Wednesday 29 July 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Ryugen Yomi Yomotsuheguri Arms

Bandai Tamashii Nations seems to be doing its best to hold onto it as long as it can, but there aren't all that many Kamen Rider Gaim characters left to release in the S.H. Figuarts line. All the main characters will all be out by the end of the year, and from there it'll just be the case of the movie characters and alternate versions of already released ones (some being more important than others of course - here's looking at you Overlord Baron). However one of those variant suits surprisingly made it out before the last remnants of the main cast, which is pretty surprising when you consider that the suit only appeared in two episodes at the end of the show and then was never heard or seen from again. But at the same time, it isn't all that surprising when you consider that it's also one of the main four characters. After a few months break, the second Gaim release for 2015 is Kamen Rider Ryugen Yomi Yomotsuheguri Arms - the experimental and highly dangerous form Mitsuzane Kureshima takes in an attempt to defeat Kouta once and for all.

Ever since the Kamen Rider Gaim range dived into web exclusive only territory, there hasn't been a whole lot to say about the box art. It's been by no means bad, but pretty formulaic/predictable in terms of colour and layout. And while the overall layout and style hasn't changed for the Ryugen Yomi release, a slight detour with colours does make for a nice little break in the pattern. Rather than stick with the white backdrop with appropriate coloured fruit logo, this packaging takes on a much more fitting black background to go with the Yomotsuheguri Arms logo (which is just the Budou/grape one recoloured to look more sinister). That black goes wonderfully with the maroon used for the spine and back of the box, making it the perfect match for the Ryugen Yomi suit colours. Really it isn't all that different from the rest of the Gaim boxes, but that change in colour really makes it look it.

As one of the final suits introduced in Kamen Rider Gaim, Kamen Rider Ryugen Yomi probably came at a time when the budget was beginning to be stretched a bit thin. As a result of this Yomotsuheguri Arms isn't a unique design like many of the other Arms Changes, and is instead a slight retool of Ryugen's default Budou Arms. This isn't just limited to the main body armour getting a snazzy new paint job either - the suit also features a longer, torn skirt piece and instead uses the Kiwi Arms helmet piece (renamed here as the Yomi Kabuto, although it's pretty much identical to the Kiwi version). The suit colours are dead on to that of the show's, but aren't quite as striking as it's grape-flavoured counterpart. Admittedly the suit does lose a lot of it's edge without the metallic colours, but the maroon feels like a big enough change to help this variant stand on its own a bit more and the gold trim looks just as great as ever. The head takes a bit of getting used to without its painted (rather than compound style) eyes, but the bigger issue is the horrible brown plastic on the back. Sure it's accurate to the suit, but it looks completely out of place - would it have been that much effort to recolour it into something that went with the rest of the suit a bit better?

Other than that it's pretty much the same deal as Budou Arms in terms of sculpt. There probably aren't that many people picking this up specifically over the standard version so you'll probably have a good idea what to expect in terms of articulation and such (and if not, you can always check out my Budou Arms review here). Of course a longer skirt piece means more plastic to get in the way of crouching poses, but thanks to the soft plastic it's made out of it does have a little bit of leeway.

As we move onto the accessories, this is where Ryugen Yomi starts to feel like more than just a last minute retool. With so many of the more recent Gaim releases (and a few still left to come) all coming with the same Sonic Arrow pieces it feels good to get another figure with a really unique set of accessories. Along with six pairs of hands, Ryugen Yomi also comes with two unique Overlord weapons. Just as Gaim Kiwami Arms is able to summon and use all of the Arms Change weapons, Ryugen Yomi can do the same with various Overlord weapons (along with those from Budou and Kiwi Arms). While the Arms Change toy line version of Ryugen Yomi came with four different Overlord weapons, the Figuarts version only comes with the two that actually appeared in the series - Redyue's Dau (a halberd/staff) and Shinmugurun's Dimbu (an axe). On first glance both weapons look relatively simple in comparison to the more intricate Arms Change arsenal, but both are feature some rather nice detailing. For example the Dimbu has engraved markings running across the axe, while the Dau has two Helheim fruits dangling from the handle via metal rings. 

There are a few other goodies in this set as well, but these two weapons are without a highlight of the accessories. They don't just make Ryugen Yomi feel like a reasonable purchase, but also make the character feel different from the other dozen Kamen Rider Gaim Riders and variants.

But perhaps the biggest surprise in terms of the accessories is a Kiwi Gekirin  - a gigantic wind and fire wheel (or giant circular blade if you want the literal description) that is the signature weapon of Ryugen's Kiwi Arms form. The inclusion of this comes as a surprise because Kiwi Arms itself is yet to receive a Figuart, making this figure currently the only way to obtain this weapon. Sadly the figure only comes with one copy, even though the weapons are meant to be used as a pair. Still, it not only bulks up Ryugen Yomi's already impressive accessory count even more but also gives Kiwami Arms yet another weapon to play with.

However just because the Gekirin was included don't suddenly assume that all of Ryugen's weapons are present and accounted for - these's no extra Budou Ryuhou included here. If you want to add that pistol to Yomi's arsenal then you're going to have to make sure you have the standard Ryugen figure handy as well.

And finally there's the matter of the Lockseeds - the obligatory tiny accessory that has been handled particularly nicely in the Kamen Rider Gaim range. Already connected to the Sengoku Driver in package is an open (and beautifully detailed) Yomotsuheguri Lockseed, with a closed variant included loose in the tray. While the two Lockseeds can be swapped on the Driver (which as you all probably know by know, features a working level), Ryugen Yomi unfortunately doesn't come with any weapons which feature a slot for a Lockseed to connect to it.

Being a two-episode that didn't really amount to all that much in the Kamen Rider Gaim, Ryugen Yomi is probably a figure that's only going to really appeal to the most hardcore collectors out there. However what could have just been a serviceable retool is really elevated but the inclusion of some great accessories, and that usual level of high quality that have made the Gaim Figuarts so damn great (not to mention addictive). While the eventual release of Overlord Baron will give Kiwami Arms his true sparring partner, for now this interesting little oddity makes the perfect substitute.

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