Friday 6 January 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Amazon Omega

With 2016 being dubbed “Super Hero Year” by Toei it brought along a fair few surprises, and perhaps the biggest of them all was Kamen Rider Amazons. The Amazon Prime exclusive reimagining of 1974’s Kamen Rider Amazon proved to be a huge hit, succeeding where every other gritty adult version of Kamen Rider has failed. The number of Rider projects that year also meant Kamen Rider Ghost was forced to share its release window when it came to S.H. Figuarts, with all-important retail release spots going to both the Amazons cast and the new version of Kamen Rider 1. First to be released by Bandai Tamashii Nations was Kamen Rider Amazon Omega, the third-generation cultivation type Amazon alter-ego of Haruka Mizusawa.

Amazon Omega comes packaged in the new smaller-style Figuarts packaging that’s become more common in recent years, however the box art is considerably more elaborate than the plain black boxes the main series Riders have come in. Instead Omega’s box adopts a really eye-catching smokey blue effect, reminiscent of that used in the various promotional images for Kamen Rider Amazons. As well as a nice big image of the figure, the front also features the “Open Your Amazons” tagline printed across the window – pretty sound advice for an action figure really. The back and spines feature the usual array of promotional shots, and inside you’ll find the figure on standard clear plastic tray. However hidden away just underneath is also a smaller tray, housing all of the figure’s optional hand pieces and weaponry. 

Kamen Rider Amazon Omega is somewhat unique in that he also received an Amazon exclusive variant – an honour fittingly shared with the original Kamen Rider Amazon Figuart and the subsequent Amazon Alpha release. As well as a few unique accessories, the exclusive version comes in a larger, plain cardboard box that is meant to mirror Amazon’s own standard shipping packaging.

Whereas Kamen Rider Amazon Alpha feels like a modern version of the classic Amazon with a different paintjob, Kamen Rider Amazon Omega is a much bigger departure from the original design. Supposedly inspired by Ishinomori’s original design sketches, Omega sports a sleeker “costume-like” body with a mouthless head more akin to a helmet than an actual animal. For better or for worse, this makes Omega stand out against his fellow Amazonz as he feels considerably less organic. That said, this figure is wonderful representation of the onscreen suit. While some might be thinking “the colours are a little too bright”, it’s important to remember that the show is filtered and outside that this is how the costume looks. The figure sports lots of smooth, glossy surfaces with some nicely sculpted detail for the red sections, gloves, boots and Driver. The metallic green really makes the figure pop, contrasting nicely with the other colours adorning the suit.

Articulation is where things get a little bit interesting, as much like the Ghost Figuarts the Kamen Rider Amazons releases opt for the older style swing-down hips rather than the newer fixed ones. It’s an odd choice, but far less of an issue here than it was with the Ghost cast. They provide an excellent range of movement and the fact that the legs are raised outward from the joint pieces helps prevent any unsightly gaps. The only thing Omega could benefit from is a better chest joint (or alternatively, classic Amazon’s weird articulated pecks). Everything else however is fantastic, providing superb articulation for a character that’s very feral in his fighting style.

But what really makes this package special is the amount of accessories that were crammed in. Nowadays a big range of optional parts is a rarity for the line, but the amount included with Amazon Omega really harkens back to the days when prices were cheaper and Figuarts’ came with almost everything they could ever need. Included are four additional pairs of hands (included those all-important feral rage hands), extended arm blades, slash effect part and the Battle Grip in both dagger and spear formations. Even on their own the extended arm blades are perfect for more action-orientated posing , but their bigger size is also so that the effect part can slip over them comfortably without risk of falling off. Though not pictured above, the effect part can also attach to the leg blades as well for additional “Violent Strike” action.

Keeping things nice and screen-accurate in the usual S.H. Figuarts style, the Battle Grip section of the Amazon Driver can be removed while the weapons are in use. Although Omega’s accessory count is impressively high it still isn’t perfect, with the most glaring omission being the Sickle version of the Battle Grip which saw repeated use on the show (and will be included with the far more pricey RAH Genesis figure). Buyers of the Amazon-exclusive version will of course also receive the additional effect parts, which are translucent green versions of the already existing flame pieces to represent Omega’s transformation sequence. For many these pieces probably won’t be worth the additional cost, but they’re pretty great for those who can’t get enough of Tamashii’s growing range of effect pieces.

While it might not have quite the same engineering and articulation as some of the most recent Figuarts, Kamen Rider Amazon Omega is still an excellent figure that proves the line is a cut above a lot of other articulated figure ranges at this price point. With a fantastic sculpt, immaculate paintwork, great poseability and a slew of accessories it’s everything you could want in a Kamen Rider toy. With the Kamen Rider Ghost Figuarts coming out as poorly as they did, it’s nice to know that 2016 wasn’t a total washout for the franchise standard-line figures.

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