Wednesday 7 October 2015

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Agito Ground Form

The Shinkocchou Seihou sub-line of S.H. Figuarts has managed to make a massive impact despite only having a handful of releases to it's name, with the team at Bandai Tamashii Nations pouring in all their efforts to make of the best Kamen Rider action figures that have ever been produced. Not only has it brought us one step closer to having all the lead Heisei era Riders with Kamen Rider Hibiki, but also brought us fantastic renewals of some of the oldest figures in the mainline - namely Kamen Rider Kabuto and Kamen Rider Kuuga. Continuing with that trend and also fittingly following on from Kuuga is Kamen Rider Agito Ground Form - the second of the Heisei Riders and another character in desperate need of an upgrade.

As has been the case with all the Shinkocchou Seihou S.H. Figuarts releases, Agito comes packed in a unique two-part 'iPhone' style box rather than the normal Figuarts boxes with opening flaps. The top lid features a grainy closeup of the Figure on the the top, with the character name and Figuarts logo printed across the black sides in silver foil writing. The back features the usual promotional shots of the figure in various poses, but in a far more reserved and professional (for lack of a better word). Inside you'll find the figure on it's own white plastic tray, with a second tray featuring all of the accessories just underneath. Unfortunately as was the case with Kuuga, Agito does not come with a collectible booklet documenting the production of the figure, so it looks like that short lived novelty only lasted the first two releases in the line. A shame, but understandable when you consider how these figures have gone from being something entirely new to an (albeit limited) sub-line of their very own.

The first Kamen Rider Agito Ground Form figure was originally released in June 2009, and truth be told started showing it's age a long time ago. The figure looks dated compared to some of the stuff that followed only a few months after it, let alone the releases we've been seeing in the last couple of years. So in a side by side comparison of the original and this new Shinkocchou Seihou figure, you can really see how far Tamashii Nations have come in six years. Not only is the body considerably more accurate and better proportioned, but this new version also features some of the more intricate details that were omitted from the original - namely the engravings inside the Wiseman's Monolith (the relic embedded in the chest) and the sides of Alter Ring (the belt), as well as just having far more accurate Alter Ring in general. 

With the previous Shinkocchou Seihou releases having made the most of their "premium" status with glamourous metallic coloured paint jobs, admittedly Agito does feel a little flat by comparison - by no fault of the figure of course, in terms of accuracy and quality it can't be faulted at all. But though the gold and silver armour might not seem all that unique, one can't deny how sharp it looks on that matte black under suit. The three colours work absolutely beautifully together and the little splashes of red in the eyes and on the Alter Ring really stand out on it.

The figure also makes full use of the advances the S.H. Figuarts line has made in articulation in these past few years, making Agito more poseable than ever before! The shoulder pads are connected to the outer side of the shoulder rather than the torso, allowing them to pull away from the body as not to hinder the shoulder movement any more than they need to. As is expected of Shinkocchou Seihou releases now Agito uses the most recent style of hip joints, which provide ample articulation in that area without having to swing down from the pelvis in an unnatural fashion. The rest is your standard array of Figuarts articulation, including a double ball-jointed head and neck, waist joint, ball jointed wrists (which are of the standard Figuarts variety rather than anything unique like some of the previous SS SHF figures), double hinge elbows and knees, ankle tilts and a toe curl just to top things off. From wide-footed fight poses to balancing on one leg while kicking, the amount you can pull here without the need for a standard is pretty impressive.

The original release of Kamen Rider Agito is infamous among Figuarts collectors for having one of the worst accessory counts in the entire line, sporting only an alternate faceplate and a second pair of open hands - meaning the figure was pretty much incapable of any signature poses. Like Kuuga's Mighty Form Agito's Ground Form is a bare bones base form that mainly relies on punching and kicking. As such the figure's accessory count isn't particularly varied, but it is both everything you'd want from the figure and a vast improvement on the original. This Agito comes with an alternate with  expanded Cross Horn (the head crest), and three pairs of additional hands - making a total of four included the already attached fists. So on top of the two pairs from the original release, the Shinkocchou Seihou version also has another two in more specific martial arts-esque poses. 

So while compared to the likes of Kabuto and Hibiki this accessory count might not seem like much, it neatly covers all necessary bases so that it doesn't feel like anything substantial is missing. 

While I would say argue that Agito is perhaps the most vanilla of the Shinkocchou Seihou releases thus far, that by no means suggests that it is in any way a bad figure. In fact quite the contrary - this premium sub-line has always churned out the very best the S.H. Figuarts has to offer and Agito is no exception. Fans have been clamouring for a renewal figure ever since renewals became a thing in the line, and Bandai sure have delivered here. With a fantastic sculpt, incredible poseabilty and a much needed boost to the accessory count, Shinkocchou Seihou Agito improves on the original in every single way. Once again these prove to be figures that Kamen Rider fans really don't want to miss out on.

Next up will be Kamen Rider Decade in February 2016, and what will come after that is anyone's guess. With the exception of Hibiki the line seems to have covered main Riders in their original release order, so my money is on Kamen Rider W for the next one after that (or alternatively Faiz if the line's limiting itself to the initial decade of Heisei Riders for now). But if it's the same quality as the one's that have come out so far it won't matter who it is because the figure will be a must own regardless.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We still need KIVA!!!!