Tuesday 31 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2 (Shin Kamen Rider)

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2 (Shin Kamen Rider) 01

Release Date: August 2023
RRP: 8250 yen

As an abridged retelling of the original series, there was no way that Shin Kamen Rider was going to limit itself to just one Rider. As well as depicting Takeshi Hongo's transformation in to the masked hero, the film also introduces Hayato Ichimonji – who fans will know took the mantle following Hongo's departure and became Kamen Rider 2. Shin Kamen Rider plays things a little differently to the original series (and is far more in line with the manga version of the story), but nevertheless Ichimonji remains a vital component in the story. So while his status as a Tamashii web exclusive feels a little undeserved, nevertheless S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2 (Shin Kamen Rider) is an important addition to the line – completing yet another rendition of the legendary Double Riders.

Friday 27 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Masters of the Universe Masterverse 'He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021)' Skeletor

MOTU Masterverse CGI Skeletor 01

Release Date: August 2022
RRP: $23.99/£23.00

There were two new Masters of the Universe projects released on Netflix in 2021 - and the best one isn't the one that got all the publicity. Despite seeming like a radical departure from the He-Man we all know and love on first glance, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021) is a wonderful reimagining of the franchise with a great spin on the characters and lore. Its Skeletor, voiced by Benjamin Diskin, is a particular highlight - the perfect blend of comedy and menace that makes for a truly memorable villain. So when Mattel announced the series would be joining the Masterverse line-up I jumped at the chance to add him to my collection. Thanks to the line's woeful distribution in the UK Masters of the Universe Masterverse He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021) Skeletor took some time to get here, but better late than never.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Transformers Legacy Evolution Armada Universe Megatron

Transformers Legacy Armada Megatron 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: $54.99/£55.99

The Transformers Legacy line made quite the impact when it was revealed it would be featuring characters from across the franchise's 37-year history, and that doesn't look to be changing any time soon as the range moves into its second year with the Legacy Evolution line. After dipping its toes into Transformers: Armada with Starscream and Hot Shot, Hasbro are now moving onto to the big guns as both the Autobot and Decepticon leaders make their appearance. Transformers Legacy Evolution Armada Universe Megatron is an all-new mould and the first show-accurate remake the character has ever officially had, though he did receive a remoulded figure in 2015 as part of the Combiner Wars line.

Monday 23 October 2023

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider

Kamen Rider

In the midst of 1970 Toei TV were asked to create a brand new television series a brand new television series, with the popularity of wrestling manga-turned anime Tiger Mask as well as 1950s superhero Moonlight Mask cited in the creative process. Among those helping to bring this new work to life was writer Shotaro Ishinomori, who at the time was continuing to find success with his ongoing Cyborg 009 manga series. Among Ishinomori's proposals was the idea of a masked hero fighting against an evil organisation, and after several revisions Kamen Rider burst onto television screens on April 3rd 1971. Running for an incredible 98 episodes over the next two years, the show's immense popularity would not only lead to sequels but a franchise that continues on to this day. Not only is it a cornerstone of the 'Henshin Hero' genre, but also of the tokusatsu medium as it is known worldwide.

Friday 13 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Dok-Ondar

Star Wars Black Series Dok-Ondar 01

Release Date: July 2023
RRP: $44.99/£44.99

Galaxy's Edge is more than just a part of the Disney Parks, it's become a legitimate part of the Star Wars universe. In addition to the immersive experience of visiting Black Spire Outpost itself there has now been novels, comics and a whole lot of other back story as well. But part of what makes Galaxy's Edge so special are the characters that inhabit it, which is something Hasbro clearly recognised with their range of Black Series figures based on the park. Following favourites like Hondo Onaka and DJ R-3X, a perhaps lesser known but equally important character has now joined the line as a Disney Parks/Shop Disney exclusive. Dok-Ondar is the proprietor of Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities - a unique store that deals in various trinkets from across the galaxy. As a newly created character (as opposed to repurposed) for Galaxy's Edge, Black Series Dok-Ondar is perhaps the most interesting release from the range yet.

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Scarlet Spider (Comic Ver.)

MAFEX Scarlet Spider (Comic Ver.) 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 9680 yen

One has to admire Medicom's dedication to releasing as many different Spider-Man variants in the MAFEX line as possible. While on the one hand it is just them getting their money's worth out of the moulding/tooling, on the other it's delivered some fantastic versions of the wall-crawler so far. As such a MAFEX Scarlet Spider must have been on many fans' wish lists for some time and after the release of the Ben Reilly Spider-Man figure seemed inevitable, yet it still took another year and a half to become a reality. The 1990s are back once again with the star of the infamous Clone Saga, as the clone Peter Parker (renaming himself Ben Reilly) takes on this mantle after donning this makeshift costume.

Sunday 8 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: ACT MODE Maria Cadenzavna Eve

ACT MODE Maria Cadenzavna Eve 01

Release Date: May 2023
RRP: 9500 yen

It may only be a fraction of the size and popularity, but when it comes to the Symphogear franchise the ACT MODE line has Figma beat hands down. Not only did Good Smile Company deliver on all three of the original girls, but then they went the extra mile and released the later three heroines as well - starting with ACT MODE Maria Cadenzavna Eve. Initially an antagonist in Symphogear G alongside Kirika Akatsuki and Shirabe Tsukuyomi before becoming a protagonist for the rest of the series, Maria wields the Airgetlám relic and is a top ranking music idol - often collaborating with fellow Symphogear wielder Tsubasa Kazanari.

Friday 6 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Birth

S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Birth 01

Release Date: June 2023
RRP: 8800 yen

Since the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou line first ventured into the world of Kamen Rider OOO back in 2019 with Kamen Rider OOO TaToBa ComboBandai Tamashii Nations have done a great job at getting through the myriad of (interchangeable) forms the titular Rider has. That said one key figure from the series has been notably absent from the range for the past four years, and with the release of S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Birth we can finally welcome OOO's secondary Rider into the fold. Used by a number of people over the course of the series but primarily Akira Date and later Shintaro Goto, the Birth System was designed by Dr Maki as part of the Kougami Foundation's Medal System. Following the fate of most secondary Riders these days, Birth was released as a Tamashii web exclusive item.

Tuesday 3 October 2023

Series REVIEW: Power Rangers Cosmic Fury

Power Rangers Cosmic Fury

The Power Rangers franchise has been in an odd state of fluctuation a while now, what with its purchase by Hasbro in 2018 and more recently the move to Netflix and streaming-exclusive status. A reboot has been teased for years, but in the meantime the show as we know it has continue chugging along steadily – with both Beast Morphers and Dino Fury airing under Hasbro's leadership. Now the franchise marks its 30th anniversary with Power Rangers Cosmic Fury – a ten-episode miniseries and direct sequel to Dino Fury. Though it adapts Zord footage from Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, it features newly created suits and thus almost entirely comprised of originally filmed footage. It's also however possibly the end of Power Rangers as we know it, not only bringing the Dino Fury story to a close but potentially three decades of continuity as well.

(Due to this nature, please note that this Cosmic Fury review may contain more spoilers than usual!)

Sunday 1 October 2023

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Inquisitor (Fourth Sister)

Star Wars Black Series Inquisitor (Fourth Sister) 01

Release Date: July 2023
RRP: $24.99/£25.99

Inquisitors have been a big part of the Star Wars universe in recent years, particularly with the spotlight being thrust upon the "Dark Times" - the rule of the Galactic Empire between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. As well as bringing a number of characters from animation into live-action, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series also introduced some new Inquisitors into the mix - such as the Fourth Sister. Though a minor character at best, the Fourth Sister appeared in several scenes alongside Reva, the Fifth Brother and the Grand Inquisitor. She was at least considered important enough for Hasbro to produce an action figure of her, even if Black Series Inquisitor (Fourth Sister) makes it sound like her title is much more important than her name - none of the other Inquisitor figures were labelled like this.