Saturday, 12 November 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider 1 [2016]

The 45th anniversary of Kamen Rider was one Super Hero Year’s biggest milestones, and in celebration Toei produced Kamen Rider 1 – a film that saw Hiroshi Fujioka reprise his role as Takeshi Hongo and team up with the cast of Kamen Rider Ghost against the new threat of Nova Shocker. The film introduced a redesigned suit for the original Rider, presumably having made improvements to himself over his years of fighting. Of course new design meant that an S.H. Figuarts version couldn’t be too far behind, with the 2016 Kamen Rider 1 joining the line as a mass release figure in October.

Kamen Rider 1 comes packaged in Figuarts’ modern style of thin, economy-saving boxes – similar in design to that of both the Kamen Rider Ghost and Kamen Rider Drive ranges. Though predominantly black, the bottom features a wall of flames to reference one of the key scenes of the movie, while the top corner features the iconic Tachibana Racing Club logo. The main image on the front of the box has been mostly desaturated to focus on the red sections, but as usual the back features a selection of colour images of the figure in various poses. An interesting bit of trivia to note is that since this is the 2016 version of the character the box labels him as “KAMEN Rider 1”, as opposed to the “MASKED Rider 1” you would get with any older version (as is the case with any pre-W Kamen Rider).

In order to convincingly portray a 70-year-old Fujioka behind that mask, it was obvious that some changes needed to be made to the classic Rider 1 suit. Bigger and burlier with age, the updated Rider 1 is built like a tank – armoured and physically imposing while evoking that same sense of hope and heroism the original did. For some the actual suit might have been a little TOO bulky, so it’s interesting to note that the Figuart version definitely feels slimmed down in comparison. Make no mistake he’s still pretty hulking when put alongside his classic counterpart or any other any Rider for that matter. Whereas the original suit was relatively simple in design, this new iteration builds upon the base design with thicker armour and more textured surfaces. While the actual suit brings out this detail with black outlining on the green sections, for some reason this is inexplicably missing from the toy's boots and gloves -  meaning a fair portion of the detail doesn’t stand out all that much. The muffler (which is detached in package) connects via a small balljoint to a separate piece sat around the neck, and can drape comfortable over the front or swing back for windswept action poses. Once on the piece is unlikely to fall off on account of just how stiff it is – attaching it in the first place is considerably easier with the head removed.

The Typhoon belt even has a functional buckle, which can be closed by removing the covers and reattaching them in the additional peg holes. When closed the Racing Club logo is on full display, and when open you get a look at that great turbine centrepiece.

The added bulk brings with it a worry that articulation will suffer somewhat, however save for those large round shoulderpads the new Rider 1 fares pretty well in this department too. It’s unfortunate that Bandai have opted to use the old swing-down hips for this release (much like they did with the Ghost figures), but the textured undersuit and side flaps do a decent job of masking the gaps they can create. Branching out from that it’s the usual array of Figuarts’ joints providing a high level of poseability, with the ab-crunch especially providing a versatile range of motion. The bigger frame also does wonders for the figure’s balance, and Rider-1 is capable of a good range of poses – some of which even the suit probably can’t manage.

Unfortunately Rider 1 is cursed just like most other modern Kamen Rider Figuarts to a very minimal accessory count, consisting merely of two alternate pairs of hands and a flashy “Rider Kick” effect part. What sours the package even further is that this effect part isn’t even new – it’s a recolour of the one previously released with all the other various Rider 1 and 2 figures (with a slightly bigger foothole). That said, the translucent clear/green/red plastic combo this piece uses is far more striking than the older blue versions, and does look pretty great when attached to the figure. It’s a pretty fair accessory count for the current state of the line, but for a character as important as Rider 1 it just feels like something a bit extra could have been done here.

While the 2016 version of Kamen Rider 1 is never going replace the iconic original suit, until the Shinkocchou Seihou figure revealed at this year’s Tamashii Nations event is released this definitely makes for the better figure. A great representation of the suit bothered by only a few niggling problems, much like the Kamen Rider 1 movie itself this isn’t a release that should be overlooked.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd prefer screen accurate design even with bulkier body. And that missing paint details too, just unfortunate.