Sunday 5 June 2016

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

As Digimon fans patiently wait for the next instalment of the 15th anniversary celebration movie series Digimon Adventure Tri, Bandai Tamashii Nations are tempting fans with another slice of digital monster nostalgia. Following on from the successful S.H. Figuarts Omegamon released at the beginning of 2016 comes a brand new WarGreymon figure, again based on the character's appearance in Digimon the Movie: Our War Game! (also known as Bokura no War Game or one third of the English language Digimon the Movie). A Tamashii Web exclusive release, this is in fact the third WarGreymon figure Bandai have released. The first two were released as part of the now-defunct D-Arts line, one as a mass-release figure and the other a web exclusive "Original Designer's Edition" repaint.

WarGreymon's packaging is another rarity for modern Tamashii Web exclusives, with the box featuring a window to see the figure inside rather than being entirely cardboard. Like Omegamon's packaging it carries the Our War Game! internet aesthetic (which was ported over to Summer Wars and pretty much anything else internet-related Mamoru Hosoda was involved in) well, with lots of ladders and scaffolding-like structures jutting across the white box. The image on the front of the box features the same orange outlining as the characters did in the movie itself, while the ones on the spines and back omit them to give it a more natural look. Inside you'll find the figure and its accessories spread across a single plastic tray, with one accessory also taped to the front on the blue backing card behind it.

As was the case with Omegamon, this isn't just an anime-accuate repaint of the D-Arts figure released under a different banner - it's a brand new mould altogether directly inspired by the anime design of the character rather than the video game/trading card art. As such the gold and silver armour of the original has been completely removed - replaced with a more anime-like combination of yellow and light grey. The Crest of Courage on the wing-like "Brave Shield" is more detailed, featuring an orange outline filled with a slightly off-white colour. The sculpt quality and overall detail of the figure is fantastic, with enough difference between this and the D-Arts figure to both justify a brand new release and any fans decision to pick this up on top of the old one. Strangely while the figure lacks the orange outlining that was featured in the movie, it has been kept on on the markings that run down the chest armour. One can only assume this was done because the orange fits much better with the pastel colour scheme than a black outline would.

However as much of a significant improvement over the D-Arts figure this is, Bandai still didn't quite hit the nail on the head when it came to anime accuracy. The most obvious glaring problem is the eyes - even if you were to disregard the fact that WarGreymon's eyes are green and not blue, the pupils are far too dilated. As a result this gives them a cutesy anime feel rather than the "Ultimate/Mega Evolution warrior" feel he probably should have. However the inaccuracy also stretches much further than that, and I must credit fellow toy reviewer and all-round great guy Actar for pointing this out - the head is completely the wrong shape. Just compare it to any shots from the movie and you'll see that the toy's has been squished down and elongated, making it look a rather strange from certain angles. Exactly how much this spoils the toy for you will depend on how much of a stickler for accuracy you are - the figure is still perfectly serviceable and CAN look great, it just could have looked better. And given the time and resources Bandai had to perfect this figure, you have to wonder what went wrong when designing it.

Articulation is one area Bandai didn't get wrong though. While I personally never owned the D-Arts WarGreymon mould I have heard plenty of stories about them suffering from loose hips as well as various other joint problems. If that's the case, then Bandai have definitely learnt from their mistakes here. All the joints are nice and tight, providing the right levels of movement without any sort of excess force required. WarGreymon's body has ball joints implemented into his head, neck, shoulders, hips and wrists along with a bicep swivel, double-hinged elbows and knees, ball-cut joints and ankle rockers in the feet and then finally a hinged toe-section on each foot. The two sections of the Brave Shield are also attached via ball joints, allowing them to spread out into their wing-like positions. With the three skirt pieces able to move up and down freely to accommodate the legs, the only real hindrance is the large shoulder pads which limit how much the arm can be moved upwards.

Unfortunately whereas Omegamon sported a pretty impressive selection of accessories, WarGreymon on the other hand feels rather lacking in comparison. Included with the figure are an alternate pair of open hands, along with his signature "Dramon Killer" claw weapons. The Dramon Killers have a fist pre-fitted inside of them, so attaching them simply requires slipping the arms through them and then connecting the fists just as you would any alternate Figuarts hands. Other than the paint differences, the most notable difference between these and the D-Arts figure's Killers is the claws, which are shorter and moulded in white plastic rather than silver chrome. The D-Arts figure also reportedly suffered the widespread of the claws being misaligned, and while I can't comment on that myself I can report that it doesn't seem to be a problem with this release.

The D-Arts figure also came with an effect part to replicate WarGreymon's "Terra Force" attack, however that has unfortunately not been carried over to this release.

However in the place of the effect part comes a more movie-specific accessory - a plastic cell depicting Taichi (or simply 'Tai' if you're more of a dub fan) peering into the internet to watch the battle against Diablomon (Diaboromon) just as he did in the movie itself. The cell is lifting straight out of the movie itself, and also comes with a clear plastic stand and base to keep it upright. While some would probably argue that the original D-Arts' effect part was the better accessory, this is quite an interesting piece which really adds something unique to displays and photographs alike.

Even fully acknowledging the accuracy issues when it comes to the head, S.H. Figuarts WarGreymon is still a great figure and arguably the best quality one available for the character. It doesn't quite give you quite as much bang for your buck as Omegamon nor is it as impressive, but nevertheless makes a great companion piece and would be a worthy addition to anyone's Digimon toy collection. Though the original might not be quite as dated as the D-Arts Omegamon and WarGreymon figures, I at the very least hope that Tamashii Nations have a Our War Game! MetalGarumon release up their sleeves for a truly great Digimon movie display.

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