Friday 29 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryugen Budou Arms

SH Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryugen Budou Arms

Rounding off the four 'main' characters in Kamen Rider Gaim is the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryugen, moulded in his standard Budou Arms (or grape if you'd prefer). Despite being one of the less-seen suits in the series (replaced halfway through by the next Gaim figure due out), Ryugen is one of the earliest Riders to appear and the original suit of main character Mitsuzane "Micchy" Kureshima. And anyone who's watching Gaim will probably have quite a few words to say about that character.

Tentacle Grape

Literally green with envyGunning for Mai

As a mass release Figuart, Kamen Rider Ryugen returns to the window box style that was absent from the previous Web Exclusive Kamen Rider Gridon, joining his fellow four main Riders with a nice bunch of grapes print on his clear plastic window. I say grapes, it's more six circles thrown together in a triangle shape but you get the overall idea. Other than that and the royal purple colourscheme everything else is much of the same, with some nice shots of the figure plastered all over the box and the back also featuring a large version of the Ryugen logo on a black background. It's a shame we don't really get to see more of these unique logos in the show itself, because the fact each and every Rider has one is pretty damn cool.

Backstabber extraordinaire

Face of a villain?Or just a misguided child?

Practising a W pose"Crush them all, I'm crushing on Mai"

As one of the stand out figures in the gimmick-based Arms Change line, it should be no surprise that Ryugen looks absolutely fantastic when given the premium treatment. Derived from a Chinese solider  uniform, this Rider suit uses black and metallic green for its base colours, stylised with gold gauntlets and markings over the body. Budou Arms meanwhile is predominantly silver and metallic purple, with splashes of gold also thrown in for good measure. In my opinion Ryugen Budou Arms is one of the best looking overall suits in Kamen Rider Gaim, and it really shows here thanks to the relentless use of metallic paint/metallic finish. The gold really helps every little detail pop, and its hard to find a single thing wrong with both the sculpting and the look of the figure.

Ryugen shares the same articulation as his fellow Gaim Figuarts, returning to the smaller variety of wrist joints seen on the other mass release ones (but mysteriously absent from Gridon). The skirt is also made of a soft plastic, thus not getting in the way of the hips and letting the figure be put freely into any crouching or kneeling poses you may have in mind.

Grape dra-gun

Not long until my upgrade arrives...Never too weak to backstab

Despite the shoulder pads looking large and cumbersome, they are actually hinged in two separate places so are particularly flexible and in no way get in the way of posing the arms. The only really noticeable articulation hindrance is in the head/neck, which isn't moveable a great deal thanks to a combination of Ryugen's ornamental helmet and risen collar area. It's certainly hindered, but still very much in working order.

Shadow of an older brother

Necessary recreationThe only one who sees through his crap

Ryugen's sole weapon is of course the Budou Ryhou (or as I prefer in Aesir's translation, the pun-tastic "Grape Dragun") - a very ornamental hand gun with gattling gun style barrel. As a toy it doesn't really have much in the way of functions, but is gorgeously detailed. The one little bit of interactivity it has is the pull-hammer, which can be swapped out with a longer piece as if Ryugen was charging the gun in preparation for his 'Dragon Shot' attack. Naturally an alternate left hand is included where the fingers can clutch the hammer, in addition to the other four pairs included making nine different hands in total.

Grape! Lock On!Grape squash!

And like every other Gaim Rider Ryugen also comes with two different versions of the Budou/Grape lockseed - an open version attached the the Sengoku Driver in-package and a loose closed version. These can be swapped out at will and stay relatively firm in the Driver, however its still wise to have some caution when playing about with them as these things are incredibly tiny and easy to lose. However playing about with them also means you get to experience to full wonders of a working Sengoku Driver, complete with moveable level and itty bitty Ryugen faceplate.

"We're gonna need a bigger stage..."

Figuart/Arms Change ComparisonBackpack envy

5 down, plenty to go!

Possibly due to Micchy's status as an utter bastard and largely unlikeable (despite being incredibly tragic and interesting) character, Kamen Rider Ryugen doesn't seem to be getting as much love as the other Gaim Figuarts. The preorder took months to sell out on stores such as Amiami (where Rider preorders usually go in the first day), and even when I visit the store now I can see he's still very much available. And do you know what I say to this? Use his wide availability to your advantage. The people who aren't buying him for whatever reason are missing out on an incredible looking figure, who easily surpasses his (much better looking in-show) brother in terms of sculpt and quality. Ryugen easily lives up to the high precedent set by the Gaim Figuarts, and as one of the main four Riders (his logo IS on the bonus stand after all!) you'd be foolish to miss out on one.

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