Friday 2 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Fuma

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Release Date: February 2021
RRP: 7150 yen

Getting a full cast out of any series Bandai Tamashii Nations do S.H. Figuarts is almost always a gamble. Sometimes it'll take years for them to release that all-important final character, and sometimes it may never happen at all. In the case of Ultraman Taiga thankfully it hasn't taken them too long at all to complete the whole Tri-Squad lineup alongside villain Ultraman Tregear, with S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Fuma finally joining both Taiga and Titas at the beginning of 2021. For anyone who's been following the line it'll be no surprise to hear that Fuma is a Tamashii web exclusive release, which has been the fate for every figure from the series other than Taiga himself. On the other hand with how fast S.H. Figuarts preorders seem to sell out these days, maybe that's for the best as it gives collectors a chance to actually secure their figures prior to release.

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S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Fuma's packaging matches that of his fellow Tri-Squad brothers, with the base colour of the box swapped out for a cool (and far more fitting) blue. The windowless Tamashii web exclusive box features both an image of the onscreen Fuma suit, as well as a full-body image of the figure behind it to replace the transparent window section. While one of the box's sides is just plain, the other sports the great bookend-style spine featured on all the other New Generation Hero Ultraman releases - which would make quite the line-up when placed altogether. On the back of the packaging you'll find the usual images of the figure in a variety of action poses, and then inside you'll find it and all the accessories neatly stored on a plastic clamshell tray.

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There is an ever-increasing amount of blue Ultraman being introduced into the vast Ultra universe, but when it comes the S.H. Figuarts line these characters are still far outnumbered by their more traditional red brothers. With that in mind Ultraman Fuma is already a great addition from a visual standpoint, as he's probably the bluest of them all so far - not even a hint of red in sight! Fuma has a very traditional Ultraman design with only a minimal amount of added detailing, but it's definitely been presented in such a way that he instantly feels reminiscent of his Planet O-50 brother Ultraman Orb. The combination of blues alongside the black and silver make for a really striking colourscheme, especially when placed aside Taiga and Titas. Both the forehead crystal and colour timer are represented in translucent blue plastic, with the timer also have a crystalline effect moulded underneath to make it that little bit sharper. The head and gauntlet also have fins moulded onto them, which surely assist Fuma in the speed and agility he shows off in battle. The head fin is surprisingly sharp, but pretty sturdy so isn't going to break off or anything should you accidentally stab yourself on it. Like his fellow Tri-Squad members, Fuma wears the Taiga Spark on his right arm - a removable accessory that will need to be removed and reattached each time you change the hand. The Taiga Spark is very nicely detailed for its size, sporting the most intricate and arguably well-applied paint apps on the entire figure. Although the Taiga Spark pegs directly onto the hand and stretches over the lower arm, the two pieces of the device are connected by a hinge to give it some flexibility when posing the figure.

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Agility and flexibility are among Ultraman Fuma's main strengths, with the character boasting an impressive running speed of Mach 6, a flying speed of Mach 15 and a jumping height of 900m. While those are the kind of stats you aren't going to be seeing an action figure replicate any time soon, the least it could do is pull off all the necessary poses to pretend that's a possibility. Altogether the figure features;
- Peg joint head
- Ball jointed neck, torso, waist, wrists and hips
- Swivel hinge shoulders and ankles
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Thigh swivels
- Single hinge toe sections
The above is pretty much the standard articulation for any Ultraman figure these days (the Showa-era characters showing some slight differences), but it's a build that's been pretty damn great and will likely continue to be. One particularly nice touch on Fuma is that his Ultra Armour is made of softer rubbery-like plastic, which will flex either when raising the arms above shoulder level or pulling them forward/backward with the butterfly joint. It's only a very subtle bit of movement, but works wonders and eliminates a lot of worry about any paint rub happening in those areas. Overall everything seems to work to typical S.H. Figuarts standards and Fuma can pull off a wide variety of poses, but one thing I did notice is that the legs on my figure seemed rather loose. Maybe it's just a one-off problem (and maybe it's just because I'm so used to SHF joints being too tight instead these days), but the legs definitely were getting looser the more I moved them about and I'm not sure how well that'll hold up in the future. Maybe not a problem that'll affect you, but worth mentioning just in case.

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Ultraman Fuma comes packaged with four additional pairs of hands (giving him five in total), an alternate red colour timer and an additional right hand with fixed Taiga Spark and Light Wave Shuriken effect part. The hand selection includes the typical Ultraman far of knife and grappling hands, as well as a few more ninja-specific poses as well. As previously mentioned, the Taiga Spark must be attached to each hand when in use so each of the right hands have a small peg sticking out of them. The colour timer is of the small circular variety, but surprisingly easy to swap out without damaging the paintwork on the figure. It really is tiny though, so be very careful not to lose them. Finally that brings us on to the Light Wave Shuriken, which is both the best and most disappointing accessory in the set. The shuriken itself looks absolutely fantastic - moulded in translucent yellow plastic and covered in moulded detail. It looks great on Fuma and really shows off that ninja vibe. The disappointing aspect however is that it is attached to the Taiga Spark. With both Taiga and Titas both having their own impressive beam attacks, it would have been nice to get a Light Wave Shuriken that could be displayed in a throwing pose as well as just attached to the wrist. Surely it couldn't have been too difficult to make the parts separate? It's not a deal breaker by any means, but definitely limits the display/pose potential of what's otherwise an incredibly cool accessory. Most Ultraman accessories tend to be so similar that they get pretty boring after a while, but Fuma's is wholly unique and I really wish I could do more with it.

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S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Fuma is another solid entry in the ever growing Ultraman range, with only a few minor complaints holding it back from perfection. Tamashii Nations didn't really save the best for last when it came to the Tri-Squad, but Taiga fans will be over the moon to have these three very distinct Ultraman together at long last. And as I said before, any blue Ultra is more than welcome into my collection. Ultraman Taiga was great for featuring multiple Ultras rather than multiple forms since it made collecting all the figures all that more desirable, and upon seeing the cast altogether I can honestly say that Bandai did not disappoint.

1 comment:

Oar said...

So nice to see the Tri-Squad completed (I'll just choose to pretend Hiroyuki is there somewhere with them) and able to square off against their big villain too! Great review and photos as always.