Thursday 15 January 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Luigi

S.H. Figuarts Luigi

It's time to warm up that second player controller as Luigi joins Mario in the S.H. Figuarts line! After the roaring success of the Mushroom Kingdom's number one plumber it's no surprise that his more cowardly brother is following soon after, proving that Bandai's release of Nintendo's poster child was anything but a one-off thing. The year of Luigi may be well behind us now, but with the genius of Mario Kart 8's "Luigi death stare" still fresh in everyone's minds the lean green plumbing machine certainly won't be going back into his brother's shadow any time soon. Luigi number one!

Box Front

Box BackInsert Tray

Like his more iconic sibling Luigi also comes in a box noticeably smaller than standard S.H. Figuarts packaging, but also considerably thicker. But while Mario's box went for a more generic yellow colour scheme, Luigi's has been done in a more fitting bright green. Colours aside the style of the box is largely the same, swapping out the green pipes and Goombas included with play sets A and B (released at the same time as Mario) with the red pipes, piranha plants and Nono Bombette's of play set C. With that in mind, the box is pretty clear on EXACTLY what comes with Luigi via an image on the back.

Luigi out of the box

Figure frontFigure back

Posing LuigiGreen missile!More posing

Once again it feels quite strange to look at a Figuart that's proportionally about as different from standard Figuarts as you can get, but with the likes of Pokemon and Digimon now joining the line as well a human figure is still somewhat normal. Bandai have completely knocked it out of the park with the sculpt and proportions, somehow even managing to look more seamless than his portly brother. Luigi also has a much more neutral face than Mario, who was rather unfortunate in being permanently stuck with a rather demonic grin. It's certainly a smiling face, but the actual smile is small enough that you can get away posing Luigi in varying degrees of sadness and/or panic. Alternate faces would have still been a nice thing, but if the figure's only coming with one a neutral expression is the best compromise.

Luigi's accessories

Carrying the shellGathering coinsGame over

Building with blocks

With a third play set in need of promotion at the same time as Luigi, it's no surprise that the figure's accessories are limited enough to keep you wanting more. That said, the green missile is packing a few surprises that definitely take him out of the shadow of Mario for once. Included in this release are  a red shell and standard block, as well as a pair of alternate open hands! These hands have small indents in them so that the figure can hold the shell, with the connection being made by two tiny clear plastic pieces (the set includes both angled connectors and straight ones). 

Swapping the hands is a little different to normal Figuart, as they are connected by standard plug sockets rather than balljoints you're eternally afraid of breaking. These open hands aren't just great for having Luigi able to hold the shell - they work brilliantly with the neutral face for all forms of panic-stricken poses. Poor Luigi may be a nervous wreck half the time, but this figure has an unbelievable amount of personality. Pretty amazing how much you can get just out of a simple pair of hands. 


The stand portLuigi's Tamashii Stand

Luigi wins on accessories

The biggest problem with Figuarts Mario wasn't the fact that accessories were spread across a number of play sets, it was that vital pieces such as stand adapter pieces for the blocks AND the figure itself. Thankfully Bandai have fixed this rather glaring oversight by not only including a stand piece for Luigi, but also a green Tamashii stage with an arm articulated in four places (as opposed to the usual three). The adapter piece for Luigi works much in the same way the pieces included with Bandai's various Ultra-Act figures does - the small blue piece switches out with a smooth piece on Luigi's back, providing a port for the stand to plug straight in rather than using the claws Figuarts usually rely on (which don't get on with the Mario Bros. build at all). 

There's still not sign of a block piece adapter unfortunately, but unlike the figures they are able to balance on existing pieces without too much trouble. I guess some things still have to be saved for the additional sets right?

Mario Bros doing what they do best

The Super Mario Bros.Luigi vs PikachuLuigi vs Link

S.H. Figuarts Mario was almost a perfect release, but the lack of the necessary stand pieces to make proper use of both the figure and accessories was far too big an oversight to ignore. With Luigi fixing this straight off the bat, then it's fair to say that this one really is perfect. Sure he costs a little more than Mario, but that extra cost goes toward being able to enjoy the figure solely with what's included rather than having to fork out for extra sets. The two brothers look utterly fantastic together, and with Yoshi already announced for a May hopefully there's going to be even more Super Mario Bros. releases to look forward to in 2015.

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