Tuesday 22 August 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Gomora

Release Date: July 2017
RRP: 8964 yen

It’s only been a year, but already the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts line has spawned a nice variety of monsters and aliens to go along with the iconic silver giants. However while these releases may have been varied they still all have one thing in common – they’re all humanoid designs that wouldn’t look that out of place in the usual Figuarts packaging. That all changes with the release of S.H. Figuarts Gomora – the first "kaiju-esque" creature to appear in the line. As mass release figure, this is the fourth monster to be released from the original Ultraman series – with Alien Dada still set to follow this November. Originally appearing in the two-part story The Prince of Monsters, Gomora was the first kaiju to battle Ultraman to a draw and has since gone on to become more than just an opponent – acting as both friend and ally in later instalments of the franchise.

One look at the box is all you need to see that Gomora isn’t any ordinary Figuart – in fact if anything this is an S.H. MonsterArts figure under a different label. However it makes sense that Tamashii Nations want to keep all of the Ultraman figures under one banner, and with MonsterArts being almost exclusively Godzilla these days Gomora is probably a better fit here then it is there. But despite the box’s size it’s still laid out just like a normal Ultraman Figuart box, right down to the placement of the window and use of the actual suit for the image on the front. The back features a few more images of Gomora in various poses, including a few cameo appearances from Ultraman himself. Inside the figure and its accessories are fitted in a nice deep tray, with the front section taped down for additional security.

While Gomora's design has remained relatively unchanged over the last 50 years, advancement in materials and build quality has naturally led to some modernisation over the years. This particular figure is still however based on the original version that appeared all those years ago, and this is something best reflected in it's goofy grin and bloodshot eyes. You have to commend Tamashii Nation's accuracy to the source material (it's a quality that should be especially admired in these Ultra figures), but you can't help but laugh at the fact that this expression makes Gomora look completely baked half the time. That aside though this still another fantastic looking figure, with the completely brown body covered in a variety of different shades to keep it eye-catching. Of course there's all that moulded detail to praise as well, from the hardened underbelly to the various wrinkles and folds that look both like skin and the materials the suit was made out of. Humanoid kaiju are fun (and the ones released so far are all great designs in their own right) and all but Gomora just looks and feels like a proper monster. This really is a MonsterArt in everything other than name and it's wonderful.

While usually the articulation on these kaiju figures is more along the lines of "what the suit would be capable of" than something highly expressive, Gomora has come out exceptionally well. The body shape allows for all that great segmented movement previously seen on the Godzilla MonsterArts, with the wrinkly suit detailing doing an great job of keeping the design look both accurate and cohesive. Gomora features a hinged jaw along with ball jointed sections in the head, neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, feet and tail. Of course just because he's all made up of ball joints doesn't mean you're getting the full range of movement - as I said the structure of these figures is still somewhat limited to what the suits themselves could do. Nevertheless Gomora can still pull off just as many poses as any Godzilla figure, that tail proving a particular highlight. 

Despite that price easily being justified by the size of the figure Gomora still comes with a nice little range of accessories – which is more than you can say for a lot of MonsterArts figures these days. Included are an alternate pair of hands along with alternate plug pieces for the tail and horn to simulate when they were both torn off in his battle with Ultraman. Despite being a hero of light, people often forget just how brutal Ultraman could be in battle sometimes – but with these accessories Gomora sure won’t forget any time soon. The tail is connected via a ball joint so the swap out is extremely simple, while the horn stump just plugs into the snout in place of the horn. Getting it off can be a little tricky because of just how small it is, but it’s still nowhere near as irksome as swapping out a colour timer on an Ultraman figure.

S.H. Figuarts Gomora is another home run for the Ultraman line, and a sign that Tamashii Nations can just as competently handle the “big” kaiju as they can the smaller ones. Gomora is a reminder of everything that was great about the S.H. MonsterArts line when it first started – detailed, affordable, articulated monsters that come with some cool accessories and are available at retail. As well as being a staple to any expansive Ultra Series collection, this is just a really cool monster toy that would look great alongside Godzilla and co. as well. With Tamashii now moving on to Ultraseven, Ultraman Orb and the franchise as a whole here’s hoping this is just the start – because if there’s any tokusatsu franchise that has a wealth of memorable monsters to mine, it’s Ultraman.

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