Wednesday 9 December 2020

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Titas

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Release Date: September 2020
RRP: 7150 yen

Although the number of alien and kaiju releases has noticeably declined in the last few years, the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts range is still going strong and Bandai Tamashii Nations have continued to show an equal amount of love to both the classic and modern eras of the franchise. Before moving full steam ahead on the currently airing Ultraman Z, the line is slowly wrapping up all the key players of 2019’s Ultraman Taiga with the release of S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Titas! An Ultra hero from the Planet U40 and fellow member of the Tri Squad, the warrior sage Ultraman Titas specialises in heavyweight battles with his finely trained body. Unsurprisingly this figure was released as a Tamashii web exclusive, with Taiga himself having been the only general release from the series thus far.

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Ultraman Titas comes in packaging that isn’t too dissimilar from Ultraman Victory’s in terms of colour scheme, though this one uses a more muted mustard yellow compared to the brighter shade used on Victory’s box. As a Tamashii web exclusive the front of the box is of course windowless, leaving plenty of room for some nice shots of Titas doing what he does best - flexing his muscles. The front features shots of both the figure and onscreen suit, giving you double the muscle in a single glance. The back and spines of packaging show off a further number of stock images, taking a closer look at the moulding, mobility and optional parts of the figure. Inside both Titas and his accessories are securely stored on a moulded plastic tray, with the effect piece housed on its own loose tray piece that slots in over the stand parts. Despite Titas’ larger size and the stacking of parts going on in the tray, the box surprisingly isn’t any deeper than your standard Ultraman S.H. Figuarts packaging.

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Enter, the Sage of Strength! Ultraman Titas sports a wholly unique body sculpt amongst the Ultraman Figuarts range, as no previous entry quite has the body mass to match up to his incredible muscles. We’ve seen stockier bodies before with both Ultraman Orb Thunder Breaster or the standard form of Ultraman Belial himself, but their torsos were designed differently and neither have quite the same thigh mass either. Ultraman Titas’ is a full body of pulsating muscle, and Tamashii have done a great job of flexing everything he has to offer. Even his backside is a solid piece of clenched muscle, because after all he isn’t called Ultraman Tight-Ass for nothing. But on top of that solidly sculpted body Titas also has some fantastic colour work going on, with his red and black body nicely complimented by the silver and pale gold Ultra Armour. Atop his forehead sits his Star Symbol, the iconic trait of U40 Ultramen such as Ultraman Joneus. The Star Symbol has been realised with a deep translucent blue gradient, giving it an incredible illusion of depth. Titas’ Colour Timer is also in the shape of a star, but along with his eyes that instead has been given a paler, more frosty effect under that clear plastic. Upon his right hand sits his Taiga Spark, which is identical to the one previously included with Ultraman Taiga. It may only be a small piece, but is extremely well detailed in regards to both moulding and paint apps. And although the piece hangs down over the forearm, the Taiga Spark is hinged in the middle so that it can move comfortably along with the wrist. Although he wasn’t the Ultraman with his name in the title Ultraman Titas was just as much the star of the show as Taiga himself, and though it’s felt like a long wait for his release Bandai have definitely done this strongman justice.

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Although his body may be (as he would delicately put it) more finely tuned than other Ultramen as far as articulation goes Titas is fundamentally the same, sporting the following joints;
- Peg joint head
- Ball jointed lower neck, torso, waist, wrists and hips
- Swivel hinge shoulders and ankles
- Butterfly shoulders/pecs
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Thigh swivels 
- Single hinge toe sections
Previously I’ve complained about many of the Ultraman Figuarts’ lack of a bicep swivel, with some informing me that the elbow joint actually has some degree of swivel to offset that. Personally I’ve never found that joint particularly effective on other figures, since it usually requires tugging at the elbow joint with some force just to get it to turn. That said, I can totally see how it works with Titas. I don’t know if it’s just the beefier sculpt making all the difference, but that elbow swivel is surprisingly effective. The upper torso has also been cut slightly differently so not to impede on that articulation, and so despite all that extra mass Titas can turn and pose just as well as his peers. Of course with muscles like that the elbows don’t have as much as a bend as they usually do, but it’s still enough for Titas to flex his stuff in style. Simply the outer part of the leg rising up around the hip joint has been a feature on nearly all of the New Generation Ultra figures, but the thigh swivel just above it does a good job of making sure it isn't a problem. Considering the (comparatively) small feet don’t encounter any obvious balance issues, this figure has come out particularly well.

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Ultraman Titas comes packaged with six additional hands, an alternate chest piece with red Colour Timer and finally a Planium Buster effect part (with accompanying stand pieces). Much like Taiga, all of Titas’ right hands have a small black tab on them so that you can swap his Taiga Spark between them. Given how small (not to mention awkwardly shaped) Titas’ Colour Timer is giving the figure a whole alternate chest piece was definitely the right way to go, and with it only being attached to a small (but surprisingly firm) tab swapping between the two is extremely easy. The selection of hands here are pretty much the standard assortment you’d get with any Ultraman, including knife pose, grappling and item holding pairs. The crowning piece here is the obligatory effect part, and Titas’ Planium Buster immediately stands out but not being a standard beam piece attached to an alternate right hand. Instead its a translucent green fireball with a long trail effect behind it, suspended by its own stand piece and not connected to the figure itself in any way. This means not only is it a great effect part for Titas, but it would also work wonderfully with any other figure that has a similar looking attack as well. While admittedly lining it up with Titas’ fist may not sound quite as dramatic, getting a very different looking effect part certainly wins out over getting yet another variation on the same attack.

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As great as the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts are, there’s often so much similarity between them that the ones that truly stand out are the ones that break away from that tried and tested template. Some do it with unique accessories (Ultraman X), whilst others do it with a unique mould. S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Titas certainly does it with the latter, as Tamashii Nations bring that perfect adonis of an Ultraman to collectors’ shelves in grand fashion. Pumping with muscles and sporting an effect part with plenty of mileage, this fan favourite will definitely stand out as the part of any Ultraman collection.

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