Saturday 13 November 2021

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 01

Release Date: August 2021
RRP: 7700 yen

After purchasing Freeza -Resurrection Ver.- in 2018 I happily retired from the world of Dragon Ball S.H. Figuarts, having bought all the characters I wanted and feeling relatively confident that there wouldn't be any more I wanted. Since then the line has continued trucking on and remained one of Bandai Tamashii Nations' most popular ranges on both sides of the pond - with plenty of releases from Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super. However outside of the most recent trilogy of releases, the Dragon Ball movies remain an area mostly untouched (classic Broly being an exception, but then his power is maximum). However the announcement of another fan favourite has finally brought me back - S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler. The older brother of Freeza, Cooler made his debut in Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge where he arrives on Earth seeking revenge against Goku for his brother's death. Though he is initially able to overwhelm Goku with his secret fifth form, he is ultimately no match for the power of a Super Saiyan. A bio-mechanical version of Cooler known as 'Meta-Cooler' appears in the subsequent film The Return of Cooler, and he has also made appearances in both Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans and Dragon Ball Heroes. S.H. Figuarts Cooler was released in Japan as a Tamashii web exclusive.

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler Box 01

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler Box 02S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler Box 03S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler Box 04S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler Box 05

It's been three years since I last picked up a Dragon Ball S.H. Figuarts release but even in all that time not a lot has changed in the way of packaging design - and when I say "not a lot" what I actually mean is "anything at all". Cooler comes in a larger-than-average box due to the figure's size, but the layout is the same as it has been since Dragon Ball Figuarts made their big comeback back in 2016. The white and purple colour scheme is of course a perfect fit for Cooler, and aside from the main image on the front of the box all the images along the front and spine have all been split off into their own little comic-style panels. On the back of the box you'll find a more thorough selection of images showing off both the figure's articulation and accessories, and then inside you'll find Cooler neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray. Note that the tail is removed in-package, and will need attaching to the figure once you've managed to pull off all those plastic discs brand new Figuarts are covered with.

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 02

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 03S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 04S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 05S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 06

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 07S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 08S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 09S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 10

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 11S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 12

Final Form Cooler is the next in what's getting to be a rather extensive line of larger Dragon Ball S.H. Figuarts releases, standing a good few inches taller than the average release as well as having some additional muscle mass to boot. Given that Freeza only comes up to about his abdomen, that should give you a good idea of just how much bigger Cooler is than his brother (or just how damn small Freeza is). Though this form may be uniquely Cooler's there's still definitely a family resemblance there though. Cooler has a muscular purple body with white armoured sections that resemble bone or carapaces. There are glossy blue orbs adorning his head and arm/leg gauntlets, while his tail also has a needle-like point at the end. His face hides behind a segmented faceplate, with only his sinister red eyes peering out. It's a really great design, so it's no wonder Cooler became a firm fan favourite even with such limited appearances. Colour-wise it's not exactly a hard palette for Bandai to follow, so instead it's the little things they've done to accentuate that brilliant sculpt. The purple body has been given a subtle wash to accentuate all that muscle detailing, while the white sections have little marks and dents strewn across them to give them depth. The glossy finish of the blue orbs makes them immediately stand out against the otherwise matte finish, and then that villainous head sculpt speaks for itself. The only criticism I have is that the crest doesn't have the firmest of connections and so (at the very least on my copy) has the tendency to pop off easily. A very minor complaint for such a good looking figure though, Cooler looks like a real powerhouse amongst other Dragon Ball figures.

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 13

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 14S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 15S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 16S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 17

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 18S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 19S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 20S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 21

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 22S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 23S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 24

Cooler may be a big lad but his articulation is just as good as any other Dragon Ball figure that's come before him, and in some cases is arguably better as well! Altogether he features;
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso, waist and wrists
- Swivel hinge shoulders, hips, ankles and tail x2 (one joint at the body connection, the other in the middle)
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Bicep and thigh swivels
In addition to that, the hoop-like protuberances from Cooler's breast plate are each fashioned with a pin joint, which allows them to move up and down separate from the shoulder articulation. When you fully extend the butterfly joints you can see the two pins at the front of the piece, and when exposed rather amusingly make Cooler look as though he's wearing some sort of vest top. The hip joint is of the standard S.H. Figuarts design rather than the segmented look they use for most Dragon Ball figures these days (as well as some select others), but it gets the job done and arguably suits the larger body sculpt a lot better. All of the usual S.H. Figuarts bells and whistles work well on this release, but what are really worth praising here are those butterfly shoulders. You can extend them to point where they break the fluidity of the sculpt, but the additional range they give the arms makes so much difference. Of course the tail having two points of articulation is also a big asset to the figure - not just from a posing standpoint but also because it makes the thing so much easier to balance as well. If it was a static piece it would be an absolute nightmare given its length and the overall size of the figure, but that centre joint means you are able to pose it in the air and still have Cooler in some badass pose.

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 25

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 26S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 27S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 28S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 29

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 30S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 31S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 32S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 33

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 34S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 35S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 36

Cooler comes packaged with three additional pairs of hands, an alternate "unmasked" head sculpt and a alternate pair of feet. The alternate head is to represent the final steps in Cooler's transformation to his final form, where his face becomes encased behind that bone-like carapace. It's interesting that Bandai opted for a whole alternate head when just an alternate face plate probably would have sufficed, but it does provide a more seamless look and there aren't any issues swapping between the two heads (sadly the crest doesn't fit any more secure than it does on the default head though). The hands included are the typical selection of various posed hands, and while aren't plentiful do provide the figure with plenty of options for posing whether it's alone or fighting it out with other Dragon Ball figures. Finally the alternate feet might seem like a bit of an oddity, but aren't really all that strange when you look at what was included with Freeza. These feet have curled toes, which allow for a more accurate look when posing Cooler in-flight. While you might think Cooler would have trouble being held up by a standard Tamashii stage, surprisingly it works rather well with the arm tightened and the claw piece wrapped around the top of his tail. It's a nice little bunch of accessories for sure, but at the same time it does feel a little lacking in comparison to some of the other Dragon Ball releases. Maybe it's just because of his size, but it does feel like just the very basics were included. Admittedly there have been other examples in the past, but a Dragon Ball Figuarts without any effect parts just doesn't feel right.

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 37

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 38S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 39S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 40

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 41S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 42S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 43S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 44

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 45S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 46S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 47S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler 48

S.H. Figuarts Final Form Cooler was a real surprise release from Tamashii Nations given how little they've touched the Dragon Ball Z movies (which means we probably have Dragon Ball FighterZ to thank more than anything else), and they have definitely done the character justice. While it doesn't appear like a whole lot has changed in the world of Dragon Ball Figuarts while I've been away, Cooler still has all the best aspects of the range as well as a few of his own little features to keep things interesting. Some more exciting accessories would have been nice, but with a gorgeous character design (that definitely deserved more than just a movie) that's been brought to life with a brilliant sculpt and colours Cooler is the kind of release that's really hard to pass up.

No comments: