Tuesday 15 November 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts -Shinkocchou Seihou- Kamen Rider Gatack Rider Form

With every release that comes out of the line proving to be the cream of the crop S.H. Figuarts has to offer, it's no wonder that new Shinkocchou Seihou releases are always the subject of much attention. Initially the line started out with all-new versions of the oldest main Kamen Rider Figuarts done up with sculpts far more accurate to the actual suits, but as it's begun to branch out it's also begun to tackle alternate forms and secondary Riders too. The catch? More releases means some are inevitably going to be Tamashii web exclusives too. The first of these was Kamen Rider Kuuga Ultimate Form, quickly followed up by the first secondary Rider to join the line - Kamen Rider Gatack Rider Form. Unsurprisingly both Kuuga Ultimate and Gatack proved to be in high demand, prompting both figures to receive second runs in order to fulfil preorders. Gatack was initially released in September 2016, with the second shipment happening the following month in October.

Kamen Rider Gatack comes packaged in the same high quality two-piece boxes as the rest of the Shinkocchou Seihou releases, with the only notable difference being the inclusion of the Tamashii web store logo in the bottom right corner just above the Bandai and Tamashii Nations logos. However what does make the box stand out a little more than usual is the positioning of the main image, which has the figure staring off the right rather than the left. This isn't the first time this has happened (Kuuga was also facing off slightly to the right), but here it definitely makes Gatack's box stand out against the others despite otherwise being near-identical. The bottom section of the box features a selection of images of the figure in a variety of poses, while inside the contents are spread across two plastic trays (one for the figure and one for the accessories). As a pre-W Rider the box refers to Gatack as a "Masked Rider" rather than a "Kamen Rider", and also notes that this is his Rider Form in smaller text under the name.

While personally I might not have much praise for Kamen Rider Kabuto as a series, the same can't be said for the phenomenal Rider designs that came out of it. While the Masked Forms might not be a whole lot to look at, the Rider Forms are the perfect blend of Rider's classic insectoid theme with a modern tech edge. Gatack may have been the last of the four "main" Riders to be introduced in the series, but given that Kabuto largely feels like the story of Arata Kagami anyway it was certainly one of the show's best moments. Gatack's blue stag beetle motif is the perfect contrast to Kabuto's red rhino beetle, and Tamashii Nations have captured the suit's striking look perfectly with this figure. The glossy blue armour pieces mesh wonderfully with the matte black body suit, with the silver sections and gold trimming breaking those two colours up beautifully. The choice of colours also make the red compound eyes stand out all the more, much like how the blue eyes stand out on Kabuto's red body. The beefier build of the Shinkocchou Seihou figures also makes this Gatack a significant improvement over the original, which like all of the Kabuto figures was not only relatively scrawny but also suffered from bowed legs.

As the second Kamen Rider Kabuto Rider in the Shinkocchou Seihou line Gatack inevitably shares the same base body as Kabuto, which includes one of the more questionable implementations he had. Not only is Kabuto notable for being the first Shinkocchou Seihou figure, but he is also the only one (as well as one of the only Figuarts in general) to use a completely different wrist joint type - name the hinged peg variant most commonly seen with Max Factory's Figma line. Many collectors saw this as a step backwards, but honestly I wasn't too bothered by it - the hands felt considerably less fragile and the wrist hinge really helped get a better "walk the path of heaven" point pose out of the figure. Now that latter point may not really apply to Gatack, but I still stand by the point of the change not really affecting the figure in any detrimental way. The wrist articulation may be slightly less than the range you'd get with a ball joint, but what you can get out of it is far more manageable in pulling off a natural look. The hinge joints are also fairly well hidden, so you don't get hands with extremely visible joint cuts or anything like that.

The rest of the body is pretty much the same deal as Kabuto, with the main exception being that Gatack lacks Kabuto's weirdly satisfying articulated bicep panels. Like most modern Figuarts the shoulder panels are able to swing outward to provide more clearance for the arms when posing them, ensuring that they don't hinder the shoulder articulation in any significant way. 

Gatack's accessories include three pairs of alternate hands, including one pair of open palms and two pairs of weapon holding hands to compliment the standard closed fists. In addition to that there are also his signature Gatack Double Calibur blades, which can peg to the figure's shoulders when not in use. As per the actual suit design the two attach in different ways, with the right shoulder's (the Golden Plus Calibur) plugging directly into a hole in the arm and the left's (the Silver Minus Calibur) sitting on top of a peg sticking out of the shoulder. The two blades are not only very nicely detailed, but can also combine into a scissor-like weapon for the "RIDER CUTTING" finisher. When connected the weapon is fully functional and can be opened and closed as desired.

Rounding off the accessories is an alternate Gatack Zecter with the horns in their original position, signifying that either Gatack is currently in Masked Form or (more appropriately) that the "Rider Kick" finishing move is currently being charged. The Zecters are attached to the belt via two small tabs so are nice and easy to change, but at the same time secure when connected. It's a shame that Bandai decided to do Gatack's Zecter in two pieces when Kabuto's was fully functional, but it looks like for whatever reason they felt that moveable beetle horns wouldn't have been quite as aesthetically pleasing as two separate versions.

Thankfully this time Bandai haven't packed in the god-awful hand tree they included with Kabuto, which was utterly useless and undoubtedly the only real misfire the line has had so far.

It only took a handful of releases for Shinkocchou Seihou to establish itself as THE line of S.H. Figuarts to buy for Kamen Rider fans and Gatack is yet another near-flawless release to add to that track record. Even though it shares a body type with the earliest Shinkocchou Seihou release, it's still a cut above the majority the brand has to offer and provides a long overdue update to one of its oldest figures. Even though the Shinkocchou Seihou figures may have started delving into the murky world of web exclusives, it certainly doesn't make them any less desirable.


Lolingstar said...

There used to be a good amount of used Ultimate Kuuga renewals on amiami. Ever since I bought it, they've left the site relatively quickly.

Anonymous said...

FYI (maybe you know this already) the upcoming punchhopper & kickhopper have ball joint hand wrist.

Lucas said...

What's a "hand tree"?

Unknown said...

A rack that is used to hold extra hands. Something common to figmas and Revoltechs, but not for SHFs