#1532: Masked Rider 2 & Cyclone

MASKED RIDER 2 & CYCLONE

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

And let the Post-Christmas reviews officially begin!

Okay, so it’s my first day of Post-Christmas reviews, and for three years running, I’ve kicked things off with a figure of the Alien Queen.  That’s…not the case this year.  Sorry guys, there’s a limited number of Alien Queen figures out there for my family and friends to gift to me.  It was beyond all of our control.  You’re just going to have to make due with a Kamen Rider review.  I’m sure you’ll all manage.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at Masked Rider 2 and the Cyclone!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So, what’s all this “Masked Rider 2” business, you’re probably asking.  I’ll tell ya.  During the production of the first Kamen Rider series, lead actor Hiroshi Fujioka injured himself performing a stunt.  The producers of the show had a few options.  They could replace Fujioka with another actor and hope no one noticed, they could have him get some sort of plastic surgery, or they could come up with a reason for Fujioka’s Hongo to leave the show and introduce an interim replacement.  They opted for the last choice, and introduced the franchise’s first secondary rider, Hayato Ichimonji.  Ichimonji took over as the main protagonist of the show for about half a season, until Fujioka was able to return, at which point Ichimonji and Hongo shared the title.  And now you know all about Masked Rider 2!  There have been a few prior versions of Kamen/Masked Rider 2 from SHFiguarts, but it would appear that this set is the most recent, hitting in 2015.  He’s based on Ichimonji’s first main design, which was fairly similar to the original Kamen Rider’s in a lot of ways.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s very similar in construction to prior Figuarts offerings, especially the Power Rangers and the like.  His sculpt is unique to him, and it’s actually pretty solid.  It does a nice job of translating his design into figure form, all while allowing for articulation and maximum posability.  His proportions are a little bit optimized, of course, as is the style of the line, but it certainly works for this guy.  The level of detail, especially on his helmet, but also on his belt, is incredibly impressive.  The paint on Ichimonji is all pretty sharp and clean, and the colors match up pretty well to his screen counterpart.  He includes several different sets of hands in a variety of poses.  There’s fists, two different flat palms, an open grip and a bike grip.  It’s nice to have the variety, but I’m pretty much only ever going to use the bike grip ones.  He also includes two different tail attachments for his scarf.  One is flat and one is dynamic.  But honestly, who’s ever going to use anything but the dynamic version?

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

He can’t very well be “Kamen Rider” without a bike to ride, now can he?  Of course not.  Previously, Figuarts Kamen Riders and bikes were sold individually, but not this time, and that’s definitely a good thing for me.  The Cyclone measures about 5 1/2 inches long by about 4 inches tall.  It’s got actual moving wheels, and even a working kickstand, which I always count as a plus, and is generally just constructed like an actual bike.  That means it looks really, really good.  Just fantastically sharp construction and everything.  Hands down my favorite part of the whole thing is the back wheel, which is actually on shocks, with working pistons and everything.  That’s an insane attentiveness to detail, that by no means needed to be there, but by god they wanted it to be accurate, so there it is.  The average consumer won’t likely even notice it, but I will, so it matters to me.  The bike comes with two different attachment pieces to keep it standing,  One is pretty basic; it just hooks over the back wheel and keeps it standing, which is decent enough.  The more exciting piece is the one that requires some extra gear not included in this set  There’s a port that plugs into the base of the bike, allowing you to connect one of the standard Figuarts display stands to it.  It’s a pretty awesome option, and allows for some kick-ass set-ups.   It’s a shame no stand was included in the set, but it’s not like there aren’t already a ton of extras included here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This here set was a gift from my boi Tim, who shares with me a love of Kamen Rider, despite the fact that neither one of us has ever really sat down and watched any iteration of the show.  A good design aesthetic is a good design aesthetic.  I’ve been wanting to get one of the classic Riders for a while, so when I opened this set up I was pretty pumped.  And, as luck would have it, I even had a spare display stand that came with the K-2 Tim got me for my birthday.  It’s almost as if he planned it that way (he really didn’t, though).  This is a fantastic set, which has been so much fun to mess around with.  The only downside is now I need more Kamen Riders…

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#0967: Bio Rider

BIO RIDER

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

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The term “Tokusatsu” refers to Japanese live-action films or TV dramas that make use of considerable amounts of special effects. The term includes things such as Godzilla and Ultraman, as well as Super Sentai (more commonly known in the U.S. as Power Rangers). It also includes Kamen Rider, which is the source of the subject of today’s review. This marks the second time I’ve looked at a Kamen Rider figure on this site, so hey, it’s still kind of new and exciting! I’ll admit up front: my knowledge of Kamen Rider stuff is passing at best, so I’m counting on what I’ve read online to fill in the blanks. So, without further ado, here’s Bio Rider!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BioRider2Bio Rider is part of the rather extensive Kamen Rider sub-set of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line. He was released in the latter part of 2014. Bio Rider hails from the Kamen Rider Black RX show (which was the show that was adapted into Saban’s Masked Rider in the mid-90s), where he was a power-up ability for the title character, referred to as “Bio Rider” in Japan, but “Masked Rider Super Blue” in the U.S. I feel like Japan kind of won on the naming front. The figure stands about 5 ½ inches tall and has 45 points of articulation. While Bio Rider and RX share some common design themes, the two designs were actually pretty divergent from each other. Bio Rider is by and large a much sleeker design, and he sort of has an almost art deco air about him. It’s a much stronger design than the basic RX look, but I suppose an argument could be made that it loses some of more signature Kamen Rider elements. The figure’s sculpt does a pretty good job of capturing Bio Rider’s design from the show. He’s not a pitch-perfect recreation: the helmet’s a little squatter, especially in the face, and the eyes are more round. But, it’s still pretty darn close. The details on his suit are pretty amazingly done. He actually looks like he’s wearing a rubber suit, just like on the show. There are even small creases on the thighs to show that they crumple when he moves his legs. That’s quite an attention to detail! Bio Rider has quite a unique color scheme for a Kamen Rider. They tend to be predominantly green and black, but Bio Rider is a nice blue and silver combo, which looks pretty sweet. The actual paint application is some of the sharpest work I’ve seen on just about any figure. There’s no bleed over or slop that I can tell, and the color choices really pop. Also, not paint, but the lenses and buckle of the belt are both molded in translucent red, which works in conjunction with the sculpted texture on the underside, giving him a cool bit of depth. In terms of accessories, Bio Rider includes his Bio Blade weapon, as well as hands in fist, tight grip, loose grip, relaxed, open gesture, and karate chop positions. That’s a bit lighter than some of the Figuarts figures I’ve reviewed, but Bio Rider was actually a slightly less expensive figure, and it’s still not a bad assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Tim’s fault. See, I’ve looked at some of the Figuarts Kamen Riders before, but managed to steer clear of them. But, then Tim went and bought himself a Kamen Rider, and suddenly I found lacking. So, using an Amazon gift card (given to me by Tim’s parents! That’s strike two for Tim!), I ordered this guy. I’m not 100% sure what called me to this guy. Maybe it was the color scheme, or perhaps the sleek design. I must admit, I was amused to find out that he was actually from the one incarnation of Kamen Rider I’ve actually seen, given that wasn’t a purposeful decision. This is a really fun figure, and I’m definitely glad I got him. I foresee more Kamen Riders in my future.

BioRider4

#0932: Masked Rider

MASKED RIDER

SABAN’S MASKED RIDER (BANDAI)

MaskedRider1

The success of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was somewhat of a shock to most. Like just about any unexpected success, it spawned a legion of knock-offs, all dedicated to aping the formula and capturing as much of that success as possible. Saban, the producers of Power Rangers, got in on the game themselves. They licensed the popular Japanese series Kamen Rider (specifically Kamen Rider Black RX) and, using pretty much the same formula they’d used with Power Rangers, created the somewhat blandly-named Masked Rider. It was not the breakaway-hit that Power Rangers had been, but it did get one 40-episode season, which isn’t so bad. It also got a line of toys from Bandai America, one of which is the subject of today’s review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

MaskedRider2Masked Rider was released in 1996 as part of Bandai’s Saban’s Masked Rider line (Man, I wish I could get a few more possessives in there…) He was part of the smaller, 5-inch scale line, and is just the basic Masked Rider figure; no fancy gimmick or adjectives for this guy. The figure stands 5 ½ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation. While it might look like he’s got a neck joint, he actually doesn’t; the head is forever stuck staring straight-ahead. Now, why they gave his neck what looks like a super obvious joint where there in fact isn’t one is anyone’s guess. My personal guess is that it’s Bandai America, and they’ve never been particularly concerned with making particularly good action figures, but I could be wrong. The rest of the sculpt seems to support my theory there; it’s not that it’s a bad sculpt, but it doesn’t really look all that much like Masked Rider’s on-screen look, especially not in terms of proportions. His head, shoulders, and hands are way oversized, and the rest of his body quite undersized. His torso is also too squat and his legs too long. Overall, he looks like no human being ever should. In addition, none of the joints are particularly well worked-in, meaning the sculpt has a lot of stop and start going on, and he as a whole looks as if he’s been assembled from several different people. At the very least, the figure’s paint isn’t terrible. All the colors match his show-appearance, and everything is mostly pretty clean. There are a few spots with slop, but they’re mostly minor.  Masked Rider’s only accessory was his sword.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was younger, I watched pretty much the entirety of the “Fox Kids” lineup, which included the original run of Masked Rider. I enjoyed the show at the time (since I was rather into Power Rangers as well, and this show wasn’t all that different), so I got this guy while on a mall trip with my Grandmother. Neither the show nor this figure has held up very well. Still, he’s sort of a neat artifact of a time when I was a bit less discerning in my collecting habits, and if nothing else, the figure still amuses me.