Wednesday 21 December 2016

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Necrom

Whether you were a fan of Kamen Rider Ghost as a series or not, it can't be denied that the show hasn't had much luck when it comes to the S.H. Figuarts line. Despite the show boasting a three main Riders, a number of movie ones and a wide variety of forms, Bandai Tamashii Nations have actually released very little from the series so far - opting instead for retail figures from the Kamen Rider 1 movie and Kamen Rider Amazons. The selection is so poor that Kamen Rider Necrom, the show's third Rider and a very significant character, was only released as a Tamashii web exclusive months after the show had completed its run. However Ghost fans need not despair, as Prince Alain has finally arrived to fight alongside (or against) Kamen Rider Ghost and Kamen Rider Specter in figure form.

It's just as well that these boxes aren't for retail otherwise you could accuse Necrom's of making the figure seem a whole lot cooler than it actually is. Kamen Rider Necrom comes in standard windowless packaging (like most web exclusive items these days) done up in the Kamen Rider Ghost style, but the key thing to note here is that the front image gives all of the green sections a really cool looking glow-in-the-dark effect - which of course isn't present on the figure whatsoever. Admittedly this isn't the first time some box art has amped up an effect for the sake of coolness, it just seems all the more obvious here. The back and spines on the other hand feature some normal images of the figure in various poses, and inside the figure and its (few) accessories can be found on a single transparent plastic tray.

While fundamentally Kamen Rider Necrom shares the same design as his fellow Ghost Riders, there are a few significant differences that set him apart from the others. The most obvious of these is of course the headsculpt, sporting a diving helmet-like mono-eye in place of Ghost and Specter's reflective faces. The Necrom Damashii is also slightly different, featuring several slits in the hoody as well as large plug sections attached to translucent green pipes carrying "Quantum Liquid" throughout the body. But perhaps most significant of all is that Necrom doesn't use a Ghost Driver like the other two, instead transforming via the wrist-mounted Mega Ulorder.

As far as overall sculpting goes Necrom is the most interesting of the Ghost Riders, showing off plenty of unique flare in comparison to Ghost and Specter's uniformity. The white undersuit is particularly appealing, sporting nicely moulded detail and a strong matte white finish of a much higher quality than Ghost/Specter's smooth black bodies. The white also contrasts nicely with the black of the hoody, with the luminous green in turn standing out nicely on that. The head is excellently sculpted, although arguably the "Various Goggles" (aka the eye/visor) could so with being bit brighter that it actually is to really stand out. An unfortunate byproduct of the removable hood gimmick is that the helmet also has a rather noticeable cut-out rectangle on the back - something better hidden on Ghost/Specter's black heads by not so much with Necrom's white.

The Mega Ulorder can be connected to the figure in both active and inactive states, depending on which tab is used to connect it to the wrist. When placed in its inactive state the device sits flat against the wrist comfortably in the space provided, and when activated it stands upright like a weird wrist-mounted eye-dropper/3D Printer thing. It's certainly a unique transformation device that's for sure.

However despite the sculpt changes it's still the standard Ghost body under there, and so unfortunately Necrom falls victim to all the same flaws and limitations. The waist is a little better since Necrom lacks a bulky Ghost Drive, but in general the torso and hip articulation is still restricted by that thick soft plastic hoody. The worst part though are the shoulders, which are EXTREMELY limited by the hoody sleeve sections attached to the arms. While Ghost and Specter's were problematic, some of that could be fixed by tucking the sleeves just under the shoulder cuts for a better range of articulation. Necrom on the other hand has these huge green plug ports sticking out of the sides, so any hopes of bypassing the limitations in the same way are immediately dashed. The figure also doesn't have a bicep swivel, resulting in the arms having even less movement again. In the light of all this the old swing-down hips don't even seem that bad - sure they're dated, but the moulding differences don't make them seem quite as egregious as they were on Ghost or Specter.

The problems only continue when you get into the accessory count, which is pretty much non-existant. Kamen Rider Necrom comes with a grand total of TWO accessories - a pair of open hands and a swappable hood piece. There's no Gan Gun Catcher, no liquid tentacle effect parts, no Eyecons - not even a pair of hands that can hold Specter's selection of Eyecon accessories. While web exclusives have suffered from a general lack of accessories for a good while now, this is a pretty pathetic display on Tamashii Nations' part. A character as important as Necrom should have at least gotten a few extra hands, and with the figure coming out so long after Ghost had finished there was little reason not to include the Gan Gun Catcher since that in itself is just a repaint. As flawed as they may be Kamen Riders Ghost and Specter at least had fairly decent accessory counts to alleviate that, Necrom on the other hand does not have that luxury.

With Kamen Rider Necrom being the only Rider in Kamen Rider Ghost worth a damn I really wanted to like this figure, but unfortunately Necrom is most flawed Ghost release yet - which just goes to show how much Tamashii Nations dropped the ball when it came to this series. Necrom carries over all the flaws from the Ghost/Specter mould, only amplified ten fold in the shoulder area thanks to those plug pieces jutting out of them. Combine that with a complete lack of any notable accessories, and all of a sudden that Tamashii web exclusive price is a very bitter pill to swallow. Kamen Rider Necrom will undoubtedly appeal to fans of the character or those wishing to fill out their Kamen Rider Ghost roster, but this really doesn't meet the high standard the brand has put out in the last few years. Fingers crossed things get back on track next year with the Kamen Rider Ex-Aid range.

1 comment:

TF RyuShin said...

Well, pretty much a shame for Necrom. I thought that this figure would get at least average or recommended rate but I didn't expect for the figure to be this bad. It's disappointing that Necrom didn't get any weapons at all and it's changeable hands accessories are so little. Still, you could make an impromptu GanGun Catcher by painting Specter's GanGun Hand :P Anyway, Mr. Reviewer, I recommend you to buy Ghost Grateful. I know that you're being disappointed by recent Ghost figures but I bet that Ghost Grateful will be a top notch. I have seen a review of it and it has flexible head articulation, flexible waist, knees and legs. A bit shame that his shoulders are pretty limited since the shoulder armors aren't hinged or movable ala Gaim Kachidoki. The accessories are quite good in numbers, at least better than Necrom. One last note, I don't know whether you still have faith to Ghost's S.H. Figuarts anymore, but I'm pretty sure you won't regret buying Ghost Grateful.