Wednesday 27 March 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series R5-D4

Star Wars Black Series R5-D4 01

Release Date: December 2023
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

Of all of the things to happen on The Mandalorian purely in the name of fan service, the droid that Luke Skywalker almost bought instead of R2-D2 becoming Din Djarin's personal astromech has to be one of the wildest. But that's exactly what happened in the show's third season, with R5-D4 finally leaving Tatooine after so many years (and several previous cameos on the show) to join the Mandalorian and Grogu on their adventures. His prominence on the show has naturally also resulted in a flurry of new figures, among them of course being a brand new Black Series R5-D4 release.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX The Mandalorian Ver. 2.0

MAFEX The Mandalorian Ver. 2.0 01

Release Date: February 2024
RRP: 10780 yen

The six-inch Star Wars action figure market has become rather competitive in recent years, particularly when it comes to the most popular characters. While Hasbro will always rule to roost in terms of range with the Black Series, both Bandai's S.H. Figuarts and Medicom's MAFEX lines have become quite the rivals in regards to higher-end alternatives. Multiple seasons also mean multiple renditions of characters, and now Medicom are back with their MAFEX The Mandalorian Ver 2.0 figure. After their initial Mandalorian release back in 2021, this new version of Din Djarin takes inspiration from the second season of The Mandalorian with modifications, improvements and a tonne of new accessories.

Friday 15 March 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Krrsantan

Black Series Krrsantan 01

Release Date: September 2023
RRP: $33.99/£33.99

While the recent string of Star Wars television series has seen a number of popular characters from Clone Wars and Rebels make the jump from animation to live-action (and in the case of Fennec Shand, the reverse), this isn't the only place they've been drawing inspiration from. The Book of Boba Fett also saw a popular Marvel Comics character make his live-action debut, namely the Wookie bounty hunter Black Krrsantan. After working alongside the likes of Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra during the time of the Empire, in Book of Boba Fett Krrsantan is hired the Twins to reclaim Jabba's territory. After a failed assassination attempt on the new Daimyo, Krrsantan joins Boba in his fight against the Pyke Syndicate. A much-anticipated release for the line, Black Series Krrsantan joins the range as a deluxe-sized release.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series Emperor's Royal Guard

Black Series Emperor's Royal Guard 01

Release Date: June 2017 (Original), August 2023 (Reissue)
RRP: $24.99/£24.99

While the Star Wars universe is constantly growing with new characters to be made into action figures every day, the old favourites will always return one way or another. This rings especially true for anything that can be considered an army builder, so the Galactic Empire will rarely be short of new recruits. In celebration of Return of the Jedi's 40th anniversary in 2023 Hasbro reissued a number of Black Series figures in new packaging, and among them was the Black Series Emperor's Royal Guard. Reputedly the most skilled soldiers in the Empire, they acted as the personal bodyguard to Emperor Palpatine himself.

Friday 8 March 2024

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Type 23 Special Tactical Armored Kaiju Earth Garon

S.H. Figuarts Earth Garon 01

Release Date: December 2023
RRP: 9900 yen

Ultraman Blazar took something of a "back to basics" approach when it came to its titular hero, and one aspect of that was a heavy reduction in the number of alternate forms he has. While from a show perspective this was definitely a breath of fresh air, it does of course leave Bandai with a lot less options when it comes to toys. Luckily to balance this Blazar also featured a companion mecha - something that has become a staple in the past few years of Ultraman. So this means instead of multiple Blazar we instead have a much quicker release for S.H. Figuarts Earth Garon, the second Figuarts release from the series and the first support mecha to be a retail release.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

First Impressions: Bakuage Sentai Boonboomger

Bakuage Sentai Boonboomger

Having proved to be a guaranteed hit in the past, there are some themes that Super Sentai will always revisit every few years. Dinosaurs and ninjas are two of the most obvious ones, along with the subject of 2024's entry into the franchise - vehicles. After trying some new things last year with Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger, Super Sentai looks to be moving back into its comfort zone with its 48th series Bakuage Sentai Boonboomger. Newcomer to the franchise Atsuhiro Tomioka joins as its head writer, with Shojiro Nakazawa (who has worked on a number of Super Sentai series since Timeranger) as director. Following their work on King-Ohger, Jun Watanabe and Hiroshi Butsuda also return as action director and SFX director respectively. 

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Series REVIEW: Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger

Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger

Over the last few years the Super Sentai franchise seems to have entered a period of experimentation in the run up to its 50th anniversary - discarding some of the usual tropes it's maintained for decades in favour of fresh ideas that still don't feel too far removed from what the franchise is known for. This experimentation continued on into its 47th entry Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger, with the series not only mixing things up in terms of visuals and story-telling but also adopting an insect motif - something fans have wanted to see Super Sentai tackle for some time. The series was written by Minato Takano in his debut for the franchise (having previously written supplementary material for both Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and Kamen Rider Zero-One), with Kazuya KamihoriuchiJun Watanabe (who has worked as a suit actor on a number of Super Sentai productions) and Hiroshi Butsuda acting as director, action director and SFX director respectively.