Posted on Leave a comment

Gallery: Rider Kicks Figure Series – Kamen Rider Grease

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 Grease!

Super-serious with otaku leanings, Kazumi Sawatari (猿渡 一海) was a resident from Hokuto and the leader of the Hokuto Three Crows. During the war, he was given a Sclash Driver and the Robot Sclashjelly to transform into Kamen Rider Grease, later aiding his fellow Kamen Riders in their battle against Evolto.

RKF_Grease_Toku Toy Store (6)

RKF_Grease_Toku Toy Store (5)

RKF_Grease_Toku Toy Store (3)RKF_Grease_Toku Toy Store (1)

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

This figure, as well as other Rider Kicks Figures, are available from Toku Toy Store at £24.99 each. Stay tuned for further Rider Kicks Figure reviews and galleries!

Posted on Leave a comment

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

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!

Tsundere punch-boy, Banjou Ryuga (万丈 龍我), is an ex-boxer who was wrongly imprisoned for murder and abducted by the shadowy organisation Faust; he fights as Kamen Rider Cross-Z to clear his name and avenge the death of his girlfriend.

RKF_Cross-Z_Toku Toy Store (4)RKF_Cross-Z_Toku Toy Store (3)RKF_Cross-Z_Toku Toy Store (5)

RKF_Cross-Z_Toku Toy Store (1)

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

This figure, as well as other Rider Kicks Figures, are available from Toku Toy Store at £24.99 each. Stay tuned for further Rider Kicks Figure reviews and galleries!

Posted on Leave a comment

Gallery: Rider Kicks Armor Series – BuildArmor

While the main gimmick of the Rider Kicks Figure series is to highlight the anniversary of the Heisei era, it’s also to provide the legendary Rider Armors for both Kamen Rider Zi-O and Kamen Rider Geiz!

RKF_BuildArmor_Toku Toy Store (2)BuildArmor (ビルドアーマー) is a Kamen Rider Build-based form accessed using the Build Ridewatch, invoking Kamen Rider Build’s RabbitTank Form and wielding the Drill Crusher Crusher (ドリルクラッシャークラッシャー).

RKF_BuildArmor_Toku Toy Store (3)RKF_BuildArmor_Toku Toy Store (4)Interestingly, depending on whether it is used by Zi-O or Geiz, the BuildArmor’s visor spells out “Build” (ビルド) in katakana or “Build” (びるど) in hiragana respectively.

A full review of the RKF BuildArmor figure by Mint in Box Reviews can be viewed here:

Each of the Rider Armor figures is available from Toku Toy Store at £19.99 each. Stay tuned for further Rider Kicks Figure reviews and galleries!

Posted on Leave a comment

Gallery: Rider Kicks Figure Series – Kamen Rider Build

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 2017 with Kamen Rider Build!

Amnesiac genius, Sento Kiryu (桐生 戦兎), is a theoretical physicist who experiments with Full Bottles to further enhance his abilities as Kamen Rider Build to fight against the evil Smash organisms, re-unifying his fractured homeland and its people.

RKF_Kamen Rider Build_Toku Toy Store (3)

RKF_Kamen Rider Build_Toku Toy Store (2)

RKF_Kamen Rider Build_Toku Toy Store (1)

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

This figure, as well as other Rider Kicks Figures, are available from Toku Toy Store at £24.99 each. Stay tuned for further Rider Kicks Figure reviews and galleries!

Posted on Leave a comment

Kamen Rider Build Final Review

Catching up on Kamen Rider Build, the show has now wrapped in spectacular fashion, paving the way for the future in the form of Kamen Rider Zi-O while ending on a satisfying point for the viewers. Before we dive too far into that, though, let’s take a look back at the previous episode, which sets up the conflict for the finale and delivers a devastating blow to the audience.

Episode 48
Episode 48 of Build begins where its predecessor left off. Sawatari Kazumi, Kamen Rider Grease, is dead. His friends are wounded but still fighting, and one of them critically so. As the desperation begins to mount, Evolt appears to be truly unstoppable. This time around, the shot composition, music, and special effects work together nearly flawlessly to create an air of futility for our heroes. They are battling against a force of nature and they know it. Punctuated by two major losses, it seems, the stakes have never been higher.

Pieces of the cities are being devoured, a black hole open in the sky pulling another reality in to merge with the prime world of Team Build. This, combined with a simple but devastating touch, the broken helmet, lead to an all-encompassing feeling that this time, maybe teamwork isn’t enough. Maybe they can’t do it, but they’ll have to find a way. They know they are fighting a losing battle, and it’s shown all that much more when Gentoku joins Kazumin and falls, the broken helmet and dramatic speech driving the point home so much more. In the end, the plan that cost Gentoku his life ends up proving to be a success, and Evolt is forced to temporarily scale back his power, freezing long enough for Banjou to take hold of him, and launch both of them straight at the energy surge that will fuse the worlds, creating Shinsekai: the new world.


The episode ends, seemingly, with the deaths of Banjou and Evolt, but we are quickly proven wrong as the finale takes center stage.

For this episode, the emphasis is on the very emotional response to the action pieces that, fittingly, take center stage and drive home the desperation our characters feel. All of it comes together to form something unique and tragic, but with a hint of the death leading to a rebirth of sorts. Masterfully crafted, all around.

Episode 49 (End)
Starting right up with the finale, we see the final battle take place, heroes coming together to battle Evolt as Banjou returns, at first in Evolt’s body. Having been absorbed, the most he can do for a time is talk to Sento, before eventually being kicked out of Evolt’s body in the form of a new, silver Dragon Full Bottle. This, combined with the new gold Rabbit Bottle, create Build’s true final form, Rabbit Dragon, but not before a spectacular fight where both Sento and Evolt are forced to downgrade to their base forms, each losing strength and speed visually as well as in the story’s context. Their movements become slower, attacks less powerful, and is all conveyed incredibly well before Sento realises the truth.


There is no defeating Evolt. The entity cannot be killed or contained. As was the original plan, the best they can do is erase it from existence by creating Shinsekai: the new world. The plan succeeds, using Evolt’s energy as the catalyst, and when our heroes awaken, Sento is alone. The world is familiar, yet very different, and we first find Sento at the sight of the Sky Wall disaster, with no Sky Wall in sight.


We learn more about the new world as Sento does, and a few last minute twists and turns not only lead to a satisfying conclusion, but also perfectly set up for the upcoming Kamen Rider Zi-O, which has been confirmed via trailers to share a setting with Build. Zi-O is Shinsekai’s Rider, the future Demon King, and it is easy to see how they can make this premise work in a new setting.

All in all, Kamen Rider Build ends on a fittingly meta conclusion, characters falling into new roles in a new setting and bringing everything full circle. Build was a wild ride from start to finish, presenting a dark and unique look at the realities of what a war on this scale would look like for those caught in the crossfire. Build seems set to go down in Rider history as one of the more well-liked series, and this leaves many of us, myself included, anxious for more. Look for Kamen Rider Zi-O to premiere this coming Saturday, September 1st in Japan. Subtitled broadcasts will be available to the rest of the world shortly after that.

What did you think of Kamen Rider Build? Was this one of your favourite series, or just the show of the year? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Let’s discuss in the comments below or on social media!

Posted on Leave a comment

Kamen Rider Build Episode 47 Review

What an emotional gut-punch this entire episode was. In 23 short minutes, many previously-understood aspects of the story are turned on their heads and we are taken for a ride in terms of action pieces and heartfelt moments of character development. Before we begin, though, we will be discussing spoilers for this episode, so if you have not seen episode 47 of Kamen Rider Build, I suggest you watch it before reading further.




The moment we have all been expecting for a few weeks now has finally come to pass. Sawatari Kazumi, Kamen Rider Grease, falls in battle this week and joins his friends, the Hokuto Three. In his last moments, he regrets allowing himself to die and leave his friends behind. In addition, we learn that Kamen Rider Mad Rogue, Utsumi, has been secretly working against Evolt from the beginning, plotting his revenge on Evolt for the murder of Nanba Juusaburou at the beginning of the Evolt Phase 3 arc. As Utsumi puts it, “The basic Rider System is insufficient,” and so he decides to bide his time. This week, he strikes.


Utsumi and Gentoku take on the cloned HellBros


This whole episode comes with an emotional weight and gravitas that, to me, is very reminiscent of the same point in Kamen Rider Gaim, though in that series, we were losing 2-3 major players in every single episode until only the title character remained. The contrasting fights this week are set up extremely well, with Kazumin taking on the clones of his deceased friends while Gentoku and Utsumi face off against Evolt and a reborn BiKaiser or HellBros, created from Evolt’s DNA. They are victorious in recovering a Lost Bottle after this battle, but Evolt himself appears and makes quick work of Utsumi, who is also killed this week.



Utsumi’s end adds a new level of depth to his character though, as we see that he is able to use the Evol Driver and upgraded Rider System due to his status as a cyborg. When he dies, though, he overloads and short circuits, giving Evolt the room he needs to land a killing blow. No one mourns for him the way they do for Grease, as Utsumi spent the majority of the series as a primary antagonist. For Grease, on the other hand, there is genuine grief shown on the part of his teammates. By the end of the episode, when they know he has fallen, they look defeated, exhausted, genuinely broken up over the loss of a friend as they should.




This whole episode carries an air of finality, of the grief the characters hold for their lost friend and the desperation they feel knowing he likely will not be the last of them to fall to save their world. The preview for the next episode seems to indicate this as well, as we see a single shot of Gentoku glowing purple and seeming to fade away, in the style of Avengers: Infinity War.




This episode left me reeling, and I’m sure many of you feel the same. Leave your thoughts below and let’s discuss!

Posted on Leave a comment

Kamen Rider Build Episode 46 Review

As we enter the final stretch for Kamen Rider Build, the endgame has finally begun. This episode begins with Evolt revealing his existence to the world, and only builds further from that jumping off point. Throughout this episode, tensions are high and there is a sense of finality, of ending to it all. Characters’ motivations and decisions are explored nicely, and without giving too much away, the show chooses to prove an ongoing fan theory correct in its final moments. The desperation these characters feel is palpable, fighting against what is easily the single most powerful enemy to ever grace a Kamen Rider series, or maybe even in all of Tokusatsu in general.




Evolt’s challenge, issued to Team Build in the same broadcast in which he reveals himself, shows that he is still relaxed enough to think of their existential struggle as nothing more than a game. The fact that he caps off this performance by swallowing 20 square kilometres of the city in a black hole only reinforces Evolt as a cosmic-level threat. In all of Eastern superhero fiction, I can think of no character who even comes close to this level of destructive power. Team Build, for their part, put their desperation and determination on full display, as we see a glimpse of the Devil’s Scientist still living in Sento.


His solution to defeat Evolt is to erase a parallel Earth using Pandora’s box, and let Evolt’s energy fuel the fusion. The result would kill or erase billions of people on both sides of the fusion, and nearly every other character, rightly, questions this plan. Still, seeing no other way, they proceed, and play into Evolt’s game.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The game, as Evolt calls it, is for Team Build to enter the base of Pandora’s Tower and fight their way to the top. They don’t make it out of the first room before Grease is confronted by the ghosts of his past, in the form of Evolt-created clones of his dead friends. Despite seeing through the illusion and staying behind to fight, he is naturally hesitant to go all out. As the rest of the team moves forward, we are given contrasting shots of the action, and the multiple cinematic influences on the team behind the series become clear. The whole scenario seems to be drawn, in large part, from a classic action film from Indonesia called The Raid, known in the west as The Raid: Redemption, while Grease’s scenes parallel classic Westerns and Samurai films. It feels like a mix of The Magnificent Seven, Shane, and Rashomon.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Like any classic Samurai or Cowboy, Kazumin faces this challenge with the steel and grit of a man who knows what needs to be done for the greater good, and has resigned himself to being the one to do it. If this is where Sawatari Kazumi falls, then it is a good end. This is a man who began his time in the series as a primary enemy, and became one of the hero’s closest allies. It would be a fitting end to his arc, all things considered. We will find out in Episode 47, and given the episode title and preview, it looks grim.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


What did you think of this week’s episode? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!

Posted on Leave a comment

Kamen Rider Build Episode 45 Review

Wow. All I can really say about this episode is wow. This is what the final arc of a Kamen Rider series should be like, boiled down into one episode. In the last several weeks, Build has been all over the place in terms of tone and scope, almost as if it was lost or using filler to drag out the plot to its full run time of 50 episodes. But episode 45 brings that all full circle, returning to the dramatic, high-stakes action and drama we have come to expect from a late-stage series like this. There is an air of finality to all of it, even knowing the series will go on for five more episodes after this point.


Many of the major pieces are falling into place now, including long-term plans coming to fruition in a big way. With a body count in a single episode higher than the rest of a 43-year long franchise, we see the source of Evolt’s power made real, and we see his flexibility as not only a fighter, but a tactician. Using people against each other, consuming entire worlds, and putting down former partners with all the hesitation one would use when swatting a fly, Evolt quickly re-established itself as the cosmic-level threat that it is in this episode.




In a few short actions, Evolt manages to go from a gel in a container back to a near-unstoppable force of cosmic change, and simultaneously completes the Black Pandora Panel. This is done as he, without any hesitation or regret, makes an honest man of Katsuragi Shinobu and puts him down for good. This leaves a third Build Driver without an owner, at least for now, as it seems this Driver and the Blizzard Knuckle will both fall to Kazumin in the next episode. This will be Grease’s only form change up to this point in the series, and may be the only one he ever gets, depending on what the summer movie has in store.



Before dying, Katsuragi Shinobu gives Sento some cards, with schematics for Build and Cross-Z base on them, but we do not learn what they are for until Sento begins to study them closely. These cards, it seems, may contain the final secret to defeating Evolt, though they do resemble Ganbarazing cards as used previously by Decade. Sento is nearly killed as well, though in this scene we learn that the Rider System can function as a space suit as well. During a finishing attack, Evolt carries Sento through a wormhole to a distant planet, which greatly resembles the Helheim forest seen in Kamen Rider Gaim, and proceeds to devour it in a black hole.



This hearkens back to Marvel villain Galactus, though it is not the only element of this episode seemingly inspired by Western superheroes. Even during the fight, the combat is explosive and levels a large chunk of the city, likely leaving hundreds dead in its wake on top of the planet Evolt has already devoured at this point in the episode. Overall, though, this episode is definitely a very welcome return to form for the series, and I am sure this will restore the lost faith a lot of people have in Build to not go completely off the rails at the end.


What did you think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Posted on Leave a comment

Kamen Rider Build Episode 43 Review

Build vs Build continues this week as we learn more about the reasoning behind Katsuragi Shinobu’s decision to side with Evolt. Along the way, there is a lot of interpersonal drama, packed in between action pieces that show what Build’s basic forms could be capable of. According to Shinobu, the Build Driver was originally built for him, and as such he has a better understanding of the basic forms than Sento ever did. He demonstrates this by nearly defeating Sento, Banjou, Kazumin, and Gentoku in a 4-on-1 fight. Also important to note is that, in this encounter, Sento and Banjou are both using their ultimate forms. Shinobu only survives the encounter because Sento intervenes and nearly kills Banjou in the process.


Without Vernage’s healing powers, and with conflicting views on what to do about Shinobu, the group is more divided than ever this week. Banjou spends much of the episode comatose, while Gentoku and Kazumin scheme and plot on their own about what to do. The implication, at first, is that the two men would have simply let Banjou kill Shinobu, and erased a major player from the game. Sento, obviously, disagrees with this sentiment and insists there must be another way to get things done, even as he begins to truly doubt his faith in his mission for the first time.




There is a certain degree of emotional intensity to the whole thing as Banjou lay in a bed, critically injured, and Misora reveals that she cannot heal him as she’d done in the past. In other words, no more mulligans. From here on, they are doing this for real, or not at all. There would be no second chances coming from Vernage’s powers, and Banjou could easily still lose control thanks to his newly-strengthened link to Evolt. Misora’s part in this episode is a large one, as she goes to her father with questions about Vernage’s power, only to become a Lost Smash using the CD Lost bottle.



Sento is unable to save her by conventional means, in this case, due to the complications from the Martian queen inside Misora’s body. He learns this during another encounter with Shinobu, in which the seeds of doubt being sown lead to basic RabbitTank Build overpowering Genius form. Sento is left literally crying on the ground, before Banjou’s perfect timing allows him to tag in, motivate Sento, and save the day. After another short battle, the team figures out what to do, and the plan is put into action.


A devastating finishing move leaves Shinobu thinking that Sento would simply kill two of his closest allies, if it meant keeping the bottle out of Evolt’s hands, only for Sento’s true plan to reveal itself when Banjou gets up and complains about the heat. Magma form does not make him immune to heat inside the armour, it seems, and as the flames fade, so do Banjou’s complaints, though Misora remains largely out of combat from here on. She is awake, she is herself, and Sento claims the bottle as an additional prize. At this point, he also reaches Hazard Level 7 and we see him take a gold Rabbit bottle.




But with the new developments that result from this incident, including Vernage and Evolt now both being part of Banjou, what is to come next? The preview for next week’s episode indicates that Episode 44 will be the end of the Build vs Build subplot, and this combined with Gentoku and Kazumin’s capture, will make for an interesting episode to be sure.




What did you think of this week’s Build? Leave your thoughts below and let’s discuss!

Posted on Leave a comment

Kamen Rider Build Episode 42 Review

A new Build appears! For all the focus in the PV at the end of last week’s episode, this new Build actually plays a fairly minor role in the episode. To the writers’ credit, though, they quickly dispatch with the mystery as to the new Build’s identity. For the ones who haven’t seen the episode, we will be discussing the identity of the new Build here, so a spoiler warning is in effect. This episode is very heavy on two things: action and introspection. Both of these are good and lend a lot to character development, but the dynamic that Kiryuu Sento and Katsuragi Takumi are separate people sharing a body is still awkward.

This is present especially during a particular sequence in which Sento and Katsuragi are talking in a dream-like hallway, in their shared subconscious, and Katsuragi admits to manipulating their memories to keep their days as Akuma no Kagaku-sha, The Devil’s Scientist, vague and blurry to Sento. In most split personality cases such as this, the way these two act would be considered a mental illness, akin to James McAvoy’s character in the 2016 film Split. Even if it does lend an interesting dynamic to the show at times, it can be a bit off-putting to think about how these scenes must be playing out to a neutral observer. The real highlight this week, though, is Evolt and how far he is willing to go to achieve his end goals.


In a single fell swoop, Evolt manages to make the Kamen Riders a public menace, unite the three nations of Japan under him, and put the whole of his power behind a show of force that is intended to destroy a symbol of power. The act is something of an equivalent to the real-world nuclear deterrent theory, though the Riders keep fighting until the event is over and the capital building of Touto has been destroyed in a literal black hole. It’s during this sequence we hear the familiar sounds of early Build forms like NinninComic and RabbitTank, as the new Build swoops into the fight to defeat Banjou but not seriously injure him.


The show is a bit heavy-handed as it sets up the reveal that ends the episode, but thankfully wastes little time in establishing the new dynamic for the final eight episodes. Build now plays for both sides, as Katsuragi Shinobu has managed to replicate not only his original designs for the Build Driver, but specific bottles. When he appears and reveals himself, he does so in the base RabbitTank form seen from the beginning of the series. This reveal is meant to leave Sento torn between his duty and the father he thought he’d lost. One thing is clear though. Katsuragi Shinobu is now firmly with Team Evolt.


With all of these different plot elements coming together, Kamen Rider Build is shaping up to finish in spectacular fashion when it concludes next month. Characters are constantly evolving and the dynamics keep shifting, but it is never dull. Keep an eye on the plot as it develops and you are in for a wild ride! What did you think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!