#2716: Ultraman – The Animation

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.

#2709: Piccolo – The Proud Namekian

PICCOLO — THE PROUD NAMEKIAN

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Last year, as I delved a bit into some lock-down-induced madness and lost my steady stream of new toys for a little bit, I expanded my ever so modest selection of Dragon Ball-related reviews with a pair of Figuarts I’d grabbed second hand.  Well, it’s been, like, a year, and I’m really hoping this one’s not going to be followed by more lock-down-madness, but I’m looking at another Dragon Ball Figuart.  This time around, I’m looking at one of the franchise’s most prominent characters, Piccolo, the Proud Namekian!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Piccolo the Proud Namekian (which is, by the way, this figure’s full and proper title) is an early 2021 release for S.H. Figuarts.  This is the third time we’ve gotten Piccolo in the line following the prior Anime and Manga colored variants of the last mold.  Both versions have shot up in price, and Figuarts have evolved somewhat since their release, so it was high time for a new version.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 38 points of articulation.  Piccolo marks some pretty great strides for Figuarts articulation, at least from my interactions.  The range on these guys has always been great, but all of the joints and various separate pieces needed to give the best range generally makes the figures feel a little bit less sturdy.  As I touched on a bit in my Great Saiyaman review from last year, Piccolo is less broken up to facilitate the articulation, and just generally feels like a more solid figure, while still getting a really good range of motion.  This is especially evident on the legs, which don’t feel as floppy as some of the other figures from the line tend to be.  Notably, they lack the usual drop-hips, but are constructed in such a way that they don’t miss out on too much movement.  I definitely dig this new set-up.  Piccolo’s sculpt is an all-new offering, totally unique from the last version of the character.  This one seems to go a bit more for a slightly later-show incarnation of Piccolo, after they were consistently drawing him as a bit more bulked up, looking a bit more like his appearance post-merging with Kami.  It’s quite a nice sculpt, with sharp detailing, and a rather nice, dynamic layout to his outfit.  Right out of the box, Piccolo is in his fully kitted out set-up, with his cape and turban.  The cape is, as with most Figuarts capes, a little tricky to work with, due to its hard plastic construction.  It’s a little better handled than it was on Saiyaman, and I had less issues with it falling off on this release.  It’s using a multi-piece construction, with the shoulders and actual cape being separate parts, and the cape proper being made up of three separate sections in order to allow for more dynamic posing.  The standard head has the turban in place and a calm, more neutral expression, which is a good fit for the character.  Piccolo’s paint work is generally pretty basic, without a ton going on.  It’s cleanly applied, and bright and eye catching.  There are some very cool touches mixed in, specifically the small bit of exposed skin at his ankles; it’s an easily overlooked detail, but a cool one.  Piccolo’s accessory selection is quite impressively large.  He gets an alternate screaming expression for the turban-wearing head (the turban piece can be swapped between the two), plus three different heads without the turban, one calm, one screaming, and one with a really exaggerated expression.  He’s also got seven hands, in fist (R/L), clawing (R/L), wide gesture (R/L), and special beam cannon (R), plus an alternate set of crossed arms (rather recurrent with DBZ figures) and an extra torn off left arm stump.  Lastly, he’s got three pieces for his back; one to plug up the hole left by the cape, one for use of a stand with the cape down, and one for a stand with the cape up.  *Not* included is any sort of actual stand, as is pretty standard for Figuarts; I provided my own for the photo at the top of this review.  All in all, this selection of extras covers all the major Piccolo looks, and ives the figure quite a bit of range, which I certainly appreciate.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was first getting into these guys, Piccolo’s original Anime color release was already kind of pricey, so I held off on him, but still kind of wanted one.  Last year, when All Time started carrying Dragon Stars, I thought about snagging that line’s version of Piccolo, but ultimately decided to wait for a chance at another Figuart.  So, when this guy came in, it was kind of hard to say no.  So…uhh…I didn’t?  He’s a really impressive figure, and probably the best I’ve picked up from this sub-line.   Definitely glad I snagged him.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2370: Great Saiyaman

GREAT SAIYAMAN

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Oh wow, another Dragon Ball review?  This soon?  Is the reviewer going crazy?  Or is it just that he’s got no means of getting new toys and so therefore just has to make his way through pretty much whatever he’s got sitting here waiting to be reviewed in order to keep up with a daily review schedule?  I think it might actually be both, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out for sure.  So, Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z‘s got a couple of time skips built into it.  The first is of course the big jump from Dragon Ball to Dragon Ball Z, which sees Goku and his friends go from kids to adults.  However, within Z, there’s also another sizable jump following the resolution of “Cell Games”, doing a similar time skip to what we saw with Goku, but this time with his son Gohan, who takes over as the series’ main focus, at least until his dad comes back from the dead…again.  During his time as lead, a high-school aged Gohan takes on the secret identity of the Great Saiyaman in order to protect the city without giving away his identity.  I’m looking at a figure of that identity today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Great Saiyaman was released in 2019 as part of the Dragon Ball Z-sub-set of the S.H. Figuarts line.  He’s the third Gohan figure, slotting right in the middle between the previously released kid Gohan and adult Gohan.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Saiyaman scales pretty well with the rest of the Figuarts Dragon Ball stuff I’ve got, excepting of course the Krillin that’s out of scale with everything else.  The sculpt is probably the sturdiest and cleanest of the Dragon Ball figures I’ve looked at.  The articulation doesn’t break up the sculpt too much, and he seems to follow pretty closely to the animation designs for the character.  The only part of the figure I don’t really much care for is his cape, which has a hard plastic construction (except for the part on the shoulders, which is rubber), which makes it really awkward to handle.  It doesn’t help that it also doesn’t stay in place particularly well, meaning it falls off a lot during normal posing.  If you can get it to work with you, however, it makes for some dynamic looks.  The paint work on Saiyaman is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a solid application.  It seems to match pretty well with the show in terms of color, and I quite like the slightly different finish they’ve given the helmet.  It does well to differentiate it as a different, harder material than the other portions of the costume.  As with most Figuarts releases, Saiyaman is quite a well accessorized.  He’s got four sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, wide open gesture, and flat), two faceplates for the standard helmeted head (calm and angry), a plug for the spot on his back where the cape usually goes (should you wish to display him without it), an alternate left forearm without his watch, and not one, not two, but three separate extra heads.  He’s got his “tournament” look with the bandana and sunglasses, which is kind of the standard alt look for this costume, as well as a standard unmasked Gohan, and a Super Saiyan Gohan.   What I find most impressive about this release is how many distinct alternate appearances he’s got thanks to all those parts; you can effectively build four different figures with the parts included here.  I’m planning to stick with the helmeted look, but boy is it tricky to stick with just one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though my main focus with DBZ is the Android Saga, which is before the time-skip that leads to this guy, I did watch this particular chunk of Gohan’s story pretty regularly when it was airing on Cartoon Network.  I’m also just generally a fan of Super Heroes, so this part of the story always stuck out to me.  The story of how I got this Saiyaman figure is pretty similar to how I got Krillin, though without the “I missed out on the previous version” bit.  I recall him being announced, and I thought about picking him up a few times, but never did get around to it.  He was traded into All Time, and I still had some trade credit to burn, so he was mine.  I didn’t have much in the way of expectations for this figure, and I wasn’t sure about what to do with him on his own, but this figure’s such a nice package deal to himself, and I’m really glad I decided to grab him.

#2363: Krillin

KRILLIN

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

It’s been three years since I’ve looked at anything Dragon Ball Z.  It’s not a huge surprise, really, because, while I was a child of the ’90s and therefore it was impossible for me to totally miss the DBZ phenomenon, I still never got *super* into it.  To date, I’ve reviewed my whole collection of stuff from it here on the site; all five pieces of it.  Well, now it’s up to six, thanks to today’s entry: Krillin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Krillin was released as part of the Dragon Ball-sub-set of S.H. Figurarts in 2018.  You’ll note I said “Dragon Ball” and not “Dragon Ball Z”.  That’s because this figure is actually from the earlier show, and is meant to represent Krillin as a kid, rather than his adult form, which got a Figuarts release much earlier in the line.  Krillin stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  If you want to get really technical, Krillin’s a little bit on the large side to be in scale with the rest of the line, but to be fair, this was true of the prior figure as well.  At least this one is shorter than that one, so there’s a loose sense of internal scale.  The Dragon Ball animation was a little looser with the character models than later incarnations of the show, so it’s hard to really nail them down for one single representation in figure form.  The figure does its best, and I think the end result works out okay.  It’s pretty clear who he’s supposed be, and more specifically which version he’s supposed to be.  He also adhere’s pretty well to the line’s pre-existing style, so he blends in alright with other figures.  That said, he does end up a little more toned than he usually looked in the show, bringing him slightly more in line with his DBZ appearances.  I think it’s a good medium, and it works particularly well for this style of figure.  Like the DBZ stuff, Krillin gets multiple heads with differing expressions.  He comes wearing the one with the friendly grin, but there’s also a more devious grin, and a screaming expression.  The likeness on the face is pretty consistent across all three heads, but they still offer a lot of variety to the display options.  Krillin’s paintwork is fairly nice.  Overall, it’s pretty basic, of course, but that’s appropriate for the character.  The application is all nice and sharp, though, and he fits well with the rest of the line style-wise.  To make up for his smaller stature, Krillin is pretty heftily accesorized.  He’s got the three heads I mentioned previously, plus a display stand, a blast effect, 11 hands (L/R fists, L/R wide open gesture, L/R open gesture, L/R peace sign, L/R claw, and R grip), a Dragon Ball, and a…rock with a kanji on it?  I don’t know exactly what that last one is, but I’m guessing its some sort of story specific item.  Whatever the case, a cool selection of extras to be sure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on getting the DBZ Krillin at a reasonable price, which was a serious bummer, since he was really the last prominent character I wanted for my “Android Saga” collection.  When this guy was released, I looked at him a few times, but just never got around to actually buying him.  One was traded into All Time last month, though, and I had a bunch of trade credit, so he was suddenly a much easier purchase.  He’s actually a pretty nice figure, and not a terrible stand-in for an older Krillin.  I was even able to mod the extra Krillin head included with Android 18 in order to make him look even more like a proper adult Krillin!

 

#1454: Phoenix Ikki

PHOENIX IKKI

KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC (BANDAI)

And now for another installment of “Ethan reviews a figure from a source he’s completely unfamiliar with.”

Knights of the Zodiac is…this thing?  Hang on, I can do better than that.  It’s actually a manga and an anime, originally titled Saint Seyia, which showed up in Japan in the ’80s and eventually made its way to the US in the early 2000s.  It’s a story that’s rather heavily inspired by Greek myths…and that’s really it.  Not sure where the whole Zodiac thing came into it.  I’m gonna go ahead and blame the French, since they’re the ones that stuck it in the title when they imported it.  It’s always the French, isn’t it? Odd blaming of an entire nation aside, today I’ll be looking at one of the many figures to come out of the property, based on Phoenix Ikki!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

When the Knights of the Zodiac anime was imported to the US in the early ’00s, Bandai America picked up the license and put out few different styles of figures.  Phoenix Ikki comes from the deluxe line, which was larger scale a featured fancy removable armor.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation.  All of the deluxe figures were built on the same standard body.  It’s well articulated, though perhaps a little mannequin -like in its build.  Given that it’s really just meant to be the starting point of a much more complicated design, it’s not a terrible sculpt.  He gets a unique headsculpt, which is decent, I suppose.  It’s a little bit odd, since Ikki has long hair and they still have account for the helmet and other armor, which means the shaping is a little weird.  Not awful-weird, but still no-human-could-have-that-weird.  At the very least it’s unique.  To complete his look, Ikki includes several pieces of clip-on armor.  There’s a helmet, chest piece, skirt/belt, wrist bracers, and shin guards.  They’re a little bulky, and any gold sections are rather flaky, but otherwise, it’s pretty cool.  The chrome is certainly eye-catching, and I really dig the wings, which are individually articulated.  My figure is missing the skirt and one half of each shin guard, but I find I actually like him better without those pieces.  In regards to paint, the figure’s somewhat basic and a little bit drab for my taste, but the application is at least clean, and nothing notable appears to be missing.  The armor was the main extra here, so no real other accessories were included, but he did include a small dummy to store the armor in, which was pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was much smaller, I watched this show called Mystic Knights, which had a toy line very similar to this one.  Many years later, I found a few of these figures on clearance at KB Toys, so I got them out of an odd bit of nostalgia.  I actually have several volumes of the manga, which I even read, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you what happened in any of them.  Nevertheless, this is actually a pretty fun figure, and I’m glad to have it.

#1386: Roy Fokker

ROY FOKKER

ROBOTECH (MATCHBOX)

“Heroic commander of the famed ‘Skull Squadron’ assigned the monumental task of defending SDF-1. He is the classic definition of a hero. He is also able to transcend his heroic mold to be human and compassionate. He likes to tease his friends especially Rick Hunter, and create a feeling of general camaraderie. His raw courage and skill as a fighter pilot is matched only by Maximillian Sterling.”

Once upon a time, Matchbox was more than just a brand of die cast cars.  They were actually their own toy company outright.  Around the mid-80s, they tried their hand at making action figures, offering up a rather eclectic selection of properties.  They never hit any major success, and were ultimately absorbed into Mattel.  Anyway, amongst their selection of properties was Robotech, a recent discovery of mine.  Last time I wrote a Robotech review, I looked at one of the cool fighter robot Veritech Fighters.  Today, I’ll be looking at that very fighter’s pilot, Commander Roy Fokker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roy Fokker was released in the basic series of Matchbox’s Robotech line in 1986 (a slightly tweaked version was later offered in 1992, as part of Harmony Gold’s re-release line).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Roy’s construction makes use of a rubber band assembly, similar to the style popularized by GI Joe’s A Real American Hero incarnation.  As Matchbox was not quite as established a player in the industry as Hasbro, the figure isn’t quite as strong an offering.  The articulation is more obvious and slightly more limited, and the proportions are a bit more off (slightly large head, small torso, long arms, etc.)  He’s definitely a dated looking figure.  Not a bad looking figure, of course, provided this sort of style appeals to you.  Fortunately, it’s the sort of style that’s right up my alley.  Stylization aside, he’s got a pretty respectable likeness of Roy from the show, which is really the most important element.  The paint work on this figure is fairly basic overall, but decent nonetheless.  Aside from his skin being a little on the pale side, the colors match pretty well with the source material, and the application is generally pretty clean.  There’s a bit of wear on my figure, most noticeably on the straps on his torso, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary fro a figure of this vintage.  Roy was originally packed with both his pilot’s helmet and a gun, but my figure lacks both of these pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding the Last Stand VF-1S, I was on the lookout for some more Robotech.  Unfortunately, like I noted in that figure’s review, they aren’t the most common items to find.  I’ve been checking out my usual toy store stops, in the the hopes of finding a few more of the Toynami Veritechs, but so far I’ve had no luck.  I did, however, find this guy at Yesterday’s Fun while I was on vacation, which was pretty sweet.  He’s a goofy figure, but I like goofy figures, so he works for me.  Now I’ve got a pilot to go with the fighter!

#1359: VF-1S Roy Fokker – Last Stand

VF-1S ROY FOKKER – LAST STAND

ROBOTECH: VERITECH SUPER POSABLE FIGURE (TOYNAMI)

For someone who’s so hardcore into media that has to do with giant robot fighting suits, you’d probably assume that I’d be all about Robotech.  Truth be told, I only actually started watching the show a month ago.  I’ve absolutely been loving it; I can’t really say why I put off watching it for quite so long.  Anyway, there are a ton of Robotech toys out there.  They aren’t the most common items to find, since there’s a pretty big fanbase that collects them, but every so often you do find the occasional stray figure, and I was fortunate enough to do so.  Today, I’ll be looking at the Veritech fighter of my personal favorite character from the show, Roy Fokker.  So, let’s look at the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

In 2001, Toynami picked up the license for Robotech, and they put out a line dubbed Robotech: Veritech Super Posable Figures.  Roy Fokker’s VF-1S was from that line.  This particular version is dubbed the “Last Stand” version, presumably based on Episode 18 of the series, which contains Roy’s final stand and eventual demise (spoilers, I guess).  The figure was released as an exclusive through ToyFare magazine, as a way of promoting the line.  Sculpturally, the VF-1S is the same figure as the standard release, just with a tweaked paint job.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall (largely due to his splayed legs; he’d be closer to 8 standing straight) and he has 22 points of articulation.  It’s somewhat amusing to see this figure branded as “super-posable” in this day and age, given his lack of a number of joints that are kind of essential in this day and age.  The most egregious omission is the lack of anything beyond cut joints on the hips, which means he’s perpetually stuck in this slightly splayed-leg-pose.  It’s far from the worst thing ever, and there’s no denying that he’s highly posable in several other areas, but it’s still a little limiting.  For the time, though, it was actually pretty amazing, so credit where credit is due.  The sculpt on this guy is really solid work; he pretty closely follows the show’s design and the detail work is all really sharp and geometric, just like it should be.  The joints are also worked in very nicely, but that’s just a matter of keeping consistent with the character design (which isn’t exactly something that’s always done; looking at you, Hasbro!).  This is a non-transforming figure, so he’s always in robot mode (which is the cool mode), but the important elements that remain from the original mode are still there, and very nicely detailed.  They’ve even made his skull leader insignia a raised element, to help differentiate him from the other Veritechs.  There are a few mold lines that I wish were a little less obvious, but beyond that, I’m very happy with the sculpt.  The paint is what differentiates this from the normal release; where the basic figure was clean and shiny, this figure depicts Roy after he takes a beating.  There’s a bunch of heavy shading and burn marks, as well as some pretty amazing bullet holes and puncture wounds.  Those are all still just painted on, but are quite convincing as actual damage to the figure.  I find that all of this extra work really does a lot to bring out the strengths of the sculpt and makes for an all-around more visually interesting figure.  Roy’s VF-1S is packed with three sets of hands in fists, trigger finger, and open gesture poses, as well as his rifle, which has adjustable pieces, allowing it to be held in his hand or slung over his shoulder.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As noted in the intro, I only got into Robotech very recently, so I didn’t get this guy new (though I do recall when he was offered in ToyFare, since I was a subscriber at the time).  Instead, I found him just a few weeks ago at this awesome place around the corner from me called Lost In Time Toys.  My brother got their card at AwesomeCon and we went to check them out and just happened to catch them in the middle of a moving sale.  This guy was amongst the handful of items still yet to be moved, so I got him for half of his usual price, which was a pretty darn good deal.  I will admit, I was a little annoyed by the hips when I got him out of the box, but other than that small issue, I just can’t help but love this guy.  I foresee myself tracking down more of this line.

#1212: Dr. Gero

DR. GERO

DRAGON BALL Z (IRWIN TOYS)

gero1

In the four prior Dragon Ball Z-related reviews on this site, I’ve made it no secret that the Android Saga is my favorite era of the show.  That’s been fairly evident in the choices of characters I’ve collected.  Today’s figure, Dr. Gero (aka Android 20), is no different.  Of course, so far, the figures have also all been from Bandai’s SH Figuarts line.  That’s where today’s figure differs, instead hailing from Irwin Toys’ Dragon Ball Z line that ran concurrent with the US-run of the show.  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

gero2Dr. Gero was released in the fifth series of Irwin’s Dragon Ball Z line, which hit in 2001.  At that point, the show had moved onto the Cell Saga, and most of this series reflects that, with Gero being the only Android Saga figure in the set.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Not a lot of movement there, but it was actually pretty good for the time.  Gero sported a totally unique sculpt, patterned after his appearance on the show.  It’s not quite as accurate as the Figuarts, but still a surprisingly solid recreation.  The basic look is definitely there, and there’s plenty of detail work, especially on the shirt.  I do sort of wish areas such as the pants had a little more detailing to them, and the face is a touch too wide and squat (Gero was quite gaunt), but it’s not horribly off.  I appreciate that they even sculpted in his brain under the dome, since that’s the sort of thing that can get overlooked.  Like the sculpt, the paint isn’t perfect, but is still more than serviceable.  The colors are all a pretty good match for the onscreen appearance, and most of the application is pretty clean.  He doesn’t really have any sort of accent work, which certainly would have helped the sculpt shine a bit more, but for the period, he’s not bad.  Gero was originally packed with his hat to cover his brain dome and a trio of dragon balls, however, my figure did not have them.  Still, that’s a pretty cool assortment of extras, especially for a more minor character like Gero.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never got into DBZ figures when the show was still on.  Almost bought a few of them numerous times, but just never did.  So, I got Gero second hand.  He’s another 2nd Avenue find, actually.  He was in with a bunch of fast food toys and such, for like $2.  Since I had the Figuarts Androids and the likelihood of a Figuarts Gero is rather slim, I figured he was worth it.  He didn’t come with any of the extras and he’s rather beaten up (he’s actually missing part of his right thumb; I carefully shot around that), but he cost me $2 and he scales well enough with the Figuarts stuff that I feel he was worth my time.

#1170: Trunks

TRUNKS (PREMIUM COLOR)

S.H. FIGUARTS

trunks1

For day 4 of my post-Christmas reviews, I’ll be taking at something slightly different. Not totally different, since it’s Dragon Ball Z, from which I’ve already looked at three figures from that ‘verse.  It’s just been over a year and a half since my last one of those. There’s a definite theme to my DBZ collection, with all of them being key players in “The Android Saga,” which happens to be the one arc of the series I really followed from start to finish.  Today’s figure, Trunks, follows that theme, being one of two major protagonists introduced during said arc.  Let’s take a look at him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

trunks2Trunks was initially released as one of the earlier figures in the DBZ-subset of S.H. Figuarts.  He proved to be one of the most popular figures in the line (not surprising, since Trunks has long had a sizable fanbase), giving quite the hefty aftermarket value.  To make it a bit easier for fans to get some of the earlier, more prominent characters, Bandai’s started putting out “Premium Color” variants, which  tweak the paint jobs of the figures ever so slightly, but otherwise serve as pretty straight re-releases.  The re-released Trunks hit early last year.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 43 points of articulation.  Trunks went through a number of different looks on the show, but this figure is based on Future Trunks’ initial appearance during “The Android Saga,” which is of course prior to the appearance of Present Trunks, who started off as a baby…it’s a little confusing, so don’t try to think about it too much.  The trunks3point is, this is Trunks’ original look, and in many ways his best look.  It’s certainly the most definitive.  His sculpt does an admirable job of translating his animated appearance into three-dimensions.  It’s not a pitch-perfect recreation of him, but seems more like an idealized sort of “what he would look like if the animation could always be totally consistent” sort of version of him.  As an animated figure, he’s a lot more stylized and has less fine detail work than, say, one of the Super Sentai figures.  That being said, there’s still a lot of really sharp detailing to be found on this guy, especially on the hair and jacket.  In his default, packaged form, Trunks is sporting his non-Super-Saiyan hair and a basic face with an intense stare, which are definitely solid pieces, and a very good choice for the default version of the character.  He also includes a second non-Super-Saiyan face, this time sporting trunks5gritted teeth, which can be swapped out in a similar fashion to what was seen with Androids 17 and 18.  There’s also a separate Super-Saiyan head, which has three faces of its own (intense stare, gritted teeth, and screaming).  All of them swap out with relative ease (though they’re a little difficult to get popped in place the first time; be careful of all those points on the hair, they really hurt!).  Trunks’ paintwork is all pretty solid.  The earlier version had more variation in some of the colors, but I find this one is a bit sharper overall, which just looks all around better to me.  The colors look to match up pretty well to his onscreen counterpart, and fit well with the other figures I’ve gotten.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head and faces, Trunks also includes five pairs of hands (fists, gripping, flat, wide-spread, and gesturing), his sword, a scabbard to go with it, and a “dummy” hilt to go in the scabbard so that you don’t risk breaking the sword.  The extras are all a lot of fun, though my figure did wind up with a broken peg where the scabbard plugs into the shoulder.  Make sure to be extra careful when removing that!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I almost bought Trunks’ original release way back when he was still new.  I was in NYC with my family, and Midtown Comics had one.  However, at that point I had yet to get into the import game and just couldn’t conceive of paying a whole $35 for one figure.  How foolish I was.  Obviously, by the time I picked up the Androids, Trunks was going for a lot more than $35, so I wasn’t getting him then.  I knew he was getting a re-issue, but somehow its actual release slipped under my radar.  I ended up spotting him at Barnes & Noble around Thanksgiving while out with my family.  I offhandedly mentioned wanting the figure but not having the money and thought nothing more of it.  A few weeks later, I went back to the store to buy a gift for my brother and Trunks was gone, and I just figured he wasn’t meant for me.  Cut to Christmas morning, opening my first gift from my parents, and there this guy is.  As it turns out, my mom took note of my interest, and while I was grabbing something from the B&N cafe, she went back and purchased this guy.  She’s a crafty one!  I’ve quite pleased with this guy, and happy to have finally gotten him.  Of course, now my resolve to hold off on getting more of these guys is being worn down…

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#0562: Android No. 16

ANDROID NO. 16

S.H. FIGUARTS

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Hey, remember when I reviewed the last two Dragon Ball Z Android figures from SH Figuarts and I was all like “I guess I have to buy the third one now?” Well, I, uhh, bought the third one. Yeah, I’m kind of a pushover when it comes to action figures. So, today, I’ll be having a look at Android 16, the third member of the main android trio, and the only one of them who was actually, you know, an android. Funny how that works.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

16bAndroid 16 is another figure from the Dragon Ball Z subset of Bandai’s SH Figuarts line. The figure was released around March or so of this year. The figure stands over 6 inches in height (almost a full inch taller than his compatriots) and features 32 points of articulation. While the other two androids were known to change up their style from time to time, 16 had exactly one outfit on the show, and this figure depicts him in said outfit. Like the last two figures, 16’s sculpt is unique to him. The figure does a fantastic job of translating the character’s design from the show into three dimensions. Sometimes figures of animated characters will only work when viewed from certain angles, but that isn’t an issue here. The sculpt is nicely proportioned and has some really sharp work, especially in areas like the folds of his boots and the texture of his shirt. Also, the work on the faces seems a lot clearer and more defined here than it was on the previous two figures, though it may just be Bandai taking advantage of the slightly larger scale of the sculpt. There are three different faces that can be swapped out. He comes packed wearing the death-glare head, which is sufficiently intimidating, but he also has heads with grinning and shouting expressions, should you want to mix things up. In addition to the basic heads, there is a battle-damaged head, which shows some of the inner workings of 16’s head, and gives him a more shocked expression. 16 includes two pairs of hands, in fists and open gesture, and his forearms can be removed to replicate his fist-launching ability, which also showcases some great detail work on the “stumps” of his forearms. 16 doesn’t feature the most complicated paintwork, but what’s there is clean, even, and avoids any issues of slop or bleed over. The colors are also a pretty good match for those used on the show. The heads all feature essentially the same paint, with the exception of the damaged head, which sets itself ahead of the others with some scuffing on the face and some great scorching at the edge of the exposed machinery. 16 is a little lighter in the accessories department than a lot of other Bandai releases, with only the extra heads and hands. However, these are worthy additions, and the figure’s increased size means that he doesn’t feel like he’s coming up short.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting 17 at MAGFest and finding 18 online, I went ahead and preordered 16 through Amazon. That was in February, and boy did he take his sweet time getting here. Apparently, Amazon gets their import stuff in little trickles here and there, so I had to wait a little while for my 16 to come into stock. I’m happy to say he was worth the wait. 16 is definitely my favorite of the three android figures. He’s just a very well put together figure and he’s a fantastic representation of the character.

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