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This Week in Tokusatsu – Week 2, 2019

Kamen Rider Woz debuts! The police have finally begun to suspect the identities of the phantom thieves, and we get a new anime Godzilla movie courtesy of Netflix.

Lupinranger vs Patoranger Episode 46

Picking up right after the Christmas special, Keiichiro believes (correctly) that he has figured out the identities of the Lupinrangers. He takes his findings to his colleagues, and Commander Hilltop, and begins to make his case. Tsukasa, who has been suspicious of them in the past, feels the lightbulb click on, and the pieces fall into place. For her, a lot of suspicious elements of their past escapades suddenly make sense. The Lupinrangers themselves, meanwhile, are trapped in a game show thanks to a piece of the Lupin Collection, and the show becomes a highlight reel of past episodes for both teams.

This episode contains some comedic bits, impersonations of other characters and the male Lupinrangers in drag, but otherwise is mostly light on action and substance. The biggest elements of this episode for the plot overall come at the beginning and end, by which point the Global Police have agreed to begin surveilling the Jurer trio. Keiichiro made his case, it seems, and that will be our setup for the last seven episodes, which will air between now and early March 2019, when Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger begins. While the police and thieves fight amongst themselves, though, the Ganglers are preparing their master plan, so it will be interesting to see how all of these different elements come together in time.

Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 17

It’s new year’s day in… 2022?! Sougo meets a new Rider in the beginning of this episode, Kagura Rentaro, Kamen Rider Shinobi. Shinobi is the Rider from 2022, and also bears the identity of Another Shinobi in 2019. To set up for this episode, the show builds a new version of Woz, and manages to give him unspeakable power without really thinking logically about all of the implications after. This new Woz wears all white, and carries an e-reader like an older Kindle that he can write future predictions into, which are shown to immediately come true. White Woz, as the preview for next week calls him, uses this power to mess with not only Zi-O, but also Uhr as well, showing with devastating effect the potential he could unleash.

This left me with one very important question, though. If White Woz’s book can change the timeline directly, why not simply erase any threat from existence with a phrase written into the book, as he threatens to do to Zi-O? Any character having that level of power deflates the stakes in most situations, so hopefully this power will either have rules that are explained, or be taken away, to give the team some semblance of a struggle. When White Woz does make his first transformation at the end of the episode, he easily defeats Another Shinobi, before using a term in universe that has only been heard up to this point in the marketing.

“You will change history, Geiz Revive.” He says to Geiz, bowing the way “Green” Woz always does for Sougo. The future characters consistently mention a new idea this week, the Day of Oma, in which Sougo becomes Oma Zi-O and erases all other Riders from history . It’s implied, based on Kamen Rider Shinobi being unknown to “Green” Woz, that this day occurs before 2022. Based on the way the idea is explained, it seems White Woz comes from the future that directly follows the early events of the series, but assumes a darker end in which Sougo still succumbs to the power of Oma Zi-O.

This Oma Zi-O is defeated by Geiz’s powered up form, Geiz Revive, and the future is saved, or so Woz claims.

Only time will tell how this arc plays out, but the preview for the next episode sets up Kamen Rider Woz as a direct antagonist to Zi-O, even if he is supporting Geiz. Stay tuned for more.

Godzilla – The Planet Eater

After a brief period between the second and third films in the Godzilla anime trilogy, we’re finally able to watch the conclusion to this series. Like the other two films in the series, Godzilla: The Planet Eater follows the exploits of a tri-species group of humans and two other races, trying to defeat Godzilla and reclaim Earth as their home, 20,000 years after fleeing into space. The films have seemingly gone down in quality with each subsequent release, with the first featuring lots of frenetic action scenes, passable animation, and one of the better designs for Godzilla outside of live action. The second film, City on the Edge of Battle, took a dip in quality but still managed to put an interesting twist on MechaGodzilla, and now The Planet Eater seems to have mostly gone off the rails.

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During the second film, our heroes stumble on a group of evolved humans, who have adapted to make a Godzilla-controlled Earth habitable, and end up taking refuge with them after the MechaGodzilla City is defeated. This third film picks up seemingly minutes after the end of the second, as people struggle to recover and put themselves back together. One of the races, called the Bilusaludo, is a technophiliac cult, and had offered themselves up as sacrifices to bond to the nanomachines that make up MechaGodzilla City, even going so far as to force humans and Exif, the third race, to join them. But where the first film focused on humans, and the second largely on the Bilusaludo, the Exif become the major players this time around.

The bulk of what plot exists in this movie is focused on the Exif, particularly a priest name Metphies, trying to summon their god via a ritual. Their god, it turns out, is classic Toho monster King Ghidorah. At least, that’s what we’re meant to believe. The film never gives us a proper look at Ghidorah, through its entire runtime. Instead, we’re treated to shadowed silhouettes of Ghidorah’s classic look, and three glowing gold ghost dragons that can only be described as being rip-offs of Shenron, from the Dragon Ball series, right down to where the appear from nothingness against a black background. Many of the themes in the film involve criticism of religion both for the believer and the skeptic, and there are a pair of minute-long sequences where the film becomes a one-frame-per-second slideshow of poorly-animated CG images.

This would be tolerable, if the final scene before the credits roll didn’t completely undo the entire trilogy. Overall, I find it impossible to recommend this film, even as an avid lover of Godzilla and Kaiju in general. If you are on the fence about this one, do not waste your time.

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

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Gallery: Rider Kicks Armor Series – OOOArmor

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!

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OOOArmor (OOOアーマー) is a Kamen Rider OOO-based form accessed using the OOO Ridewatch, homaging Kamen Rider OOO’s Tatoba Combo.

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When summoned, the armor takes the form of a robotic hawk, tiger, and grasshopper before transforming into armor and attaching to the user.

 

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RKF_OOO_Toku Toy Store (3)In the show, depending on whether it is used by ZiO or Geiz, its visor spells out “OOO” (オーズ) in katakana or “OOO” (おーず) in hiragana respectively, though the toy only includes a Zi-O faceplate. The armor chest-plate reads “Taka” (タカ), “Tora” (トラ), and “Batta” (バッタ).

You can watch the full review of this Rider Armor 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!

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Gallery: Rider Kicks Armor Series – FourzeArmor

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_Fourze_Toku Toy Store (2)FourzeArmor (フォーゼアーマー) is a Kamen Rider Fourze-based form accessed using the Fourze Ridewatch, summoning an armor that is an amalgamation of Kamen Rider Fourze’s Base and Rocket States.

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Unlike the Build, Ghost, and Ex-Aid Rider Armor toys, the toy of the FourzeArmor lacks a helmet for Kamen Rider Geiz, instead only having the Zi-O face plate that reads “Fourze” (フォーゼ) in katakana.

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!

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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.

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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!

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This Week in Tokusatsu – December 14th, 2018

Lupinranger vs Patoranger’s final arc continues this week, with a revelation about a longtime ally. Zi-O’s Ghost Arc closes out and Decade joins the cast. Let’s dive in, shall we?


Lupinranger vs Patoranger Episode 43

A second French operative for GSPO returns to Japan this week, and is revealed to be none other than the previous Patren # 2, the first member of the GSPO tactical unit to wear the green uniform. Satoru is a colleague to Keiichiro and Tsukasa, as shown through flashbacks and their familiar dialogue, but has never met Sakuya before this episode and has an immediate, intense distrust of Noel. His return, and thus the premise of the episode, begins on the foundation that an insider in GSPO is leaking secrets and classified intelligence to Ganglers. The writers waste little time in revealing that this is Noel’s doing, even going so far as to give a Gangler a piece of the Lupin collection. His reasons are not made clear at first.

While the thieves track Noel’s contact, a Gangler named Tokageru (or Tokageil, depending on where you saw the episode), the GSPO Tactical Unit is formally introduced to Satoru. The initial reaction Noel and Satoru have to each other is nothing short of openly antagonistic, but Satoru does have enough trust in Keiichiro to confide that Noel is his suspect. From there, the rest of the episode focuses on Noel’s dealings and how the team comes to terms with the truth, that Noel is the inside man the Ganglers have in GSPO. The double agent Lupin X is now a triple-agent, playing all sides against each other. Gauche is aware of the dealings, but Dogranio reveals via a flash-sideways sequence that he had no idea, and finds the idea entertaining more than threatening.

When the truth comes out, Noel ends up running, hunted and running like Batman at the end of The Dark Knight. He fires a warning shot at his team, to distract long enough to run but not aiming to hit any of them. While Keiichiro hesitates to return fire, Satoru takes Keiichiro’s VS changer and does not think twice. He is shooting to kill and makes this fact plain to the others as they pursue Noel through the city.

Devastated and now unarmed, Keiichiro follows Noel on his own path, separate, and the pair link up again further down the road. The battle that follows leads to the revelation that Noel is something other than human, though he is not specifically named a Gangler. The rangers who hear the news are shocked, though Good Striker seems to have known all along, asking the Lupinrangers how they didn’t notice previously. The Lupinrangers are angry, betrayed, and express this in the way they brutalize Tokageru’s Kaiju form through LupinKaiser.

The next episode promises answers, with the preview clip indicating there is some other, darker truth to be told.


Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 14

The show begins to kick into gear this week, with even Woz’s opening monologue changing. This time around, he includes the line, “… And yet all goes according to my desires.”

Could this imply something more sinister or selfish behind Woz’s dedicated service to the future overlord of the world? For now, in the context of the show, Woz is nowhere to be found as Geiz, Takeru and Tsukuyomi work to restore Sougo. Coming off the heels of last week, Sougo’s soul has been torn from his body and he remains a ghost, while his body lies unconscious, but alive, in a hospital bed. Distraught, Geiz goes after Another Ghost in the past, only to be met by Decade, now using the Ryuki form. Here we see Decade take on a neo-Heisei form for the first time, using the Kamen Ride – Ghost transformation card. As expected, this is Ghost’s base form, with the exception of the Neo Decadriver which is clearly visible.

The double-ghost encounter is interesting enough, as Decade and Another Ghost absolutely decimate Geiz, before the Ghost Ride Watch is taken by Decade. After the power is drained from it, Geiz is given the Decade Ride Watch, which is capable of acting as a Ride Watch holder as well. With the power drained from the Ride Watch, Takeru and Makoto are restored to their Kamen Rider status, as Ghost and Specter respectively. The two, along with Sougo, travel back in time to prevent the death of the police officer who would become Another Ghost.

Thanks to some interference by Uhr, he becomes Another Ghost anyway, and the Riders are drained of their power once again. After Another Ghost is revived, Woz plays his hand, revealing to Sougo that he has betrayed his overlord. The team, after rediscovering Sougo via a gadget, devises a plan to defeat Another Ghost, but is intercepted in the time stream by the Time Jackers, before making it back to 2015 and getting into action. Decade looks on, with Woz at his back. The highlight of this scene, other than the character development, is seeing Sougo change into Decade Armour for the first time. Woz announces Sougo the way he has with every other form, and Sougo takes no time in figuring out that the Decade armour form allows for a third watch to combine Decade’s abilities with others.

Zi-O Decade Armour

Decade’s rationale in giving over his Watch willingly is that whatever he is doing, conquering the world or destroying it, is far less entertaining if Zi-O can’t put up a decent fight. It’s a very Decade moment that had me muttering Onore dikeido! At my screen more than once as I watched this episode. Inoue Masahiro is, as always, the shining spotlight in the cast and the episode ends on a fittingly dramatic reveal, as Decade tries to dissuade Zi-O from his pursuit of kingship.

The next episode, revealed in the preview, will give us our first jump forward in time, and also features the debut of Ohma Zi-O (presumably Demon King, shortened from Akuma No Oh-sama) as a character in his own right.


Kami No Kiba – Jinga

As promised, this week, we will begin our coverage of Jinga, the latest series in the Garo franchise. This particular series is set in the Dougai Ryuga timeline of Garo, and focuses on Mikage Jinga, the Makai knight called Roze. Jinga, played by Kamen Rider Decade’s Inoue Masahiro, was first introduced in the summer Garo movie, Kami No Kiba as the primary villain. Picking up where that movie ended, Jinga introduces us to a newly-revived Mikage Jinga, an unknown amount of time after the end of the film. Though he looks the same, the dark Makai Knight who became a horror has been revived once more as a good man, with a family and a history all his own in a new life.

Jinga looks much the same as he did in the film, though he has the trademark flowing coat of a Makai knight now as well, and the series opens on Jinga hunting horrors with the Makai priestess Fusa and his little brother, an apprentice named Toma. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that Jinga was forced to kill his father, also a Makai knight, after the older man became a Horror and killed Jinga’s mother. Toma, witnessing all of this, has his memories sealed away, though the seal is eventually broken by a horror. The first nine episodes, numbered 00-08, take us on a wild ride as Jinga hunts horrors and discovers a new ability no other Makai knight has had before: Jinga can destroy horrors without killing the human hosts, and revert those humans to what they were before possession.

The Watchdogs, the Makai Knights’ governing body, are apprehensive, understandably, and the second arc of the series focuses on Jinga coming to understand his power. Eventually, it is revealed that a horror still resides inside of Jinga, and acts as the source of his newfound abilities. The horror inside of Jinga is able to cannibalize other horrors, purging the human host and leaving them undamaged, while gaining power. Regrettably, each time Jinga does this, his darker side seems to grow stronger, to the point where Jinga loses control for a single night, killing another Makai knight named Shijo.

This show has been an excellent new installment in the Garo franchise thus far, and with more to come, it can only get better. Jinga airs weekly, as its counterparts for younger audiences does, and can be seen in many of the same places.


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

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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.

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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!

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Gallery: Kamen Rider Zi-O – DX Time Mazine

The Rider Kicks Figure series is latest in a long line of budget gimmick figures and what would be a Rider without his signature ride? Shout it out loud and call forth the RKF-compatible – DX TIME MAZINE!

Time Mazines (タイムマジーン) are a type of time machine in the form of mechas which can transform between a flying Vehicle Mode (ビークルモード) and combat-ready Robo Mode (ロボモード). They are the means of time travel for Kamen Rider Zi-O and Kamen Rider Geiz, as well as special models being used by the Resistance and the Time Jackers.

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The DX Time Mazine is capable of fitting most Rider Kick’s Figure-scale figures in it’s chest cockpit.

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You can watch the full review here:

This figure (with the DX OOO Ridewatch) is available on back order at Toku Toy Store for £79.99. Stay tuned for further Kamen Rider Zi-O reviews and galleries!

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Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER takes over Nagoya Central Park

Bandai Japan has put up oversized billboards to advertise their upcoming movie: Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER!

As the Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FOREVER movie fast approaches in Japan, Toei have decided to show off the Kamen Riders by putting up oversized billboards for the Riders at Nagoya Central Park in Nagoya City in Japan.

The billboards will each be made up of an image of the Kamen Rider, their Heisei number (starting with Kamen Rider Kuuga starting at number 1 and finishing with Kamen Rider Zi-O at number 20) as well as when they aired on TV.

The billboards will be visible everyday leading up to the theatrical release of the movie between 10am and 9pm. Fans of the Kamen Riders that are visiting the area are encouraged to take pictures with their favourite Kamen Rider.

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The individual posters for Heisei Generations FOREVER.

What do you guys think of the billboards? Are they a nice way to advertise the movie? Share your thoughts with us on our social media pages!

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Gallery: Rider Kicks Armor Series – Ex-AidArmor

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_Ex-AidArmor_Toku Toy Store (1)Ex-AidArmor (エグゼイドアーマー) is a Kamen Rider Ex-Aid-based form accessed using the Ex-Aid Ridewatch, invoking Kamen Rider Ex-Aid’s Action Gamer Level 2, and wielding the Gashacon Breaker Breakers (ガシャコンブレイカーブレイカー) Much like Ex-Aid himself, the armor can generate Game Areas and create item blocks as well as grant its user great agility and jumping ability. 

RKF_Ex-AidArmor_Toku Toy Store (2)RKF_Ex-AidArmor_Toku Toy Store (3)Depending on whether it is used by Zi-O or Geiz, its visor spells out “Ex-Aid” (エグゼイド) in katakana or “Ex-Aid” (えぐぜいど) in hiragana, respectively. Additionally, the “HIT!” and other effect words that are projected are in katakana (ヒット!) or hiragana (ひっと!) rather than in English.

A full review of the RKF Ex-AidArmor 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!

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Gallery: Rider Kicks Armor Series – GhostArmor

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_GhostArmor_Toku Toy Store (1)GhostArmor (ゴーストアーマー) is a Kamen Rider Ghost-based form accessed using the Ghost Ridewatch, invoking Kamen Rider Ghost’s Ore Damashii (“My Soul”). When summoned, it is projected in a holographic Eyecon and does Ghost’s signature pose before dispersing to attach to the user.

RKF_GhostArmor_Toku Toy Store (3)RKF_GhostArmor_Toku Toy Store (2)This release comes with alternate blaster modes of Zi-O and Geiz’s signature weapons.

RKF_GhostArmor_Toku Toy Store (4)RKF_GhostArmor_Toku Toy Store (5)Interestingly, depending on whether it is used by Zi-O or Geiz, its visor spells out “Ghost” (ゴースト) in katakana or “Ghost” (ごーすと) in hiragana respectively.

A full review of the RKF GhostArmor 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!