Wednesday 30 March 2022

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

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Blue Ranger 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: $27.99/£24.99

With Hasbro mixing Power Rangers Lightning Collection waves up to ensure most (but certainly not all) teams get some representation, fans might be in for a bit of wait when it comes to completing their favourite teams. Unless their favourite team is Mighty Morphin that is, which is now approaching completion of a SECOND version. Following the release of the Metallic Armour Mighty Morphin Pink Ranger at the end of 2020, the rest of team (sans the White Ranger) all followed as Hasbro Pulse exclusives at the end of 2021. Among these is of course the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Blue Ranger, who at this point in the series was now the longest serving member of the team.

Sunday 27 March 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 'The Five Doctors (1983)' Figure Set

Doctor Who 'The Five Doctors' Figure Set 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: £19.99

With how long Character Options have been producing Doctor Who action figures now, it's amazing that it took them until the end of 2021 to produce a set based on The Five Doctors. Marking the 20th anniversary of the franchise, the story saw the then-five incarnations of the Doctor pulled into the Death Zone - a dimension on Gallifrey where combatants are pitted against each other in "The Game of Rassilon". The Five Doctors (1983) Collector Figure Set was released as part of the second assortment of B&M Store exclusive sets for 2021, and is notable for being the first to include a paint variant figure. While all of the sets included both the Third Doctor and a Raston Warrior Robot, the Cyberman was available in both standard soldier and Cyberleader variants.

Friday 25 March 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who History of the Daleks #6 Set

History of the Daleks #6 01

Release Date: December 2021 
RRP: £19.99 

Character Options have been slowly moving along with their History of the Daleks range over the past few years, charting the evolution of Doctor Who's most popular villains with a chronological release pattern. However the chronology was shifted somewhat in 2021, when History of the Daleks #6 (based on the 1967 serial The Evil of the Daleks) was held back to be released alongside set #8, rather than together with set #5. This is due to the variants included in both The Evil of the Daleks and The Power of the Daleks being so similar, which is some smart thinking on Character's part. The Evil of the Daleks is notable for featuring the "final end" of the Daleks – their last appearance on the show until 1973 while creator Terry Nation attempted to start up his own Dalek-centric spin-off. The story's final scenes, the Daleks are seemingly destroyed for good when a civil war breaks out between two sets of Daleks (one injected with the human factor, leading them questioning orders) in the Emperor Dalek's chambers on Skaro.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider OOO 10th: Core Medal of Resurrection

Kamen Rider OOO 10th: Core Medal of Resurrection

Tenth anniversary movies have become a big thing for Toei in the past few years, with multiple casts on the Super Sentai side of things returning for their milestone reunion. While it hasn't been quite as regular for Kamen Rider, some series still have plenty of story to be told should the opportunity arise. With Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger receiving a tenth anniversary movie last year, it seems only fitting that this year should be the turn of its Super Hero Time block partner. Kamen Rider OOO 10th: Core Medal of Resurrection brings fans the long awaited conclusion to Kamen Rider OOO's story - with nearly all of the cast returning to witness Eiji Hino's reunion with Ankh. Its release was accompanied by two net movie prequels (The Creation of Birth X and The Resurrected Core Medal), while the film itself was written by Nobuhiro Mouri and directed by Ryuta Tasaka - both of whom recently worked together on Saber + Zenkaiger: Super Hero Senki.

(While I usually try to keep these reviews light on direct spoilers, there's just so much to unpack in this film that spoilers will be abound. You have been warned!)

Monday 21 March 2022

Movie REVIEW: Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z

Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z

If there was ever any doubt that Tsuburaya Productions weren't sincere in their efforts to bring fans Ultraman on a global scale, there certainly isn't anymore. Not just content with releasing Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga weekly (with subtitles in various languages) via their official YouTube channel, they're now also ensuring everyone outside Japan doesn't have to wait too long for the movies either. Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z was released in both Japanese cinemas and via the Tsuburaya Imagination streaming service on March 18th 2022, but on the same day it was made available to rent internationally on the Ultraman Connection website. As well as continuing the story of Ultraman Trigger, the film also sees the return of Ultraman Z - who despite previously crossing over with Trigger did not receive a movie of his own last year.

Friday 18 March 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett

S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett 01

Release Date: September 2016
RRP: 6380 yen

With the Star Wars S.H. Figuarts range now encompassing nearly all of the franchise's live-action productions (though strangely not The Empire Strikes Back, but that's a discussion for another time), it's funny to believe that in the earlier days of the line they had a surprising amount of love for the prequel era. While there were still plenty of notable releases from the original and sequel trilogies at that time as well, you can't deny that getting an S.H. Figuarts Jango Fett long before the far more iconic Boba is out of the ordinary. But that's clearly how Bandai Tamashii Nations wanted to play it, with the father of the notorious bounty hunter and genetic template for the clone troopers releasing all the way back in 2016.

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Leo

S.H Figuarts Ultraman Leo 01

Release Date: November 2021
RRP: 6050 yen

Although the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts range seems to have largely switched focus towards the newer side of the franchise, Bandai Tamashii Nations have still been slowly chipping away at the Showa era. And with the release of S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Leo, the brand have finally reached the milestone of releasing all the "core" Ultra Brothers from the first seven series. Trained by Ultraseven before going on to train Seven's own son Ultraman Zero, the space martial artist Ultraman Leo hails from the 1974 series and is a long-awaited addition to the S.H. Figuarts Ultraman collection.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Top 5: Most Wanted Star Wars Black Series Figures

Top 5 Most Wanted Star Wars Black Series Figures

This month's top five list is blasting off to a galaxy far, far away and looking at Hasbro's Star Wars Black Series toy line. Though I've only really been collecting these figures for a few years, it's quickly become one of my favourite and most collected toy lines – even though my primary focus has always been on Star Wars television series and video games rather than the movies themselves. As such there are still PLENTY of characters I'd like to see brought into the line, and it was very difficult to narrow it down to just five. So without further ado here are the five figures I'd like most from the Black Series line, and for the sake of ease I've chosen to not include anything from the recent Book of Boba Fett – simply because everything I do want from that series I think I can safely assume Hasbro will be releasing in a year or so.

Sunday 13 March 2022

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

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Black Ranger 01

Release Date: December 2021
RRP: $27.99/£24.99

The release of the Metallic Armour Mighty Morphin Pink Ranger at the end of 2020 came as quite the surprise to Lightning Collection fans, but there was definitely some frustration at how and when the rest of the team would see similar treatment. Fast forward a few months however and Hasbro simply decided to offload them on collectors all at once, with the rest of the team (sans the currently announced White Ranger) all dropping at the same time. The Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' Black Ranger is a particularly notable release among them, marking the first time second Black Ranger Adam Park has been made available in his Mighty Morphin Power Rangers form. Like the Pink Ranger before them, this wave of metallic releases are exclusive to Hasbro Pulse.

Friday 11 March 2022

Custom Figure: 'Death Zone' Dalek (The Five Doctors)

Custom 'Death Zone' Dalek 01

With new classic Dalek releases mainly coming through the History of the Daleks sets there is plenty of ground to cover, but chances are some of the odder variants that didn't appear in Dalek-specific stories may be forgotten. One such example is the 'Death Zone' Dalek, which briefly appeared in the 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors. Despite some rather interesting differences that would make this particular Dalek perfect for a figure release, it has gone unlooked at by Character Options thus far. Luckily it's not a particularly difficult one to recreate, and with the advent of 3D printed parts being produced by talented customisers it's now easier than ever to simply make one at home.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Miniseries REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice: The Mystery

Kamen Rider Revice: The Mystery

As the series that marks the 50th anniversary of the Kamen Rider franchise, it was almost a certainty that Kamen Rider Revice was going to have plenty of supplementary material. Long gone are the days where everything you'd ever need to know about a tokusatsu series is solely contained in the main show itself, with numerous movies, blu-ray specials and streaming service miniseries utilised to fill in the gaps. Kamen Rider Revice: The Mystery is a five-episode miniseries produced for Japan's TELASA streaming service, which has been the home to a number of Kamen Rider specials since 2017. Written by Hiroki Uchida and directed by Koichiro Hayama, it notably features the return of Ryu Terui/Kamen Rider Accel from Kamen Rider W as well as a few other surprises from across the franchise.

Monday 7 March 2022

First Impressions: Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers

With 45th anniversary series Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger able to successfully shake up that tried and tested Super Sentai formula without losing its core values, Toei have clearly latched onto the fact that a bit of change is exactly what the franchise needs. And if you want something that's a little bit different (for better or for worse), what better person to call than legendary tokusatsu writer Toshiki Inoue to head up his first Sentai series since 1991's Chōjin Sentai Jetman? Avataro Sentai Donbrothers is the 46th entry in the long-running franchise, and as the name suggests the theme of the show is based on Japanese folklore hero Momotarō (of course it's already crossed over with Kamen Rider Den-O). What makes things more interesting however is that this Super Sentai series isn't starting with a completely clean slate - not only incorporating a legacy Sentai element like Zenkaiger but also porting over certain elements from that series as well.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Deadpool

S.H. Figuarts Deadpool 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: 7700 yen

Marvel has been a big seller for Bandai Tamashii Nations' S.H. Figuarts line for some time now, but in focusing purely on characters as they appear specifically in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has definitely limited their scope somewhat. However with Disney's buyout of Fox as well as the consolidation of the Marvel Cinematic MULTIverse being carried out in both Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, those days might finally be over. There's been one big name missing from the line this entire time, and that gap has finally been filled with the long-awaited arrival of the Merc with a Mouth himself – S.H. Figuarts Deadpool.

Thursday 3 March 2022

Series REVIEW: Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger

In 2011 the Super Sentai franchise celebrated its 35th anniversary with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger - a high profile series that not only heavily paid tribute to all 34 of its previous entries, but also featured numerous guest appearances from its alumni. Now ten years later and the franchise is celebrating an even bigger milestone, but how do you even attempt to follow on from something like that? The answer is with Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger - the 45th entry in the long-running superhero franchise. Written by Junko Kōmura (Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger, Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger) and directed by Shojiro Nakazawa (Juken Sentai Gekiranger, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger), Zenkaiger is another series that once again brings together the whole Super Sentai universe - but does so in a fresh way and with a look that on face value seems quite unlike anything the franchise has done before.