Friday 2 January 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Kiwami Arms

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Kiwami Arms

2014 may be over but I still have a fair few figures from last year to review, thanks to combination of late December release dates and the eternal wonder that is slow Christmas post. So going back to the tail end of November we had the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Gaim Kiwami Arms, the final form of the titular Rider and what is likely to be the final mass release Kamen Rider Gaim Figuart. There are only a handful of riders left to go now, and Bandai Tamashii Nations are now beginning to turn their attention towards Kamen Rider Drive. Together with the three forms of Black RX, this has been my first foray into buying multiple forms of the same Rider - something I hopefully don't plan to repeat any time soon (for budgetary reasons more than anything else) but couldn't resist for what has quickly become mine (and many others') favourite Kamen Rider series.

Box Front

Box BackInsert Tray

As what will probably be the last of the mass release Kamen Rider Gaim figures left (Tamashii Nations have announced their products for 2015 up to May so far, and have clearly moved on to Drive), Kiwami comes in a sight that we'll probably never see again for these - standard clear window packaging. Dropping the orange in favour of an antique-esque brown colour adorned with the various fruits of the series (just like the suit's chest emblem), the Kiwami packaging also features an outline of the Kiwami Lockseed printed in orange on the window. The back of the box features the usual showing off of the figure and its various features - paying particular attention to not only the visor this time, but also the heavily detailed chest plate.

Kiwami Arms on stage!

Figure frontBack (sans cape)Back (with cape)

Posing with the DJ GunReady for battleTaking aim

Those who've watched Kamen Rider Gaim will know that Kiwami Arms is rather different to the other armours that appear in the series - dropping the singular fruit motif altogether for a sleeker suit based on the armour worn by real-life Japanese Shogun. The blue undersuit is completely lost, with Gaim donning completely silver duds with a lavish "fruits basket" chest plate depicting most of the fruit donned by other Riders. The headcrest has also been altered, now being a full Gaim logo rather than just the crescent moon shape.

The Kiwami Arms suit is a bit more basic than your typical Kamen Rider Gaim suit, but you can expect the same level of Tamashii Nations sculpt detailing when it comes to this release. The silver paint really glistens in the light, amplified by the black details that really pop on such a shiny surface. The figure also has a solid plastic cape, which pegs into the back with a tiny bit of movement to each side. Capes are something that never seem to please everyone (there's camps for both plastic and cloth versions), but with the lack of a more flashy "swooping" version this one does the job pretty well. An extra one might have been nice though, especially since Kiwami sometimes took it off and used it matador-style.

Kiwami in action

Using the driverThat slightly underwhelming chestReadying an attack

The finishing blow

But while Kiwami Arms may look picture perfect from a distance, on closer inspection the figure actually has a fair few flaws and inaccuracies. Let's begin with the visor, a piece that Tamashii Nations have felt the need to showcase on the back of every single Kamen Rider Gaim Figuart released - it's not right. Comparing the figure with a closeup shot of the actual suit  you can see that they've really missed the mark with the colours bleeding into each other. The green is too far up the sides, barely any yellow and the red looks to be completely lost in the mix altogether. It's a step up from the 66action figure's all orange visor, but still kinda loses the whole "fruits basket" motif of the figure. Other minor nitpicks include the armour skirt, which doesn't move side to side with the waist/hips so can look a bit awkward in some poses. The silver paint can be easily scuffed, but that's more one of those "will it affect you" issues that recent Figuarts have had.

But the biggest problem of all is also the one that's been talked about the most - the chest plate. No one can deny that the Kiwami Arms suit features a quite intricate graphic on the chest, but many agree that using an extremely cheap, glossy sticker (the kind you see with candy toy figures) was the best way of going about it. The way it wraps around the chest means its prone to unsightly creases, which become especially noticeable in closeup shots. To top it off, the translucent plate isn't just more murky than it should be - it's also prone to crack and even shatter! This may sound like a lesser issue to those who are careful with their figures, but there have been reports of figures turning up in the box like this as well. I was lucky to just get away with a few minor creases on the sticker, but some of the issues that plague this figure are just too widespread to ignore.

Banaspear + Melon Defender

Duri NokoSonic ArrowBudou Ryuhou + Daidaimaru

KagematsuDonkachi + Musou Saber

With that rather sizeable cape taking up most of the insert tray space, Kiwami Arms doesn't come with all that many accessories - in fact, rather noticeably the least of Gaim's forms released so far. Altogether there are just four pairs of hands and the DJ Gun in both standard gun and Taiken mode - i.e exactly the same weapons that came with Kachidoki Arms. The underwhelming weapons is less a fault of the figure and more to with Kiwami Arms in the show - the form has no unique weapon of its own, instead having the ability to call on all the other weapons that appeared. So if you've been collecting all of the Kamen Rider Gaim Figuarts then you should by now have a wealth of weapons for your figure to call upon (just like I've pictured above), but if not you're stuck with just these. I'm not really sure what more could have been done, but I think at the very least another Musou Saber might have worked to Kiwami's favour. There may not be a place to clip it onto the figure, but the form still used that sword pretty often.

Kiwami's standard LockseedsThe Kiwami LockseedEnergy Lockseed collection

Usually this is the part in my Gaim reviews where I mention the swappable Lockseeds included and how they can interact with the Drivers and/or weapons. While Kiwami Arms comes with a rather impressive eight Lockseeds (open Kiwami and Kachidoki and closed Pine, Ichigo, Orange, Lemon Energy, Peach Energy and Cherry Energy), all of them are completely fixed to the figure and have no interactivity whatsoever. The knife lever on the Sengoku Driver can move as usual, but the locks are completely glued in. Not including any removable standard Lockseeds kind of makes sense as there's so many to choose from (the slots on the included weapons will just have to rely on other figures) but a closed version of the Kiwami Lock should have been a given - if only for posing purposes with Kachidoki Arms. Now the line will be missing one of the show's key Lockseeds at that scale, and that's a big shame even if they're so damn easy to lose.

Gaim's 4 main forms together

Vs. Zangetsu ShinWith the 66action Kiwami Arms

Recreating the final episode

The Kamen Rider Gaim figures have undoubtedly been some of, if not the best S.H. Figuarts releases of 2014. Every single one of them has been superbly sculpted and come with a great amount of accessories, perfectly capturing what's so great about this line. And with all that in mind, Kiwami Arms is a pretty underwhelming note to go off on as far as mass release items are concerned. After the masterpieces that were Orange and Kachidoki Arms, Kiwami falls flat with its notable issues and average accessories. By normal Figuarts standards it would probably still be considered a pretty great toy, but these Riders have raised the bar to a level that this one simply doesn't meet.

(Not going to deny that the four Gaim forms look absolutely incredible together though)

No comments: