Wednesday 13 December 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Dada

Release Date: November 2017
RRP: 7344 yen

Although 2017 saw Bandai Tamashii Nations expand into the world of Ultraseven in celebration of its 50th anniversary, the S.H. Figuarts line has also continued to press forward with the most popular adversaries from the original Ultraman series as well. Rounding off the releases for this year is S.H. Figuarts Dada, which like Alien Mefilas was released as a Tamashii web exclusive item. Debuting in episode 28 of the series, Dada Agent #271 was sent to Earth in order to find six human specimens. Since then the Dada have been a recurring presence in the Ultra multiverse, with another agent most recently appearing in Ultraman Geed.

Dada comes in a standard web exclusive windowless packaging done up in a black and white colourscheme to match his own distinct look. As usual the front of the box features an image of the actual Ultraman suit as well as a look at the figure itself, with more images of the figure presented on the back on the box. It’s also worth noting how the box labels the figure as just ‘Dada’ rather than ‘Alien Dada’ as has been the case with all of the other Ultra aliens released so far, as Dada is one of the few races Tsuburaya chose not to adopt this prefix for.

Sculpt has arguably been the biggest selling point of these Ultra creature Figuarts, outside of the line covering a lot of stuff untouched by Ultra-Act of course. Even with the limits in articulation brought about by the suit designs, the detailing and texturing these figures have had really made them (in most cases anyway) worth the money. Dada is no exception to this, with the black and white striped colourscheme is just as striking here as it is onscreen. The only break in that are those eerie pink eyes and lips, and even those are surrounded by a random pattern of disconcerting black dents. It’s an incredibly striking design that manages to be effortlessly creepy even in its relative simplicity. Touches like the dented fingertips and the creases on the back of the head go to show how Tamashii haven’t forsaken the tiniest detail.

Usually I tend not to talk about accessories until further down in the review, but some of Dada’s deserve a special mention. True to race’s “Three Faced Phantom” moniker, S.H. Figuarts Dada comes with faceplates for all three of its alternate faces, as well as a fourth ‘battle damaged’ version of the standard Type A face. Why exactly Dada has the ability to periodically change faces is never explained in the series proper, however the video game Ultraman Fighting Evolution 3 suggested the idea that each one has its own stat traits. Either way it’s amazing to see this many face options included as part of the package, and really adds to Dada’s display value. Each face is perfectly sculpted and detailed as well as being very easy to swap – working the same way as they do on humanoid Figuarts. It’s a shame its web exclusive status makes Dada a particularly pricey figure to buy multiples of as picking a face to display it with is the most difficult part!

The benefit of a more humanoid design also means Dada can enjoy many articulation benefits that his predecessors were sadly denied. For the first time, an S.H. Figuarts Ultraman alien can turn its head! It might not be quite articulate as a normal figure, but you’d be amazed how much that little bit of extra movement can make to posing. On top of that Dada also sports a double-jointed torso, ball-jointed shoulder, wrists and hips, double-hinge elbows and knees and finally ankle rockers for additional balance. The hips are a particularly weird blend of the two styles the line currently uses – the innards are built like the swing-down ball-joint variety, but then the joint itself is surrounded by a spherical piece to hide any gaps around the connection. The end result isn’t quite as effective as the usual new-style hips are, but for chunkier figures like this it works pretty damn well to provide the level of movement needed.

In addition to the aforementioned faces Dada also comes packaged with five alternate hands as well as its Micronizer gun. The gun has an additional right hand fixed onto it, similar to how Kamen Rider Amazon Neo’s blade was attached to an alternate forearm rather than needing to be placed into a corresponding hand. Some people aren’t a fan of this approach as it limits the weapon to only being used with this figure, but personally I’d rather this as it reduces any risk of breakage trying to wrestle the weapon into the hand for a decent pose. Dada still has to hold the gun on the left side too, so it isn’t like you’re completely reduced in posing options by it either. The Micronizer has a fairly standard 1960s ray gun design so doesn’t have much in the way of detailing (the translucent blue tip is a nice touch though), but it’s a pretty hefty weapon size-wise and the whole thing just oozes enough retro charm for you to hardly care.

After a bit of a rocky start 2017 feels like the year the S.H. Figuarts Ultra Series range has finally found its footing, with entries like Metron, Mefilas, Gomora and Dan Moroboshi proving to be some of the most interesting highlights. But with S.H. Figuarts Dada Tamashii Nations have not just ended the year with a bang, they’ve produced their best Ultraman Figuart to date. Between the perfect sculpt, great articulation and very impressive accessory count Dada covers every base flawlessly. As I mentioned before, the biggest disappointment is how pricey it would be to buy more than one. A brilliant way to cap off the year for Ultraman collectors, and now to look forward to next year when Ultraman Jack and the monsters of Return of Ultraman join the fray!


Ink'd Kaiju Dude said...

I bought this figure as well because Dada is my favorite Ultra kaiju from the original series (a close 2nd being Keronia). I loved the paint and details on this figure, and the 3 interchangeable faces (plus burnt one) and Micronizer are awesome extras.
The only issue I had with mine was that the joint on the right hip was so stuck in place that when I was moving it around I heard a snap and realized that the peg broke off because the joint was so stuck onto the ball joint. I barely moved it up and I was shocked that it broke so easily. The left hip joint moved much easier and actually popped out, but that one was easy to pop back in, but that made me realize how stuck and stiff the other joint was. I was not happy and returned it. Hopefully my replacement won’t have that issue.
I’m aware that these poseable figures can have issues (all my previous articulated Ultras have been Ultra Act line), with joints that are sometimes either too stiff or loose, and the ball peg on the changeable hands can snap off if not careful, but honestly, for the price they charge for these figures, these quality control issues are not ok. This is my first Figuarts and I wonder if others have had similar issues.

Alex said...

Ouch, I'm really sorry to hear that :( I'm glad to hear you're able to get a replacement though - being a web exclusive finding exchanges must be pretty hard to come by so I'm glad you were able to do it!

While I didn't have any problems with my Dada, I did break the hip on my Dan Moroboshi figure trying to get him into a decent sitting down pose. Thankfully that wasn't a difficult or expensive figure to replace.

To answer your question though - Figuarts can have issues, but I wouldn't say that it's very often that their widespread. The hips can be especially problematic though because there's multiple types they use. The Ultras themselves (as well as some of the aliens/kaiju like Metron) use fixed balljoints which are much sturdier. Figures like Dan and Dada (though Dada's have a bit more support in place) have those weird swing-down type that have the extended pegs. While they're perhaps better for movement, they aren't anywhere near as solid which can be a problem. Dan was the first figure where I've had a hip joint break on me, but I have had a few wrist pegs break on me before. Both figures used smaller, weaker hand pegs though - the quality on the wrists has gotten better but I totally agree that it's terrifying swapping them.

Figuarts have gotten pretty expensive now, especially ones like Dada which are web exclusive so don't have any sort of discount applied to them. So getting QC issues is extremely frustrating, but I'd say depending on which ones you were looking at there aren't a whole lot (especially as far as Ultra ones go) off the top of my head that have widespread issues.

Ink'd Kaiju Dude said...

Wow so your Dan Moroboshi figure got it’s hip joint broken as well? Some of those sitting positions can be put pressure on the joints, especially if tight. You’re right, when I took mine apart and looked at the joints on the hips, it doesn’t seem to be a very sturdy plastic and I can see how it can break. They should work on improving them or their durability, because honestly, they show a bunch of promotional photos of their figures in all these cool poses, people see them and think “cool, I want that” then when they get it and pull it out of the box and try to duplicate some of the poses seen in posted photos, there’s big potential for them to do damage, especially new buyers who’s never owned super articulated figures like that. At least there are message boards, YouTube videos, etc, that discuss these issues and how to alleviate too tight/too loose joints. My replacement arrived today and thankfully, no issues. The joints are tight but nowhere near as bad as the leg on that first figure. Their figures really are nice looking. The new Guts Seijin that’s due out soon looks fantastic, and I’ve never been a fan of that kaiju, but the sculpt on the upcoming Figuarts makes it very appealing. I’ve considered getting Metron Seijin and/or Dan Moroboshi, but honestly, the issue I had with my first Dada makes me kinda hesitant, especially since Metron pictures show that he can do a good sitting pose but I’m kinda paranoid that attempting it might dismember him, LOL!

Alex said...

Oh yeah I learned long ago to never properly attempt the poses Tamashii Nations use for the promotional pictures. I don't know how they manage it, but I'd say about eight times out of ten I can never match them and it feels like I'm about to break the thing. For tight joints I (like many other people) swear by Shock Oil - it only takes couple of drops and the joint will work like magic. I was skeptical about just how good it was until my Ace Suit figure came with hip joints so tight they squeaked, but after applying Shock Oil they were flawless. Can't recommend the stuff enough.
I agree Guts looks amazing (I almost bought two just for show accuracy!), and I wouldn't worry about his hips. Looking at the pictures again I can see that it uses the newer style hips which are a lot stronger. Metron has them as well which is why putting it into sitting poses isn't stressful. With those hips you can properly see how everything twists and moves so there isn't any of worry of breaking anything because it isn't in view.