Tuesday 21 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Biorider

SH Figuarts Biorider

The S.H. Figuarts toyline seems to have been on a bit of a Kamen Rider Black/Kamen Rider Black RX kick over the last year, with the renewal Black swiftly followed by a renewal Black RX, and even a renewal Shadow Moon announced for early next year. But between then, Bandai Tamashii Nations have also treated Kotaro Minami fans to two other long-awaited figures that previously hadn't seen any form of release - Black RX's other two forms. First came the rather disappointing Roborider, and now it's been followed up with a Figuarts version of the 'Prince of Sadness and Prince of Flames' - Biorider. Some might also know this form as Masked Rider Super Blue from the Saban adaptation Masked Rider.

Box Front

Box backInsert Tray

Continuing the pattern of the new Kamen Rider Black and Black RX packaging, Biorider comes in a misty grey coloured box with a large image of the figure adorning the bottom corner. The back is fairly plain in comparison, with just two shots of the figure against a darker grey backdrop. The Japanese text seems to take up just as much space as the pictures! But despite my moaning, the box looks great along with the rest of the figures and the grey colour scheme helps the bright blue figure stand out more - which is what it should be doing really.

Out of the box!

Figure frontBox back

Posing BioriderMore posing

After Roborider proved to be a huge disappointment in the sculpting department, it's nice to see that Bandai have recovered from the two steps back they took and build Biorider to a similar standard as the Black and Black RX renewals. The matte finish makes a very welcome return, as does the fabric creases in the crotch and upper thigh area to make the figure look as close to the real suit as possible. Admittedly it isn't a particularly detailed suit to begin with, as Black RX armour becomes much sleeker and less detailed in this form. Regardless of whether you think this is a good thing or not (personally I find it to be the weakest of RX's three forms visually), as far as accuracy goes it really can't be faulted.

Articulation is to the usual standard, but there's nothing particularly incredible here to boast about if you're someone already familiar with the S.H. Figuarts line. A couple of points worthy of note are that the figure uses the traditional swing-down hips seen on the majority of figures in the line (although its becoming less common now), and that the shoulder pads have an annoying habit of popping off if not aligned perfectly with the shape carved out for them in the torso armour. Other than that its all fairly standard stuff - there aren't many poses you'll have trouble getting this guy into.

Wielding the Bio Blade

More Bio BladeMidair posing

Posing with a Tamashii stageSome more vanilla posing

In the accessory department Biorider is once again a considerable improvement over the severely-lacking Roborider, but even things are still a far cry from the effort Bamdai put into the Black RX renewal. Altogether Biorider comes with six pairs of hands (closed fists, two gripping pairs, "karate chop" hands and two pairs of open hands) and his signature weapon - the unbreakable Bio Blade sword. After Black RX came with two versions of his Revolcane (a standard and blue 'energised' version, with changeable hilts), it was my hope that Biorider would be given a similar treatment. But nope, all he gets is a single version that kind of covers them both. It's not a straight silver sword, but its not translucent blue plastic either. The Bio Blade is hardly a complicated sword, so its rather disappointing that Bandai couldn't have thrown two versions of the weapons in. 

In terms of more complicated accessories, Biorider has the ability to turn into liquid! How about some weird liquidy effect parts that could plug into the figure someone in the place of a limb? Okay that's getting into wishful thinking territory a bit, but it kinda sucks that the figure doesn't show off Biorider's signature power in any way at all.

Oh well, at least there are plenty of hands to choose from right?

The three forms of Black RX

RX, Roborider and BioriderRX, Roborider and Biorider

Black, RX, Roborider & Biorider

Biorider is a significantly better figure than Roborider, but even still doesn't quite live up to the standard that the renewal Black figures have set. Despite it being a relatively basic suit that could have easily been skimped upon, Bandai have done a wonderful job with it and gone that extra mile to make it look as much like the actual suit as they can. The articulation is solid, but that darn accessory count feels so phoned in when Biorider is a figure that had oodles of potential. He isn't really a figure I can imagine people going out and buying unless they have a special attachment to suit and/or are buying all of RX's forms (because face it, if you're only going to get one figure out of these it should be standard RX), so at the very least those of you that fall into that group can take solace in that only one them is a dud.


hugo said...

i thought Shadow Moon was supposed to be re-released only, they're making a new version too? i gotta find this!

Alex said...

Yep, was announced about a month ago and is due for release in February!


hugo said...

as soon as i commented i just googled it
i wasn't smart enough to look directly in the tamashii site XD
i saw a magazine scan of it, but i thought it was just about the rerelease
now, i'm looking forward to get it
even though i can't really see what justifies a remodel - not as clear as Black let's say - but it seems his proportions look a little better, maybe the waist is a bit wider? he's a little taller? (my only peeves about the original SM)