Sunday 25 November 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Rogue

Release Date: September 2018
RRP: 6246 yen

Kamen Rider Build may have finished its television run a few months ago but there's still plenty from the series to look forward to. As well the forthcoming V-cinema release and the cast's return in Heisei Generations Forever, on the toy side of things Bandai Tamashii Nations have been continuing to expand their releases throughout the rest of this year and the beginning of 2019. Now that Hokuto's Kamen Rider has already joined the battle, it's time for Seito's to arrive - introducing S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Rogue. The former head of the Touto Institute of Advanced Physics, Prime Minister and leader of Faust, the disgraced Gentoku Himuro turns his back on Touto and allies himself with Seito - discarding his Night Rogue identity and undergoing gruelling training to become their new Rider. However Gentoku would eventually betray Seito and Namba Industries, fighting alongside Kiryu Sento against Evolto in the name of love and peace. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Rogue is a Tamashii web exclusive release.

Kamen Rider Rogue comes in the standard windowless Tamashii web exclusive S.H. Figuarts packaging, taking the design layout we've seen with the previous Kamen Rider Build figures, only this time done up in a gorgeous purple and teal colours scheme that nicely matches the core colours of Rogue's suit. Along with a nice big image of the figure the front of the box also has a little formulaic "C" in the corner to mark Rogue's use of a Crocodile Full Bottle, as well as all the relevant Tamashii Nations and the new holographic authenticity sticker. The back of the box features the usual display of the figure in numerous poses, and inside you'll find the toy itself on a clear clamshell tray along with all its accessories.

Kamen Rider is a franchise that's full of some utterly fantastic suit designs, but every so often you see one that's so good it completely stands out from the crowd - Kamen Rider Rogue is one of those suits. Despite sharing the same Driver as Cross-Z Charge and Grease, Rogue is very much its own design - throwing out those translucent plastic parts for something equally striking. Your eyes are immediately drawn to that gorgeous metallic purple and teal, and then the glossy black on the head and chest with white cracks just complete the look. It's quite unlike anything Kamen Rider Build had done before, and is all the better for it. The crowning glory is of course the helmet sculpt, which along with the aforementioned black has those piercing teal compound eyes. Chomping down on that from the bottom is that brilliant implemented crocodile motif, complete with the eye staring out on the left side. It isn't immediately noticeable, but once you do catch it you realise just how effective the design is. Then of course there's the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek "fragile" sticker printed on the back of the helmet, perfectly shrunk down to Figuarts scale.

It's a brilliant sculpt no doubt, but not one that everyone has taken such a liking to. Some have argued that the head sculpt is actually slightly off model, in that both the jaws are both open at too wide of an angle and as a result slightly longer than they should be. To some extent they're probably right, but honestly when a figure looks this good the inaccuracies have to be pretty severe to spoil it. This really doesn't feel like one of those cases.

As was the case with both Cross-Z Charge and Grease, Kamen Rider Rogue's Sclash Driver features a moveable lever as well as a removable transformation item that can be placed in both weapons and other figures' Drivers. However unlike the others Rogue does not transform using a Sclash Jelly, instead calling upon the powers of the Crocodile Crack Full Bottle. It's an expectedly tiny piece but still impressively detailed for its size, and that red crack running down it really stands out on the translucent purple plastic.

Articulation is another area where this figure is pretty much a winner, with only a few notable hindrances due to the suit design. The most notable of these of course are the big toothed shoulder pads, which might look great but do get in the way when trying to raise the arms above a certain point. Like the rest of the Build figures Rogue features the swing-down variety of hip joints, but credit where it's due Bandai have at least done a great job of making them looking really good here by adding the purple and white sections to complete the leg detailing. The only other little cautionary note would be regarding the torso and waist joints, which aren't limited themselves but can be a bit impacted by the rather cumbersome Sclash Driver sitting just below them. Other than that it's pretty much the usual Figuarts fare, with all the brilliant poseability collectors have come to expect from this line by now. Something I really liked about this figure was just how fluid everything seemed to move - even the bicep swivels (which can often be pretty stiff on Figuarts and require a bit of prying) felt really dynamic here.

Kamen Rider Rogue comes packaged with two additional pairs of hands, his Nebula Steam Gun and Steam Blade weapons as well as in-scale versions of the Remocon and Engine Gears used by Washio brothers Remoncon Bros and Hell Bros. The Steam Blade is a reused asset from both the Night Rogue and Blood Stalk releases but the Nebula Steam Gun is a brand new piece to this figure - a remould of the Transteam Gun featuring sporting new detailing and moulded in purple and gold plastic. Both Gears and the Crocodile Crack Bottle can be loaded into the slot provided on the Nebula Steam Gun, with the two Gears also featuring an additional tab on the side along with the one at the top to secure it in place. It's nothing you won't have seen before if you've been collecting the Kamen Rider Build Figuarts, but when the quality is this good such uniformity is hardly an issue. It'd still be nice to see these figures include hands meant for holding the bottles, but if they haven't included it in any of the releases before then it's hardly surprising they haven't here either.

As was the case with previous releases, the two weapons can also combine to form the Nebula Steam Rifle. Putting the two weapons together is just the simple task of splitting the Steam Blade in half and attaching the pieces to either either of the Gun, with everything slotting together nice and tightly to form a solid weapon. Though both weapons look great apart there's definitely something especially satisfying about seeing the two together, and the ability to add gimmicks like these to Figuarts is always a bonus. Adds a little bit of interactivity to the package, and means the figure comes with a little more despite not having to throw in another accessory that could have easily been missed otherwise.

There are those out there who consider even the most minor of inaccuracies a no-go for the Figuarts line and given the price these things are (especially the web exclusives where you aren't privy to store discounts and such) I can understand the argument, but nevertheless S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Rogue is an utterly fantastic figure. Who cares about the jaws on the head being slightly oversized or whatever when you have such a dynamic figure with easily one of the most striking colour schemes a Kamen Rider series has put out in recent years. There are a few design issues here and there that mean the articulation isn't quite as it perhaps could be, but even with that in mind you're undoubtedly looking at one of the best figures that's come out of the Build range thus far. Whether you love or hate the fashionista goofball he became in later episodes, Gentoku was one of the most interesting and nuanced characters the show had and this is absolutely one figure you should add to your collection.


Anonymous said...

Impressions on Zi-O so far ?

Oar said...

The inaccurate jaws are impossible for me to ignore, but they at least still look really good unlike Para-DX's weird eye placements. I consider Rogue a big winner.