Friday 21 October 2022

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 01

Release Date: June 2022
RRP: 7480 yen

Mirroring the story that was originally told 25 years ago in Ultraman Tiga, in Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga it is revealed that Ultraman Trigger was originally a Giant of Darkness – working together with Carmeara, Darrgon and Hudram on their path of destruction before turning to the light and becoming the titular hero. After being brought to the present and subsequently defeated, Trigger Dark's essence was absorbed into a Hyper Key – with his powers being wielded by the treasure hunter Ignis against the Giants of Darkness to avenge his home planet. Though initially unable to control Trigger Dark's powers, Ignis eventually become a key ally to Trigger in his fight. Now Bandai Tamashii Nations present S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark – their latest Tamashii web exclusive addition to the Ultraman Trigger range.

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark Box 01

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark Box 02S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark Box 03S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark Box 04S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark Box 05

As per nearly all Tamashii web exclusives these days S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark comes in windowless packaging, with a large image of the figure in place of being able to actually view it. This is accompanied by an image of the suit itself, which has been a key feature on all of the Ultraman series boxes. On one side of the box is another image of the figure in a striking book-end style way, while the other is blank with simply the name of the release. On the back are further images of the figure, as well as a bonus issue of Ultraman Trigger Multi-Type wielding the (included) Circle Arms. Inside Trigger Dark, along with his accessories, are all neatly stored on a moulded plastic tray.

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 02

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 03S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 04S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 05S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 06

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 07S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 08S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 09S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 10

If there is one thing that Bandai absolutely nailed with S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark it's the sculpt. Inspired by a combination of both Tiga Dark and the Zeluganoid from Ultraman Dyna, Trigger Dark really captures the idea of a "fallen angel" version of the titular Ultraman. From the use of gunmetal grey for the body (as opposed to the traditional Ultraman silver) to all the twisted organic protrusions covering his body, Trigger Dark is a design loaded with detailing despite the limited colour palette. All of this has been faithfully recreated in figure form, the body covered in touches of raised sculpting to give it more depth. The limited use of colour makes all the vibrant sections stand out all the more, namely the piercing yellow eyes, colour timer and semi-exposed gold Protector.

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 11

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 12S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 13S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 14S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 15

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 16S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 17S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 18S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 19

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 20S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 21S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 22

However it's when we take a look at the articulation and poseability that things sadly begin to take a turn for Trigger Dark. At first glance this figure seems just the same as any other Ultraman release, showing off an impressive array of joints consisting of; 
- Peg joint head 
- Ball jointed neck, torso, waist and wrists 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, hips and ankles
- Butterfly joint shoulders
- Double hinge elbows and knees
- Thigh swivels
But it's less the construction of the joints that are the issue here, and more the suit design of Trigger Dark himself. Due to all the added bulk and design elements he has, nearly every key bit of articulation on this release is impacted in some way. The shoulder protrusions don't just limit how much you turn the head, but doing so seems to make it pop off really easily as well. But this is a minor gripe compared to the hips, which have next to no outward articulation and very little forward/backward movement either. You know it's not just you being bad at posing the figure when the pictures on the box use pretty basic poses as well. Thankfully the torso area still manages fairly well, and the combination of butterfly and swivel hinge shoulders means the figure can at the very least pull off a good Dark Zeperion beam pose. Thanks to the excellent sculpting Trigger Dark still has plenty of shelf presence, but compared to what S.H. Figuarts pull off with articulation it's hard not to see this release as somewhat lacking.

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 23

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 24S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 25S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 26S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 27

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 28S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 29S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 30

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 31S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 32S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 33S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 34

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 35S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 36S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 37

It doesn't get much better when you take accessories into account either, as Trigger Dark is a prime example of some of the worst practices S.H. Figuarts are doing with their figures right now. Altogether this release comes with nine additional hands (four matching pairs and an additional left hand), alternate red colour timer, Circle Arms weapon and a pair of weapon holding hands for Ultraman Trigger Multi Type. While technically Trigger Dark does wield the Circle Arms at some point in the show, there's no denying that it's only included with this release because they've spread Trigger's accessories over multiple releases much like they did with Ultraman Z. This means Trigger Dark doesn’t really have any character-specific accessories – the most glaring omissions being a Dark Zeperion beam and an alternate head based on when Ignis (as Trigger Dark) uses a Kaiju Key. Really this figure is entirely based on Trigger Dark's time as a Giant of Darkness, without taking Ignis into an account at all. Even the hand selection is just your basic array of Ultraman poses, and nothing that particularly screams Trigger Dark specifically. Getting the Circle Arms is nice, but even that is limited in the fact it's a static piece and cannot switch from sword mode. Transforming weapons might not be something S.H. Figuarts does any more, but the transformation into Power Claw or Sky Arrow modes is hardly complex. But then, why would they make one transforming weapon when they can just spread it out between three releases instead?

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 38

S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 39S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 40S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark 41

Between a killer design, being one of the more interesting aspects of Ultraman Trigger and later having one of its best characters as a host, Bandai would have been hard-pressed to go wrong with S.H. Figuarts Trigger Dark. But while they certainly nailed the look of the figure, it's all the other areas that they seem to have missed the mark. The lack of character-specific accessories is disappointing but ultimately not all that surprising with the way Bandai are handling Ultraman accessories nowadays, but the lacklustre articulation is really hard to overlook. Sure the suit design hasn't made it easy for them, but it doesn't really feel like there's been any effort to work around that either. As it stands Trigger Dark makes an excellent display piece, but when it comes the line's self-proclaimed "heroic action" it sadly falls short.

No comments: