Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC05 Kamen Rider Zangetsu

Arms Change AC05 Zangetsu

Part four of my look into the first releases of Kamen Rider Gaim's highly popular Arms Change line is the final figure I'll be covering and moves things away from the "Beat Rider" characters of the story. This time it's the mysterious white armoured Rider Kamen Rider Zangetsu, whose real identity is Yggdrasil Corporation project overseer Takatora Kureshima. As the man behind the project issuing Beat Riders with Sengoku Drivers it seems at first he is a villain, but as the story is progressing its emerging that there may be more to him than was once thought.

Melon-flavoured boxart

Mangoes hiding in the cornerMelon-y goodness

Arms Change packaging melon flavour comes in a delightful green and white combination, with an added hint of AC Zangetsu action poses. Although the usual "next in the line" section features a shot of the previously released Arms Change figures with the fruits switched around (possibly because the next AC main figure, AC07 Gridon, didn't hit retail for a while afterwards), the AC06 Mango/Kiwi set does get a little bit of representation with Zangetsu Mango Arms making an appearance on the back of the box. Quite topical given that particular combo was recently revealed to appear in Gaim'S Hyper Battle DVD release.

White Samurai

Naked Zangetsu from the front......and from the back

Zangetsu's base design is a slight alteration of Kamen Rider Gaim, and as such the figure is a remould of AC Gaim and features a similar Japanese warrior motif. The only real differences are the brand new head (which like Ryugen has more traditional Kamen Rider eyes) and the pattern on the legs and forearms - which is now black instead of gold. The white plastic used for Zangetsu seems almost translucent in hand, and whether intentional or not certainly gives the figure a much cheaper feel than the previous three releases.

But despite this, the articulation remains unchanged and is just as impressive as any other Arms Change figure. While it's still not quite what you'd get on a Figuart, its still a cut above what you'd find on most child-orientated toys released in the West that's for sure.

Bent sword :(Hiding the bend

Like Gaim, Zangetsu also comes packaged with a Musou Saber as his standard weapon. However once again there's an obvious cheapness about the sword as the blade is rather obviously bent. Usually I'd highlight something like this as an issue that varies figure to figure but in fact I haven't spoken to anyone who owns AC Zangetsu that doesn't have a bent saber so it's quite obviously a mould issue. When not in use, the Musou Saber can be clipped to the side of Zangestu's Sengoku Driver via a small tab.


LOCK ON!The mysterious Kamen Rider Melon-Head

Zangetsu's main lockseed of choice is the Melon Arms, and so of course that is what we see included in the set. Buyers of the AC01 Kamen Rider Gaim figure will be all too familiar with the transformation of the melon, as it is simply a remould of Gaim's Orange Arms. Sure the panels are all shaped and textured a little differently, but the overall shape and transformation sequence remain unchanged. However it is a rather lovely shade of green don't you think?


Kamen Rider Zangetsu Melon Arms - frontKamen Rider Zangetsu Melon Arms - back


As I mentioned earlier the transformation is largely the same as Gaim's, with the back piece folding straight  down, the front folding twice (down, and then bringing the top panel back up again) and the shoulders folding down then bringing the tips up. The main difference is that the shoulder tips do not fold flat on Zangetsu, instead resting like spikes. As a design it looks superb, but the chunkier nature and less paint (the inside of the shoulders should be gold) of the AC figure means it isn't quite as effective as the suit itself.

With so many similarities to Gaim, it's no surprise that the articulation remains pretty much the same with the armour on too.

A rare moment of holding the shield right

In addition to the aforementioned Musou Saber, Melon Arms also comes with its own unique weapon - a giant shield named the Melon Defender. Moulded in the same blue plastic as the Saber, the Defender is really nicely painted in Melon Arms' signature shade of green and gold. But it isn't without its own problems, though you could argue that its more of another knock against the base figure - it just doesn't want to hold the shield firmly! No matter what position you want to get it in, posing is an absolute nightmare as once you think you've got the hand holding it firmly, the shield just wobbles about.

Armored Riders together!

With four figures in hand its time to see how they all look with Melon added into the mix and the fruits all swapped around. This is where Zangetsu's base design really comes into its element, as the white suit meant it looked fantastic in every single combination I put it in. Just look at the pictures below and see for yourselves - Zangetsu is undoubtedly the most versatile Arms Change figure when it comes to this gimmick and it's a little bit of a shame I don't have the AC04 or 06 sets to see how he looks in those either. Gaim doesn't look all that different in Melon Arms (after all its almost the same design), Baron looks pretty awful while Ryugen kind of works thanks the greens. In all comparison scenarios though Zangetsu certainly comes out on top.

Zangetsu Orange Arms = AwesomeZangetsu Banana Arms = Awesome

Zangetsu Budou Arms = Awesome

While I thought I'd be saving the best for last, I'm sad to say that my favourite Gaim rider is actually the most disappointing Arms Change figure. I can't deny that Zangetsu has a brilliant base design which looks absolutely fantastic in every armour, but the obvious cheapness of the figure combined with the fact the overall package is rather unexciting really bring things down. That being said he's essential if you're at least looking to complete the main four riders in their base forms, but Zangetsu is the one you need to snap up quickly. All of the Arms Change figures are commanding high prices now, but with Zangetsu quickly replaced by Shin Zangetsu the original is getting harder and harder to get a hold of.

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