Friday 13 June 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Shin

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Shin

2014 is proving to be an interesting year for the S.H. Figuarts line. It's become even bigger with the integration of the D-Arts line, and renewal editions seem to be in full swing with Black RX and Kabuto following last year's Black renewal. Kabuto even showed off a brand new body type. But the most exciting thing is that Bandai are finally getting around to some characters that are long overdue figures, with a full Kamen Rider lineup nearly in sight. Kamen Rider Hibiki is due in August, but until then there's another older Rider that's just been released to enjoy - the often forgotten, mostly hated Kamen Rider Shin. Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue may have mostly been considered an awful film (with good reason), but there's no denying it's awesomely monstrous Rider has huge potential to make an excellent figure.

And with a Figuart out and a S.I.C. due in September, could this possibly be Shin's year? Even if both figures are Tamashii Web Exclusives?

A windowless box to hide the horror

Only a few pics on the backMy, what an empty tray you have

The first lead Rider to suffer the fate of being a web exclusive (although I can see J and ZO going the same way when they're eventually produced), Shin comes in a now-standard windowless box. It actually features some pretty striking box art, with black/silver outline standing out nicely on the grainy green backdrop. Back pictures are surprisingly minimal, just like the plastic insert tray is when you open Shin up. But I'll go into that a bit more later in the review.


The monster in all his glorySinister cat face back

Just look at that beast in all his monstrous glory. The sculpting itself isn't just exquisite, the shading and texture on the plastic really pushes the fact that this is the Rider's physical body and not just a suit. In fact, it feels like Bandai Tamashii Nations have gone that little bit further than they usually do with the accuracy of Figuarts - taking away all the obvious suit details and replacing them with something that genuinely looks like a monster. The forthcoming S.I.C. figure looks more accurate to the actual suit, and that's usually the line that goes for outlandish re-imaginings! But accuracy be damned, what Bandai have done here shouldn't be faulted and Shin couldn't look any better.

My ONE complaint with the overall sculpt is the eyes, which really don't give away enough of that redness (they look black in all these pictures, but I can assure you they are red). They don't need to be as vibrant as a standard Rider's compound eyes, but how is Shin supposed to strike fear into the hearts of his opponents with his blood red eyes of doom?

Slash killer

Mutant Grasshopper manSpikey justice

And since Shin is a naked, mutant body rather than a masked hero is a suit with mechanics that vary season-by-season, he's able to be a little more expressive with his articulation.With ball joints in the head, neck, shoulders, wrists, hips (the classic "swing down" Figuart variety) and ankles accompanied by double hinged elbows and  knees, Shin certainly isn't short of posing possibilities. In fact, Bandai were even kind enough to throw toe joints for those pointy claws of his!

Not a Cyborg Level 2 head, but it'll do...

He just wants to be like the othersHe only wants to play

Web exclusives haven't been particularly generous when it comes to accessory counts lately, but even with that in mind Shin feels a bit lacking in that department. In total he comes with swappable heads (closed mouth, slightly open mouth and VERY open mouth) and six hands (closed fists, open palms and "claws ready" slashy hands) - that's the lot. Additional heads are a bit of rarity among Figuarts (especially the tokusatsu properties) so it's always nice to see them though - especially when they're as well done and easily swappable as this. A word of caution however - the antennae are rather flimsy and could easily bend or break if not careful around them. 

So what else could have Shin come with? Admittedly not a whole lot since he's more of a physical fighter, but that didn't stop the Amazon Figuart either. A better range of slashy hands, effect parts (90s OTT blood ones would have been hilarious)...anything like that would have been great. The worst omission however is the lack of severed Cyborg Level 2 head. Not only is that one of the most memorable parts of the entire film, it will also be packaged with the S.I.C. figure. So why not here? 

"No one likes you Shin."Poor Shin :(

Shin's not likely to be the top of many people's want lists, and given how dire Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue is I can't really blame them. However if you can push the horrible parts of the film out of your mind for a moment and remember just how badass the Shin costume was you'll appreciate just how awesome this Figuart is. The light accessory count is a little saddening, but the beautifully sculpted figure is almost enough to let it slide. Plus it's another main Rider out of the way, and even if you aren't a Shin fan that's nothing but a good thing.

Don't worry Shin, I like you even if your one movie is crap.

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