the beginning of 2020 as a Tamashii web exclusive. Once again late to the party, this is the third of four Thor S.H. Figuarts to be an exclusive - the only retail release being the original Age of Ultron one all the way back in 2015.

Sunday 19 April 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Clone Commander Gree

Black Series Clone Commander Gree 01

Release Date: July 2017, March 2020 (Reissue)
RRP: $24.99

With the resurgence of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+ clone troopers are very much back in the public eye, so of course Hasbro haven't wasted any time capitalising on that popularity amongst their various Star Wars toy lines. While there are a fair few new variants on the market it's also an opportunity to re-release a few old favourites as well. Black Series Clone Commander Gree was originally released as a Toys R Us exclusive all the way back in 2017, but in 2019 was announced to be returning as a Fan Channel exclusive - meaning it would be made available again via a select number of retailers. Gree is best known for his appearance in Revenge of the Sith, assisting Yoda with the droid attack on the Wookies on their home planet of Kashyyyk. When Order 66 came through Gree was foolish enough to try and take down the wizened Jedi Master, resulting in a rather quick death for the clone trooper.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Meisho Movie Realization Yumiashigaru Stormtrooper

Movie Realization Yumiashigaru Stormtrooper 01

Release Date: May 2017
RRP: 9020 yen

If there’s one thing you can almost certainly guarantee with any Star Wars toy line, it’s that one Stormtrooper variant is never enough. And with a line with as much imagination as Meisho Movie Realization, you can bet that Bandai Tamashii Nations intends to milk that design for everything that it’s worth. The Yumiashigaru Stormtrooper is the fourth of five original trilogy variants to be released, reimagining the Galactic Empire soldiers with the aesthetics of jeudal Japan’s infantry. “Ashigaru” means “light of foot” and refers specifically to an infantry class, whilst “Yumi” is the Japanese word for bow. Like most of the variants released after the original, the Yumiashigaru Stormtrooper was a Tamashii web exclusive.

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Zi-O NEXT TIME: Geiz, Majesty

Kamen Rider Zi-O NEXT TIME - Geiz, Majesty

No matter how finite a Kamen Rider series ending seems these days, a V-Cinema sequel is pretty much a certainty. After Kamen Rider Build quickly restored the memories of its cast in its NEW WORLD duology, it's now time to see where the characters of Kamen Rider Zi-O are headed next in Kamen Rider Zi-O NEXT TIME: Geiz, Majesty. When we last saw the gang Tokiwa Sougo had used the powers of Oma Zi-O to rewrite time, creating a world where he and his friends live an ordinary life in the present. As its title suggests, the film focuses on Myokoin Geiz as well as featuring guest cameos from a number of secondary Kamen Riders.

Monday 6 April 2020

First Impressions: Digimon Adventure:

Digimon Adventure (2020)
Digimon Adventure: is available in streaming form via Crunchyroll

The Digimon franchise has continued to trundle on comfortably over the past two decades, but no matter how good subsequent instalments have been as far as the anime goes it's never been able to fully escape the shadow of the original Digimon Adventure. Whether this is a case of the fans refusing to move or Toei Animation themselves, 2015-18's six-film sequel series Digimon Adventure Tri still wasn't the last we'd be seeing of the eight original Chosen Children (or for a certain generation of fans, Digi Destined). On top of a further sequel to Tri in the form of Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna, 2020 has also spawned a complete reboot to the original series - once again simply taking the name Digimon Adventure: (that colon makes all the difference). On top of completely reworking the story from the ground up, this series also brings the timeline forward to present day. Given the huge advances there's been in the internet since 1997, that alone could lead to a very different series indeed.

Sunday 5 April 2020

First Impressions: Garo: Versus Road

Garo: Versus Road

First Kami No Kiba reunited the cast of the Ryuga Dougai era, and then Moonbow Traveler brought together three generations of the Saejima family for one truly unforgettable movie. So where does the GARO franchise go from there? You clearly can't top moments like those, so instead the franchise has renewed itself yet again for its 15th anniversary - introducing a brand new continuity in the form of Garo: Versus Road. A new continuity isn't the only thing that's different though, with the Golden Knight entering the world of virtual reality in a tale that promises to be rather different than the GARO we've seen previously. So plug yourselves in, because it's time to get digital.

Friday 3 April 2020

Series REVIEW: Ultraman Taiga

Ultraman Taiga

The Ultra Series has been on an upwards swing for some time now, but 2019 truly was the year that Ultraman made its bid for world domination. Finally emerging triumphant in their long-running legal battle with Chaiyo, Tsuburaya Productions wasted no time in establishing the franchise on a global platform - both through fully-subtitled Blu-Ray releases of the show's back catalogue and partnerships with leading brands such as Marvel Comics. But back in Japan business also continued as usual, with the seventh entry in their New Generation Hero lineup arriving in the form of Ultraman Taiga. The 31st Ultra series overall and first to premier in the Reiwa era, though much like previous series Ultraman R/B Taiga was not simulcast worldwide the speed of Mill Creek's current home video releases suggests that it won't be long before the son of Ultraman Taro is legally available to a wider audience.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Marvel Legends Doctor Doom

Marvel Legends Doctor Doom 01

Release Date: January 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

Despite being Marvel's first family, the Fantastic Four haven't had much luck in the modern age. Three middling to terrible films, a lessened presence in the grand scheme of Marvel Comics and a Marvel Legends figure wave exclusive solely to Walgreens stores (and thus, more difficult for worldwide collectors to find). But the times are changing, and with a new ongoing Fantastic Four comic series since 2018 the team are finally once again getting the respect they deserve. In fact, Hasbro's 2020 string of Marvel Legends figures has kicked off with a mass-retail wave of Fantastic Four figures featuring a Super Skrull Build-A-Figure. Among the assortment are all four members of the team and (She Hulk), but no wave would be complete without their greatest enemy - Doctor Doom. Consider one of, if not the greatest villain in the Marvel Universe, the King of Latveria has been long desired by collector's in Hasbro's premier collector line.