Monday 25 April 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Beerus

Thanks to the likes of the Battle of Gods and Resurrection F movies along with the ongoing Dragon Ball Super series, Akira Toriyama and Toei Animation’s Dragon Ball franchise is back in full swing. And although its successful revival can be attributed to seeing the return of fan favourites such as Goku, Vegeta and Freeza, it’s also thanks to the franchise’s two newest characters – the god of destruction Beerus and his attendant Whis. Since making their debut in Battle of Gods, these characters have more than earned their place among the show’s leads. As such it was only a matter of time before Bandai Tamashii Nations added these two to their S.H. Figuarts line, with Beerus released late March 2016 and Whis set to follow in August. However what’s more surprising is that Beerus was actually a mass release figure, a rarity for Dragon Ball Figuarts in Japan – there had only been four previously, and two of which were Goku!

Beerus’ box continues the new style of packaging previously seen with the Super Saiyan Goku Awakening Ver. Figure, which suggests that this might be the standard style of packaging for Dragon Ball Figuarts from here on out. Not all that surprising as these boxes, despite sporting less colour, are considerably more attractive than their overly busy predecessors. The predominantly white colouring with squared-off coloured sections is striking, with Beerus’ blue backgrounds clashing nicely with the orange ones seen on Goku’s box. Interestingly this packaging sports the Dragon Ball Super logo specifically, meaning it is being treated as a figure from that series and not under the Dragon Ball Z banner (like the Resurrection F figures).

As a fighting and martial arts orientated series the majority of the previous Dragon Ball Z figures have all sported fairly muscular frames (even if a select few are shorter than normal), so it’s pretty interesting to see one of the most powerful characters in the Dragon Ball universe completely throw that out the window. Beerus is a particularly thin figure, which is especially noticeable in his “so thin they look like they may break” arms. There’s absolutely nothing to fear though – the figure isn’t just perfectly on point to the animation model, it’s built well and unlikely to break unless it was really being forced the long way. Sculpt and colour-wise every looks fantastic, with the exception of the rather unappealing exposed knee joints on the back of the legs. Though they aren’t built any differently to any other Figuarts, the baggy trousers results in them having a sunken in effect to make them all the more obvious. However it’s a problem present on quite a lot of the Dragon Ball Figuarts, so unlikely to deter buyers since it isn’t anything they won’t have seen before.

However a scrawnier build hasn’t affected the overall articulation in any notable way, with Beerus sporting the usual high level of S.H. Figuarts poseability. The figure has a ball-jointed head and neck, ball-jointed shoulders, an ab crunch, ball-jointed waist, double-hinge elbows and knees, ball-jointed wrists, “swing-down” variety ball-jointed hips, ankle tilts, toe hinges and a ball-jointed tail. The use of swing-down hips, like the aforementioned knee sculpting, suggests that Beerus isn’t using the newest engineering in Figuarts’ arsenal, but he’s still a major step up from the likes of the (be it standard or Premium Colours) Super Saiyan Vegeta figure. The pieces of his Egyptian-style collar piece draped over his shoulders are also individually articulated, allowing the poser to move them about to keep the illusion of it being a single piece when posing.

With the arrival of a Tamashii Effect parts line it seems that the days of effect part accessories may well be over, making Beerus’ extra parts seem rather bland on first glance. Altogether the god of destruction comes with a total of seven hands (closed fist pair, open pair, accessory holding pair and a pinching motion right hand) and three swappable heads (neutral, angry and yawning expressions). Why exactly this figure comes with an accessory holding pair of hands when he has no accessories to hold however is anyone’s guess. The official photos of the forthcoming Whis figure has him holding a spoon, so it is possible that he may come along with some food bits he can hold, but at this stage who knows. The heads on the other hand are excellent – all three are highly expressive and get across just how different Beerus’ moods can be. A smirking expression would have been nice to go along with them, but given that these had to be whole heads rather than just faces it’s understandable why Bandai stopped where they did.

Beerus might not be sporting all the latest S.H. Figuarts technology to make him a truly spectacular release, but the figure is still of admirable quality and more than fitting of a god of destruction. Just like the character this figure oozes personality, and the accessories provided means it has far more to offer the buyer than simply generic fighting poses. Its status as one of the few mass release Dragon Ball figures makes it all the sweeter, even if the idea that Beerus gets a mass release figure yet Vegeta has had FOUR web exclusive figures is incredibly baffling. However it hopefully suggests good things for the future of Dragon Ball Figuarts, and it’ll be interesting to see how it grows as Dragon Ball Super continues into more brand new arcs and adventures.

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