Sunday 31 January 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Thouser

S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Thouser 01

Release Date: October 2020
RRP: 6600 yen

With multiple Riders right from the very beginning Kamen Rider Zero-One could hardly stick the standard mid-series secondary Rider introduction format. By that point not did it already have five Riders, but also three different transformation belts. So instead that shake-up came about with the introduction of ZAIA Enterprise Japan and its CEO Gai Amatsu, who immediately sought to takeover Hiden Intelligence and prove his ZAIA Spec to be superior to Hiden's HumaGears. This led to a competition between both Gai and Aruto Hiden, one which the former never planned to play fairly. In both his guise as ZAIA CEO and as Kamen Rider Thouser, Gai Amatsu caused chaos - not only furthering the conflict between humanity and HumaGears but also revealing himself to have manipulated the events that led to the Daybreak Town incident. As a key player in Zero-One's story it was only a matter of time before Bandai Tamashii Nations revealed S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Thouser, releasing him as a Tamashii web exclusive much like the majority of Zero-One's cast.

This review is presented by ZAIA©.

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Matching the rest of the Zero-One Riders' packaging, S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Thouser comes in a simple but aesthetically pleasing white box with gold and black lettering to match the suit's colour scheme. Each of the previous Riders' have had their affiliation printed on the front and spine of the box, and Thouser adds a new one to the list as he is of course brought to us all by ZAIA Enterprise. Other than that it's the usual affair when it comes to Figuarts packaging - a nice big image of the figure on the front of that windowless web exclusive box, along with further stock images showing off posing and accessories on the back. The ZAIA Enterprise logo on the back looks particularly impressive, standing out far more than the Hiden, A.I.M.S. or ones did on their respective boxes. Inside you'll find the figure and accessories laid out on a moulded plastic tray. Curiously Thouser is packaged with closed fists affixed to the figure as per the line's standard practices, whereas the rest of the Zero-One Riders had open hands affixed.

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Immediately from his pristine white outfit you can tell that Gai Amatsu is a man of style and excess, and his Kamen Rider alter-ego is certainly no exception. From the shining gold and silver body armour to its extravagant horns and vibrant purple eyes, Kamen Rider Thouser is just opulence from head to toe. It's fair to say that other than a few exceptions Bandai do an exceptional job with these figures anyway when it comes to getting all the details right, but Thouser really does feel like something special in the looks department. The metallic colours are all vibrant and vivid - complimenting each other perfectly alongside those matte black sections which give the suit coherence. On top of that it's a glorious mix of textured patterns and solid armour plating, with a few areas of fabric folds also thrown in for good measure. The head sculpt is particularly interesting in this respect, since its clear on the show that Thouser's "helmet" seems more like a material hood with a solid faceplate section at the front of it. And what a face plate that is - multiple towering horns on a bed of black and silver, with piercing purple eyes sitting just underneath them. One thing that does need to be said about this figure though - wow is it spiky. Not just the head either, Thouser's back also sports a number of protruding spines. It's not quite to the level of Kamen Rider Bravo where you feel like you might draw blood just handling the figure, but you definitely want to be careful where you put those fingers.

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Like the rest of the Zero-One Riders, Thouser's Thousandriver has removable keys but no other interactive functions outside of that. The unique thing about the Thousandriver is that it uses two keys as opposed to one - namely the Amazing Caucasus Progrise Key and Awaking Arsino Zetsumerisekey. Both keys are solid black plastic with little to no detailing as per the rest of the line, however the Amazing Caucasus Key does have the logo stamped on it so that it can appear through the translucent window in the centre of the Driver. It's simple but exactly what we've come to expect of the Zero-One range by now, and the addition of the Zetsumerisekey does mix things up a little. Both sides of the belt feature small key holsters which are of course unusable since there's no additional keys available in the line, but since Thouser didn't really use them on the show this is actually screen accurate for once.

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Articulation remains the same as it has with the previous figures from the series, with Thouser sporting altogether;
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso, waist, wrists and hips
- Swivel hinge shoulders and ankles
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Single hinge toe sections
- Bicep and thigh swivels
The hips continue to be a point of curiosity on the Zero-One figures as while they seem to be constructed similar to the pull-down style of hips, they don't actually pull down as much making them sit far more comfortably with the rest of the sculpt when in use. Some figures the pull has barely been noticeable at all, but in Thouser's case the movement is both obvious and can be used to its full potential. Really the same can be said for the rest of the body as well - sometimes you often find certain areas of these figures are stiff no matter what you try to do them, but Thouser manages everything pretty comfortably. If there was one comment to be had, it's that the double joint on the elbow here is pretty redundant. The lower half of the joint manages over a 90 degree bend on its own, with the upper half not really able to add much more because of both the bicep and the armour. Certainly nothing to complain about though, as the bend is still pretty impressive. The shoulder pads are also connected via their own floating ball joints, but only in as much as they raise them slightly off the arm. They do raise enough to let the arms raise up a bit, but nowhere near enough for them to raise up along the shoulder line. Rest assured though this is a figure that can both fight fiercely and pose like a smug prick. What more could you want from a Thouser figure? 

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The Zero-One Figuarts have been quite varied in terms of accessories, with most of them coming with at least one core weapon unless there was a good reason not too. With that in mind, Thouser's accessory count seems particularly good. Altogether he comes with eight additional hands, his Thousand Jacker sword, an alternate extended Jack Ring part for the Jacker and a Raid Riser belt piece. There's a good variety of hands included, ranging from a number of specific posed hands for signature Thouser poses to specific hands for holding both the Thousand Jacker and Raid Riser. The hand meant to hold the Raid Riser (as per the instructions) doesn't hold it especially securely but it does the job reasonably enough. The Thousand Jacker is by far the most elaborate and detailed weapon in the Zero-One arsenal - not only an impressive sword but also featuring a syringe-like tip which Thouser uses to extract the specs and capabilities from the target Driver. The Figuarts replica is equally well detailed - sporting the same vibrant paint apps as Thouser himself. Perhaps it wouldn't have been too hard to make the Jack Ring extendable rather than an alternate part, but swappable parts does tend to be the general practice for the line and works perfectly fine. The tab is a little on the small side but doesn't feel at any risk of breaking. 

Rounding the accessories off we have the Raid Riser, which is a rather curious addition but certainly not unappreciated. Rather than a full belt which can be worn by other figures this is instead a half piece belt intended to be held by Thouser as if he was slamming the belt onto another person. That's the pose Bandai are showing off with the accessory anyway, which is a little strange because in that case a Zetsumeriser would have made a lot more sense. Gai forcibly turned HumaGears into Magia all the time, but didn't really make a habit of forcibly turning humans into Raiders. It's a really nice accessory to have though, odd advertising aside. Kamen Rider Figuarts really don't make much of a habit of coming with loose transformation items like this, so to get one in any capacity is great.

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Given his overall presentation in the show I never expected S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Thouser to come away as my favourite of the Kamen Rider Zero-One range, but that just goes to show this hobby is still full of surprises. Thouser is the perfect combination of a gorgeous sculpt, vibrant colours, fantastic articulation and a great range of accessories - managing to stand out amongst a selection that has also managed to do all those things. While technically he might not be considered part of the "core five" Zero-One Riders, Thouser is just as important a character and thus compliments them rather nicely. Sure there's still the likes of Ichigata, Naki, Ikazuchi and Ark Zero to be released, but as far as the core Zero-One lineup is concerned I'm more than satisfied. Throw in the gashapon Sony AIBO figurines that were released not too long ago, and Thouser is 1000% the perfect package.


M said...

This review was presented by ZAIA

Oar said...

It's really cool to see all six riders in one photo like that. Also the cut in effect for Thousand Destruction is absolutely perfect.