Friday, 30 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Bio Robo

Super Mini-Pla Bio Robo 01

Release Date: February 2021
RRP: 5500 yen

One benefit of Bandai’s Super Mini-Pla model kit line has been to create new versions of iconic Super Sentai mecha with modern articulation, but another one has simply been a shot at getting affordable versions of these classic designs to begin with. Something like a DX Bio Robo will run you hundreds on the aftermarket, but now you can own one at a fraction of the price with the Super Mini-Pla Bio Robo set. The mecha from 1984’s Choudenshi Bioman is the latest Super Sentai to receive the premium model kit treatment, with its individual components Bio Jet 1 and Bio Jet 2 able to transform and combine into the mighty bio particle-powered robot.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Zero-One the Movie: REALxTIME

Kamen Rider Zero-One the Movie: REALxTIME

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the production and release of many films and television shows, and in the tokusatsu world one of the most obvious victims is Kamen Rider Zero-One. From a string of emergency clip episodes to a hastily condensed endgame that fit the adjusted episode count, it's impressive that the production staff were still able to provide a reasonably satisfying ending despite everything against them. However it wasn't just the series itself that was affected, but also what would have been it's "summer" movie - Kamen Rider Zero-One the Movie: REALxTIME. Postponed from its original July 2020 release, the movie was teased at the very end of the series and announced to be released in December instead. Because of this change, REALxTIME was released as a double bill alongside Kamen Rider Saber the Movie: The Phoenix Swordsman and the Book of Ruin as part of a "Kamen Rider Splendid Double Feature", rather than the traditional pairing with the Super Sentai summer film.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Scourge

Transformers Studio Series 86 Scourge 01

Release Date: December 2020
RRP: $29.99/£32.99

With Cyclonus already released as part of the Kingdom line and Galvatron soon to follow later in the year, the Studio Series 86 range is going to run out of key characters from Transformers the Movie to release if Hasbro aren't careful. Especially when it comes to the Decepticon side of things, since there were far fewer new Decepticons in the film than there were Autobots. The villains are also looking seriously outnumbered in the first wave of figures from the 35th anniversary celebratory line, with Studio Series 86 Scourge being the only Decepticon amongst a sea of Autobots. A herald of Unicron, "Scourge the tracker" commands the Sweeps - an army of huntsmen built in his image.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Miniseries REVIEW: Kamen Rider Genms -The Presidents-

Kamen Rider Genms -The Presidents-

It's that true within genre fiction that you can rarely keep a good villain down, and for the Kamen Rider franchise that seems doubly so for Kamen Rider Genm. After being both dying and resurrecting within Kamen Rider Ex-Aid itself before meeting his apparent end in Another Ending - Genm vs Lazer, Kuroto Dan returns once more to terrorise the world of Kamen Rider Zero-One in Kamen Rider Genms -The Presidents-. A two-part miniseries released via the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club, this special was previously announced all the way back in 2018 as an April Fools' joke, eventually coming to fruition the same way Kamen Rider Brain did back in 2019. It was also written by Yuya Takahashi, who served as the head writer on both Ex-Aid and Zero-One.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Miniseries REVIEW: Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Spin-Off: Zenkai Red's Great Introduction

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Spin-Off: Zenkai Red's Great Introduction

As the 45th anniversary series, there's no doubt that Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger is going to celebrate the legacy of Super Sentai in some big ways. Before the show had even begun airing it received a big screen movie debut, and now only a couple of episodes in fans have already been treated to its first spin-off special. Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Spin-Off: Zenkai Red's Great Introduction is a two-part miniseries that released exclusively on the streaming service TELASA. Chronologically it takes place after the aforementioned Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger the Movie, and before the show's seventh episode. The special introduces a new challenger to the Zenkaiger leadership, played by actor/singer Daiki Ise - who performed the opening song for Ressha Sentai ToQger as well as songs for both Kyoryuger and Ninninger.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Kuiil

Star Wars Black Series Kuiil 01

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

Hasbro needed a little bit of time to get the ball rolling, but now Star Wars fans have plenty of action figures from Disney+ smash hit The Mandalorian to look forward to in a number of different scales and styles. Wave 28 of the Black Series paid particular attention to the show, as Moff Gideon and Greef Karga were also joined by a Black Series Kuiil figure. A hermit Ugnaught that’s freed himself from a life of service and chosen to live in solitude, Kuill encounters Mandalorian Din Djarin when he arrives on Arvala-7 in search of “the asset”. Later the Mandalorian enlists his help again Moff Gideon and the Empire remnants in a bid to protect the Child, where he is shocked to find Kuill has repaired and reprogrammed bounty hunter droid IG-11. Kuiil is tragically gunned down by Imperial Scout Troopers attempting to retake the Child, and is buried by Mando in an unmarked grave on the planet Nevarro.

Monday, 19 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Kingdom Arcee

Transformers Kingdom Arcee 01

Release Date: September 2020 (Eathrise), March 2021 (Kingdom Re-release)
RRP: $19.99/£17.99

With Transformers: The Movie celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and the Studio Series 86 line celebrating that with movie-inspired renditions of key characters, it’s likely that the Transformers franchise has picked up some new collectors in recent months. And to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to complete the film’s lineup of brand new characters, Hasbro have kindly re-released the deluxe class Arcee figure in the War for Cybertron: Kingdom range after previously releasing her as part of the previous year’s Earthrise range. Other than new packaging the figure remains unchanged between releases, but with the likes of Ultra Magnus, Cyclonus and Galvatron all gracing the Kingdom line it makes sense to bring back the prominent female Autobot and have the majority of the cast available between both Kingdom and Studio Series 86.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Ixa Save Mode/Burst Mode

S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Ixa 01

Release Date: November 2020
RRP: 8800 yen

When S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Kiva was finally released back in 2019, Kamen Rider fans breathed a collective sigh of relief as they crossed off the figure that had been at the top of wish lists for the best part of a decade. But with a new Kiva on the market, that of course means that the previous figures released from the series don’t quite stack up. And what can you expect - the original S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ixa was released all the way back in 2010. But Bandai Tamashii Nations are back with a brand new S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Ixa Save Mode/Burst Mode figure, bringing the show’s secondary Rider firmly in the modern S.H. Figuarts era. Though Ixa may have been a Tamashii web exclusive release, like the original release it covers both Save and Burst modes of the standard Ixa suit - making it the ideal display piece for both the 1986 and 2008 versions of the character and any of the nine users it had. The Ixa System got around a lot.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

First Impressions: Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion Z

Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion Z

As if SSSS.Dynazenon and Godzilla Singular Point weren’t enough to convince you that this is a particularly great season for mecha anime, it’s all aboard the the bullet trains once more as Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion returns for a second series! The 2018 smash hit from TakaraTomy, Japan Railways Group and OLM, Inc. returns with a fresh new look - now going by the title of Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion Z. So get ready for more in-depth train trivia, potentially surprising cameos and wonderful robot fights that’ll tempt you to pick up some toys, because if the first series was anything to go by then Shinkalion Z should prove quite the wild ride.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

MAFEX Spider-Man (Miles Morales) 01

Release Date: December 2020
RRP: 8580 yen

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was released all the way back at the end of 2018 and was instantly a smash hit, so it’s crazy to think that only now all of the collector-orientated toy companies are getting in on the action. Hasbro released their Marvel Legends at the end of 2020, while Sentinel have announced the first of their own figures to be released later in the year. However it was actually Medicom who were first off the mark with the announcement of multiple figures from the film for their MAFEX Miracle Action Figure line, but of course in typical MAFEX fashion it didn’t quite go according to plan. MAFEX Spider-Man (Miles Morales) was originally scheduled for release in June 2020, but that date just continued to slip back until he finally hit stores six months later. Though the first of MAFEX’s Into the Spider-Verse figures this is actually the second Miles produced for the line - following on from an adult form of his comic counterpart released back in 2019.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Custom Figure: 'The Curse of Fatal Death' Silver Dalek

Custom Curse of Fatal Death Silver Dalek 01

The problem with any sort of toy collecting or customising is that it’s hard to stop at one. The Curse of Fatal Death Black Dalek had been near the top of my Dalek customs wish-list for years, but until I’d finished it I’d never even considered making the rest of the props that appeared in that 1999 Comic Relief Special. Now I want to make all of these weird and wonderful Daleks, and with all the necessary Character Options figures being readily available for once it’s time to strike whilst the iron is hot. The next variant that hit the list was the Curse of Fatal Death Silver Dalek - a lurker among the group but equally interesting when it comes to colour scheme and differences to the “proper” Doctor Who Dalek models.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

First Impressions: Godzilla Singular Point

Godzilla Singular Point

Despite it not being an anniversary year, 2021 is looking to be a big year for Godzilla. As well as finally facing off against King Kong in American Monsterverse sequel Godzilla vs Kong, over in Japan the King of Monsters is also starring in a brand new anime series. Godzilla Singular Point is a co-production between studios Bones (Fullmetal AlchemistEureka Seven, Mob Psycho 100) and Orange (Land of the Lustrous, Beastars), and has been licensed by Neflix much like the Godzilla anime movie trilogy produced by Toho and Polygon in 2017-18. While the series began airing in Japan at the beginning of April, Netflix's preferred binge-model for the rest of the world means that its official intentional release is still unknown outside of "some time later in the year".

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

First Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3

Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3
Thunderbolt Fantasy is available in streaming form on Crunchyroll

How have we gotten through the past two years without another full season of Thunderbolt Fantasy? The greatest Japanese-Taiwanese puppet show to ever grace Crunchyroll briefly returned in 2019 with the feature-length Bewitching Melody of the West, but other than that fans have had to eagerly await the next chapter in Shāng Bù Huàn's adventure. But the wait is finally over, as April delivered a double whammy in Thunderbolt Fantasy content. April Fool's day brought us a wonderful little crossover with Fate/Grand Order, and only a few days later Thunderbolt Fantasy Season 3 began in full swing. Created by Gen Urobuchi and produced as a collaboration between Nitroplus, Goodsmile Company and Pili International, the series has brought nothing but joy so far and the previous tease for season three suggested this will be no exception.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Custom Figure: "Doctor Who & The Daleks" Blow Torch Dalek

Custom Movie Blow Torch Dalek 01

Doctor Who action figure collectors waited so long for Character Options to produce movie-style Daleks, and just when we all finally accepted it was out of their remit they managed to exploit a loophole and surprise us all. 'The Jungles of Mechanus' set was one of my favourite toy releases of last year, and you can bet that I snapped up plenty to ensure I could work toward painting up a full range of movie Daleks. Among the denizens of Skaro's city is a blow torch Dalek, which appeared in Doctor Who & the Daleks when the TARDIS crew attempted their escape from the Daleks. After locking themselves to await an elevator out of the city, the Daleks summoned this special variant to help cut down the door so that their prisoners could either be recaptured or exterminated.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

First Impressions: SSSS.Dynazenon

SSSS.Dynazenon
SSSS.Dynazenon is available in streaming form on Funimation

When Tsuburaya Productions first announced that they would be teaming up with anime juggernauts studio Trigger on an animated adaption of Denkou Chojin Gridman, fans were expecting big things but perhaps weren't ready for quite how much of a rousing success SSSS.Gridman turned out to be. Offering up an incredible series that immediately won over both the tokusatsu and anime communities, it's no real surprise that three years later the two studios are collaborating once more for a second entry into the Gridman universe. This time around it's the support machines of the original 1994 seemingly taking centre stage, amalgamated and reimagined as SSSS.Dynazenon. As well as acting as a double reference to Gridman's American adaptation Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad, for this series the SSSS prefix also stands for "Scared Souls Shine like Stars".

Friday, 2 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Fuma

SH Figuarts Ultraman Fuma 01

Release Date: February 2021
RRP: 7150 yen

Getting a full cast out of any series Bandai Tamashii Nations do S.H. Figuarts is almost always a gamble. Sometimes it'll take years for them to release that all-important final character, and sometimes it may never happen at all. In the case of Ultraman Taiga thankfully it hasn't taken them too long at all to complete the whole Tri-Squad lineup alongside villain Ultraman Tregear, with S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Fuma finally joining both Taiga and Titas at the beginning of 2021. For anyone who's been following the line it'll be no surprise to hear that Fuma is a Tamashii web exclusive release, which has been the fate for every figure from the series other than Taiga himself. On the other hand with how fast S.H. Figuarts preorders seem to sell out these days, maybe that's for the best as it gives collectors a chance to actually secure their figures prior to release.