Friday 31 December 2021

Favourite Toys of 2021

Favourite Toys of 2021

Another year has flown by, which means once again I'm picking out my ten favourite (plus one honourable mention) toy releases from the past 365 days. I started 2021 with an embarrassingly long back catalogue of reviews to do and I'm ending it with one too, but for the most part I think I've successfully managed to cover anything that had a good chance of getting into the top 10. As usual the list is limited to figures that were newly released in 2021, with only one repaint/remould slipping in this year. So read on to find out the full rundown, and be sure to let me know what your favourites were in the comments!

Thursday 30 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Generations Selects Galvatron

Transformers Generations Selects Galvatron 01

Release Date: September 2021
RRP: $58.99/£52.99

The Generations Selects line has proved an excellent means of getting some of the more interesting repaints and characters in the Transformers universe out to collectors, and avenues like Hasbro Pulse and the fan channel (particularly in places Pulse isn't available) are the perfect means of distributing them. 2021 saw Transformers fans FINALLY get a classic-styled Galvatron they can be proud of with the leader class Kingdom Galvatron, and with that figure being as good as it is why only stop at one? It didn't take long for Hasbro to announce that a Generations Selects Galvatron would soon be going into production, this time based on the grey and purple colour scheme of the original Generation One toy from 1986. Now fans of both cartoon and toy accuracy colouring can bask in what's been the best Galvatron figure in quite some time.

Friday 24 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Trigger Multi Type

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Trigger Multi Type 01

Release Date: November 2021
RRP: 3850 yen

If you've ever wanted to get into the wonderfully addictive and horribly expensive world of S.H. Figuarts collecting, then the beginning of a brand new Kamen Rider and Ultraman series is always the best time. For the past few years Bandai Tamashii Nations have been offering the titular heroes from these two franchises at a lower than normal price, enticing buyers in before they become to resigned to the standard price tags and endless Tamashii web exclusives like the rest of us. 2021 saw Tsuburaya Productions celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ultraman Tiga, reimagining its legend with Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga. What better place is there for Bandai to start a brand new series of releases than with the all-purpose base form – S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Trigger Multi Type.

Thursday 23 December 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie

Sometimes the various traditions that Toei have set out for the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises can seem so set in stone that it feels like there's little room for innovation, but every so often something exciting and different does manage to slip in and become the new norm. One such example is the recent string of teaser films that have been produced - attached to various movie offerings and airing just ahead of the full show release. Mashin Sentai Kiramager was the first series to get one with its Episode ZERO in 2020, with Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger following with Red Battle! All Sentai Rally! this year. However this year also saw Kamen Rider Revice get in on the action with Kamen Rider Revice: The Movie  - a 25 minute mini-movie attached to giant crossover anniversary film Saber + Zenkaiger: Superhero Senki.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Z Original

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Z Original 01

Release Date: September 2021 
RRP: 4950 yen

At a time when any tokusatsu character getting a second retail release is becoming a rarity, for one to get another one nearly a year after their series has passed is quite the surprise. But clearly Bandai Tamashii Nations have been paying attention to the overwhelming popularity of their Ultraman Z figures, as S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Z Original somehow manages to escape the clutches of Tamashii web exclusivity. Though rarely seen in combat in the series itself, Ultraman Z's base form appears regularly throughout the series during both the transformation sequences and his various conversations with his host Haruki Natsukawa. It did however have a starring role in the Ultraman Z & Zero voice dramas that accompanied the show, as well as appearing in Ultraman Chronicle Z, Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy and, most recently, Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga.

Friday 17 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation Skeletor

MOTU Masterverse Revelation Skeletor 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

2021 will be remembered as the year I finally got into Masters of the Universe, not just due to release of Kevin Smith's Masters of the Universe: Revelation but also because of the criminally underrated 2021 CGI reboot He-Man and the Masters of the Universe that also debuted on Netflix shortly afterward. Rest assured I will be checking out the previous iterations in due course. For toy collectors getting into a new franchise also means sampling some of the toys on offer too, and with Masterverse Revelation He-Man in-hand there was no way I wasn't going to get his mortal enemy as well. In fact Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation Skeletor was the main one I wanted to get from Mattel's latest line of MOTU collector figures, simply due to his status as one of the most iconic 80s cartoon villains and of course that brilliant character design.

Monday 13 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Tyrannosaurus Sentry

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin Tyrannosaurus Sentry 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: $22.99/£24.99

One of the biggest stories to come out of the Power Rangers universe in the last few years was undoubtedly Shattered Grid – a multi-issue comic event from Boom! Studios which saw the
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers team (as well as all the other rangers from across the franchise) face off against Lord Drakkon, an evil version of Tommy Oliver who sought to gain power from across the Morphing Grid. Since the event both Lord Drakkon and the Ranger Slayer (a brainwashed version of Kimberly initially under Drakkon's control) have gone on to reappear in the comics, as well as feature in video games and various pieces of merchandise – including Hasbro's Lightning Collection. Now the Morphing Grid continues to shatter as Hasbro unveil the next figure from the comics continuity to join the line – the Lighting Collection Mighty Morphin Tyrannosaurus Sentry. These soldiers act as the elite personal guard of Drakkon, helping to carry out his will and battle against the resistance force known as 'The Coinless'. The Tyrannosaurus Sentry was released exclusively via Hasbro Pulse and (in the US) Target stores.

Friday 10 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation He-Man

Masters of the Universe Masterverse Revelation He-Man 01

Release Date: June 2021
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

Despite being a fan of a number of 80s cult toy franchises, Masters of the Universe is one that I've only ever had a passing interest in. I've always been aware of the characters and enjoyed the odd episode now and again, but in general it's been something that mostly passed me by. However with the franchise making something of a grand return in 2021 with both Masters of the Universe: Revelation and the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe CGI reimagining on Netflix, now seemed like the perfect time to dive in. Over on the toy side of things Mattel have also done big things with MOTU this year – not only reissuing the original toys but also creating the Masterverse range – an all-encompassing line for figures from across the franchise's various iterations. And it's here that the cast of Revelations have found their home, so what better place to start my journey into Masters of the Universe toys than with MOTU Masterverse Revelation He-Man?

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Studio Series 86 Wreck-Gar

Transformers Studio Series 86 Wreck-Gar 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: $31.99/£34.99

One of the great things about Transformers: The Movie is how big it made the G1 universe feel. Suddenly we weren't just dealing with Autobots and Decepticons on Earth and Cybertron, but a whole cosmos of transforming robots on multiple sides of the conflict. After the Autobots crash land on the Planet of Junk we're soon introduced to the Junkions – a race of TV-talking robots with both the ability to transform and quickly repair themselves. After initially viewing the Autobots as hostile, Hot Rod is able to befriend their leader Wreck-Gar (voiced by Monty Python legend Eric Idle) – leading the Junkions to help defeat Unicron and become an ally of the Autobots going forwards. Despite being seldomly used outside of G1 continuity the Junkion leader has become a firm fan favourite, so it's only fitting that Hasbro mark the movie's 35th anniversary with the release of the voyager class Studio Series 86 Wreck-Gar figure.

Monday 6 December 2021

Reviews in Time & Space: Doctor Who: Flux Chapter Six - The Vanquishers

Doctor Who: Flux Chapter 6 - The Vanquishers

It's been six action-packed weeks but the end has finally arrived, as Doctor Who series 13 draws to a close - ending both this series' ongoing Flux storyline and signalling the beginning of the end for Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor. While there is usually a pretty high expectation when it comes to series finales as the culmination of the show's first series-long story in decades, it's fair to say that anticipation is running particular high when it comes to The Vanquishers. As per the rest of the series, this final chapter was written by show runner Chris Chibnall and directed by chapters three and five director Azhur Saleem.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Zeronos Altair Form

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Zeronos Altair Form 01

Release Date: July 2021
RRP: 7700 yen

With the amount of Kamen Rider Den-O figures there are to (re)release as part of the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou range combined with the overall popularity of Den-O in general, releasing the titular Rider's main forms in two-in-one sets was a pretty genius idea on Bandai Tamashii Nation's part. That releases from the series have been pretty sparse with everything else going on in the line too, so much so that's it's taken just over a year since the release of Sword & Gun Form for S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Zeronos Altair Form to finally arrive. The secondary Rider of Kamen Rider Den-O and time traveller arrives as the second Tamashii web exclusive from the series, which based on further releases already solicited for the 2022 will likely be the way all future Den-O Seihous are released.

Thursday 2 December 2021

Movie REVIEW: Kaizoku Sentai: Ten Gokaiger

Kaizoku Sentai: Ten Gokaiger

One of the greatest joys about the Super Sentai franchise is that no one's ever really gone. Even when a series has completed its year-long run, that team will likely return for both a Versus movie the following year and cameos in future productions. A select few have even been lucky enough to get a new V-Cinema film ten years later. Super Sentai may be celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2021, but that also means its celebrating the tenth anniversary of its 35th anniversary series - Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. And to mark the occasion the pirate Sentai are back in Kaizoku Sentai: Ten Gokaiger - a brand new film continuing their  story as well as debuting a whole new selection of Ranger Keys. The film was written by Gokaiger's head writer Naruhisa Arakawa, and directed by Shojiro Nakazawa.