Friday 31 May 2024

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gotchard Steamhopper

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gotchard Steamhopper 01

Release Date: February 2024
RRP: 7700 yen

Just when Bandai Tamashii Nations have settled into a predictable pattern with their releases, they'll go ahead and throw a curveball into the mix. For nearly a decade now the titular heroes from the latest Kamen Rider series have been what collectors would consider an "entry point" release – one with a cheaper price point and minimal accessories, so they can encourage collectors to purchase further figures that come with additional accessories for this one. In recent years they've become a little more generous with the accessories, but the prices have remained low. The same can't be said for S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gotchard thought, who arrives as what one would argue as a more conventional retail release. That said, you only have to take one look at the figure to see that there's a good reason for this.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Phase Variation Batta-Augs

S.H. Figuarts Phase Variation Batta-Augs 01

Release Date: March 2024
RRP: 8250 yen

When producing a remake of the original Kamen Rider series there are usually some essentials that have to be hit, and one of those is the concept of the Shocker Rider. These mass-produced versions of the titular hero are Shocker agents that successfully underwent brainwashing, originally appearing in episode 92 of the series as well as the original manga. The Shocker Riders were also featured in both the Kamen Rider Spirits manga and 2007's Kamen Rider: The Next. For 2023's Shin Kamen Rider they were slightly reimagined again as the Phase Variation Batta Augments, 11 mass-produced warriors created by Ichiro Midorikawa to take down the Double Riders. Bandai Tamashii Nations have continued to expand their Shin Kamen Rider range with the release of the Tamashii web exclusive S.H. Figuarts Phase Variation Batta-Augs, their seventh figure from the film.

Thursday 23 May 2024

Movie REVIEW: Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger vs Kyoryuger

Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger vs Kyoryuger

In 2013 Super Sentai revisited dinosaurs for a third time, and the result remains one of the most popular instalments in the franchise to this day. Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger was a massive hit, to the point where South Korea even produced its own non-canon spin-off/sequel (which was in turn dubbed in Japan). As such there was no way its tenth anniversary was going to go uncelebrated, and in true Kyoryuger style a reunion movie simply wasn't going to be enough. Instead Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger hosted a two-part crossover, where the stories of the two series were intertwined in a way rarely seen in Super Sentai. Again that wasn't enough though, and so their story continues into Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger vs Kyoryuger. The film was released in early 2024 as a special King-Ohger VS Series double-bill alongside Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger vs Donbrothers.

Monday 20 May 2024

Movie REVIEW: Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger vs Donbrothers

Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger vs Donbrothers

Just after Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger threw out all expectations of what to expect from a Super Sentai series, it seems to be doing similar things with its epilogue content as well. Not just content with having one entry added into the long running VS Series of films, 2024 saw a King-Ohger double bill spectacular as they crossover over with TWO previous teams of heroes. Given their previous in-series crossover, the close story links made between the two series and Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger's 10th anniversary celebrations a proper King-Ohger vs Kyoryuger film felt inevitable, but it just wouldn't be the same without some mayhem from King-Ohger's predecessor as well. So to that end we also have Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger vs Donbrothers - bringing together the casts of both King-Ohger and Avataro Sentai Donbrothers for an adventure that will surely be anything but conventional.

Friday 17 May 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Shokugan Modeling Project Dairenoh

Shokugan Modeling Project Dairenoh 01

Release Date: August 2023
RRP: 7920 yen

After a rather expansive run with their Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger assortment, Bandai move back to the 90s for another fan-favourite Super Sentai series in the Shokugan Modeling Project line. This time we're journeying back to 1993 with Gosei Sentai Dairanger - the 17th entry in the franchise and the basis for the mecha (as well as the White Ranger) in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' second season. Though a much smaller selection of mecha compared to Gaoranger, Dairanger's Mythical Qi Beasts continue to be among one of the most popular mecha designs in Super Sentai and a highlight of the amazing streak the franchise had in the 90s. Naturally the first release in the assortment is Shokugan Modeling Project Dairenoh, the core robot from the series. In Power Rangers this appeared as the Thunder Megazord following the destruction of the original dino Megazord.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Series REVIEW: Dogengers Metropolis

Dogengers Metropolis

If there was every any proof on just how much Japan loves its superheroes, you don't need to look much further than just how much the Dogengers series has grown since it began back in 2020. What started out as a fun little series about the local heroes (and villains) of Fukuoka has continued to expand across multiple seasons, each showcasing brand new heroes alongside its roster of established favourites. It certainly shows no signs of stopping any time soon as well, returning for a further 12 episodes of hijinks in 2023 with its fourth series Dogengers Metropolis. Continuing to spice up the format a little from previous entries, this entry pays tribute to Japan's long-standing love of police-themed heroes as it follows the newest member of the team - Special Duty Police Hyakutoban!

Thursday 9 May 2024

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider Super-1

Kamen Rider Super-1

When the viewing figures for Kamen Rider 1979 weren't as high as hoped, a number of options to retool the series were considered. Among them was the introduction of "Kamen Rider V9", a space-themed hero that could either support Skyrider or even take over from him entirely. But Manichi Broadcasting seemed hesitant to the idea, and as ratings steadily improved these plans were shelved - but not forgotten about entirely. Instead Kamen Rider V9 was reimagined as Kamen Rider Super-1, the next instalment in the franchise which ran for a total of 48 episodes between 1980 and 1981. Unlike previous entries, Super-1 would only meet the veteran Riders in the accompanying Kamen Rider Super-1: The Movie.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who "Ruins of Skaro" Collector Figure Set

Doctor Who "Ruins of Skaro" Collector Figure Set 01

Release Date: April 2024
RRP: £39.99

Although the B&M stores exclusive range has been doing a lot of the legwork for the Doctor Who figure range for some time now, in the last couple of years Character Options have also been making a big impression with their online exclusive releases as well. Released in more limited fashion with a (very slightly) higher price tag, these releases are an opportunity to get new figures with significantly new parts and tooling - something the B&M range for the most part lack. Character already kicked off the year with a bang by releasing the Fugitive Doctor and her TARDIS in this manner, but for their second online exclusive they're heading back to the classic era with the Ruins of Skaro Collector Figure set. This three-figure set based on Destiny of the Daleks reissues a much sought-after figure in the form of the bomb/suicide Dalek, complimenting it with two brand new ones of one of the greatest threats to the Dalek Empire - the Movellans.

Friday 3 May 2024

Special REVIEW: Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna THE FINAL

If there's any concrete proof that literally anything is on the table when comes to Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club specials, it's the fact that for some unbeknownst reason there's been not just one but FOUR Yodonna spin-off episodes. What it is about the Mashin Sentai Kiramager villainess that warrants such bizarre adult-aimed specials isn't exactly clear (though it doesn't take much to guess), but whatever it is it clearly proved popular enough for them to continue into 2024. That said, as its name suggests Mashin Sentai Kiramager Spin-Off: Yodonna THE FINAL is set to be the last in the series – rounding off her new life on Earth having now learned about human emotions.

Thursday 2 May 2024

Movie REVIEW: Kamen Rider The Winter Movie: Gotchard & Geats Strongest Chemy★Great Gotcha Operation

Kamen Rider The Winter Movie: Gotchard & Geats Strongest Chemy★Great Gotcha Operation

The annual Winter crossover movie has been such a staple of the Kamen Rider franchise over the last decade or so that it's now moving well beyond the usual Movie War tagline and incorporating it directly into the film's branding. The casts of Kamen Rider Geats and Kamen Rider Gotchard come together in the rather lengthily titled Kamen Rider The Winter Movie: Gotchard & Geats Strongest Chemy★Great Gotcha Operation - the 14th entry in this series of team-up films. Though written by Gotchard co-head writer Hiroki Uchida, this was with supervision from Geats head writer Yuya Takahashi so that the film would feel true to both series. Directed by Kyohei Yamaguchi (who has worked on nearly every Kamen Rider series since Gaim), it also features guest voice appearances from voice actress/singer Rie Takahashi as well as VTuber Shirakami Fubuki.