Friday 29 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Huntress (Batman: Hush Ver.)

MAFEX Huntress (Batman: Hush Ver.) 01

Release Date: March 2023
RRP: 9680 yen

When it comes to high-end comic inspired action figures, Medicom are truly leading the way at the moment with the MAFEX line. Not only have they produced an expansive range of both Marvel and DC Comics figures over the past few years, but they're also taking some surprisingly deep dives into specific stories as well. Among these has been 2002's Batman: Hush, which has now found its cast further expanded with the release of MAFEX Huntress (Batman: Hush Ver.). The story marks the debut of this version of Huntress' costume, and while it would continue to evolve over the years this is the one that future variants have repeatedly drawn inspiration from.

Thursday 28 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts The Amazing Spider-Man

S.H. Figuarts The Amazing Spider-Man 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 7700 yen

They say good things often come in threes, and when it comes to Spider-Man you can't really beat getting all three modern movie Spideys together in Spider-Man: No Way Home. So of course Bandai Tamashii Nations (along with several other toy companies) are going to capitalise on that for the S.H. Figuarts line, and the trifecta is now complete with the release of S.H. Figuarts The Amazing Spider-Man! Despite being the last of the three to be released, Andrew Garfield's version of the web-slinger was actually meant to was actually meant to come a few months earlier - with a rare case of production problems not only leading to delays but also last minute changes. Like both the Friendly Neighborhood and Integrated Suit -Final Battle Edition- figures, the Amazing Spider-Man was released as a Tamashii web exclusive.

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Riderman

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Riderman 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 8800 yen

Bandai Tamashii Nations draws one step closer to reimagining the original seven Kamen Riders in "true bone carving" style with the release of S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Riderman! Following swiftly on from Kamen Rider V3 at the end of last year, Riderman is the fifth of the seven to be released in the line – with X and Stronger unveiled at previous events but yet to be solicited. Once a Destron scientist, Joji Yuki donned the mantle of Riderman and vowed revenge on the evil organisation after they turned against him. Curiously Riderman comes as a Tamashii web exclusive which seems a little odd for such a popular/iconic character, but given that the same happened to V3 it's likely that this might just be the fate of all Showa era Riders going forward.

Monday 25 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Integrated Suit) -Final Battle Edition-

S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Integrated Suit) -Final Battle Edition- 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 9350 yen

Even though S.H. Figuarts is a collector-orientated line first and foremost, Bandai Tamashii Nations certainly aren't opposed to getting things out in the name of timeliness either. This is particularly true for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years, with figures often being released to coincide with the films rather than some months later. The unfortunate result of working off of concept art (rather than the finished product) however is that sometimes these figures will get details wrong, which means Bandai end up releasing a better version those few months later anyway. This is true of the lengthily titled S.H. Figuarts Spider-Man (Integrated Suit) -Final Battle Edition-, the second of Spider-Man: No Way Home's three Spideys to be released as a Tamashii web exclusive. Following some technical issues with the Amazing Spider-Man, Peter 1 was pushed back from his original March release date to May – which is a pretty appropriate month to release a Spider-Man figure when you think about it.

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser

S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 9900 yen

While modern Ultraman series tend not to see an extensive amount of releases in the S.H. Figuarts line, one thing that can be said about Bandai Tamashii Nations is that they do make sure the essentials are all covered. This doesn't just mean alternate forms either, because Ultraman always needs at least one other character to partner with or face up against. And in the S.H. Figuarts Terraphaser, Ultraman Decker rather conveniently has both. The second Figuarts release from Ultraman Decker and its first Tamashii web exclusive, the Terraphaser is a giant robot created by the TPU to assist GUTS-Select in battle against both rampaging kaiju and the Sphere. However in reality it's true purpose was to be a super weapon created by Agams - an alien who had travelled back in time to enact his revenge against humanity for bringing their conflict against the Sphere to his planet. 

Friday 8 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Shokugan Modeling Project Daidenjin

SMP Daidenjin 01

Release Date: December 2022
RRP: 6600 yen

One of the great joys about the Shokugan Modeling Project (the line formerly known as Super Mini-Pla) is that it's producing it's fair share of classic Super Sentai mecha in addition to just the post-Zyuranger ones that most of the world is more familiar with. For example, immediately after going all-out with Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger it jumped a further 21 years back in time to visit a different landmark Sentai series - 1980's Denshi Sentai Denjiman. The fourth instalment in the franchise, this was the second to be co-produced with Marvel Comics and the only series to receive a direct sequel in the form of the succeeding show Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan. Shokugan Modeling Project Daidenjin is the first of two SMP releases from Denjiman, the second Super Sentai series its covered since its rebranding.

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos

S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 7150 yen

Although we get a new Ultraman every year simply through the mainline series, it didn't make one being introduced through the ongoing Ultra Galaxy Fight web series any less exciting. After being teased at the end of The Absolute Conspiracy, Ultraman Regulos made his full debut in The Destined Crossroad – a space martial artist with a history with Ultraman Leo and Astra, as well as a rivalry with the Absolutian Absolute Diavolo. This year's Ultraman Regulos prequel expanded on his origins further, revealing him as an amnesiac Ultra who trained in the Cosmo Beast Style martial arts. It seems as though Tsuburaya Productions have some big plans for him, which is all the more reason why S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Regulos has joined the Ultraman range as one of its latest Tamashii web exclusive releases.

Monday 4 September 2023

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Gotchard

Kamen Rider Gotchard

If there's one way to make a franchise surrounded by collectible toy lines somehow even more collectible, it's to add trading cards. Between randomly assorted booster packs, rarities and art variants, Kamen Rider collectors are in for an expensive year because this is the direction franchise has gone in with its fifth Reiwa era series (and 34th overall) Kamen Rider Gotchard. Replacing Kamen Rider Geats alongside Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger in the current Super Hero Time line-up, the series will be co-written by Keiichi Hasagawa and Hiroki Uchida – both of whom have served as regular writers for both Kamen Rider and Ultraman.

Saturday 2 September 2023

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Geats

Kamen Rider Geats

As the Kamen Rider franchise continues to confidently move forward into the Reiwa era, there are certain commonalities between the most recent shows that could now be considered as franchise staples. As well as the more obvious prominence of one or more female Rider, the number of Kamen Riders in general per show seems to have increased exponentially - with the most recently completed series boasting the largest number of all. Kamen Rider Geats is the 37th show in the overall franchise, following on from Kamen Rider Revice as the fourth entry in the Reiwa era. Written by Kamen Rider veteran Yuya Takahashi (of Ex-Aid and Zero-One fame), Geats draws inspiration from the current popularity of survival games - from the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends to Kaiji and even Squid Game, to create an all-new spin on the "Kamen Rider Battle Royale" - a concept first introduced in Kamen Rider Ryuki all the way back in 2002.