Monday 24 February 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Arms Change AC03 Kamen Rider Ryugen

Arms Change AC03 Ryugen

Part three of my brief foray into the Kamen Rider Gaim Arms Change line logically takes us to its third entry (designated AC03) - Kamen Rider Ryugen. This Armored Rider, whose real identity is Mitsuzane "Mitchy" Kureshima, is of particular interest because not only is he the second rider of Team Gaim, but he is also brother of Yggdrasil project leader Takatora - who we'll be hearing more about in the next post. Anyone watching Gaim will known Mitchy is proving to be a fascinating character, as his cheery exterior hides a pretty dark manipulative side. 

Now in grape flavoured packaging

Coming soon! Melons!A look inside the box

For the third time we revisit the "cuboid but not quite a cuboid" packaging of the Arms Change line, this time naturally in a green and purple decor. I can't quite put my finger on why, but there's something so much more striking about the Ryugen images used on the box compared to the previous Gaim and Baron ones. This especially applies to the action pose shot of the figure on the back, posed replicating the character's "Dragon Shot" attack. Interestingly, the packaging advertises the AC05 Zangetsu figure rather than the AC04 Pine (Pineapple) and Ichigo (Strawberry) set, which was the next release in the line.

Naked Grape

Chinese grapes"Don't look at my screw holes!"

Ryugen's base form is yet another new motif among the Kamen Rider Gaim riders, this time taking design cues from Chinese soliders rather than Japanese samuai or European knights. As such Ryugen drops the heavy armoured look in favour of a more ornate, cloth uniform. While this means the figure itself is mostly smooth (no textures like on the Gaim or Baron figures), it does create a very seamless look and the gold highlights look great on the green/black body. The other notable thing about Ryugen is that he is the first Gaim rider to have a more traditional bug-eyes helmet, rather than the more unique visors that both Gaim and Baron have.

Articulation is as great as usual, with full body motion in the head (ball/socket joint), shoulders (ball jointed), bicepts (swivel) elbows (hinged), wrists (swivel), fingers (two hinged sections), waist (swivel), hips (ball jointed), thighs (swivel), knees (hinged) and feet (ball/socket - very limited though). Honestly, when you count it all up it doesn't feel like that much less than your average Figuart.

Attempting martial arts poses 01Attempting martial arts poses 02

Like Baron, Ryugen has no base weaponry so when "naked" (not that it ever comes up in the show) would have to rely on just his fists. As we'll see in the next review, clearly it was only the Japanese-inspired riders that had any luck in this regard.



With the base figure out of the way, its time to add the Budou (or Grape if you'd prefer) Arms into the blender. Out of the fruits we've seen so far in the line, Budou takes the most liberties in looking like what it's supposed to. While I'm not about to argue that it in no way resembles a bunch of grapes, if you were to not realise what it's supposed to be without being told I wouldn't blame you. This box piece is primarily made of purple plastic, which a ornate silver/gold front plate and my personal favourite - a green stalk on top to complete the look.

Ryugen Budou Arms ready for action

Looking pretty fineArmour sitting nicely


As you might expect with a giant cuboid, the Budou Arms transformation is fairly standard. The stalk folds down and the lid opens, with that and the back piece folding over each other to become the armour's back. The sides then simply fold downward to make the shoulders, while the front piece folds twice so that only the silver area makes up the chest plate. It's an easy transformation, but added bulk aside quite possibly the most accurate looking Arms Change figure yet. Everything sits flush, and the back armour is barely noticeable when viewing the figure front on.

Best of all since the shoulder armour is just flat panels on hinges, they in no way impede any of the articulation on the base figure. As far as articulation goes with the armour on, once againt Ryugen proves to be the best of the bunch.

Stick em up"Dragon shot!"

Ryugen Budou Arms' weapon is the Budou Ryuhou, which is a lot more self-explantory when translated into English - the "Grape Dragon Gun". There's not a whole lot to say about it really - mould-wise its accurate to the in-show version but like some of the other Arms Change weapons it skimps on the colour detail (most notably gold sections on each side). The gun does have any special features so all that's left to really say is that it fits in Ryugen's hands pretty badly. It it isn't impossible to fit snugly, but slips out quite easily which can lead to much frustration. It may have been a lot better if the gun had been moulded with a trigger hole so that the finger sections could wrap around and close on different areas - just a thought.

The first 3 Riders

Despite Budou Arms having an obvious aesthetic difference to the previous two Gaim riders in the line, impressively it still manages to work well with both of them (to varying degrees of success). Gaim himself continues to be a figure that works with all fruits, the purple going nicely with Gaim's dark metallic blue body and gold highlights. Admittedly Baron's colours don't work quite as well (in fact the purple clashes pretty horrible with the figure's base red) but the overall shape still manages to look great.

On the Ryugen side of things, the same pretty much applies to Ryugen Orange Arms. Colour-wise its incredibly garish, but the shape itself is interesting. Combined with Gaim's Daidaimaru, it makes Ryugen look a little bit like an armoured thief or rogue with a short-sword weapon. The real winner is Banana Arms though, which continues its campaign of looking fantastic whichever figure its stuck on. With Ryugen lacking an elaborate head crest the banana horns look fine at the back of the helmet, and the gold fits with Ryugen's existing highlights to prevent any colours clashing. As far as overall designs go, I think the base Ryugen figure being lightly armoured really works to its favour compatibility wise.

Green + Orange = Good or bad combo?Banana buddies

While not quite up to levels of Gaim himself (who I feel has that little bit more to him in design and features), Ryugen is another fantastic entry into the Arms Change line that manages to surpass the ALMOST equally impressive Baron. The base Ryugen figure is gorgeous (and a little bit more like a standard Kamen Rider design, should traditionalists be put off by Gaim's more unorthodox designs) and though boxy, Budou Arms unfolds into some brilliant looking armour that looks great regardless of the wearer. The fact that Orange and Banana Arms work with Ryugen too is just an added bonus. Ryugen couldn't come recommended much higher, however if you're planning to pick one up be sure to do it soon - the after market prices for these figures are getting a little crazy and Ryugen is no exception!

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