Friday 31 July 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Sun Vulcan Robo

Super Mini-Pla Sun Vulcan Robo 01

Release Date: February 2020
RRP: 5720 yen

1981’s Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan is notable for a number of different reasons. It is currently the only Super Sentai series to be a direct sequel to its predecessor, as well as the only team to be entirely comprised of men. But from a merchandise perspective it also added a significant staple to the franchise - a combining robot. Mecha had been a part of Sentai since Battle Fever J, but it wasn’t until Sun Vulcan that they were made of multiple vehicle components. Now Sun Vulcan Robo, the first combining Super Sentai robot, has joined Bandai’s Super Mini-Pla range - the model kit line that’s quickly become home to updates of these classic mecha. Though Sun Vulcan Robo was the only general retail item from the series it certainly didn’t come alone, with both the giant Jaguar Vulcan carrier and SODO versions of the team joining it as Premium Bandai exclusive items.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Anime REVIEW: Space Battleship Yamato 2199

Space Battleship Yamato 2199

It’s impossible to overstate just how influential Space Battleship Yamato is. Both setting the standard and paving the way for future sci-fi anime, the 1974 series by Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Leiji Matsumoto touches nearly every faucet of how the medium is perceived and functions today - from its American dub adaptation Starblazers being instrumental in bringing anime to worldwide audience to its fandom being an integral part in the early days of cosplay. Some have even cited it as a huge influence on the original Star Wars. But while its influence has never dwindled, the combination of distribution and the perpetual cycle of newer shows means its legacy isn’t always recognised as much as it should be. However between 2012 to 2013 the landmark series saw a tremendous return to form under the guise of a brand new remake, Space Battleship Yamato 2199. Originally released as seven cinematic films, it was then later transformed into a 26-episode series - eventually releasing in the West once again with its Starblazers monicker (only this time without any significant dub changes).

Sunday 26 July 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Disney Select V.I.N.CENT & B.O.B.

Disney Select V.I.N.CENT & B.O.B. 01

Release Date: February 2020
RRP: $24.99/£29.99

Coming from a time when the world was very much caught in a Star Wars frenzy, it isn't any surprise that the most memorable characters of Disney's The Black Hole are its robots. It may have tried to incite terror with the crimson Maximilian, but it also went for the "cute and sassy" market too with its hero robots. V.I.N.CENT (Vital Information Necessary CENTralized) is part of the U.S.S. Palomino crew that finds itself aboard the U.S.S. Cygnus, where he meets an older model in his series - B.O.B. (Bio-Sanitation Battalion). B.O.B. helps the crew unravel the mysterious of the Cygnus and its captain Dr Hans Reinhardt, but is sadly killed by Maximilian during their escape. V.I.N.CENT on the other hand makes it out alive, journeying with the other survivors into the titular black hole. Both robots have been immortalised alongside Max in Diamond Select's Disney Select toy line, quickly becoming must-have releases for fans of this fun but somewhat troubled film.

Thursday 23 July 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Dark Knight Kiba

S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kiba 01

Release Date: 
April 2020
RRP: 9990 yen

GARO has been a notable inclusion of the S.H. Figuarts line for some time now, but there’s no doubt that Bandai Tamashii Nations aren’t using the franchise to its full potential. Take a look at the releases so far and you’ll quickly see that nearly all of them have been versions of the titular golden knight, with the only exception being silver fanged knight Zero. For anything else, you'd have to look toward the different scaled (and now seemingly defunct) Makai Kado range. Now that the franchise seems to have effectively moved over to the S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- range, Bandai have finally branched out to their third Makai KnightS.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Dark Knight Kiba was the perfect choice for the next character in the line, given corrupted knight Barago’s place as arguably the franchise’s standout villain - appearing in the original series, his own spinoff special and most recently the Moonbow Traveler movie. Of course, like the rest of the GARO Shinkocchou Seihou figures Kiba was a Tamashii web exclusive, with a heftier price tag to match.

Friday 17 July 2020

Custom Figure: Destroyed Dalek

Custom Destroyed Dalek 01

When I did my Dalek Time Controller custom figure all the way back in 2013, I needed to take parts from a second Character Options Doctor Who Dalek in order to do the additional neck rings the Time Controller's casing has. Seven years later and I STILL had that Dalek that was gutted for additional parts, albeit minus a few other bits it gave away to various other customs. I thought it was about time that I put that hunk of plastic to good use, and given there was only about two thirds of it left a destroyed Dalek was the most suitable course of action.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Mashin Sentai Kiramager Minipla King Express

Minipla King Express 01

Release Date: May 2020
RRP: 2160 yen (6 boxes, 1 complete figure), 4320 yen (12 boxes, 2 complete figures)

With the second wave of Super Sentai minipla usually taking that filler spot before the sixth Ranger’s mecha is revealed, just what exactly is in that wave can come in all shapes and sizes. Some years it contains a show’s second robot, while others have contained repeats and auxiliary units. Mashin Sentai Kiramager is definitely one of the more interesting years however, as this instalment not only features a second robot but also a villain unit! This latest candy toy selection features King Express, a train-themed robot comprised of Mashin Express and Mashin Jouki. Fans of the series will also know that the latter can also transform into the mighty Smog Jouki - a dinosaur mecha piloted by the Yodonheim general Galza.

Friday 10 July 2020

Movie REVIEW: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger vs Lupinranger vs Patranger

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger vs Lupinranger vs Patranger

The Super Sentai Versus Series films are back for another year, and once again it’s triple the fun as (technically) three teams get together for a further instalment of crossover goodness. Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger vs Lupinranger vs Patranger brings together the latest dinosaur team with the police and thieves dynamic of the previous series, checking in how things may have changed since its conclusion. Only recently hitting home video but released theatrically all the way back in February, the film was part of a “Super Sentai Movie Party” double bill alongside Mashin Sentai Kiramager Episode ZERO.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

Toybox REVIEW: Disney Select Maximilian

Disney Select Maximilian 01

Release Date: February 2020
RRP: $24.99/£29.99

The Black Hole is 1979 film by Walt Disney Productions, released during a time when every film company was desperate to be the one to make the next Star Wars. At the time it was the most expensive film the Disney produced, and despite featuring some rather grand (and at times dark) ideas the film generally failed to capture the hearts and minds of audiences and critics alike. Over the years it has amassed some cult following though, and ever since seeing the film as a child it’s always been one of my favourites as well. Largely thanks to its great robot designs, which have received a fair few toys over the years but never anything that’s been particularly high-end/affordable. Now after all these years Diamond Select have finally stepped in with their Disney Select range, and I’ve finally added Disney Select Maximilian to my collection. The figure was designed by Yuri Tming, and sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios.

Friday 3 July 2020

Series REVIEW: GARO: Versus Road

Garo: Versus Road

A franchise’s longevity often depends on just how well it can reinvent itself. Over the past decade and a half GARO has spread itself across multiple mediums and timelines, all unified by the appearance of the titular golden armour and the malevolent dark karma creatures known as Horrors. And in the year of its 15th anniversary, GARO: Versus Road has done it again. A brand new chapter in the GARO legacy, Versus Road brings in new characters and a brand new setting - one that seems very different to what has come before.