#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.

#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.

#1982: Ultraman – B Type

ULTRAMAN — B TYPE

ULTRAMAN FIGURE-RISE (BANDAI)

Hey, how about a look into two things I haven’t looked at in a long time?  It’s been over a year since I reviewed anything Ultraman related (the end of Ultra-Act and subsequent transition into Figuarts has been a rather major contributor to that), and three whole years since I’ve reviewed any model kits, but now I’m just throwing caution to the wind and looking at an Ultraman model.  I know, crazy stuff for me, right?  Just stepping way outside my comfort zone for this?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman (B Type) is the first in Bandai’s newly launched line of Ultraman-themed Figure-Rise kits.  They’ve previously offered kits for Dragon Ball Z and Kamen Rider, and it’s not a huge shock to see them move onto another immensely popular license.  So far, it appears this line will be taking its cues from the currently running Ultraman manga, which sequelizes the original show, while working in elements of its successors in a new timeline.  This figure is the main Ultraman from the series, Shinjiro Hayata, son of the original Ultraman, wearing his second set of powered armor (as noted by the “B Type” at the end of the name).  The kit is billed as 1/12 scale, so the final figure stands a little over 6 inches tall, meaning he scales pretty decently with the Figuarts stuff.  He’s got 31 points of articulation, so he’s not quite on the same posability level as most of those figures, but he’s not terribly far off either.  Of all the models I’ve built, Ultraman is definitely the most intense.  As in “took multiple sessions to complete him” intense.  He’s made up of a lot of small, little pieces, that all click together very carefully.  While this may be a little stressful on the assembly side, it pays off on the appearance front.  This is definitely a sharp looking figures. Details are well-defined, and he’s a good match for the source material’s very machined appearance.  If I have one complaint, it’s that the figure’s not quite as sturdy as I might have liked.  I’ve had no breakage issues, of course, but the torso assembly pops apart with regular handling (mostly by design, to be fair).  He’s more a pose and set figure than a mess around with him figure.  Paint’s a no-go on these sorts of sets, so there are a few different ways to handle variations of color.  For the most part, this guy goes with the “mold it in the right color” method, meaning there’s a lot of very precise part assembly.  However, there are also some pretty extensive decal applications mixed in with that.  Again, they can get a little stressful, but the end result pays off, and you’d be hard pressed to discern these decals from actual paintwork.  Of course, time will tell as to their longterm hold-up.  Ultraman is pretty well accessorized for a thing I built myself.  He’s got five interchangeable hands (fists, open, and a trigger finger for his right side), a Specium Ray effect, two Specium Slash effects, alternate forearm guards for use with the Specium Ray, alternate guards with Specium Blades deployed, the MARS-133 rifle, and a display stand.  Pretty much, he’s on par with a Figuarts or Ultra-Act release.  He has one more feature: he lights up.  There’s a battery pack with LEDs attached that’s installed in the torso (hence how easily it comes back apart).  Using the included tool, you can turn it on and off.  It illuminates his eyes and color timer, and with a push of the button you can even switch the color timer from blue to red, which is fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Is it allowed to be Max’s fault two days in a row?  This one’s a borderline example at the very least.  He wanted one of his own, and they come in cases of two, so he needed another buyer.  Well, hey, I like Ultraman, right?  Admittedly, I was looking to get back into the model building anyway, and I didn’t yet have a Manga-style Ultraman, so why not give it a try?  He’s an intense build, but I do really enjoy the final product, and I think he’ll slot in pretty well with the rest of my Ultras.

I picked up this set via All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#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.

#1486: Ultraman Ginga Victory, Ultraman Jack, & Alien Baltan

ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY, ULTRAMAN JACK, & ALIEN BALTAN

ULTRA HERO/MONSTER 500 SERIES (BANDAI)

 

It’s been a painfully long time since I’ve reviewed any Ultraman figures.  In February of 2015, I looked at the Ultra-Act Mebius, but the ending of that line and its subsequent move to the slightly smaller Figuarts scale has left me without any regular Ultra purchases to review.  And that makes for a sad Ethan indeed.  While I’m sure I’ll get around to picking up some of those Figuarts releases one of these days, for the time being, there are some lower price-point options to keep me occupied, such as Bandai’s Ultra Hero 500 Series and it’s companion Ultra Monster 500 Series.  I’ll be looking at a few of those offerings today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ultramen Ginga Victory and Jack were released in the Ultra Hero 500 Series as figures 30 and 04, respectively, while Alien Baltan was released in the Ultra Monster 500 Series as figure 01.  Both series work on the “evergreen” style of distribution, where most figures in a line are kept in constant stock, at least in Japan.

ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY

Ginga Victory represents the fused form of Ultras…stick with me here…Ginga and Victory.  Shocking, I know.  This fusion made its debut in Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors! which I assure is the actual title of the film, which I most certainly have not exaggerated in any way.  I wasn’t immediately familiar with this variant, but I correctly IDed it as some form of Ginga.  He, like all of the 500 Series figures, stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation at the shoulders and waist.  Hardly super posable, but that’s never been the intent of this line. His sculpt is unique to him, and is about what you’d expect from a softer vinyl figure.  The build of the body is ever so slightly stylized to be a little more heroic in its proportions, but beyond that, he looks to be a pretty close match to the design from the show.  He’s certainly one of the more complicated Ultra designs, but it all flows together pretty well, and he looks pretty darn cool; there’s no denying that.  The complicated nature of his design also translates to his color scheme, but not quite so much to his paint.  He’s certainly got more details than many other Ultras in this scale and style, but there are a few parts of his design that just go unpainted.  It’s not terrible at first glance, however, upon closer expression, you can see the etched-in lines of details that were just left out, which is the tiniest bit frustrating.

ULTRAMAN JACK

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at an Ultraman Jack on this site, nor will it be the last.  Jack hails from Return of Ultraman, where he was originally intended to be a returning Hayata before becoming a unique character.  Hence the design that’s just a slight variation on the original.  He too has a unique sculpt, which is on par with the Ginga Victory figure, albeit totally different.  His design is obviously more simplistic, and also more keyed to 60s aesthetics in terms of suit materials and his actor’s build, and this figure replicates all of that quite nicely.  I did note that Jack’s pieces don’t seem to fit together quite as seamlessly as Ginga Victory, but they aren’t too mismatched.  Jack’s paint is decent enough.  He’s got less going on than Ginga Victory, so he’s also not missing any key application.  Some of the silver’s a little fuzzy around the edges, but he’s generally pretty well handled.

ALIEN BALTAN

Alien Baltan is one of Ultraman’s earliest and most persistent foes.  The one seen here is Baltan I, seen in the second episode of the original Ultraman.  It’s my favorite Baltan look, so that makes me pretty happy.  Baltan’s sculpt is a bit softer than the other two.  It’s not a huge surprise, given all the extra details he’s got going on.  That being said, as a more organic creature, the softness is a little more excusable.  It’s a decent enough piece, I suppose.  It’s clearly a little more archaic than some of the others, and a tad more simplistic than I’d like, but the general idea is there.  Any Ultra-fan is gonna know who this is.  His paint is actually a fair bit more nuanced than the other two, featuring a fair number of airbrushed details.  Given the price point of the figure, it’s actually quite impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Believe it or not, this trio made their way to me direct from Japan.  They were sent to me by my friend Rio, who previously got me the diecast First Order Stormtrooper.  In exchange for a generous quantity of Oreos, she’s agreed to keep me supplied with lots of cool action figure goodness.  These three were in the first care package that Super Awesome Girlfriend and I received from her.  It was actually really awesome, as the box arrived right after a rather stressful day at work, and nothing fights off stressful days better than Ultraman!

Guest Review #0034: Ultraman

ULTRAMAN

ULTRA-ACT/S.H. FIGUARTS

The following is a guest review by my dad, writer Steven H. Wilson!  Check out more from him over at his blog, located at stevenhwilson.com

Bandai’s Ultra-Act line has released dozens of figures based on Tsubaraya Productions’ long-running Ultraman series, which includes of two dozen individual TV series, running from 1967 to the present, and about half that many feature films. Every series stars a new Ultraman character, differentiated from his brethren by a suffix–e.g. “Ultraman Jack,” Ultraman X,” “Ultraman Mebius.”

Sixth in Ultra-Act‘s 2015 lineup is an Ultraman character not from a TV series, but from a 2011 Manga which has recently been collected in trade paperback for the U.S. market. The Manga and its lead character are simply called “Ultraman,” and the hero is the human son of the first Ultraman from way back in 1967.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The packaging is dual-branded with the logos of Ultra-Act and S.H. Figuarts, another Bandai line. The figure is not in scale with the rest of the Ultra-Act line, coming in at 6 3/4 inches, about a half-inch shorter than the typical Ultraman figure. This explains the dual-branding, since it is in scale with S.H. Figuarts‘ popular Power Rangers and other lines. The figure has 30 points of articulation, and comes with three sets of interchangeable gauntlets, three sets of hands–including different pointing gestures, and, of course, fists–an extra chest plate, and the trademark Ultra-beam-blasting effect. I’m not sure what the point of the extra chest plate is. It’s slightly more streamlined than the one that comes packed on the figure, but its jewel is the same color. I would expect the whole point of providing an alternate chest plate for an Ultraman would be to show his warning light blinking red.

It’s a bit disappointing that the mask is not removable, a la early Marvel Legends Iron Man figures, since this Ultraman is not a giant from another world, but a kid in an exo-suit. The figure is very, very posable–almost too posable. He falls down a lot when displayed, and doesn’t come with a stand. On the up side, he tends to fall into some great action poses. An optional flying-stand is recommended for this guy. One other nit-pick, I suppose, that I have with all the Ultraman figures, is that their arms aren’t designed to easily assume (or hold) the cross-elbow beam-blasting stance that’s so commonly seen when an Ultraman fights. Still, the detail is amazing, and the figure brings a 2D character to beautiful 3D life.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The figure was given to me by Ethan, the man behind The Figure in Question, who’s also my son. He feeds me a steady diet of Ultra-Act figures (and Spark Dolls, another Ultraman line) for Christmases and birthdays and the like. He knows I’m devoted to all things Ultra. I grew up watching the original 1967 TV series, and have recently discovered (and developed something of an obsession for) all the spin-off series that were never dubbed into English. He picked up this figure for me for Christmas, and suggested I review it alongside my review of the source material, which is on my blog now. [You can read it here!– E]

#0477: Ultraman Mebius

ULTRAMAN MEBIUS

ULTRA-ACT

You know, it’s been a while since I did an Ultraman review. The thing about Ultraman reviews is that they kind of have to be Ultra-Act figures, and Ultra-Act figures are a) a little pricier than other figures and b) released at a rather slow rate. But, as luck would have it, a new Ultraman was just released last month! This time around, it’s Ultraman Mebius, the tenth main Ultraman, and star of (wait for it) Ultraman Mebius. Since he was the tenth Ultra, Mebius’s show had a lot of references to the previous Ultras, and had more than a few guest appearances by the previous stars. His show was a love letter to the previous series, and the character himself was perfectly in the vein of his predecessors. This helped Mebius really pick up a fan base, and his show is definitely my favorite after the original. He was one of the earlier releases in the Ultra-Act line, but time has passed and the line has progressed, making his first figure a little out of place. So, now he’s been given a new release. Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mebius was released in late 2014/early 2015 as the newest addition to the Ultra-Act line. The figure is about 6 inches tall and he features 40 points of articulation. As I mentioned in the intro, this is the second Mebius in the line, and this one serves to update the last one to the line’s current standards, mostly sculpt-wise. The figure is based on Mebius’s standard look from the series and it features an all-new sculpt. The sculpt is quite well done. Everything is nice and sharply detailed, and the various pieces of his “costume” look accurate to the character’s appearance in the show. One thing of note would be the figure’s proportions, which don’t quite seem accurate to the show. It’s not unusual to see Bandai give the ultras slightly more heroic proportions for the figures, but Mebius seems to have been hit by this more so than others. He’s one of the tallest Ultra-Acts so far, which is somewhat counter to Mebius being depicted being smaller than the older Ultras with whom he was interacting. He’s also incredibly broad-shouldered, which is not really true to any of the live action Ultras. Ultimately, these changes look nice on the figure, but they do make him stand out just a bit in comparison to previous figures. Mebius’s paint apps are pretty much in line with the rest of the line’s figures, which is to say they’re quite good. The colors are nice and bold and very accurate to the show, and all of the work is clean and sharp, with no bleed over or slop. The figure also has the proper switches in sheen from the armored parts to the red, non-armored parts, which is a subtle touch, but a very important one. After the last few accessory-packed Ultra-Act figures, Mebius seems a little light on the extras, though he still has way more than any of his domestic counterparts. He includes his Mebium Shot (attached to a hand), a chest plate with a red color timer, a chest plate with shallower edges (for posing), an alternate Mebium Brace with the Mebium Slash engaged, and two extra pairs of hands: flat-handed and gesturing. All of the pieces swap out relatively easily, though I’d be careful while putting on the Mebium Shot; it’s rather sharp on the edges!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As has been the case with the last few Ultra-Act figures I’ve procured, Mebius was gotten via Amazon. I’d actually been waiting anxiously for the Mebius re-do since it was announced and I placed a pre-order through Amazon as soon as possible. I’m thrilled to finally have the figure in hand. I’m a little uncertain about the move towards “larger than life proportions” on the new Ultra-Acts, but that’s more to do with consistency. Mebius is a fantastic figure and, slight problems with consistency aside, he looks really great with the other ultras!

#0417: Ultraman Jack

ULTRAMAN JACK

ULTRA-ACT

My Ultra-Act collection started off with something of a bang, but lately I’ve moved into a “slow and steady wins the race” pattern. I’ve got a number of upcoming figures on pre-order, and I’ll probably be doing a little bit more catch-up once I’ve got some freed up funds again. Anyway, one of my standing pre-orders was just filled, and it’s Ultraman Jack, the third Ultraman.

Jack was the star of his own show, titled The Return of Ultraman. Why “The Return?” Well, originally Ultraman Jack was actually just supposed to be the original Ultraman with a slightly tweaked look. However, they instead decided to go with the pattern started in Ultraseven and create and all new Ultra. Thus we were introduced to Jack. Let’s see how his figure turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Jack was originally released in mid-2013 as part of the Ultra-Act line. He was a standalone release, as is the standard release method for this line. Jack is roughly 6 inches tall and he features 40 points of articulation, another standard for the line. Jack was released after the second version of the basic Ultraman, which means he’s up to date with the rest of the more recent releases in the line. Jack features a sculpt that is unique to this figure. Given the closeness of Jack’s design to the original Ultraman, it’s surprising that Bandai didn’t go for any re-use, but that’s hardly a complaint. The sculpt is up to the usual standard of the Ultra-Act line. It’s accurate to the source material, and it actually looks like a person in a suit, which is cool. Like Ace, it seems the shoulders may be a bit too broad, but that’s a relatively minor complaint. Jack’s paintwork is solidly done. It’s cleanly and evenly applied, and all of the cuts and such are appropriately sharp. The red and silver are both nice and bold, adding some very nice pop to the figure. No Ultra-Act release would be complete without an impressive accessory selection, and Jack does not disappoint. He includes his trusty Ultra Cross, his Ultra Lance in two forms, the Ultra Shield, the Ultra Bracelet given to him by Ultraseven, an extra color timer, a clip to attach him to a stand and 10 hands: fists (L and R), open gesture(L and R), karate-chop (L and R), a hand for holding the small Ultra Lance, a hand for the holding the larger items, a hand holding up the peace sign, and a hand with the Specium Beam attached. That’s one of the larger assortments of accessories for an Ultra-Act figure, and they all are very well done.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jack is a figure I tried to get a few times. I had two separate pre-orders of his original release, neither of which came through. When his after-market price shot up, I kinda gave up. Fortunately, he was given a rerelease, this time through Bluefin, the US distributors of the Ultra-Act line. This allowed for me to place a pre-order through Amazon, who continue to amuse me with their numerous emails informing me that they have literally no idea when these figures will arrive. Jack was worth the wait. He’s rather similar to the original design, but he’s got just enough personal flair to make him a very welcome addition.

#0266: Ultraman Ace

ULTRAMAN ACE

ULTRA-ACT

UltramanAce1

My Ultra-Act reviews have slowed down a bit since I first got into the line, but that doesn’t mean my interest in the line has waned. I still have a few of the upcoming figures and re-releases on pre-order, so there should be a few more reviews on the way, just a bit more spaced out. I recently acquired Ultraman Ace, the 4th main Ultraman, and the star of Ultraman Ace, as well as a recurring character in the following Ultraman Taro. He’s also the adopted brother of Taro, and the adopted son of Mother and Father of Ultra, for those of you attempting to map out the family tree.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Ace was a third quarter 2013 release in the Ultra-Act line. As is the usual standard with this line, Ace wasn’t part of a series; he’s just a single release. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and features the standard 40 points of articulation sported by most of the figures in the line. Ace was released around the time of the second version of the original Ultraman, which means he fits in nicely with the line’s more recent releases, and looks perfect with the rest of the Ultra Brothers. Ace’s sculpt is a pretty decent recreation of Ace’s look from the show. The shoulders are perhaps a tad bit broader than they should be, but the proportions look great otherwise. The paintwork on Ace is nice and clean, with no noticeable slop or bleed over present. Like any good Ultra-Act release, Ace features a nice selection of accessories, including: an extra color timer, a sword, a clip to attatch Ace to a stand, and 11 hands: fists (L and R), open gesture (L and R), karate-chop (L and R), sword-holding (R), peace sign (R), a right hand with an energy beam attatched, and two hands with a different beam attached. While that’s not quite as many accessories as my last Ultra-Act figure, Leo, it’s still a pretty impressive assortment. The sword adds some uniqueness to Ace, and the hands add for some additional character as usual.

UltramanAce2 UltramanAce6 UltramanAce5 UltramanAce4 AceWilson

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ace was a purchase I took my time on. I’ve picked up several other Ultra-Act figures in the last year or so, and I had the majority of the early Ultramen, so Ace was the biggest hole in my collection. Ace’s price came down a bit on Amazon, so I decided to go for him. I’m really glad I did. Ace has a great design, and the figure conveys it really well.

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#0190: Ultraman Leo

ULTRAMAN LEO

ULTRA-ACT

After doing a decently sized string of reviews from the line back in January, my Ultra-Act reviews certainly do seem to have slowed down a bit, haven’t they? The last one I did was Father of Ultra, and that was way back in February. One of the cool things about Ultraman is the plethora of different Ultras and all of their unique takes on the common design themes. Today, I’ll be taking a look at Ultraman Leo, the 7th main Ultraman, and star of Ultraman Leo. I know; what a shock.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Leo is one of the very first of the 2014 releases for the Ultra-Act line. As per usual for this line, he’s not part of a series or the like, just a singlerelease on his own. This is Leo’s second release in this line, and this one has been made to fit in a bit better with some of the more recent releases. The figure is a little taller than some of the others, though not quite as tall as Father of Ultra, standing about 6 ¼ inches tall. He features the standard 40 points of articulation that most of this line’s figures sports. Leo has been bulked up a bitfrom his previous figure, in an aim to keep him more in line with the current line’s releases. The sculpt is pretty good overall, and re-creates Leo’s look in the show really well. The paint apps are applied cleanly, with no bleed over or slop. Bandai looks to be trying a new technique of detailing, through a sort of air-brushing. It’s a subtle touch, but it looks pretty good and gives the figure a bit more depth. As with all other Ultra-Act releases, Leo has a large compliment of accessories, including: an extra color-timer, a pin-wheel (yeah, I don’t really know what that’s for), Ultra-Mant defense umbrella, 2 sets of nun-chucks (with and without real chain), a gold arm-band, a Leo-Kick effect, and 14 hands: fists (L and R), open gesture (L and R), open flat (Land R), karate-chop (L and R), nun-chuck gripping (L and R), umbrella grip (R), pin-wheel grip (R), Fire-Blast (R), and fire charging (works for either). That’s quite an impressive set of accessories. The color timer is standard, the pin-wheel and umbrella are definitely unique, the nun-chucks are great for letting you choose how to display them, and the hands add some real expression to the character. The piece for the Leo-kick is cool and all, but if you don’t have a stand, the best you can pull off is the “eek, my foot is on fire” look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Leo was pre-ordered through Amazon. I guess it was relatively painless, though it did mark the first time they’ve sent me an e-mail effectively saying “we have no idea where this figure is, so we can’t guarantee we’ll get this to you… ever” for something I’ve ordered. As you can see, it worked out all right. I wasn’t quite as excited for Leo as I have been for others, but he’s a good figure over all.