Wednesday 14 November 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Orb Dark

Release Date: October 2018
RRP: 5940 yen

If there's one thing Bandai Tamashii Nations like saving for their annual Tamashii Nation event figures, it's black repaints. Between Kamen Rider Joker, Proto-Drive, Dark Kabuto and Genm Level 2 there's definitely a predictable pattern to these sought-after exclusives. Tamashii Nation 2018 was absolutely no exception, not only presenting fans with the opportunity to own Kamen Rider Build's Hazard form but also their first S.H. Figuarts Ultraman exclusive. The first character to be released from the currently airing Ultraman R/B, S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Orb Dark (or to use his full name, Ultraman Orb Dark Noir Black Schwarz) is a repaint of the Ultraman Orb Origin figure previously released back in August 2017. 

If you needed any confirmation that Tamashii Nation event exclusives are something special, then look no further than the fancy box Ultraman Orb Dark comes in! The standard box is covered by a rather fancy black and blue slipcase, with one side featuring the Tamashii Nations logo and event year while the other has a striking shot of the figure against blue flames. Take the slipcase off and you'll find the far more familiar Figuarts packaging, showing off the Ultraman R/B layout we'll undoubtedly see more of with future releases. The box also sports the holographic Tamashii Nations seal of authenticity, marking it as a genuine product. On the back of the packaging you'll find the usual array of stock images, and inside the figure and its accessories lay spread across a single clamshell tray. 

As previously stated Ultraman Orb Dark is a straight repaint of Ultraman Orb Origin, without any sort of mould alterations. The body may be relatively simple and light on detailing but there's absolutely no sign of mould degradation here, as the head sculpt and chest detailing look just as sharp as ever. The paintwork is equally impressive, with that pearly silver paint making the perfect contrast to the matte black body parts.

A quick comparison with the original S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Orb Orgin figure shows that the main differences with Orb Dark are that all of the red sections on the body have been changed to black, while the eyes, head gem and colour timer are now a deep translucent red. It's a pretty basic palette swap, but the black and silver work brilliantly together. Throw in those gorgeous translucent red parts and you have a colourscheme that's just as (if not more) striking than the original version. The changes to the Orb Dark Calibur are perhaps a little more extensive though. Not only does it now feature additional black colouring, but the elemental symbols on the central plate have been changed from fire, water, ground and wind to inferno, ice, rock and typhoon.

As a straight repaint the level of articulation is identical to that of Orb Origin, however if does seem like Bandai may have ironed out a few kinks in the mould over the last year. Whereas my Orb Origin had some rather tight hips straight out of the box, everything feels a lot more fluid with Orb Dark with absolutely no fear of breakage. As a figure without any sort of bulk or armoured parts hanging off, the poseability is pretty much excellent all around. Orb Dark sports ball joints in the neck, torso, waist and wrists along with a peg joint head, ball-cut shoulders and hips, double-hinge elbows and knees, ankle rockers and of course that hinged toe cap to round it all off. Pretty much everything an Ultraman needs to look good, and you know that's important when Makoto Aizen is keeping score.

Despite the previously mentioned paint app changes to the Orb Calibur, Ultraman Orb Dark features completely identical accessories to the original S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Orb Origin - with the exception of an alternate colour timer. Given that Orb Dark's timer is red by default this makes perfect sense, but also given how frustratingly loose the original Orb Origin's was I for one welcome the fact that Tamashii Nations seem to have glued it in here. While new accessories might have felt like wishful thinking (it is just a repaint after all), a new range of hands that better portrayed Aizen's flamboyant personality would have worked wonders here. You can just about get a heart shape out of his "weapon holding" pair here, but it’s not quite the same as having the real thing. The four additional pairs included here all serve their purpose though, and with a bit of imaginative posing you can most definitely bring that Aizen personality out in the figure. As with the original figure, the Orb Dark Calibur also features an alternate faceplate with non-illuminated logos, which can be switched out by pushing the section out from the back and then pegging/unpegging accordingly.

For many S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Orb Dark may not be the most desirable exclusive from Tamashii Nation 2018, nor will it probably be the most sought after on the aftermarket. It is however a surprisingly fun repaint of an already pretty great figure, and despite not having any mould changes or unique accessories still somehow manages to have far more personality than the original. This could simply be down to just how much of a fun character Makoto Aizen is though, and Ultraman R/B fans definitely won't want to miss out on this release. Tamashii Nation event exclusives may sometimes be a little trickier to obtain than a standard web exclusive, but jump on them at the right time and it's neither impossible nor expensive.


Anonymous said...

How dare you say his name wrong! Its
Ultraman Orb Dark Noir Black Schwarz!!!!!

Ink'd Kaiju Dude said...

This is a nice figure and I wanted to get it, but since it's a web exclusive I opted to pass since it's so pricey (over $100 everywhere I looked). Instead I purchased Ultraman X Gomora armor set and I'm very happy with that one.