Sunday 27 November 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Double CycloneJoker

With the S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchu Seihou line roughly following the same release pattern as the main S.H. Figuarts line did during its early beginnings it has become fairly easy to predict what Bandai Tamashii Nations are going to do next. Since the release of Kabuto, Kuuga and Agito matched things perfectly (with a healthy dose of Hibiki sprinkled in for good measure), as far as main Kamen Riders go the next destination seemed imminent – Kamen Rider Double CycloneJoker. The lines taken a few diversions with various Kuuga forms and Gatack, but it didn’t stray too far off course and the star of Kamen Rider W finally arrived in October 2016.

As you can probably guess Double comes in the usual Shinkocchou Seihou style packaging, which is a more premium two-piece both with a fancy profile shot of the figure adorning the top section. This picture has also been heavily photoshopped, so you’ll want to turn to the back for a better look at the figure and its various accessories. Alternatively you could just open the box up (after all that’s what we’re here to do), where you’ll find the figure on a white plastic tray with an additional accessory tray just underneath. As the first of the second generation Heisei Riders to get a Shinkocchou Seihou release this also marks the first time that the word “Kamen” is used on the package, as all previous Riders fell under the translated “Masked Rider” banner instead.

With Kamen Rider W being the highly popular series it is many people (myself included) overlooked the flaws of the original figure simply out of excitement of owning it. Issues such as the incredibly tight wrist joints, easily removed/lost cuffs and incorrectly coloured joints on the green side are commonly cited, but in general the figure isn’t all that accurate either – particularly when it comes to the headsculpt. Now at a ripe age of six, it’s time for that figure to retire as the Shinkocchou Seihou comes along and does everything correctly. The sculpt is more accurate, the proportions are more human-like and the colours are all correct. Gone is that inaccurate (if appealing) shade of metallic green, replaced with a glossy shade far more accurate to the suit itself. The cuffs are much tighter, no longer prone to flying off when replacing the hands – which isn’t an absolute nightmare to do any more. Putting the two side by side really highlights not only how outdated the original figure was, but how desperately Double needed a new figure in the first place.

Another big thing that sets this apart from the original Double release is the inclusion of a functional Double Driver. Not only is each segment of the Driver able to swing up into their central position (perfect for transforming and “Maximum Drive” poses) but the two tiny Gaia Memories included with the figure also slot into place. However this also leads to Double’s only flaw, which is something that might be problematic on a case by case basis rather than a widespread issue. While the Joker Memory slots into the Driver nice and tightly the Cyclone Memory does not, leading to it rattling around loosely in there and slipping out almost every time you re-pose the figure. Be sure to keep an eye on the Driver at all times if this is the case with your figure, otherwise you may end up with a Cyclone-less figure on your shelf.

All these new improvements also lead to far better articulation, with this latest Shinkocchou Seihou figure featuring all the latest engineering S.H. Figuarts has to offer. No more swing-down hips means a far more appealing sculpt, with better articulation in the shoulders (and shoulder pads) and torso as well. One big difference between this and the original figure is that the scarf/muffler is now on its own joint, so can be moved into various windswept poses rather than just having to hang down like the original’s did.

With CycloneJoker being Double’s standard combination it doesn’t have any specific weapons to speak off, relying more on hand-to-hand combat moves. With that in mind, Bandai have still done a pretty excellent job in packing this guy with accessories. Included are ten alternate hands, which of course include the obligatory pairs for his transformation and “Count Up Your Sins” poses. On top of that there’s also the aforementioned Cyclone and Joker memories, which can be taken out of the Double Driver and held in another pair of the hands provided. Finally there’s an oversized scarf/muffler piece perfect for replicating Double’s look in the opening video and for general dynamic poses. The larger muffler connects in exactly the same way as the standard one, and despite its much larger size the figure is still able to balance fairly well when in use.

At this point you’re probably asking why no wind effect pieces were included, and the answer to that is the same as it is for most of the other Shinkocchou Seihou releases – Tamashii have got it covered elsewhere. Released alongside CycloneJoker were the latest Tamashii Effects parts – namely huge wind pieces currently available in both green and purple. The Effects line seems to have gone down rather well with collectors so it makes sense to see it continuing here – the wind pieces are far too large to include with the figure and ultimately aren’t all that necessary, but if buyers do want them at least the option is there.

One day there’ll be a S.H. Figuarts Shinkocchou Seihou review on this website where the figure in question doesn’t receive full marks. This however is not that day. In this Kamen Rider Double CycloneJoker finally has the figure he deserves, not only updated with the latest enhancements in articulation but also a sculpt and colouring far more accurate to the suit. Despite the most logical effect part coming as a separate release Double is also packed with plenty of good accessories to keep the figure interesting, resulting in yet another perfect release from Figuarts’ sub-line of perfection. Tamashii Nations 2016 revealed that there are plenty of Kamen Rider W figures to come (not to mention a Kamen Rider 1) but fingers crossed older figures like Faiz and OOO aren’t too far away. If anyone could do with this kind of update, it’s definitely OOO.


Anonymous said...

OOO,Faiz, and Kiva please not be far

Anonymous said...

Yes, please
Could be other W character tho.. Because they were already displayed at Tamashii Nations 2016 event

Anonymous said...

I just got the exclusive Kamen Rider Joker not too long ago and it suffers from the same issue. The tiny memory doesn't plug in.

I think it could have easily been solved by providing a removable version of the driver with the memory plugged in, and one without. They could also have provided hands that have the memory molded in so it won't drop out and be lost forever. It makes me not want to display my figure on the shelf (and a rare exclusive at that). Disappointing for an otherwise gorgeous figure.