Sunday 14 February 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Omegamon (Our War Game! Version)

2016 is set to be a another big year for the Digimon franchise. Its 15th anniversary last year has seen fans worldwide reliving their childhoods with the arrival of Digimon Adventure Tri - a brand new film series continuing the adventures of the original Chosen Children (or DigiDestined to those who like me grew up with the English dub), while more recently Digimon Cyber Sleuths arrival in the West currently has gamers engrossed. Of course Bandai are also taking full advantage of the renewed interest in Digimon too, with a variety of new figures and anniversary edition Digivices on offer. While the S.H. Figuarts line has maintained a slow but steady flow of Digimon figures over the past few years, they're back in full force with a new anime-inspired version of Omegamon based on his debut appearance in the Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! movie (or to dub fans, Omnimon from simply Digimon the Movie). This Tamashii web exclusive release isn't the first Omegamon figure from Tamashii Nations, with version based on the character's original card art having been released as part of the now defunct D-Arts line in 2011.

Judging by the promotional pictures and general worldwide interest in Digimon Tamashii Nations were hyping Omegamon up as a pretty big release despite its web exclusive status (though also distributed in America via Bluefin), and a special release deserves great packaging. Omegamon comes in a box considerably larger than the average Figuart, both due to the height of the figure and sheer amount of accessories loaded into it. The graphic on the front is particularly cool, as its quite clearly of the figure but has been morphed to look more like a drawing than an actual photograph. Both spines feature further images of the figure, while the back shows Omegamon off in all his glory along with the various other accessories. Inside you'll find the figure and accessories loaded onto one plastic tray, with the stand pieces taped behind it. The cape is a bit more well hidden - taped to the orange backing card.

Upon opening Omegamon it's immediately clear just how different this figure is to the original D-Arts release. Prior to its release Tamashii Nations did their own blog post highlighting the differences between the two, but to put it simply this is a whole new figure based on a completely different interpretation of the character. The D-Arts figure was perfectly serviceable to the art it was based off of, but side by side naturally looks dated compared to the Figuarts version. As well as the obvious plastic vs cloth cape differences, the Figuarts Omegamon also sports a matte pastel colourscheme as opposed to the D-Arts' shiny metallic finish in addition to the reworked headsculpt and body proportions. The figure looks fantastic, capturing the anime look of the character perfectly - especially the great eye paintwork. If you're a big Digimon/Omegamon fan and are wondering if double-dipping is worth the money I would say so, there are plenty of differences in this wholly new figure to justify it.

The cape can be a little fiddly to attach, so it's important to read the included instructions and take your time so not to rip the holes too much while threading it onto the back piece of the figure. The cape has five holes punched into it which slots over three different pegs - one on the central peg and then two on either side. Once fitted properly there's a dark-blue piece in the box to fit over the top, which holds it firmly in place before reattaching the back panel to the figure. And voila - your Omegamon is now caped! However this is unfortunately one glaring error with the cloth cape - and it's one Tamashii Nations were rather deceitful about until the last minute. Omegamon's cape SHOULD be red on the inside and then white on the outside. While the initial preorder images for the figure showed this, following last year's Tamashii Nations event it was revealed that the cape was in fact a salmon pink colour rather than white - with the official order images soon changing to reflect this. The question is why the change? Initially I thought it might be to better reflect the "internet" colours of the movie, but on rechecking the movie I found the cape is still clearly white there as well. It doesn't look so bad that it ruins the figure in any way (and the amount of positives here far outweigh it), but the whole secrecy/running change behind it is pretty bad form for Bandai.

Omegamon's spindly frame may give the impression of fragility and/or limited articulation, but as should be expected from an S.H. Figuarts product this is far from the case. The mega level DNA Digivolution boasts ball joints in his head, shoulders and hips, upper and lower torso swivels, double hinged elbows and knees, single hinge hands (well, jaws) and toes topped off by (limited range) ankle tilts. It's the typically great range that the line provides on all their figures, but it strangely comes off as so much more satisfying on a figure that doesn't have distinctly human proportions. 

Omegamon also comes with a very impressive selection of accessories, which justify both the figure's price and the size of the packaging rather nicely. First up are attachable cannon and sword pieces for Omegamon's main two attacks - the Grey Sword (Transcendent Sword in the English dub) and Gararuru Cannon (Supreme Cannon). Both pieces simply plug into sockets that are housed inside the 'mouths' of each hand, with additional purchase then coming from closing the mouths around them. The pieces don't only lock in one way, which means that the sword can be tilted sidewards slightly for certain poses. One thing I have noticed however is that the WarGreymon head's orange plastic will mark the sword (only really noticeable when removed), so be careful not to force the sword in rubbing against the top of the mouth.

Of course the inclusion of the weapons felt like a given - they're the most obvious accessories to give Omegamon and both were also included with the D-Arts figure. But since Bandai have decided to go the anime route for the S.H. Figuarts version, it also opens it up to some exciting inclusions from Our War Game! Also included in the set are two alternate shoulder pieces featuring static in-scale figurines of Taichi (Tai) and Yamato (Matt) cast in translucent orange and blue plastic respectively. Although the scene these are based off kept the characters in full colour, the single colour look works better than what would have probably been sloppily painted figures given the size. Both figures have a good amount of detailing to make them instantly recognisable, and have one hand outstretched to comfortably hold onto Omegamon's side horns.

Rounding off the accessories is a Tamashii Stage stand, using the larger circular base style previously seen with the various Pokémon figures (sans the Pokéball markings of course). However as well as functioning just like any other Tamashii stand this one also comes with its own unique twist! Also included is a clear plastic piece with five holes, which plugs directly into the back of Omegamon. The stand then in turn plugs directly into the central hole, while the others are meant for three other thin, curved jointed arms packaged in the set (one slightly longer than the other two). These arms also have a little clip piece on the end, and are designed to hold the cape in windswept "action" poses for  a more dynamic display. It does take a little bit of time and practice to get the hang of using the arms properly, but it's immediately clear just how much better it makes the figure look. There have been numerous debates among collectors as to whether cloth or plastic capes are best, and this figure has managed to come away with the best of both worlds - the authentic look and feel of a cloth cape along with a mechanism to perfectly mimic the poseability of the plastic variety.

When news of the cape's colour change broke there was momentary concern that this figure wouldn't live up to the hype that the initial pictures generated. However despite this rather unfortunate inaccuracy, S.H. Figuarts Omegamon is still an incredible figure. Offering a more anime-inspired alternative to the original D-Arts release as well as improving on it considerably, this a figure Digimon fans will not want to miss out on. Well-thought out accessories and an ingenious stand design just sweeten the deal even further. With an Our War Game! version of WarGreymon due out in May here's hoping Bandai also have a new MetalGarurumon planned to complete the trifecta, along with getting that Diaboromon figure out after years of being stuck in limbo. Even if it is sadly a ZERO rather than an articulated figure.

No comments: