Saturday 13 October 2012

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Red Buster

After so many recent Super Sentai Figuarts being Akibaranger related, it feels strange to suddenly move back to one that doesn't have anything to do with it. But here were have S.H. Figuarts Red Buster, star of the current and 36th Super Sentai series Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters. Love it or hate it, the Go-Busters show hasn't had much luck in the ratings department and so is currently in the middle of re-tooling as it moves into its final 20 episodes. Perhaps as a result of this, Red Buster is currently the only mass release Go-Buster Figuart, with Blue Buster, Yellow Buster and the three Buddyroids all Tamashii Web Exclusives (although Usada Lettuce is packed with Yellow Buster). A lot is riding on Red Buster, because if he isn't up to scratch shelling out for four or more web exclusives is going to be a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

Straight away you'll notice that the box is far busier than your average Figuart fact you can only see half the figure! In the corner is a stylised image of the figure, and covering the legs is an eye catching foil red glasses logo. The back of the box is equally busy, with multiple pictures of Red Buster, flanked by green and white text, translucent background images and a big "BUSTERS READY GO!" banner.

While Figuarts sculpts usually don't cause many complaints, Red Buster unfortunately has several flaws. Before you even take him out of the box you can notice the biggest one - the shoulders, which hang down as if Hiromu had both his shoulders dislocated before being shoved in a box. Due to the way the body has been designed to incorporate the straps, the arms are incapable of pointing straight down or forwards. The waist joints also have seemingly no range of motion whatsoever.

Much like how Bouken Red settled for solid red joints, Red Buster's elbows have black joints since (for whatever reason) red/silver ones were too difficult. This may put off a lot of people, but compared to the shoulder problem is feels fairly minuscule. I can't argue that there are details missing, but there's something about the overall finish of the figure which makes it look much more toy-like than his predecessors. One plus I will give the figure though is that the ankles are excellent.

I mentioned in my Bouken Red review that the hands were surprisingly fiddly, given that Figuarts hand swapping is so seamless. Unfortunately, Red Buster is even worse. The hands just don't want to connect easily, and applying the necessary force is even harder on the left hand where there's a tiny Morphin Brace to worry about.

Red Buster is also extremely lacking in the accessory department. In total he comes with 8 hands (closed fists, 2 pairs of gripping hands and a pair of open hands), the Sougan Blade, the Ichigan Buster and Ichigan Buster Special Mode. While these are arguably the main things Red Buster should have come with, there are so many missed opportunities I can think of off the top of my head. There's no sign of the Sougan Blade in binoculars mode or the Ichigan Buster in camera mode, and on a more wishful thinking note - a swappable  folded out Morphin Brace (after all, Bandai seem to love tiny accessories) or glasses-less helmet could have been included. When you remember that this guy cost the same amount as Bouken Red, Deka Red and Red Hawk, all of whom were very well stocked, its just another strike against his name.

Red Buster is still a step above most American figures, but in comparison to other Figuarts he comes as a real disappointment. Whether it been the flawed sculpt or lack of accessories, you can't help but feel that it could have been better. With low expectations for Blue and Yellow Buster, fingers crossed that Bandai step up their game for the as-yet-unannounced Beet and Stag Busters.

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