Monday 30 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Pink Ranger

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Pink Ranger 01

Release Date: December 2020
RRP: $24.99

Hasbro may have gotten the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team out of the door in the Lightning Collection pretty quickly, but if there's one thing Power Rangers fans know it's that it doesn't take very long for them to show up again. With numerous different versions from both the screen and comics to tap into, the original Power Rangers team will remain a staple part of the toy line for some time.  In fact Hasbro showed their hand last year with the announcement of the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Pink Ranger figure, kicking off a new variation of the team based on the metallic armour the rangers don in season three to battle against Master Vile's enhanced Tenga Warriors. This Hasbro Pulse exclusive release also the marks the first release of a Katherine 'Kat' Hillard version of the Pink Ranger, with her having taken over from Kimberly Hart at this point in the series.

Saturday 28 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki 01

Release Date: March 2021
RRP: 5500 yen

The titular hero of a new Kamen Rider series being released at a cheaper price point is standard practice for the S.H. Figuarts line now, and for big multi-Rider shows like Kamen Rider Saber a good tactic to get collectors interested in completing the whole set. Phase two of the plan is to immediately follow it up with another retail release Rider at the more usual cost, in this case S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Blades Lion Senki. The second Rider to appear in the series, Rintaro Shindo was born into the Sword of Logos – fighting to uphold the organisation's values as the Water Swordsman. When the manipulations of the current Master Logos were finally revealed, Rintaro regained his resolve to fight and joined Touma against the real enemy.

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts SC-1 Sevenger

S.H. Figuarts SC-1 Sevenger 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: 7700 yen

Ultraman Z was a great series that brought us a brilliant new hero with plenty of cool alternate forms, as well as bringing back fan favourites like Zero, Geed and even Ace. But despite the amount of cool Ultraman action going on in the series arguably the real hero of Z wasn't a giant from the Land of Light, but rather a rather determined robot that was always doing its best. Right from the very first episode Sevenger melted the hearts of Ultraman fans across the world, and even though he was eventually phased out in favour of other robots its grand return in the finale was nothing short of glorious. Such was his popularity that S.H. Figuarts SC-1 Sevenger was pretty much inevitable, but what perhaps wasn't was this Tamashii web exclusive release completely selling out of preorders in a matter of days. And this was just one in many Ultraman Z web exclusives selling out, making the Ultraman Figuarts line more lucrative and desirable than ever.

Friday 20 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Carnor Jax

Star Wars Black Series Carnor Jax 01

Release Date: April 2021
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

Star Wars fans around during the years between films who had to rely on expanded media such as novels, films and video games for new content have potentially had it rough since Disney took over control of the franchise, especially with the stories they love being deemed non-canon and being categorised as "Legends", but in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lucasfilm at least Hasbro are giving them some acknowledgement. This four small range of special edition figures looks at all things Legends, with one release paying homage to Star Wars: Crimson Empire – the 1997 comic book series from Dark Horse that spanned a total of 20 issues as well as a full cast audio drama. Carnor Jax, the Imperial Sovereign Protector who made a bid for the throne following Palpatine's death has arrived in the Black Series. However the big question is, is this release even Carnor Jax in the first place?

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Super Mini-Pla Balzion

Super Mini-Pla Balzion 01

Release Date: April 2021
RRP: 5500 yen

For the most part the Super Mini-Pla range has done a good job of covering the various mecha from each Super Sentai series, but when it comes to some of the older series there are a lot less options to choose from. In some cases (such as Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan for example) you might even only get the main mecha and its giant carrier vehicle. However for the Choudenshi Bioman range Bandai really went the extra mile, and on top of those releases also produced something that was LONG overdue a new toy. The mecha of the Anti-Bio Union piloted by their robotic assassin Bio Hunter Silva, Balzion is a villainous counterpart to Bio Robo that appears in the final three episodes of the series. Having received no toys when Bioman was airing back in 1984 and since then only a giant vinyl figure in 2017, the Premium Bandai exclusive Super Mini-Pla Balzion is a truly exceptional release.

Sunday 15 August 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger the Movie: Red Battle! All Sentai Rally!!

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger the Movie: Red Battle! All Sentai Rally!!

Once upon a time a brand new Super Sentai team would be introduced in the preceding team's Versus Series movie, but as that slowly phased out the Mashin Sentai Kiramager introduced a new way to be welcomed by audiences - their own debut mini-movie. For the 44th Super Sentai this took the form of a prequel Episode ZERO to set up the main series, but to celebrate the franchise's 45th anniversary something a little more lavish was in order. Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger the Movie: Red Battle! All Sentai Rally!! didn't just unleash the newest Super Sentai team upon the world - it also sees them face off against classic villains and team up with all 45 of the previous Red rangers. The 26-minute film was released as part of the Super Sentai Movie 2021 triple-bill - joining both Mashin Sentai Kiramager the Movie: Bebop Dream and Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Special Chapter: Memory of Soulmates.

Saturday 14 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 'The Keys of Marinus (1964)' Set

Doctor Who 'The Keys of Marinus' Figure Set 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: £19.99

After years of treading water Character Options really kicked into high gear with their B&M Stores exclusive range of Doctor Who figures in 2019 - not only beginning to bring highly sought-after characters back to the market but also brand new figures combining both new and existing tooling. Things are only looking to get even better in 2021, with another selection of sets inspired by the franchise's classic era announced for release. Among these is The Keys of Marinus (1964) Collector Figure Set, one of two three-figure sets based on the First Doctor's era. This a particularly special on, not only bringing new monsters to the fold in the form of the Voord but also another companion. Schoolteacher Ian Chesterton didn't know what he expected to find when he followed student Susan Foreman to a seemingly ordinary Police Box, but it certainly wasn't an unforgettable adventure through time and space with a man simply known as the Doctor...

(A big thank you to Character Options and Evolution PR for the opportunity to review this set ahead of its release this month. This set, along with the other three that make up this latest range, are due to release in B&M stores mid-August.)

Thursday 12 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Shocker Rider (THE NEXT)

S.H. Figuarts Shocker Rider (THE NEXT) 01

Release Date: June 2008
RRP: 2420 yen

With fewer and fewer Kamen Riders left to bring out in the S.H. Figuarts line, a lot of collectors are turning their attention towards who will be the next character Bandai Tamashii Nations REmake – be it as part of the regular line or the Shinkocchou Seihou range. But while it's fair to say most titular series Riders have a pretty good chance of getting a new figure, not all of the really old releases are likely to be on the cards – the S.H. Figuarts Shocker Rider (THE NEXT) being one such example. The mass-produced foot soldiers of the evil organisation in 2007's Kamen Rider: The Next, the Shocker Rider was the fourth release in the S.H. Figuarts line all the way back in 2008 – following on of course from Kamen Rider V3 as well as The Next versions of Riders 1 and 2.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Special REVIEW: Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Special Chapter: Memory of Soulmates

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Special Chapter: Memory of Soulmates

With the COVID-19 pandemic throwing everything into disarray the usually predictable format of tokusatsu movie releases went out the window, and after a few months of uncertainty Super Sentai broke free from its usual double-billing with Kamen Rider to headline its own Super Sentai Movie Ranger 2021 triple-bill in February 2021. As well as featuring both the delayed arrival of the Kiramager summer movie Bebop Dream and the onscreen debut of the Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger, the lineup also featured the return of the 38th Super Sentai team in Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Special Chapter: Memory of Soulmates - a brand new short film dedicated to the memory of Ui Tatsu's actress Mana Kinjo.

Sunday 8 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series R5-P8 (Galaxy's Edge)

Star Wars Black Series R5-P8 01

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

When Galaxy's Edge was first announced to be coming to Disneyland (and later Disneyworld), one of the more frustrating things for Star Wars toy collectors was the subsequent announcement of Black Series figures that would not only be available exclusively in the parks but also that they would all be part of three-packs with older, far more common figures. However it seems Hasbro weren't completely heartless when it came to these characters, since a few years later these exclusive figures (Hondo Ohnaka, DJ-R3X and Commander Pyre) were made more widely available through a Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Trading Outpost promotion at Target stores (and standard Fan Channel exclusives in the rest of the world). They weren't the only ones either, as the range also included a couple of new characters that populate the world of Batuu. Hondo Ohnaka might not still have the pirate crew he had back in the days of the Clone Wars, but at least he still has his trusted Astromech droid R5-P8. R5 appears in the pre-show scenes of the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run attraction, helping Hondo prepare guests to pilot in Falcon in the latest of Hondo's business ventures.

Thursday 5 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Red Ranger vs Astronema

Power Rangers Lightning Collection In Space Red Ranger vs Astronema 01

Release Date: November 2020
RRP: $39.99/£39.99

If there's one thing that can be said about Hasbro and their treatment of the Power Rangers brand, once they got the ball rolling with the Lightning Collection it just never stopped rolling. Between all the mainline releases, two-packs, exclusives and monster releases it can be incredibly hard to keep track of everything that's come out so far, let alone buy it all. At the end of last year Hasbro released a further two sets in their growing range of "versus" two-packs, one of which was a match many fans/collectors were extremely excited to see - Lightning Collection In Space Red Ranger vs Astronema. After passing over Andros in favour of Leo in the Lost Galaxy Red Ranger/Psycho Red set, it's great to see the leader of the Power Rangers in Space debut in an even more fitting two-pack against his sister Karone's evil alter ego – the Princess of Evil Astronema.

Monday 2 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Hero Action Figure Iron King

Hero Action Figure Iron King 01

Release Date: November 2019
RRP: 8800 yen

Bandai Tamashii Nations' S.H. Figuarts line may rule the roost when it comes to collector-orientated tokusatsu action figures, but if you're looking for characters outside the Kamen Rider and Ultraman franchises then Evolution Toy are offering some serious competition with their Hero Action Figure line. For several years now HAF have been delivering some of the lesser known names in Showa era tokusatsu – from Tsuburaya properties like Fireman, Jumborg and Mirrorman to Toei names like Inazuman and Kaiketsu Zubat. However the range stretches even further than the big name companies too, with one such example being Hero Action Figure Iron King – the titular hero from the 1973 kyodai hero series by Nippon Gendai and Senkosha. Though he may resemble an Ultra hero, Iron King is an entirely separate hero – the hydro-powered alter ego of bumbling Goro Kirishima, sidekick to the suave National Security agent Gentaro Shizuka.