Thursday 3 September 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Marika Peach Energy Arms

If their Kamen Rider Ryuki figures proved anything, Bandai Tamashii Nations are pretty good at providing fans with the main cast of a large Rider series. Of course fans will argue there are a few variants (and Contract Monsters) missing here and there and popularity also had a lot to do with it, but nevertheless you can’t argue with the results. Now it looks like Kamen Rider Gaim is going the same way, with the line ready to largely round off the main show cast by the end of the year as Tamashii web exclusives. August 2015’s offering is particularly special as it was the only female Rider of the show (Gaim Gaiden notwithstanding) – Kamen Rider Marika Peach Energy Arms. Don’t let the pink suit fool you – Yoko Minato is a hardened fighter quite unlike many of the other female Riders that have previously graced the show. The fact her actress Minami Tsukui also did most of her own stunts (in suit AND out) is just an added bonus.

After Ryugen Yomi offered a brief little detour from the standard style of web exclusive Kamen Rider Gaim packaging, Marika brings things back into familiar territory with a white box mixed with the character’s signature shade of pink and a peach cross-section backdrop. The back also features Marika’s personal emblem as a backdrop, together with only two shots of the figure and a close up of the helmet’s eye detailing.

Although all of the previously released Gaim Riders are unique in their own ways, the fact that they are all male means that underneath all the paint and the sculpting it's the same basic body type. With this in mind Marika is a breath of fresh air, as she stands unique amongst her peers with a shorter feminine body. That isn't to say she isn't privy to the same high quality as the others though, with the usual high quality the Kamen Rider Gaim figures have become known for present and accounted for. Like the Ryugen figures the skirt pieces that hang from both the front and back are made of a soft plastic, so will bend accordingly should they be in the way of any of your posing plans. The articulation itself is typical Figuarts standard, heightened by the utilisation of the line's newer style hips that have been present on all of the Gaim figures. The only area of hindrance is of course the right arm, which is limited by the rather cumbersome shoulder pad. Unfortunately the pad's movement isn't particularly great either, and only able to move upwards and downwards somewhat to sit comfortably over the arm.

The paintwork is also top notch, with the figure itself sporting a rather fetching pearly pink finish while the armour and skirt pieces are a combination of matte and metallic figures. Unfortunately, the "energy" segments of the armour are the weak link here, failing to match up to the previous New Generation Riders released in the line or really stand out on the suit. While Duke and Zangetsu Shin both had really vibrant colours that really stood out, Marika on the other hand sports a really pale looking yellow only works because it's breaking up the onslaught of pink on the suit. The fact it's just a splash of paint is more visible and in the case of the shoulder, there's even a spot that's just been left completely untouched! In the wider world of S.H. Figuarts Marika would definitely stand out as one of the better ones, but coming from a series that has churned out some real marvels she doesn't quite live up to the incredibly high bar in that area.

Unfortunately Marika’s status as a New Generation Rider (or Energy Rider if you aren’t a fan of the official terminology) means her accessory count is neither particularly plentiful nor exciting. If fact if you’ve been steadily collecting the Gaim cast it’s mostly comprised of something you’ll be sick of the sight of by now – Sonic Arrows. Of course once again they come in both the standard and drawn varieties, but this is still the fifth Gaim figure to have included these pieces. Not that it’s any fault of Marika’s of course, it’s just unfortunate that the series gave so many Riders the exact same weapon and little else to work with. Of course on top of this there is the usual array of hands, with Marika coming with a respectable five pairs.

Never mind, at least Kamen Rider Sigurd is the only notable New Generation Rider left unaccounted for.

Rounding off the accessories is a closed version of the Peach Lockseed, which is interchangeable with the opened version already connected to the figure’s Genesis Driver. Both these Lockseeds can also be attached to either version of the Sonic Arrows just like in the show.

Kamen Rider Marika definitely earns points for being the only female Gaim Rider (and thus, the only figure with a noticeably different body type), but overall doesn’t quite match up to some of the incredibly high standards set by other figures from this series. As far as the line in general goes she’s still definitely among their top offerings, but the energy armour colouring doesn’t quite have the same wow factor as the likes of Duke or Zangetsu Shin. There’s also the matter of the Sonic Arrow fatigue that’s likely befallen many other collectors by now, which places even more expectation on the figure itself and not the accessory count. A worthy addition to the very best of the S.H. Figuarts line.

1 comment:

Paolo1350 said...

If they ever decide to bring back the Gokaigers and have them turn into Riders, it'd be a crime if Gokai Pink didn't turn into her.