Friday 30 September 2022

Series REVIEW: Dogengers High School

Dogengers High School

Not just content with being among the heroes to make a cameo appearance in the Ms. Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department anime adaptation, Fukuoka's finest returned once more in 2022 for a further 12 episodes of local hero shenanigans. Dogengers High School is the third entry in what could now be comfortably called the Dogengers franchise – taking things back to school with a brand-new hero and slightly shifted focus. It seems as though the team behind the series are also beginning to notice the popularity has garnered on a worldwide scale too, with the episodes having been made available complete with English subtitles for a very limited time on their official YouTube channel. Sadly though that tight window has now past, with only the first episode remaining on the channel (and without the subtitles no less).

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Yellow Ranger

Power Rangers Lightning Collection Zeo Yellow Ranger 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: $22.99/£23.99

As the Power Rangers Lightning Collection continues to chug along comfortably, another fan-favourite team draws to completion. Following on directly from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers it isn't any surprise that Power Rangers Zeo is another series that Hasbro were quick to complete, with the Lightning Collection Zeo Yellow Ranger being the fifth member of the team to be released as part of the general retail waves. The only one outstanding was the Pink Ranger, who was released alongside yet another version of MMPR Pink in special two-pack set. Whether she'll join the others as a single release any time soon is anyone's guess, but it's nice to know the whole Zeo team is out there for those looking to grab them.

Monday 26 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer

S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer 01

Release Date: May 2022
RRP: 6600 yen

It's been seven years since the release of the last Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts figure, and in that time fans and collectors alike refused to give up hope that they were gone forever. That hope was clearly not misplaced, because in celebration of the franchise's 45th anniversary Bandai Tamashii Nations surprised as all with the announcement that they weren't done yet. From 45th Super Sentai series Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger comes S.H. Figuarts Zenkaizer – whose Himitsu Sentai Gorenger-inspired multi-colour design feels particularly appropriate for such a special release marking not only a landmark milestone for the franchise, but the grand return of Super Sentai S.H. Figuarts.

Friday 23 September 2022

Top 5: Most Wanted Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts

Top 5: Most Wanted Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts

We can all agree that while the Kamen Rider franchise is still a major part of the S.H. Figuarts brand, things aren't quite the same now as they were in the old days. With so many other anime, tokusatsu and movie titles incorporated into the line we perhaps don't see as many – or at least as many varied – releases as we used to. Nowadays even getting the final form of a titular Rider can be a struggle (poor old Kamen Rider Ghost Mugen Damashii). Nevertheless the wish lists for Kamen Rider S.H. Figuarts remain as strong as ever, so for this month's top five feature I'm counting down the things I'd like to see most from Bandai Tamashii Nations. For the sake of ease I've decided to skip over anything that's had a prototype shown off but never released, since arguably those are the things that deserve to be released the most. We'll get that Kamen Rider Saga one day…

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader Concept Art Edition

Star Wars Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader Concept Art Edition 01

Release Date: August 2022
RRP: $55.99

Star Wars just wouldn't be Star Wars without the work of Ralph McQuarrie. Throughout the creation of the original trilogy and beyond, the artist designed the look and feel of the Star Wars galaxy that we are all familiar with. There might have been some changes as it leapt from paper to screen, but the influence is undoubtedly there. While Hasbro have paid homage to McQuarrie's original designs for these iconic characters in the past, the Black Series Obi-Wan Kenobi & Darth Vader Concept Art Edition set is the first time they are doing it in their premier six-inch collector figure line. Originally revealed at Star Wars Celebration 2022, the set releases as a ShopDisney online exclusive also available at Galaxy's Edge.

Friday 16 September 2022

Miniseries REVIEW: Kamen Rider Jeanne & Kamen Rider Aguilera with Girls Remix

Kamen Rider Jeanne & Kamen Rider Aguilera with Girls Remix

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that the Kamen Rider franchise shouldn't just be considered the "boys' toys franchise" that it once was. Over the years the writers behind each series have made an increasing effort to bring the women of the franchise to the forefront, with lead female Kamen Riders particularly becoming more prominent in the last few years as things moved into the Reiwa era. With this fact being particularly true in Kamen Rider Revice and its focus on Sakura Igarashi/Kamen Rider Jeannne and Hana/Kamen Rider Aguilera, the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club has brought together (nearly) all of the heroines of the past few years in its latest three-part miniseries - Kamen Rider Jeanne & Kamen Rider Aguilera with Girls Remix.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Den-O Rod Form & Ax Form

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Den-O Rod Form & Ax Form 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: 9350 yen

When Bandai Tamashii Nations revealed that their first S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Den-O release would be a combination of both Sword and Gun Forms, it was immediately clear that a Rod and Ax Form figure would eventually follow. But Bandai being Bandai they certainly took their sweet time on this, and nearly two years and multiple other Den-O releases later S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider Den-O Rod Form & Ax Form finally made its long-awaited debut. Unlike the other half of Den-O's core forms this was a Tamashii web exclusive release and coincided with a second release of Kamen Rider Den-O Plat Form figure – reworked to be compatible with the Rod/Ax parts much like the original was with the Sword/Gun parts.

Monday 12 September 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers x GI Joe Megatron H.I.S.S. Tank & Baroness

Transformers x GI Joe Megatron H.I.S.S. Tank & Baroness 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $89.99/£89.99

Hasbro have been doing a lot of interesting Transformers Collaborative releases over the past few years – from the X-Men franchise to movies like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and even Top Gun. However there's one collaborative effort that they had never delved into properly before, which is strange given that it's one that's right at home for them. Given the overwhelming popularity of both franchises as well as the number of crossovers they've had in comics and other expanded media, the combination of GI Joe and Transformers should be obvious. While there have been various event exclusives and odd releases that have crossed over the two, for some reason a fully functioning GI Joe or Cobra Transformers figure has never been a reality – until now. At long last, these two titans of Hasbro toys meet in the Transformers x GI Joe Megatron H.I.S.S. Tank and Baroness set – combining a new spin on the Deception leader with Cobra's first lady of terrorism.

Friday 9 September 2022

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Stronger

Kamen Rider Stronger

Following on from Kamen Rider Amazon, Shoraro Ishinomori and Toei producer Tohru Hirayama were unsure where to go next with the Kamen Rider franchise. While initially he presented the idea of a "Five Riders" series, production studio Mainichi Broadcasting were firm in the stance that "there should be only one hero" (this concept instead became the foundation of Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, and in turn the Super Sentai franchise). So instead they looked toward a more back to basics approach, and in April 1975 Kamen Rider Stronger burst onto Japanese television screens. However while the origins of Stronger were certainly more in line with the traditional Kamen Rider template, there was one fundamental difference – the addition of female sidekick, conceived after Hirayama and Ishinomori received fan letters from young girls who wanted a hero they could pretend to be when playing Kamen Rider with other boys. Though originally proposed to run for a full 52 episodes, low audience ratings resulted in it being cut short at 39 and at the time Stronger was considered to be the end of the Kamen Rider series.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

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

Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' White Ranger 01

Release Date: July 2022
RRP: $27.99/£26.99

Another team in the Power Rangers Lightning Collection comes to completion, although admittedly it is one that has already been completed a few times over already. Fans of the divisive Mighty Morphin Power Rangers season three power up rejoice as the Lightning Collection Mighty Morphin 'Metallic' White Ranger arrives to complete the original team of Power Rangers in metallic armour form. Like the rest of the team, leader Tommy Oliver is an exclusive release to Hasbro Pulse (where available).

Monday 5 September 2022

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Geats

Kamen Rider Geats

With the 50th anniversary series over and done with its time to look to the future of Kamen Rider once again, as the franchise launches its fourth entry in the Reiwa era and 33rd series overall. Its name – Kamen Rider Geats. Returning once again to pen the series is Yuya Takahashi, who previously worked as the head-writer on both Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and Kamen Rider Zero-One. So without further ado, let's dive into the first episode and see just what this much-anticipated instalment in the long-running franchise has to offer.

"This game – The winner in the end is me!"

Thursday 1 September 2022

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Revice

Kamen Rider Revice

On April 3rd 1971 Toei launched a brand new tokusatsu superhero series from manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori, and a legend was born. Fast forward 50 years later and the Kamen Rider franchise is still running strong, celebrating this momentous anniversary with the third instalment in its Reiwa Era run (and 32nd series overall) – Kamen Rider Revice. Introducing a two-Rider duo that together make up the titular hero, the series was written by franchise newcomer Hanta Kinoshita. Though the series commemorates 50 years of Kamen Rider, Revice is very much its own show and not an "anniversary special" in the same vein as Decade or Zi-O.