ULTRAMAN — THE ANIMATION
S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)
You know what be nice? Not going over a year between Ultraman-related reviews. Wouldn’t that be a novel concept? I think it would! I’m going to do my part, and so should you! Now, my part is very clearly purchasing the Ultraman items and then reviewing them. Your part is…reading the reviews? I guess. Seems like one of these jobs is gonna be way easier. Not gonna say which. But I’ll imply. Because of the implications. When last I spoke of Ultraman, I was focussed in on the Netflix animated adaptation of the manga, and I’m staying in that general area for today’s review. But, while that review was of the Ultraseven stand-in, this time I’m looking at the series’ main central Ultra, Shinjiro Hayata.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Ultraman (The Animation) was released as part of the greater S.H. Figuarts line back closer to Netflix’s launch of the animation, as a tie-in. I know, it’s a radical concept, right? This is the second version of Shinjiro, following the manga-based version of the character that launched the Ultras into Figuarts back in 2015. In adapting into animation, the suit uses the B Suit version’s colors, which were tweaked a bit to more closely read as the classic Hayata suit. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation. Ultra’s movement is rather similar to the Ace suit, as opposed to Version 7, where the hips and legs have good range, but the shoulders are a little more restricted. It’s slightly different, since it’s not sculpt getting in the way so much on the shoulders, but more the joints just being tighter. So, it’s possible to get more movement out of them, but it just takes a bit more doing. I suppose that’s a little better for long-term posing, but it does at times make me worry I might break the joints. The figure’s sculpt is up to the usual standards for Figuarts, so it’s sharp and pretty precise. Compared to the pointy-ness of 7 and the boxy nature of Ace, this one’s a fairly good middle ground. He’s fairly compact and streamlined. It has a lot of similarities to the 2015 figure, obviously, but it looks like parts sharing between the two is minimal. This one adjusts things to slightly more streamline the silhouette. It makes him look quite sleek, and I really like how clean he looks, especially when you get him into the right poses. It also better captures the slightly adjusted design of the later suit, better emulating the classic Ultraman design. The paint work on this guy is, like the sculpt, clean and sharp. The color scheme is the later design’s colors, which, while perhaps not as unique, I find to be a bit more eye-catching. The larger sections of the same color just seem to read better for the character. In terms of accessories, Shinjiro includes three pairs of hands (fists, relaxed, and open gesture), two Specium Slash pieces, a Specium Ray effect, standard arm guards, arm guards with the Specium Blades deployed, and one arm guard with a spot to plug in the Specium Ray. It pretty much covers all of the basics for the character, and they’re all pretty solid pieces. I did have a little trouble with the arm guards popping out on my figure, but it’s not terrible.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
After getting the Version 7 figure from Super Awesome Wife for Christmas, I found myself with both Ace and 7, but no standard Ultraman, which seemed slightly incomplete. She and I wound up with several Barnes & Noble gift cards after the holidays, and this guy was one of the figures they had in stock, so I figured it was as good a time as any to snag him. He’s a fun figure to be sure, and I’m glad I finally rounded out the set.