#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!

 

#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…

trunks6

#0562: Android No. 16

ANDROID NO. 16

S.H. FIGUARTS

16a

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.

16d 16e 16c

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.

16f

#0491: Android No. 18

ANDROID NO. 18

S.H. FIGUARTS

Slowly, but surely, I’m being sucked into the world of Japanese import figures. It started with Ultraman, which is a Japanese property for which there is a small quantity of US-based merchandise. I’m a huge Ultraman fan. So I had to get an import, right? Then there were the Power Rangers, and sure, there’s been a plethora of stuff from that show, but it wasn’t ever particularly good. I was rather fond of Power Rangers too, so it made sense. But, then there was Dragon Ball Z. I’d seen the show, and all, but I never even bought the cheap figures released in America. Why would I pony up the big bucks for import figures? Well, I’m weak. I can’t help it. I caved, and I bought Android 17 at a convention. So, obviously I had to get his sister, Android 18. It’s just what’s right! So, umm… here she is, I guess…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Android 18 is part of the Dragon Ball Z subset of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line. She was released in the third quarter of 2014, not long before her brother. Her figure is about 5 ½ inches in height, with 36 points of articulation. Unlike her brother, 18 actually had quite a few looks on the show to choose from for the figure. They’ve gone with her earliest look, from the episodes that introduced these two. Since they’re also releasing Android 16, it’s a sensible choice to put her in this outfit, as it allows the three of them to be displayed together properly. It’s also the outfit I most associate with the character, so no complaints here. 18 features a unique sculpt, based on her design from the show. I thought 17 was a pretty great translation of the show design and I think that 18 is even better. She looks great from just about every angle and stays true to the show, while still adding some nice fine detail work not present in the show designs. The hair in particular has some wonderful fine detail work. The vest and skirt pieces have both been carefully engineered so as to look good and solid while at the same time not interfering with the movement. It’s a careful balance, and it’s handled very well. Like 17, 18’s basic face is one devoid of emotion, which is perfect for the early portrayals of the character. Perhaps the only down point of the sculpt is the separation of the hair pieces, which are not quite as recessed as they were on 17. It’s especially noticeable around the part at the front of her hair. However, it’s mostly a matter of posing, so there’s lots of views where the seam isn’t too obvious. The paintwork on 18 is pretty solid. The colors are nice and bold, and accurate to the show. Everything is clean and there is plenty of great accent work to help bring out the strengths of the sculpt. All of the small detail work is clean and concise, and there’s no bleed over or slop to speak of. S.H. Figuarts are always well accessorized, and 18 is no exception. She includes a spare set of arms in the crossed position, three extra faces, a separate hairstyle and four sets of hands. The crossed arms are much the same as those with 17, and they offer a definitive pose for the character. The faces include one with a grin, one with angry eyes, and one with what can only be described as a “kissy face.” The differences in the grin and angry faces are minimal at best, but not bad, I guess. The kissy face is meant to directly interact with Krillin, and it’s a good replication of that look, though it’s hardly a standard look for the character. The hair is windblown, in a similar fashion to what we saw on 17, which is definitely cool. The hands include: fists, wide spread open palm, two finger grip, and relaxed. They are, notably, a lot easier to swap than 17’s, which is good. In addition to her own pieces, 18 also includes and extra head, hand, and a remote control piece that are all meant to go with Krillin. The head is Krillin’s reaction to the kissy face, and the hand and control are pieces that are directly related to the Android story arc. They’re nice enough pieces, though, having no Krillin figure, I won’t be getting much use out of them.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting 17 at MAGFest, I was immediately interested in getting the other two members of the android trio. 16 is still up for preorder, so he was easy enough to get, but 18 proved a bit more difficult. She’d been out for a while, so the price was a bit higher than I wanted to pay. However, I ended up making use of a few Amazon gift cards, which allowed me to get the figure for (essentially) nothing. 17 was a great figure, and I think 18 is an even better one. I’m definitely happy I took the plunge on this line. Now I just need to resist the urge to get a Krillin to go with those extra pieces I got with this one…

#0472: Android No. 17

ANDROID NO. 17

S.H. FIGUARTS

I must admit, I never got super into Dragon Ball Z. That being said, as a child of the 90s, there’s some things you just have a familiarity with without even trying. Everyone I knew watched the show, and I watched it when I caught it, so I had at least a basic idea of it. I enjoyed what I saw, though. One of the few eras of the show that I actually caught most of what the Cell Saga, which prominently features Androids 16, 17, and 18, who would go on to become some of my favorite characters. When Bandai’s SH Figuarts line first began doing DBZ characters, I passed; the higher price was a bit much for something of which I was only a moderate fan. However, the announcement of the Androids, coupled with my getting into this style of line with SH’s Power Rangers and Bandai’s Ultra-Act line, I finally gave in and picked up my first DBZ figure, Android Number 17.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Android 17 was released as part of the Dragon Ball Z subset of the SH Figuarts line. He was a late 2014 release. The figure is roughly 5 ½ inches tall and he features 36 points of articulation. 17’s look in the show was mostly consistent, but there were a few minor changes here and there. The figure is definitely based on his appearance in his earliest episodes on the show, before any of the minor changes set in. 17 features a brand-new sculpt, specific to the character. It’s a very nice translation of the animated design and it even adds some fine detail work that isn’t present in the show. The default face is mostly devoid of expression, which is perfect for the character. The clothing features some great work on the folds and wrinkles, which give the figure some great dimension. In general, all of the sculpting is very cleanly done. In my review of the SH Power Rangers, I noted that the articulation impeded the sculpt in a few areas. 17’s sculpt and articulation are very carefully handled, so as to maximize movement without ruining the aesthetics of the sculpt. Perhaps the best example of this is the figure’s feet, which feature shoelaces that could have rendered the ankle articulation useless. However, the laces are done as a separate piece from the foot and ankle, allowing for full movement. 17 features some pretty good paintwork. All of the colors are nice and bold and very accurate to the show’s colors. The basic paintwork stays within the lines, with no bleed over or slop. There is also some very nice accent work, most noticeable on the handkerchief, which makes use of some lighter and darker oranges for some great depth. SH figures are generally well accessorized, but 17 goes beyond the average release. He has two extra faces, a spare belt, an empty holster, a handgun, an extra hairpiece, an extra handkerchief, a pair of crossed arms, and 11 different hands (in addition to the fists he comes wearing.)* The faces are a grinning face and a teeth baring face, respectively. The grinning face isn’t much different from the regular face, but the subtle difference is true to the character. The teeth baring face is quite different, and makes for some great action poses. The spare belt allows for a look without the “utility belt.” The handgun and empty holster can be swapped out for the holstered gun that the figure comes wearing, which isn’t how such things are usually handled, but it’s the same end result. The extra hair and handkerchief are both sculpted to be windblown or in movement, allowing for more action poses. The crossed arms (which are my favorite accessory) allow the figure to replicate one of 17’s signature poses, which he can’t do with the regular arms. The hands include: a trigger finger (R), claw grip (R and L), flat handed (R and L), relaxed (R and L), wide spread (R and L), and loose grip (R and L). They can be a bit difficult to swap, but they offer a nice variety of poses.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really didn’t intend to get into this line. Even when I saw the Androids announced, I decided not to get into the line. But then, I was at MAGfest with my brother, and one of the dealers had several SH Figuarts figures, 17 among them. A quick check online revealed that 17 was actually a pretty good price, so I caved and bought him. 17 was definitely worth the purchase. He’s very well done, he comes with lots of cool extra pieces, and he’s just a lot of fun. Of course, now I have to get the other two Androids…

*The stand in the running pose picture is not included with the figure; it’s actually from the NECA Dog Alien.