Thursday 14 April 2022

Top 5: Most Wanted Ultraman S.H. Figuarts (Kaiju Edition)

Top 5: Most Wanted Ultraman S.H. Figuarts (Kaiju Edition)

For this month's top five feature we're returning to the S.H. Figuarts line and what's easily my favourite range they have on offer – the Ultraman franchise. Ever since Bandai ended the Ultra-Act line and moved all things Ultra into S.H. Figuarts range, they've been pumping out some fantastic figures across all eras of the franchise. When it first kicked off in 2016 there seemed to almost as much focus on the various creatures of the Ultra Series as there was the Ultraman themselves, but sadly this seemed to have slowed down quite a bit in recent years. But because there are simply so many characters I'd like to see in this range I couldn't narrow it down to just five, which is why I'm presenting a kaiju-specific version of my Top 5 Most Wanted Ultraman S.H. Figuarts to kick things off. This look specifically looks at the giant monsters of the Ultraman multiverse, with separate lists dedicated to both aliens and Ultraman (as well as any Ultra-adjacent heroes) coming later in the year.

5. Red King (Ultraman)
Red King

There are so many great Ultraman monsters that have never had a high-quality figure that Red King might seem like a bit of an odd choice, given that it had an Ultra-Act release back in 2012. But even if you ignored the fact that figure is getting on a bit in age now, the hefty price tag it demands these days is a tougher pill to swallow. Besides, Red King is just one of those iconic Ultraman monsters that shows up everywhere – so the fact it isn't part of the line already is actually pretty surprising. The design isn't even that impressive, there's just something overly charming about that tiny pin head with its massive toothy grin. Whether it be in original or giant-armed Red King EX flavour, I'd love to see it join my collection.

4. Bemstar (The Return of Ultraman)

While I understand that not every monster from an Ultraman series can get an S.H. Figuarts release, I firmly believe that all the ones from all of the key episodes should. In most cases that means a monster that gave our hero a run for his money, and Bemstar was a pretty significant turning point for Ultraman Jack. The first space monster to appear in The Return of Ultraman, Bemstar was completely unphased by Jack's attacks. It was only after being rejuvenated by the sun's rays and given the Ultra Bracelet by Ultraseven was Jack able to finally defeat the monster. Compared to later Showa series (which are yet to receive any figures outside the Ultraman themselves), The Return of Ultraman was lucky enough to get three kaiju releases – but there are still some pretty significant omissions and Bemstar is definitely one of them.

3. Galactron (Ultraman Orb)

The trouble with Ultraman having so many iconic monsters from the past is that it can often be difficult for a newer creature to break through and have the same lasting impression as classic foes. Galactron is one monster that hasn't had this problem. Arguably the most impactful of all the monsters introduced in the New Generation run of shows, Galactron defeated Ultraman Orb like he was no threat at all. Even against Orb's ferocious Thunder Breastar form Galactron was initially able to hold its own, and even after that eventual defeat continued to cause chaos for both Ultraman Geed and (in MK2 form) Ultraman Taiga. The Ultraman Z range has given us a nice little array of robotic kaiju in the line but those are all friends, so a foe like Galactron is long overdue.

2. Shepherdon (Ultraman Ginga S)

Maybe it's just that I recently finished Ultraman Ginga S and loved every second of it, but Shepherdon is another modern-era kaiju deserving of a collector-grade figure. Guardian and friend to the underground Victorians, Shepherdon aided Ultraman Ginga and Ultraman Victory in numerous battles before sacrificing its life to protect Victory. Even in death it continued to aid its friend, reincarnated as a Spark Doll which could Ultlance to produce the Shepherdon Sword – perhaps the most powerful weapon in Victory's arsenal. Bandai thankfully weren't foolish enough to omit the Shepherdon Saber from S.H. Figuarts Ultraman Victory's accessory count, but the real thing would be an even better companion piece. Just imagine how good those Victorium crystals on its back would look in translucent blue plastic.

1. Eleking (Ultraseven)

Of all the seemingly obvious things to produce in the S.H. Figuarts Ultraman range, the fact this one hasn't happened feels like the most shocking (pun intended) of all. Eleking is arguably one of the franchise's most iconic and beloved kaiju – appearing in a number of main entry Ultraman series as well as countless spin-offs. It's previously won the Japanese Best Monster Award, and even one of the favourite kaiju of Dan Moroboshi/Ultraseven himself Kohji Moritsugu. One can only assume that Bandai really were put off releasing any more MonsterArts-sized kaiju after Gomora, because that's the only way I can comprehend it not being produced back in 2017 when they were working through all the key Ultraseven releases. Like Red King Eleking may have an Ultra-Act release collectors could technically fall back on, but given the age and price of that it's long overdue an redo. With Bandai getting back into larger kaiju with Golza, there's still hope that this rather significant hole in the Ultraman range may one day be filled.

Bonus points if he comes with a gun. 


What kaiju would you like to see join the S.H. Figuarts Ultraman range? Let me know, as well as any ideas you have for future top five pieces like this, in the comment section below!


Oar said...

Who can forget the baby Eleking from Max as well, clearly there's a deap seated appeal for this creautre that's not being tapped!

Agree with all your choices on this list. Honestly, while I know and expect every season to bring back classic monsters and whatnot, I would like for every new Ultra series to try and introduce a creature that can at least be iconic for that indivdual season, and those having good chance of seeing a figure just like the ultras themselves. Having regular figuarts released alongside the Ultras to fight just feels like it should be normal! Like a Greeza to go with your X, or a Skull Gomora to go against Geed and so on.

Ink'd Kaiju Dude said...

These are all solid choices. I'm really surprised we haven't gotten a Red King or Eleking in Figuarts form yet. I, personally, would LOVE a Keronia figure, but I know that that's just a fantasy, as there are tons of more popular kaiju than him. I'm still waiting for Figuarts to release that Alien Hipporito and Tyrant they teased some time ago. I really wish they would release Ultra kaiju on a semi regular basis.