Friday 30 June 2023

Miniseries REVIEW: Ultraman Regulos

Ultraman Regulos

Even among the pantheon of lesser-known Ultras brought to the table during Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad, Tsuburaya Productions still found the time to introduce fans to a brand-new Ultra hero as well – Ultraman Regulos. This martial arts-based Ultra debuted with very little backstory within the web series, but showed clear links to both Ultraman Leo and Astra as well as similarly new villain Absolute Diavolo. With Tsuburaya seemingly taking a break from the Ultras ongoing battle against the Absolutions in 2023, instead they're finally shining some light on this new hero with an Ultraman Regulos miniseries. Running for a total of six episodes, this web-series debuted on both the Tsuburaya YouTube channel and Ultraman Connection with both Japanese and English language audio (as well as a multitude of subtitle languages) – once again showing their dedication to spreading the word of Ultraman across the globe.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legacy Armada Universe Starscream

Transformers Legacy Armada Universe Starscream 01

Release Date: October 2022
RRP: $34.99/£32.99

After several years of War for Cybertron trilogy toys that were for the most part modern updates of the classic Generation One toys, the subsequent Legacy line is a breath of fresh air for fans of the wider Transformers universe. While this line continues to cover all those familiar G1 faces, it's also branched out into other areas of the franchise – including other cartoons and comic instalments. Among those is of course 2002's Transformers: Armada, and it didn't take long to get one of its most popular characters with Transformers Legacy Armada Universe Starscream. Unlike most versions of the treacherous Decepticon, this Starscream was fiercely loyal to Megatron only to have that loyalty rebuffed at every turn. After seeing how well Optimus Prime treated his team in comparison, Starscream briefly switched sides before returning to the Decepticon fold and eventually sacrificing his life so that Optimus and Megatron would join forces against Unicron.

Monday 26 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geats MagnumBoost Form

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geats MagnumBoost Form 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 4400 yen

Let the curtain rise on another Desire Grand Prix! It's that time again where S.H. Figuarts unveil a whole new series of Kamen Rider releases, and with a series as big as Kamen Rider Geats Bandai Tamashii Nations certainly aren't going to run out ideas any time soon. But the best place to start is always at the very beginning, and the release of a new titular Rider also brings about another Bandai tradition – the cheaper entry point figure. This year it's the turn of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geats MagnumBoost Form, giving fans an all-round version of Ace Ukiyo to kick things off sporting his two most commonly used Raise Buckles.

Saturday 24 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Live Bat Genome/Jackal Genome

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Live 01

Release Date: February 2023
RRP: 8250 yen

With S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Evil having been quickly rushed out the door for the Kamen Rider Revice range, it's been a surprisingly long wait for what many would consider to the the series' "true" secondary Rider. But nearly a year after S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Revi and Kamen Rider Vice hit shelves, the Igarashi siblings are finally complete with the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Live Bat Genome/Jackal Genome as a Tamashii web exclusive.

Thursday 22 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Revoltech Zurg (Toy Story)

Revoltech Emperor Zurg 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 11,880 yen

Even without appearing in the first Toy Story movie, the name "Emperor Zurg" immediately latched onto me. In amongst all the other fantastic things going on in the film I wanted to know more about Buzz Lightyear's sworn enemy, and when he finally appeared in Toy Story 2 I was not disappointed. That love continued on with the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command cartoon (where he was brilliantly voiced by Wayne Knight) and the Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin Disney Parks ride. Not so much 2022's Buzz Lightyear movie, but the less said about that the better. However despite this love I've never owned a good Zurg toy, so naturally Kaiyodo made my dreams come true when they announced Revoltech Zurg (Toy Story) would be joining Woody and Buzz as part of the Revoltech line. Despite releasing not too long after Buzz's solo movie, this figure is based on Zurg's original appearance as the sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance.

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Movie REVIEW: Avataro Sentai Donbrothers vs Zenkaiger

Avataro Sentai Donbrothers vs Zenkaiger

With Super Sentai being on a bit of a roll lately the annual crossover movies have become that little bit more exciting, and the combination of two shows which helped shake up that all-too-familiar template definitely felt like something to take note of. The 45th and 46th Super Sentai series clash in Avataro Sentai Donbrothers vs Zenkaiger, the 29th instalment in the long-running VS series. Head writers Junko Komura (Zenkaiger) and Toshiki Inoue (Donbrothers) both return to guide their respective series alongside director Katsuya Watanabe, with the film taking place following the conclusions of both shows.

Monday 19 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legacy Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection Robots in Disguise 2000 Universe Scourge

Transformers Legacy Velocitron RID Scourge 01

Release Date: August 2022
RRP: $55.99/£54.99

Transformers fans have developed the skills to immediately work out what figures are going to be retooled/repainted into what, so when it was announced that the Legacy line was going to be covering the various eras of the franchise AND that a new Generation 2 Laser Optimus Prime would be amongst the first selection of figures…it really didn't take long to work out what else would be coming eventually. As one of the most popular exports from the 2000 Robots in Disguise series (known as Car Robots over in Japan), Scourge is EXACTLY what most people from a Laser Prime mould. Fans didn't have to wait too long either, with Transformers Legacy Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection Robots in Disguise 2000 Universe Scourge arriving before the year was out. The Velocitron Speedia 500 Collection is a subset of Walmart-exclusive figures (also available via Hasbro Pulse), focusing on characters taking part in a race on the planet Velocitron from Transformers: Cybertron.

Sunday 18 June 2023

Toybox REVIEW: THE GATTAI Infinite Combining Gurren Dan Lagann

THE GATTAI Infinite Combining Gurren Dan Lagann 01

Release Date: December 2022
RRP: 24000 yen

2022 marked the 15th anniversary of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and as one might expect the popular Gainax series received plenty of new merchandise in celebration. While a lot of these announcements were certainly nothing to scoff at (a new transforming Riobot version from Sentinel, a long overdue articulated Kamina figure from BUZZmod), it was Good Smile Company that truly thought out of the box to mark the occasion. Teaming up with the production staff behind the series (including director Hiroyuki Imaishi) they came up with THE GATTAI Infinite Combining Gurren Dan Lagann – a brand new combination that incorporates nine mecha from Team Dai Gurren. Raw raw, fight the power.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Special REVIEW: Geats Extra: Kamen Rider PunkJack

Geats Extra: Kamen Rider PunkJack

Kamen Rider Geats is a series with a lot different Riders (and given there's still a few months of it left, potentially more to come), so when it comes to the various spin-offs Kamen Rider fans are treated to it makes sense to get a head start on covering the essentials. The first of the Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club's Geats-centric specials is Geats Extra: Kamen Rider PunkJack, which aims to fill in some additional information about the Desire Grand Prix as well as add some additional context behind the Rider's return in episode 35. The special consists of one 27-minute episode, and was announced alongside the forthcoming Geats Extra: Kamen Rider Tycoon meets Kamen Rider Shinobi.

Friday 2 June 2023

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider X

Kamen Rider X

Following the success of both the original Kamen Rider in 1971 and then Kamen Rider V3 in 1973, the series had easily reached franchise potential. As such a third series was put into production, with the 35-episode Kamen Rider X launching on 16th February 1974 - immediately after the conclusion of V3. With original conception once again from Kamen Rider creator Shotaro Ishinomori and a screenplay from writers such as Hideka Nagasaka (Android Kikaider and Kikaider 01) and Masaru Inoue (father of Toshiki Inoue and he himself a tokusatsu writing legend), Kamen Rider X sought to further expand the concept of Kamen Rider with new innovations, new characters and a new villainous organisation.