Friday 28 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC EX Legend Rider Arms

As we reach the end of my planned Kamen Rider Gaim Arms Change figure purchases, we also reach the reason I decided to check out the line in the first place. Rider/Sentai movies are known for their exclusive power-up forms and mecha, and Gaim's first movie outing - The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle, is no exception. However rather than be four brand new fruits, here the core four Gaim riders draw on the power of the previous four "Neo-Heisei" era Kamen Riders - W, OOO, Fourze and Wizard. How could the prospect of riders wearing other riders as armour not be exciting?

While the standard Arms Change style of packaging hasn't changed for this special release (numbered "AC EX"), there is of course no fruity colour scheme to adhere to and so instead goes for a winning combination of red and black. The back of the box features some great images of Gaim, Baron, Ryugen and Zangetsu wearing the appropriate armours they wear in the movie, along with nifty head shots of the veteran riders themselves as the backdrop. The insert backing card is especially cool, as when behind the tray lies the logos of the four shows.

Perhaps the most fun aspect of these armours is the pre-transformation look, which is of course oversized versions of the four Riders' heads. They look absolutely hilarious on the Arms Change figures, and undoubtedly look amusing when placed on the actual veteran Riders themselves to make them some weird "giant head cheat" versions.

Sadly this set doesn't include any of the weapons that are used in the movie, despite the four armours' having their own unique weapon that relates to the veteran rider. I'll explain which weapon each one uses in the corresponding section.


Going in chronological order we begin with Kamen Rider W, the armour naturally taking the shape (or more colour) of W's base form Cyclone Joker. The transformation is fairly simple - the sides are pulled out and folded accordingly to make the shoulder pads, while the bottom portion of the face folds to make the chest plate. Meanwhile the remaining 3/4 of the helmet folds over the back, but is double hinged to fold back up again and rest on the back.

This is Arms used by Kamen Rider Ryugen in the movie.

Ryugen was pretty much the perfect choice for W Arms, because I think its the only one it really suits. Baron it looks pretty goddamn awful on (unfortunately that red/grey/silver doesn't seem to work with much that isn't Banana or Mango Arms) and Gaim/Zangetsu can kind of pull it off but something still seems slightly off. With Ryugen's colour scheme already mostly green and black Cyclone Joker was a sure fire fit. 

That being said, W Arms has some really weird design choices. Rather than W's normal red eyes, the armour instead goes for a bizarre green/purple heterochromia look. I really like it (especially looking good on the two bug-eye Armored Riders), but one has to wonder why that's the look the designers went with. Also to keep with Ryugen's gun usage, W Arms has Lunar Trigger's Trigger Magnum as its weapon...which is blue and yellow. So if it had been included, that would be quite the colour clash.

...I still wish it had been included though.


Following on from Kamen Rider W is Kamen Rider OOO, and so here we have OOO TaToBa Arms. OOO Arms features an almost identical transformation sequence to W Arms, and is the armour of choice of the ever lovely Kamen Rider Baron.

OOO Arms is easily the worst of the four armours included in this set, not really working well with any of the four Riders I have on hand (although Zangetsu tries his hardest to pull of a black/white combo with some REALLY demonic looking eyes). It could be because the armour is mostly solid black with very little decoration (W Arms has little "Cyclone" and "Joker" decals on the shoulders, this has nothing), but overall other than the chest logo this configuration is really dull. The red wings on the helmet piece are only really visible on Baron too, which kinda works nicely as its his form I guess.

If Bandai hadn't decided to be cheap, OOO Arms would have come with OOO's medaljalibur sword.



In 2011 Kamen Rider headed up into Kamen Rider Fourze, and there's a glorious irony in the armour of the Kamen Rider obsessed with making friends going to Gaim rider of these bunch least likely to make friends. It's Zangetsu's time to shine!

Fourze Arms has a bit more of an interesting transformation than the previous two armours, but still nothing particularly complex. Here the face section of the helmet lifts up to allow the sides and mouth plate to swing down and form the shoulders, before the rocket shaped back swings down to the back and the faceplate sits inside of it. It's still obviously quite bulky, but the fact the fact sits inside the helmet makes it look considerably better.

Fourze Arms doesn't really work on Gaim, Baron or Ryugen. In fact I'd go as far to say that it looks like riders wearing a white t-shirt with additional rocket sleeves. But Zangetsu Fourze Arms more than makes up for it - because it is amazing. This is the combo that attracted me to the Rider Arms (and thus, the Arms Change line altogether) and man does it not disappoint. Zangetsu's base design was very Fourze-y as it is (even more so when he becomes Shin Zangetsu as it adds extra black areas), so the designs just go together perfectly. If you ever wondered what Fourze would look like as a badass Samurai, here is the answer.

Zangetsu Fourze Arms interestingly uses the rocket module as his main weapon. This is the one weapon I'm not surprised wasn't included, as the piece would probably need some sort of remould to attach to Zangetsu's arm.


And finally we come to last year's Kamen Rider Wizard, with Gaim naturally taking the armour of his predecessor as the two team up in the movie (The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle being partly a finale to Wizard). This is another quite interesting transformation, with the shoulders folding straight down without any sort of folding. Then its the usual routine of pulling down the front and folding it to make the chest piece and sending any leftovers to the figure's backside.

While it isn't my favourite Arms (and Wizard certainly isn't my favourite rider), I have to admit Wizard Arms is easily the most versatile of the four Legend Rider Arms. It looks pretty damn good on all of them, even Baron (hooray for red and grey!). It's just a shame that it's easily the most limiting of the Arms articulation-wise because of the way the shoulders work. 

You've probably guessed it already, but Wizard Arms' weapon is the Wizarswordgun.

With just as many misses as there are hits in this set, it's hard to recommend the Legend Rider Arms set for anything more than what it is - a novelty. But as far as movie-exclusive novelties go, I thought this to have been the best one in a while and knew I just had to have it. The armours are very basic and the lack of accessories is a bit of a downer (though if you're a figure collector you might be lucky and have a few spares lying around), but if you're into strange little things that are unlikely to get toys elsewhere (and if they do, they certainly won't have the gimmick intact) these are definitely something that will get your interested in the Arms Change line. Otherwise, you aren't going to be missing much passing on these guys.

I might be done for now, but if they do toys of the recently revealed Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen Rider-1, Decade and Gaim Arms? I'll most definitely be back for those.

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