Saturday 11 May 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geiz

Release Date: March 2019 
RRP: 5400 yen

When an evil overlord of time threatens the future, a brave resistance fighter from the year 2068 travels back in time to prevent his rise to power. That might be the reason that Geiz Myokoin travelled back to the year 2018, but it wasn't long before he realised that the Sougo Tokiwa he has encountered in the past couldn't possibly become the Oma Zi-O he knows from the future. Not wanting to slouch on the 20 Kamen Rider Kicks celebration of 20 years (and the end) of Heisei era Kamen Rider, Bandai Tamashii Nations have quickly followed Kamen Rider Zi-O with the release of S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geiz. Both the second general retail item from the Zi-O series and the second release from the series overall, Kamen Rider Geiz is an ideal companion piece to the 20th Heisei Kamen Rider.

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geiz comes in identically designed packaging to Kamen Rider Zi-O, however the box is noticeably deeper in order to accommodate the first run Ride Watch stand bonus stored inside (advertised on a yellow sticker on the box's transparent window). Geiz's packaging uses a yellow and black colourscheme, with a few blocks of red also thrown in to fit the Rider's overall colours. I'd have expected more red as it's Geiz's predominate colour, but the black and yellow is more striking and fits better with Zi-O's black and purple packaging. The front of the box sports a nice big image of the figure along with the 20 Kamen Rider Kicks logo and silver foil clock hands/lettering, while the back features the usual array of images released at the time of Geiz's original solicitation. Inside you'll find the figure and accessories stored on a moulded clamshell tray, with the bonus Ride Watch stands stored in a plastic bag taped underneath.

Kamen Rider Geiz is largely identical to Kamen Rider Zi-O in terms of design, with the only key differences being a new head sculpt, a predominately red colour scheme and a few other minor aesthetic differences such as new shoulder pads. Personally my favourite difference between the two is how the silver metal watch strap running down Zi-O's torso has been switched out for black plastic one - a really nice subtle touch that perfectly encapsulates the show's unique approach toward "time travel Rider". As the sculpting quality of Zi-O was pretty solid overall the same can be said of Geiz, and the boxy pyramid shoulder pads offer a nice extra bit of visual difference between him and Zi-O. Although the head sculpt might not be quite as elaborate as Zi-O's since it lacks the clock face motif, that doesn't mean it's badly done by any means. The sculpting and paintwork is superbly done (especially on the forehead detailing) and those striking compound eyes (which read "Rider" in hiragana, as opposed to Zi-O's katakana) look fantastic in yellow. It, along with Geiz's other bits of yellow detailing, really stand out against all that red to provide some excellent focal points.

Just like Zi-O, Geiz has two removable Ride Watches inserted into his arm gauntlets – a blank silver one on his right arm and an orange one (meant to be the Ghost Ride Watch) on his left. Both Ride Watches are a solid colour and have no proper detailing to tell them apart, as does the red Geiz Ride Watch already inserted into the Driver. Either Ride Watch can be removed from the arms and clipped onto the Ziku Driver, which can turn a full 360 degrees like it does in the show. Unlike the Ride Watches however the Driver is nicely detailed, and sports a "2068" sticker in the centre to differentiate it from Zi-O's "2018" version. As pointed out in the Zi-O review, when Bandai have experience putting stickers on things as tiny as Lockseeds or more recently Gaia Memories, there's no excuse for leaving the Ride Watches on these figures so dull and lifeless.

Since Geiz shares the same body as Zi-O the level of articulation remains completely unchanged, right down to him having that same little flaw of not being able to look to the side very well because of the raised collar section. Altogether he features a ball jointed head and neck section, ball jointed torso and waist segments, ball-hinge shoulders, raised ball jointed shoulder pads, bicep swivels, double hinged elbows, ball jointed wrists, pull-down ball jointed shoulders, upper thigh swivels, double hinged knees, hinged ankle rockers and then a hinged toe-cap at the end of each foot. The torso joint as a surprisingly fluid range of motion given the bulkier chest, but due to the way the armour is shaped at the bottom rotating that top half a little too much does result in slightly exposing that hollowed out section underneath it.

If you were disappointed by Zi-O's lack of accessories but were hoping that Geiz would make up for it by including his Zikan Zax, then I'm afraid you’re going to be disappointed once again. Once again Geiz comes with six additional hands and that's it. Bear in mind that's one less hand than Zi-O with AND Geiz is more expensive. Like the Zikan Girade, the Zikan Zax in both bow and axe modes has been held back to be released as part of the Tamashii web exclusive Ride Striker set due for release in June. As much as it sucked that Kamen Rider Build Rabbit Tank didn't come with his weapons, at least the following Kamen Rider Build figures all came with their weapons. To give Geiz the same treatment and not give him a low price like Zi-O is Bandai at their very worst.

However it isn't a completely lost cause, because Tamashii Nations have been kind enough to include a first run bonus with Geiz in the form of two Ride Watch display bases – one for Geiz, and one for Zi-O. These bases are really nicely moulded into their respective Ride Watch shapes and feature nicely detailed graphics of the Rider faces you'd find on the toys themselves. The downside however is that you have to put the bases together yourself – they come as two separate pieces of clear plastic, with the watch face half (poorly) clipping over the bottom to keep the paper Rider graphic in place. No articulated display arms are included here, but a piece at the top of the base pops off (just like on a standard Tamashii base) to reveal a hole to peg an arm in. While the inclusion of the stands is a nice touch, do they really justify both the price and omitting Geiz's accessories? Bandai could have easily just included stands with both Zi-O and Geiz as first run bonus and kept a more level price between the two. And though the stands might look good, having to put them together yourself is pretty shoddy and certainly not up to the standard of previous first run bonuses. While I'm grateful to have Ride Watch stands for the two characters that need them the most without resorting to additional accessory packs, extras like these certainly shouldn't come at the expense of more essential pieces.

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Zi-O was a good but flawed release, and it was easily to overlook those flaws because of the relatively low price. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Geiz is exactly the same figure save for some mould and colour changes, but at 2160 yen more those flaws suddenly become much harder to overlook. Un-detailed Ride Watches are one thing, but no accessories all while cumbersome display stands raise the price point is another thing entirely. Kamen Rider Geiz is a decent figure, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Bandai Tamashii Nations taking important accessories from a figure just so they can guarantee more sales on the bikes isn’t a very appealing future for the line, but if this is any indication it looks like the one we're headed in.

1 comment:

Oar said...

The terrible future Geiz should be trying to prevent is one where Rider Figuarts keep being as frustratingly flawed as this one.