Sunday 3 December 2017

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Mole Amazon

Release Date: October 2017
RRP: 7020 yen

Although Bandai Tamashii Nations are now moving onto releases from the second season of Kamen Rider Amazons, there was still one last character needed to round off the first season cast in a satisfying manner. Despite not bearing the title of Kamen Rider, Mamoru was both a hero and highlight of the show and gets the recognition he deserves with the release of the Tamashii web exclusive S.H. Figuarts Mole Amazon. A homage to the original Kamen Rider Amazon’s enemy-turned-ally from the original 1974 series, this new Mole Amazon was a valued member of the Nozama Peston Service before leaving to help protect the last surviving Amazons in the show’s second season.

The S.H. Figuarts Mole Amazon comes in a typical windowless web exclusive box, done up in a similar style to Amazon Sigma’s that matches the rest of the Kamen Rider Amazons range. The black backdrop, smoky effects and muted colours are a nice representation of the show’s aesthetic, while the close-up image of the figure on the front of the box immediately gives you a good idea of just how detailed this toy is. On the back is a selection of Bandai stock images (featuring a guest appearance from Amazon Sigma to show off the effect parts), while inside the figure and its accessories are spread across two plastic trays.

While the colour filter used on Kamen Rider Amazons may give the show a distinct look that mirrors its (sometimes over the top) grittiness, it does result in some of the finer details being lost when it comes to suit design. This rings especially true for the Mole Amazon, which it feels can only now be fully appreciate for the sheer level of detail it’s loaded with. The amount of moulded and sculpted detail is truly a sight to behold, and far more impressive than anything any of the Amazons Riders themselves have had to offer. Emphasising this detail all the more is the gorgeous silver, gold, bronze and blue metallic colour scheme, much of which undoubtedly went unappreciated on the show itself. Though it shares very little in common with the original Mole Amazon, the opening drill mouth is more than enough to make sure the homage is obvious. Even when shrunk down to 1/12 scale the detail doesn’t seem to be obscured in any way, resulting in a figure that’s just an absolute treat to behold from every angle.

A great sculpt isn’t all this figure has to offer either, with even the articulation being a cut above what the Riders have on offer. When Omega and Alpha were first released some were puzzled as to why (much like the Kamen Rider Ghost Figuarts that same year) Bandai had reverted to using their old style hips rather than the newer kind implemented on the Shinkocchou Seihou releases and every other new Rider series since Gaim. As they share a base body, the same can also be said of Sigma and Amazon Neo. Since Mamoru is an entirely new mould however, he does indeed have these newer, considerably better hips. On top of that there’s the usual selection of ball joints in the head, neck, shoulders, waist, wrists and pelvis together with double-hinge elbows and knees, ankle rockers and hinged toe sections. As you’d expect the shoulder guards are attached via double-hinge connector pieces, allowing them to slide down the arm and out of the way of the joint whilst posing.

The trade-off for such a great sculpt is a relatively small selection of accessories, however what has been included here is more than enough to not consider it a knock against the figure. Mamoru comes packaged with an alternate pair of hands, an open version of his drill mouth, a half-wrapped burger and then some effect parts we’ll look at in more detail further down the review. There isn’t much to say about the hands (they’re just slightly more often than the default pair), but the other two bits are cute little extras. The alternate mouth adds a bit more variety to the toy, while the burger is possibly the cutest accessory since Kamen Rider Beast’s bottle of mayonnaise. The burger can even be comfortably held in the toy’s default hands, allowing him to either happily eat it himself or offer it to his Amazon brethren.

While the Amazons Riders came with transformation flame effect parts in a variety of colours (providing you bought the exclusives for everyone except Sigma that is), Mole Amazon’s effect parts are a little different – and arguably a hell of a lot cooler. Instead Mamoru comes with a suitably gory two-piece black blood splatter effect, recreating the scene where he finishes off Amazon Sigma by driving his arm straight through him. The effect is made of two separate pieces – one that plugs directly into the figure at the right elbow (requiring the arm to be removed) and another that one of the right hands can then fit onto. The two are then held together by a small clear plastic beam, which sits to the side of the “victim” figure largely out of sight. From some angles it’s pretty blatant, but in general it’s barely noticeable and looks absolutely fantastic when set up properly. Its use isn’t just limited to Sigma either, so Mamoru can happily gore any toy in your collection to the same effect.

Although the Riders themselves are undoubtedly going to be much higher on everyone’s “to buy” lists, the S.H. Figuarts Mole Amazon is without a doubt the best release from the Kamen Rider Amazons range thus far. Between the incredibly detailed sculpt, well-articulated body and unique selection of accessories there really isn’t anything to find at fault here. The fact that Mamoru (at least in season one anyway) is Amazons’ best boy only sweetens the deal. Considering how short of monsters the Kamen Rider Figuarts line is at the best of times, this is not a figure to be overlooked.

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