Sunday 31 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: 8800 yen

Given that the same can be said of the original release all the way back in 2010, it shouldn't be all that surprising that S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Dark Kiva is a retail release. But then again, when far more prominent characters like Kamen Rider Ixa are web exclusive releases, you tend to expect the obligatory "Dark Rider" character with less screen time to get similar treatment. But as far as dark Riders go Dark Kiva is one of the most important ones of all, and Bandai Tamashii Nations have recognised this with another retail release from Kamen Rider Kiva. A powerful armour worn by the lord of all Fangires, much like IXA Dark Kiva had numerous users over the course of the series - first the Fangire lord King, followed by Otoya Kurenai and then later Taiga Noburi.

Thursday 28 October 2021

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

Custom 'Curse of Fatal Death' Grey Dalek 01

Arguably my biggest custom Dalek project of 2021 has been to produce the numerous variants that appeared in the 1999 Comic Relief Special The Curse of Fatal Death – one of my all-time favourite pieces of Doctor Who fiction despite its non-canonicity. This year I've managed to make the Supreme Dalek, silver Dalek and a "variant" version of the light grey Dalek drone, and now I'm back at it again with another custom Curse of Fatal Death grey Dalek. Whereas I labelled the previous one a "variant" due to the design having elements uncommon to the grey/black Daleks of the show, this one falls a bit more in line with how they looked by the time of Remembrance of the Daleks – albeit with a few slight modifications.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Geed Galaxy Rising

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Geed Galaxy Rising 01

Release Date: July 2021
RRP: 7480 yen

As a celebration of Ultraman Zero's 10th anniversary and an endcap of sorts to the "New Generation Heroes" line of shows, it's unsurprising that Ultraman Z brought back a lot of familiar faces – many of whom got either a much-needed overhaul or even a whole new look. And being a show about an Ultra who longs to become Zero's student, of course Zero's original student had to make an appearance. With his Geed Riser damaged, Riku Asakura arrives on Haruki's version of Earth and transforms via a Z Riser – combining the powers of the Ginga, X and Orb Ultra Medals to create a brand new form. Now Bandai Tamashii Nations present S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Geed Galaxy Rising, the third Tamashii web exclusive figure to be released in their Ultraman Z range of figures.

Thursday 21 October 2021

Movie REVIEW: Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider Vulcan & Valkyrie

Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider Vulcan & Valkyrie

Earlier in the year Kamen Rider Zero-One dropped what was perhaps the biggest cliffhanger since Diend turned his gun on Decade (or the Rider War began depending on which version of Decade you're watching), as Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai destroyed the bodies of its four Humagear hosts and set out on a new path of destruction. Now several months after the release of Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai the conclusion of the story is finally here, as the A.I.M.S. Riders take to the stage in Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider Vulcan & Valkyrie. Although the Kamen Rider Genms -The Presidents- special is technically set afterward, for the time being it's also fair to say this acts as the main end to the Zero-One story. Like the previous film, it was written by the show's head writer Yuya Takahashi and directed by secondary writer Masaya Kakehi

(WARNING: Spoiler discussion will be particularly heavy in this review)

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #7 Set

History of the Daleks #07 01

Release Date: September 2021
RRP: £19.99

The fact Character Options have been releasing their new History of the Daleks sets in chronological order has made it quite easy for Doctor Who fans to predict just what'll be in each set, but it does come with a worry of repetition. After all the Daleks have only changed so much over the years, with the late 60s stories in particular showing minimal differences between them. However Character have recognised this as well, and for the most recent wave of B&M Store exclusive releases they're mixing things up a bit. Rather than near-identical Daleks from both The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks on shelves at the same time, we're jumping from 1966 with set #5 all the way to 1972 with the History of the Daleks #7 set. Number six will follow in due course, but for now we're looking back on Day of the Daleks - a significant story for a number of reasons. Not only is it the Daleks' return to the show since their "final end" in Evil, but also their first face-off against the Third Doctor AND their first appearance on the show in colour. 

Sunday 17 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Anakin Skywalker (The Clone Wars)

Black Series Anakin Skywalker (Clone Wars) 01

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

In commemoration of Lucasfilm's 50th anniversary Hasbro have been touching some of the more forgotten (at least in the eyes of Disney and its revised canon) elements of the Star Wars franchise, but that doesn't mean they don't have the energy for a little more Star Wars: The Clone Wars love. Hot on the heels of special book-style releases revisiting various parts of the "Legends" canon, these Target-exclusive (or via the fan channel outside the US) Black Series figures are a real celebration of the seven-season series that did so much to expand on the Clone Wars and the prequel era as a whole. And one of the characters it did the most of all for was Anakin Skywalker, helping to flesh out his time as a Jedi Knight in the lead up to his eventual fall to the dark side. With his costume as it appeared in the animated series still unrepresented, this is the perfect time to welcome this particular Black Series Anakin Skywalker into the line.

Friday 15 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi (The Clone Wars)

Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi (Clone Wars) 01

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

In recent years Hasbro have done an excellent job in expanding the selection of Star Wars properties represented in the Black Series – not just limiting it to the films, but also the various television productions, video games, novels, comics and more. With Star Wars: The Clone Wars being such a big part of the franchise's TV offerings it's gotten some fairly good representation, but there are still a lot of key characters (or variants) missing. To celebrate Lucasfilm's 50th anniversary Hasbro put out a special wave of Clone Wars-inspired figures, which was the perfect opportunity to fill in some of those gaps. We've seen numerous figures based on his appearances in the films themselves and even one based on his Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars microseries costume, but finally Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi arrives in his familiar Star Wars: The Clone Wars guise.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Tiga Multi Type

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Tiga Multi Type 01

Release Date: July 2021
RRP: 6600 yen

The Shinkocchou Seihou range has been the crowning glory of the S.H. Figuarts line for some time now, but when it comes to the various franchises it covers its scope is severely limited. Whereas Bandai Tamashii Nations have extended into the likes of tokusatsu, anime, movie and video game properties with the mainline, Shinkocchou Seihou has remained strictly Kamen Rider for the most part with a couple of GARO releases also thrown in for good measure. That all changes in 2021 though, with the 25th anniversary of Ultraman Tiga providing just the excuse Bandai needed to expand the line into the Ultra Series. S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Ultraman Tiga Multi Type is the first of what will hopefully be many more Ultraman Seihous, and their first version of this phenomenally popular Ultraman since the renewal version Ultra-Act way back in 2014. Although a standard S.H. Figuarts Tiga was teased at events as far back as 2017, obviously those plans have changed as Shinkocchou Seihou's "true bone carving" method ushers in a new age of Ultraman figures.

Friday 8 October 2021

Anime REVIEW: Digimon Adventure:

Digimon Adventure:

The Digimon franchise has existed in many different forms over the years but when it comes to sheer popularity, most struggle to compete with the original Digimon Adventure. After being dragged out for six-part film series Digimon Adventure Tri. from 2015-2018 to celebrate the franchise's 15th anniversary and then for further sequel Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna in 2020, it seemed like Toei had exhausted everything they could do with the original Chosen Children - other than reboot the whole thing that is. Digimon Adventure: (also commonly known as Digimon Adventure (2020) to avoid confusion) began in April 2020 - bringing back the cast of the original series in an all-new story. The series ran for a total of 67 episodes, though a significant hiatus was taken after episode three due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday 6 October 2021

Custom Figure: 2015 Skaro Dalek (1965 Variant)

Custom 2015 Skaro Dalek (1965 Variant) 01

New History of the Daleks releases means a whole new set of custom Dalek projects lined up, the first of which is the perfect compliment to an earlier project from last year. We're still quite a way off from these B&M exclusive sets from reaching the modern era (let alone the Twelfth Doctor), so unless Character Options have any more surprise releases from the story up their sleeves Daleks from The Magician's Apprentice and The Witch's Familiar won't be appearing any time soon. But with 60s Daleks back on the market, this is the perfect opportunity to make another of these 2015 Skaro Daleks – this time based on the later 60s design seen in both The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks. Much like its brethren based on the original 1963 casing, these Daleks were seen inhabiting the Daleks' home planet of Skaro after the Doctor (with Clara and Missy in tow) was summoned to meet the dying Davros.

Monday 4 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #5 Set

History of the Daleks #05 01

Release Date: September 2021
RRP: £19.99

Despite limitations, Character Options' Doctor Who action figure range came back in full force in 2020 – continuing their partnership with B&M stores to deliver a selection of exclusive releases. Among the most popular of these was the History of the Daleks line – a chronological progression through the stories of the Doctor's most feared enemies in the form of double-pack releases. Starting with 1963's The Daleks and making its way to 1965's The Daleks' Master Plan last year, it has now returned in 2021 with The History of the Daleks #5 Set – The Power of the Daleks (1966). Marking the debut of the Second Doctor, this fully missing adventure (though now available as an animated recreation) sees the Doctor arrive on the planet Vulcan – where a capsule of Daleks has been discovered. Though the Daleks seem subservient, they are secretly amassing enough power to restart the capsule's hidden assembly line – with the aim of taking the colony and exterminating all life present.

Sunday 3 October 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers War for Cybertron: Kingdom Galvatron

Transformers Kingdom Galvatron 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: $49.99/£49.99

The fact that the Transformers War for Cybertron: Kingdom and Studio Series 86 lines have been so interchangeable for the most part has led to the cast of Transformers: The Movie getting filled out at a record speed - the perfect way to celebrate its 35th anniversary. However as fantastic as most of these new releases have been it's fair to say that many of these characters have already had great classic-inspired figures in the past, which makes the ones that haven't stand out all the more. Transformers War for Cybertron: Kingdom Leader Class Galvatron is one such example, with the new Decepticon leader and herald of Unicron finally making it to a price point worthy of his status. As well of course being a prominent character in Transformers: The Movie, Galvatron is also one of the select characters in the Kingdom line to be a key player in the Netflix Kingdom series - travelling back in time in attempt to defy Unicron and change Megatron's fate.

Friday 1 October 2021

Miniseries REVIEW: Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna

Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna

For the past few years the Toei Tokusatsu Fanclub has been home to some of the weirder spin-off titles in the world of Toei-brand tokusatsu, however other than a few notable exceptions it's fair to say that these exclusive specials have been mostly Kamen Rider driven. However 2021 saw Super Sentai get in on the action once again with Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna, the first exclusive Super Sentai special to appear on the service since Hero Mama League and Keisatsu Sentai Patranger feat. Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger ~ Another Patren 2gou all the way back in 2018. As the title suggests this sequel to Mashin Sentai Kiramager thrusts Yodonheim's villainous secretary Yodonna into the lead role, with the two part special written by Tete Inoue and directed by Koichi Sakamoto. Yodonna marks the first time in Super Sentai history that a special has focused on a villain, and it sure is something...