Wednesday 18 June 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Mario

SH Figuarts Mario

When Bandai's D-Arts line was suddenly stopped and integrated in the much more established S.H. Figuarts line, it didn't seem like very much would change outside of the name slapped on the box. However the inclusion of video game stars in the line has naturally widened the spectrum of interest in Figuarts even further, with Bandai immediately announcing none other than Mario as the first video game figure in the line. Can you get any bigger than the Nintendo mascot? Not only that, but after an endless amount of detailed but completely static figurines, it's exciting to see just what the Italian plumber can do with a fair bit of articulation on him. Let's a go!

Cute little box

Opening him up

Being a short man of somewhat dumpy proportions, Mario's packaging is quite appropriately sized. In fact it's positively one of the cutest Figuarts boxes I've seen. Appropriately decorated with the colourful Super Mario logo, blocks and coins, the packaging also shows off some the various accessories available that aren't included in this package. I'm fairly sure the text mentions that they are sold separately, but as I can't read Japanese I can't verify this. There's also the fact that you can clearly see what is included here. Common sense and sight rule supreme!

(And as you can clearly see, it's a Super Mario figure, not a Super Smash Bros one. Sure a lot of people are probably buying it for some Smash fun, but if you're expecting these releases to cater to Mario's fighting side then you'll be sorely disappointed).

It's a me, Mario!

Here we gooo!Plumber bum

As you can see, the sculpt itself is near flawless. Colourful, appropriately detailed (even if Mario lacks fine details) and perfectly proportioned. Obviously there are a few noticeable cuts in the sculpt to allow for articulation, but all things considered it's a pretty clean looking figure. While a giant head and a lack of neck obviously limits it somewhat, Mario's head can freely move on a ball and socket joint. Moving down the plumber has ball-jointed shoulders, hinged elbows and rotating hands (sadly no wrist joint here - the hands instead using a peg system). The hips are particularly interesting, offering ball-joint motion at the leg while also being able to swing back and forth at the base of the body. Hinged knees and ball/socket feet neatly round off this neat little package.

Let's a go!

Get the power up!Shiny

Mario is very light on the accessories, with only a mushroom, coin (and stand) and "?" block being included with the figure. All three things look like the leaped right out of the game, the gold coin especially grabbing my attention with its beautiful chromed glory. So with the Mario games featuring a nearly endless amount of accessory potential, why does the Figuart come with so little? Well, accompanying his release were also two additional accessory packs with together featured goombas, a green shell, various other blocks, coins, stands, alternate hands and even the iconic pipe. Excluding these kept the figure at a lower price point, and releasing them separately allowed people to not only buy at their discretion (after all, not everyone has a use for accessories do they?) but also buy multiples should they want to create their own Mario levels. Everyone wins right?

Well, not quite. While I have no qualms with the accessories being included from the main release (I'd happily have paid more to get more, but that's just me), I do take issue with what IS included only being compatible with stand pieces included in the accessory sets. Both Mario and the "?" block need special pieces to work with Tamashii stages, with the picture below only really being possible by balancing, blu-tack and my (not so carefully hidden) hand. Had these adapters been included here, then I wouldn't feel so much of a need to buy the accessory packs. But for someone who had plans to display Mario jumping, this does feel like a pretty money grabbing move on Bandai's part.

A test of balance

A challenger approachesMario uppercut!

Mario on his own is an absolutely fantastic figure. Aside from the lack of an alternate face (his grin does get a little demonic after a while), there's not really many ways they could have improved it. However the low accessory count may be a problem for some, and even if it isn't you're still going to need at least one accessory set to get the full Figuarts experience with him. Don't make the same mistake I did and expect the figure alone to provide everything you'll need - when you pay a cheaper price, you pay it for a reason.

Still, it's a great figure and with Luigi teased to be on his way - this could most certainly prove to be the high-end Mario toy line we've been waiting for.

1 comment:

Tom Badguy said...

I see it comes with one of those "claw" stands. I hate those things.