Monday, 8 December 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2

With an alternate colour version of the New Cyclone motorcycle coming out in October 2014 to accompany the Rider 1/New Cyclone 2-pack, the trifecta was going to look rather incomplete without a re-release of Takeshi Hongo's comrades in arms. So also making a return that month is a reissue of the original S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 2 figure, based on the "Shin" version of the character that appeared later in the original series and then any subsequent crossovers. This Rider's real identity is freelance photographer Hayato Ichimonji, who was captured by Shocker and transformed into a cyborg in an attempt to defeat the original Kamen Rider once and for all. However before the brainwashing could be completed, Hongo manages to save him and the two have fought alongside ever since.

When Hongo leaves Japan to fight Shocker overseas midway through the series, Ichimonji becomes his successor and defends Japan from Shocker's evil schemes. Eventually Hongo returns to Japan, with the two continuing the fight alongside as the Double Riders.

Box Front

Box backInsert Tray

As per usual for reissued S.H. Figuarts figures, Kamen Rider 2 comes in the packaging he was originally released in - without any changes or indication that this is a reissue of a figure originally released in 2011. Slightly thicker than a usual Figuarts box (to accommodate the lengthy effect part), the box is almost entirely black, with the front almost entirely being a clear window save for the gray image of the figure adorning the bottom corner. The back features multiple images of the figure in various poses, which stand our rather vibrantly against the solid black backdrop. It isn't particularly fancy packaging by any measure, but it gets the job done.

Like Kamen Rider 1 and any other Kamen Rider figure from a series prior to Kamen Rider W, this packaging refers to the character as "Masked Rider" rather than "Kamen Rider".

Rider 2 out of the box

Figure frontFigure back

Henshin to the right!Ground poundHenshin to the left!

For those unaware, the Shin Rider 1 and Rider 2 suits are virtually identical, save for a few little aesthetic differences. The two main ones are Rider 2's red gloves/boots and single silver stripe running down the arms and legs (as opposed to Rider 1's silver gloves/boots and double stripes), but if you look closely you'll also see that Rider 2's Typhoon belt has white stripes in the centre rather than black ones. But other than that, it's exactly the same suit. The older versions of Rider 1 and 2 are also rather similar, but I believe the "Shin" versions are where they look the most similar. It's also worth noting that this is the original version of the Shin Rider 2 suit, and not the newer version with black helmet seen in Movie Wars Megamax and various other crossover films.

So in essence being little more than a repaint (despite his status as an incredibly important main character), if you already own the Shin Kamen Rider 1 figure get ready for more of the same. Rider 2 has a great sculpt that really nails the iconic suit design, but is definitely beginning to show his age in the engineering and articulation department now. The shoulders and swing-down hips especially when compared to some of the line's more current offerings. However one little plus Rider 2 has over his comrade is the fact he has correct coloured wrist and ankle joints. Maybe silver joints is just something that was beyond Bandai in 2011?


Battle readyFlying Rider punch!Karate chop!

Rider kick part 2

The same goes for accessory count, which is more or less the same as the original Shin Rider 1 release. The package includes a total of ten swappable hands, alternate muffler piece and translucent blue "Rider Kick" effect part. Interestingly there are a couple of extremely minor differences with the 2-pack Shin Rider 1 release, most obviously the lack of a sword but also an additional henshin-pose right hand and a slightly lighter shade of blue used for the "Rider Kick" effect part. But other than that, there's no surprises here if you've already got a Shin Rider 1 figure. Considering how similar these two figures are, its a massive shame that Tamashii Nations couldn't have tried to differentiate them a bit more in terms of accessories. The future alternate colour releases of Rider 1 got some nifty new accessories, why couldn't have this figure? If this were a quick web exclusive release I may be a bit more forgiving, but an important character like Rider 2 should be far more than just a repaint even if he looks like one.

Double Riders together

Double Rider kick!Rider 2 on the New Cyclone

Another Ishinomori heroes shot

For anyone who's trying to collect all the main Kamen Rider characters, Rider 2 is a must-have figure - there's no denying that. However coming off the back of Rider 1 this is a rather disappointing release, simply because no effort was made to make it feel unique. It's literally just a repaint, despite Rider 2 being the main character for a considerable portion of the original series. Maybe if you have a different version of Rider 1 to go along with this then it isn't so bad, but if you want matching Riders to go with their modern appearances (well, sans a black helmet for Rider 2 these days) then you're stuck with getting the two Shin versions. It's still a pretty good figure no doubt, but definitely deserved to have a lot more thought put behind it.

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