Monday 29 August 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid

S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid 01

Release Date: May 2022
RRP: 6600 yen

If anyone needed further proof of Ultraman Tiga's popularity, the fact it's managed to get so many S.H. Figuarts releases that aren't the titular character in such a short space of time is a fairly good indicator as far as merchandise is concerned. Hot on the heels of Golza and the GUTS Wings set earlier in the year, Bandai Tamashii Nations continue to expand the range with the series' first Tamashii Web exclusive item - S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid! Demon-like aliens who believed themselves to be the architects for both humanity and the planet Earth's future, the Kyrieloids battled against Ultraman Tiga before returning again on a parallel Earth to also face off against Ultraman Trigger - an event where Tiga and Trigger fought side by side.

S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid Box 01

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The S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid features the usual post-Showa era Ultraman range packaging, combining a signature colour (in this case a dark purple) with a black stripe going through the middle of the windowless box. The front features both an image of the figure inside and the Kyrieloid suit as it appears in Ultraman Tiga, whilst the back shows off the figure and accessories further in a number of different poses. Inside all of the components are neatly laid out on a moulded plastic tray, with the baseplate of the effect part stand fitted in just behind the Kyrieloid's leg.

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A physical manifestation of how the Kyriel people chose to appear in Tiga, the Kyrieloid "combat form" is a twisted monstrosity of white bone-like structures across a pitch black bodysuit - with a face that's technically devoid of any features however the markings across it create an eerie looking expression. This figure is based off the first Kyrieloid that appeared in the series - the second sporting slightly different markings as well as alternate forms which matched that of Tiga's. As usually Tamashii Nations have done a great job on the sculpting of this release, enhancing the white sections of the body with additional texture and colouring. It's a shame that the "heart" area of the body isn't the same translucent orange as the head gem (when illuminated they both appear the same colour on the suit), but the darker shade Bandai have gone with here works well too. Much like Tiga and Golza the Kyrieloid has some soft rubbery parts in addition to the usual hard plastic used for the main body, but they appear much more sparingly here - mainly just the shoulder "pads" and raised section around the left shoulder.

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Like many of the alien and kaiju figures released in the range, the Kyrieloid's construction is primarily made up of ball and socket connectors which altogether give the figure the following articulation;
- Ball jointed head, neck, shoulders, torso, waist, wrists and hips
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Swivel hinge ankles
- Single hinge toe sections
- Bicep and thigh swivels
In addition to that, the back piece of the head and shoulder "pads" are attached via ball joints to give them separate floating movement from the body parts they're attached to. Since construction of the figure is so similar to the other aliens/kaiju, it also means it falls victims to many of the same flaws as well. For a start, despite there being so much ball joints packed into the frame some of the more necessary articulation (namely the elbows and knees) aren't that great. In it's defence the swivel movement on the figure is still pretty good, but it's not enough to stop it feeling a little lacking compared to your average S.H. Figuarts release. But what's more frustrating about the Kyrieloid is how easily some of the parts just pop apart. Whilst posing the figure for all these images the arms would frequently come apart - most notably at both the shoulder and bicep. It wasn't too much trouble to put it all back together (though putting the bicep cover back the right way was a little tedious), but having to do it repeatedly does get a little annoying after a while.

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The Kyrieloid's accessories include six additional standard hands (one pair of closed fists and the rest in varying open finger poses) as well as a seventh hand with a "Prison Fire Bomb" effect part. This effect part is a long stream of flames rendered in translucent orange plastic, which requires an additional stand piece (also included in the box) to be displayed properly. Credit where it's due this is an absolutely a gorgeous effect part - so much so I'm a little bit sad that it has a hand permanently affixed to it because it would ideal for other figures as well. The Ultraman range has always excelled at effect parts when Bandai can be bothered to pack them into releases, and this is certainly no exception. Comparatively the alternate hands are a lot less interesting, not just because there's not a huge amount of variety between them but also the limited wrist articulation doesn't help matters either.

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The Ultraman range has really been on a roll lately when it comes to fantastic releases, but something about the S.H. Figuarts Kyrieloid doesn't quite sit right. While not a bad figure by any stretch of the imagination, the surprisingly limited articulation and numerous frustrations that come from parts that just pop off far too easily make it feel more reminiscent of some of the line's earlier kaiju and alien releases - the ones where they were just finding their feet. The Kyrieloid is an essential release for Ultraman Tiga (and to a much lesser extent, Ultraman Trigger) so the fact it made it out so quickly after its initial reveal is wonderful, but as far as essential purchases from the Ultraman S.H. Figuarts range? Maybe less so.

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