Wednesday 22 June 2016

Toybox REVIEW: Kamen Rider Ghost DX Yurusen

Over the past year Kamen Rider Ghost has proven itself to be a rather divisive series, spawning considerable debate about everything from characters and story to gimmicks and merchandising. One such facet is of course Yurusen - the small ghost that assists Takeru Tenkuji on his journey and acts as the show's unofficial mascot. Some might see Yurusen's childish and often unhelpful nature as one of the more memorable aspects of the show, while others might not be so fond of a floating hand puppet whose plot significance is ultimately questionable. However Bandai clearly have faith in the creation, with the release of a 1:1 scale DX Yurusen toy as a Premium Bandai exclusive. The full name of this toy is the "Chat Familiar DX Yurusen" (Oshaberi Tsukaima DX Yurusen), and just as this name suggests it features a number of sounds and phrases provided by voice actress Aoi Yuuki (of Madoka Magica and Symphogear fame).

However what makes this toy truly special to collectors is that it was limited to only 6000 units - something that will likely make it a sought out item among Kamen Rider Ghost fans.

Web exclusive status technically means Bandai don't really have to go wild when it comes to the packaging, since it doesn't need to attract potential buyers in stores since they'll have ordered it long before they even get a glimpse of the box. That said Bandai always seem to strive to put out attractive packaging regardless, and the DX Yurusen toy is certainly no exception. Yurusen comes in a big orange box featuring minimal images of the toy itself - just one big image on the front against a white backdrop and another on the back peeking up from behind the usual technical information. The rest of the box is plastered with little Yurusen logos and bold Japanese text, which I'm assuming matches the various phrases recorded.

One very minor complaint I have (and this is more down to personal preference than anything else) is that there's nothing included here to certify the toy's status of being one of 6000 made. When it comes to limited edition pieces like this, certificates of authenticity really make it feel even more special. No huge loss though, it doesn't take away from the value of the figure itself and the people buying it will likely know just how limited it is.

As we begin to look at the toy itself it's worth mentioning that DX Yurusen isn't completely identical to the show prop. While the prop's body comes across as looking like it's made of a spongey material, the DX toy is made of a solid glossy plastic (which is kind of expecting given that it's housing electronics). Yurusen isn't a character with a whole lot of painted detail but the moulded detail here is immaculate - the coloured plastics look great and the giant reflective eye really stands out. Even little touches like the ghost's rosy cheeks don't go unnoticed. The arms are double-jointed with nice clicky ratchet joints, and are capable of a reasonably good range of movement. Finally the cloak is made of a fabric material, so really looks the part and looks much more aesthetically pleasing than a plastic one ever would.

The toy's sounds are emitted through speaker holes that are located just at the bottom of the head, close enough to the cloak that they can go relatively unnoticed by visible enough that the sounds aren't in any way muffled.

The body might be made of solid plastic but that doesn't mean this toy can't be used a puppet though. Rather than just be a single piece of fabric the cloak is sewn so that a hand can easily fit inside of it to hold up the figure and push the arms to a certain degree. The cloak is also completely removable, and held together by a strip of strong velcro. If you've ever wondered what Yurusen's neck looked like under than cloak then consider this your chance to find out!

Lifting up the cloak (or outright taking it off) reveals the battery compartment on the back of the body, as well as a reasonably sized ON/OFF switch underneath. The toy takes two AAA batteries and requires a screwdriver to remove/replace the battery cover. When the power button is switched to the on position, a voice clip immediately starts up. Any further clips are activated by pressing a button located just above the batteries.

However one of the biggest draws of this toy are of course the electronics, not only provided by Aoi Yuuk but also Hermit/Ganma Magistrate Edith actor Naoto Takenaka. When I initially preordered this toy I was only expecting a handful of different phrases, so imagine my surprise when each press of the button constantly resulted in a new phrase. I'm not sure quite how many there are in total, but initial preorder information listed it at around at least 40. Not being fluent in Japanese there are quite a lot that I can't really comment on, but obvious choices like the Captain Ghost summoning call and the "Next week on Kamen Rider Ghost" episode preview are all present and correct.

However this is one area where text simply won't suffice, so be sure to check out the video above for a look at DX Yurusen in action!

Unfortunately not having any legs means Yurusen isn't going to be doing very much in the way of standing, so Bandai have also thrown in a cool clear plastic stand with the base shaped like the show's eye logo. The arm piece slots into the base via tabs, and then comfortably grips the sides of the toy. And of course when the cloak is draped over the back the arm itself is barely noticeable.

Just like the Kamen Rider Ghost series itself, Yurusen is obviously not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But Yurusen's standing within the series isn't what's being discussed here - it's this toy, and anyone interested in getting it is obviously going to have a fondness for the sassy little ghost. A few months ago had you told me that one of my favourite toys of this year (thus far) was going to be an orange ghost puppet I'd have likely laughed at you, but DX Yurusen isn't just good - it's pretty much perfect. It's a great looking role play item and display piece sporting a quality that really reflects its exclusive status, with a variety of sound clips that goes above and beyond what most would reasonably expect from a toy such of this. Being limited to only 6000 made probably means the aftermarket won't be all that kind to it, but for collectors like me who got in there early it just serves to make this piece all the more special.

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