Monday 25 March 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Magma

Release Date: January 2019
RRP: 6480 yen

Once upon a time the thought of a secondary Kamen Rider getting more figures than the lead character was unthinkable, but if the last two years have proved anything its that just because your name is the title of the series it doesn't mean your the most marketable character. Just as Bandai Tamashii Nations have produced more Kamen Rider Genm figures in the S.H. Figuarts line than they have Ex-Aid, it's Kamen Rider Cross-Z that seems to be enjoying the most releases from Kamen Rider Build. With the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z Magma at the beginning of this year, all four of Ryuga Banjou's main in-series forms have been released in the line. Admittedly all of them with the exception of Cross-Z Charge have been Tamashii web exclusives, but since that's the way most things seem to get released these days that's still a pretty impressive track record.

Kamen Rider Cross-Z Magma's packaging is every bit as fiery as his name suggests, with the box done up in a blazing red and orange colourscheme that perfectly compliments the suit itself. As well as a nice image of the figure on the front along with the name there's also a small chemical string tucked away in the top corner, with a D for "Dragon" written on it just as all the other Build figures have had for their respective bottles. The back of the box has the usual stock images against a plain white backdrop, and then inside the figure is stored on a clear plastic clamshell tray. Though the box retains the same smaller width Figuarts packaging has been using for the past few years, it is a little deeper than usual to accommodate the wings on the back of the body.

If there's one thing that the three previous Cross-Z forms all had in common, it was that they all utilised relatively cool colours. Sure the normal and Great Cross-Z featured some warmer colours as a highlight, but the predominate colour on them all was blue. Hardly a colour suited for someone as hot-headed as Banjou, so when it comes to Cross-Z's fiery ensemble it doesn't just feel a lot more fitting - it completely stands apart from all of his previous releases. The undersuit of the figure uses a pearly metallic paint highly reminiscent of the ones previously used on Kamen Rider Gaim's Energy Riders, which goes beautifully with the deeper metallic paints used for the armoured sections. Those of course are complimented by the charcoal black sections, which not only cement the magma look perfectly but also help the finer details of the design stand out against that sea of bright colours. It's the kind of design that sounds like it should be unbelievably gaudy, but completely comes together. But I think my favourite aspect of this suit is just how overboard they went on the whole dragon motif. On top of the dragon head crest (complete with flaming nostrils which form the compound eyes) there's a dragon faces on the chest, shoulder pads, forearms, knee caps and shins as well as those huge "Pyro Wings" jutting out of the back. Dragon-themed Riders aren't exactly short in supply but they just completely went to town on this, and combined with the magma colour scheme it results in one of the most striking Riders there's been in recent years.

The base Build body has had solid articulation throughout all of its releases thus far, so it's no surprise to see that Cross-Z Magma is more of the same without much in the way of change. Altogether the figure sports a ball jointed head and neck, ball hinge shoulders and shoulder pads, bicep swivels, double hinge elbows, ball jointed wrists, ball jointed torso and waist segments, "drop down" ball jointed hips, upper leg swivels, double hinge knees, hinged ankle rockers and finally hinged toe caps. Contrary to what you might think the wings don't have any sort of articulation, but somehow don't ever get in the way of the arms or any action poses you might think up. Every joint is nice and smooth, especially the leg swivels which are usually fairly stiff on a Figuart straight out of the box. As a heavily physical fighter Kamen Rider Cross-Z is a character that especially requires an expressive figure, and Bandai have definitely delivered in that regard.

The Kamen Rider Build range has varied wildly when it comes to the amount of accessories they include – some have come with next to nothing, while others have gone so far to be billed as a double-pack with their own unique effect parts. Unfortunately Cross-Z Magma falls on the poorer end of that scale, especially when you consider that its main accessory is plugged into the Driver and thus technically part of the figure anyway. The figure comes with two additional pairs of hands (a pair of open hands, and a pair of gripping hands for turning the Driver's crank or holding the other forms' weapons) and a functioning Dragon Fist Magma Knuckle, which can be removed from the Build Driver and held by the figure to be used as a knuckleduster weapon. To change it into weapon mode, simply push the handle backwards to sit behind the body, remove the front panels and reattach them to cover the Fullbottle in the centre and create a proper knuckle shape. It's a small but really nicely detailed (not to mention unique) weapon, fitting snugly into the figure's hands as well as any of the other Cross-Z forms you might have lying around. Because of its size it does leave a little to be desired as far as accessories go though. Would it have killed Bandai to pack the Beat Crosser in with this figure as well? And if not, maybe some flame effects just so it packs a bit more of a punch? There were a few different options Bandai could have gone for here, but it feels like they just assumed buyers will already have Banjou's other forms and just potentially use bits of those. If you're (usually) like me and only limiting to one version of a character, you end up losing out.

The Magma Knuckle plugs into the Build Driver pretty firmly, and should it ever pop out at least it's a lot easier to locate than the tiny Fullbottles released with these figures are. On the subject of Fullbottles this figure comes with two – a standard gold Dragon Magma Fullbottle preloaded into the knuckle, and the black "burnt" variant that Banjou carried around until his Hazard Level was high enough to unlock its power. A fairly superfluous inclusion in the grand scheme of things, but since they had the mould it makes sense to include both versions of it to cover as many bases as possible. Either Fullbottle can be plugged into the top of the Knuckle, and as the Build Driver is the same as the one on previous releases they can also both be plugged directly into the belt itself simultaneously.

With four different figures to choose from collectors are spoilt for choice when it comes to Kamen Rider Cross-Z, but given how well his final form went down in the show this is probably the one many have been waiting for. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z is one of the best looking Kamen Rider Figuarts outside of the Shinkocchou Seihou line, combining the usual level of high quality sculpting with a colour scheme that immediately makes it stick out no matter what figure you put it with. The lack of accessories is annoying (especially when some of the things it could have come with have already been produced), but it's a problem that seems to be plaguing most Figuarts now. This is a beautiful figure that has the rare quality of making the onscreen suit look even better, and no lack of accessories can ever take that away from it.

1 comment:

Juan Aditya said...

Are you gonna review the original S.H.Figuarts Kamen Rider Cross-Z soon?