ULTRAMAN ACE SUIT
S.H. FIGUARTS X ULTRA-ACT (BANDAI)
It’s Day 5 of my post-Christmas reviews, and today I’ll be returning to one of my very favorite franchises, Ultraman. My Ultraman reviews have gotten few and far between. That’s the sort of thing that happens when they end the main line you collect of something, I suppose. Without a steady stream of new Ultra-Act offerings, there’s a bit less regularity to my Ultra-collecting habits. The Figuarts offerings are very cool, but there’s also a bit of overlap between the two collections, so I haven’t really picked up anything from that line. Well, until now, anyway. Today’s figure is based on the currently running Ultraman manga, which is a sort of soft reboot of the franchise, taking only the original show as canon, and following the adventures of Hayata’s son Shinjiro as he takes up the mantle of Ultraman. The series has also introduced some of the later Ultras as recurring characters, though they aren’t proper Ultramen like they were before. So, without further ado, here’s the Ultraman Ace Suit, piloted by Seiji Hokuto, a reimagining of one of Ace’s two hosts!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Ace Suit is the third offering in the SHFiguarts X Ultra-Act line, following the standard manga Ultraman and the Ver7.2 Suit. As the Ace Suit is the third suit to appear in the manga, it’s a sensible release order. The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation. Ace is the shortest of the three manga Ultras, and the figure reflects that. I will admit, after messing around with CaRB for a few days, Ace’s articulation felt a little bit restricted, but compared to the average Figuarts offering, he’s not too bad. The shoulders are the most difficult thing, because they have to be configured just right for any given move. But, once you get a feel for the figure, it’s not too hard to get him posed how you’d like him. Ace’s sculpt is unique to him, and it does a pretty respectable job of translating the manga design into three dimensions. It certainly helps that Ace is my favorite so far of the manga Ultras. I definitely appreciate the common elements between this design and the classic Ace design, especially filtered through the manga’s more tactical design aesthetic. His suit is pretty sleek and clean, and I quite like the more squared off nature. It really goes well with the classic Ace elements, such as the pseudo Greco-Roman style helmet. The sculpt gets all of these design elements worked in quite nicely, and doesn’t skimp in the smaller details. I like that you can tell what’s actually armor and what’s a more flexible undersuit, just through the shaping of the materials. In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty much on par with the various Ultra-Act figures I reviewed. Everything is pretty clean and sharp, and the metallics look top-notch. I particularly like that his lenses are translucent yellow; they look amazing when the light hits them the right way. The Ace Suit is quite well accessorized. He includes three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and flat poses), extra gauntlets, his specium blade, a slightly longer set of wrists (for use with the blade), and an alternate unmasked head with two different facial expressions. The blade can be a little tricky to get set-up the right way, since it requires swapping out the wrists and getting the hands and bracers swapped over to the new ones, as well as getting the blade properly seated between the arms. It took a few tries to get my figure to hold the blade the right way. The extra head is certainly a nice touch, especially after a similar piece was left out of the first release of the main Ultraman. The separate expressions work much the same as they do with the DBZ figures, and add a nice bit of character to the figure, though I hardly see myself displaying him unmasked.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Ace is Tim’s fault indirectly, and I suppose my parents fault directly. It’s Tim’s fault I know this figure exists. Which is a bit weird, when you get down to it, since I’m the Ultraman fan, but somehow this one slipped past me. Once I saw him, I knew I wanted one, and my parents were nice enough to get me him for Christmas. It’s kind of funny, because, while I like the original Ace, he’s never been one of my favorites. This figure, on the other hand, very definitely is. He’s a ton of fun, and just really cool looking to boot.