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SODO Sundays – December 8th, 2019

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today, more Zero-One and a tease of what’s to come!

Kamen Rider Zero-One

The final figures for AI-03 has been revealed. Kamen Rider Jin will be final of the main five Riders to show up in the SODO line. Like Horobi this figure will come with the Atache Arrow as well as wing effect parts. He is also painted just as nicely as Kamen Rider Horobi was.

Kamen Rider Zero-One’s newest form, Shining Hopper will be joining the line! He like the other figures in the line so far this year will feature a lot of paint detailing on him rather than stickers for a lot of the yellow lines around the suit.

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AI-04 has also revealed its first figure as Kamen Rider Vulcan’s Assault Wolf form. This figure will be coming with the Authorize Buster in its gun mode.

Kamen Rider Ikazuchi was teased with the Dodo Sword as SODO is working on fitting this surprise Rider into their release schedule.

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Kamen Rider Build

Kamen Rider Metal Build was teased to be joining the SODO line at some point in the future. Being the final Build figure for them to do as the main villain of the Grease V-Cinema.

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Kamen Rider OOO

A Premium Bandai SODO Chronicle OOO Movie Set is on the way! This set will come with the 3 Combos of OOO seen in his different movies. This includes Tamashii Combo, Burakawani Combo, and Super TaToBa Combo. Also included are the special effect pieces for Tajadol, Shauta, and Pyutotyra. The Purple Eyed Taka head is also included.

On the next SODO Sundays, the latest Rider series to get the SODO Chronicle treatment will be revealed!

As always, you can watch SODO Sundays Season 3, Episode 7 here:

That’s it for this edition of SODO Sundays Season 3! Stay tuned for the next edition on both Toku Toy Store News and YouTube channel.

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Inside ‘The Henshin: Complete Selection Modification Exhibition’

This week, in Japan’s Akibahara district, Bandai Japan held an exhibition to commemorate their line of adult collectable henshin belts and accessories, Complete Selection Modification. In addition to a near comprehensive selection of CSM releases, the exhibition also introduced the concept of “the future of transformation belts”, a special exhibition of “future transformation belt toys,” giving attendees a glimpse into the future plans of Bandai’s toy division.

On their official website, Bandai provided this description of the exhibition:

The CSM series has been developed since 2013 as a complete toy series for adults. From the 1st release “Double Driver” to the 24th “Amazons Driver” will be displayed together with the world view of the work, and a reference exhibition of a new lineup will also be held. In addition, the latest CSM work that will be announced at the eve of December 6th will also be exhibited at the fastest.

As we announced on our Facebook page last night, the “latest CSM work” announcement they are referencing was for the Complete Selection Modification Kivat and Tatsulot devices from Kamen Rider Kiva. As promised, these items were on display in the exhibition too.

Thanks to one of our customers and supporters, Drew Hurley, we are able to provide you with a gallery of images from inside the exhibition. We’d like to express our supreme gratitude to Drew for sharing his images with us.

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Gallery: TAG – Motion-Tech Thunderbird 1

2015 saw the return of the Tracy Brothers to our screens and 2019 sees the return of their toys to our shelves thanks to new license holder – Bandai!

Check out the details on their new entry line – the Motion-Tech series!

Thunderbird 1 is the first responder to many disaster zones and is piloted by Scott Tracy. The 2015 redesign doesn’t do much to improve on the original and the toy reflects that, looking iconic, dynamic, and other words ending in ‘ic’!

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A full review of the TAG Motion-Tech Series Thunderbird 1 by Mint in Box Reviews can be viewed here:

This vehicle, as well as other Thunderbirds Are Go toys, are available from Toku Toy Store! Stay tuned for further Thunderbirds Are Go reviews and galleries!

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Gallery: Rider Kicks Figure Series – Kamen Rider Zero-One

The Rider Kicks Figure series continues into a bold new era with it’s budget gimmick figures. To celebrate the coming of the Reiwa Era, here’s a look at the first Kamen Rider of this new age; Kamen Rider Zero-One!

Aruto Hiden (飛電或人) would-be comedian and heir to Hiden Intelligence, inherits his grandfather’s company and must fight to save the good name of his family and the reputation of the AI-based life forms they produce. To fight the malignant force of MetsubouJinrai.net (滅亡迅雷.net), he must fight as Kamen Rider Zero-One (仮面ライダーゼロワン)!

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A full review of the RKF Series: Kamen Rider Zero-One by Mint in Box Reviews can be viewed here:

This figure, as well as other Rider Kicks Figures, are available from Toku Toy Store! Stay tuned for further Rider Kicks Figure reviews and galleries!

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The Toys That Made Us: Power Rangers Episode Review

The following is a joint review by The Jez Show and Toku Toy Store.
Visit The Jez Show for reviews, podcasts, videos and more!

The Toys That Made Us made its long awaited return to Netflix this past week with four new episodes for toy collectors and enthusiasts everywhere to get their anti-static gloved paws on. For those unfamiliar, The Toys That Made Us documents the history of important and popular toy lines. Its first two seasons profiled such giants as LEGO, Star Wars, Transformers and Barbie, to name a few. This third batch of episodes, which had been in development since July of 2018, featured My Little Pony, Professional Wrestling, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. While labelled with the full title of the Power Ranger franchise’s debut offering, the episode itself covered far more of the precursors and successors to Mighty Morphin than many expected.

The Ranger Story

Following a colourful introduction to the franchise for anybody not acquainted with Power Rangers, we are taken back to mid 20th century Japan for a look at the origins of the tokusatsu, or toku, genre. Tokusatsu, best translate as special filming, is the name of the genre in which shows like Power Rangers got their start and sit within today. The popularity of Godzilla in Japan brought rise to decades of rubber monster based, kick you in the face style content, popularised by production studio, Toei, and God-tier manga artist, Shotaro Ishinomori. It was through Ishinomori’s involvement that Kamen Rider, a superhero show about a transforming hero, was born and with any good children’s programme of course comes a line of toys. Toei partnered with a company called Bandai to produce their toys, beginning a legacy of toku toy production that lives to this day. The problem with Ishinomori’s Kamen Rider, as popular as it was, was that only having one solitary hero limits the ability to sell massive chunks of toys! To that end, the people at Toei Company put their heads together and came up with the Super Sentai series: a squad of colour-clad heroes that work in a team to thwart evil.

While referencing Ishinomori as the Japanese Stan Lee, The Toys That Made Us shifts focus to the actual Stan Lee who, little do the majority of Marvel fans know, was nearly the man responsible for bringing Super Sentai to the West. Lee worked with Toei in the late 1970s to produce スパイダーマン, romanised as Supaidaman, or just… Spider-Man. It was during his time in Japan that Stan fell in love with Super Sentai and so attempted to bring the fifth Sentai, Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan to America. Stan Lee’s attempt ultimately failed but not before passing his Sentai passions on to Marvel CEO Margaret Loesch, who didn’t understand why the television networks weren’t on board with the idea.

The years go by, enter Haim Saban. Saban, as enamoured with Super Sentai as Stan Lee, had the idea to splice the original Japanese fight footage and intermix original recordings of American actors to create a new show. Sounds like a winning idea, right? And it was, or is, or would be… but it would take over 8 years for Haim Saban to convince anyone of that fact. Enter Margaret Loesch who, since attempt #1, had moved from Marvel to FOX and was able to use her superpowers as Head of Children’s Programming to greenlight the project. Bada-bing, bada-boom, Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger becomes Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and a legend is born.

The Toys They Made For Us

With the Power Rangers coming to television, there was just one other little thing to have produced… toys! It is at this stage of the documentary where we really get to know some of the major players that were responsible for bringing us monsters, Megazords and (Auto) Morphin’ figures The most notable of these were Tsuyoshi Nonaka – world renowned tokusatsu toy designer – and Trish Stewart – Director of Marketing for Bandai America – who alongside Peter Dang – VP of Marketing for Bandai America – not only took responsibility for branding, marketing and distributing the Power Rangers toyline, but also came up with the names Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Zords in the first place. Cheers, Trish & Pete!

Those toys that Bandai America designed and produced repackaged from Japan really took off; took off the the point that there were periods in which the shelves of giant toy conglomerates like Toys R Us (R.I.P.) were completely empty! I myself remember these days well. While my parents somehow managed to find me a Megazords and Dragonzords for birthdays and Chrismasses, there were mass sectors of the toyline, like the Power Morpher and Dragon Dagger, that I simply never saw in stores. I really wanted that frickin’ Dragon Dagger.

Refresh, reinvent, resell toys

Of course, the Zyuranger footage wasn’t going to last forever and the next stage of the documentary details the way that Power Rangers reinvents itself every year – new actors, new suits, new mecha (that’s giant robots, or zords) and, most importantly, a whole new toyline. The magic of Power Rangers from a corporate point of view is that you can sell a whole mess of toys to a kid one year and the following year you can sell that same kid a whole other mess. It’s genius and torture all at the same time, depending on who you are.

It wasn’t just the show itself that underwent a refresh, the franchise itself underwent an upheaval of its own with moves from Saban to Disney, back to Saban, and now to Hasbro. The Toys That Made Us make the Disney Era of Power Rangers sound like a vacuous, entertainment void black spot on the history of the product and heap a little too much praise on Bandai America for their Zord Builder system but all in all the close of the documentary gives us a nice little seat-of-your-pants speed review of the rest of Power Rangers history.

Editing Triumph

As with any episode of The Toys That Made Us, the stellar editing work conducted by its production team carried the humour of the episode. Each episode of TTTMU utilises a repetition of a handful of words or phrases spoken by interviewees to drive forward the historical narrative or ground things when the subject matter gets a little too deep – we should be reminded that we’re talking about toys, at the end of the day. Such repeated moments in this episode include the reminder that Bandai USA’s top selling, highest quality product prior to Power Rangers was their line of sidewalk chalk, using the word henshin wherever someone might say transform, and the continual referencing of American audiences as “kids!” These are the unique and quirky things that make The Toys That Made Us the charming travel through toy history that it is. Never change.

Unless you wanted to make more episodes faster… we’d be cool with that.

The Verdict

When this programme first launched on Netflix in December 2017, I hoped and dreamed for the day that they would produce a Power Rangers episode. There was a fear that they would make a mess of it – as most outsiders to tokusatsu tend to when they step into that world and try to produce content sight unseen – but nothing could be further from the truth. Just as the He-Man, Barbie and Hello Kitty episodes had done for me, I fully expect the Power Rangers episode to have given the casual viewer an accurate, care-filled depiction of the franchise that millions of us love. Likewise, while I personally didn’t learn anything new from the episode, the way that the TTTMU team laid out all of the history of Power Rangers, even referencing Kamen Rider and the Godaikin toyline, is a welcome to any hardcore fan.

Stellar work, The Toys That Made Us! You looked after our fandom and we love you.

What did you think of the Power Rangers episode of The Toys That Made Us? How did you think it compared to other episodes in the series? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook pages, The Jez Show and Toku Toy Store, on Twitter @thejezshow and @tokutoystore, or in the comment section below!

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SODO Sundays – November 17th, 2019

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today, more Zero-One to start AI-03 and the next SHODO set!

Kamen Rider Zero-One

The first two figures for AI-O3 (December release) have been revealed! First up is Kamen Rider Valkyrie in her Lightning Hornet form. This figure will also come with the Attache Shotgun for her or Kamen Rider Vulcan to use. Continuing in the trend of Zero-One SODO being well painted there is not a ton of sticker work to be done with this figure either.

Kamen Rider Horobi is next up in this set. To limit stickers on the legs not looking good the decision was made to just paint the entire legs as well as the chest and most of the head so this figure really doesn’t have many stickers at all! He comes with the Attache Arrow weapon too.

SHODO-X Set 8

The next Set in the SHODO-X line will be out in March 2020 and the lineup has been revealed. Kamen Rider Stronger will be in this set along with his Charge-Up powered up form and his bike the Kabutolaw.

Kamen Rider Blade will be the big highlight in this set though. He comes with his Blade Rouzer and effect parts for card-holding hands and effects for the cards used in his Rider Kick finisher.

As always, you can watch SODO Sundays Season 3, Episode 6 here:

That’s it for this edition of SODO Sundays Season 3! Stay tuned for the next edition on both Toku Toy Store News and YouTube channel.

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SODO Sundays – November 3rd, 2019

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today, more Zero-One to finish off AI-02!

Kamen Rider Zero-One

The final two figures for AI-02 have been revealed! SODO’s first female Rider since Ex-Aid’s Kamen Rider Poppy will be Kamen Rider Valkyrie in her Rushing Cheetah form. This figure is a female mold of the Vulcan body and will come with the same Shotriser accessories. The stickers on this figure will mainly be used to fill in the black details on the shoulder pads and other areas of the cheetah armor.

The last figure in the wave will make AI-02 the largest SODO set to date with 9 boxes. This figure is Zero-One’s Freezing Bear form. This form also features the first time SODO will have a pre-applied sticker on its head and have special transparent plastic parts to replicate the effect from the show.

AI-02 releases at the end November with Zero-One Flaming Tiger and Freezing Bear, Vulcan- Punshing Kong, Valkyrie- Rushing Cheetah, and Grease- Perfect Kingdom.

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As always, you can watch SODO Sundays Season 3, Episode 5 here:

That’s it for this edition of SODO Sundays Season 3! Stay tuned for the next edition on both Toku Toy Store News and YouTube channel.

 

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Gallery: Rider Kicks Figure Series – Kamen Rider Lazer Turbo

The Rider Kicks Figure series is latest in a long line of budget gimmick figures. This year’s line of Legendary Riders takes back to the long-lost past of 2016 with Kamen Rider Lazer Turbo.

Kiriya Kujo (九条 貴利矢), a medical examiner who transformed into a motorcycle, died at the hands of Kuroto Dan. He was later reborn with a new form and went on to join the CR as Kamen Rider Lazer Turbo (仮面ライダーレーザーターボ).

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A full review of the RKF Series: Kamen Rider Lazer Turbo by Mint in Box Reviews can be viewed here:

This figure, as well as other Rider Kicks Figures, are available from Toku Toy Store! Stay tuned for further Rider Kicks Figure reviews and galleries!</em

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SODO Sundays – October 13th, 2019

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today, more Zero-One and Build!?

Kamen Rider Zero-One

The first 3 figures for AI-02 have been revealed for Kamen Rider Zero-One. Zero-One’s Flaming Tiger is first up. This form, like all the others recently, has a lot of paint detail on it which makes it look really great even without stickers. Multiple hands are included as well.

Vulcan’s Punching Kong form is the next one up. This figure still allows for the Shot Riser to be held by the huge fists. The fists can also detach in order to recreate the finisher attack from the show.

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Kamen Rider Build

Grease Perfect Kingdom was shown off a couple of weeks ago without knowing how it would be released. This figure will be included in A1-02! AI-02 will be called SODO Kamen Rider Zero-One A1-02 featuring SODO Kamen Rider Build. Rare to see a series from two years ago still going on in the SODO line. Perfect Kingdom will come with two different ways for the figure to hold his trio’s dogtags.

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Kamen Rider OOO

We knew next year SODO Chronicle OOO Combo Change Set 2 would be out but now there are pictures for it. Shauta, Tajadol, and Pyutotyra Combos are the lineup for this set. Pyutotyra is able to combo change as well, an ability only being seen in a net movie before.

As always, you can watch SODO Sundays Season 3, Episode 4 here:

That’s it for this edition of SODO Sundays Season 3! Stay tuned for the next edition on both Toku Toy Store News and YouTube channel.

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Gallery: Rider Kicks Figure Series – Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge

The Rider Kicks Figure series is latest in a long line of budget gimmick figures. This year’s line of Legendary Riders takes us back to the long-lost past of 2017 with Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge!

The second form of Ryuga Banjou, Cross-Z Charge (クローズチャージ) utilises the Sclash Driver to keep pace with Kamen Rider Grease in the proxy wars of the mid-point of Kamen Rider Build.

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A full review of the RKF Series: Kamen Rider Cross-Z Charge by Mint in Box Reviews can be viewed here:

This figure, as well as other Rider Kicks Figures, are available from Toku Toy Store. Stay tuned for further Rider Kicks Figure reviews and galleries!