Sunday 1 October 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Nappa

Release Date: August 2017
RRP: 7560 yen

The S.H. Figuarts line is full of prototypes that never saw the light of day and the Dragon Ball line is no exception. The series may have recently hit a sweet spot where new releases are coming in at a better rate, but that doesn’t change the fact that the whereabouts of Kid Buu, Maijin Vegeta, GT Goku and Jaco the Galactic Patrolman are still unknown. But arguably one of the most anticipated among these was Nappa. First appearing way back in 2012, Nappa immediately faded into the unknown until the Dragon Ball line got a new lease on life – and with that Nappa also got a brand new figure. The new and improved S.H. Figuarts Nappa is now on par with the newly released Saiyan Saga Vegeta figure, with Nappa himself released as a Tamashii web exclusive in Japan as well as the usual wider release in the US via Bluefin Tamashii Nations.

Despite his web exclusive status Nappa comes packaged in the same style window box all of the “new era” Dragon Ball Figuarts have, possibly due to their general release in the US as well. Still, uniform packaging is never a bad thing and Nappa’s looks just as good as all of the others – adopting brown as the figure’s signature colour in addition to the usual white and grey layout. On the back are the standard array of stock images (including a cameo by Saiyan Saga Vegeta) and inside you’ll find the figure/accessories on the usual clear plastic tray. In addition to that, the figure’s effect part and Tamashii Stage are bagged and taped to the back of the tray.

As previously mentioned it’s important to note that this isn’t the same Nappa that first appeared five years ago, and is in fact a brand new mould that made its debut last year at the annual Tamashii Nations event. Whereas the old version was armourless and featured the infamous “WHAT?! 9000?!” expression, this one comes in full Saiyan gear and with a far more sinister array of expressions. While the old head sculpt had added meme value, not only is the quality of this new Nappa far better but it puts him back in a position of coming across as being a villain. That evil reputation may have been shattered in many people’s minds thanks to the Dragon Ball Abridged parody, but back in the day Nappa was the Dragon Ball Z’s first big threat and (though not directly) racked up a pretty impressive body count. Nappa is among the few larger-sized Figuarts that have been released over the past few years – not quite reaching Broly’s mass but more along the lines of the Avengers: Age of Ultron Hulk figure. That said he still doesn’t feel especially heavy thanks to the light materials used to make these figures. The sculpting is to Figuarts usual high standard, with Nappa’s exposed body covered in moulded muscle detail while his Saiyan armour looks like it jumped right out of the show. On a side note, it’s nice to finally see Figuarts Saiyan armour in a different colour to Vegeta’s trademark white and gold. Although the armour’s finish could result in it getting scuffed pretty easily (see my Vegeta review for example), the paintwork is generally pretty sharp. Even details like Nappa’s moustache, which could have easily fallen victim to poor QC, have been applied well.

With the old mould’s topless body implementing a rather unsightly ab-cut, it’s nice to see that Bandai have reworked the design when it comes to articulation as well. Nappa features a ball-jointed head and neck, ball-cut shoulders, ball-joints in the torso, waist and wrists, double-hinged elbows and knees, ball-cut hips, ankle rockers and hinged toe-caps. In addition to that the armour’s shoulder pads and skirt pieces are all hinged so not to fully restrict movement in the shoulders and hips. While the bigger frame does make getting Nappa into really expressive poses a bit more difficult than you’d find with a smaller figure, but he can still manage all the brutish fight poses you’ll want to put him in with ease.

The other thing that’s made the wait worthwhile is just well stocked with accessories Nappa is. Altogether he comes with three additional heads (one with his Scouter attached and then two shouting – one with the eyes facing forwards and the other to his right), five additional hands (two pairs of posed hands and an extra right hand in his signature Volcano Explosion attack pose) and finally an energy attack effect part with accompanying Tamashii Stage base. Given how seemingly rare it is for Dragon Ball Figuarts to come with effect parts these days, it’s nice to see Tamashii Nations looking back on the good old days when the majority of them did. Each head is also curiously attached to a small plastic tab in-package, which doesn’t really seem to serve any real purpose other than keeping them more securely locked down in the tray. The tabs simply pull out of the bottom of the head, and then switching them is via the same ball-joint connection they’ve always used on these figures.

There’s no denying that S.H. Figuarts Nappa was long overdue, but given how much better this figure is than the original prototype that time certainly wasn’t in vain. As well as boasting vastly superior sculpting and engineering, this Nappa seals the deal with a great array of accessories that for once doesn’t feel like it skimped out on anything. Sure you could argue that Bandai could have released the original version AND this one, but Nappa doesn’t really strike out as the kind of character likely to get a renewal figure (at least in this sort of timeframe anyway). The added and web exclusive status make Nappa a little pricier than most Dragon Ball Figuarts, but he is more than worth that price tag.

No comments: