Friday, 17 August 2012

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Akiba Blue

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue Headshot

A female Sentai Figuart that isn't a Tamashii web exclusive? That's crazy talk!

But believe it or not, Bandai has gone and surprised us all with the Figuarts Akibarangers, which just goes to show how much they seem to be pushing this series in terms of merchandise. After Akiba Red's release at the end of June, the end of July saw Akiba Blue aka Mitsuki Aoyagi hit retail in figure form. They were joined earlier this month by Akiba Yellow (who's currently on her way to me), rounding off the three main Akibarangers.

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue Box Front

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue Box BackSH Figuarts Akiba Blue Insert Tray

Much like her predecessor Akiba Blue's packaging is a rainbow explosion of anime-esque proportions, with the unofficial stamp now blue rather than red. The box shows the figure in a variety of (fairly simplistic) poses, but unlike Akiba Red lacks any reference to the Inordinate Powers sold separately with the other Super Sentai Figuarts. This is a shame because Bouken Red's Bouken Scoop is a weapon I more closely associate with Blue, but I can see the logic in not advertising an accessory that comes with a figure that doesn't come out until the end of September. In case you were wondering, the box still says "simple style and HIROIC action" too.

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 01

Akiba Blue is a rather different to the traditional Super Sentai female hero design, but perhaps not quite as radical as Akiba Red was. The suit is a much smoother design than Red, although the figure still has some nice detailing on the boots and some panel indentation on the blue leg sections. The breasts have same translucent plastic over sculpted detail look as Red, which works great as a draw to the figure even if it does mean you're staring at her breasts for the most part. The white is also a slightly off shade which gives the sections a nice gleam against the flat matte blue sections. Her soft plastic skirt doesn't fully cover her legs so the figure can still pull off a full range of motion (no need for alternate skirt parts like with the Shinken or Gokai girls) and in answer to the most important question of all - yes, the underwear does indeed include the bear print.

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 02

That being said I do have a few minor qualms with the sculpt. The first might just be a problem with mine, but her neck wasn't assembled properly when I took it out of the package meaning her head was incapable of moving. An easily fixable problem, but giving the head movement made me realise how scared I am that the ponytail pieces might snap off if a little bit of pressure went the wrong way. Its the kind of problem that could be solved by simply being careful, but I might feel a little safer if the ponytail was able to pop off if any pressure was wrongly applied.

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 03

Akiba Blue's accessories are exactly the same as Akiba Red's - ten extra hands, MMZ-01 and alternate muffler/scarf pieces, only for some reason Blue comes with three mufflers rather than two (the extra one being the two sections spread even further apart). While Akiba Red got away with the lack of accessories a little more because his first run came with three stands (which I'm still impressed with), its a lot more noticeable and frustrating with Blue. I'm still not sure what else she could have come with beside a figure-mode MMZ, but I certainly don't feel spoilt in terms of accessories like I do with most Figuarts.

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 04

Akiba Blue is an great figure, but while I was completely blown away by Akiba Red she feels much less special. All the detail that made Red so great is a lot more minimal in Blue's design, and moments like being afraid of breaking her head and realising she doesn't come with all the much have dampened my love for her a little. Still, you can't argue with Bandai's decision to put out all three Akibarangers at retail, meaning you can get the whole team for just over what it costs to buy one exclusive. That's a pretty great reason to love Akiba Blue in itself.

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 05SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 06

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 07

SH Figuarts Akiba Blue 08

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