Wednesday 15 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Bravo Durian Arms

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Bravo

Kamen Rider Gaim may be over and done with in terms of the television series, but as far as the S.H. Figuarts line goes Bandai Tamashii Nations have still got plenty of ground to cover. September was a pretty big month for the series with a total of three releases - two web exclusive and one mass release. Well, two of them were Gaim forms so in reality there was only one character to get REALLY excited about. And that of course was none other than the ex-militant, master pastry that is Oren Pierre Alfonzo, aka Kamen Rider Bravo. One of the most memorable characters in all of Gaim, Bravo comes as the only Lockseed Arms he wore in the show - Durian Arms

Box Front

Box BackTray Contents

The third web exclusive release for Kamen Rider Gaim, Bravo follows suit by coming packaged in a non-window box. It uses a green colour scheme to go with the uniform white all the Gaim boxes have, but a darker shade than what was seen on the Zangetsu and Zangetsu Shin boxes. The front features a rather brilliant picture of Bravo in a suitably flamboyant pose, with the cross-section of a durian behind him. The back then features a couple of images of the figure in front of a green spiked backdrop, with Bravo's personal Rider logo in the centre.

Fun with word bubbles

Figure front viewFigure back view

Posing BravoMore posing fun

What happens when you cross a Durian fruit with a Roman Gladiator motif? The answer is spikes, a lot of spikes. Kamen Rider Bravo is a rather interesting design to say the least, and this is only further highlighted by the wonderfully gaudy pea green under suit with silver chain main and purple gauntlets. Meanwhile the Durian Arms is a darker green and silver, topped off by a vibrant red mohawk adorning Bravo's helmet. The figure is pretty much head to toe in beautiful metallic paint, with the green base body's plastic giving off a really nice shiny compliments it nicely. It really does feel like a premium finish in every sense of the word. Even the sculpting is top quality - every individual spike is flawless. 

And as a side note, those giant shoulder pads use the same ball-jointed clip technology that was last seen on the Kamen Rider Gridon figure. This means they can move freely out of the way when posing the arms and then pushed back into their proper position when you're finished. None of that wide range of Figuart articulation is hindered!

Weapons posing

More weapons posingFlamboyant pose break

Yet more weapons posingDramatic posing

However it should be noted that there is one rather noticeable problem with Bravo, and it's one that's more of a detriment to the collector rather than the figure itself. Those spikes. Seriously, those spikes. When they were designing this figure over at Tamashii Nations HQ, they clearly put plenty of effort into getting the look perfect but didn't think what it would mean for the collector who's handling the figure. The instructions warn that the figure is sharp, and they really aren't kidding. It's not a 'will instantly draw blood from you touching it' sharp, but this figure is literally covered in pointy surfaces. This makes changing hands a nightmare, because gripping the forearms to pull the hand off means having tiny purple plastic spikes embedded in your fingers. Ouch.

Well, he's living up to his monicker of "Mister Dangerous" I suppose.

Bravo and Gridon

More Bravo and GridonBravo's true love

Bravo vs Gaim & Baron

After Gridon came with a rather small accessory count, it's great to see that his mentor has a bit more too him. Included with Bravo are nine alternate hands and his twin Duri Noko weapons, which are just as spiky as the figure itself. Best of all though its the inclusion of a Figuarts-scaled glass of red wine, just like that moment of Bravo appearing on the Beat Riders Hotline way back in episode seven of the show. It may have only been a throwaway moment, but an accessory like this perfectly encapsulates the ridiculous side of Kamen Rider Bravo and was a brilliant addition to the figure. 

The only thing that could have made it better was the scaled couch the figure was seen on at his Wonderfest reveal, but then that went and became a first run bonus for S.H. Figuarts Iron Man Mark 42. Boo.

The Durian LockseedSengoku Driver close up

Rounding off Bravo's accessories is the staple piece of all the Gaim Figuarts - a tiny closed Lockseed, only this time in durian flavour. Despite having less hand options than most of the other Riders Bravo is still able to hold the Lock, though it isn't the tightest of grips so you might want to watch it doesn't disappear to never be seen again. The lock can also be placed on the Sengoku Driver, which fans will notice is the original yellow-belt one Bravo used rather than the silver "upgraded" version he and Gridon started using midway into the show. Regardless of version, it also includes a tiny sticker featuring Bravo's faceplate detail.

All the Armoured Riders so far

Seeing doubleBravo goes back to baking

The Kamen Rider Gaim Figuarts are quickly setting a trend for being the best figures the line has to offer, and I'm pleased to say that Bravo is no exception to this. The sculpt and finish on him are absolutely beautiful, and his accessories well thought out and fun rather than the typical slapdash collection of minimal parts you find on many modern web exclusives. If you watched Kamen Rider Gaim in any capacity its likely that Bravo is going to be one of the characters that caught your eye (be it for the character or the suit design), so I'll tell you exactly what you want to hear - yes, this figure is just as good as you hoped it would be.

That said, bandages are not included so just make sure to take care when swapping those hands. My fingers are still feeling a bit tender now.

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