Thursday, 4 October 2012

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Bouken Red

"Attack!". With a recent surge in collector-orientated Super Sentai merchandise, its great to see past heroes finally making their way into Bandai's Figuarts line (thanks to some help from Akibaranger). This review looks at the 30th red hero from the anniversary series GoGo Sentai Boukenger - Bouken Red. Bouken Red was released in September 2012, is the fifth official red Sentai member in the line and the third and final hero to be released that was featured in Akibaranger. Without further ado, let's take a look at the figure itself!

The box is much thicker than the usual Sentai/Kamen Rider Figuart's and, much like the character itself, features a simple red and white colour scheme. The back of the box is also a lot less busy than previous figures I've bought from the line - only featuring two images of the figure in poses and shots of the accessories (with a lot of grey space behind). Open the box up and you have two trays - one for the Bouken Red contents, and another for the Akibaranger extras.

The sculpt is as accurate to the suit as possible, but features solid red joints rather than the red/white stripe that runs down the body. Its not quite as awkward as the black joints featured on Red Buster, but does hamper the overall look. One thing to note is that Bandai have reimplemented the upper arm swivel (featured on the Gokaiger Figuarts), which had been sorely missed on both Deka Red and Red Hawk. However there are some immediately noticeable problems with the sculpt, most notably the chest. It feels flat and completely off, which spoils the overall look of the figure. There's also the issue of the neck, which doesn't seem to able to bend forward leaving Bouken Red's head poses static and lifeless. In terms of other articulation we have an excellent range, including the now-standard swing-down Figuart thighs.

One of the things that particularly drew me to Bouken Red was the impressive amount of accessories he came with In total he includes 11 separate hands (a pair of closed fists, a pair of open hands, 3 pairs of various gripping hands and his trademark "Attack!" snapping fingers right hand), 3 Accellulars (open, closed and scanning), 2 Survi-Busters (one to be clipped onto the belt), Survi-Blade, Bouken Bo and finally the Bouken Javelin. That's quite a selection. An nice extra feature about the Bouken Bo is that is has moveable claws. However the one dud among these is the tiny closed Accellular, which is meant to plug into the back of the belt. The only problem is the belt is a slightly curved surface, and the Accellular a straight piece. This means it either only plugs snugly into one side or simply hangs from the middle ready to drop off at any moment. I'm not fond of having a huge horizontal "E" hold on the back of my figure, but I'd rather than than losing a piece.

Bringing up the selection of additional hands leads me to one of my major problems with the figure. One thing I enjoy about Figuarts is how easy it is the change the pieces around - the hands pop off easily, and the new ones pop on with relatively no hassle. However its the complete opposite with Bouken Red's hands, who (on my figure anyway) seemed determined to not stay on. This also spread to the extra Akibaranger hands included (which I will get to in a moment) which went as far as breaking one of Akiba Blue's hand sockets (thankfully it was fixable). I don't know what exactly Bandai have done differently here, but I hope they don't do it again that's for sure.

Lastly there are the promised Akibaranger extras included, which is of course the Boukenger Penultimate Power - the Bouken Scooper. This large shovel weapon is nicely detailed and also comes with two pairs of extra hands for Akiba Blue and Yellow, which are for the next thing I'm about to talk about. The Bouken Scooper can be combined with Deka Red's Deka Wapper and Jet Hawk's Jet Winger to form the Akibaranger Penultimate Cannon. As I still lack both figures, there are sadly no pictures of it included with this review.

Admittedly GoGo Sentai Boukenger is one of my least favourite Sentai shows, so I was sceptical about how much I'd like him despite rarely being let down by Figuarts. Bouken Red is certainly among the more flawed figures I've bought from the line so far, but the impressive amount of accessories he comes with brings him slightly above average for me. He's not the best Figuart you'll buy by any means, but even with his flaws I'm sure there'll be something even the pickiest Boukenger fan can find to like about him.

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