Wednesday 2 November 2016

Favourites from Tamashii Nations 2016

Last weekend Bandai Tamashii Nations held their annual Tamashii Nations event, and as usual it was packed full of new items from the likes of S.H. Figuarts, S.H. MonsterArts, S.I.C., Super Robot Chogokin, Soul of Chogokin, Hi-Metal R and more. As usual a lot of these items will probably never see release (I’m personally still waiting on the Kikaider REBOOT Figuart from 2014) but it’s always fun to speculate what could be coming soon. Here are my five personal highlights from the event, based on the items which were available for photography and not on display for attendees only.

And as usual, there was absolutely no sign of Kamen Rider Kiva at the event. Because why break tradition?

All pictures by Dengeki Hobby, Amiami and Tamashii Nations

5) Hi-Metal R VF-2S Valkyrie

Ah Macross II: Lovers Again, the black sheep of the Macross family. With no input from the original creators resulting in lower story quality and a non-canonical nature, it’s regularly scoffed at and overlooked by Macross fans. Myself included, as it’s the only Macross anime iteration I’ve never sat down and reviewed for this blog (something I do hope to change in the near future). However over the years opinions do seem to have softened on it somewhat, resulting in new merchandise for this largely forgotten OVA. Having almost exhausted The Super Dimension Fortress Macross with their excellent Hi-Metal R line, Tamashii Nations is now joining in on this with a rendition of Lovers Again’s VF-2S Valkyrie. 

Say what you want about the quality of the OVA, this is one hell of a good mecha design. A sleek and sexy update to the original, the design translates excellently to the Hi-Metal R line and is a good sign of things to come from this rapidly growing line. While I’m still yet to make a purchase from it myself (there are a few I’m currently eyeing up), this one will definitely end up on my shelf as soon as its released.

4) SIC Kamen Rider Gaim range

The Super Imaginative Chogokin line has been on the ball recently with its hyper-stylised reinterpretations of various Kamen Rider characters, but Kamen Rider Gaim is definitely among the best. With the main four Riders previously revealed (and in Gaim’s case, released) this year’s Tamashii Nations unveiled Sigurd, Marika, Duke, Shin Zangetsu and the Jimber, Ichigo and Pine versions of Gaim. And damn do they look good. The traditional armour styling of these figures has been spot on, and here the SIC line has even managed to make some of the more underwhelming designs (Jimber, Ichigo Arms, Marika) look incredible to the point where they’re actually among the best. Better yet is the fact that these figures all have the Arms Change gimmick (sans the ability for it to be able to transform into fruit) so are functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.

I’ve already sworn off buying any more of these figures (completing the cast in Figuarts form was expensive enough) but the look of these really isn’t making that decision easy. I might have to choose a few of them to sit alongside Gaim after all.

3) The return of S.H. Figuarts Nappa

The Dragon Ball range may have experienced something of a renaissance lately, but there are still plenty of figures seen at previous Tamashii Nations events that remain unreleased. Among these include Kid Buu, SSJ3 Vegeta, Champa, Vados and multiple versions of Goku (Super Saiyan God, adult GT, angel, kid), but the most notorious among these has to be Nappa. After being seen at numerous events a few years ago, Vegeta’s original partner in crime disappeared into obscurity with the most commonly cited reason being that it wasn’t feasible to sell such a large figure. Now that Broly, Hulk and Kinnikuman’s Ashuraman have proven that isn’t the case, Nappa is back with a vengeance. Sporting a new armoured body and a better looking head, this Nappa looks more in line with the current high quality of Dragon Ball Figuarts and hopefully will actually see release this time around. 

Also seen at the event were Yamucha, Tienshinhan, Gotenks, and a Kaioken Goku along with a new version of SSJ3.

2) S.H. MonsterArts Mecha Godzilla (Poster Version)

Technically this spot should really go to the Showa era Mecha Godzilla that was on display, but the fact that it was behind a pretty firm “no photos allowed” sign (thus meaning there aren’t any clear pictures of it available right now) means it has been passed up in favour of this far more obscure variant. Bored of repainting the same Heisei era monsters over and over again, Tamashii Nations have now turned their attention towards the concept art used for 1993’s Godzilla vs. Mecha Godzilla II movie poster – creating two brand new figures under their new “Tamashii Mix” range. My biggest question is why we didn’t we get this version of Mecha Godzilla for the movie, because it looks utterly fantastic. The design has far more going on than the actual movie version, with that added bulk making the machine look like far more of a worthy opponent to the King of Monsters. The weapons and wing-pack also look considerably more impressive, giving this Mecha Godzilla a boxy, imposing super robot vibe. Not all that surprising given how this version of Mecha Godzilla was going to be a combining robot

Plenty of people won’t like the fact that poster designs are getting toy treatment over actual movie suits, but I’m a complete sucker for obscure gems like this and definitely want to add this to my collection.

1) Pokemon S.H. Figuarts

If only 10 year old me could get a look at these figures. Tamashii Nations have been very slowly chugging along with a range of articulated Pokemon figures for years now, but with an obvious focus on the Pokemon themselves I don’t think anyone quite expected to see Ash or Team Rocket joining the line any time soon. But lo and behold here we are with fantastic articulated versions of the show’s three longest running characters, complete with in-scale (but unfortunately static) Pikachu and Meowth accessories. Tamashii Nations know exactly what the people want and have based these figures on the first season(s) of the anime, as evidenced by Ash’s original costume. Gotta capitalise on that nostalgia after all. Megahouse’s GEM figures are nice, but expensive for their size and are of course static statues. With Figuarts entering the fray this opens up a world of possibilities, and all that’s left to do now is hope that these a) get a release and b) lead to more integral Pokemon characters getting the same treatment they’ve deserved for years.

What were your favourite reveals from this year’s Tamashii Nations event? Discuss in the comments below!


Anonymous said...

My favourite would be hopper bros & ichigo renewal.
By the way, have you watch an anime called mushishi?

Alex said...

I have seen the first 5 episodes of it! Wasn't really my thing, but that's not saying I thought it was bad. Should probably revisit it at some point because that was a good few years ago.

Anonymous said...

I personally prefer the 2014 one, as it has better animation and story. The characters in the original series were so stubborn to the point where the stories always end with tragedy.