Wednesday 15 March 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Perfect Cell -Premium Color Edition-

Unlike retail S.H. Figuarts where the most popular releases might eventually be reissued, Tamashii web exclusives are a one-time deal. If you’re unable to purchase one on release, you’re stuck with the gamble that is aftermarket prices. However the Dragon Ball range has presented Bandai Tamashii Nations with a bit of a conundrum – as despite being made up of mostly web exclusives in Japan they has proved incredibly popular overseas. Fans are clamouring for reissues, so Bandai have come up with the “Premium Color Editions” – slight repaints of previous figures to give the illusion of an all-new figure. The range kicked off last year with new versions of Vegeta and Trunks, with the third now arriving in the form of S.H. Figuarts Perfect Cell – a figure previously released in 2012 and as one of Dragon Ball Z’s most popular characters, long overdue this treatment.

As Perfect Cell is repaint/re-release rather than a brand new mould, he comes in the older style of Dragon Ball Figuarts packaging that only slightly differs from that of the original. Window-style boxes are a rarity for Tamashii web exclusives, but with the Dragon Ball figures more prominent for the Western market it makes sense that they continue them. Cell’s box sports a fitting green and purple colour scheme, featuring numerous images of the figure and its accessories. The back also has some rather comical “VNNNNN” sound effect text, which I can only assume is meant to sound like either Cell powering up or some sort of blast attack. The box is noticeably bigger than the usual Figuarts packaging, as inside the contents are spread across two trays – one for the figure itself, and the other for the rather sizeable effect parts.

As the name obviously suggests, Perfect Cell Premium Color Edition is a straight repaint of the original Perfect Cell Figuart – swapping out the lime colour scheme for much deeper shades of green and purple. While previous variants have strived for anime accuracy, this one actually feels more in line with the manga colouring of the character and the original more in line with the anime. Either way the figure looks absolutely fantastic, with the richer colours definitely deserving of the “Premium Color” monicker. The glossy black sections compliment the colours superbly, giving off a fitting insectoid armour feel against the matte greens and purple. The sculpting is of extremely high quality, with each darker green spec painted individually moulded and painted. Details such as the retracted tail have been perfectly captured, extending out of the body to give it a nice bit of added bulk. For a nearly five year old figure Cell feels surprisingly ahead of its time, and calling it “perfect” doesn’t just feel like a reference to the name of the character. 

Being a repaint of an older figure doesn’t seem to be weighing Cell down on the articulation side of things either, as he proves to be just as good (and in some cases even better) than many newer S.H. Figuarts releases. Altogether Cell features a ball-jointed head and neck, ball-jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, double-hinged elbows, ball-jointed wrists, double ball-jointed waist, hinged wings, swing-down ball jointed hips, double-hinged knees, ball-jointed ankles and finally hinged toe-caps to top it all off. The waist is also able to extend, allowing greater torso clearance if needed. Even the swing down hips work really well, with the ribbed purple sections doing a fantastic job of hiding any unsightly gaps when extended.

2012 may not seem all that long ago but it was a time when Figuarts often came with a much larger accessory count than they do now, and Perfect Cell is harsh reminder of that. This release version comes with everything that was packed with the original, which includes two alternate faceplates (smirking and screaming), six additional hands and an alternate folded arms piece. A folded arms piece is pretty much standard with a lot of Dragon Ball Figuarts, but always comes very welcome as it looks considerably better than trying to get a decent-looking pose with the articulated arms. It helps that the arms are easily switchable too, which both sets locking in nice and tightly. Swapping the faceplates out is also a little more involved than usual too as it’s recommended you pull the whole head off before changing them, but again everything comes on and off nice and easily without any sign of loosening or breaking.

But what really makes Perfect Cell so special is that he’s one of the few Dragon Ball Figuarts to actually come with effect parts! In addition to everything listed above Cell also comes with a huge Kamehameha blast display, consisting of a blast piece, articulated arm, ravaged ground display base AND two “aura waves” to connect to either side. All the energy parts are made of translucent plastic, with additional paintwork on the blast to have it flow between clear and blue. Though the blast may be a fairly simple shape, its inclusion is a big deal when so few Dragon Ball Figuarts come with them. The base however is really nicely detailed, and overall the piece itself is a very impressive size. Best of all it looks great with any Dragon Ball figure, so even if you don’t want to display it with Cell there are plenty of other options to choose from.

After Super Saiyan Vegeta, who immediately felt outdated on release and was swiftly replaced by a superior model, it was very easy to be wary about the Dragon Ball Premium Color Edition Figuarts. However thankfully Perfect Cell is an absolute triumph, showing off exactly what this range was supposed to do in the first place – giving collectors a second chance at picking up their favourite characters without spoiling the “exclusiveness” of the original. Unlike Vegeta, Perfect Cell is still a fantastic figure in no need of a renewal any time soon – standing comfortably alongside the newer releases while completely outclassing them when it comes to accessories. It’s not often Bandai offer buyers a second chance at a Tamashii web exclusive figure, be sure to make the most of it.

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