Friday 20 June 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Orange Arms

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Orange Arms

It's just as well Kamen Rider Gaim's Arms Change toy line has been pretty fantastic, but Bandai Tamashii Nations have been pretty late in the game gearing up the characters for their S.H. Figuarts line. With the show entering its final third, its Riders are finally on their way and (given the amount of characters they have to get through) don't look like they'll be stopping for a while. Naturally the first release off the bat is Kamen Rider Gaim himself, in his default Orange Arms suit. With Figuarts having made obvious improvements to the figure engineering over the past six months or so, anticipation has been running high for Gaim ever since those beautiful promo images first leaked.

Now with added vitamin C!

Fruity packagingSunny delight

After Kamen Rider Wizard managed to pull off some rather spiffy box art last year with magic circles and what not, I was quite eager to see what the Gaim range would be able to come up with. In no way does this box disappoint, showing off Gaim in a lovely circular window complete with orange slices tampo-ed over the top. The spine compliments this with its vibrant orange zest (may as well get the puns out of the way quickly), while the back is a more somber Gaim-blue with the appropriate background logo. Bandai are obviously quite proud of the detail they've managed to provide on this figure, the back images featuring close ups of both the helmet visor and the driver. Overall the box is the perfect blend of looking Kamen Rider Gaim themed and like an "adult collectible", so if you're one who pays close attention to the packaging you shouldn't be disappointed.

Best first wave bonus?

First run editions of Gaim will also come with this beautiful black stage, with the personal emblems of Gaim's four "main" Riders (Gaim, Baron, Ryugen and Zangetsu) printed in gold in the centre. Much larger than a standard Tamashii stage, it's big enough to fit roughly four figures on it and doesn't have any holes to fit claws on so its all reliant on balancing for good poses. Its a beautiful stage, and definitely will make any Gaim display that little bit more special.

(The gold folding stage included in these pictures is a first run bonus with Kamen Rider Baron, and so does not come with Gaim himself.)

Hanamichi on stage

Lock On!Orange Arms!

"This is my stage now"Don't say no, just live more

Remember how much I loved the Arms Change Kamen Rider Gaim? Well, while it may not have the armour-swapping gimmick of its more child-friendly brother in terms of accuracy and detail the Figuart naturally blows the Arms Change figure out of the water. Don't get me wrong the Arms Change release is still a fantastic figure, but when you put the two side by side you really begin to see what its missing. Not having to worry about the armour having to transform, accuracy is the Figuart's main priority and it manages it stupendously. Every little detail is right there, and put altogether just work so well. From the metallic orange sheen of the armour to Gaim's shining blue body, complimented by dashes of gold, silver and even the odd bit of green. This is one Figuart that feels less like a toy and more like the bridge between posable figure and high end statue.

Even the Sengoku Driver has an impressive degree of functionality! Not only can the Lockseed be removed (and replaced with others that will come with later figures), but the knife "Cutting Arm" lever is also fixed on a peg. This means the figure can even do the Lockseed slice action!

Musou Saber actionOblivious to Micchy

Daidaimaru!Dadai Ittou!

The flattened-down show accurate armour also doesn't hinder articulation, with the shoulder pads able to move up and down via a hinge and the chest piece able to slide with the ab crunch. Body-wise Gaim sports a double ball-jointed head/neck, ball-jointed shoulders, double hinged elbows and ball jointed wrists. The hips are of the ball/swivel variety seen on the Blade and Ryuki figures rather than the (now seen progressively less) swing down hips. This is rounded off by double hinged knees, ball jointed ankles and a pair of toe hinges.

Prior to Gaim's release there was also a lot of talk as to what hand system the figures would be using. Prototype images suggested that the Gaim releases (or at least Gaim and Baron) would be adopting the new style peg joint seen on the Renewal Kabuto figure, but they do in fact continue to use the standard ball joint wrists used on every other Figuarts release. However on closer inspection the ball joint tab does seem to have gone through a little modification - though slightly smaller, it now has a thicker rim surrounding it to the joint itself. While it makes absolutely no difference to the overall articulation, it may hopefully provide a little more sturdiness to what can be quite a temperamental connection.

Dual-wielding action

Fruity WarlordProtecting Zawame

For accessories Gaim comes packed with ten swappable hands, his standard Musou Saber weapon and then his additional Orange Arms-specific sword - the Daidaimaru (Great Orange Circle). Like the Sengoku Driver, the Musou Saber features a small sticker on the gun piece barrel - this time depicting the Gaim emblem rather than the Rider's face. It's a tiny sticker and difficult to fully make out even close up, but again you can't fault attention to detail like that. This can also be attached the left side of Gaim's belt when not in use, akin to the Shinkengers' Shinkenmaru.

 However as nice and accurate as the Musou Saber is it doesn't hold a candle to the Daidaimaru in all its orange slice glory. Though simpler, the colours really make it something special. Naturally the two weapons can also combine at the ends to form Naginata Mode, which is topped off by also placing the open lockseed on the Musou Saber's hilt.

Naginata Mode!

Combining the weaponsTaking down the Inves

Gaim saves the dayBurai kick!

Soiya! Orange Arms!Lock On!

And of course it isn't a true S.H. Figuarts release without the inclusion of something you could easily loose just by sneezing near the box, which is why Gaim also comes with a tiny closed orange lockseed. Like the opened version this can be pegged to both the Driver and the Musou Saber, hooked onto the right side of Gaim's belt (not pictured) as well as held quite securely in Gaim's hands. Not so securely that it still isn't completely loseable, but as far as tiny accessories go I think it beats out both Fourze's Astro Switches and the Gokaigers' Ranger Keys.

The Kamen Rider Gaim family

Passing the torchFiguart/Arms Change Comparison

I don't really know what to say about Kamen Rider Gaim other than "go out and buy him now". It's an absolutely incredible figure, and hands down the best Figuart I own (which, out of 50+ is a pretty impressive achievement). From the perfect sculpt to the vibrant colours, the amazing articulation. the great accessories and to top it all off a brilliant first run bonus - there isn't a single thing wrong Bandai have done here. The only big question left is how the hell Bandai are going to top it with everything still to come?

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