Thursday, 11 June 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Gill Hakaider

S.H. Figuarts Gill Hakaider

The Kikaider franchise has truly been the runaway success of the S.H. Figuarts line in the last year or so. While certain Super Sentai teams are still lacking a full lineup, Bandai Tamashii Nations have rather neatly made it through both Android Kikaider and Kikaider 01 and are only a couple characters short of the full "main" cast. Of course, it does help that for five of those figures all they need to do is repaint it. The second release to cover the Kikaider 01 side of things is Gill Hakaider - the second Hakaider who now contains Professor Gill's brain inside his head. Not only is this version of Hakaider much more prominent in the show (appearing for the entirety of 01), but also has a radically different personality to his predecessor. Gone is the machine whose sole purpose is to destroy his rival, and in his place comes a thuggish, straight up villain Hakaider whose goals involve world domination as well as crushing the Kikaiders. In the toku Gill Hakaider is a separate entity from Professor Gill and works as a subordinate of SHADOW, while in the manga and anime Gill Hakaider is quite literally the Professor in a robot body - who builds SHADOW out of the ashes of his former evil organisation DARK.

Gill Hakaider was a Tamashii web exclusive, originally released in May 2015.

Box Front

Box BackInsert Tray

With there being such minimal differences between the Saburo and Gill versions of Hakaider it's easy to assume that the packaging may simply recycle the original release's and just swap out/in the unique details. But nope, Gill Hakaider's packaging features all new art in the same minimal style as the other Kikaider release - and it's no surprise that it's another winner. Obviously it looks similar to the other Hakaider's packaging, but one quick comparison of the two and you can see that the whole thing is actually different. I just wish I had some high quality prints of this artwork to display, but Bandai have really done an excellent job with them. It totally justifies the loss of clear window packaging for web exclusives in my eyes.

The box is also a little bit thicker than the other Kikaider releases, due to the second tray underneath the figure which houses the brand new accessories exclusive to this release.

Gill Hakaider out of package

Front view (with cape)Brain closeupBack view (with cape)

Figure frontChest detailFigure back

Gill Hakaider is a very minor repaint of the original S.H. Figuarts Hakaider figure, who comes with a few new accessories which I'll go into properly further down in the review. In terms of paint differences between this and the original the main one is the addition of the Hakaider Squad emblem on the shoulder pads/chest piece - which is not only nicely painted by the outline also etched into the plastic as well. The other main different is the lightning bolts under the eyes, which are thinner, less jagged and split off into two nearer the mouth. Truth be told it isn't something I immediately noticed when watching Kikaider 01, but it's a subtle little change that helps differentiate the two a bit more.

Other than that, it's exactly the same figure as the original release - which isn't exactly a bad thing. While not particularly ingenuitive or a fine example of the line's most recent offerings, Hakaider was a solid figure with a great sculpt and decent range of articulation. My only real complaint is that I wish Bandai had come up with a better way to keep that clear dome fixed to the head, because it comes off a lot. A curved tab wasn't exactly the best of ideas to begin with, but placing any sort of force to keep it fixed on that rigid clear plastic isn't possible without the feeling that it could potentially shatter under the pressure. And although I haven't taken any pictures of it this time around, the brain is still removable from the head.

Gill Hakaider comes packaged with all the accessories from the original Hakaider figure, which is actually quite a pleasant surprise considering Bandai has had a tendency to scale down accessories between repaints in the past. This selection includes eight hands, a chromed version of his signature Hakaider shot pistol and an alternate right shin which has a holster built into the side of it. The hands provide a nice amount of variety (the point hand is a particular favourite of mine), and with the inclusion of "bike" hands the figure is also compatible with the Silver Crow, as well as any other Figuarts or similar-scale bike you may happen to own.

But in addition to all of that Gill Hakaider also comes with a few brand new accessories, all of which are specific to this iteration of the character. These include Professor Gill's signature flute staff (which when played creates a sound which causes the original Kikaider go berserk), a brand new pair of holding hands to go along with them (with the fingers of the right hand positioned in a flute-playing motion) and a rather snazzy alternate chest piece with cape attached. This section can be easily switched out by removed Hakaider's head and neck, lifting the non-cape piece off and swapping them around accordingly. The cape is made from a softer but fairly rigid plastic, so doesn't really have any movement in it for action poses. However thankfully it doesn't noticeably affect the figure's overall balance, and Gill Hakaider is still capable of some suitably villainous poses with that extra bit of swag an evil organisation leader needs.

These new accessories are brilliant little additions, and are a key factor in turning Gill Hakaider from a predictable-but-necessary repaint into a figure that has its own unique charm in comparison to the original release. They do however disappoint me a little bit as well, specifically because what they're inclusion means for some of the other Android Kikaider Figuarts that have been released. In the live-action Kikaider 01 series, the cape and flute barely appear at all - like a handful of times at the very most. The flute is quickly destroyed, and had I not gone back and checked before writing this review I was adamant that the cape didn't even appear in this version of the story. On the other hand, both things are considerably more prominent in Kikaider 01: The Animation, and because of that presumably the manga as well. So if accessories that have such minimal prominence in the show can make it into the figure, why can't things like the Kikaider brother's instruments? The obvious answer is because these make Gill Hakaider much more of separate release to the Saburo version and that's perfectly acceptable, but it doesn't stop me feeling that the heroes really could have been given that little bit extra to make them truly special.

Vs. Kikaider

Vs Kikaider 01Hakaider team up

Rarely would I say that a repaint truly outshines the original release of something, but Gill Hakaider definitely fits that bill (and it pains me to say that because in-show I vastly prefer the original Hakaider). Kikaider fans will be happy to buy this guy because it represents a radically different character, while more casual fans who may not have picked up the first release may be more likely tempted in by this more substantial release. If you bought the original and aren't a particularly big Kikaider fan you might feel a little ripped off by the inclusion of extra bits on a second release, but in that case you should take solace in the fact that you own the more iconic version of the character. But underneath all the glamour of a fancy cape it is still the same Hakaider figure underneath - a toy that isn't especially remarkable by Figuarts' standards but still considerably ahead of similar toy lines. Basically what I'm trying to say is that everyone needs a little bit of Hakaider in their lives.


PoetiQ said...


Would you be able to provide a picture of Gill *without* the collar? Since you can remove it in order to apply the caped version, I was curious as to how he looks like without the rest of it. Any chance you'd be willing to oblige?

Alex said...

Sure thing! Here you go:

PoetiQ said...

Much appreciated!

Good gosh he looks ghastly like that. Ugh. I was hoping he'd look cooler, LOL.