Tuesday 15 October 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Woz

Release Date: July 2019
RRP: 6050 yen

IWAE! Whether he is in the service of the overlord Zi-O or the saviour Geiz, the mysterious retainer from the year 2068 arrives in the S.H. Figuarts line! S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Woz is both the third Rider and third general release figure from the Kamen Rider Zi-O range, though as far as the latter is concerned he’s also likely the last figure from the show Bandai Tamashii Nations will give such treatment. Though Kamen Rider Woz and the Miridewatches were introduced with the arrival of the alternate future White Woz, the powers were later taken by the main timeline’s Black Woz and continued to be used by him after his counterpart’s erasure.

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Woz comes in some nicely designed packaging that adopts the three accent colours of the Woz suit. The green and blue go excellently with the predominantly black background, adding a splash of silver foil for the clock hands running up the side of the transparent window. The front of the box features the “20 Kamen Rider Kicks” anniversary logo, along with the foil Tamashii Nations sticker that confirms it as a genuine Bandai product. The back of the box then of course features images of the figure in various poses, and inside the figure and accessories are stored on a single plastic clamshell tray. The box and tray are deeper because the weapon is actually stored underneath the figure, which is something Bandai have been doing the last few years to cut down on packaging size. As a fan of these smaller (if thicker) boxes, I’d say it works really well.

The watch motif Kamen Rider Zi-O blessed its Riders with is the best kind of dumb, and that dumb genius only goes one step further with Kamen Rider Woz. After Zi-O’s obvious metal watch strap chest design and Geiz’s more plastic-like shape, Woz goes full sports watch with a smooth simple strap that has “holes”. running down the chest and arms. The combination of black and neon green are very suited to a futuristic Kamen Rider, and go well with the blue “Rider” katakana visor akin to a digital/smart watch display. Of course the clock hand antennae don’t really fit a digital watch motif, but the colours are more than enough to sell it. The colours on the suit are really effective at not just complimenting each other but also enforcing that kitschy “future Rider” look. Though all three Riders all share variations of the same design elements, Woz absolutely stands out from the crowd. Bandai themselves have done a brilliant job on both the colours and detailing of the figure - little touches like the moulding and various logos scattered across the body don’t go unnoticed.

The BeyonDriver is fairly basic in its design, but sports a nice amount of paint apps to give it some much needed detailing. That even includes a central display sticker of the Kamen Rider Woz helmet. The Mapping Slot on the side can open to reveal the Woz Miridewatch, which can be removed and replaced with the Shinobi, Quiz, Kikai or blank Miridewatches attached to the figure’s forearms. All five watches are moulded in their inactive position and lack any sort of detailing on the watch faces (making the unique ones only identifiable by colour), but this was pretty much a given since it’s been exactly the same with all the other Zi-O releases. Disappointing, but expected. Still, a functioning Driver is always a great feature for a Rider figure to have and the Miridewatches all plug nice and securely into their designated slots. Such small accessories can be a bit of a nightmare, but at the very least it doesn’t feel like there’s any worry of them just dropping off the figure if breathed on.


Kamen Rider Woz might not have any future tech when it comes to articulation, but Figuarts has really been on the ball with highly poseable figures lately and this is certainly no exception. Woz sports standard ball joints in his head, neck, shoulder pads, torso and waist along with swing down ball joint hips, swivel hinge shoulders and ankle rockers, double hinge elbows and knees, bicep and thigh swivels along with hinged toe sections to cap it all off. Every joint moves smoothly and fluidly, without any of the large or cumbersome pieces (such as the bulky torso or flat panel shoulders) impeding that articulation. The hips are able to achieve a satisfying range of motion without the gap between the legs and pelvis becoming too obvious, and the thigh swivels lack the usual stiffness you find in other Figuarts. It’s a great looking figure to begin with, but the ability to freely switch between attacking and proudly singing the graces of his overlord just add so much more to him.

Kamen Rider Woz comes with two additional pairs of hands to compliment his default closed fists (a pair of weapon holding hands, and then a pair of open poses hands ideal for those obligatory “IWAE” poses), and his signature Zikan Despear weapon. With both Zi-O and Geiz’s weapons having been omitted from their figures to be packaged with the RideStriker it feels a little weird to have a Zi-O figure come with weapons, but it certainly doesn’t go unappreciated. Even better is that thanks to a rotating piece at the top, the Zikan Despear can cycle between its Yari (spear), Kama (scythe) and Tsue (cane) modes! Getting the weapon into Tsue mode does require switching out the blade with a smaller version that can tuck away inside, but other than that it’s simply a case of turning the pieces around to your desired position. While the Kama and Tsue modes may be more associated with Woz’s Shinobi and Quiz forms respectively, both are much more exciting than the rather bland default spear mode. The Riddler-style question mark cane is delightful bizarre, and what’s not to love about a Rider that comes with a scythe? Not to mention the piece is really nicely detailed regardless, and fits in Woz’s comfortably for a variety of great poses.

Of course, it goes without saying that a Woz figure should have really come with the Twilight Chronicle - whether it be Black Woz’s book version or the futuristic tablet used by White Woz. One can only assume that because it’s a piece more associated with an untransformed Woz that it didn’t necessitate inclusion here, which I guess makes sense. It’s a sad omission, but given the quality and execution of everything else here it doesn’t feel like that big of a loss.

Woz has already established himself as a firm fan favourite and one of the most memorable (if a little under-utilised) characters in Kamen Rider Zi-O. It is extremely pleasing that he has a figure worthy of that status. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Woz is one of the best non-Shinkocchou Seihou Kamen Rider retail releases in a good while, significantly improving on the shortcomings of the Zi-O and Geiz figures with an excellent design and an actual weapon to pose him with. Given that Kamen Rider Grease was a web exclusive it’s a real surprise to see Woz getting this sort of treatment in the line, and for collectors who haven’t picked him up already this means he should still be available for a more than reasonable price. Unless you’re holding out for the Woz Ginga Finally set coming out in a few months time, be sure to pick up this one while you still can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Out of topic but oh well, what are your thoughts on ultraman taiga so far?