Wednesday 4 July 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Twin Tail

Release Date: June 2018 
RRP: 7560 yen

With S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Jack now on the market it's time for Bandai Tamashii Nations to continue their journey through The Return of Ultraman with some monsters! While this series might not have quite as many recognisable faces as Ultraman or Ultraseven do, the fourth instalment in the Ultra Series still has a fair few monsters and aliens just crying out for a figure. Bandai are kicking off right at the beginning of the series with episode 5 "Two Giant Monsters Attack Tokyo" and the release of S.H. Figuarts Twin Tail! A prehistoric monster reawakened in 1970s Japan, Twin Tail not only faces off against Ultraman Jack but its eternal rival and predator Gudon. The pair of kaiju have gone on to appear in a number of Ultra shows, with their rivalry particularly paid homage to in Ultraman Mebius.

We’re three series in now and the style of the classic Ultraman S.H. Figuarts packaging shows no signs of changing any time soon, with S.H. Figuarts Twin Tail taking that familiar silver foil-flourished box design and doing it up in a nice green colour scheme to match the underside of the monster. The box itself is considerably thicker than usual to accommodate the creature's size, and Twin Tail itself is displayed sideways on the insert tray (like most MonsterArts) rather than directly face on as you'd usually find with Figuarts. The back of the box features the usual array of promotional stock images (including a guest appearance from Ultraman Jack), and inside you'll find the figure and its two accessories neatly arranged on a single deep clear plastic tray.

Even with characters like Mario and various Pok√©mon joining the line over the past few years, it's fair to say that Twin Tail is one of the more unique moulds in the S.H. Figuarts line. Whereas previous Ultraman monsters have either been largely humanoid or at least bi-pedal, Twin Tail a giant worm-like creature with no real appendages other than its two antenna line tails at the top. It does have feet however, which it uses to stand upright with the head remaining at ground level. It's by far the most unique-looking Ultraman Figuart yet, and despite the design being fairly limited in other ways the sculpting at least is just as good as ever. The smooth fleshy pink section has all the cracks moulded deep into the plastic, the colours of which go wonderfully with that spikey green under section. The metallic green "eyes" on the tail section are immediately eye-catching as the only shiny bit of paint on the otherwise matte figure, before your eyes move down to that wonderfully dopey facesculpt. It's big, silly, kinda looks like a weird muppet and makes Twin Tail immediately loveable. 

Twin Tail can be displayed either standing upright or completely flat, which is achieved by pulling out a piece of the green section wedged into where the body curves at the bottom of the sculpt. When inserted this piece helps the figure stand up right without any balance issues, but when removed allows the joints at the bottom to bend downwards and lie flat.

As for articulation Twin Tail's worm-like body is broken down into six ball-jointed segments, giving it a range of motion identical to that of the tails on most S.H. Figuarts/MonsterArts figures. Though at first it feels like the segments don't have all that much in the way of individual, you are able to get a fair bit of bend on them. One of the stock images displays tail end sitting almost parallel with the head, and while this wasn't so easy to achieve in hand (as is usually the case when you try to replicate poses from those images) I certainly came close. The three-piece twin tails feature ball joints both in the base and top of the thickest section, with the thinner sections attaching via a plug joint to give them additional rotation. Additionally the feet are also attached to the body via ball-joints, which seems more for convenience (and to avoid breakage) rather than functionality as they don't really have very much movement to them at all. Finally you have the moveable jaw, which is staple on most Tamashii Nations monster figures but given the size of Twin Tail's (as well as its loveable gormless face) adds significantly more personality to the head sculpt than usual. It's always been the case of the Ultraman Figuarts that their articulation seems more based around what the suit could feasibly do rather than what an action figure can do, but Twin Tail is especially one where you aren't going to get much in the way of elaborate poses. But Twin Tail can do everything a good wormy boy should, and given the obvious limitations of the design that feels like enough.

Twin Tail's sole accessories are an alternate pair of curled twin tail pieces, which are well as offering a slightly different look to the figure are also able to recreate Ultraman Jack getting strangled by them just like in the episode itself. The tails can each be broken into two pieces so it's a case of rebuilding the tail around Jack's neck rather than trying to slip the figure through the holes, and each one also has its own different shaped plug system so you can't mix them up. As with most displays like this it's a little fiddly to set up to begin with, but the results you can get look pretty great – especially as the tails are also able to comfortable hold a standard humanoid S.H. Figuarts figure in the air without any risk of toppling over. It's a pretty bare bones release even for Ultraman monster standards, but Bandai have worse in the past.

It may not come with many accessories, is extremely limited in just how much you can pose it and ultimately quite expensive for what it is, but S.H. Figuarts Twin Tail is a fun little oddity for the line that shows just how just how much potential the weird and wonderful creatures of the Ultraman universe have. While perhaps not everyone's first choice for a Return of Ultraman monster (though in terms of first appearances it's definitely the first of the notable ones), Twin-Tail is a good addition to the ever-growing roster and will pair up perfectly with S.H. Figuarts Gudon due for release at the end of the year. If you're looking for something completely different to what S.H. Figuarts has to offer, then you've come to the right place.

1 comment:

Ink'd Kaiju Dude said...

Nice review. Mine is currently on the way from Japan. I will also get Gudon. What other Return of Ultraman kaiju would you like to see from Figuarts? I wouldn't mind Muruchi, Alien Knackle, Black King, Shugaron, Snowgon, Nokogirin.