Wednesday 20 June 2012

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Garo

First off, anyone reading this blog that hasn't seen Garo really needs to take the time to watch it. Seriously, you won't regret it - it's one of the best tokusatsu series around and definitely worth the time. Now that's been said, after watching Garo myself I've been pining for a poseable version of the titular character for quite some time. While Bandai's Makai Kadou line offers a far wider range of characters, experience with the S.H. Figuarts line swayed me to that version of the character (plus it'll be perfectly in scale with my Sentai and Riders). Figuarts has only released three characters from Garo - the other two being Zero and Taiga (who is almost identical to Garo save different coloured eyes and an extra weapon), both of which were Tamashii web exclusives. Luckily for me, Garo and Zero were really the only two characters I was ever interested in buying.

The golden Garo armour is something with quite a lot of detail to it, and thankfully Bandai haven't let fans of the line down in scaling them down to figure form. The figure is covered in armour folds, rivets and elaborate detailing, meaning Garo's impressive appearance isn't lost. Even Garo's Madō Ring Zaruba is sculpted on each left hand (albeit unpainted). It would be somewhat impractical to paint the figure that chrome gold Garo appears in the show, so instead he's a flat but still effective gold colour. Not quite as impressive as chrome, but it does mean that you aren't too afraid to handle the figure for fear of scuffing it. Much like the older Figuarts, Garo has diecast feet, meaning a more hefty weight and a better ability to hold action poses.

As far as accessories go, we have 5 additional hands (2x holding fists, 2x open and a right hand meant for holding the sword sheath), sword, sheath and cape. The cape is attached by removing the ribbon-shaped pieces on the back (these come unattached in the box) and then popped onto the balls exposed. The cape isn't much to shout about (just a PVC plastic piece) but it does have all the markings it should and looks good for static poses. Personally I'd rather Taiga came with the cape (since it was something I associated more with him anyway, Garo barely wore it) and Garo come with the Garo Zanbaken, but that's just me. It's a nice little extra that the sword can actually be sheathed, but a shame it can only be held in his left hand (not that I remember him holding it in his right hand anyway I suppose).

Back onto the subject of hands, there's one word I see thrown around a lot in reviews of other figures in the line (particularly the Kamen Rider OOO figuarts), and that word is gummy. I'd never fully understood that description until now, because that's exactly what Garo's hands are. They are really soft and bend far too easily for my liking. Thankfully its limited to the hands and not the body and/or joints.

While there are other options in the form of the Makai Kadou, Kiwami Tamashii and Equip & Prop lines,  the Figuarts is a blend of a simple-yet-screen-accurate design with excellent poseability. The prototype figure might have showed off a shinier gold, but the shade they went with in the end is more than good enough and in reality its only the lack of Zanbaken and gummy hands that let it down. Not a figure for those looking for a wide range of Garo figures, but if you're just looking for the Golden Knight himself you could do much worse than this.

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