#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.

#2635: Ultraman Suit Ver. 7 – Animation

ULTRAMAN SUIT VER. 7 — ANIMATION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

It’s been over a year since I last reviewed anything Ultraman, so I suppose I’m right on schedule to get something else in here so that I can go another year and change before getting something else.  Gosh, remember when these things were more prevalent?  I sure do.  And Pepperridge Farm does as well, because remembering’s the one thing they’ve got left.  Okay, that’s not true.  They’ve got Goldfish and Milanos.  They can ride those into oblivion.  Where was I?  Japan, I think.  There was something going on with Ultraman.  New toy.  Yes, very good.  Let’s look at the new toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Suit Version 7 is a fairly recent addition to Bandai’s SH Figuarts line-up, hitting roughly at the beginning of the year.  He’s specifically patterned on the appearance of Dan Moroboshi’s Version 7 suit from Netflix’s animated Ultraman, which of course also means he’s patterned on the Version 7.2 Suit from the manga of the same name.  The manga version got a release back in 2016 under the SH Figuarts X Ultra Act banner, and this one is essentially the same mold, with a few tweaks, and, of course, the dropping of the Ultra Act banner entirely.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  Compared to the Ace Suit, Ver. 7 is in some ways a stiffer figure, and in other ways not.  I found the legs a little trickier to work with, but the arms, especially at the shoulders, did showcase a slightly greater range of motion.  Obviously, a lot of the restriction is coming from the design of the suit, and not from how the figure is made, to Bandai’s credit.  He can get into a number of impressive poses, and can most notably get into the unsheathing the sword pose that is so commonly associated with this design.  The figure’s sculpt is certainly a more complex one than the Ace suit was, again due to the source material, which has the Version 7 suit being a far more intricate and detail-heavy suit.  It contrasts well with Ace’s boxier design, as something that’s far sleeker and pointier.  Certainly appropriate given the sword wielding aspect. It also carries the most memorable elements of the classic Ultra Seven suit forward, but keeps in line with the more mechanized takes of the rest of the series’ Ultra suits.  Paint work marks one slight change for this figure, contrasting with the original 7.2 release.  This one makes the red sections a bit brighter and gives them a flatter finish than the original release.  It’s a look that works very well for the sculpt and the design, and further hammers home those classic Ultraman vibes.  The application’s all pretty clean.  There’s a little bit of variation between the reds, but nothing too major, and the segmented nature of the armor helps break it up and keep it from being too obvious.  The Version 7 suit includes his Specium Sword and its corresponding sheath, a separate attachment piece for the sheath, a throwing dagger (modeled after the original Ultra Seven’s head fin), a slash effect with a stand, and 8 swappable hands (in fists, gripping, and open flat combos, as well as two variations on gripping for the left hand).  It’s not a bad accessory set at all, although it’s too bad there isn’t an unmasked head for Dan like there was for Seiji in the Ace set.  Still, I can certainly live with this set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My new Ultraman purchases have really slowed to a crawl, which is too bad, honestly.  I’m not the only one who feels that way, it seems.  Prior to the holiday season, Super Awesome Wife asked if I had a list of the Ultraman stuff I owned, which I did, and she took that and decided to get me this guy to keep things going.  I have the Figurise model kit, so I didn’t jump on this one when he was released, but in hand I do really appreciate the differences between the two.  There’s a lot of cool stuff going on here, and now I feel like I need a proper Shinjiro to round out my cast.

#2611: Cammy

CAMMY

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

I don’t talk video games incredibly often on this site, but there’s enough cross-over between them and action figures that I do at least dabble in discussing them from time to time.  As a kid, I wasn’t much into the whole video game thing, but I did get to play the occasional game at an arcade here or there, which gave me a taste of some of the more popular arcade fighting games.  My favorite franchise out of these was definitely Street Fighter, whose colorful cast of diverse characters also happens to lend itself quite nicely to the action figure treatment.  Today, I’m taking a look at my favorite character from the games in figure form.  Let’s take a look at Cammy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cammy was released in 2017 as part of Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line.  She followed up the releases of Ryu and Chun-Li earlier that same year, and like them served as a tie-in with the release of Street Fighter V.  She’s officially based on her character model from that game, of course, but that also makes her a more than serviceable stand-in for Cammy from Street Fighter II, which works well for me.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 39 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is a bit more conventional than the usual Figuarts release, with less floating pieces and just a generally tighter set of joints.  It means she’s also just a touch more restricted than the average Figuarts offering, but that’s not the end of the world.  She can still get a lot of really solid poses.  And they even articulated her hair.  How about that?  I really have only two notable complaints regarding the articulation.  The first is the movement on the neck, which I wish had some more up and down.  The second is to do with how the sculpt and the articulation interact in a very key area of the figure.  Cammy’s posterior is a rather notable part of the character, at least from a pop culture stand point.  It’s also rather prominently shown off in her win animation.  So, the fact that this figure opts to put the break for the hip joints in a rather obvious spot in such a way that it never really sits flush ends up hurting the figure’s appearance a bit.  That being said, in the grand scheme of the whole figure, it’s a more minor point, and the rest of the sculpt and articulation work quite well together.  I was actually quite impressed by the way the joints in the torso work, and the sculpt does a strong job of capturing Cammy’s design from the games.  The construction on the figure also just has a nice solid feel to hit, which gives her a little more weight than the usual Figuart, and I think that really helps her when it comes to posing and playability.  Cammy’s paintwork is clean, bright, and colorful, which are really all the things I would want out of paintwork on a Cammy figure.  There’s not a ton of work going on there, but what is there works well.  Cammy’s accessory selection is pretty decent, no surprise, given that she’s a Figuart.  She gets three different faceplates, three pairs of hands, and a three-piece effect part.  There’s a lot of threes going on here, is what I’m getting at, I guess.  The faces provide standard expression, screaming, and side-eye options, which are fun.  The sideways glance is definitely my favorite of the three, even if it’s just a minor difference.  The hands come in fists, flat, and open gesture, and are great for all sorts of poses.  The effects piece is a little bit difficult to get in place at first, but it makes for an impressive kicking effect.  It’s too bad the stands don’t come standard.  She also included two small cardboard backdrops, allowing you to build a small stage for your fighters.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to the Street Fighter characters was not through the games themselves, but rather through Toy Biz’s X-Men Vs Street Fighter toy line.  I was obviously just in it for the X-Men component, but it did give me a taste of a few of the characters.  Cammy was the second of them I got, and I always rather liked that figure.  When I finally got around to playing one of the games, she was the character I latched onto, and I’ve been hoping to get a figure of her for a while.  I always kicked myself for missing the SOTA one back in the day, and I couldn’t pull the trigger on this one when she was new.  However, she ended up getting traded into All Time, and it was hard to pass at that point.  She’s a really fun figure, and almost makes me want to track down some more of the Figuarts Street Fighter stuff.  For now, though, she’s an awesome stand alone piece.

#2498: Captain America – Final Battle Edition

CAPTAIN AMERICA — FINAL BATTLE EDITION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Bandai Japan’s S.H. Figuarts is a toyline that I’ve looked at a handful of times previously on the site, but the very vast majority of the items I’ve looked at from the line have been, rather predictably, I suppose, based on Japanese properties (well, excepting of course Freddie and K-2, but they were sort of stand outs).  They’ve been dabbling in plenty of American properties over the years, but up until now, I’ve been totally content to stick with the domestic options on those.  As of late, they’ve been really getting into the MCU side of things, with Infinity War and Endgame both getting a noticeable focus.  Today, I’m taking a look at their latest take on Captain America, specifically in his Endgame attire.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Final Battle Edition Captain America started showing most places in the last month or so, right alongside the similarly Final Battle-themed Iron Man from the movie.  This marks our second Endgame Cap in the Figuarts line; the first one hit closer to the film’s theatrical release, and featured a much more paired down accessory selection, largely to avoid spoilers and the like.  Even as a basic release, it sold out pretty quickly, so Bandai was fairly quick to get another version out there.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s on the taller side of the Figuarts spectrum (due to Chris Evans being generally a pretty tall guy), but he’s still going to be a little small to scale with Legends.  Obviously, that’s kind of expected.  This release of Endgame Cap appears to be using the same core sculpt as the prior release.  The articulation is a little bit on the obvious side, falling back in line with what I’m used to from Figurarts.  There’s a pretty amazing range of motion, though some of the joints on mine, particularly his left elbow, are a little looser than I’d like.  I do wish the tolerance were just a touch better there.  As with any Figuarts sculpt, it’s definitely got a little bit of a stylization to it, to bring him in line with the rest of the figures.  It works pretty well for Cap, though, and gives him even more heroic proportions than usual. It also looks astoundingly svelte when compared to the Hasbro version, which was itself a bit beefy, I suppose.  It’s not a bad match for Evans’ build in the film, though, albeit in a slightly caricaturized way.  It does manage to get the costume details down a bit more accurately, I think, than the Legends release.  There are three separate heads included with this figure: masked with calm expression, masked with battle expression, and fully unmasked (which also gets its own separate neck post, since there’s a little bit of the helmet visible on the standard neck).  Of the three, I the neutral masked is probably the weakest.  The likeness just isn’t quite there, and he looks a little void of personality.  I really like the other two heads, though.  The intense expression is great for battle poses, and the unmasked head has a pretty fantastic Evans likeness on it.  The paint work on this figure marks a difference from the original release, which gave us a slightly more pristine Cap.  This one takes the “Final Battle” title and runs with it a bit, so he’s got a bit of grime and dirt.  It’s not enough to make him look “damaged”, but it gives him a little extra flavor.  All three heads have printed faces, which look a little wonky from up close, but great at a distance.  The gold color used on the hair of the unmasked head looks a little weird, but after having him in hand for a bit, I don’t actually hate it.  The major selling point of this guy is his accessory complement.  In addition to the three heads mentioned above, Cap also includes five pairs of hands (fists, relaxed, hammer gripping, flat, and with the shield strap in hand), his shield in both regular and broken forms, with interchangeable straps to go along, and Mjolnir with interchangeable energy effects.  The hands offer up some fun posing variety, and the flat palmed ones even have a tab to allow the corresponding strap with hanger on it to be attached, letting Cap actually hold his shield by its edge.  The shield’s straps also allow for use on either arm, one-handed hold, or mounting on his back, again really giving posing options.  Both shields are great pieces, and it’s awesome to finally have the destroyed one in toy form.  Mjolnir practically steals the show here, though, as the swap out panels with the energy effects are pretty amazingly dynamic for posing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t typically jump into the Figuarts realm for stuff that has other 6-inch lines, but I’ve been kicking myself for passing up the chance to grab the AoU Cap at a good price, and I was a little bummed when I missed the first release on Endgame Cap.  Fortunately, the updated version came along, and he’s even better, so it works out well.  When All Time got these figures in stock, I came very close to grabbing this guy right away, but ultimately held off.  However, Super Awesome Wife was nice enough to work with Jason to get me one for my birthday, and I really couldn’t be happier.  He’s a really fun figure, and goes great with the rest of my ever-growing Captain America collection.

If you’d like a Cap of your own (or the Iron Man that goes with him, perhaps), he’s still in-stock at AllTimeToys.com. And, if you’re looking for other 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!

 

#1536: Ultraman Ace Suit

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.

#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…

#1382: K-2SO

K-2SO

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Oh hey, look!  It’s another K-2 figure!  It’s been, like, forever since I’ve looked at one of these.  But, of course, there were still other K-2 figures in existence, so it was really just a matter of time before I got another one on the site.  I’ve looked at pretty much all of the lower-end K-2s, so now I’m turning my sights to the higher-end stuff, starting with Bandai Japan’s S.H. Figuarts offering!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

K-2SO was released as part of the Rogue One sub-set of the main S.H. Figuarts line, and he hit shortly after the film’s theatrical release last December.  The figure stands a little under 7 1/2 inches tall (he’s just a smidge smaller than the Black Series and Elite Series figures) and he has 34 points of articulation.  Not only does he have the most articulation of any of the K-2 figures, he’s also got the most mobility by a very large margin.  The sheer range of posability on this guy is just insane.  Things like the shoulder pads are on their own hinged joints, allowing them to be posed out of the way, which helps to maximize the possible range of all the articulation.  I didn’t know I wanted a K-2 that could pull of crazy high kung-fu kicks, but by god did this figure convince me that was a thing I wanted.  Posability is one thing, but how’s the actual sculpt?  As much as I loved the Black Series sculpt, there were some definite inaccuracies present.  This figure fixes all of those issues, and presents the most accurate version of K-2 we’ve seen yet in plastic form.  In addition to the sheer accuracy of the sculpt, the detail work is really clean, and really, really sharp.  Truly amazing work.  Given that he’s made from a less rubbery plastic than the Black Series figure, I was a little worried about this guy’s durability, but so far I’ve had no issues.  Obviously, he’s not going to hold up to seriously rigorous play, but he’s still pretty solid.  The paint on K-2SO is also very top-notch.  The base color is the appropriate gunmetal finish, which looks super sleek.  The small details are really nicely handled as well.  I love how they handled the eyes in particular; the lenses are clear plastic, with details painted beneath.  I do believe this is the first K-2 to implement the eyes in the proper way.  K-2 is a little lighter on extras than most Figuarts offerings, but he does at least include three pairs of hands (in fists, gripping, and open gesture poses), and a clear display stand with a posable arm.  I do like the stand, but I really wish he’d included the blaster pistol he has during the climax.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

K-2 here was given to me as a birthday present from my boi Tim.  He’s apparently run out of Aliens to buy me, so he went with the next best thing.  I didn’t know what to expect from this guy, but I have to say, I’m very impressed.  The Black Series release is still perhaps the best toy of K-2, but this figure is definitely my favorite.