Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Alien Metron


Release Date: April 2017
RRP: 5940 yen

While the release of the Ultra heroes themselves may be coming at a slow and steady pace, the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts line has been filling out rather nicely with range of aliens and kaiju on offer. The original series has already seen Baltan and Zetton released with Mefilas and Gomora still to follow, and now 2017 continues its venture in Ultraseven with S.H. Figuarts Alien Metron. The second retail release from the series, Metron’s initial announcement was timed well with the race’s appearance in Ultraman Orb and now its release comes just ahead of Kaiju Club – the Ultraseven “making of” drama series where Metron is already looking to play a regular part.



Alien Metron’s packaging follow the standard style adopted for the Ultraman releases, mixing things up with a nice blue colourscheme to match the figure’s main body colour. As usual rather than use an image of the figure a shot of the suit has been used for the front image, with the standard Tamashii Nations promo shots saved for the back and spines.




The first thing that immediately makes stand out from the previously (and even soon to be) released Ultra kaiju Figuarts is just how colourful it is. Whereas the rest of the figures have predominantly been either silver or darker colours Metron is a brightly coloured explosion of blue, white, red, orange and yellow. It’s an immediately striking colourscheme that’s not only fantastically retro but really makes the figure stand out from the crowd too. The sculpting is just as impressive too, with Metron sporting a gorgeous matte finish for the majority of the body but then a hard, glossy surface for the front of his octopus-like “face”. The sections running down either side are actually translucent plastic and showing the surface underneath, rather than painted themselves.





Articulation is the only real area Metron is perhaps a bit of a let-down, and honestly that’s less of a fault with the figure itself and more that the design can’t really allow for any more than this. That giant head that drapes down over the shoulders and torso means any sort of head articulation is an instant no-no, even though it’s attached to a double-ended ball-joint connector piece. The figure does however feature ball-jointed shoulders and hips, double-hinged elbows and knees, a waist swivel (mostly obscured by the head, but it’s still there) and ankle rockers. To put it simply, while a typical Figuart will likely be far less restrictive than an actual suit’s movement would be, these Ultra aliens/kaiju feel more closely matched to them. It’s not an especially bad thing and certainly an admirable approach, but nothing especially noteworthy on a wider scale.




Accessories have been pretty hit and miss so far with figures – Baltan came with nothing at all, while Zetton on the other hand included two different beam parts. As another creature lacking in the hand department alternates hands are completely out of the picture, but in their place Tamashii Nations have offered something far more fun. Included here is the table Metron sat at along with Dan when the two first met properly (and has since been used in Metron’s subsequent reappearances), along with a box of his trademark hallucinogenic cigarettes and two easily losable loose ones (seriously, these things are TINY). Now Metron can’t really hold any of those the cigarettes are only really good for sitting on the table or giving to other figures, but just having the pieces alone gives the package so much personality. Rather than just having Metron in an attack pose you can instead have him sitting down offering someone a smoke.



Despite their obvious limitations when it comes to movement the Ultra kaiju are among some of the most fun figures the S.H. Figuarts line has produced, and a strong case could definitely be made for Alien Metron as the best of the bunch. Beautifully sculpted, bursting with colour and featuring the perfect accessories, Metron is a wonderfully silly figure of a wonderfully silly (but nevertheless fantastic-looking) design. Collectors may still be on the fence about what the S.H. Figuarts Ultras truly have to offer over their Ultra-Act predecessors, but as far as their opponents are concerned the line is really going from strength to strength.

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