Sunday 2 December 2018

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Crow Amazon

Release Date: October 2018
RRP: 7020 yen

When Kamen Rider Amazons began its second season back in April 2017, it didn't take very long at all for Bandai Tamashii Nations to jump on the merchandise train. But while Kamen Rider Amazon Neo and new editions of returning Amazons Alpha and Omega were released fairly swiftly, there was one character sorely missing from the S.H. Figuarts line. What good is a monster boy without his zombie monster girlfriend? Fast forward to October 2018 and the S.H. Figuarts Crow Amazon is finally upon us, rounding off what is arguably the "core" Amazons cast of the two seasons. A Sigma-type Amazon created from the revived body of Iyu Hoshino and used as 4C's killing machine, the Crow Amazon was released by Bandai as a Tamashii web exclusive.

S.H. Figuarts Crow Amazon comes packaged in a windowless matte black box that matches the design template used on all of the previous web exclusive Kamen Rider Amazons releases. The big difference however is that this is the first of them to include the official Tamashii Nations holofoil sticker that verifies this as an official product. The front of the box simply features a bust shot of the figure along with the name and various logos, while the back goes a bit further and features a few full body shots of her in various poses. Inside the figure is neatly placed on a transparent plastic clamshell tray.

One of the best and worst things about Kamen Rider Amazons was its colour filter. It was great in that it immediately gave the show a more unique visual style and atmosphere that fit well with the content itself, but it was bad in that as a result the suits themselves would often appear washed out and some of their final details would be lost. The joy of getting high-end toys in a line like S.H. Figuarts is that it gives fans a chance to see all that lost detail up close, and that is certainly the case when it comes to the Crow Amazon. Even though the figure is almost entirely black (save for the one gold eye and Neo Amazonz Register on the left arm) but the amount of detailing and texturing really is a sight to behold. It's a lot like the Civil War version of Black Panther in that regard, though perhaps not quite as impressive. The combination of glossy, metallic and matte finishes really give make all that detailing stand out, and the use of soft PVC for the feathers on the back of the head and "skirt" are a nice finishing touch. The claws on the feet and forearms are a bit on the sharp side, but it doesn't feel like there's any real risk of them breaking off unless particularly excessive force is applied. The Crow Amazon was a great looking suit on the show itself, but having this figure in hand and being able to properly take in all that detail properly really gives you a new found appreciation for it.

Sadly the nature of the Crow Amazon's suit design means that there are a couple of unfortunate restrictions when it comes to articulation. The most obvious of these is the right shoulder, which is surrounded by a hard plastic "wing" shoulder pad which pretty much cuts off all upper movement. The left shoulder has a much smaller pad so isn't quite as restricted, but is still completely static rather than an articulated piece like many other figures have. The movement from the waist joint is also pretty much non-existent, since its covered by soft plastic pieces on both the front and back. Luckily everything else here works a treat though, so the figure is still able to pull off some pretty good poses despite these limitations. Even the swing-down hips don't seem too outdated here, as not only do they fit the design of the suit much better but are also nice and sturdy. The completely black colour scheme also means that any gaps created by pulling them down. 

For accessories the Crow Amazon comes with two pairs of additional hands and...that's it. Now one could easily argue that out of all the Amazons releases the Crow Amazon is the one that doesn't really have any specific accessories that it just had to come with, but when you compare it to the other releases as well as that web exclusive price tag (which is higher than Amazon Sigma and equal to the Mole Amazon) it definitely stings a bit. There are certainly things this figure could have come with - transformation effect parts, gore effect parts, additional accessories for Amazon Neo or one of the other Riders - even just a transparent effect screen with feathers raining down printed on would have made for a nice little display piece. The point is that the Amazons releases have been pretty great at providing plenty of extras to go with them, so for a main character like Iyu (personality-less as she may have been) to not really come with anything kind of sucks. Even the movie-exclusive Neo Alpha release comes with his ridiculous chainsaw gun thing.

S.H. Figuarts Crow Amazon is a really tough figure to give a final verdict on. The sculpting on this figure is absolutely top notch, and it's incredible just how much of it shines through despite the entire thing just being moulded and painted in one colour (albeit different shades of it). The articulation limitations are disappointing but easy enough to overlook, but the accessory count in comparison to the price tag isn't. Maybe if the other Amazons releases hadn't set a high precedent for accessories it might be a little easier to swallow, but the fact that this is the same price that the Mole Amazon was on release is just ludicrous. It's great to finally be able to round off the core Amazons cast, but this figure certainly could have had more to offer.

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