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Kamen Rider Build Episode 11 Review

This is the episode we’ve all been waiting for. Cross-Z’s introduction was hyped up since the first catalogue scans. And, after 11 episodes (and even more name-changes), he’s finally here. Let’s find out what his introduction was like.

The episode starts at the cafe, where Sentou details his plans to turn the Cross Dragon into a henshin device for Ryuuga to use. They hear about a SMASH attacking at a cliche tokusatsu warehouse and go over to investigate, despite the dragon bottle’s danger. Sentou and Ryuuga arrive at the warehouse where they find Night Rouge. Sentou uses the Dragon and Lock bottles to transform but they over-power him. Ryuuga tries to use the dragon bottle to transform but he can’t, this is later revealed to be because Ryuuga can only transform when he wants to help someone. To be completely honest, this just seems like a lazy way to stop him from transforming until the end. Considering what his motivations are, they’ll probably forget about this later in the series.

Back at the cafe, Misora notices Sawa try to place another bug. She tries to confront her about it but she leaves, and alerts Nanba that her cover may have been blown. Later on, Misora tries to warn Sentou about Sawa. He gets a message from Sawa with a video of her being turned into a SMASH. Even for Faust this seems a little harsh to me. One possible screw up and you’re a SMASH, they don’t even know if her cover was definitely blown yet.

Sentou goes to fight the SMASH but ends up being overpowered by the bottles again. Ryuuga comes in and takes the bottles and uses them to become Kamen Rider Cross-Z. I really like Cross-Z’s design. It looks a bit like an upgrade for Build, but considering it uses mostly the tech I don’t really have a problem with it. The colours work great with each other and his sword, the Beat Crosser, is one of the coolest in the season (and this season has some pretty nice swords). He defeats the SMASH and rescues Sawa, who reveals to him and Sentou that she’s been a spy this whole time.

This episode was okay. Personally, I think that a secondary rider introduction should be a little better. It would’ve been nice to see more of Cross-Z or at least Ryuuga trying to get used to the suit or something first. It also would’ve been nice to see a brand new character become a rider but we still have Grease to look forward to. The episode works fine on it’s own though, just slightly underwhelming for what is meant to be an information to a new rider.

What to do you think of Cross-Z? Let us know in the comments!

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Power Rangers Ninja Steel: Episode 17 Review

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The last few years have had many elections. The 2016 presidential election, the French presidential election, the general election, the other general election and the impending 3rd general election. But all of them are irrelevant compared to this! *Cough* Yeah, sorry for that. But anyway, school election episode. I can’t think of a segway.

The episode starts off with Calvin and Hayley being late to school where we get introduced to Phonepanzee, a monster who can copy people’s voices. I have a lot of problems with this villain. Firstly, considering he has to collect the voices individually, why didn’t he just watch clips of past Galaxy Warriors episodes and collect them from there? Considering how quickly he got their voices in the episode it would’ve just made sense to do that. But anyway Calvin and Hayley arrive at school and they see that the student body president elections are happening so they both compete. They each hire some of the other rangers to help them with their campaign. While the Rangers were discussing the election, Phonepanzee copies the rest of their voices and they notice him after he trips on a bike. Ignoring the fact that that a bike is one of the hardest things to trip up on, this is the next problem I have with him. They can’t decide whether to make him good or bad at being a villain. For example: he trips up on a bike, making himself noticeable yet he cleverly uses the Rangers voices against them in the fight scenes.

And now a problem I have with the episode as a whole, it cuts between the action and the subplot really awkwardly. When the Rangers were talking earlier, It looked like they were going to carry on with the campaign after the conversation finished. But they out of nowhere just started a fight scene. Remember how in the introduction It looked like I had a clear idea of how it was going to go but I changed it for something completely different? I did that to show how awkward the episode can be at times. And when the fight scene was over, they went back to the subplot nbd acted like nothing happened. So yeah, the presidential campaigns go on normally until someone starts a food fight using some cake that Hayley and Calvin were giving out as freebies. The writers then decide to actually do something clever and make Phonepanzee phone the Rangers individually, pretending to be another Ranger blaming the food fight on a different Ranger.

So Brody, Calvin and Sarah go to confront Hayley, under the impression that she started the fight, and they getting kidnapped and their power stars get stolen by Phonepanzee. Hayley and Preston hear that Calvin started the fight but they get stopped by Mick on the way, telling them they they shouldn’t believe everything they hear. While that is a good lesson, how does Mick know that the monster was behind the phone calls? In fact, I don’t even think he knew about the food fight. They go and investigate anyway and they bring Levi with them. They release the other rangers and retrieve their stars. They all morph and defeat Phonepanzee using one of the coolest finishers in the show so far. He, of course, grows (after a nice season 1 reference) and they defeat him using the Megazords. They go back to school and Calvin and Hayley withdraw from the election after all the trouble competing has caused.

Besides a few clever moments, this wasn’t a very good episode. It awkwardly cut from the action and the sub-plot and it had a ton of unnecessary scenes. It felt like an episode from earlier in the season where they had no idea where the series was going to go.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments!

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Power Rangers Ninja Steel Episode 16 Review.

Ah yes, Halloween. When this spooky season comes around, we can be certain of 3 things; pumpkins, small children trying to rob you of your sweets and a big celebration from Power Rangers. You know the drill, a new PSA about how to not overdose on potentially poisoned unwrapped fun-size Dairy Milk bars (as we all do) and a halloween special. I don’t usually have high expectations for Ranger halloween specials since they don’t usually bring much to the story, even in seasons I usually really like. But this year, I was quite impressed. This halloween special was a really entertaining watch and it’s not something that would seem out of place in the rest of the season.
The episode begins with the Rangers listening to Levi sing when they receive a mysterious board game. The Rangers go off to play it but Levi doesn’t want to come, because he doesn’t like board games. Levi isn’t that great of a character (I don’t need to remind you how Brody never got his burger in EP8) so him doing something like this isn’t a surprise to me but they kinda made it a big deal near the end. If they did this with a character like Brody, where it would be unusual for them to refuse something like this, it would come across as more mean. But I expect Levi to be a bit rude, making the lesson of the episode less relatable.

The rest of the rangers go off to play the board game when it is revealed that it’s actually haunted. So Cosmo is controlling the game and broadcasting it as a Galaxy Warriors halloween special. That’s actually a really good idea, considering Ninja Steel revolves around another TV show it would make sense to have a halloween special in a halloween special. Also, Cosmo is a main focus of the episode. I actually really like Cosmo. Whereas Galvanax just felt like a discount Sledge, Cosmo’s charisma brought something new to the series that we haven’t really seen in awhile. It’s a shame he hasn’t really had much development (hence why I didn’t talk about him much when I did the EP1-12 recap), something which they actually gave a bit of to him in this episode.

The object of the game is that the Rangers have to get to the end before the time runs out, every space represents a monster they previously fought and they have to fight them again when they land on their space. If the Rangers succeed in defending the monster, they get to roll the dice again. If they fail, the next monster gets a power up or the Rangers get a disadvantage. If the time runs out before the rangers get to the end, they have to give up their power stars. The Rangers aren’t allowed to leave the game or get any outside help. Overall, a pretty cool concept, having to re-defeat past monsters is an Idea that I like a lot and I wish it was done more often. The first monster they face is Trapsaw. Although the episode he was from is pretty good, he was pretty useless throughout it. I don’t know why they didn’t just use Ripperat, especially since we literally never see him placing any traps at all. It goes without saying that they defeated him quickly. The next monster was Hacktrack. But, instead of defeating him normally, Sarah used a really conveniently placed toolbox to create a device to stop Hacktrack’s hacking abilities. Considering that he was really hard to defeat originally, it makes sense that the Rangers chose a different way of defeating him. The next monster is Slogre. While the Rangers come close to defeating him, they get caught in the slow mist and lose the round, meaning they get a disadvantage in the next one. In this case, the Ranger that rolls the dice on the next turn has to face the monster alone. In this case, it’s Calvin facing off against Spinferno. Spinferno takes control of a truck, with the driver still inside, and drives it towards a cliff. To win the round, Calvin has to save the driver from falling. While he succeeds in saving the driver, he falls down the cliff and loses the round. As punishment for losing, the Rangers have to face a Skullgator and a brainwashed version of the Robo Rider Zord.

When Levi (finally) realises that he was being a bit mean for having the Rangers do something that he enjoys while not joining in with something they enjoy, he goes to find the rest of the Rangers so he can join in their game. When the Levi finds out that the Rangers are in trouble, he goes to help them. Cosmo tries to stop Levi by claiming that he’s breaking the rules, but since he isn’t playing he doesn’t have to follow the rules. Levi uses his Zord star to free the Robo Rider Zord and form the Fusionzord to defeat the Skullgator. He then destroys the hourglass controlling the game time, freeing the Rangers.

Despite my minor complaints and Levi being Levi, I really enjoyed this episode. It was cool seeing some of the season’s best villains and Trapsaw fighting the Rangers one more time and it’s nice to see Cosmo get more screentime. As I said in the recap, the show is definitely improving and this episode is proof.

What do you think of this episode or of halloween specials in general? Let us know in the comments and have a happy halloween!

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Kamen Rider Build: Episode 6 Review

After the events of episode 5, we get to see the kinda odd reasoning behind why Banjou turned Sento’s friend Tetsuya back into a SMASH after Sento saved him using NinninComic. We also get an explanation behind what the gas is that Faust is using to turn humans into SMASH as well as a little more of an explanation behind Blood Stark’s actions. We unfortunately don’t get to see a new Best Match this week, unless you count the preview for the next episode, but we do get to see a new Trial Form when Sento decides to match up the Ninja and Tank Full Bottles, which was a little interesting. We also find out what happens when someone other than Sento tries to use the Build Driver when we see Banjou attempt to use it.

This week’s episode begins with Banjou following the SMASH he reverted to the Skywall where he’s attacked by some Government Guardians and Officers. He is almost arrested but Build in NinninComic form intervenes and saves him. We then see them back at their base as they start arguing and fighting each other which leads to Banjou trying to use the Build Driver and Sento explaining that it isn’t one size fits all. We also see Sento notice that the Dragon Full Bottle has changed since Banjou has had it.

After that, we see Night Rogue and Blood Stark talking about Blood Stark raising Build’s Hazard Level as well as Owner explaining to Banjou why Sento feels the need to try to save everyone from Faust. We also see Sento doing research on the Skywall when Gentoku Himuro explains to him that it emits a gas from underground that’s made up of minerals not found on Earth.

We also see Misora and Sawa chatting about relationships when Sento walks in and declares his love of openings. He then tells Banjou about the opening and they plan to attack Faust HQ, which is hidden under the Skywall. We then see Gentoku talking to someone on the phone about showing Sento the data on the Sky Wall. With Sento and Banjou at the entrance that Sento found and while they are talking, Sento gives Banjou a new invention he came up with in the form of a mini Dragon he made for Banjou. They then proceed to sneak past patrols as they break into Faust HQ under the Skywall.

Once they’ve made it past the patrols into Faust HQ, we see some scientists in hazmat suits experimenting on someone. They start to run away, scared by the sight of Banjou and Build. We then see Sento having some flashbacks while Banjou interrogates one of the scientists about who framed him. Blood Stark appears and attacks the fleeing test subject. We then discover that Sento and Banjou are unique in that they were dosed with enough Nebula Gas to turn then into SMASH but neither of them changed. Banjou is then poisoned by Blood Stark but his new toy Dragon saves him and spits out the poison. Meanwhile, Sento loses his temper and attacks Blood Stark. As Blood Stark leaves, Banjou calms Sento down by reminding him what Banjou asked was most important to him.

We then see Sento and Banjou save Tatsuya by turning him back then they narrowly escape the Faust facility before it explodes. As the episode reaches it’s end, Tatsuya explains to the pair that he delivered Sento to a new part-time job making medicine at Katsuragi Takumi’s place who’s murder is blamed on Banjou. It’s revealed that Sento was there a full hour ahead of Banjou and could’ve seen who killed Katsuragi Takumi or that Sento could’ve been the one who killed him.

So all in all, it was quite a nice and informative episode where we learnt a little more about Sento’s past as well as finding out that Faust has multiple facilities hidden under the Skywall. We also find out what they are using to create SMASH. In my opinion, it was a good episode as it filled in more blanks as well as progressed the story a bit more. I’m excited to see what happens in regards to Sento and his memories as well as the dynamic between Sento and Banjou.

So that’s it for this week’s Kamen Rider Build review. Do you think Banjou’s Dragon may be a hint as to what’s to come? What’s your opinion on the Katsuragi murder and who’s guilty or innocent? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Pacific Rim: Uprising – Trailer Analysis

It should come as no surprise that the Toku Toy Store team dig giant robots to a level that can only be rivalled by Megas XLR. However, it’s fair to say that only the biggest and baddest robots can be found wading around the Pacific Rim and with a brand new trailer hitting our screens, I think it’s time I entered the Shatterdome and gave you the run down for Pacific Rim: Uprising.

YEAH BOY(ega)!

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With a tasteful lick of the original Gipsy Danger theme on a mournful guitar (followed by the most god awful trailer song I’ve ever heard), we get a look at, and some sweet monologue from, John Boyega as Jake Pentecost and boy(ega), is he a fantastic choice to play the son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba, in the original film). We’re treated to what I imagine is his own rallying cry and while it’s no cancelling of the apocalypse, it shows that Jake is already a fine leader and is more than up for the task of filling daddy’s Drivesuit.

Old’s Cool

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With only ten years passing between films, we thankfully get some returning characters in the form of Mako Mori, Newt Geiszler, and Hermaan Gottlieb (played by their reprising actors; Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Burn Gorman, respectively). Shame Charlie Hunnam couldn’t make an appearance and somewhat redeem himself for his performance in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur movie.

Teenagers with Attitude 

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No one man makes an army (even if it’s Boyega playing Elba’s son) and we need to fill out the cannon fodder – cast with more Jaeger pilots. Not much to say on them since I bet most of them will barely make an impact outside of their respective robots but they’re really pushing the “New Generation” thing hard.

Wir sind de Jaeger!

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Intercut with shots of kaiju destruction we get glimpses of the new Mark 5 and Mark 6 Jaegers. It’s interesting that these newer models are literally launched like rockets into crisis zones. I’m not a fan of most of their names – Gipsy Avenger, Saber Athena, Guardian Bravo, Titan Redeemer, and Bracer Phoenix – they lack the lunacy of the likes of Brawler Yukon, Matador Fury or Striker Eureka but I will admit that Gipsy Avenger is a belter of a name.

Dark Rangers

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Something the trailer hints at heavily is the inclusion of an antagonistic force of Jaegers but I can’t find any information about them or their seeming leader who goes toe-to-toe with Gipsy Avenger in multiple different battles. Are these new Jaegers man-made or have the kaiju reverse-engineered their own super-robots? Hard to say until the film gets released but I’m sure it’ll be fun finding out!

Monster Mash

PRU7The last few shots of the movie give an indication of what the actual fleshy kaiju have been up to and, frankly, they’ve been taking cues from the giant robots because now they can COMBINE! That’s a neat new twist on the giant monster genre and I can’t wait to see how that fight plays out.

PRU6Overall, Pacific Rim: Uprising is being targeted to a much younger demographic while trying to maintain a series continuity and retain the original’s audience. Bringing back original cast members and casting John Boyega as the Son of Pentecost will go a long way to do so. Despite it’s new Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic, I can’t wait for this movie to be released on March 23rd, 2018!

What did you think of the trailer? Excited for the movie? Hungry for all those delicious Bandai toys? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kamen Rider Build: Episode 5 Review

When this episode was first teased, it left us on a big cliffhanger. The owner was revealed to be in possession of a panel of the Pandora Box, leading Sento to question whether he was a member of Faust. Although the episode did reveal things about him, it was quite anticlimactic compared to what we were originally shown.

The episode begins with the owner telling Sento about how he was the astronaut who activated the Pandora Box, explaining how he found the panel. As I said, this is kinda unexpected. Although it makes sense, it’s still confusing why he didn’t just tell Sento when he found him considering his reaction.

While we get to learn more about the owner, some of Sento’s back story is revealed too. We learn that, before he lost his memory, he was actually a member of a band. It’s kinda funny how he may not be as smart as he was initially claiming, although he did leave the band to work on a new drug so that kinda makes up for it. Personally, I think this is a bit to early for a reveal like this. I know I said in my episode 2 review that I’m glad the show is taking risks this early, but Sento and the owner’s reveals should’ve been saved for episodes 9-12.

We also get to see more of Blood Stark. In my opinion, he is probably the most threatening villain in the series so far. He was shown to be intimidating from his first appearance but this episode just makes him look even cooler. Speaking of cool… The new form in this episode, NinninComic, is probably one of my favourite forms so far. I especially like the new weapon, which incorporated 4-panel manga into the design.

The SMASH of this episode was created from one of Sento’s old band mates. He wasn’t defeated though, since Ryuuga stopped Sento from extracting the essence so he could test his theory that SMASH return to the Faust HQ when their essence is returned. Segueing nicely into the next episode.

Overall, this episode was okay. The plot twists should’ve come later on but they were well executed either way. I’m looking forward to the next few episodes.

What do you think of Build so far? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Uchu Sentai Kyuranger: Episode 32 Review

The Space Sentai are in a new timeslot this week and this episode did all it could to kick off this new era with a bang! The episode opens with Don Armage ordering a new focus in eliminating the Kyurangers; any of his henchmen able to do so will achieve Vice Shogun status as a reward. Kukuruga blames Akyanba for this and takes responsibility for removing the Kyuranger problem himself. He summons Dogyun and deploys him to Earth.

Meanwhile, on the downed Orion-gou, our heroes continue to question Naga about the whereabouts of Don Armage. He is able to share his rough location but cannot say for sure. The enquiry turns to Raptor and when the Orion-gou will be repaired. She becomes flustered and is unable to answer until the alarms alert them to a series of Moraimazu explosions on Earth. The team are about to deploy when they notice Tsurugi sitting in the Captain’s seat. He states that he is taking over as commander because he used to be president of the Space Federation and activates Kyulette the Chance in a hilarious 80s hair band routine, assisted by Stinger.

With the fun over, Lucky, Stinger, Hammie, Naga and Garu head to Earth, flanked by Tsurugi. As they arrive, the population are being attacked by household appliances under the control of Dogyun. This begins an expanded introduction to the opening music, fully explaining who the team are and how they have developed into twelve saviours; a nice little catch up for anyone tuning in for the first time because of the new timeslot. The team are able to get around the appliances and launch a finishing attack on Dogyun. Just as the attack is about to hit, the blast is interrupted by a shot from Washi Pink, ostensibly saving the monster.

When questioned, she states that she hopes Dogyun could use his ability to control machines to help repair Orion-gou. Tsurugi explains that this isn’t possible, explaining the science of the gloop Dogyun uses to control appliances. He dismisses Raptor’s concern for the ship as delusional and Raptor runs away, devastated that he would speak badly of the potential demise of their ship.

The team return to assess the damage to the ship and Spada regales the story of when, at the time it was just the two of them on the ship, the Orion-gou appeared to perform a miracle to get them out of trouble. Tsurugi starts to come around and Lucky goes to speak to Raptor. The others return to confront Dogyun, who has anticipated their return and set the five Moraimazu in the area to explode on a ten minute timer. The team transform and attack Dogyun but are held back when Kukuruga interferes.

Lucky finds Raptor in a playground and talks her through the problem. He reassures her that the team feel the same way about the Orion-gou as she does and that she should honour him by continuing to save the galaxy with them. The pair take flight and remove the controlling gloop from the Moraimazu, thwarting Dogyun’s plan. With the threat of explosion removed, Tsurugi apologises to Raptor and the team make light work of Dogyun.

Dogyun grows to giant size and is met with Kyutamajin. While the Kyurangers are able to easily take care of Dogyun, he once again takes control of the Moraimazu, uniting them and putting the gigantic structure on a collision course with Earth. Lucky tries to use Kyutamajin to destroy the massive structure but even Ultimate Meteor Break is futile against it. Raptor vows to destroy the structure for the Orion-gou and show him that they will save the universe in his name. These words cause the Orion-gou to regain power. It teleports the remaining team members into their Voyagers and sets itself on a collision course with the Moraimazu monstrosity. The Orion-gou sacrifices itself to destroy the structure, leaving the parting message ‘Good Luck’ on their heads-up displays. With peace restored, the team mourn the loss of the ship and vow to defeat Don Armage for its sake.

As the episode closes, we’re treated to a glimpse of the past where Shou Lonpou is looking over a massive new ship. What is this ship and how will Ryu Commander get it to our heroes?

Did you enjoy this episode of Kyuranger? How do you feel about the demise of the Orion-gou. Let us know in the comment section below or discuss it with us on Toku Toy Store’s Facebook and Twitter!

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Power Rangers Ninja Steel: Episode 14 & 15 Review

This past fortnight’s Power Rangers Ninja Steel has been a royal double-bill. In these episodes, we’re introduced to a new character as well as a new Zord! Here is Toku Toy Store’s review of episode 14, The Royal Rival, and episode 15, The Royal Rumble.

The Royal Rival

The programme opens at school with Sarah showing off her latest business class project: Sarah’s Cookie Creator. Despite the uninspiring name, the device itself is pretty cool as it will create delicious cookies out of any and all ingredients. In case we weren’t convinced, resident morons, Victor and Monty, test out the machines capabilities with sardines, liver and broccoli. The irritating pair themselves, of course, have no project prepared and are given an ultimatum by the teacher to prepare it by tomorrow.

Up on Galvanax’s ship, we’re introduced to Princess Viera and her companion monster Lord Drillion. Galvanax and Madame Odius are not convinced by the Princess’ ability to take care of the Power Rangers but they are reassured that Drillion accompanies her, as he can take care of business in the event of her failure.

In the park, Sarah’s invention is creating massive lines of people hoping to sample her products. Victor and Monty are arrested for stealing a cow… mehville. As Preston attempts to use his magic to speed along the cookie making process, the team are contacted by Redbot, who has detected Buzzcam activity nearby. The Rangers leave Mick in charge of the stall and run off to investigate. In a more urban area, Princess Viera commands Drillion to cause chaos and destruction in an effort to draw out the Power Rangers. Her plan succeeds and Drillion makes light work of our heroes. During the battle, an errant energy blast collapses the balcony Princess Viera is watching from. Oblivious to the fact the falling woman is their enemy, Sarah cushions Viera’s fall with vines and Viera calls off her monster.

The pair returns to Galvanax’s ship where they are confronted by Galvanax. He accuses Viera of being weak but Viera, outraged, denies this, claiming she is smart and studies her enemies before destroying them. Galvanax and Drillion formulate a plan that would see Drillion take out Viera and the Rangers in exchange for rule of the Lion Galaxy.

Back at the park, Viera watches the Rangers from afar. They finish up making cookies until Viera approaches Sarah. Sarah offers Viera a cookie from her last batch but they are promptly stolen by a teenager. Viera pursues and captures the youth but Sarah insists she let him go. In conversation with the boy, he reveals that he was stealing the cookies to feed himself and his hungry sister. Sarah is understanding and compassionate but Viera can only look on, confused with what has just transpired. To compound that confusion, Sarah gifts her cookie maker to the teen so that he can sell cookies and buy food for himself and his sister. In a less than unexpected move, Princess Viera has an epiphany and waxes lyrical about how she always believed her galaxy’s ‘might makes right’ attitude was the wrong one. In the process, Viera inadvertently reveals her identity before the two are confronted by Drillion. Drillion attacks the Sarah but Viera jumps in front of the energy blast, saving her.

The whole team arrive and morph. Drillion easily handles the Rangers, breaking their Element Power Stars and bending or snapping their swords. Viera emplores the team to hold out as long as possible and teleports away. The Princess returns to Galvanax’s ship and steals back her lion ship. Frustrated with her escape, Galvanax orders the immediate gigantification of Drillion. The team take him on in the Ninja Fusion Zord but struggle as much as they did on the ground. The Fusion Zord is broken apart and the Rangers appear doomed. From out of nowhere, Princess Viera arrives in her lion ship. Drawing power from the atmosphere, she quickly scares Drillion away before flying off herself. As she flees the scene, she is shot down by Galvanax and crashes in the mountains.

Back in the business class, Sarah is about to fail for failing to complete her project but she is rescued by the teenage boy, who explains the situation to the teacher. Sarah receives an A as the episode closes.

The Royal Rumble

The next episode starts with a quick recap of Princess Viera being shot down before Drillion returns to Galvanax’s ship. Galvanax believes the Rangers will be defeated easily without the assistance of Princess Viera and commands Drillion to go back to Earth and check that her ship is fully destroyed. Before he leaves, Madame Odius takes him aside to give him a little upgrade.

On Earth, Viera is walking away from her downed ship when she discovers its anti-gravity crystal which, unfortunately, is damaged. We cut to the hidden base where Mick and Redbot are pleased to declare that all of their weapons have been repaired. As the team begin to strategise about how they’re going to defeat Drillion, Hayley finds a lion pin on her satchel. As she picks it off, it begins to glow and soon turns into Princess Viera. The team are startled but quickly come around to the idea of fixing her lion ship so that they can use it to stop Drillion. The Rangers ask Mick to help repair the anti-gravity crystal but he refuses, stating that they shouldn’t be helping someone that helped to enslave the Lion Galaxy. As she persuades them by professing her new found goodness, the Nexus Prism shows us a vision of the lion ship in battle. This convinces the team to use the last of the Ninja Steel to turn the lion ship into a zord. Mick and Redbot quickly get to work.

Back in the land of Galvanax, Drillion’s new arm monstrosity upgrade is complete. Galvanax sends Drillion to the forest to look for the lion ship and the Rangers. The team are alerted to Drillion’s proximity to the ship and enter battle. As before, our heroes struggle against the beast but Mick has completed the Ninja Star and throws it into the Nexus Prism. The Prism fires out a new Power Star but it is absorbed by Princess Viera’s armour. To everyone’s surprise, a new Power Star appears on Brody, the Red Ranger’s, wrist. He spins it and is transformed into the Red Lion Fire Ranger. Using his new abilities, Brody and the others make light work of Drillion.

Freshly gigantified, Drillion is confronted by the Lion Fire Zord  (I guess Mick had a little more Ninja Steel lying around after all). Brody forms the Lion Fire Megazord and uses all of its power to send Drillion into oblivion once and for all. Back in the Ranger’s base, Viera thanks the team for showing her the light. She vows to make the Lion Galaxy a better place and heads home to make changes to her kingdom. On her way out, she gives Mick a parting gift, establishing communication with his parents for the first time in twenty years. Mick tells them that he will come home after completing his business helping the Rangers to defeat Galvanax.

This was a pretty good two-parter. The disappointment of the pre-hiatus Ninja Steel seems to be behind us and the episodes seem to be consistently watchable at this point. As usual, the Victor and Monty segments are unnecessary but I’m sure the kids love them, or at least love to hate them. The addition of the Lion Armour was introduced properly, over two episodes, rather than just being gifted to them for no reason. This is a rarity in modern PR, so kudos to Chip Lynn and the team for that. Next, we head into the end of the first half of the series. Thanks to France, that’s already been spoiled but I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Did you enjoy The Royal Rival and The Royal Rumble? Let us know your thoughts on all things Ninja Steel in the comment section below or on Toku Toy Store’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Uchu Sentai Kyuranger: Episode 31 Review

As the battle to save the universe gets tougher and tougher, we get ever closer to finding out if our team of saviours can bring peace to every corner of space. The latest episode opens like many others with a recap of the last few episodes featuring the debut of Shishi Red Orion.

After the opening, we see our team get back together minus Shou and Champ, who are still in the past telling the story of of the legendary saviours. As the team get together, we find out Don Armage is still alive and controlling the universe, how can this be so, didn’t Lucky defeat Don Armage in the past?

As the team make a plan, we find out Naga has taken Garu and Kotaro hostage. Furthermore, Balance is missing and Echidna is still on Earth, tasked with defeating Naga as a consequence of his emotions being too dangerous. Much to the surprise of everyone, Balance returns and has a plan.

Echidna is next seen fighting Hebitsukai Metal on her own and seems to be losing quite badly, even to the point of being controlled by Naga’s special ability. Suddenly, Balance, Tsurugi, Lucky, Hammy and Spada appear to try to bring Naga back to normality. As our heroes transform, an all out fight between Balance and Naga starts. Will Balance be able to bring his friend back to normal or will Naga break the bond forever?

Just as Hebitsukai Metal launches a final attack on Tenbin Gold, Shishi Red blocks the attack. As the explosion clears, no-one can see Lucky and Balance. While the team act like they’re distraught after having lost their teammates, in truth they have been shrunk using the power of the Genbikyo Kyutama. Now in microscopic size, they enter Naga’s body.

Once inside Naga’s body, Balance and Lucky find the original version of Naga tied up. Balance instinctively steps towards him but Hebitsukai Metal tries to stop Balance from rescuing his pal. Balance tries to get through to Naga and, with the help of everyone cheering for him to come back, our version wakes up and destroys Hebisukai Metal for good.

With Naga finally free from his curse, he, along with the others, transform and fight Akyanba and her minions. Lucky uses his new Shishi Red Orion form to deal the most damage while everyone else fights the underlings. After a brief fight, Naga joins Lucky and uses the Dark Kyutama to become a good version of Hebisukai Metal. Metal deals a final blow to Akyanba but, unfortunately, she survives, gloating that she was using Naga for some fun.

Back on the Orion, the team welcome back Naga with open arms and plan to throw a party. Before they party, Naga reveals he now has an idea where Don Armage is, thanks to him working for Jark Matter.

In my opinion, this episode was fantastic. The fight scenes worked extremely well and the storylines following Naga and Balance has been some of the best in the series. I now can’t wait for it to move into the final arc.

What are your thoughts on the Hebitsukai Metal arc? Does it compare to the other arcs in the series? Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter!

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Kamen Rider Build: Episode 4 Review

Build has certainly made an impression in the tokusatsu world so let’s take a look at the latest episode. The episode opens with a quick recap of the first 3 episode as told by Sento and Ryuuga. After the recap, the episode opens with Sento remembering some more about his time being experimented on by Faust but this time he sees the Pandora Box.

Suddenly, he is woken up by Soichi who informs our hero that he found him almost dying in the warehouse and that it was almost too late to save him. How did Soichi know where to find Sento and why didn’t he run into Blood Stark? After Misora makes a new Full Bottle, Sento asks her to once again employ her internet followers in finding any information on the Skywall incident. Let’s she what her fanbase brings forward…

After the opening song and credits, we are shown a little more of Faust. Nabeshima is turned into a new SMASH monster and attacks Night Rogue, who easily stops the new monster in its tracks and explains more about the mysterious group’s full intentions: making the most powerful lifeforms.

Elsewhere, Sento asks Gentoku about what really happened during the ceremony that started off the Skywall incident. Gentoku reluctantly admits that two panels from the Pandora Box have been stolen but doesn’t want the public to know about it. Meanwhile, Ryuuga and Sawa have made it to Seito in an effort to save Nabeshima’s family. After locating Nabeshima’s wife and daughter, they try to smuggle them back to Touto via the boat they arrived on. All of a sudden, they are attack by a self-destructing Faust Guardians and almost blown up before making it onto the boat.

Back in Touto, Sento questions Soichi, but only gets the most vague of answers. What is Soichi hiding from our hero? Misora arrives to tell Sento a Smash has appeared but the tip they receive is very weird, it talks about experiments and essences; what could all this mean?

Sento quickly dispatches to the scene and confronts the box based SMASH, transforming into Build. He seems to be winning until Blood Stark shoots the SMASH with some kind of steam attack that makes SMASH grow. According to Stark, this is a new gas treatment and even of the subject survives, they will encounter side effects. Just as the SMASH is about the finish Build off, Ryuuga appears and throws the Drill Crusher to intervene. Build attacks the SMASH as HawkGatling and uses his final attack. Upon clearing the SMASH, our team find out that is is in fact Nabeshima, so they bring him to the hideout to try and get some answers.

After asking Nabeshima some questions, it become apparent that he is suffering from amnesia and doesn’t remember anything, not even his own family. Sento quickly steps in and calms the everyone down by telling Nabeshima and his family to focus on making new memories together, rather than dwelling on the lost ones. As everything is calming down, Nabeshima sees the Full Bottles on the wall and comments that Faust has some bottles just like these. Why would Faust have Full Bottles?

We cut to the Faust HQ where we see Night Rogue turning over a Pandora Box plate and placing a Full Bottle onto it.Rogue questions Stark about why he didn’t kill Build but all Stark can say is everything is going to plan. Back in Build’s basement, Sento begins to put it all together and, despite Soichi’s objection, hammers away at the wall panel he uses to find Best Matches to discover that it is a Pandora Box plate. Why is a Pandora Box panel here and who is Soichi really working for?

Personally, I feel this episode brought a lot of questions to the table but I really find myself drawn into the the story. I can’t wait to see all the answers come together and to see how this effects all the characters in question.

What were your thoughts on episode 4? Who is your favourite character so far? Let us know in the comment section below!